Subject: Storage | July 10, 2012 - 08:04 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, red, NAS, hdd, Hard Drive
** Note ** - Full review has been posted HERE!
Today Western Digital launches their Red series of hard drives. These are basically Caviar Greens that are specificially tuned to operate in small RAID configurations - namely home and small business NAS solutions containing up to 5 drives. These drives carry over some of the features present on Western Digital's Enterprise lines while adding a few of their own.
We got samples of the Red in yesterday evening, so instead of going on with conjecture derived from the news post, I'll hit you with the new features and a bit of my initial impressions from our early benching:
- Extremely quiet operation thanks to a new dynamic balancing mechanism built into the spindle motor hub. The drive essentially re-balances itself on-the-fly as temperatures change, etc.
- Seeks are equally quiet - quiet enough that a bunch of these doing random access outside of an enclosure would barely be audible from only a few feet away.
- Great sequential throughput (~150MB/sec at start of disk, ramping down to ~65MB/sec at the end).
- Random access times in the 20ms range - likely due to the very quiet seeking mechanism.
- Red Series drives will all be advanced format (i.e. internally addressed by 4k sectors).
- Reds will all be 1TB/platter, available in 1, 2, and 3TB capacities. This gives similar throughput figures regardless of capacity purchased.
- 3-year warranty, with a 24/7 support hotline specifically for Red owners.
- Red drives feature a QR code on the label to assist with any support issues down the road.
I'm not kidding about the quiet operation. The only sound the Red makes is reminiscent of a DVD spinning at low speed, in a sound deadening enclosure. There is no motor whine whatsoever and the head actuator is nearly inaudible. I have to almost lay my head on the drive to tell it is seeking at all.
A full review with all of the gory details will be up later today. For now I leave you with the WD press release after the break, along with this nifty QR to get you more info on the Red Series:
*note - the QR page may not yet be live.
Subject: Storage | July 5, 2012 - 03:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, corsair, Force Series GS, toggle NAND
The new Corsair Force GS series come in four sizes, 180GB, 240GB, 360GB, 480GB. All are SATA 6Gbps drives and powered by the Sandforce 2200 controller but there are differences in speed because of the different sizes of drive, though perhaps not in the breakdown you would expect. The smaller 180GB and 240GB models sport specifications of:
- Max Sequential R/W (ATTO): 555 MB/s sequential read
- 525 MB/s sequential write
- Max Random 4k Write (IOMeter 08): 90k IOPS (4k aligned)
The two larger drives have slightly slower listed random write speeds, with the 360GB having slightly improved sequential writes:
- Max Sequential R/W (ATTO): 555 MB/s sequential read
- 530 MB/s sequential write
- Max Random 4k Write (IOMeter 08): 50k IOPS (4k aligned)
Finally the largest 480GB model is slower at everything:
- Max Sequential R/W (ATTO): 540 MB/s sequential read
- 455 MB/s sequential write
- Max Random 4k Write (IOMeter 08): 50k IOPS (4k aligned)
You can head over to Corsair and see the drives yourself. If you are looking to purchase the drives their MRSPs are $189.99 for 180GB, $239.99 for 240GB, $349.99 for 340GB and $489.99 for 480GB capacities, meeting the ~$1/GB we all like to see.
Subject: Storage | July 4, 2012 - 03:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Vertex 4, vertex, ocz, Indilinx, ssd
It has been a while since Allan first reviewed the Indilinx Everest 2 powered OCZ Vertex 4 so it seems like a good time to refresh your memory. That is not just because newer firmware is increasing the performance of this drive but also because the 256GB model can be had for under $1/GB! You can see the performance against over a dozen other SSDs of varying prices at TechSpot, where it might not hold the top spot for overall performance it fares very well when you consider the price to performance ratio. That is not to say it is the least expensive drive available but it deserves to be in your list when you are considering a new SSD for your system.
"Although SandForce controllers have powered much of OCZ's solid-state lineup, the company is shifting to its own solutions after purchasing Indilinx early last year. The "Octane" flash drives were the first to use the Indilinx Everest controller last holiday season and now that its SF-2281-based drives are over a year old, OCZ has begun phasing Everest into the rest of its offerings, including the Vertex series.
The Vertex 4 series is aimed at performance buffs, with initial Indilinx Everest 2 based models offering capacities of 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. Performance is the name of the game here and OCZ doesn't disappoint."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ Vertex 4 240GB SATA 6Gbit/s SSD Review @ Techgage
- OCZ Vertex 4 128GB Solid State Drive Review @ eTeknix
- OCZ Vertex 4 128GB Solid State Drive @ Pro-Clockers
- Crucial M4 SSD 128GB @ Computing on Demand
- Plextor M3 Pro (256GB) @ AnandTech
- Kingston HyperX 3k 240GB Solid State Drive @ Pro-Clockers
- CZ Vertex 4 256GB Solid State Drive Firmware 22.214.171.124 Testing @ Tweaktown
- LSI SAS 9207-8i PCIe 3.0 HBA Overview - Eight Crucial M4 SSDs Pushed to 4.1GB/s Performance @ SSD Review
- ADATA 500 Series S510 120GB SSD Review @ eTeknix
- 48 SATA 600 SSDs round-up @ Hardware.Info
- Intel 330 Series SSD 120GB Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Crucial Adrenaline Caching SSD Review @ HardwareLOOK
- MyDigitalSSD BulletProof 3 mSATA 256GB @ SSD Review
- SuperSSpeed S301 Hyper SLC 120GB Solid State Drive @ Tweaktown
- MyDigitalSSD Bullet Proof 3 256GB mSATA Solid State Drive @ Tweaktown
- Intel 910 800GB and 400GB PCI Express Solid State Drive @ Tweaktown
- Solid State Drive Performance Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Western Digital VelociRaptor 1TB 10K RPM Hard Drive Review @ Techgage
- Better Power Management for your NAS @ Computing on Demand
- Thecus N4800 @ Bjorn3D
- Thecus N4800 4-Bay Battery Backup NAS @ Tweaktown
- QNAP TS-412 review: an affordable NAS @ Hardware.info
- Icy Dock MB559U3S Ultra Slim 3.5in USB 3.0 and eSATA Enclosure Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- QNAP TS-669 Pro @ techPowerUp
- Netgear ReadyNAS Duo V2: Fast and affordable @ Hardware.info
- QNAP vs Thecus @ Computing on Demand
- LaCie 2big Thunderbolt 4TB @ Hardware.info
Subject: Storage | July 3, 2012 - 12:21 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ssd, slc, server, sandisk, PCIe SSD, flash, enterprise, caching
Flash storage company Sandisk has recently jumped into the world of enterprise PCI-E caching SSDs – what they are calling Solid State Accelerators. Currently, they are offering a 200GB and 400GB model under the company’s Lightning PCIe series. The SSDs feature a proprietary Sandisk controller driving 24nm SLC NAND flash, a PCI-E 2.0 x4 interface, and maximum power draw of 15 watts.
The Lightning Accelerators use the NAND flash for Sandisk’s own foundry and offer a large performance boost for servers and workstations over hard drives and SATA SSDs. It is capable of 410 MB/s sequential reads or 110,000 IOPS. Further, when using 4KB and 8KB blocks, the drives can reach 23,000 and 17,000 read/write IOPS respectively. Other specifications include an average response time of 245 microseconds, and less than 30 millisecond maximum response times. The Solid State Accelerators also feature sustained read and write latencies as low as 50 microseconds.
Sandisk has built the drives so that they can be configured as boot drives, storage drives, or caching drives. The company supports up to 5 drives in a single system, for a maximum of 2TB of flash storage. In addition, Sandisk is offering up its Flashsoft software that allows the Lightning Accelerators to be used as caching drives on Windows-based systems. Unfortunately, that is an additional cost which is not included in the already pricey SSDs (good thing for corporate expense accounts!).
Speaking of pricing, the 200GB LP206M has an MSRP of $1,350 while the 400GB LP406M has an MSRP of $2,350. Both cards have five year warranties and a MTBF rating of 2 million hours. You can find more information on the Sandisk Website.
It will be interesting to see how this Sandisk accelerator stacks up to the likes of the Intel 910 and FusioIO drives! The FusionIO FX, for example, gives you 420GB of QDP MLC NAND for $2,495, which works out such that Sandisk has a slightly lower cost-per-gigabyte value and SLC flash. We will have to wait for some independant reviews to say which drive is actually faster, however.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 29, 2012 - 03:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hdd, Futuremark, thailand
While it is easy to understand why the destruction of a good portion of the HDD industries manufacturing capabilities caused by the flooding in Thailand would effect both the availability and pricing of HDDs it is not so easy to explain what those manufacturers are doing now. It is not just the reduction in warranty to 1 year which we previously informed you about, it is the bizarre pricing which adds to the confusion. This is an industry which has collapsed into two major players, with two others appearing to compete but in reality are working with or outright owned by the two major players. They are under siege from the SSD industry which offers longer warranty, better performance and prices which are falling quickly; making the high prices and lousy warranty offered by HDD manufactures quite unattractive. The Tech Report assembled an array of graphs which display the state of the hard drive companies as well as some suggestions on the best current deals in HDDs if you are inclined to pick one up.
"Mechanical hard drive prices rose sharply after last year's Thailand flooding. Prices have fallen since, but their decline has slowed in recent months. We take a closer look at the numbers."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Fiberglass-reinforced cases expected to be adopted for ultrabooks in 2H12 @ DigiTimes
- Adobe Stops Flash Player Support For Android @ Slashdot
- Techies evac'd as raging wildfire menaces $100m Colorado data centre @ The Register
- Raspberry Pi enclosure turns it into a desktop PC @ Hack a Day
- Netgear WNDR4500 Dual Band Gigabit Router @ X-bit Labs
- I, Cyborg @ The Tech Report
- Win the KFA2 GeForce GTX 680 LTD OC 2048MB @ Kitguru
An overview of Thunderbolt Technology
The promise of Thunderbolt connectivity has been around for a couple of years now. Today, Thunderbolt is finally finding its way to the PC platform in the form of motherboards from ASUS and MSI. First unveiled as "Light Peak" at the Intel Developer Forum in 2009, the technology started out as a way to connect multiple devices to a system over a fiber optic cable (hence the 'light' in the name), though the final products have changed the implementation slightly.
The first prototype implementations actually used a USB-style connection and interface. It further required fiber optic cables. When it was renamed to Thunderbolt and then released in conjunction with a new lineup of Apple MacBook laptops, not only did the physical interface move to a mini-DisplayPort connection but the cable was made to use copper rather than fiber. Without diving too far into the reasons and benefits of either direction, the fact is that the copper cables allow for modest power transfer and are much cheaper than fiber optic variants would be.
Thunderbolt's base technology remains the same, however. It is a transfer standard that allows for 10 Gbps of bandwidth for each channel (bi-directional) and concurrently supports both data and display connections. The actual interface for the data path is based on PCI Express and connected devices actually appear to Windows as if they are internally connected to the system which can offer some interesting benefits – and headaches – for hardware developers. The display connection uses the DisplayPort standard and can be used along with the data connection without affecting bandwidth levels or performance.
For current Intel processor implementations, the Thunderbolt connection is supported by a separate controller chip on the motherboard (or a riser card) – and some routing is required for correct usage. The Thunderbolt controller does not actually include a graphics controller, so it must be fed an output from another graphics processor, obviously in this case directly from the Ivy Bridge / Sandy Bridge processors. In theory, these could be from other controllers, but with the ubiquitous nature of integrated processor graphics on IVB and SNB processors, this is going to be the implementation going forward according to motherboard and system designers.
Subject: Storage | June 21, 2012 - 06:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Vertex 4, vertex, ocz, Indilinx
Just in case you didn't believe Al's review of the new OCZ Vertex 4 or because you want to see the difference between the 512GB version he reviewed and the 128GB version that costs a lot less, you can check out what OCIA thinks right here. AS you would expect, the lower capacity results in lower performance thanks to the reduction in the amount of channels but at a tested 511.51MB on Sandra and an IOPS score of 99514 slow is a relative term. If you are going to pick up this drive update to the newest firmware, OCIA tested with 126.96.36.199 and saw a big performance difference from the previous firmware version.
“The Everest 2 platform comes as a result of OCZ’s acquisition of Indilinx in early 2011 but it isn’t the first time we have seen the Indilinx brand stamped on a Vertex drive. The company launched the original Vertex SSD as one of the pioneering flash storage solutions for mainstream users with an Indilinx controller under the hood. OCZ jumped on the SandForce bandwagon with the Vertex 2 and Vertex 3 but have come full circle back to an Indilinx solution with the Vertex 4... well, sort of. But we’ll get to that in just a bit.”
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ Vertex 4 Solid State Drive @ Benchmark Reviews
- Crucial Adrenaline Cache SSD @ XSReviews
- MyDigitalSSD SMART 256GB mSATA Solid State Drive @ Tweaktown
- Western Digital VelociRaptor 1TB Hard Drive Review @ Hardware Canucks
- MemoRight MS-701 240GB mSATA Solid State Drive @ Kitguru
- Corsair Accelerator Series 30GB Cache SSD @ SSD Review
- MyDigitalSSD SMART Series 256GB SSD @ SSD Review
- Western Digital Scorpio 1TB (9.5mm) review @ Hardware.Info
- OCZ improves Vertex 4 with firmware 1.4 @ Hardware.Info
- Adaptec 6805TQ maxCache RAID controller @ TechwareLabs
- Western Digital Sentinel DX4000 @ TechwareLabs
- StarTech.com USB 3.0 to SATA IDE HDD Docking Station @ AnandTech
- Thecus N5550 5-Bay NAS Review @ eTeknix
- NZXT Aperture M Card Reader @ Kitguru
- NAP Updates Firmware to 3.7 | New Features! @ Computing on Demand
- Synology DiskStation DS412+ @ Legion Hardware
- Seagate GoFlex Satellite @ LanOC Reviews
Subject: Storage | June 21, 2012 - 09:06 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, msata, drobo
I have a warm spot in my heart for Drobo products ever since I spent months trying to break one (unsuccessfully). With that I am now pleased to report on their announcement of two new products.
First is the Drobo 5D, which is basically a 5-bay Drobo S on steroids. It updates the interface to USB 3.0 + Thunderbolt and speeds up IOPS and multi-stream performance by way of an mSATA SSD. The SSD does not take up a drive bay as it is installed beneath a trap door un the bottom of the 5D:
Next up is the Drobo Mini. This little guy carries the same connectivity as the 5D, but is *much* smaller:
The drop in size comes from a change in the form factor of installed storage. It takes up to 4 2.5" form factor drives. Performance should be similar to that of the 5D, primarily based on it also sporting that integrated mSATA port. I suspect the mini will go over very well with the mobile / MacBook / Ultrabook crowd, as being able to carry a small box with large redundant storage is a great idea for mobile workstations.
More to follow as availability will be announced in July. Pricing is expected to be below $650 (thunderbolt cable *included*). Press blast after the break.
Subject: Storage | June 20, 2012 - 11:13 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: Link_a_Media, LAMD, Hynix
First OCZ buys Indilinx, then LSI buys SandForce, and now for another acquisition:
You may recall Link_a_Media devices seemingly coming out of nowhere these past few weeks, releasing an SSD controller present in the new Corsair Neutron Series of devices, and scoring an award at Computex. Even though the new LAMD controller is brand new and largely untested, it has gotten enough traction to be scooped up by a larger company - in this case Hynix. Hynix is a big name in RAM devices. We frequently see Hynix RAM in our SSD reviews, and the parts also appear in much of the shipping DDR3 RAM. More to follow as news continues to flow (and especially once Corsair Neutron reviews start appearing).
Link_a_Media Devices has been around for a while, though not in the SSD market. They have previously made chips integral to Toshiba HDD's.
Press blast after the break.
Subject: Editorial, Storage | June 18, 2012 - 09:56 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: deal of the day, external drive, Hard Drive, buffalo
Today's deal offers us a 2TB version of the Buffalo LinkStation Live, a NAS device (network attached storage) that allows users to easily backup their systems while being able to share the resources on the drive at the same time.
The Buffalo LinkStation Live series of drives allows you to access the NAS through Android and iOS applications over the web, supports transfer rates as high as 1 Gbps, is Apple Time Machine compatible and integrates a BitTorrent client too. A copy of NovaBACKUP Professional is included for users to install and setup easy, automated PC backups. And you can use the LinkStation Live as a DLNA media server to boot.
Today, LogicBuy has a deal on this unit for $135 with free shipping, using a coupon code found in the product's description.