Subject: Storage | September 4, 2013 - 02:37 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ssd, PCIe SSD, msata, LSI, kingspec, jmicron
KingSpec recently started shipping a new PCI-E based SSD that achieves more than 2.5GB/s sequential read performance from multiple mSATA SSDs behind a 6Gbps LSI RAID controller. The KingSpec MC2J677M1T is a full height expansion card with a PCI-E 2.0 x8 interface.
The new KingSpec solid state drive is bootable and uses a 6Gbps LSI RAID controller that connects to eight 6Gbps mSATA slots. The drive comes in 1TB and 2TB total capacities and the eight 6Gbps mSATA slots are occupied by eight 128GB or 256GB mSATA SSDs. Each mSATA SSD is powered by a Jmircon SSD controller, NANYA-manufactured DRAM cache, and Intel MLC NAND flash. Further, the LSI RAID controller is actively cooled by a small fan.
As far as performance goes, the 1TB model is rated at 84,000 IOPS and approximately 2GB/s sequential read and write transfer speeds. The SSD Review received a sample of the new drive and provided some preliminary benchmark results in the form of an ATTO benchmark run. At a queue depth of 4, the KingSpec MC2J677M1T achieved 4K reads of 2567 MB/s and 4K writes of 1613 MB/s.
The 1TB KingSpec PCI-E SSD will be available later this year for between $2,000 and $3,000 USD.
When asked for his thoughts, PC Perspective storage editor Allyn Malventano noted that the eight JMicron-driven mSATA SSDs in RAID is just asking for trouble, and the 4K random IO offered by the drive is actually less than some single drive SATA SSDs on the market. Unfortunately, the LSI RAID controller is “a major bottleneck for SSD-level random access.”
Subject: Storage, Mobile | September 3, 2013 - 05:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: usb 3.0, flash drive, corsair
FREMONT, California — September 3, 2013 — Corsair®, worldwide designer of high-performance components to the PC hardware market, today announced the immediate availability of three new USB 3.0 flash drive models—Flash Voyager GS, Flash Voyager Mini, and Flash Voyager LS.
Flash Voyager GS
The Flash Voyager GS are large-capacity, high performance USB 3.0 flash drives housed in sleek, scratch-resistant brushed metal enclosures. Available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities, the drives take full advantage of high-speed USB 3.0 interfaces reaching speeds of up to 285MB per second read and 180MB per second write, while providing full USB 2.0 backward compatibility for older systems. Their brushed metal housings resist scratches and fingerprints and can be attached to a key ring. Like all Corsair flash drives, they are compatible with Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, with no driver installation necessary.
Flash Voyager Mini USB 3.0
The Flash Voyager Mini USB 3.0 are tiny USB flash drives with full-size USB 3.0 performance. Their USB 3.0 interfaces allow for file transfer speeds that are dramatically faster than USB 2.0. For maximum compatibility, the drives fully support USB 2.0. At just 1.25” (32mm) long and equipped with a detachable key ring loop, the Flash Voyager Mini USB 3.0 drives are convenient and easy to take everywhere. The drives are housed in a slim, stylish, and durable brushed metal housing that protects data and resists wear and tear.
Flash Voyager LS
The Flash Voyager LS are high-performance USB 3.0 flash drives with a premium retracting design that protects their USB connectors and eliminates the need for a protective cap. They are small enough to attach to a key ring, and are fully backward compatible with USB 2.0. Their attractive brushed metal design resists scratching and fingerprints. They drives are available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities.
Last July, I went on a bit of a mini-rant about how using a bunch of drives not meant to be in a RAID could potentially lead to loss of the entire array from only a few bad sectors spread across several disks. Western Digital solved this problem by their introduction of the WD Red series. That series capped out at 3TB, and users were pushing for larger storage capacities for their NAS devices. In addition to the need for larger disks came the need for *smaller* disks as well, as there are some manufacturers that wish to create NAS / HTPC type devices that house multiple 2.5" HDD's. One such device is the Drobo Mini - a 4x2.5" device which has not really had a 'proper' NAS storage element available - until now:
Today Western Digital has announced a twofold expansion to their Red Series. First is a 4TB capacity in their 3.5" series, and second is a 2.5" iteration of the Red, available in both 750GB and 1TB capacities.
As a recap of what can potentially happen if you have a large RAID with 'normal' consumer grade HDD's (and by consumer grade I mean those without any form of Time Limited Error Recovery, or TLER for short):
- Array starts off operating as normal, but drive 3 has a bad sector that cropped up a few months back. This has gone unnoticed because the bad sector was part of a rarely accessed file.
- During operation, drive 1 encounters a new bad sector.
- Since drive 1 is a consumer drive it goes into a retry loop, repeatedly attempting to read and correct the bad sector.
- The RAID controller exceeds its timeout threshold waiting on drive 1 and marks it offline.
- Array is now in degraded status with drive 1 marked as failed.
- User replaces drive 1. RAID controller initiates rebuild using parity data from the other drives.
- During rebuild, RAID controller encounters the bad sector on drive 3.
- Since drive 3 is a consumer drive it goes into a retry loop, repeatedly attempting to read and correct the bad sector.
- The RAID controller exceeds its timeout threshold waiting on drive 3 and marks it offline.
- Rebuild fails.
- Blamo, your data is now (mostly) inaccessible.
I went into much further detail on this back in the intro to the WD 3TB Red piece, but the short of it is that you absolutely should use a HDD intended for RAID when building one, and Western Digital is removing that last excuse for not doing so by introducing a flagship 4TB capacity to the Red Series.
Subject: Storage | September 3, 2013 - 08:00 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, red, NAS, hdd
Today Western Digital launched both a 4TB 3.5" Red, as well as a new 2.5" form factor available in both 750GB and 1TB:
Subject: Storage | August 22, 2013 - 03:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, endurance, anvils storage utility
The Tech Report is currently testing several SSDs to destruction, or at least trying to. They are using a new tool called Anvil's Storage Utilities which includes a test designed to determine the longevity of the flash storage inside SSDs. They started with factory fresh SSDs, never having a bit written to them before and are currently writing to every address on those drives with a goal of 22TB to be written before they test the speeds of the drives again. Will some fare better than others? Perhaps some will sacrifice capacity to keep their speed up? Stay tuned, even with SATA 6Gbps it takes a while to write that much data!
"We all know that flash memory has a limited tolerance for write cycling, but what does that mean for SSD endurance? We're testing six SSDs to failure to find out."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- 256 GB OCZ Vector @ TechARP
- Intel SSD 530 240GB @ Hardware.info
- Samsung unveils its first 3D V-NAND SSDs for the enterprise @ The Inquirer
- Kingston SSDNow mS200 / RunCore Pro V 120GB mSATA SSDs review: ideal upgrade for laptops @ Hardware.info
- HGST Travelstar 5K1500 2.5-inch Mobile Hard Drive Review @ Madshrimps
- Western Digital Blue Slim 1TB hard Drive Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Patriot Gauntlet 320 Wireless External Hard Drive Review @ TechwareLabs
- HGST Touro Mobile Pro 500GB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive Review @ Legit Reviews
- Seagate Wireless Plus External Storage @ Bjorn3D
- ADATA DashDrive Durable HD710 External Hard Drive @ Benchmark Reviews
- SanDisk Extreme UHS-I microSDXC Card SDSDQX @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: Storage | August 22, 2013 - 01:11 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: corsair, force ls, ssd, phison, toshiba mlc
Corsair has launched a new line of budget solid state drives (SSDs) under the Force LS branding. The new SSDs come in up to 240GB capacities, and despite being budget drives, still manage to max out the SATA III 6Gbps interface.
The new Force LS SSDs use 19nm Toshiba MLC NAND flash and a Phison SSD controller. Traditionally, Corsair has used LSI SandForce controllers in its Force and Force GT solid state drives. The Force LS line includes 60GB, 120GB, and 240GB SSDs. The drives are 7mm thick 2.5” form factor drives.
As far as performance, the drives support sequential write speeds of 535 MB/s and sequential read speeds of 555 MB/s. Information on IOPS have not been released, but expect it to be lower than the existing Force drives due to their budget nature.
There is no word on specific availability date(s), but the new Force LS drives will be priced at $70 for the 60GB, $110 for the 120GB, and $200 for the 240GB. At the top end, the drives are approximately 83 cents per Gigabyte ($0.83/GB). All Force LS drives come with three year warranties.
Subject: General Tech, Storage, Mobile | August 20, 2013 - 09:41 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: exFAT, Samsung
But Linux distributions still cannot officially use it... sort of?
Samsung added support for exFAT on Linux, in kernel, with one of their tablets. At some point code was leaked on GitHub. At some other point the Software Freedom Conservancy determined certain GPL-dependent modifications were published in binary form alone. Eventually Samsung properly released their source code under the GNU General Public License (GPL).
I am still unclear about how Samsung was allowed to do so, however. Copyright was never the main concern with exFAT but rather the patents Microsoft holds over the file system. The GPL mandates that code it covers must come with a non-exclusive worldwide and royalty-free license for applicable patents except under certain conditions. I would be curious how this license was accomplished unless Microsoft granted Samsung a patent license prior to March 28, 2007 (or some loophole like that).
I understand how people might be sympathetic to Microsoft and others asserting software patents because they are a for-profit business but that does not apply everywhere. You need to be careful when you apply a license to something as upstream as a file system or a kernel as everything downstream relies upon your decision.
Just imagine if you were separated from the contents of your SDXC card because, somehow, this patent found its way into the portfolio of a troll firm?
Current implementations of the file system are in user space until Samsung's in-kernel module. The Software Freedom Conservancy praised Samsung -- not only for their source code contribution -- but also for how open and public their response was.
Subject: Storage | August 14, 2013 - 10:11 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Samsung, charge trap flash, vertical nand, vnand, 128Gb, enterprise ssd
Last week, Samsung announced that it had started producing a new stackable NAND flash memory called V-NAND, or vertical NAND. The new 3D V-NAND would initially be available in 128Gb (Gigabit) chips, but could eventually scale into as much as 1 Tb (Terabit) per chip by stacking additional dies vertically. Doing so allows Samsung some flexibility in scaling to higher capacities without going to increasingly expensive and difficult to manufacturer smaller manufacturing processes, which has been the traditional method of attaining denser flash.
The company has now announced the V-NAND SSD, which is its first Solid State Drive to use the Vertical NAND technology. Aimed at the enterprise server market, the V-NAND SSD will come in 480GB and 960GB capacities. The 2.5” form factor drives are 7mm thick and come equipped with a SATA III 6Gbps controller. On the high end, the 960GB model uses 64 MLC 3D V-NAND 128Gb dies for a total physical capacity of 1TB. However, user-accessible capacity will be only 960GB. Unfortunately, Samsung did not reveal how many physical chips the drives use, so its hard to say how those 64 128Gb dies are distributed (4 high in 16 chips or 8 high in 8 chips, etc).
The 960GB Samsung V-NAND SSD spotted by Engadget.
Samsung claims that the V-NAND SSD offers up to 20% increased performance and a 40% reduction in power consumption versus previous SSDs. Further, the 3D NAND using Samsung’s Charge Trap Flash technology is rated at 35K program erase cycles. Samsung rates the V-NAND memory itself as being twice as fast in writes and between two and ten times as reliable versus traditional 19nm floating gate NAND (the alternative to CTF NAND).
Samsung's 128Gb V-NAND die.
Samsung stated in a press release that it started production of the V-NAND SSD earlier this month. While it is introducing V-NAND into enterprise drives first, the technology will eventually trickle down into consumer drives. I’m interested to see this drive benchmarked for performance and write endurance to see if the 3D flash lives up to its potential.
Subject: Storage | August 12, 2013 - 05:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, partition, MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition, 4k
SSDs and modern OSes no longer use the old 512 byte LBA alignment, or at least they don't need to and in the case of SSDs offer larger disk size and faster performance. However many people are not aware of 4k alignment nor how to check if their SSD is aligned nor what to do even if they do know it is not aligned. Hardware.Info put together a short article on the steps to verify if your SSD is aligned as well as covering a free partitioning tool called MiniTool Partition Wizard Home Edition which will help you align your SSD as well as other tasks common to partitioning software. As with any major changes being made at this low a level, do realize that this could cause data loss, but aligning those sectors is a great IDEMA.
"When you copy the contents of a hard disk from a PC or laptop to an SSD you have to make sure that the placement of the partitions corresponds to the underlying hardware structure. The same is true for the latest generation of hard disks. Today we'll discuss what this so-called '4k alignment' really means and what you can do in order to prevent a decrease in performance."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- ULLtraDIMM: combining SSD and DRAM for the enterprise @ Hardware.info
- Seagate 600 SSD 240GB (ST240HM000) @ NikKTech
- Plextor M5 Pro 256 GB SSD @ techPowerUp
- SanDisk Extreme 2 240GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- SanDisk Extreme II Solid State Drive SDSSDXP @ Legion Hardware
- Seagate Laptop Thin SSHD 500GB @ NikKTech
- ASUS RAIDR Express 240GB PCI-Express SSD @ Hardware.info
- Silicon Power Blaze B20 USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ Madshrimps
- Corsair Voyager Air 500GB @ Legion Hardware
- WD My Passport Ultra 1TB Portable Hard Drive Review @ Techgage
- Patriot Tab 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ eTeknix
- Kingston DT Ultimate 3.0 G3 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive 2 Funky Kit
- Seagate Business Storage 2-bay 6TB @ Hardware.info
- Synology DS713+ @ techPowerUp
- Seagate NAS HDD 4TB Review @ Techgage
- QNAP TS-421 and TS-420 @ Legion Hardware
- Teratrend (SilverStone) TS231U 2 Bay USB3.0 RAID Enclosure @ eTeknix
Subject: Storage | August 12, 2013 - 09:00 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, silicon motion, sata, controller
You may very well have never heard of Silicon Motion (SMI), a major priducer of flash memory controllers, even if you've followed the SSD industry for a while. This is primarily because the vast majority of their products have been tailored for the devices that folks tend to not crack open during review, namely USB memory sticks, eMMC devices, and SD / CF cards:
Creating controllers in those arenas will tend to force a company to do a few things very well:
- Handle a very limited number of flash channels with the greatest speed possible, due to packaging requirements for very small devices.
- Operate at the lowest power draw possible as to meet the current draw limits of the host interface.
This has resulted in SMI developing a 6Gb/sec SSD controller, dubbed the SM2246EN, using the above techniques:
The block diagram shows what appears to be a fairly standard 4-channel configuration, though there are fewer steps in the pipeline as compared to SandForce and other controllers, which should help decrease latency and improve efficiency. There is also no compression engine, which means power consumption should be further reduced.
Read on for further details on specs and power consumption, followed by the full press blast.
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