Introduction, Specs and Packaging
We're getting back into USB device roundup testing. To kick it off, Patriot passed along a couple of USB samples for review. First up is the Supersonic Phoenix 256GB:
- Read speed: Up to 260MB/s
- Write speed: up to 170MB/s
- Compact and lightweight
- Stylish 3D design
- USB Powered
- SuperSpeed USB 3.0
- Compatible with Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Linux 2.4 and later, Mac OS9, X and later
Next up is their Supersonic Rage 2:
- Up to 400MB/s Read; Up to 300MB/s Write
- Durable design extends the life of your drive
- Rubber coated housing protects from drops, spills, daily abuse
- Retractable design protects USB connector when drive not in use
- LED Light Indicator
- Compatible with Windows® 8, Windows® 8.1, Windows® 7,
Windows Vista®, Windows XP®, Windows 2000®, Windows® ME,
Linux 2.4 and later, Mac® OS9, X
The Phoenix comes well packaged with a necessary USB 3.0 cable:
The Rage 2 comes in very simple packaging:
Subject: Storage | March 10, 2015 - 03:44 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, Re+, hdd, 6tb, 5TB
Western Digital has just launched a new entry in their Datacenter Capacity HDD lineup:
The Re+ is based on the Re series of enterprise 3.5" HDDs (first revision reviewed here), but this one reduces the spin speed down from 7200 RPM to 5760 RPM. The HGST Ultrastar He6 is a great power efficient and Helium filled drive, but while that unit spins at 7200 RPM, it's max data rate is only 177 MB/sec. The 6TB WD RE spins at the same speed with a much higher rate of 225 MB/sec, but also draws more power than an He6. By reducing the platter speed, WD was able to bring power consumption into the 4.6-6.2W range with peak transfer rates of 175 MB/sec. The competing He6 draws 5.0-7.0W.
While dialing back the RPM was a simple way to achieve this very low power consumption, the He6 would still have the advantage in seek times (a faster spinning disk means less time waiting for the data to come around to the read head). The seek time argument may be moot given the purpose of these HDDs leans towards cold/warm/archival data storage that is very infrequently and sporadically accessed. Still, it is an interesting point that WD's platter density was so much higher that they could simply slow the RPM and yet maintain throughputs competitive with a faster spinning unit.
In combination with this announcement is the fact that the Re and Se lines (formerly limited to 4TB) are now available in 5TB and 6TB capacities. With the Se moving up to 6TB, we may see a Red Pro in the same capacity in the near future (depending on demand).
More to follow on these at a future date. Full press blast after the break.
Subject: Storage | March 9, 2015 - 04:56 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: SSD 750, pcie, p3500, NVMe, Intel
The above article mentiones the 750 will be available in 400GB and 1.2TB versions, with an 800GB model 'being considered internally'. Those capacities sound familiar - look at this crop of the specs for the P3500/P3600/P3700 Series:
Note the P3500 has identical capacity grades. As one more point of comparison, look at this leaked screen shot of the UNH-IOL compatibility list:
...so with what appears to be identical firmware revisions, it's a safe bet that the upcoming SSD 750 Series will borrow the same fire-breathing 18-channel controller present in the Intel SSD DC P3700 (reviewed here). The packaging may be more consumer oriented, and the power is likely dialed back a bit as to produce less heat in more airflow constrained consumer PC cases, but it's looking more and more like the SSD 750 will be a reasonably quick consumer / prosumer / workstation SSD. Given that the P3500 launched at $1.50/GB, we hope to see the 750 launch for far less.
My biggest beef with this upcoming consumer NVMe part from Intel is the (possible) lack of an 800GB capacity. Many power users will consider 400GB too small, but would then be forced to jump 3x in capacity (and price) to the 1.2TB model. That might be ok for enterprise budgets, but it won't fly for PC users who can choose from other PCIe SSDs that fill that possible 800-960GB void in Intel's lineup.
Subject: Storage | March 9, 2015 - 02:50 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: transporter, filetransporter
Transporter is a pairing of hardware and software to accomplish the goal of having your own personal file storage cloud - but this one scales all the way from a single user to enterprise. Connected Data has been on a bit of a roll these past couple of weeks. First they announced some big updates to their product line:
Here's a look at the old product line:
...and now the new line:
The two middle (and likely most popular) tiers have been replaced with a complete hardware redesign. The units that used to borrow from Drobo design cues are now what appear to be the first round of Transporter-specific multi-HDD units. The specs have also been beefed up for those two models, as both now employ dual Gigabit Ethernet with increased capacity and simultaneous user ratings also increased accordingly. You'll still need to step up to the true business tiers for redundant power supplies and rack mountability, but the 15 and 30 should be great for small businesses or remotely located groups within a business.
Next up is an update to their iOS app:
Updates in this release:
- Provides storage for your other apps using new iOS 8 Storage Extensions to upload, open, and save files directly to Transporter
- New VLC video player for enhanced video playback in addition to Apple Player option
- Faster app startup and additional performance throughout the app
- New user interface with cleaner layout and folder icons
Integration into iOS's native 'save to' dialog is a welcome addition for an app directly competing with Dropbox.
Finally is the addition of standard links:
Transporter could previously support direct links, but standard links shift the hosting for those shared files to the Connected Data servers. Since direct links are limited by the speed of the Internet connection of the Transporter hosting the data, standard links can be used to speed up the transfer to multiple users. This would be ideal for family photo albums and other non-confidential files.
As you can see above, once standard links have been enabled, you still have file-level control of which shared data passes through Connected Data's servers. This means you can still keep those sensitive files restricted to your own device, which is part of the reason for using one of these.
Good stuff coming from these guys. We're working on sampling one of these new models and will report on our experiences as we make them.
Oh, one more thing - they are running a buy one get one free sale on Transporter Sync. Promo code DOUBLELUCK gets you a free ($99) device! This U.S. only deal likely expires on the 17th.
Subject: Storage | March 3, 2015 - 06:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tlc, ssd, SM2256, slc, silicon motion
You may remember the Silicon Motion SM2256 SSD controller that Al reported on during CES this year, even if you do not you should be interested in a controller which can work with 1x/1y/1z nm TLC NAND from any manufacturer on the market. The SSD Review managed to get a prototype which uses the new SM2256 controller, Samsung’s 19nm TLC planar NAND flash and a Hynix 440Mhz 256MB DDR3 DRAM chip. In benchmarking they saw 548MB/s sequential reads and 484MB/s writes, with 4K slowing down to 38MB/s for read and 110MB/s for write. Check out the rest of the review here as well as keeping your eyes peeled for our first review of the new controller.
"Controllers are the heart and soul of every SSD. Without one, an SSD would be a useless PCB with some components slapped on it. It is responsible for everything from garbage collection and wear leveling to error correction and hardware encryption. In simple terms, all these operations can be quite complicated to implement as well as expensive to develop."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Crucial's BX100 and MX200 @ The Tech Report
- Crucial MX200 250 GB @ techPowerUp
- Crucial BX100 SSD @ HardwareHeaven
- OCZ ARC 100 480GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- Thecus W4000 WSS NAS @ Kitguru
- WD My Cloud DL4100 Business NAS Review @ Techgage
- ASUSTOR AS7010T NAS Server Review @ NikKTech
- SilverStone TS431S 4-Bay miniSAS DAS Storage Tower @ eTeknix
Followers of PC Perspective have likely seen a pair of stories previewing the upcoming performance and features of USB 3.1. First we got our hands on the MSI X99A Gaming 9 ACK motherboard and were able to run through our very first hands-on testing with USB 3.1 hardware. The motherboard had built-in USB 3.1 support and a device that was configured with a RAID-0 of Intel SSD 730 Series drives.
We followed that up with a look at the ASUS USB 3.1 implementation that included a PCIe add-on card and a dual-drive mSATA device also in RAID-0. This configuration was interesting because we can theoretically install this $40 product into any system with a free PCI Express slot.
Performance was astounding for incredibly early implementations, reaching as high as 835 MB/s!
In that last article I theorized that it would be some time before we got our hands on retail USB 3.1 hardware but it appears I wasn't giving the industry enough credit. ASUS passed us a list of incoming devices along with release schedules. There are 27 devices scheduled to be released before the end of April and ~35 by the middle of the year.
It's a daunting table to look at, so be prepared!
The product categories are mostly dominated by the likes of the a USB 3.1 to 2.5-in adapter; that would be useful but you aren't going to top out the performance of the USB 3.1 with a single 2.5-in SATA device. Iomaster has one listed as a "USB 3.1 to MSATA & M2 SSD enclosure" which could be more interesting - does it accept PCI Express M.2 SSDs?
Minerva Innovation has a couple of interesting options, all listed with pairs of mSATA or M.2 ports, two with Type-C connections. What we don't know based on this data is if it supports PCIe M.2 SSDs or SATA only and if it supports RAID-0.
A couple more list dual SATA ports which might indicate that we are going to see multiple hard drives / SSDs over a single USB 3.1 connection but without RAID support. That could be another way to utilize the bandwidth of USB 3.1 in a similar way to how we planned to use Thunderbolt daisy chaining.
We don't have pricing yet, but I don't think USB 3.1 accessories will be significantly more expensive than what USB 3.0 devices sell for. So, does this list of accessories make you more excited to upgrade your system for USB 3.1?
Subject: Storage | February 23, 2015 - 05:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, SM2246EN, sata, micron, crucial, BX100, 1TB
It has been about a week since Al posted his review of the 256GB and 512GB models of the Crucial BX100 and what better way to remind you than with a review of the 1TB model, currently a mere $380 on Amazon (or only $374 on BHPhoto.com!). Hardware Canucks cracked open the 1TB budget priced consumer level SSD for your enjoyment right here, as well as running it through a gamut of tests. As expected their results are in line with the 512GB model as they both use a 4 channel controller, which does mean they are slower than some competitors drives. On the other hand the BX100 also has a significantly lower price making the 1TB model much more accessible for users. Check out their post here.
"Crucial's BX100 combines performance, endurance and value into one awesome budget-friendly SSD The best part? The 1TB version costs just $400."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ Challenge update: 2nd ARC 100 drive dies at 352TB @ Kitguru
- Crucial BX100 @ The SSD Review
- Crucial MX200 @ The SSD Review
- PNY CS2111 XLR8 @ The SSD Review
- Plextor M6e Black Edition PCIe 256GB @ Kitguru
- Thecus N4310 @ techPowerUp
- BeyondCloud BC214se 2300 by Synology @ TechwareLabs
- Lexar JumpDrive M20 2-in-1Flash Drive @ eTeknix
- Toshiba TransMemory-EX II USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ Madshrimps
- Asus USB 3.1 Hands-on Preview @ Kitguru
Subject: Storage | February 20, 2015 - 06:21 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: tlc, ssd, Samsung, 840 evo
Just over a week or so ago Allyn spent some time with the MSI X99A Gaming 9 ACK motherboard, a fact that might seem a little odd to our frequent readers. Why would our storage editor be focusing on a motherboard? USB 3.1 of course! When we visited MSI at CES in January they were the first company to show working USB 3.1 hardware and performance numbers that we were able duplicate in our testing when MSI sent us similar hardware.
But ASUS is in this game as well, preparing its product lines with USB 3.1 support courtesy of the same ASMedia controller we looked at before. ASUS has a new revision of several motherboards planned with integrated on-board USB 3.1 but is also going to be releasing an add-in card with USB 3.1 support for existing systems.
Today we are going to test that add-in card to measure ASUS' implementation of USB 3.1 and see how it stacks up to what MSI had to offer and what improvements and changes you can expect from USB 3.0.
USB 3.1 Technology Background
Despite the simple point denomination change in USB 3.1, also known as SuperSpeed+, the technological and speed differences in the newest revision of USB are substantial. Allyn did a good job of summarizing the changes that include a 10 Gbps link interface and a dramatic drop in encoding overhead that enables peak theoretical performance improvements of 2.44x compared to USB 3.0.
USB 3.1 is rated at 10 Gbps, twice that of USB 3.0. The little-reported-on nugget of info from the USB 3.1 specification relates to how they classify the raw vs. expected speeds. Taking USB 3.0 as an example, Superspeed can handle a raw 5Gbps data rate, but after subtracting out the overhead (packet framing, flow control, etc), you are left with ~450MB/s of real throughput. Superspeed+ upgrades the bit encoding type from 8b/10b (80% efficient) to 128b/132b (97% efficient) *in addition to* the doubling of raw data rate. This means that even after accounting for overhead, Superspeed+’s best case throughput should work out to ~1.1GB/s. That’s not a 2x speed improvement – it is actually 2.44x of USB 3.0 speed. Superspeed+ alright!
Subject: Storage | February 16, 2015 - 04:48 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ocz, ARC 100, endurance
The sample size for the tests at KitGuru to see how well the OCZ ARC 100 SSDs stand up to their warranty are only five drives, now four as one has failed. The ARC 100 is rated for 20GB/day of host writes for 3 years, a total of 21.9TB and this one made it to about 322TB of writes before succumbing to errors. The other four are still going strong which lends credence to the claimed improvements that the Toshiba owned OCZ has made with their new SSD controllers. Even if you do suffer the death of a drive during the warranty period of three years the new hassle free ShieldPlus Warranty makes it very easy for you to get a replacement.
"The drives all passed the warranty figure of 300TB on 3rd February 2015 – but one of them has just failed with 322TB showing before failure."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Patriot Ignite SSD Review (480GB) - Asynch Flash Takes On a Whole New Look @ The SSD Review
- Crucial MX200 500GB & 1TB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Plextor M6e Black Edition PCIe 256GB SSD @ eTeknix
- ADATA Premier Pro SP900 M.2 6Gbps SSD @ The SSD Review
- Synology DiskStation BeyondCloud Preconfigured NAS Review @ Techgage
- QNAP TurboNAS TS-431 NAS Server Review @ NikKTech
- Silicon Power Mobile X31 OTG USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ Madshrimps
- Inateck HB3001G OTG 3-Port USB Hub and Card Reader @ eTeknix