ioSafe: Introduction and Internals
Cloud storage is all the talk these days, and our own Tim Verry has been hard at work detailing as much of it as he can keep up with. While all of us at PCPer currently use cloud based solutions for many of the day-to-day goings on, it's not for everyone, and it tends to not be for very large chunks of data, either. Sometimes local storage is just the way to go – especially when you want to be the one in absolute control of the reliability and integrity of your data.
The general rule for proper backups is to have your local copy, a local backup (RAID is *not* a backup), and an additional off-site backup to cover things like theft, fires or floods. So lets say you simply have too much sensitive data for your internet connection to support bulk transferring to an off-side / cloud storage location. Perhaps the cloud storage for that much space is simply cost prohibitive, or your data is sensitive enough that – despite encryption – you don't want it leaving your network and/or premesis? Perhaps you're just stubborn and want only one backup of your data? I think I might have the answer you've been looking for – behold the ioSafe SoloPRO:
What is this thing, you may ask? On the inside it's one of the available 1, 2, 3, or even 4TB 3.5" hard drives. On the outside it's a very durable and solid steel enclosure. The hard drive is wrapped in a thermally conductive yet water resistant 'HydroSafe' foil that enables water resistance rated at a 10 ft depth for 3 days with no data loss. The bonus, however, is not the water resistance - that featuer is present primarily to battle the side effects of something much more drastic - the ioSafe is fire-proof. That feature comes from what sits between the steel casing and the shrink wrapped hard drive - something ioSafe calls a DataCast (pictured below):
I'm going to break from my normal warranty voiding and show a photo from this past Storage Visions conference at the Consumer Electonics Show, where an ioSafe was already cracked open for our viewing pleasure:
Subject: Storage | June 5, 2012 - 01:07 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, sandisk, pcie, enterprise, computex
Just over a month back we took a look at the Intel SSD 910 Series PCIe SSD. While the specs and performance were excellent, there were some factors preventing use in workstation systems - namely the prohibitive cost and lack of a Boot ROM. With that, it seems SanDisk has made an attempt to answer that call. Today at Computex they announced a new PCIe Enterprise SSD, the PCIe Lightning:
This is a much simpler layout, with flash right alongside the controller - an option not possible with the multi-PCB Intel 910 Series as it contained much more flash on its daughter boards. With this simpler layout comes lower cost but unfortunately lower maximum capacities. Less complexity also means lower maximum specs, but they still look quite good given the price point this card will be filling:
- Price: $1350 (200GB) / $2350 (400GB)
- 4k 70/30 R/W split: 23,000 IOPS
- Sequential Throughput: 425 MB/sec
- Warranty: 5 Year
- Endurance: 10 full-drive writes per day for warranty duration
I'm glad to see some good PCIe SSD competition cropping up - especially the bootable kind.
Subject: Storage | June 4, 2012 - 06:31 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: neutron, ssd, LAMD, corsair, computex
Today at Computex, Corsair announced a new line of SSDs. This 4th generation line will sport a new controller made by Link_A_Media Devices (LAMD). Their announcement boasts a System On a Chip (SoC) design, but that's the way most modern SSD controllers are architected. The new controller has the following claimed specs:
- 90,000 read / 85,000 write IOPS (assumed 4k random)
- 555MB/s read / 370MB/s write (sequential)
- 90,000 read/write IOPS (assumed 4k random)
- 555MB/s read / 500MB/s write (sequential)
Here's a few quick pics:
The drives meet all of the typical SSD wickets, such as TRIM support and a generous 5-year warranty. The specs do look very good, but the proof is in the benches, which we hope to see shortly.
Subject: Storage | June 4, 2012 - 06:00 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: computex, SF-2000, sandforce, LSI, flash
As some of you may already be aware, SandForce was acquired by LSI back in January of this year. SandForce has made a very popular SSD controller for some time now and was the first maker to demo a controller driving 25nm flash (last year). Now SandForce (under LSI) has done it once again. This time with the same type of controller driving both 19nm Toshiba and 20nm Micron (IMFT) flash memory types:
The release from LSI reports the controller supporting all six flash vendors, giving some serious flexibiltiy to makers of flash memory systems and products. Aside from a confirmation of the ability to drive newer flash memory types, the remainder of the specs appear largely the same, minus some additional tweaks to ECC necessary to support increased error rates encountered as dies shrink.
Full press release from LSI after the break:
Subject: Storage | June 4, 2012 - 03:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: western digital, my passport, usb 3.0
Western Digital's line of My Passport portable hard drives have been with us for a while, improving along with the available technology for inexpensive mobile storage. Unfortunately the term inexpensive is used loosely as the industry is still recovering from the disastrous flooding in Thailand, so the 2TB model is just over $200 on NewEgg. However, at that price you get a large amount of storage in a 21 x 82 x 111mm (0.82" x 20" x 4.4") device and since it uses USB 3.0 you won't have to wait all day for transfers. TechARP's testing had it beating almost every device for transfer speed, with only OCZ's 64GB Enyo offering competition on a handful of tests.
"Western Digital has a wide variety of external storage products for both the PC and Mac markets. The external drives are available in both large desktop and smaller portable formats. Under the portable segment alone, Western Digital offers five drive families for the PC, and three drive families for the Mac.
Today, we are going to take a look at their latest portable hard disk drive for the PC market - the 2 TB Western Digital My Passport (USB 3.0)."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Kingston DataTraveler Micro 16GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive Review @ NikKTech
- NZXT Aperture M Multimedia Card Reader and USB 3.0 Hub Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- QNAP TS-EC1279U-RP Rack Mount 10GbE NAS @ Tweaktown
- LaCie's 2big NAS @ AnandTech
- Bytepac Eco Friendly HDD Enclosure @ Nitroware
- LaCie 2Big NAS 6TB @ TechwareLabs
- QNAP 3.6x NAS Software Deep Dive @ Tweaktown
- NZXT Aperture M Card Reader Review @ Ninjalane
- Crucial Adrenaline Review @ HCW
- OCZ Vertex 4 256 GB and 512 GB Solid State Drives @ X-bit Labs
- OCZ Vertex 4 256GB SSD Review @ Neoseeker
- Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB & Chronos 240GB SSD @ Kitguru
- MemoRight MS-701 240GB mSATA SSD @ Tweaktown
- Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB and SSDNow V+200 240GB @ TechSpot
- OCZ Vertex 4 128GB SSD @ Kitguru
- Monster Digital 400GB Le Mans SSD @ SSD Review
- Visiontek GoDrive 60GB and Racer Series 120GB SSD @ Kitguru
- VisionTek Racer 120GB SSD Review @ Neoseeker
- CoreRise Comay Venus Pro 3 SSD @ Benchmark Reviews
- SSD Migration or Fresh System Installation - An SSD Primer @ SSD Review
- Solid-state revolution: in-depth on how SSDs really work @ Ars Technica
Inside and Out
When you are a little fish in the great big pond of PC builders, you need to do something to stand out from the rest. The people behind DV Nation apparently were well aware of that when entering the system vendor business and offering up SSDs to every single system configuration. Through a new system they are offering, provocatively named the "RAMRod PC", DV Nation provides a pre-built system that has some very unique components and configuration settings.
Built around the Antec Three Hundred Two chassis, the first glance at the RAMRod doesn't really indicate anything special is going on under the hood. But let's take a quick look at the specs:
- Intel Core i7-3820 @ 4.4 GHz
- 64GB DDR3-1600 Memory from G.Skill
- Radeon HD 6990 4GB
- 2x Seagate Momentus XT 750GB Hybrid HDD in RAID-0
- OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 480GB PCIE SSD
- RAMCache: SuperSpeed Supercache 8GB on PCIE SSD, 8GB on Momentus
- RAMDisk: 42GB ROMEX Primo rated at 8000 MB/s
- Cost: $5,400
Obviously there is a LOT of storage work going on in the RAMRod and the purpose of the rig is to be the fastest pre-configured storage available anywhere. If you are looking for a cheaper version of this system you can get a base model with 16GB of memory, 10GB RAMDisk, 2GB RAMCache, 240GB PCIe SSD, single standard hard drive and even at GTX 680 for $2999.
Let's take a quick walk around the rest of the system before diving into the benchmarks!
Subject: General Tech, Storage | May 29, 2012 - 08:45 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ssd, ocz, Agility 4
OCZ Technology Group launched their latest entry in the Agility 4 line of Solid State Drives. The drive will make use of the Indilinx Everest 2 controller over a SATA 6Gbps interface. It is rated to provide 400MB/s reads with up to 85,000 write IOs per second. Unlike its 5-year Vertex 4 brethren the Agility 4 will be backed by a 3-year warranty.
Just a couple of months ago Al posted his review of the OCZ Vertex 4 solid state drive which he found to be aggressively priced and with good potential depending on firmware support.
OCZ has just released the Agility 4 to complement their new product line with a slightly cheaper and slightly lower performance option compared to the Vertex. Both drives are based on the same Indilinx Everest 2 controller with transfer rates being the main divisor between the two products. Retail price of the Agility 4 is placed much more aggressively and flirts even closer with the $1 per gigabyte line than the Vertex 4.
Almost time to get change our metric to cents per gigabyte. ... Yay!
The Agility 4 is rated to perform with consistent read bandwidths of 400MB/s which is below the Vertex 4’s rated 535 MB/s sequential reads throughput. The write IOPS is rated at 85,000 random transactions per second and exactly matches that metric with the Vertex 4.
OCZ is covering the Agility 4 with a 3-year manufacturer warranty. It is on back-order from NCIX with an expected retail value of $259.20 for the 256GB version which might as well be called a dollar per gigabyte. Newegg has yet to list the product or its expected value.
Subject: Storage | May 24, 2012 - 01:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, comay, ups, sandforce, SandForce SF-2281
The Comay Venus Pro 3 comes in seven sizes, ranging from 30GB to 480GB and is powered by a SandForce 2281 controller. Those specs are not very unique, what makes the Comay special is the super-capacitor on the PCB which ensures that no data will be lost in the event of a power outage. It is not quite a UPS in the normal sense but it will provide power for long enough to ensure all data is written from the cache to disk before it powers down. As well there is onboard overload protection to ensure that power spikes cannot damage your drives. Both of these features are sought after by Enterprise clients, almost more so than the performance, which you can read about at SSD Reviews.
"Just over a month ago, we conducted an analysis of what we thought to be the Comay Venus Pro 3 and, only after the review, were informed that we were actually looking at the Venus 3, an SSD that was not only branded incorrectly, but was also a special configuration for a specific customer. It appears our orders were mixed up. Comay apologized for the mix up and promised that we would be receiving a Venus Pro 3 soon enough where we could validate some vicious ‘SandForce Driven’ performance first hand."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Corsair Accelerator 60GB SSD Cache Drive Review @ Hardware Canucks
- The SSD Optimization Guide Redesigned and Improved @ SSD Review
- MyDigitalSSD BP3 512GB SATA III Solid State Drive @ Tweaktown
- Data Memory Systems Celerity 6G Plus 120GB Solid State Drive @ Tweaktown
- OCZ Vertex 3 - 3.5 120GB SSD @ Funky Kit
- Corsair Accelerator 30GB & 60GB Review @ Neoseeker
- Comay Venus Pro 3 128GB Solid State Drive @ Tweaktown
- OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240GB Review @ HCW
- Plextor M3 Pro 256GB SSD review @ Hardware.Info
- Corsair Performance Series Pro (256GB) @ AnandTech
- Patriot Supersonic Boost XT 32GB @ Legion Hardware
- OCZ Vertex 4 128GB SSD Review and 1.4RC FW Comparison - SSD Steroids for Your Vertex 4 @ SSD Review
- Patriot Memory SuperSonic Boost 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ NikKTech
- Kingston DataTraveler Elite 3.0 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ NikKTech
- Kingston Wi-Drive 16 GB @ techPowerUp
- A Tale Of Two Thunderbolt Storage Devices: Seagate's GoFlex Desk and Western Digital's Thunderbolt Duo @ AnandTech
- Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Home Network Storage System Review - NAS At Its Finest @ SSD Review
- Synology DS3612xs 12-bay NAS review @ Hardware.Info
- WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo 4TB review @ Hardware.Info
- Thecus N4200ECO 4 Bay NAS Enclosure @ Kitguru
- QNAP TS-419P II @ techPowerUp
- Thecus N4100EVO 4-bay NAS review @ Hardware.Info
- Icy Dock MB994SP-4SB-1 Full Metal Quad Bay 2.5" SATA 6Gbps Backplane Review @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Storage | May 21, 2012 - 06:57 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Z77, thunderbolt, p8z77-v premium, msi, asus
We have really been waiting for this since we first saw the release of Thunderbolt on the Apple MacBooks last year, but we finally have it: Thunderbolt support for PC users! Both MSI and ASUS today announced availability of motherboards with integrated Thunderbolt connectivity: the ASUS P8Z77-V Premium and the MSI Z77A-GD80 will both get you a single integrated Thunderbolt port.
"Intel and ASUS have worked closely on the implementation of Thunderbolt technology onto Asus motherboards”, said Jason Ziller, Intel’s Director of Thunderbolt Marketing. “The P8Z77-V PREMIUM is the first Thunderbolt certified motherboard in the industry, a testament to its solid design and compatibility."
With its long history of working with high tech vendors, ASUS is able to show its strength and commitment to innovation with a close relationship to three of the leading brands currently producing products with Thunderbolt technology, Elgato, LaCie, and PROMISE.
Thunderbolt is a new, high-speed I/O technology designed for performance, simplicity and flexibility, with lightning fast transfer speeds that are twice that of USB 3.0 and up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0. It offers simultaneous bi-directional 10Gbps transfer speeds over a single cable, with the flexibility to daisy-chain up to six Thunderbolt-ready devices with a single connection as well as offering full display port support for a 7th Thunderbolt or display port equipped monitor. This allows for a clutter-free computing experience while offering unprecedented levels of performance. Users can connect multiple Thunderbolt-enabled external storage drives to a Thunderbolt-enabled display and transfer files while watching HD movies, all without experiencing any lag. In addition for content professional this connection has been designed form the ground up for multimedia offering low latency with highly accurate time synchronization for professional audio and video applications. PC enthusiast and gamers can take immediate advantage combining Thunderbolt and on-board Lucid Virtu MVP to enjoy top-notch graphics performance.
Even better, we have some in-action video of the new ASUS Thunderbolt-implementation including performance!
This video was recorded well before today's launch during our Z77 Live Review and clearly shows some of the benefits of Thunderbolt, as well as some of the limitations, you'll find if you pick up the ASUS P8ZZ77-V Premium motherboard!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Storage | May 17, 2012 - 05:05 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: podcast, aftershow
After the normally scheduled podcast recorded last night, the PC Perspective staff hung around in the chat room to talk with our fans and readers about various random hardware topics. Rather than just throw that data away, we decided to save it and post the video here as a sort of "aftershow" for those of you that want a bit more PCPer in your life.