Subject: Storage | April 17, 2012 - 01:11 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ssd, ioFX, fusion-io, enterprise ssd
Popular PCI-E SSD maker Fusion-io recently announced a new product aimed at professional content creators. Based on the company’s ioMemory technology, the new Fusion-io ioFX is a professional SSD designed to speed up video encoding, CAD work, 3D renders, and motion graphics.
The new solid state drive uses the PCI-E bus and 420 GB of fast QDP MLC NAND flash to deliver less than a millisecond of sustained access speed and an impressive 1.5 GB/s of bandwidth. The PCI-E SSD uses a physical x8 connector but is electrically a x4 connection. What I found interesting about the device was the presence of a fan, which our Storage Editor Allyn says is necessary in order to keep the super fast flash chips from overheating. When the SSD needs active cooling, that at least implies this drive is going to scream performance wise!
Another interesting aspect about this new drive is a piece of software called the ioSphere. The software will allow studios to remotely monitor all the Fusion ioMemory products deployed in the studio through a single interface. Unfortunately, there is not much more in the way of detailed performance specifications but I will definitely keep an eye on this for the drool factor alone. Fusion-io is currently listing the ioFX for $2,495 USD, and it will be available later this Spring 2012. More information should be posted to their site as the SSD gets closer to launch here.
Subject: Storage | April 16, 2012 - 01:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, Intel, intel 330, sata 6Gps
Intel has released an SSD aimed at the consumer and casual user market, as well as offering a choice which might help future Ultrabook models dip below the $1000 mark while keeping the speed of an SSD. At a price of just under $1.50/GB on the smallest 60GB drive and better pricing on the 120GB and 180GB models, it is possible to upgrade your system to a good sized SSD for less than $250. You don't lose much performance either, the drive beats the old 320 series and can come close to the new 520 series. One thing to note is that those drives both carried 5 year warranties, while the 330 has only a 3 year warranty. Check out the full scoop in Intel's news room.
SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 16, 2012 – Intel Corporation announced today the Intel Solid-State Drive 330 Series (Intel SSD 330 Series), a SATA 6 gigabit-per-second (Gb/s) solid-state drive (SSD) that gives consumers a more affordable entry into the accelerated storage performance of SSDs.
Ideal for upgrading desktop or notebook PCs, the Intel SSD 330 Series offers the price-conscious PC enthusiast a brand-name SSD that blends performance, Intel quality and value. Offered in the most popular capacity points, 60 gigabytes (GB), 120GB and 180GB, the Intel SSD 330 Series boosts overall system performance and responsiveness for a broad range of applications.
“An SSD is still the single best upgrade you can make to your existing PC, and the Intel SSD 330 Series gives users the latest Intel SSD technology at a price to meet their budget,” said James Slattery, product line manager for client SSDs, Intel Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group. “Backed by Intel’s rigorous testing process, the Intel SSD 330 Series offers our users the speed they need at a great price, backed by world-class manufacturing, reliability and tech support.”
Unlike a traditional hard disk drive (HDD) with spinning disks and moveable parts, SSDs offer a more rugged, low-power storage solution that dramatically improves system performance to keep up with today’s I/O-intensive applications. The Intel SSD 330 Series contains Intel 25-nanometer (nm) multi-level cell (MLC) NAND memory. Its SATA 6Gb/s interface doubles the bandwidth of its current SATA 3Gb/s Intel SSD 320 Series, providing up to 500 megabytes-per-second (MB/s) sequential read speeds and up to 450MB/s sequential write speeds for faster data transfers. Random read performance can go up to 22,500 Input-Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) and 33,000 write IOPS to boost overall application and system responsiveness, significantly outperforming a typical consumer hard disk drive.
Intel offers a broad range of SSD choices within four product families. The Intel SSD 300 Family is aimed at entry-level, mainstream client users. The Intel SSD 500 Family offers more fully featured, higher-performing client SSDs for computer and gaming enthusiasts. The Intel SSD 700 and Intel SSD 900 Families are targeted for data center applications.
The Intel SSD 330 Series comes in a standard 2.5-inch/9.5mm form factor as a replacement to a slower-performing HDD. It can be used in a dual-drive desktop PC configuration to speed up boot times and applications speeds, or as a single-drive notebook upgrade.
Available beginning today at worldwide retailers and online e-tailers, the Intel SSD 330 Series is offered at the suggested channel price of $89 for a 60GB drive, $149 for a 120GB drive and $234 for a 180GB drive. It is also backed by a 3-year limited warranty.
It's been a long while since we've looked at a hard drive, and how fitting that it be a new model of the Western Digital VelociRaptor! Western Digital appears to be on a somewhat fixed 2-year cycle with these, as out 600GB VelociRaptor Review went up two Aprils ago, and the 300GB two years prior to that. Well then, let's take a look at this new model!
(from left) 300GB, 600GB, and finally the 1TB VelociRaptor
Here's the old school VelociRaptor logo (from back when they were less than 100GB!)
Subject: Storage | April 12, 2012 - 02:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: owc, Mercury Enterprise Pro 6G, sata 6Gbs, ssd, synchronous flash, LSI, sf-2582
The OWC Mercury Enterprise Pro 6G SSD comes in four sizes, 50GB, 100GB, 200GB and 400GB, with all models sharing the same impressive statistics. Inside you will find Toshiba Enterprise Toggle Synchronous eMLC 24nm NAND and a new Sandforce controller from LSI, the SF-2582. As well there is a proprietary power technology called Paratus to prevent data loss from power interruptions as well as capacitors designed to handle high heat. SSD Review liked the performance, were impressed by the price and absolutely love the 7 year warranty, which is so far unique for SSDs.
"OWC has jumped feet first into the Enterprise space with the new OWC Mercury Enterprise Pro 6G SSD. Leveraging one of the fastest controllers on the planet, the LSI SF-2582 in tandem with Toshibas Enterprise Toggle Synchronous eMLC NAND, this SSD promises the absolute best in long term performance and endurance. OWC is also throwing in an outstanding industry-leading 7 Year Warranty with this product."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SATA III SSD @ SSD News
- OCZ Octane 512GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Crucial Adrenaline Solid State Cache Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Kingston HyperX 3K (240GB) @ AnandTech
- Crucial Adrenaline Solid State Cache Review @ TechwareLabs
- Micron RealSSD C400 128GB mSATA SSD @ SSD News
- Micron C400 mSATA (128GB) @ AnandTech
- Corsair 128 GB Performance Series Pro Solid State Drive @ Pro-Clockers
- Corsair Force Series GT 180GB Solid State Drive @ Tweaktown
- The Plextor M3 (256GB) @ AnandTech
- OCZ Vertex 4 SATA 3 SSD @ SSD News
- Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB SSD @ Kitguru
- Hitachi GST Deskstar 7K4000 4TB HDD Review @ NikKTech
- ioSafe SoloPRO: Disaster Proofing Your Storage Needs @ AnandTech
- Hard Disk Drive Myths Debunked @ TechARP
- Icy Dock 2.5"/3.5" Drive Accessories @ SPCR
- Kingston Wi-Drive @ LanOC Reviews
- Icy Dock MB971SP-B DuoSwap 2.5"/3.5" SATA Hot Swap Drive Caddy Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Icy Dock MB994SP-4SB-1 Full Metal Quad Bay 2.5in HDD & SSD Backplane Cage Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 64GB @ Legion Hardware
Subject: Storage | April 12, 2012 - 10:10 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, pcie, Intel
Intel has officially entered the Enterprise PCIe SSD market with the release of their 910 Series SSD. Available in 400 and 800GB capacities, this half-height PCIe 2.0 8x card boasts over 180,000 4k IOPS and 2GB/sec sequential on reads. Writes are roughly half of that - limited by the 25W PCIe spec power available to the card, but since many server motherboards have no issue providing a bit more power (28W), those numbers can be boosted to ~120,000 4k IOPS and 1.5GB/sec via end-user reconfiguration possible through the Intel management software.
The 910 is not all-Intel in its construction. While the flash is High Endurance Technology IMFT, it is driven by an Intel-tweaked Hitachi SAS controller, which is in turn controlled by an LSI 2008 Falcon SAS HBA. This means the storage is presented to the system as either two or four SCSI LUNs. This choice makes sense as you can attain higher IOPS when you let a high end server decide how to spread that data around. It also allows for more flexibility as each 200GB segment of storage appears as its own unit, meaning databases can be distributed amongst them. Unfortunately, this configuration choice means the 910 will not be bootable, at least not with all LUNs paired together.
Intel is taking endurance seriously with this product. They claim 30x over standard MLC expected lifetime with their High Endurance Technology, and they mean it - The 910 is rated and guaranteed to sustain writing 10x its capacity for each and every day of the 5-year warranty period! That comes to 3EB (yes, EB, or 3,000 TB) for the 800GB model!
Prices start at $1,929 for 400GB and $3,859 for 800GB. Intel is sampling to us shortly, and we will get the full performance review up as soon as humanly possible upon its arrival.
Full press release after the break.
StarTech has always had a rather large line of external USB and eSATA HDD docks, but up until now most have been limited to SATA connectivity. Now they have released a dock that's able to connect to IDE hard drives as well! It pulls off this trick by including a short IDE ribbon cable that can connect to the back of the unit (see pic below).
Subject: Storage | April 11, 2012 - 09:43 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: Vertex 4, ocz, Octane, Marvell, everest
We've covered the OCZ Octane and more recently the new OCZ Vertex 4. We've also seen how they behave under wildly differing firmware revisions. What have we not yet seen? Turns out the hardware powering both the Octane and Vertex 3 controllers was actually from Marvell.
Judging from the performance we saw from the Octane, it's clear that Indilinx is cranking out some great firmware for this hardware, but it's a bit of a surprise to us that the Indilinx arm of OCZ chose to go this route as opposed to spinning their own next gen controller, especially in light of how well the original Indilinx Barefoot was received back in the day.
It turns out that 'Indilinx Infused' is more than just a catch phrase.
As evidenced by some commenters over at the source, some feel cheated that this news did not come to light earlier. My take on it is that an SSD is a package deal - controller hardware *and firmware* make up that package. If a company can deliver both in a reliable and well performing manner, then it's that companies product you are buying, not just the controller.
Subject: Storage | April 7, 2012 - 11:15 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Intel SRT, Intel, caching, 313, 25nm
Intel is continuing the Intel SRT caching technology with two new Single Level Cell (SLC) SSD drives in both 2.5” SATA and mSATA form factors. The new Intel 313 series SSDs come in 20 GB and 24 GB capacities and are available for purchase now. Intel hopes that vendors will integrate the caching drives into their machines to improve performance while offering lots of storage with a mechanical hard drive. They further advertise the drives as "ultrabook ready."
The specifications can be found in the chart below, but they do seem to be a little strange, in that the larger capacity drive is actually slower in 4K random and sequential reads (which does not seem correct). After all, who would pay extra money for a slower caching drive (and a measly 4GB extra capacity) where read speeds are going to be more important than write speeds as far as general desktop performance.
|Intel 311||Intel 313 20 GB||Intel 313 24 GB|
|Random 4K Read IOPS||37,000||36,000||33,000|
|Random 4K Write IOPS||3,300||3,300||4,000|
|Sequential Read||200 MB/s||220 MB/s||160 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||105 MB/s||100 MB/s||115 MB/s|
|Price ($USD)||119.99 (retail)||119.99 (retail)||139.99 (retail)|
Compared to the previous generation "Larsen Creek" Intel 311 series SSD, the new "Hawley Creek" drives offer faster sequential read and write speeds. The 24 GB Intel 313 drive does manage to beat both the 20 GB Haswell and previous generation Intel 311 drive on 4K random writes, but otherwise the new drives are equal to, or slower than, the previous generation in 4K random IOPS (input/output per second). Considering the new drives are retailing for the same or more than the previous generation, the new Intel 313 SSDs really are not looking all that promising, despite the move to a 25nm NAND manufacturing process.
I am personally waiting for reviews to come out on the new Intel 313 drives before making a final decision, but they are nonetheless perplexing. More information is available here (PDF).
*Edit by Allyn*:
The 'odd' differences in performance are due to the channel routing. The 20GB model has the standard Intel 3Gb/sec controller using 5 of the 10 data channels (similar to the old 40GB X25-V). Each of those channels is routed to a 4GB SLC die. This lays out to 5 TSOP packages with 1 die each. The 24GB model also uses the same controller and channel layout, but those 5 channels are routed to 6x 4GB dies. This is an odd configuration, and assuming Intel kept the same PCB layouts, the 2.5" model has provision for additional mounted TSOPs but the mSATA PCB is too tight on room, meaning they would have had to shift only one of the 5 flash packages to a double stacked configuration. More to follow on that once we see these in the flesh.
Subject: Storage | April 4, 2012 - 03:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ocz, ssd, sata 6Gbs, Vertex 4, Indilinx, vertex
There are quite a few changes in the 4th version of OCZ's Vertex SSDs, not only the new Indilinx controller but the positioning of it right in the centre of the PCB. You will also notice what looks like an mSATA interface, but The Tech Report is sad to say that it is only a connector for OCZ's internal testing machinery and is not a standard connector. Of course, we may have to see what the modders do with it. The performance is as good as you would expect in most circumstances though there were some tests the new prefetch mechanism had troubles with. OCZ claims that the drive was intended to be partitioned and doing so could help the performance. Also worth applauding is the move to a 5 year warranty, signalling OCZ's increased faith in reliability.
Our own Al Malventano took a look at not only the drive but also the difference between the 1.30 and 1.52 firmware revisions.
"Just a few months after its Indilinx Everest controller debuted in the OCZ Octane, a second-generation Everest chip has taken root in the Vertex 4 SSD. We take a closer look at the latest Vertex to see what's changed and how its performance measures up."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ Vertex 4 @ AnandTech
- OCZ Technology Vertex 4 (Indilinx Everest 2) 256GB and 512GB SSD @ Tweaktown
- OCZ Vertex 4 512GB @ Kitguru
- OCZ Vertex 4 Indilinx 256GB & 512GB SSD Reviews @ Legit Reviews
- OCZ Vertex 4 Solid State Drive 512GB/256GB Launch Review @ HardwareHeaven
- OCZ Vertex 4 512GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- OCZ Vertex 4 SSD 256GB and 512GB @ Guru 3D
- ndilinx Everest 2 SSD Controller Platform Overview @ Tweaktown
- SSDs from Mushkin: Chronos deluxe 240 GB and Chronos 240 GB @ X-bit Labs
- Micron RealSSD P400e 6Gbps 200GB Enterprise SSD @ SSD Review
- OCZ Synapse Cache 64GB Solid State Drive Review @ circuitREMIX
- ADATA XPG SX900 256GB SATA 3 SSD @ SSD Review
Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging
OCZ has been in the SSD game for quite some time now. Their first contender was the OCZ Vertex, which we reviewed back in Febuary of 2009. While the original Vertex was powered by an Indilinx BareFoot controller, the Vertex line switched over to SandForce for the second and third generations. The fourth generation brings Indilinx back to the Vertex, this time with the Everest 2. You may recall Everest made its first appearance in the OCZ Octane, which has already proven itself to be a solid contender in the market.
Before we get into the meat and portatoes, we'll kick this off by saying this will not be a typical Vertex 4 review. We had benches run on 512GB and 256GB Vertex 4 samples, but the numbers we were seeing seemed 'off', so OCZ provided me with an alpha/engineering level firmware late last night. I suspect most other reviews you read today will include results from the 1.30 initial shipping firmware, or perhaps from the 1.31 bugfix firmware (which corrected an issue with secure erasure), but this piece will cover both 1.30 and a newer 1.52 interim build. Sometimes it's necessary to burn the midnight oil in the interest of presenting the full picture (or one as complete as possible) to our readers, and this was one of those pieces. We will revisit the Vertex 4 again very soon in the form of a more final product review, but for now we'll go with what we've got.