Subject: Storage | May 10, 2013 - 03:48 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ramdisk, ram drive, ram, radeon ramdisk, amd
In light of AMD’s latest memory release and Radeon RAMDisk push, I decided to take a look at the latest version 4.1.0 of the RAMDisk software to see what had changed since the last time I tested it out. Improved installation and logging along with a couple of new features are all part of the new RAMDisk software.
AMD has simplified the installer since the previous version to the point that only a few clicks are necessary to get setup. Although you can jump into the advanced settings and change the installation path, the default options are basically just to accept the ToS and click next. Other GUI tweaks include a new Logging tab that scans the last 1,000 entries in the Windows Event Log and shows only those related to the RAM Drive.
The biggest change is the addition of new options in the load/save tab. Because of the nature of RAM, the RAMDisk created by the software is not persistent across reboots. However, you can save the disk image to a file on persistent storage (a hard drive, SSD, et al). Then, you can save the RAM Drive and its contents to a file and reload that disk after a restart.
The paid version of Radeon RAMDisk takes this a step further by allowing background updating of the RAMDisk data. With the Load in Background option, the RAMDisk will be immediately available to the operating system after a restart. The software will automatically start transferring data from the image stored on the hard drive to the portion of RAM set aside for the RAM disk instead of making the user wait fro the entire disk to be recreated before it can be accessed. Any data requested that has not yet been transferred to the RAM disk will be transparently pulled from the hard drive image.
Further, AMD offers up a background update option that will run in the background and continuously write RAMDisk changes to the *.img file stored on the hard drive. This eliminates the need to wait for the entire RAMDisk to be written to disk before shutting down the computer or stopping the RAM Drive. Considering the wait times to read and write data from/to the hard drive is one of the major limitations of RAM drives, this is a really useful feature that certainly adds some incentive to springing for the paid version.
The free version doesn’t get background updating, but it does still have the AutoSave feature that will write data out to the image file periodically which will help prevent data loss due to power failure or kernel panic.
Heh, the SSD is pegged but the RAMDisk utilization peaked at 4% when copying a 1.51GB Kerbal Space Program (with a few mods installed) folder from an Intel X25-M to a 4GB RAMDisk ;).
In my brief testing yesterday, I had some trouble getting the software to create a FAT32 formatted disk, where it kept changing to unformatted before creating the disk. Eventually I opted to format the drive myself using Windows’ Disk Management utility. Aside from that hiccup, I think the new version is worth updating to if you have not already--especially if you have the paid version (so that you can get the background data transfer features).
For specific details on exactly what has changed, an AMD-provided change log is below:
Feature Highlights of AMD Radeon™ RAMDisk release 4.1
- Updated GUI improvements .NET
- Updated installer package – Fewer clicks required to install
- Improved GUI event logging
- Improved management of options when setting Load/Save
Performance Highlights of AMD Radeon™ RAMDisk release 4.1
- Performance gains on AMD Radeon™ RAMDisk 32GB and 64GB
- Vastly improved load and save mechanics allowing for background update and background loading of the RAMDisk. Reduces wait times for load and save. “Background Update” and “Load in Background” enabled (registered users only)
- Faster PC startup and shutdown while RAMDisk is enabled.
Improved IO performance on multi-processors and multi-core systems
- Evenly distributed load among the CPUs. Allows for more system efficiency.
Subject: Storage | May 7, 2013 - 06:31 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: x8 accelerator, virident, ssd, seagate 1200, Seagate, pci-e
In addition to its recently-announced 600 and 600 Pro consumer line of solid state drives, Seagate has unveiled two new drives aimed at the enterprise SSD market. The Seagate 1200 series is a 2.5" SAS SSD and the Seagate X8 is a PCI-E based accelerator card.
Unfortunately, details are extremely scarce on both upcoming enterprise drives. Performance, specifications, pricing, and availability are still unknown. Seagate has officially confirmed there existence and shared a few tidbits of information, however.
The Seagate 1200 SSDs are 2.5" form factor drives with a 12Gbps SAS interface, which suggests that they will be at least somewhat faster than the consumer versions due to Seagate implementing the faster drive interface. The most important detail however, is that Seagate will be using its own custom SSD controller in the 1200 series. The new controller is still a mystery, but it is developed by Seagate and not Link A Media with customized firmware like the 600 and 600 Pro drives. I am especially interested to find out more about this aspect of the drive. Hopefully the new controller is successful and will trickle down to the company's next-generation consumer SSDs.
Meanwhile, Seagate's X8 Accelerator card is a half-height, half-length expansion card with up to 2.2TB of flash memory. The new PCI-E based drive is based on technology from Virident and can be used to accelerate applicators or database operations in servers. It will be available in capacities ranging from 550GB to 2.2TB. The SSD controller/management duties are handled by the host system's CPU and maintenance operations like garbage collection can be scheduled for periods of downtime when the server is not being hit hard by things like database requests for a popular web application. According to Seagate, each X8 Accelerator will be capable of up to 1.5 million IOPS.
Both of the new enterprise solid state drives will be released later this year.
Seagate has officially moved into the solid state drive (SSD) market with two new consumer drives: the 600 and 600 Pro series. The new drives come in capacities ranging from 100GB to 480GB. Both series utilize the Link A Media (LAMD) LM87800 SSD controller and 19nm 2-bit per cell MLC NAND flash from Toshiba. Seagate has not provided pricing or availability dates, but pricing should be in-line with existing drives, and reviews are already available around the Internet.
The Seagate 600 series is the lowest-tier solid state drive. It will be available in 120, 240, and 480GB capacities. Seagate is using 128GB, 256, and 512GB of NAND flash on 2, 4, and 8 channels respectively. In addition to the LM87800 SSD controller (which features custom Seagate firmware) and NAND flash, Seagate is including 1MB of DDR2-800 DRAM per 1GB of NAND flash for a total of 128, 256, and 512MB of DRAM on the 120, 240, and 480GB capacity drives.
The 600 Series is rated at up to 500MB/s peak 128KB reads and 400MB/s writes (limited to 300MB/s on the lowest-capacity 120GB drive). Further, Seagate states that the 120GB drive is capable of 80,000 random read and 60,000 random write (4K) IOPS, while the 240GB and 480GB drives can reach up to 80,000 random read and 70,000 random write (4K) IOPS.
Also note that the 600 series comes in both 7mm and 5mm form factors, which makes it compatible with most laptops. Seagate provides a 3 year warranty on the 600 series.
The Seagate 600 Pro series steps things up a notch by adding overprovisioning, capacitors for power-loss protection, and a longer 5 year warranty. The 600 Pro series will come in 100, 120, 200, 240, 400, and 480GB capacities. The 100, 200, and 400GB versions of the SSD offer additional overprovisioning which gives the SSD controller more space to work with. The capacitores are intended to provide enough power in the event of a PC power loss to write all data to the NAND flash and prevent data loss.
The 600 Pro drives offer the same 6Gbps SATA interface, LM87800 controller, and 1MB-to-1GB DRAM to NAND ratio. The Pro drives do not come in the 5mm high form factor, so laptop compatibility is limited.
Further, the 600 Pro Seagate SSDs are faster drives. According to Seagate, the Pro series offers up to 85,000 and 30,000 random read and write (4K) IOPS on the overprovisioned drives and p to 85,000/11,000 random IOPS on the 240 and 480GB drives. The 100 and 120GB drives are slower than the other drives though due to less NAND flash and channels between the flash and controller. The chart below details the rated specifications for all of the announced drives.
|Series||600 Pro||600 Pro||600 Pro||600 Pro||600 Pro||600 Pro||600||600||600|
|Random 4K r/w KIOPS||80/20||80/8||85/30||85/11||85/30||85/11||80/60||80/70||80/70|
|128KB r/w sustained sequential||>500/>300||>500/>400||>500/>400|
|128KB peak sequential r/w||520/300||520/300||520/450||520/450||520/450||520/450|
Blank areas indicate that rated specifications were not available.
Fortunately, the reviews available online (such as AnandTech's) do seem to support the new drives as far as performance is concerned. The drives are stacking up nicely versus the competition, which is interesting given the controller choice. For example, the sequential read speed looks promising.
The 600 and 600 Pro drives are looking like solid drives so long as the pricing is competitive. I'm excited to see where Seagate goes from here.
Subject: Storage | May 3, 2013 - 07:32 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: LAMD, corsair, neutron, ssd, asynchronous NAND, 22nm
Still featuring the Link_A_Media Devices LM87800 controller but with all new 22nm SK Hynix Synchronous NAND the refreshed Corsair Neutron SSD series just arrived on [H]ard|OCP's test bench. The refresh brings both good and bad attributes, while the 22nm NAND proves a little slower than the original 25nm it also brings a much lower price. That lower price paired with a 5 year warranty should make this drive attractive to users that are holding off on picking up an SSD because of fears that the drive will stop functioning in a few years, or who have a hard time spending well over $1/GB for storage.
"Corsair keeps pace with continuing innovation in the NAND market by switching from 25nm IMFT NAND to the rarely seen 22nm SK Hynix NAND. This NAND provides a lower price point and extra capacity. Today we take a look to see if the Neutron Series performance remains and how this new SSD build stacks up to the competition."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- ADATA XPG SX900 128GB SSD Review Redux @ [H]ard|OCP
- Crucial M500 480GB Solid-State Drive Review @ Legit Reviews
- Comay Pluto SC3 Enterprise SSD @ Tweaktown
- ASUS RAIDR Express 240GB PCI-Express SSD review: is this the future? @ Hardware.info
- Corsair SSD Toolbox Software Overview - Better than Never @ Tweaktown
- Top SSD Recommendations For May 2013 - Samsung TLC Dethrones the SanDisk SSD Family @ SSD Review
- The SSD Optimization Guide Ultimate Windows 8 (And Win7) Edition @ The SSD Review
- OCZ Vertex 3.20 240GB SSD w/20nm Flash @ FunkyKit
- OWC Mercury Accelsior E2 PCIe SSD @ SSD Review
- Transcend MSA720 128GB mSATA SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- Seagate Laptop Thin SSHD 500GB Review @ Techgage
- SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB Compact Flash Memory Card @ Tweaktown
- ADATA DashDrive Air AE400 Wireless Storage @ Benchmark Reviews
- takeMS LumX 4GB USB Flash Drive Review @ Madshrimps
- SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC and microSDHC Memory Card @ Tweaktown
- Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ Tweaktown
- ADATA DashDrive Durable UD310 32GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive @ eTeknix
- Synology DS213+ High-Performance 2-Bay NAS Server for SMB Review @ Madshrimps
- Corsair Voyager Air 1TB Wireless Hard Drive @ eTecknix
- Patriot Supersonic Rage XT 64GB Flash Drive @ FunkyKit
- Mach Xtreme MX-ES 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ Tweaktown
- Transcend Wi-Fi SD Card @ Hardware.info
- PQI Air Bank 500GB External Wi-Fi Hard Disk Drive @ Tweaktown
- Asustor AS-604T 4-Bay NAS @ Tweaktown
- QNAP's TS-EC1279U-RP 12-bay Flagship Rackmount NAS @ AnandTech
- nfortrend EonNAS Pro 510 NAS @ Tweaktown
- Asustor AS-606T @ Legion Hardware
Today Western Digital launched their new 5mm 2.5" Blue. This model will only come in 500GB. Capacity options are limited presumably due to a single 500GB platter, which is about all you can fit into a housing that's only 5mm thick.
The drive launches at an MSRP of $89.00, but don't rush out to buy one just yet. The new drive will require a purpose-built installation, as it uses a new SFF-8784 edge connector to receive data and power from the host system. You're basically going to need a laptop that has a bay designed for just this drive, which may take a while.
Today Western Digital launched a new line of Hard Disk Drives. The Xe is very similar to their VelociRaptor, with the same 2.5"-3.5" heat sink adapter plate. The primary difference, however, is these units feature Dual Port SAS connectivity.
The new drives feature a 5-year warranty and will come in 300, 600, and 900GB capacities. With SAS HDD's becoming scarce lately, there is a definite gap developing in existing legacy SAS systems. We're glad to see a lower power SAS-connected 10,000 RPM offering to help bridge that gap.
Subject: Storage | April 19, 2013 - 07:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sshd, Seagate, Hybrid Drive, 500gb
We have seen many hybrid drives come and go, most of which only benefited desktop users who were accessing certain files often enough that they were cached on the flash memory. Seagate has introduced a new iteration of the SSHD specifically for laptops, uniting 500GB of 5400 RPM platter based storage with 8GB of MLC NAND and a 64MB cache which [H]ard|OCP recently benchmarked. They didn't forget desktop users as they released 1TB and 2TB models at 7200 RPM but it is the laptop version which is perhaps more interesting as not many models allow the installation of a second drive like desktops do. The testing results were mixed, with several obvious benefits interspersed with odd performance changes after multiple runs, however the small price differential between a standard HDD and a SSHD might just convince you to pick up this new breed of hybrid drive.
"Seagate has introduced the next generation of Solid State Hybrid Drives, commonly referred to as "SSHD." These drives use a small amount of MLC NAND to accelerate the performance of a 5400 RPM spinning disk. Today we test the mobile version against other available SSD caching solutions."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Crucial's M500 SSD @ The Tech Report
- SuperSSpeed S301 Hyper Gold SLC Enterprise SSD @ Tweaktown
- Consumer (Samsung and OCZ) vs. Enterprise (SMART Optimus) SSD Performance Analysis @ SSD Review
- Hardware.Info tests lifespan of Samsung SSD 840 250GB TLC SSD
- Kingston SSDNow V300 240GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- ADATA XPG SX900 128GB with SandForce B02 controller SSD @ Tweaktown
- SMART Storage Systems CloudSpeed 500 Enterprise SSD @ Tweaktown
- Samsung SM843 Enterprise SSD Review (240GB) @ SSD Review
- Plextor M5M (256GB) mSATA @ AnandTech
- Samsung PM841 512GB mSATA SSD @ SSD Review
- Intel 525 120GB mSATA SSD @ Hardware.info
- Thermaltake BlacX Duet 5G USB 3.0 Docking Station @ Tweaktown
- Seagate Backup Plus 1 TB Portable Hard Disk Drive @ TechARP
- ADATA DashDrive Elite UE700 USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ Pro-Clockers
- ICY DOCK MB662U3-2S Dual Bay USB 3.0 RAID Enclosure @ Tweaktown
- Icy Dock ICYRaid MB662U3-2S Dual-HDD Enclosure Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Infortrend EonNAS Pro 510 @ Legion Hardware
- Asustor AS 602T @ Kitguru
- QNAP TS879-Pro 8-Bay NAS @ eTeknix
- Thecus N7510 7-Bay NAS @ eTeknix
Subject: Storage | April 19, 2013 - 06:10 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: trim, ssd, sandforce 2281, sandforce, ROG, raidr, raid, PCIe SSD, asus
ASUS is reportedly adding two new PCI-E Solid State Drives (SSD) to its Republic Of Gamers lineup. Dubbed RAIDR, the new PCI-E SSDs use 19nm Toshiba MLC NAND flash driven by two SandForce 2281 controllers. In turn, the two SandForce drives are put into a hardware RAID 0 configuration for maximum speed. The RAIDR SSD internals are encased in a stylized EMI shield along with a ROG-branded back-plate. In all, ASUS’ RAIDR SSDs measure 157 x 120 x 20mm.
The ASUS RAIDR drives show up as a single disk driven by a standard AHCI controller, which allows the two RAID 0 SSDs connected via the PCI-E bus to be boot-able and support the TRIM command. Both RAIDR solid state drives also support Native Command Queuing (NCQ), SMART, Secure Erase, Windows 8 Secure Boot.
According to specifications provided by Sweclockers, ASUS is launching 120GB and 240GB versions of the PCI-E SSDs. Both capacities feature 100,000 IOPS, 128-bit AES encryption, and 620,000 MTBF ratings.
The 120GB RAIDR SSD supports up to 765MB/s sequential reads and 775MB/s sequential write speeds. On the other hand, the 240GB RAIDR drive supports up to 830MB/s sequential reads and 810MB/s sequential writes.
Additionally, ASUS is bundling its RAIDR drives with Kaspersky Antivirus 2013 and a number of ASUS utilities (including SSD TweakIt). The drives should be available sometime next month, but pricing is still unknown. Adding PCI-E SSDs is an interesting move by ASUS that should help the company diversify and expand its ROG branding. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing how the drives stack up when they are released (and hopefully a PC Perspective review)!
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
A while back, we saw OCZ undergo a major restructuring. 150+ product SKUs were removed from their lineup, leaving a solid core group of products for the company to focus on. The Vertex and Agility lines were spared, and the Vector was introduced and well received by the community. With all of that product trimming, we were bound to see another release at some point:
Today we see a branch from one of those tree limbs in the form of the Vertex 3.20. This is basically a Vertex 3, but with the 25nm IMFT Sync flash replaced by newer 20nm IMFT Sync flash. The drop to 20nm comes with a slight penalty in write endurance (3000 cycles, down from the 5000 rating of 25nm) for the gain of cheaper production cost (more dies per 300mm wafer).
IMFT has been cooking up 20nm flash for a while now, and it is becoming mature enough to enter the mainstream. The first entrant was Intel's own 335 Series, which debuted late last year. 20nm flash has no real groundbreaking improvements other than the reduced size, so the hope is that this shrink will translate to lower cost/GB to the end user. Let's see how the new Vertex shakes out.
- Capacity: 120, 240GB
- Sequential read: 550 MB/sec
- Sequential write: 520 MB/sec
- Random read IOPS (up to): 35 k-IOPS
- Random write IOPS (up to): 65 k-IOPS
This simple plastic packaging does away with the 3.5" bracket previously included with all OCZ models.
Subject: Storage | April 9, 2013 - 08:24 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: usb 3.0, thunderbolt, hard drives, g-technology, g-drive, g-dock
G-Technology took the wraps off of a new external storage product lineup during NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) this week. The new series includes the G-Dock thunderbolt-connected hard drive dock, and the G-Drive and G-Drive Plus Evolution external hard drives.
The G-Dock is an aluminum external hard drive enclosure that features two hot-swappable drive bays that can accept up to two G-Drive (or G-Drive Plus) external hard drives. The G-Dock includes two Thunderbolt ports for daisy chaining other Thunderbolt devices and to connect to the PC. While in the G-Dock, the drives connect via SATA 6Gbps ports. The G-Dock supports JBOD, RAID 1, and RAID 0 modes to configure it for storage, data redundancy, and performance. The G-Dock comes with a Thunderbolt cable and two 1TB G-Drive Evolution external hard drives. It has a MSRP of $749.95 and will be available in May.
G-Technology's G-Dock enclosure accepts the company's own G-Drive ruggedized hard drives. The G-Drive Evolution drives are fitted into an aluminum case. The 2.5" 7200 RPM drives come in 500GB and 1TB capacities. According to G-Technology, the external hard drives are capable of up to 126MB/s transfer speeds. The G-Drives connect via SATA 6Gbps while in the G-Dock, but the drives also feature USB 3.0 ports to connect to PCs when it is used as an individual drive. Available in May, the G-Drives have an MSRP of $149.95 for the 500GB capacity and $199.95 for the 1TB model.
Finally, the G-Drive Plus is a 2.5" 7200 RPM drive that is also installed in an aluminum case (though it is a bit thicker than the non-plus G-Drive). It has the same USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps ports, but it is only available as a 1TB drive. It is reportedly capable of up to 250MB/s transfer rates. The speed increase comes at the cost of a higher MSRP of $349.95. The G-Drive Plus will be available this summer.
The G-Dock and included G-Drives are Mac formatted out of the box and have a 3 year warranty. The company is positioning the multi-bay dock and hard drives at media professionals that need high-capacity portable storage and high-bandwidth connections.
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