Subject: General Tech, Storage | March 7, 2012 - 01:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: western digital, ssd, hitachi, flash, EMC
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, which was the result of the merger of Hitachi and IBM's HDD businesses, is likely being purchased by Western Digital tomorrow for about $4.3 billion. This makes sense as WD has been using Hitachi GST as a sales partner when providing EMC with high end flash disks. This deal comes on the heels of a major sell, the SSD400S flash disk which uses Intel's 34nm SLC NAND and the SSD400S-B which utilizes the new 25nm NAND developed by Intel. Check out the specifications of the flash drives as well as the new SSD company over at The Register.
"WD is buying Hitachi GST and the acquisition is expected to be formally announced tomorrow with a condition of two years of independence for Hitachi GST - imposed by a Chinese anti-competition regulator. EMC has certified Hitachi GST's SSD400S flash disks for use in its VNX mid-range unified storage arrays, including the all-flash VNX5500-F, so WD will effectively fulfil this deal once the acquisition is announced."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- TSMC suddenly halts 28nm production @ SemiAccurate
- AMD cuts loose GlobalFoundries stake @ The Register
- Peter Molyneux has left Microsoft @ The Inquirer
- Workers can't escape Windows 8 Metro - Microsoft COO @ The Inquirer
- 5 Tips and Tricks for Using Yum @ The Register
- Adobe lobs out Flash update to plug 3D security hole @ The Register
- Six foot speaker shakes buildings to their foundation @ Hack a Da
- Digital Innovations Accessories @ TechwareLabs
- Cebit 2012 HardwareHeaven Coverage
Subject: Storage | March 2, 2012 - 01:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sata 6Gps, intel 520, mushkin chronos, corsair force 3, kingston hyper x
OC3D have rounded up a batch of 240GB SATA 6GBs SSDs, the Intel 520, the Mushkin Chronos, the Corsair Force 3, and the Kingston Hyper X. The consistent size helps to highlight the difference a controller can make as there are several current generation SandForce controllers represented in the review. Reading through the review keep an eye out not only for the drives that provide the best performance in each test but also for the drives which provide the most consistent performance as some benchmarks will not represent the usage you would get from an SSD in your own system.
"As we bring a new benchmark to the OC3D suite of testing, we thought we'd give you a quick run through of some popular SSDs."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- An Introduction to FreeNAS - The Do-It-Yourself NAS OS @ Techgage
- Samsung PM830 SATA 3 256GB mSATA SSD @ SSD Review
- SanDisk Extreme 240GB SSD with 24nm Toggle Mode Flash @ Tweaktown
- Understanding TLC NAND @ AnandTech
- OCZ Octane SATA 6GB/s Indilinx Everest SSD @ Benchmark Reviews
- Plextor M3 / M3S 256GB Solid State Drive @ Tweaktown
- OCZ RevoDrive3 PCI-Express 120GB SSD Review @ HardwareLOOK
- Seagate Momentus XT 750 GB Hybrid HDD Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Patriot Memory 120GB Wildfire Solid State Drive (SSD) Review @ ModSynergy
- OCZ Octane 512GB Solid State Drive @ Kitguru
- ICY Dock MB981U3-1SA & MB981U3-1SA-1 Dock Stations @ Bjorn3D
Subject: Storage | February 28, 2012 - 05:40 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: micron, Intel, imft, flash, fab
Earlier today we caught some news of Intel and Micron extending their joint agreement to develop and create flash memory under the IMFT name. Along with this extension came some rearrangements to the current plan. Intel will be selling off their stake in two of the smaller fabs, located in Singapore and Manassas, VA. The sale is for $600 million, half of which will stay with Micron as a credit that Intel can use to later purchase NAND flash produced from those factories.
The 'tip of the spear' IMFT fab located in Lehi, Utah, will remain jointly owned and operated. This makes good business sense as the Lehi fab is the first to shift to smaller process nodes. IMFT announced 25nm flash memory production at this very fab in early 2010.
PC Perspective toured IMFT Utah during the 25nm launch announcement.
Some may see this as Intel taking a step away from flash memory, but I see it as quite the contrary. Micron has always tended towards being a bulk producer of memory products, while Intel are the promary innovators in the arena. This move allows Intel to focus on the bleeding edge plant while Micron handles the particulars of cranking out those technologies developed at the Lehi Plant. It is likely that the highest grade flash comes from the Lehi plant, and Intel's half of the output is more than enough to supply their SSD production lines.
Subject: Storage | February 23, 2012 - 06:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Octane, Indilinx Everest, Octane 128GB, ocz, 6gbps
The trade offs with SSDs are a little harsh compared to HDDs, where size does not impact performance to a large degree only the physical location of the data. The price per gigabyte tends to be a little higher than larger models but again is relatively close. With an SSD you not only take a noticeable hit to performance with the smaller models you also pay a big premium on the price per gigabyte. That said, some people simply cannot afford $300+ for an SSD over 200GB.
For those who want SSD performance for a reasonable price of admission, the 128GB OCZ Octane is worthy of consideration. There have been no reports of drive failure but at the same time The Tech Report could only find 10 user reviews so it is possible that the sample size is too small to make a definitive conclusion. If you don't draw that conclusion the Octane becomes a little less attractive as competitor's drives tend to be cheaper to buy, even if you lose 8GB of space. Check out the full review before you go shopping for a small SSD.
"We were impressed by OCZ's Indilinx-powered Octane SSD when we reviewed the 512GB version last year. Now, we have the 128GB model in-house to see if the Octane's appeal extends to the sweet spot."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Intel SSD 520 240GB @ X-bit Labs
- OCZ Octane 512 GB @ X-bit Labs
- Kingston SSDNow 200V+ 120GB @ Bjorn3D
- OCZ Octane 512GB Review @ OCC
- RunCore Pro V Max 120GB SATA III SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- OCZ Vertex 3 240GB SSD Review @ HCW
- Intel 520 240GB SSD RAID 0 Performance Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Intel 520 Series 240GB @ Tweaktown
- MyDigitalSSD DDR2 Super Cache 32GB mSATA Solid State Drive @ Tweaktown
- Runcore ProV Max 120GB SSD @ SSD Review
- OCZ RevoDrive 3 - 120GB PCIe SSD @ Funky Kit
- Silverstone Treasure TS06 External Enclosure @ Pro-Clockers
- 500GB Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-Portable Hard Drive Review @ PCSTATS
- QNAP TS-879U-RP NAS Rack Server @ Benchmark Reviews
- Silvestone DC01 Data Center NAS @ Metku
- Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-Portable Hard Drive Review @ PCSTATS
- HighPoint 2720SGL RocketRAID Controller @ SSD Review
- LSI MegaRAID SAS 9265-8i RAID Controller @ Tweaktown
A paper, titled “The Bleak Future of NAND Flash Memory” was recently jointly published by the University of California and Microsoft Research. It has been picked up by many media outlets who all seem to be beating the same morbid drum, spinning tales of a seemingly apocalyptic end to the reign of flash-based storage devices. While I agree with some of what these authors have to say, I have reservations about the methods upon which the paper is based.
TLC and beyond?
The paper kicks off by declaring steep increases in latency and drops in lifetime associated with increases in bits-per-cell. While this is true, flash memory manufacturers are not making large pushes to increase bits-per-cell beyond the standard MLC (2 bits per cell) tech. Sure some have dabbled in 3-bit MLC, also called Triple Level Cell (TLC) which is a bit of a misnomer since storing three bits in a cell actually requires eight voltage level bands, not three as the name implies. Moving from SLC to MLC doubles density, but the diminishing returns increase sharply after that – MLC to TLC only increases capacity by a another 1.5x, but sees a 2-4x reduction in performance and endurance. In light of this, there is little demand for TLC flash, and where there is, it’s clear by the usage cases that it is not meant for anything beyond light usage. There's nothing wrong with the paper going down this road, but the reality is that increasing bits per cell is not the envelope being pushed by the flash memory industry.
Wait a second – where is 25nm MLC?
Looking at the above we see a glaring omission – 25nm MLC flash, which has been around for close to two years now, and constitutes the majority of shipping flash memory parts currently in production. SLC was also omitted, but I can see the reason for this – it’s hard to get your hands on 25nm SLC these days. Why? Because MLC technology has been improved upon to the point where ‘enterprise MLC’ (eMLC) is rapidly replacing SLC even despite the supposed reduction in reliability and endurance over SLC. The reasons for this are simple, and are completely sidestepped or otherwise overlooked by the paper:
- SSD controllers employ write combination and wear leveling techniques.
- Some controllers even compress data on-the-fly as to further reduce writes and provisioning.
- Controller-level Error Correction (ECC) has improved dramatically with each process shrink.
- SSD controllers can be programmed to compensate for the drift of data stored in a cell (eMLC).
Subject: General Tech, Storage | February 20, 2012 - 05:53 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ssd, PS3
There is an interesting article down at Eurogamer which covers the possible benefits of upgrading a PS3 with a solid state drive. Those who know me can guess that I am snickering while crossing another perceived advantage off of my console versus PC list. Still, if for some reason you want to play exclusives to a disposable platform that are only exclusive because you let them be and you desire to upgrade your experience, check out the interesting article.
Isn’t “not needing to do this” the whole reason for having a console?
Consoles titles are naturally becoming as hard drive-intensive as they are allowed to be due to their abysmally small quantity of RAM. Developers have been using tricks to increase the usefulness of their available RAM such as disallowing split screen, streaming content as needed, and rendering at low resolutions.
The first Halo, for instance, was famous for their quick load times. The load speed is due in part to having their game assets copied multiple times on the disk which allows choice in loading whichever copy requires the least seek time to access. Also, having a hard drive helped Halo too.
The article itself focuses mostly on RAGE and Skyrim due to their harsh issues with lag and pop-in. Skyrim has had known issues with getting progressively worse as time progressed. This issue was mostly corrected in version 2.03 as was also demonstrated in Eurogamer’s article making an SSD almost unnecessary, but prior to 2.03 an SSD surprisingly helped substantially with the problem. It should also be no surprise that throwing faster storage at RAGE helped immensely just as it does on the PC.
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Storage | February 20, 2012 - 01:53 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Thecus, NAS
Home users are starting to look at Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices to serve their home media needs. Also popular are products which allow you to browse the internet and play media on your TV. Just announced by Thecus are two NAS devices which fit both roles and many others. The N2800 contains a built-in media card reader while the N4800 has a built in mini Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS), OLED status screen, and a second USB3.0 port.
I hear they're a NASty bunch...
The obvious selling features of the two devices are the inclusion of HDMI output to enable the above roles as well as an updated 3rd Generation Intel Atom CPU D2700. The D2700 is a 2.13GHz Dual Core and hyper threaded Intel Atom processor manufactured at 32nm.
Check out the highlights of their press release below.
02/20/2012- As part of the Intel Embedded Alliance, Thecus has precedence and access to a multitude of Intel prototypes and the latest technologies. Working on those products for months now, Thecus is delighted to finally release its Vision Series.
The new N2800 and N4800 are going to be some of the first Intel(r) Atom(tm) D2700 based NAS! They will set the standard for what's best in the market to help you build a true multimedia center: USB 3.0, Dual Gigabit Ports, SD Card reader (N2800), Mini-UPS (N4800), etc.
And the most important feature is the HDMI output. With Thecus Local Display module, it's now possible to connect the NAS directly to a monitor and control it through USB mouse/keyboard. Playing HD movies, browsing the web, controlling the NAS... everything is now possible directly from your TV! Thanks to this feature, Thecus is now creating a new standard among the NAS industry.
Thecus(r) Technology Corp. specializes in IP Storage Server and Network Video Recorder solutions. The company was established in 2004 with the mission to make technology that is as transparent as it is easy-to-use and products that are not only the best on the market, but are accessible to experts and novices alike. Combining a world-class R&D team highly experienced in storage hardware and software development with a keen customer focus, Thecus(r) stays close to the market to develop high-quality products to fulfill the storage and surveillance needs of today's world.
Subject: Storage | February 16, 2012 - 09:51 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: Xtensa, VIA, Tensilica, ssd, DPU, controller
VIA has always been known for the 'slow and steady' approach to computing. They might not have the quickest stuff around, but they certainly tend to have the lowest power draw. While we haven't seen many releases from VIA as of late, they appear to be gearing up for a rediscovered purpose for their mantra - Solid State Storage.
VIA has brought on a company called Tensilica, who make a System on a Chip (SoC) architecture that has been purpose built for moving data around. The system, dubbed the Xtensa dataplane processor (DPU), has some particular math strengths that would be very beneficial if applied to the realm of an SSD controller. For example, the DPU is capable of performing multiple simultaneous table lookups within a single clock cycle. This is handy for increasing the IOPS rating of an SSD, since wear leveling and write amplification are handled by remapping the LBA's (sectors) to flash memory space. Each IO results in a necessary table lookup, which the DPU can perform very quickly.
Subject: Storage | February 14, 2012 - 05:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vibration, Tiché PC HDD Vibration Killer, hdd
At first glance they may just look like colourful metal 3.5" to 5.25" drive bay adapters but the Tiché PC HDD Vibration Killer kit includes a rubber suspension intended to stop the noise and vibrations generated by a spinning hard disk. It should help with cooling since the drives have more space around them in a 5.25" bay and it will help save space as three drives will fit in only two 5.25" slots. SPCR's testing disproved the first as they saw noticeably higher temperatures from the drives once installed in the mounts, but not worryingly so. They did see seriously positive results when they looked at the effectiveness of vibration reduction as well as noise reduction. If you've got a drive that shakes your house when you boot this kit is worth checking out.
"The Tiché PC HDD Vibration Killer is an aftermarket internal hard drive suspension system that is simple but effective and cost efficient."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Intel 520 Series 240GB @ Tweaktown
- Intel 520 Series Cherryville 240GB SSD Review @ HCW
- Intel 520 Series 240GB (Raid 0 update) @ SSD Review
- Intel 520 Series 240GB Solid State Drive Review @ eTeknix
- Intel 520 Series SSD @ The Inquirer
- Intel 520 SSD Review (Round Two) - RAID Testing at 1.5GB/s With Highpoint 2720SGL RAID Controller @ SSD Review
- OCZ Synapse Cache 64GB SSD Review@ HardwareLOOK
- OCZ Synapse Cache SATA III Solid State Disk @ Pro-Clockers
- OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS 240GB SSD @ Funky Kit
- OCZ Technology Octane 512GB Solid State Drive with 1.13 Performance Firmware @ Tweaktown
- Understanding SSD Advertised Performance and Its Purchase Implications - An SSD Primer @ SSD Review
- A Look at Enterprise Performance of Intel SSDs @ AnandTech
- Synology DS212 NAS Server Review @ Techgage
- Buffalo CloudStation Pro Duo Network Storage @ X-bit Labs
- OCZ Technology Octane 128GB @ Tweaktown
- Meet Intel's Cherryville: 520 Series 240GB SSD Review @ Techgage
- Asus BW-12B1LT Internal 12X Blu-Ray Writer Review @ Tweaknews
- Diablotek SSD to USB 3.0 SATA Adapter @ TechwareLabs
- HornetTek Enterprise 4X @ LanOC Reviews @ LANOC
- Hitachi Touro Desk Pro 3TB USB 3.0 External HDD Review @ Madshrimps
- Serial Technologies SATA II to IDE Adaptor Review @ eTeknix
- Zalman ZM-VE300 2.5” USB3.0 External HDD Enclosure Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: Storage | February 14, 2012 - 02:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: z-drive R4 CloudServ, SandForce 2581, PCIe SSD, ocz
How does 6.4TB of Synchronous Mode Multi-Level Cell NAND storage sound to you? It is still a PCIe 2.0 device but it is capable of up to 6,000 MB/s which is none too shabby.
SAN JOSE, CA—February 14, 2012—OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced the Z-Drive R4 CloudServ PCI Express (PCIe) flash storage solution, designed to dramatically accelerate cloud computing applications and significantly reduce operating expenses in the data center. The new Z-Drive R4 CloudServ features monumental data throughput, and raises the bar in performance and capacity.
“The Z-Drive R4 CloudServ PCIe solid state drive delivers game-changing performance and enables clients to process massive data-sets with up to 16TB of storage capacity on a single, easy-to-deploy card,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology. “With this new solution, system architects are able to design more efficient and dynamic cloud computing infrastructures while simultaneously reducing system complexity and the high maintenance costs associated with traditional infrastructures.”
With increasing emphasis on cloud computing and the sheer growth in data, PCIe-based flash storage systems have the ability to bypass traditional storage overhead by reducing latencies, increasing throughput, and enabling efficient processing of massive quantities of data. The Z-Drive R4 CloudServ is capable of transferring multiple gigabytes per second and delivering over a million IOPS with a level of concentrated performance that enables system architects to design more productive infrastructures while lowering costs associated with hardware failure, maintenance, structural footprint, and energy consumption.
The latest evolution of the Z-Drive R4, the CloudServ, is specifically designed for the most demanding cloud computing applications with increased capacities and even greater bandwidth capabilities delivering up to 1.4 million IOPS. Melding hardware and software managed solutions with OCZ’s integrated Virtualized Controller Architecture™ (VCA) 2.0 and OCZ’s SANRAD VXL virtual acceleration caching software, the Z-Drive R4 CloudServ can be employed as a high-performing host-based flash cache that works in conjunction with the VXL to dynamically allocate flash resources to accelerate all virtual machines. This maximizes the performance of critical applications and provides a seamless migration from one host to another without the loss of cache data. As these virtual machines are migrated from one host to another, they must retain full access to the flash cache without loss of performance or interruption of service. OCZ’s SANRAD VXL software is the only software that allows for this seamless migration without loss of access to the flash cache.
The Z-Drive R4 CloudServ PCIe SSD will be available in models ranging from 300GB-16TB capacities throughout OCZ's global channel in the coming weeks. As with all OCZ enterprise products, customer-specific configurations and functionality are available upon request.