Introduction, Packaging, and Internals
Being a bit of a storage nut, I have run into my share of failed and/or corrupted hard drives over the years. I have therefore used many different data recovery tools to try to get that data back when needed. Thankfully, I now employ a backup strategy that should minimize the need for such a tool, but there will always be instances of fresh data on a drive that went down before a recent backup took place or a neighbor or friend that did not have a backup.
I’ve got a few data recovery pieces in the cooker, but this one will be focusing on ‘physical data recovery’ from drives with physically damaged or degraded sectors and/or heads. I’m not talking about so-called ‘logical data recovery’, where the drive is physically fine but has suffered some corruption that makes the data inaccessible by normal means (undelete programs also fall into this category). There are plenty of ‘hard drive recovery’ apps out there, and most if not all of them claim seemingly miraculous results on your physically failing hard drive. While there are absolutely success stories out there (most plastered all over testimonial pages at those respective sites), one must take those with an appropriate grain of salt. Someone who just got their data back with a <$100 program is going to be very vocal about it, while those who had their drive permanently fail during the process are likely to go cry quietly in a corner while saving up for a clean-room capable service to repair their drive and attempt to get their stuff back. I'll focus more on the exact issues with using software tools for hardware problems later in this article, but for now, surely there has to be some way to attempt these first few steps of data recovery without resorting to software tools that can potentially cause more damage?
Well now there is. Enter the RapidSpar, made by DeepSpar, who hope this little box can bridge the gap between dedicated data recovery operations and home users risking software-based hardware recoveries. DeepSpar is best known for making advanced tools used by big data recovery operations, so they know a thing or two about this stuff. I could go on and on here, but I’m going to save that for after the intro page. For now let’s get into what comes in the box.
Note: In this video, I read the MFT prior to performing RapidNebula Analysis. It's optimal to reverse those steps. More on that later in this article.
Cool your jets
Cool Your Jets: Can the Angelbird Wings PX1 Heatsink-Equipped PCIe Adapter Tame M.2 SSD Temps?
Introduction to the Angelbird Wings PX1
PCIe-based M.2 storage has been one of the more exciting topics in the PC hardware market during the past year. With tremendous performance packed into a small design no larger than a stick of chewing gum, PCIe M.2 SSDs open up new levels of storage performance and flexibility for both mobile and desktop computing. But these tiny, powerful drives can heat up significantly under load, to the point where thermal performance throttling was a critical concern when the drives first began to hit the market.
While thermal throttling is less of a concern for the latest generation of NVMe M.2 SSDs, Austrian SSD and accessories firm Angelbird wants to squash any possibility of performance-killing heat with its Wings line of PCIe SSD adapters. The company's first Wings-branded product is the PX1, a x4 PCIe adapter that can house an M.2 SSD in a custom-designed heatsink.
Angelbird claims that its aluminum-coated copper-core heatsink design can lower the operating temperature of hot M.2 SSDs like the Samsung 950 Pro, thereby preventing thermal throttling. But at a list price of $75, this potential protection doesn't come cheap. We set out to test the PX1's design to see if Angelbird's claims about reduced temperatures and increased performance hold true.
PX1 Design & Installation
PC Perspective's Allyn Malventano was impressed with the build quality of Angelbird's products when he reviewed its "wrk" series of SSDs in late 2014. Our initial impression of the PX1 revealed that Angelbird hasn't lost a step in that regard during the intervening years.
The PX1 features an attractive black design and removable heatsink, which is affixed to the PCB via six hex screws. A single M-key M.2 port resides in the center of the adapter, with mounting holes to accommodate 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280, and 22110-length drives.
Subject: Storage | July 26, 2016 - 02:34 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: MX300, micron, M.2, crucial, 525GB, 275GB, 1TB
We reviewed the Crucial MX300 750GB SSD a few months back. It was a good drive that tested well, and thanks to its IMFT 3D NAND, it came in at a very competitive price point. Today Crucial has rearranged that lineup a bit:
The following capacities are being added to the MX300 lineup:
- 1TB $260 ($0.26/GB)
- 525GB $130 ($0.25/GB)
- 275GB $70 ($0.25/GB)
- 275GB * M.2 2280
The new capacities will be what is sold moving forward (starting 'late August'), with the 750GB model shifting to 'Limited Edition' status. That $0.25/GB carrying all the way down to the lowest capacity is significant, as typically we see higher cost/GB due to controller/PCB/packaging have more impact. Without that coming into play, we get a nearly 300GB SSD coming in at $70!
Specs and expected performance remain the same across all capacities, save a dip in random read performance on the 275GB models, mainly due to the reduced die count / parallelism. We'll take a look at these new capacities just as soon as samples arrive.
Subject: Storage | July 19, 2016 - 01:49 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: floppy drive, apple, commodore, IBM
This video, about floppy disks, is a little bit longer and in-depth than their previous one about cassette tapes. The 8-Bit Guy and friends (I'm pretty sure they don't call themselves that...) goes through how many tracks each floppy have, how many sectors they have, and how that varies per-manufacturer (including the technical reasons of how and why they are formatted incompatibly).
The 8-Bit Guy likes to go through a bunch of hardware, spanning the gamut of Atari, Commodore, Apple, IBM PC, and others, and explain their history. The most interesting part of this video, to me, was his explanation of why the Commodore floppy drive was so much larger than its competitors, and what it meant for performance.
Subject: Storage | July 15, 2016 - 02:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: usb type-c, usb 3.1, Porsche Design Desktop Drive, LaCie, external hdd
LaCie's newest external drive is called the Porsche Design Desktop Drive and comes in 4, 5 and 8TB models, giving you plenty of room to back up important files and to take your stories with you when travelling. It connects via Type-C USB 3.1, finally giving you a peripheral to plug into that port on your motherboard although it requires an AC power adapter to be plugged in when in use. Benchmark Reviews tested the drive and saw reads and writes hitting just under 180MB/s which is not bad, although far short of the theoretical maximum performance of the new USB protocol. You can check out the full review here.
"Utilizing the latest USB-C connector and providing up to 8GB of storage as well as simultaneously charging your laptop computer, the LaCie Porsche Design Desktop Drive is powerful, stylish, and usable with any computer with a USB 3.0/3.1 port. There are other features as well, which Benchmark Reviews will test in this review of this interesting external drive system."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Corsair Neutron XTi 480GB @ Kitguru
- Toshiba TransMemory-EX II 128 GB USB 3.0 @ techPowerUp
- Seagate Enterprise Capacity v5 8TB Review @ Hardware Canucks
Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging
Everyone expects SSD makers to keep pushing out higher and higher capacity SSDs, but the thing holding them back is sufficient market demand for that capacity. With that, it appears Samsung has decided it was high time for a 4TB model of their 850 EVO. Today we will be looking at this huge capacity point, and paying close attention to any performance dips that sometimes result in pushing a given SSD controller / architecture to extreme capacities.
This new 4TB model benefits from the higher density of Samsung’s 48-layer V-NAND. We performed a side-by-side comparison of 32 and 48 layer products back in March, and found the newer flash to reduce Latency Percentile profiles closer to MLC-equipped Pro model than the 32-layer (TLC) EVO:
Latency Percentile showing reduced latency of Samsung’s new 48-layer V-NAND
We’ll be looking into all of this in today’s review, along with trying our hand at some new mixed paced workload testing, so let’s get to it!
Yes, you read that correctly the 480GB Sonix NVMe PCIe SSD is indeed a Zotac product, the internals will be a bit less surprising to you however. Inside is a Phison PS5007-11 controller, paired with Toshiba MLC NAND and a 512MB DDR3 cache. Along with benchmarking the drive, eTeknix exposed its innards for your viewing pleasure in their full review. The price is a hair under $1/GB, perhaps a little less expensive than other PCIe SSD cards but still far above SATA based SSDs.
"We have finally entered the new storage era and it is no longer just a few selected manufacturers that have NVMe drives on the market. More competition and more options are great for us consumers and it is a pleasure for me to take Zotac’s Sonix PCIe-based NVMe SSD with 480GBcapacity for a test drive here at the office today."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Samsung 850 EVO @ The SSD Review
- Micron 9100 MAX Enterprise NVMe @ The SSD Review
- Toshiba OCZ RD400 512GB PCIe NVMe @ Custom PC Review
- OCZ RD400 (512GB) PCIe MVM2 M.2 SSD @ Bjorn3d
- Synology DiskStation DS916+ @ Legion Hardware
- Asustor AS3202T 2-Bay NAS @ techPowerUp
- Samsung EVO Plus microSDXC UHS-I Card @ The SSD Review
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
It's been too long since we took a look at enterprise SSDs here at PC Perspective, so it's high time we get back to it! The delay has stemmed from some low-level re-engineering of our test suite to unlock some really cool QoS and Latency Percentile possibilities involving PACED workloads. We've also done a lot of work to distill hundreds of hours of test results into fewer yet more meaningful charts. More on that as we get into the article. For now, let's focus on today's test subject:
Behold the Micron 9100 MAX Series. Inside that unassuming 2.5" U.2 enclosure sits 4TB of flash and over 4GB of DRAM. It's capable of 3 GB/s reads, 2 GB/s writes, and 750,000 IOPS. All from inside that little silver box! There's not a lot more to say here because nobody is going to read much past that 3/4 MILLION IOPS figure I just slipped, so I'll just get into the rest of the article now :).
The 9100's come in two flavors and form factors. The MAX series (1.2TB and 2.4TB in the above list) come with very high levels of performance and endurance, while the PRO series comes with lower overprovisioning, enabling higher capacity points for a given flash loadout (800GB, 1.6TB, 3.2TB). Those five different capacity / performance points are available in both PCIe (HHHL) and U.2 (2.5") form factors, making for 10 total available SKUs. All products are PCIe 3.0 x4, using NVMe as their protocol. They should all be bootable on systems capable of UEFI/NVMe BIOS enumeration.
Idle power consumption is a respectable 7W, while active consumption is selectable in 20W, 25W, and 'unlimited' increments. While >25W operation technically exceeds the PCIe specification for non-GPU devices, we know that the physical slot is capable of 75W for GPUs, so why can't SSDs have some more fun too! That said, even in unlimited mode, the 9100's should still stick relatively close to 25W and in our testing did not exceed 29W at any workload. Detailed power testing is coming to future enterprise articles, but for now, the extent will be what was measured and noted in this paragraph.
Our 9100 MAX samples came only in anti-static bags, so no fancy packaging to show here. Enterprise parts typically come in white/brown boxes with little flair.
If you are looking for large sized storage and can accept the SATA 6Gbps bottleneck, the 1920GB Toshiba HK4R SATA SSD certainly has some room for files. It uses Toshiba's own TC58 controller with 15nm MLC NAND and sports an endurance rating of 1 Drive Write Per Day for the duration of the 5 year warranty or up to 3520TB written. The testing done at The SSD Review showed sequential read and write speeds of 524MB/s and 503MB/s respectively making the drive a great choice for consumers or enterprise as the drive has many features required in the data centre. There is a distinct lack of pricing information, we shall see what these drives sell at some time in the near future.
"SATA SSDs are all the rage in data centers. Unlike their PCIe bothers, these SATA SSDs don’t often need to have high endurance figures and lightning fast IOPS performance. Instead, they typically just need to be cheap, reliable, and what is becoming more important lately, high capacity."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Toshiba Q300 Pro 256GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- Transcend SSD220S 480GB SSD @ Kitguru
- Drobo 5N review: Protection with BeyondRAID @ Modders-Inc
- Synology Diskstation DS416j NAS Review @ OCC
Subject: General Tech, Storage | July 5, 2016 - 02:52 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: cassette, tape
Some old PCs didn't have storage, so users needed to add programs manually by typing in the source code. As The 8-Bit Guy explains, one of the first consumer solutions was to attach a cassette tape to the computer through analog audio cables. They would actually be programmed by pulsing electrical intensities, which would be interpreted as binary data, within the audio range. Near the end, he even plays a clip of normal data, and “fast loader” data.
He, and his co-hosts, talk about their experiences with the medium, such as using a two-deck cassette player to copy programs and share them with friends. It doesn't go too deep into the technology or the time period, unlike some of his previous videos, but it's still entertaining none-the-less.