ECS LIVA Adopts Its Own M.2 Port

Subject: Systems, Storage | January 19, 2016 - 09:44 PM |
Tagged: M.2 SATA, M.2, LIVA, ECS

Back in November, Sebastian reviewed the ECS LIVA X2. While the device always had an M.2 slot, its storage options were soldered eMMC chips with capacities of their 32GB or 64GB. They were also pretty slow, with 150MB/s reads and 40MB/s writes in his testing. To exceed that, you need to install your own M.2-based SSD, which was a bit of a difficult process.

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According to Links International, via FanlessTech, we are now seeing options that include M.2 SSDs without eMMC. In this case, they are using an Intel-based, 120GB drive. Its signal is M.2 SATA though, which is slower than M.2 PCIe, but a device with this performance characteristic will probably not care about that extra bump in performance. You probably couldn't do much high-bandwidth data crunching with the Braswell processor, and just about every other way on or off of the device is limited to less than or equal to a gigabit of bandwidth. You might be able to find a use case, but it's unlikely to affect anyone interested in this PC.

The jump from eMMC, on the other hand, might.

Silicon Power Slim S55, a drive for systems on a diet

Subject: Storage | January 15, 2016 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: silicon power, Slim S55, 240gb, Phison PS3110-S10, tlc

At 7mm the Silicon Power Slim S55 is perfect for older ultraportables that need a drive upgrade, though they will certainly slip into a 2.5" bay in any system.  The drive uses the Phison PS3110-S10, found in a variety of drives which Al compared last summer.  The controller is paired with a 128MB cache of Nanya DDR3 and TLC NAND, which lowers the price to an impressive $65 for the 240GB model.  It also performs decently, eTeknix saw 556MB/s in ATTO and 530MB/s in CDM; you can check out more tests in their full review here.

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"Silicon Power’s Slim series of solid state drives all come with a 7mm thickness, making them perfect for ultrabooks and similar portable computers that require this form factor. Traditional 2.5-inch mechanical drives mostly come with a 9.5mm thickness, ruling them out as an option. The Slim S55 SSD is the little brother in this series, but it doesn’t need to be ashamed of that."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Source: eTeknix

Fixstars Launches 13TB 2.5" SATA SSD Geared Towards Media Streaming

Subject: Storage | January 13, 2016 - 09:57 PM |
Tagged: ssd, sata, Fixstars, 13TB

Got a high bandwidth video camera that fills a piddly 4TB SSD in too short of a time? How about a 13TB SSD!

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Fixstars certainly gets cool points for launching such a high capacity SSD, but there are a few things to consider here. These are not meant to be written in a random fashion and are primarily geared towards media creation (8k RAW video). Filling at saturated SATA bandwidth, these will take about 7 hours to fill, and just as long to empty onto that crazy high end editing machine. But hey, if you can afford 13TB of flash (likely ~$13,000) just to record your video content, then your desktop should be even beefier.

The take home point here is that this is not a consumer device, and it would not work out well even for pro gamers with money to burn. The random write performance is likely poor enough that it could not handle a Steam download over a high end broadband link.

Full press blast after the break.

Source: Fixstars

Seagate Breaks into Helium Market with 10TB Enterprise Capacity Hard Drive

Subject: Storage | January 13, 2016 - 02:38 PM |
Tagged: Seagate, helium, hdd, enterprise, 3.5, 10TB

Seagate updated their Enterprise Capacity line of HDDs this morning with a monster of a 10TB unit:

Seagate 10TB Helium.jpg

To achieve this capacity, Seagate switched over to a sealed, Helium filled design (similar to what HGST has been doing for a few years now). Since filling the space of a HDD with Helium helps reduce head flutter and platter thickness, Seagate was able to fit seven platters into a standard 3.5" housing. As an additional note, this drive uses the same PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording) as other recent generation units, and not the SMR (Shingled) employed in their recent 8TB Archive HDD. PMR is a good thing here, as it enables random write access without the performance penalty incurred when attempting the same on an SMR drive.

The Helium filling pushes the MTBF up to 2.5 million hours. Unfortunately the release was light on the other details, and we do not have pricing as of yet, but we will certainly be keeping an eye on this one. Seagate states they are 'shipping to select customers', but given that those customers are ordering by the truckload, it may be some time before we see them in the OEM aftermarket channels.

Full press blast after the break.

Source: BusinessWire

Synology Launches DiskStation DS416j NAS

Subject: Storage | January 13, 2016 - 01:20 PM |
Tagged: synology, NAS, DSM, DS416j, diskstation

Synology has updated their popular DiskStation line with a new sleek looking 4-bay unit:

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The DiskStation DS416j is equipped with a Marvell Armada 88F6828 dual-core CPU running at 1.3 GHz coupled to 512MB of DDR3. This boost in specs enables a claimed 37% increase in write speed performance, bringing that spec up to just over 100 MB/sec. Reads are claimed at 112 MB/sec, which basically means it is saturating its Gigabit Ethernet link.

DS416j.png

In addition to the four installed HDDs, the DS416j can accept additional external drives via its rear panel USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports (one each). The new DSM 5.2 should run even smother and faster on this updated hardware. Despite the speed increase, the new model looks to be very power efficient, claiming 13W in hibernation (HDDs spun down) and 22W during access.

Full press blast appears after the break.

Source: Synology

CES 2016: HyperX Teases New Predator NVMe SSD

Subject: Storage | January 10, 2016 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: pci-e, NVMe, M.2, kingston hyper x, kingston

The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show is over, but news is still trickling out from attendees. Maximum PC spotted HyperX's first NVMe solid state drive on the show floor. First shown off at IDF 2015, the HyperX Predator NVMe M.2 SSD made an appearance at CES and the company released a bit more information.

Specifically, the new NVMe SSD will come with an optional PCI-E add-in-card for desktops without an M.2 slot much like its non-NVMe predecessor (AHCI protocol). It will come in 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB capacities and will hit speeds up to 2,585 MB/s reads and 1,354 MB/s writes. Further, Overclockers.com observed a 480 GB model at CES benchmarking at 1,775 MB/s sequential reads and 1,675 MB/s sequential writes.

Kingston HyperX Predator NVME M.2 PCIE SSD.jpg

Beyond that, HyperX (which is the enthusiast division of Kingston Technologies) is not talking details just yet and we do not know which controller or NAND flash they are using. The previous generation Predator uses Toshiba A19 toggle NAND though which is promising.

The new NVMe drive will be available sometime in the second quarter of 2016. Pricing has not yet been announced. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more details closer to launch. I'm looking forward to the full reviews and what moving to supporting NVMe will do for end users' experiences.

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PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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Source: Maximum PC

CES 2016: Patriot Launches Hellfire Series of PCI-E Solid State Drives

Subject: Storage | January 6, 2016 - 08:44 PM |
Tagged: patriot, pci-e ssd, phison, mlc, CES 2016

Patriot is launching into PCI-E based storage with its new Hellfire line of solid state drives. While Patriot is more commonly known for its flash memory (USB drives and SD cards) and RAM DIMMs, it is not new to SSDs. This will be its first line of PCI-E=based SSDs, however. Two drives in the Hellfire series are currently planned for a release later this year and will come in M.2 NVME and PCI-E add-in-card (AIC) versions.

Patriot Logo.png

The company is not talking specifics yet, and we will not know full speeds and feeds or pricing for a few months. They did reveal a few scraps of information with the press release though. Both versions of the Hellfire drives (M.2 and AIC) will be powered by a Phison 5007 controller and will use MLC NAND flash. Further, the drives will come in 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB capacities. The drives do differ greatly in performance with the Add-In-Card version having significantly better write and slightly improved read performance. Specifically, the M.2 NVME drive is rated at 2,500 MB/s reads and a mere 600 MB/s writes while the AIC version can hit 3,000 MB/s reads and 2,200 MB/s writes.

Patriot expects the Hellfire SSDs to be available by the end of Q1 2016. I welcome the increased PCI-E SSD competition which should help drive prices down further. Hopefully Patriot will release more details soon!

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CES 2016: Silicon Motion Updates SM2246EN for 3D NAND, Teases TLC and PCIe

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 06:00 AM |
Tagged: tlc, SM2260, SM2258, SM2256, SM2246EN, slc, SK Hynix, silicon motion, mlc, micron, Intel, imft, CES 2016, CES, 3d nand

Silicon Motion has updated their popular SM2246EN controller to support MLC 3D NAND from IMFT and SK Hynix:

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The SM2246EN acts as a gateway for third parties to make their own SSDs. Adding support for 3D NAND is good news, as it means we will be able to see third party SSDs launch with 3D flash sourced from Intel, Micron, or SK Hynix. Another cool tidbit is the fact that those demo units in the above photo were equipped and operating with actual 3D NAND from Intel, Micron, and SK Hynix. Yes, this is the first time seeing packaged MLC 3D NAND from a company other than Samsung. Here are some close-ups for those who want to read part numbers:

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Another question on non-Samsung 3D NAND is how does its performance stack up against planar (2D) NAND? Silicon Motion had a bit of an answer to that question for us:

benches.png

Keep in mind those are results from pre-production firmware, but I was happy to see that my prediction of IMFT 3D NAND speeds being effectively equal to their previous 2D flash was correct.

To knock out some other info overheard at our briefing, Silicon Motion will also be making an SM2258, which will be a TLC 3D NAND variant of the SM2256. In addition, we saw the unreleased SM2260:

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...which is Silicon Motion's PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD controller. This one is expected to surface towards the middle of 2016, and it is currently in the OEM testing stage.

Lots more storage goodies coming later today, so stay tuned! Full press blast for the updates SM2246EN after the break.

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PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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CES 2016: Samsung Announces 850 EVO-based Portable SSD T3 - Updated

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 12:15 AM |
Tagged: T3, ssd, Samsung, portable, msata, CES 2016, CES, 850 EVO

We got our first look at the Samsung T1 SSD at CES 2015. The concept was simple - Make a very compact external portable encrypted drive, and make it fast. Based on a 3D VNAND equipped mSATA 850 EVO and using an ASMedia USB to SATA bridge, the T1 had no issue saturating the SATA side of the link and was capable of well over 400 MB/s over a USB 3.0 link.

This year Samsung is teasing the next iteration on this product:

T3_007_Dynamaic_Silver_resize.png

Dubbed the T3 (T2 doesn't translate well in some other languages), the T3 has some notable changes / updates / upgrades over the T1 of last year:

  • Type-C connector on the device end of the cable (we assume the included cable will link to Standard A for compatibility). The T1 used micro-B.
  • Metal case / housing. T1 was all plastic.
  • Capacities up to 2TB. T1 was limited to 1TB.

Full press blast / additional details / specs appear after the break. Look out for a review of this one just as soon as we can get our hands on one!

*Update* I got my hands on one at a Samsung press dinner. Here it is next to the older T1. The T3 is a tiny bit larger and thicker, but the difference is hardly noticeable as the T1 was very thin and light as it was. Here's a pic:

image.jpeg

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Source: Samsung

CES 2016: Fasetto Teases Link SSD Storage Platform

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2016 - 01:39 AM |
Tagged: CES, CES 2016, Fasetto, Link, wifi, NAS, ssd, Samsung, vnand, 802.11ac

Fasetto is a company previously known as one of those cross-platform file-sharing web apps, but I was shocked to see them with a space at CES Unveiled. Companies without physical products tend to fall flat at this type of venue, but as I walked past, boy was I mistaken!

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To give the size a bit of perspective here, that's a business card sitting in front of the 'Link', which only measures 1.9x1.9x0.9" and weighs just under 4 ounces. That's a belt clip to the right of it. Ok, now that we have the tiny size and low weight described, what has Fasetto packed into that space?

  • Aluminum + ABS construction
  • Waterproof to 45 feet (and it floats!)
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • 802.11AC dual band WiFi (reportedly 4x4)
  • 4GB RAM
  • Quad core ARM CPU
  • 9-axis compass/accelerometer/gyro
  • 1350 mAh Li battery
  • Wireless charging (Chi style)
  • Up to 2TB SSD

For a portable storage device, that is just an absolutely outstanding spec sheet! The Link is going to run an OS designed specifically for this device, and will have plugin support (simple add-on apps that can access the accelerometer and log movement, for example).

The BIG deal with this device is of course the ability to act as a portable wireless storage device. In that respect it can handle 20 simultaneous devices, stream to seven simultaneously, and can also do the expected functions like wireless internet pass-through. Claimed standby power is two weeks and active streaming is rated at up to 8 hours. Even more interesting is that I was told the internal storage will be Samsung 48-layer VNAND borrowed from their T3 (which explains why the Fasetto Link will not be available until late 2016). This is sure to be a hit with photographers, as WiFi compatible cameras should be able to stream photos to the Link as the photos are being taken, eliminating the need to offload cameras at the end of a shoot.

We will definitely be working with Fasetto to help shake out any bugs prior to the release of this little gem. I suspect it might just be the most groundbreaking storage product that we see come out of this CES.

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!