Tom's Hardware Tests USB 3.1 on MSI's X99A Gaming 9 ACK

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Storage | February 11, 2015 - 09:59 PM |
Tagged: usb 3.1, usb, msi, asmedia

UPDATE: Not to be self-serving, but we have our own story online now looking at the performance of early USB 3.1 hardware on PC Perspective as well! Be sure to check that out!

USB 3.0, for storage, is fast. If you are using an external, spindle-based hard drive, it will perform basically as fast as an internal sibling would. Apart from my two SSDs, I do not even have an internal drive anymore. You can safely install games to external hard drives now.

usb-ss-logo.png

But with USB 3.1, the spec doubled to 10 Gbps, which matches the first generation Thunderbolt connector. A couple of weeks ago, Tom's Hardware put it to the test with an ASMedia USB3.1 to SATA 6 Gbps developer board. Sure enough, when you are raiding a pair of Intel 730 SSDs, you can achieve over 700 MB/s read/write in CrystalDiskMark.

About the most interesting part of Tom's Hardware testing is their CPU usage benchmark. While USB 3.0 on Intel's controller choked a CPU thread, USB 3.1 on ASMedia's controller did not even reach half of a thread's maximum (the CPU in question is a Core i7-5930K Haswell-E at 3.5 GHz).

So until we get flash drives that are constrained by USB 3.0's fairly high ceiling, we might be able to have reduced CPU usage.

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Plextor
Tagged: ssd, plextor, pcie, 256GB

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction:

Plextor launched their M6e PCIe SSD in mid-2014. This was the first consumer retail available native PCIe SSD. While previous solutions such as the OCZ RevoDrive bridged SATA SSD controllers to PCIe through a RAID or VCA device, the M6e went with a Marvell controller that could speak directly to the host system over a PCIe 2.0 x2 link. Since M.2 was not widely available at launch time, Plextor also made the M6e available with a half-height PCIe interposer, making for a painless upgrade for those on older non M.2 motherboards (which at that time was the vast majority).

With the M6e out for only a few months time (and in multiple versions), I was surprised to see Plextor launch an additonal version of it at the 2015 CES this past January. Announced alongside the upcoming M7e, the M6e Black Edition is essentially a pimped out version of the original M6e PCIe:

DSC07414_resize.JPG

We left CES with a sample of the M6e Black, but had to divert our attention to a few other pressing issues shortly after. With all of that behind us, it's time to get back to cranking out the storage goodness, so let's get to it!

Read on for the full review!

Don't worry if it is too big to fit; Team Group's M131 USB drive can do Micro too

Subject: Storage | February 5, 2015 - 02:57 PM |
Tagged: usb, team group, M131, Micro USB

Team Group M131 Smart Dual Drive is so named because it can plug into both full sized USB and with the additional connector it can connect to Micro USB ports as well.  It's tiny size at 44 x 16.6 mm and 6.6g makes it easy to carry around, the largest size of 32GB may feel cramped for a PC but seems appropriate for use with a smartphone.  It is not the fastest USB drive out there but eTeknix saw it for sale at £7.19 so you are not paying extra for the convenience of the drive.  Check out their review here.

TeamGroup_M131_Dual_USB2_Flashdrive-Photo-Plugs.jpg

"The limited storage in mobile devices can be a real problem just as the fact that a touchscreen rarely is the optimal input device. Both these things might be a thing of the past if you invest in a Team Group M131 Smart Dual Drive with OTG support that. I’m taking a closer look at 16GB model of just this drive today."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: eTeknix
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction

Well here we are again with this Samsung 840 EVO slow down issue cropping up here, there, and everywhere. The story for this one is so long and convoluted that I’m just going to kick this piece off with a walk through of what was happening with this particular SSD, and what was attempted so far to fix it:

IMG_0007.JPG

The Samsung 840 EVO is a consumer-focused TLC SSD. Normally TLC SSDs suffer from reduced write speeds when compared to their MLC counterparts, as writing operations take longer for TLC than for MLC (SLC is even faster). Samsung introduced a novel way of speeding things up with their TurboWrite caching method, which adds a fast SLC buffer alongside the slower flash. This buffer is several GB in size, and helps the 840 EVO maintain fast write speeds in most typical usage scenarios, but the issue with the 840 EVO is not its write speed – the problem is read speed. Initial reviews did not catch this issue as it only impacted data that had been stagnant for a period of roughly 6-8 weeks. As files aged their read speeds were reduced, starting from the speedy (and expected) 500 MB/sec and ultimately reaching a worst case speed of 50-100 MB/sec:

840 EVO 512 test hdtach-2-.png

There were other variables that impacted the end result, which further complicated the flurry of reports coming in from seemingly everywhere. The slow speeds turned out to be the result of the SSD controller working extra hard to apply error correction to the data coming in from flash that was (reportedly) miscalibrated at the factory. This miscalibration caused the EVO to incorrectly adapt to cell voltage drifts over time (an effect that occurs in all flash-based storage – TLC being the most sensitive). Ambient temperature could even impact the slower read speeds as the controller was working outside of its expected load envelope and thermally throttled itself when faced with bulk amounts of error correction.

900x900px-LL-4985de76_2014-09-1720.18.26TestresultsforC_0.png

An example of file read speed slowing relative to age, thanks to a tool developed by Techie007.

Once the community reached sufficient critical mass to get Samsung’s attention, they issued a few statements and ultimately pushed out a combination firmware and tool to fix EVO’s that were seeing this issue. The 840 EVO Performance Restoration Tool was released just under two months after the original thread on the Overclock.net forums was started. Despite a quick update a few weeks later, that was not a bad turnaround considering Intel took three months to correct a firmware issue of one of their own early SSDs. While the Intel patch restored full performance to their X25-M, the Samsung update does not appear to be faring so well now that users have logged a few additional months after applying their fix.

Continue reading our look at the continued problems with the Samsung 840 EVO SSD!

All may not be well in Samsung-ville, some EVOs are slowing down again

Subject: Storage | January 26, 2015 - 05:27 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, firmware, EVO, 840 evo

In the fall it was confirmed by Samsung that stale data on some 840 EVO drives would suffer performance degradation and released a tool to mitigate the issue which Al reviewed hereThe Tech Report recently heard of some cases of drives slowing even with the new EXT0CB6Q firmware installed and decided to investigate.  They took a 840 EVO 250GB SSD which had been filled with files to test the patch and was then left forgotten on a shelf for several months and tested the speeds.  The benchmarks showed an average speed between 35-54MB/s far below what you would expect to see from an SSD but in line with what users have been reported.  On the other hand another 840 EVO which has been in constant use since the firmware update shows no signs whatsoever of slowing down, though NTFS compression was recently used on the drive which could have refreshed the flash.  Obviously more testing needs to be done, keep your eyes out for updates on this new development.

threshold shift.png

"In October, Samsung patched its 840 EVO SSD to address a problem that caused slow read speeds with old data. Recent reports suggest the issue isn't completely fixed, and the results of our own testing agree."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction:

Today Samsung has lifted the review embargo on their new Portable SSD T1. This represents Samsung's first portable SSD, and aims to serve as another way to make their super speedy VNAND available. We first saw the Samsung T1 at CES, and I've been evaluating the performance if this little drive for the past week:

150115-125412.jpg

We'll dive more into the details as this review progresses.

Specifications:

specs-2.png

Packaging:

150115-124803.jpg

150115-124922.jpg

The T1 comes well packaged, with a small instruction manual and a flat style short USB 3.0 cable. The drive itself is very light - ours weighed in right at 1 ounce.

Continue reading our review of the Samsung Portable SSD T1 500GB unit!

Upgrade your car with an SSD?

Subject: Storage | January 19, 2015 - 05:05 PM |
Tagged: super talent, DuraDrive AT7, ssd, SM2246EN

If you have an entertainment system in your car, why not go whole hog and upgrade it with a specially designed Super Talent DuraDrive AT7 SSD.  Unfortunately you will be hard pressed to find one as they will generally be sold directly to the auto manufacturers but The SSD Review's look at it is interesting because it is the first look at Silicon Motion's new SM2246EN 6Gbps 4 channel controller.  The ATTO results when connected to an X99 motherboard were impressive, peaking at 554MB/s read and 446MB/s write.  It will be interesting to see which manufacturers install this in their vehicles and what usage scenarios would require this kind of throughput.

SuperTalent-DuraDrive-AT7-1TB-SSD-PCB-Front.png.pagespeed.ce_.W-whe2TDzgnoX4D6qalq.png

"Every now and then, we are fortunate to have SSDs reach our bench that one might not normally find within every day PC systems or servers. Our review today of the Super Talent DuraDrive AT7 SSD is just that; a SSD fully intended for the automobile industry, and more specifically In-vehicle Infotainment Systems."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Remember all those online 'experts' telling you that OCZ SSDs always fail?

Subject: Storage | January 14, 2015 - 04:38 PM |
Tagged: ocz, torture, ARC 100

The Tech Report has already shown a variety of SSDs can survive long after their write life cycle has been exceeded and that some drives can continue past 2 petabytes. Kitguru is performing a very similar test, specifically with OCZ Arc 100 SSD and have now passed the 100TB mark with the five drives they are testing.   Not a single one of these consumer level drives have died and only one of the drives has reported an error and that was one single bad  block.  While they have had problems with a specific controller in the past, they no longer use that controller and claims that all of their drives are tarnished is a bit of an exaggeration.  A specific performance was also finally addressed, but they are certainly not the only manufacturer that has needed to be called out to address performance degradation over time.  You can see the current results here.

20-228-116-TS.jpg

"The drives all passed the warranty figure of 22TB at the close of December – our next test was to get them all past the 100TB mark. Would any fail?"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: KitGuru

CES 2015: Crucial launches new MX200, BX100 SSDs, intros Storage Executive

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2015 - 03:21 PM |
Tagged: Storage Executive, SM2246EN, MX200, Dynamic Write Acceleration, DWA, crucial, CES 2014, CES, BX100

At CES, I took a trip to the LVCC to be briefed us on a pair of new Crucial SSD models:

1.png

The new MX200 is an evolution of the previous MX100 line, with the most notable addition being Dynamic Write Acceleration. DWA can flip dies between SLC and MLC mode on-the-fly, and is detailed in our previous write-up of the Crucial M600 SSD. While the performance was a bit inconsistent in our M600 review, there have likely been improvements if Crucial is putting this feature into their mainstream consumer line. Also interesting is how Crucial intends to package this product in mSATA and M.2 form factors - these have historically been reserved for their higher end M550 line and were not available in the MX100.

DSC07066_resize.JPG

Another addition is the BX100. For this drive, Crucial has decided on the Silicon Motion 2246EN, which should be able to let them get the costs lower than what is possible with the Marvell controller. As a budget targeted model, this one will only be available in the 2.5" SATA form factor. Below are the briefed specs from these two products;

2.png

3.png

4.png

5.png

Another addition is a software solution dubbed 'Crucial Storage Executive'. This is basically their 'Toolbox' solution and handles reporting of S.M.A.R.T. data as well as firmware updates. Crucial has chosen to go the unique route of configuring this tool as a background service that is accessed through a web browser on the host system (most competing solutions are a standalone application).

6.png

The best part of this launch is the pricing. Crucial SSDs have always been highly cost competitive, but look at that launch pricing on the BX100:

7.png

That's $0.40/GB for what looks to be a very decent SSD. These two models are set to ship Q1 2015, so we'll likely see them within the next month or so.

The full press blast for these pair of SSD releases appears after the break.

Coverage of CES 2015 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2015 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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

Source: Crucial

CES 2015: OCZ shows off new JetExpress SSD controller, Vector 180, Z-Drive 6000

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2015 - 02:36 PM |
Tagged: Z-Drive 6000, Vector 180, ssd, SFF-8639, sata, pcie, ocz, NVMe, M.2, JetExpress, CES 2014, CES

At CES, we stopped by OCZ and were briefed on their new SSD controller, the JetExpress:

DSC07253_resize.JPG

As indicated on the placard, the JetExpress supports M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 (M.2 is typically PCIe 2.0), and natively supports both SATA and PCIe / NVMe connectivity.

DSC07255_resize.JPG

I found out some more goodies about this new controller. Aside from being configurable during production to support SATA or PCIe, this is actually a 10 channel controller (SSDs are typically limited to 8 channels). The controller can support LDPC *in addition to* BCH error correction. This is important as LDPC requires more compute power and is slower than BCH, so OCZ is baking in the capability to use BCH early on, and transition over to LDPC as the flash wears to the point where BCH can no longer efficiently correct bad pages. This means the JetExpress should be able to maintain very high performance while extending flash life out with LDPC only when it's needed.

DSC07262_resize.JPG

Above is the Vector 180, which is launching soon. We are under NDA on this product, but nothing is stopping you from checking out the pic of what they had displayed above :).

DSC07267_resize.JPG

Here's the Z-Drive 6000, an SFF-8639 (PCIe 3.0 x4) 2.5" enterprise SSD. The PMC Sierra controller supports NVMe connectivity and power modes are switchable to enable even higher performance. Performance looks to be very competitive with the Intel P3700, rated at 3GB/sec reads and 2GB/sec writes, as well as 700,000 4k random read and 175,000 4k random write IOPS. Our next OCZ review should be of the Vector 180, but samples are not out yet, so stay tuned!

OCZ's press blast for the JetExpress launch appears after the break.

Coverage of CES 2015 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2015 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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

Source: OCZ