Subject: Storage | October 7, 2012 - 12:44 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Thecus, qnap, NAS, Intel, atom d2550, atom d2500, asustor
Earlier this week, Intel announced that two of its Cedar Trail Atom-series processors would be powering several upcoming Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. Intended to be used in devices for home and small business users, they will feature either the Intel Atom D2500 or D2550 processor. Centralized content vaults, so-called personal clouds (internet and LAN-accessible storage), and security systems are all possible uses of the Intel Atom CPU-powered NAS boxes.
Both 32nm chips have a 10W TDP, 1MB of L2 cache, and are clocked at 1.86GHz. The D2500 has two cores while the D2550 is a dual core part with HyperThreading for a total of four threads. Both processors have an integrated northbridge and a PowerVR SGX545 GPU. The D2500 has the integrated GPU clocked at 400MHz while the Atom D2550’s SGX545 GPU is running at 640MHz.
|Cores (with HT)||2 / 2||2 / 4|
|Clockspeed||1.86 GHz||1.86 GHz|
|L2 Cache||1 MB||1 MB|
|Graphics Clock||400 MHz||640 MHz|
|TDP||10 W||10 W|
The Intel-powered NAS boxes will have anywhere from two to eight hard drives and offer up a number of features. For example, the storage devices will be able to integrate the McAfee AV SDK to run virus scans on your media files on the NAS itself. And thanks to the GPU, platforms with storage and the Atom chips will be able to support up to two external displays. The example Intel provided is a security system where the D2500/D2550 can power a computer with lots of attached storage and up to output up to four HD video stream on up to two displays thanks to GPU acceleration.
The Thecus N5550 NAS using the Intel Atom processor.
NAS boxes from QNAP, Asustor, and Thecus will be available at launch, with additional devices from other manufacturers coming in the future. The Thecus device is available for purchase now for around $600 without hard drives pre-installed.
On the small business side of things, Intel has announced that Mostor and Dane-Elec have also jumped on board to provide optimized software for the hardware used in business environments.
Read the full press release on Intel's website.
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Last week, Samsung flew myself and a few of my fellow peers in the storage review community out to Seoul, Korea. The event was the 2012 Samsung SSD Global Summit:
At this event, Samsung officially announced their new 840 Pro, which we were able to obtain early under NDA and therefore publish in concert with the announcement. The 840 Pro was largely an incremental inprovement over their 830 Series. Newer, faster flash coupled with a higher clocked controller did well to improve on an already excellent product.
As the event closed, we were presented with the second model of the lineup - the 840. This model, sans the 'Pro' moniker, is meant more for general consumer usage. The first mass marketed SSD to use Triple Level Cell (TLC) flash, it sacrifices some write speed and long-term reliability in favor of what should become considerably lower cost/GB as production ramps up to full capacity. TLC flash is the next step beyond MLC, which is in turn a step after SLC. Here's a graphic to demonstrate:
Subject: Storage | September 27, 2012 - 08:00 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, RE, RAID Edition, raid
This update brings the maximum capacity to 4TB and includes a SAS line as well. SATA connectivity will be 6Gb/sec, while SAS will employ dual port full duplex connectivity for the higher end enterprise sector. These drives appear to use the same platter capacity scheme employed by the recent WD Red Series, though the PR blast states 800GB/platter. I'm awaiting clarification on that point, as the math doesn't seem to work out evenly. Pricing is at a premium for these models, as they are intended for enterprise use. Mid to high $400's for SATA and SAS. Pricey, but still 1/10th of current good deals on SSDs.
Subject: Storage | September 25, 2012 - 05:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, 840 Pro 512GB, 840, mdx, pro, ssd
Allyn wasn't the only one blown away by the performance and efficiency increase of the new Samsung 840 Pro 512GB SSD, anyone who had a chance to review this drive saw incredible performance. It is not yet available for purchase but you can expect to see the 256G at $270 and this 512GB at around $600 when they do become available. Inside the 3-core eight channel MDX controller is paired with eight 64GB modules of Samsung’s new 21nm MLC DDR-2 toggle mode NAND, which give this drive its incredible speed. SSD Reviews came to the same conclusion that Al did, we need a new interface as SATA 6Gb/s is already being saturated by high end SSDs.
"Our report on the Samsung 840 Pro SSD begins post take off from Pearson Int’l Airport in Toronto and on route to Seoul, South Korea. Having had this SSD in our hands for some time, even the enormity of the Samsung 840 family release celebration cannot overshadow the performance of what just might be the hottest solid state drive to hit the streets to date. How does just under an extra hour laptop life and 100,000 IOPS grab you to start?"
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Samsung 840 Pro SSD @ Techspot
- Samsung SSD 840 Pro (256GB) @ AnandTech
- Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB review: the fastest SSD currently around @ Hardware.info
- Strontium HAWK Series 120GB SSD @ Tweaktown
- ADATA SX900 128GB SSD Review @ OCC
- Plextor M5 Pro 256GB review: record-setting performance @ Hardware.info
- ADATA XPG SX300 256GB mSATA SSD @ SSD Review
- Crucial m4 mSATA 256GB SSD @ Techspot
- Corsair Force GS 240 GB Solid State Drive @ X-bit Labs
- SanDisk Extreme 240GB SSD SDSSDX-240G-G25 Review @ PCSTATS
- Zalman F1 240GB SSD @ Tweaktown
- SSD Cache Performance - is it as good as a dedicated SSD? @ hardCOREware
- NZXT Aperture M Card Reader Review @ eTeknix
- SysAdmin Corner: Demystifying RAID @ Techgage
- LSI MegaRAID 9265-8i & Areca ARC-1882i SATA+SAS 6Gb/s Controller Cards @ NikKTech
- LSI Nytro MegaRAID NMR 8120-4i Application Acceleration Card @ SSD Review
- OWC Mercury AccelsiorM PCIe mSATA Controller @ SSD Review
- Vantec NexStar HX4 Quad 3.5-inch Enclosure Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Synology RackStation RS3412RPxs @ Kitguru
- Thecus N5550 NAS Network Storage Server @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: General Tech, Storage | September 25, 2012 - 01:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hitachi, foresight
Hitachi has created a sliver of quartz glass 2cm square and 2mm thick with the storage density of a CD, 40MB/in2 which they claim will remain viable for millions of years. Even radiation, water, most chemicals and heat above 1000C will not damage the data stored on this chip and in theory dropping it shouldn't hurt it too much either. Long term storage is a real problem, in some cases paper documents have a better chance of surviving long term in a readable state than do optical or magnetic media. That doesn't even bring readers into the loop, there are many obsolete formats which cannot be read by current readers and finding an old working Zip drive is not an easy task. Hitachi told The Register that they foresee no problems increasing storage density which is good considering the size of crystal you would need for large sized storage. As long as someone can read the binary etched into the glass they would recognize that there was data stored there, on the other hand what is the likelihood they would be running a compatible file system. At least the data will still be there which is more than you can say for the vast majority of storage media used today.
"Company researchers displayed the storage unit, consisting of a sliver of glass 2cm square and 2mm thick, which can hold 40MB of data per square inch, about the same as a standard CD. The data is written in binary format by lasering dots on the glass in four layers, but the researchers say adding more layers to increase storage density isn't a problem."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Nvidia to add cloud and mobile computing segments at GTC 2013 @ DigiTimes
- What does Steve Wozniak do at Fusion-IO? @ The Register
- Intel Linux OpenGL Driver Remains Slower Than Windows @ Phoronix
- Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security 2013 Review @ TechReviewSource
- BlackBerry 10 carrier testing starts in October, OS remains on schedule @ Engadget
- Here’s the Chip Apple Is Using to Stop You from Buying Cheap Cables @ Gizmodo
- AssistiveTouch Bug In Apple's New iOS 6 @ TechARP
- OKI MC562dn review: small office LED all-in-one @ Hardware.info
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Samsung has been at this SSD thing for quite some time now. The first SSD I bought was in fact a Samsung unit meant for an ultraportable laptop. Getting it into my desktop was a hack and a half, involving a ZIF to IDE adapter, which then passed through yet another adapter to convert to SATA. The drive was wicked fast at the time, and while it handily slaughtered my RAID-0 pair of 74GB VelociRaptors in random reads, any writes caused serious stuttering of the drive, and therefore the entire OS. I was clearly using the drive outside of its intended use, but hey, I was an early adopter.
Several SSDs later came the Intel X25-M. It was a great drive, but in its earliest form was not without fault. Luckily, these kinks were worked out industry-wide, and everyone quickly accelerated their firmware optimizations as to better handle random writes. Samsung took a few generations to get this under control. The first to truly get over this hump was the 830 Series, which launched earlier this year. It utilized a triple core Arm 9 CPU which was able to effectively brute force heavy random write workloads. It also significantly increased the speed and nimbleness of the 830 across the board, which combined with Samsung's excellent reliability record, quickly made it my most recommended series as of late.
...and now we have the 840 Series, which launched today. Well, technically it launched yesterday if you're reading from the USA. Here in Korea the launch started at 10 AM and spanned a day of product press briefings leading to the product NDA expiration at 8 PM Korea time. This review will focus on the 512GB capacity of the 840 Pro model. We will follow on with the 840 (non-pro) at a later date:
Read on for the full review!
Subject: Storage | September 23, 2012 - 10:00 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, Samsung, pro, mdx, 840
Good morning from Seoul, Korea!
I'm here at the Samsung Global SSD Summit, where Samsung has officially launched their 840 Series of SSDs. This new controller features many advancements which enable it to climb past 100,000 IOPS in random reads (!!!). Samsung also claims peaks of 90,000 IOPS in random writes. These are seriously high numbers for any SATA SSD, and we will be publishing our full review of the 840 Pro once the NDA lifts later this evening (tomorrow morning for everyone back in the states).
Unfortunately there is nothing more I can disclose at this time, but stay tuned for more info! While all of you are sleeping tonight, I will be attending several briefings covering the 840, and those juicy tidbits will all be filtered into our review, so don't miss this one!
Press Blast after the break:
Subject: Storage | September 19, 2012 - 11:27 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: western digital, WD, patter density, hitachi, hgst, helium, Hard Drive, 6tb
Western Digital-owned Hitachi Global Storage (HGST) recently announced that it is pursuing the mass production of helium-filled hard drives. The culmination of six-plus years of research and development, Hitachi’s engineers have come up with a workable solution to craft a sealed enclosure to contain the helium and internal drive hardware over the long term and in a way that can be mass produced. While the company is not ready to talk specifics or announce individual products, HGST (Western Digital) is going on record in stating that its helium-filled “hard drive platform” will offer up performance, power efficiency, and capacity improvements in a 3.5" form factor (with up to seven platters) sometime in 2013.
Don't try this at home folks, it won't actually work :).
The current crop of hard drives have small holes on the top to allow air pressure equalization, as the drives are not a fully-sealed design (and is why dunking them in oil is a bad idea). The proposed helium-filled hard drives would change that design, by being fully sealed from the outside environment after being filled with the noble gas. Steve Campbell, CTO at HGST stated the following in the company's press release:
“The benefits of operating a HDD with helium fill have been known for a long time. The breakthrough is in the product and process design, which seals the helium inside the HDD enclosure cost effectively in high-volume manufacturing,”
But why exactly is helium better for hard drives? In short, the gas is one-seventh (1/7) as dense as the air around us. This reduction in density allows for the platters to spin faster, or at the same spindle speeds at today's drives while experiencing less resistance and turbulance from versus an air-filled hard drive. Thanks to the reduced drag force, Hitachi can pack the platters closer together, which means that it can place more platters into the 3.5" hard drive form factor than ever before – up to seven with the current design. Further, the motor does not have to work as hard to drive the platters which results in quieter operation and more power savings. HGST also claims that using helium allows for better thermal conductivity, and allows the helium-filled hard drives to run up to 4°C cooler than an equivalently-configured air-equalized drive. Granted, 4°C is not that much of an improvement when looking at a single drive (or even a few in a desktop system), but it can add up to some decent cooling savings when these drives are utilized in datacenters.
Hitachi Global Storage does not yet have any specific products to announce publicly, but the company did offer up a few performance numbers that certainly seem promising – an in line with the company's goal of reducing the "total cost of ownership," or TCO. In addition tot he temperature improvements, the company claims up to 23% power reduction versus air. And when HGST factors in its seven-platter design, they have managed to bring the Watts-per-Terabyte (W/TB) 45% versus current drives. Assuming the helium-aided hard drives use the same (or more) amount of platter area as the company's previous drives, Hitachi/Western Digital could offer up to 7TB hard drives when combined with the company's 1TB per platter areal density improvements.
It has the potential to get even better, however. Should the engineers be able to integrate Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) – similar to what Seagate is pursuing – helium hard drives could offer up approximately 85TB 3.5" drives thanks to the additional two platters. Previously, Seagate envisioned up to 60TB HAMR hard drives in the 3.5" form factor. Those numbers are fairly far off in the future (and theoretical), however. On the other hand, Seagate believes that 6TB HAMR hard drives are reasonably close to public consumption, and if a HAMR drive could also benefit from the extra platters, potential spindle speed improvements, and power savings of using helium, I think 8TB+ is not out of the question while using less power than a traditional air-equalized (not sealed) 6TB HAMR-equipped hard drive.
Extremetech does bring up an interestng point about pricing, though. Mainly that helium is much more expensive than simply using the air around us! And as it is used up, it will only get more expensive, which are likely costs that will be passed onto consumers. Fortunately, it should not be too much of a premium that customers would have to pay (over a traditional hard drive) because a 3.5" hard drive will need only a small amount of the helium gas to realize the benefits, according to PC Perspective's resident storage guru Allyn Malventano.
What do you think about the prospects of a heluim-filled hard drive? Will we see such devices within our lifetimes, and just how much will these things cost? I suppose we'll have to wait until next year to find out!
Subject: Storage | September 17, 2012 - 07:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Hynix, Strontium Hawk Series, ssd, SandForce SF-2281, synchronous NAND
Hynix jumped into the world of SSDs with the first model containing a LAMD controller, their Neutron series. Obviously Hynix are not limiting themselves to that controller as the release of the new Strontium Hawk series demonstrates, with the well known SF-2281 controller making an appearance. When the SSD Review began their testing they expected results in line with other SandForce based drives but soon found themselves very pleasantly surprised. With compressed data, this drive surpassed other 120GB models and kept up with some 240GB models, a very impressive feat but not as impressive as the results they saw when checking out the incompressible data benchmarks. It would seem that Hynix has found a way to beef up performance in a way no other SandForce drive has managed yet. This review is well worth checking out.
"The production of a non-LAMD based SSD for Hynix is actually not that shocking as an exclusive contract between Corsair and LAMD was in place long before the Hynix purchase. The length of this contract is not known, however, it accounts for probably one of the smartest moves made by Corsair to date. The performance of their newly released LAMD controlled Neutron Series has taken the industry by storm and can be seen in our recent review of both the Neutron and Neutron GTX."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ Agility 3 60GB SSD @ Rbmods
- Corsair Neutron 240GB SSD Review - Link_A_Media Controller @ Legit Reviews
- Adata XPG SX300 128GB vs Crucial m4 256GB @ Hardware.info
- CoreRise Comay Venus 3S 120GB Fixed TRIM [SandForce 5.04] SATA3 SSD Review @ ModSynergy
- Zalman F1 120GB @ Tweaktown
- Corsair Neutron GTX 240 GB Review @ XSReviews
- Samsung 830 Series 256 GB SSD Review @ Hardware Secrets
- ADATA XPG SX900 Solid State Drive @ Benchmark Reviews
- WD My Book VelociRaptor Duo review: the way Thunderbolt was intended @ Hardware.info
- Thermaltake BlacX Duet HDD Docking Station Review @ eTeknix
- Pretec P240 USB 3.0 Multi Card Reader Review @ eTeknix
- Strontium 16GB AUTO USB Flash Drive @ Pro-Clockers
- SanDisk Extreme 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ PC STATS
- Bruce Lee MIMOBOT 8GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive Review @ Legit Reviews
Subject: Storage | September 12, 2012 - 02:08 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: idf, idf 2012, western digital, wdc, 5mm, hybrid hdd
At the Technology Showcase yesterday during IDF I got see in person the new Western Digital hybrid hard drives that will combine a single platter spinning disk with a NAND flash for a hybrid solution at under 5mm thick.
You can see that is barely enough z-height for a standard installation screw and this will really help get larger amounts of storage into thinner devices. WD will have it available in 500GB and 1TB versions though the 1TB model will come in a slightly higher 7mm variety.
The WD Blue models will be spinning disk only while the WD Black will combine as much as 32GB of flash memory but it could vary based on the specific OEM request and considerations.
Another requirement of this new form factor is the need for a new connector, conveniently named SFF-8038, that handles both power and data.
We are still waiting for pricing information, but another wave of hybrid technology looks to be on its way!