Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Western Digital

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction:

If you're into the laptop storage upgrade scene, you hear the same sort of arguments all the time. "Do I go with a HDD for a large capacity and low cost/GB, but suffer performance"? "I want an SSD, but can't afford the capacity I need"! The ideal for this scenario is to combine both - go with a small capacity SSD for your operating system and apps, while going with a larger HDD for bulk storage at a lower cost/GB. The catch here is that most mobile platforms only come with a single 2.5" 9.5mm storage bay, and you just can't physically fit a full SSD and a full HDD into that space, can you? Well today Western Digital has answered that challenge with the Black2 Dual Drive:

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Yup, we're not kidding. This is a 120GB SSD *and* a 1TB HDD in a single package. Not a hybrid. Two drives, and it's nothing short of a work of art.

Continue reading our review of the Western Digital Black2 Dual Drive!!

Meet the new LSI Sandforce controller

Subject: Storage | November 22, 2013 - 01:33 PM |
Tagged: sandforce sf3700, LSI, Codename Griffin

That image may bear a remarkable resemblance to a DIMM but it is indeed an SSD using the PCIe M.2 connector.  The models that The SSD Review saw came in both M.2 and SATA versions with read and write speeds of up to 1.8GB/s over a PCIe 4x connection which is more than a little impressive.  They've taught this new controller another trick as well, DuraWrite Virtual Capacity could triple the storage available on an SSD virtually, a 128GB drive could store up to 384GB.  Hopefully we will get a more in depth description of how DVC will work in the near future.

M.2-Differences.jpg

1 notch PCIe X4 = 2000MB/s
2 notch PCIe x2/SATA = max 1000MB/s or 550MB/s

"Since first discovery of the next gen LSI SandForce FSP , we have seen this controller shed its ‘ Codename Griffin’ skin and receive official validation as the new LSI SandForce SF-3700 Series flash controller, indeed capable of top SSD performance speeds of 1.8GB/s. There are a ton of questions that remain, however. Why hasn’t it been released? Why haven’t we seen thorough performance benchmarks? Are there heat issues with the controller? Is it possible, like folklore describing the Griffin with its head of an eagle and body of a lion, that the SF3700 family is myth and something that we may just never see? Let’s tackle these questions one by one, all the while showing you some early examples of what various LSI SandForce partners have to offer."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Components Deals: Amazon Gold Box has Core i7-4770K for $299, Intel 240GB 530 SSD for $149

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Storage | November 19, 2013 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: i7-4770k, gold box, deals, amazon, 530 series

I don't often post about the Amazon Gold Box deals, but today the company has some great offerings specific to PC enthusiasts and DIY builders that you might want to take advantage of.  Please keep in mind though that these deals are only good today, November 19th!!

The flagship offering is the Intel Core i7-4770K, the company's highest end LGA1150 Haswell processor, is on sale for $299; $60 off the normal MSRP. That is the best price I have seen on that flagship CPU with the exception of in-store offerings from MicroCenters. 

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For those of you on a tighter budget, Amazon has the Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge processor on sale for $199

Another great price can be had on the Intel 530 Series 240GB SSD that is going for $149; well under the MSRP price. 

intel530.jpg

You can also find good deals on a pair of Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 cards including the OC model with boost for $239 or the Vapor-X model for $289, both after rebates. 

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Here are some other interesting deals, all found on the Gold Box deal page:

And just remember: these deals are only good today, November 19th!!

Source: Amazon

... And It's Gone. SATA Express Canceled from Intel 9-Series

Subject: General Tech, Chipsets, Storage | November 12, 2013 - 04:37 PM |
Tagged: Intel, 9-series, SATA Express

Intel is preparing to launch several processors next year. For back-to-school, Haswell will return with new SKUs and a new 9-series chipset; in the holiday season, Haswell-E will arrive for high-end (high wattage) enthusiasts on the X99 chipset; and, just before 2015, Broadwell-K will be available for the mainstream 9-series desktop.

SATA Express will not be accompanying them.

SATA Express.jpg

The specification, which more than triples SATA 6Gbps's "up-to 600MB/s" bandwidth rating, will not be validated for Intel 9 Series chipsets. Intel was originally rumored to be its launch partner. The host connector accepts connections from both SATA (up to two per host connector) and PCIe-based (one device, up to two lanes) hard drives. Two PCIe lanes provides 2GB/s of bandwidth.

It seems like the real benefit is to allow internal drives be connected with PCIe speeds through a ribbon-cable. Currently Intel has not given a reason to pass on the standard.

Source: VR-Zone
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Western Digital

Introduction and Features

Introduction:

Today Western Digital launched an important addition to their Personal Cloud Storage NAS family - the My Cloud EX4:

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The My Cloud EX4 is Western Digital's answer to the increased demand for larger personal storage devices. When folks look for places to consolidate all of their bulk files, media, system backups, etc, they tend to extend past what is possible with a single hard drive. Here is Western Digital's projection on where personal storage is headed:

WD EX4-market shift.png

Where the My Cloud was a single drive solution, the My Cloud EX4 extends that capability to span up to four 3.5" drives. When it comes to devices that span across several drives, the number 4 is a bit of a sweet spot, as it enables several RAID configurations:

WD EX4-RAID options.png

Everything but online capacity expansion (where the user can swap drives one at a time to a larger capacitiy) is suppoted. While WD has stated that feature will be available in a future update, I find it a bit risky to intentionally and repeatedly fail an array by pulling drives and forcing rebuilds. It just makes more sense to back up the data and re-create a fresh array with the new larger drives installed.

Ok, so we've got the groundwork down with a 4-bay NAS device. What remains to be seen is how Western Digital has implemented the feature set. There is a lot to get through here, so let's get to it.

Read on for more on Western Digital's new My Cloud EX4!

OCZ shrinks their flash and is proud to show it off

Subject: Storage | November 8, 2013 - 06:08 PM |
Tagged: Vector 150, toshiba mlc, ssd, ocz, 19nm, Indilinx, barefoot 3

OCZ's newest contribution to the SSD market is the Vector 150 with 19nm flash and a tiny footprint perfect for today's ultra-mobile devices.  One of the most welcome advances in this family is increased over-provisioning of flash storage which allows increased lifespan by letting the drive retire more flash as it slowly becomes unusable without shrinking the size of the drive.  As far as the performance goes it beats out almost all previous drives we have seen and while The Tech Report is a little worried about the lifetime of the Barefoot controller the 5 year warranty mitigates that concern somewhat.

You can also see how well it survived Al's torture testing here.

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"There's a new SSD in town. OCZ's Vector 150 combines the Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller with 19-nm Toshiba NAND and additional spare area. We take a closer look at how it measures up."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ Technology

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction:

It has been a while since OCZ introduced their Vector SSD, and it was in need of a refresh to bring its pricing more in-line with the competition, which had been equipping their products with physically smaller flash dies (therefore reducing cost). Today, OCZ launched a refresh to their Vector - now dubbed the Vector 150:

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The OCZ strategy changed up a while back. They removed a lot of redundancy and confusing product lines, consolidating everything into a few simple solutions. Here's a snapsot of that strategy, showing the prior and newer iterations of three simple solutions:

vector 150 - lineup.png

The Vector 150 we look at today falls right into the middle here. I just love the 'ENTHUSIST' icon they went with:

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Read on for our full review of the new OCZ Vector 150!

The continuing Tech Report SSD torture test

Subject: Storage | November 4, 2013 - 02:53 PM |
Tagged: ssd, endurance

The Tech Report have hit the 200TB mark on their testing of ~250GB SSDs from Corsair, Intel, Samsung and Kingston and the drives are starting to feel it.  At the 100TB mark Intel and Samsung drives started to lose blocks of storage and at 200TB all but two drives have shown evidence of degradation.  The non-Pro Samsung 840 has suffered the most but its performance is very similar to what it was in the beginning while the Corsair and the Kingston drive receiving only compressed data report themselves in perfect health.  Check out the exact performance deltas in their article.

TR_drives.jpg

"We're in the process of hammering six SSDs with an unrelenting torrent of writes to see what happens as the flash wears out. Today, we check in on the drives after 200TB of writes."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Seagate's supersized NASty specialized spinning disks

Subject: Storage | October 23, 2013 - 04:23 PM |
Tagged: NAS, Seagate, 4TB, hdd

Seagate's aptly named NAS HDD looks very much like their 4TB Desktop model but internally it has enhanced vibration reduction as well as parts that are more resistant to vibration which should create a quieter and longer lasting drive.  It also shares 5900 RPM and a 64MB cache but Seagate claims slightly higher seek times, 8.5ms read and 9.5ms write and time-limited error recovery which makes these drives far less dangerous to use in a RAID than the desktop model in scenarios such as Al has mentioned numerous times.  The Tech Report's testing put it against Seagate's Desktop version as well as the WD Red that is also optimized for use in NAS devices, read on to see which gets recommended.

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"Seagate's NAS HDD 4TB is optimized for network-attached storage and desktop RAID implementations. It promises better reliability than typical desktop drives, too. We take a closer look to see how the NAS HDD compares to its WD Red counterpart."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Western Digital announces new Sentinel DS5100 and DS6100 small business NAS devices

Subject: Storage | October 10, 2013 - 09:21 PM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD

Today, Western Digital announced a couple of additions to their small business NAS solutions.

WD Sentinel DS6100 101013.jpg

These two new devices, marked in blue on the below spec comparison chart, are an updated version of the previous Sentinel DX4000 and RX4100 models. The new units feature Xeon processors running Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials. Unlike previous models, the new units can boot from separate 2.5" HDD's (or SSDs) running single or in a RAID-1 mirrored pair, meaning the system does not have to rely on the primary storage array for OS files. The use of the new Windows Server also enables the use of Storage Spaces in lieu of the on-board RAID solution, should the configuration require it.

WD Sentinel.png

These are definitely higher end NAS devices which pack a lot of processing punch. As a result, they are a far cry from an ARM powered home NAS in price as well as in performance. We're following these releases closely, and expect additional releases along these lines from Western Digital in the future. I hope to see an 8 bay (or greater) model materialize as well.

Full press blast after the break: