AData sets a new benchmark for low cost SSDs with their Premier SP550 line

Subject: Storage | December 29, 2015 - 01:48 PM |
Tagged: Premier SP550 240GB, adata, SM2256

At a current price of $67 the AData Premier SP550 240GB is one of the least expensive SSDs on the planet.  One has to wonder what kind of quality one would get at such a steep discount which is one of the reasons Hardware Canucks published this review of the drive.  The controller is Silicon Motion's talented SM225 which can interface with 1x/1y/1z nm TLC NAND from any manufacturer on the market, in this case 16nm SK Hynix 128Gbit TLC NAND.   As to performance, read speeds are very competitive at least until the 256MB DDR3-1600 cache fills at which point the speed does decrease, unfortunately read speeds are strangely slow even for TLC.  The three year, 90 TB written warranty is not spectacular but should give you at least some confidence in the reliability of the drive.  At the price you do make some sacrifices, but what a nice price.

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"With a price of just $80 and performance numbers that -on paper at least- look extremely competitive, is the AData Premier SP550 the budget SSD to get?"

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Storage

HAMR strike delayed until 2018

Subject: General Tech, Storage | December 28, 2015 - 07:21 PM |
Tagged: HAMR, delay

We had hoped to see Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording sometime in 2017 but that goal has proved to be optimistic and 2018 is now the current expectation for its arrival.  This technology will allow storage densities higher than 1.5 Tb/in2 but is not quite ready for primetime at the moment.  Prototypes do exist and some are being sent to customers to test the reliability and performance of drives in real life test scenarios.  The drives will be slower than flash based storage of course, however when it comes to storage density spinning rust still holds the crown and will continue to do so for some time.  You can refresh yourself on the technology by following the links in this post and read more about the delays over at Slashdot.

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"Unfortunately the hard disk drive industry is not ready to go live with Heat-assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR). The technology is yet not reliable enough for mass production. Over the years, producers of hard drives, platters and recording heads have revealed various possible timeframes for commercial availability of drives with HAMR technology. Their predictions were not accurate."

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Source: Slashdot

OWC Announces External Optical Drive

Subject: Storage | December 28, 2015 - 06:28 PM |
Tagged: owc, dvd, blu-ray, m-disc, external drive

The idea of an external optical drive is not new by any means, but they can be useful. This is especially true if you have multiple computers. I would argue that average users should still have a CD, DVD, and potentially Blu-ray drive, maybe even one with writing capabilities, but I think we're long past the point of needing a dedicated one for each PC.

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OWC has just announced two new models, one with a 24x DVD burner, and another with a 16x Blu-ray burner (I think this is the right link???). Interestingly, the press release states that they are compatible with USB 3.1 although a 16x Blu-ray transfers at 72 MB/s, which isn't even close to USB 3.0, let alone 3.1. I should note that the product pages seem to state USB 3.0, though. It seems a little silly to go for the higher-end link, but maybe it didn't cost them anything, so why not? They also supports the M-DISC format, which uses a high-durability medium (instead of the typical metal foil) that is supposed to not degrade for hundreds (maybe thousands) of years.

OWC also sells a 3-pack of 25GB M-DISC discs for about $15, which works out to about 20c/GB. This isn't too bad but, with cloud storage being in the ~3c/GB range and external harddrives in the ~4c/GB range, it might be of limited use since you could just make like 5-6 copies per M-DISC copy. You will also need to consider whether you will have the ability to read these discs in the future, although similar considerations must be made for all storage archival solutions (will AWS be around in 50 years, etc.). It might make sense for some, especially enterprises, though.

These drives are available now.

Source: OWC

Plextor to Introduce Company's First NVMe SSD at CES 2016, the M8Pe

Subject: Storage | December 28, 2015 - 04:44 PM |
Tagged: ssd, plextor, PCIe SSD, NVMe, M8Pe, M.2, CES 2016

Plextor is set to announce their first NVMe SSD at CES 2016, and the new M8Pe uses 4 lanes of PCIe 3.0 to provide up to 270,000 IOPS read and 150,000 IOPS write performance (4K random). Throughput numbers were not revealed.

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Image credit: PC World

The drive is in the M.2 form factor though the image indicates it will include a PCIe adapter and heat sink.

"The new drives also feature Plextor’s specialty features, such as PlexTurbo RAM caching, compression technology for maximizing storage capacity, and PlexVault, which allows you to hide private data from others on a shared computer."

No details have been announced yet on capacity, release date, or (of course) pricing. We'll have to wait until CES to find out more.

Source: PC World

MyDigitalSSD BP5e Slim 7 Series offers some attractive pricing

Subject: Storage | December 21, 2015 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: MyDigitalSSD, BP5e Slim 7, Phison S10, toggle NAND, tlc

At a mere $240 for the 960GB model, all the way down to $65 for the 240GB drive, the pricing on the MyDigitalSSD BP5e Slim 7 Series is very attractive.  The drives use the Phison S10 controller, which is quad-core and 8-channel design, with Toshiba’s TLC Toggle 2.0 NAND.  The NAND is the key factor in lowering the cost of the drives and may sour some prospective buyers.  The SSD Review's testing showed decent performance, even in the write tests although not quite good enough to unseat Samsung's 850 EVO.  There are some features lacking, such as AES encryption and the 2 year warranty is somewhat worrying.  As always, you get what you pay for and at these discounted prices the BP5e Slim series is certainly a interesting choice for those on a limited budget.

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"The competition between value based SSDs is getting ever more fierce this holiday season. Comparing back to just a few weeks ago we see most manufacturers offering great prices to entice more sales before year’s end. Building upon this steam is MyDigitalSSD with their latest model, the BP5e Slim 7 Series. BP5e stands for Bullet Proof 5 Eco, which is the latest variant of their Bullet Proof SSD products."

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Storage

OCZ's Trion 100 and the Crucial BX200; these are not the drives you're looking for

Subject: Storage | December 10, 2015 - 02:30 PM |
Tagged: tlc, crucial, BX200, ocz, Trion 100, ssd

Scott may have moved on but The Tech Report is still going strong and recently posted a double review covering the OCZ Trion 100 and Crucial's BX200.  Al has tested out two of the Trion 100s previously, he was less than impressed with the drives performance and The Tech Report's testing revealed the same lacklustre performance.  Sadly they preferred the Trion to the BX200, though perhaps not for the reason you might expect.  The previous BX100 was an MLC drive which had a great price to performance ratio, it was fast and inexpensive,  which lead to certain expectations for the next iteration of BX SSD.  Sadly the TLC used in the new drive simply could not match the BX100's performance and so neither drive received accolades for there performance.  Check out the actual performance and TR's recommendations in their full review.

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"OCZ and Crucial aren't resting on the laurels of their entry-level Arc 100 and BX100 drives. Instead, they've cooked up even more attainable SSDs built with TLC flash—OCZ with its Trion 100, and Crucial with its BX200. We put these drives through their paces to see what they can do."

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Storage

Don't have two M.2 slots? No problems!

Subject: Storage | November 26, 2015 - 07:13 PM |
Tagged: M.2, pcie, sata 6Gbs, Silverstone, ECM20

That's right, no matter if you run iOS, Linux or Windows if you have an M key style M.2 port the Silverstone ECM20 add-on card will give you both a PCI-e M.2 slot and a SATA 6Gbs M.2 slot.  The board itself is a mounting point, no controller but simply a way to transfer data from a PCI-e M.2 card or a mount for a SATA style card, you provide the cable.  The simplcity ensures that your transfer speeds will match what you would expect from a native slot as the tests at Benchmark Reviews show.  At less than $20 it is a great way to expand your high speed storage capacity.

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"The m.2 form factor is becoming popular for SSDs due to its small size, and, in PCI-E guise, superior performance. As our recent test of the Samsung 950 Pro m.2 SSD has shown, PCI-E m.2 SSDs offer performance many times that of the very best SATA SSDs, so if you’re looking for a storage upgrade, m.2 is definitely the way to go."

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Storage

When you need fast portable storage, the Kingston HyperX Savage Flash Drive

Subject: Storage | November 17, 2015 - 01:35 PM |
Tagged: kingston, hyper x savage, thumb drive, usb 3.1

Kingston has added a USB drive to their HyperX lineup, the Savage flash drive which connects via USB 3.1, albeit not with the new Type-C connector.  That standard theoretically allows faster transfers than the previous 3.0 standard, Kingston quotes 350MB/s read and 250MB/s write as the maximum speeds this drive is capable of.  Overclocker's Club tested the 128GB model, there are also 64GB and 256GB models available.  Their testing showed that the drive is capable of hitting those speeds in some scenarios and certainly performed faster than the Patriot drive they compared it against.  The speed does come at a premium, the 128GB model is $130 on Amazon.

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"After running the HyperX Savage USB 3.1 drive through the test suite, it's hard not to like this drive. The quote on Kingston's web site is a performance rating of up to 350MB/s read and 250MB/s write. In a couple of tests, it surely got there covering both ends of the rating. However, in some tests it struggled to reach the rated 250MB/s write rating. Overall though, this has to be the highest performing flash drive I have tested to date."

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Storage

Parsing the alphabet soup which is the current SSD market

Subject: Storage | November 10, 2015 - 01:10 PM |
Tagged: ssd, NVMe, M.2, M&A, 3D XPoint

This has been a huge year for SSDs with a variety of new technologies and form factors to keep track of, not to mention the wide variety of vendors now shipping SSDs with a plethora of controllers embedded within.  [H]ard|OCP has put together a guide to help you translate these acronyms into a form that will help you to make an informed buying decision.  You may already understand what NVMe offers or when 3D XPoint flash is the correct solution but have you memorized what U.2 A, B, E, and M connectors look like.  For information on those and more check out their article and consider bookmarking it for future reference.

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"Since our last SSD update article, the last 7 months have seen no shortage of exciting announcements, and the enthusiast market has rapidly evolved in both positive and confusing ways. Let’s get up to speed on U.2, NVMe, 3D XPoint, M&A, and the rest of the buzzword soup that make up this market."

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Storage

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Now that's a big SSD, Novachips comes in 4TB and 8TB

Subject: Storage | October 29, 2015 - 03:18 PM |
Tagged: novachips, Scalar Series, 4TB SSD, 8TB SSD, HLNAND

Yes, if you have the money you can now pick up SSDs of 4TB or larger, but you will be paying a premium.  Novachips uses HLNAND to acheive this density, a technology that The SSD Review describes as being similar to Thunderbolt in that it daisy-chains together flash memory to allow high access speeds even when the storage medium is stacked this high.  Novachips uses a proprietary NVS3800 controller which is ARM-based and provides eight channels.  Check out the full review to see these drives in action but before you get too excited the MSRP of these drives is going to be about $0.65/GB.

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"Novachips has just introduced the worlds largest capacity notebook SSDs through its development of HLNAND and The SSD Review has the exclusive first review of both. Their Scalar 4/8TB SSDs are the first single controller 2.5" SSDs of these volumes, and both have top tier SATA 3 speedsa along with a low heat and power draw."

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Storage