Subject: Storage | January 5, 2017 - 05:32 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, ssd, pcie, NVMe, CES 2017, CES, Black
Following up on their Blue and Green SSDs launched back in October, Western Digital has now launched a Black series SSD:
Unlike the Green and Blue which are SATA products available in 2.5" and M.2 (SATA) form factors, the Black is a pure M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 product. These were rumored to have a Marvell controller, but the samples I saw floating around CES appeared to have SanDisk branding. Flash will very likely be SanDisk 15nm TLC (with SLC cache). Specs are as follows:
- 256GB / 512GB
- $109 / $199 ($0.42 / $0.39 / GB)
- Random read: 170k
- Random write: 130k/134k
- Sequential read: 2.05 GB/s
- Sequential write: 700 / 800 MB/s
- Endurance 80 / 160 TBW
- Warranty: 5 years
- Power: 5.5 mW idle / 8.25 W peak
Pricing looks very competitive for an NVMe SSD, but we will have to see how the performance shakes out when compared against other budget SSDs. The WD Blue 1TB performed very well in our new test suite, so here's hoping the Black is equally surprising.
WD's press blast appears after the break.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Storage | December 6, 2016 - 08:58 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, ultrastar, ssd, SS200, SN200, SAS, NVMe, hgst, helium, He8, He6, He12, He10, He, hdd, 12TB, 10TB
First up is a second generation of HGST-branded SSD products - the Ultrastar SN200. These enterprise SSDs boast impressive specs, pushing random reads beyond 1 million IOPS, coming in 8TB capacity, and if you opt for the HHHL PCIe 3.0 x8 SN260, 6.2GB/s maximum throughput.
Moving into SAS SSDs, the SS200 uses a 12Gbit link to achieve 1.8 GB/s and 250,000 random read IOPS. Write specs dip to 37,000 random as this is a 1 DWPD endurance class product. These are also available in up to 8TB capacities.
Last but certainly not least are preliminary specs for the He12, which boast particularly impressive low QD random write performance and a notable bump in Watts/TB despite the addition of an eighth platter to achieve the 12TB capacity. Note that this is not an archive class product and is meant for continuous random access.
There is also a 14TB model in the lineup, but that is an archive class model that is essentially the He12 with Shingled Magnetic Recording enabled.
Press blast appears after the break.
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Since Samsung’s announcement of the 960 Series SSDs, I have been patiently waiting not for the 960 PRO (reviewed a few weeks back), but for the 960 EVO. It is the EVO, in my opinion, that is the big release here. Sure, it doesn’t have the quad Hexadecimal Die Packages, Package-on-Package DRAM and ultimate higher capacity of the PRO, but what it *does* potentially have is class leading performance / price in the M.2 form factor. Just as we all wanted lower cost SSDs in the 2.5” SATA form factor, M.2 is seeing greater adoption across laptops and desktop motherboards, and it’s high time we started seeing M.2 SSDs come down in price.
I know, don’t tell me, the Intel 600p carries a SATA-level cost/GB in an M.2 form factor. Sure that’s great, and while I do recommend that SSD for those on a budget, its caching scheme comes with some particularly nasty inconsistencies in sustained writes that may scare off some power users. Samsung 840/850 EVO SSDs have historically handled the transitions between SLC cache and TLC bulk writes far better than any competing units, and I’ve eagerly anticipated the chance to see how well their implementation carries over to an NVMe SSD. Fortunately for us, that day is today:
An important point to note in the performance specs - the lowest capacity model is the only one to see its performance significantly taper in stated specifications. That is because even with its 48-layer VNAND operating in SLC mode, there are only two packages on all 960 EVOs and the 250GB capacity comes equipped with the fewest dies to spread the work across. Less parallelism leads to lower ultimate performance. Still, it is impressive to see only 250GB of flash reaching near saturation of PCIe 3.0 x4 in reads.
I've appended the 'sustained' (TLC) performance specs at the bottom of the above chart. These 'after TurboWrite' figures are the expected performance after the SLC cache has been depleted. This is nearly impossible in actual usage scenarios, as it is extremely difficult for any typical (or even power user) desktop workloads to write fast and long enough to deplete such a cache, especially considering how much larger these caches are compared to prior models.
Samsung has carried forward their simple packaging introduced with the 960 PRO. The felt pad on the bottom of the installation guide is both functional and elegant, keeping the 960 Pro safely in place during shipment.
Subject: Storage | October 18, 2016 - 03:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vnand, ssd, Samsung, NVMe, 960 PRO, 48-layer, 2TB
Al has already exhaustively covered the new Samsung 960 Pro in his latest article, which also happens to be the premiere of PC Perspective's new storage testing suite. An in depth discussion of the new testing methodology can be found on the third page and you can expect to hear about it on our podcast tomorrow and perhaps in a standalone article in the near future. Several comments have inquired as to the effect this drive would have on a system used for gaming or multimedia and how it would compare to drives like the Intel 750 and DC P3700 or OZC's RD 400. The best place to find those comparisons is over at The Tech Report, their RoboBench transfer test features a long list of drives you can look at. Check it out once you have finished off our article.
"Samsung's 960 Pro follows up on last year's 950 Pro with denser V-NAND, a brand-new controller, and space-age label technology. We put this drive to the test to see whether its performance is truly out-of-this-world."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Samsung SSD960 PRO 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD @ Kitguru
- WD Blue SSD Review (1TB) @ Kitguru
- Crucial MX300 M.2 525GB SSD @ eTeknix
- Seagate BarraCuda Pro 10TB SATA III HDD Review @ NikKTech
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Just under a year ago we published our review of the Samsung 950 PRO, their first foray into NVMe SSD territory. Today we have a 960 PRO, which strives to be more revolutionary than evolutionary. There are some neat new features like 16-die packages and a Package-on-Package controller/DRAM design, all cooled by a copper heat spreading label! This new model promises to achieve some very impressive results, so without further delay, let's get to it!
Specs have not changed since the announcement. Highlights include
- A new 5-core Polaris controller (with one die solely dedicated to coordinating IO's to/from the host)
- 4-Landing Design - It's tough fitting four flash packages onto an M.2 2280 SSD, but Samsung has done it, thanks to the below feature.
- Package-on-Package - The controller and DRAM are stacked within the same package, saving space.
- Hexadecimal Die Packages - For the 960 Pro to reach 2TB of capacity, 16 48-layer MLC V-NAND packages must be present within each package. That's a lot of dies per package!
Nice touch with the felt pad on the bottom of the installation guide. This pad keeps the 960 Pro safely in place during shipment.
Subject: Storage | September 21, 2016 - 12:00 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, Samsung, pcie, NVMe, M.2, 960 PRO, 960 EVO
I'm currently running around at the various briefings and events here at Samsung's Global SSD Summit, but we did get some details on the 960 PRO and EVO that I've set to go live at the NDA time of 1 PM Seoul time.
Here is a distilled version of the specs, capacities, and prices of the 960 PRO and EVO:
- 512GB, 1TB, 2TB capacities
- Sequential: 3.5 GB/s reads / 2.1 GB/s writes
- 4K random (IOPS): 440,000 read / 360,000 write
- Dynamic Thermal Guard (new version of their overtemperature protection - details below)
- 5 year warranty, endurace peaks at 1.2PBW for the 2TB model
- 512GB model = $329.99 ($0.64/GB)
- 250GB, 500GB, 1TB capacities
- Sequential: 3.2 GB/s reads / 1.9 GB/s writes (write speed is for TurboWrite SLC cache)
- 4K random (IOPS): 380,000 read / 360,000 write
- Dynamic Thermal Guard
- 3 year warranty, endurance up to 400TBW for the 1TB model
- 250GB = $129.99 ($0.52/GB)
I would certainly like to see Samsung push the 960 EVO capacities upwards of 4TB, and with competing M.2 NVMe products shipping at a lower cost, those prices use some tweaking as well.
More information and pics to follow later today (tonight for you USA folks)!
**UPDATE** - since everyone is in bed and hasn't read any of this yet, I'm just going to add the information from the presentation here.
First, some of you may be wondering about the inverted capacity difference between the PRO and EVO. Historically, Samsung has shipped their EVO line in higher capacities than the PRO line. The 850 EVO currently ships in capacities up to 4TB, while the 850 PRO remains limited to 2TB. If you look closely at the photos above, you'll note that there are four flash packages on the PRO, while there are only two on the EVO. The cause for this difference is that the DRAM package (visible on the EVO) is integrated within the controller package on the PRO model. This is similar to what Samsung has done with their PM971-NVMe SSD, which has not only the controller and DRAM, but the flash itself all stacked within a *single* package. Samsung calls this package-on-package (PoP):
During the Q&A, Samsung's Unsoo Kim indicated that future 960 EVO's may also shift to the PoP design in order to shift to 4 packages, and therefore double (or quadruple) the capacity on that line in the future.
Samsung also tackled thermal throttling head-on with what they call Dynamic Thermal Guard. This is a combination of a few things. First is the reduced power consumption - the new controller draws ~10% less power despite moving to a 5-core design (up from a 3-core on the 950 PRO). Second, and perhaps more interesting, is a new heat spreading label:
This new label contains a copper layer that helps spread heat across more of the surface area of the M.2 part. Samsung gets bonus points for outside the box thinking there. The combination of the reduced power draw and the heat spreader help to make thermal throttling even more impossible under typical use:
While the above chart was for reads (writes produce more heat), that's still a very good improvement, and being able to move potentially the full drive capacity before throttling is pretty good, especially considering the new models are moving data at a much faster speed. About those faster speeds, here are some increased details on the per-capacity specs:
Take the 960 EVO write specs with a grain of salt - those are assuming writes are going into the SLC cache area but never fear because TurboWrite is getting a boost as well:
This new 'Intelligent TurboWrite' increases the SLC cache area significantly over that of the 850 EVO we are all used to, with up to a 42GB area on the 1TB model! This should make it easier to swallow those boastful write performance claims, as there's a really good chance that all writes any typical user applies to the new EVO will go straight into that new larger cache.
Apologies for the odd cutoffs on these pictures. They were corrected for parallax prior to posting. I also couldn't do anything about the presenter being in the way of the data :). I've requested slides from Samsung and will replace these here if/when they are provided.
Last but not least was a newly announced '2.0' version of the Samsung proprietary NVMe driver, which should help enable these increased speeds, as the Windows InBox driver is certainly not optimized to handle them. With the driver comes a new ground-up redesign of Samsung's Magician software, which added support for file-specific secure erasure and a special 'Magic Vault' secure encrypted area of the SSD that can be invisible to the host OS when locked.
This appears to be the bulk of what is to be announced at the Summit, so for now, I leave you with the endurance ratings and (MSRP) pricing for all capacities / models:
Subject: Storage | September 20, 2016 - 06:01 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: Samsung, 960 PRO, 960 EVO, NVMe, pcie, ssd, Summit, Global
Your humble Storage Editor is once again in Seoul, Korea. With these trips comes unique skylines:
...the Seoul Tower:
...and of course, SSD announcements! Samsung has a habit of slipping product pics into the yearly theme. This year they were a bit more blunt about it:
Yup, looks like tomorrow we will see Samsung officially announce their successor to the 950 PRO. We'll be hearing all about the 960 PRO and the new 960 EVO tomorrow, exactly three months after we broke the early news of these new models.
There will, of course, be more details tomorrow once we attend the relevant product briefings. This will be late at night for those of you back in the states. No further details for now. I'm off to get some dinner and recover from that 14-hour flight!
Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging
It's been quite some time since we saw a true client SSD come out of Intel. The last client product to use their legendary 10-channel controller was the SSD 320 (launched in 2011), and even that product had its foot in the enterprise door as it was rated for both client and enterprise usage. The products that followed began life as enterprise parts and were later reworked for consumer usage. The big examples here are the SATA-based SSD 730 (which began life as the SSD DC S3500/3700), and the PCI/NVMe-based SSD 750 (which was born from the SSD DC P3700). The enterprise hardware had little support for reduced power states, which led Intel to market the 730 as a desktop enthusiast part. The 750 had a great NVMe controller, but the 18-channel design and high idle power draw meant no chance for an M.2 form factor version of the same. With the recent addition of low-cost 3D NAND to their production lines, Intel has now made began another push into the consumer space. Their main client SSD of their new line is the 600p, which we will be taking a look at today:
Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2016 - 02:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: z-ssd, NVMe, Samsung, HHHL
The Register had a quick chat with Samsung about the Z-SSD they announced at FMS 2016, hoping to get some details from the company about the technology behind the new product, with little success. We know it will be DRAM-NAND gap-filler such as the one Netlist announced earlier and will be possible competition for Intel's XPoint. Samsung did confirm that it will be NVMe and will initially launch as a half height, half length PCIe card, with other interfaces to follow. They did admit it will use 3D V-NAND, but would only hint at the custom circuit design they will use. The Register offers some prognostication at the end of the quick interview, you can see that right here.
"The mysterious Samsung Z-SSD was announced at the Flash Memory Summit, and positioned as a DRAM-NAND gap-filler. This makes it competition for XPoint. We asked Samsung about it, and here is what we learnt."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Players Seek 'No Man's Sky' Refunds, Sony's Content Director Calls Them Thieves @ Slashdot
- If you haven't changed your Dropbox password for 4 years, do so now @ The Register
Subject: Storage | August 11, 2016 - 12:27 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, PS5008-E8/E8T, PS5008-E8, PS5007-E7, phison, PCIe 3.0 x2, NVMe, FMS 2016, FMS, E8
I visited Phison to check out their new E8 controller:
Phsion opted to take a step back from the higher performance PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe controllers out there, offering a solution with half the lanes. PCIe 3.0 x2 can still handle 1.5 GB/s, and this controller can exceed 200,000 random IOPS. Those specs are actually in-line with what most shipping x4 solutions offer today, meaning the E8 is more effectively saturating its more limited connectivity. Reducing the number of lanes helps Phison reduce the component cost of this controller to match the cost of typical SATA controllers while tripling the performance, greatly reducing the cost to produce NVMe SSDs.
In addition to 3D Flash support, the E8 is also a DRAM-less controller, meaning it has a small internal SRAM cache and has been architected to not need external DRAM installed on the PCB. DRAM-less means even lower costs. This can only be a good thing, since high performing NVMe parts at SATA costs is going to drive down the costs of even faster NVMe solutions, which is great for future buyers.