Subject: Storage | August 12, 2013 - 09:00 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, silicon motion, sata, controller
You may very well have never heard of Silicon Motion (SMI), a major priducer of flash memory controllers, even if you've followed the SSD industry for a while. This is primarily because the vast majority of their products have been tailored for the devices that folks tend to not crack open during review, namely USB memory sticks, eMMC devices, and SD / CF cards:
Creating controllers in those arenas will tend to force a company to do a few things very well:
- Handle a very limited number of flash channels with the greatest speed possible, due to packaging requirements for very small devices.
- Operate at the lowest power draw possible as to meet the current draw limits of the host interface.
This has resulted in SMI developing a 6Gb/sec SSD controller, dubbed the SM2246EN, using the above techniques:
The block diagram shows what appears to be a fairly standard 4-channel configuration, though there are fewer steps in the pipeline as compared to SandForce and other controllers, which should help decrease latency and improve efficiency. There is also no compression engine, which means power consumption should be further reduced.
Read on for further details on specs and power consumption, followed by the full press blast.
Subject: Storage | July 28, 2013 - 11:13 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ssd, raidr express, raidr, pci-e ssd, ASUS ROG, asus
ASUS has officially launched its PCI-E based ROG RAIDR Express SSD which was first shown off at CES 2013. The company posted details and high resolution photos on its Republic of Gamers blog on Friday.
The new PCI-E-based solid state drive measures 157 x 120 x 20mm and contains 240GB of NAND flash encased in a sleek metal Replublic Of Gamers themed exterior. Specifically, the RAIDR Express uses 19nm Toshiba synchronous MLC NAND flash and two LSI SandForce 2281 SSD controllers. As such, the drive is actually two SSDs that are placed in a RAID 0 configuration for the best performance. ASUS rates the drive at 830 MB/s sequential reads and 810 MB/s sequential writes. The PCI-E SSD is further capable of up to 100,000 4K random IOPS.
ASUS has also included what it is calling a "DuoMode" BIOS switch that allows the drive to be used with either legacy or modern UEFI BIOSes. When the switch is in the EUFI position, PCs with the modern UEFI-equipped motherboards can boot up faster.
Beyond the RAIDR Express SSD itself, ASUS includes the following bundled software packages:
- RAMDisk software
- HybriDisk caching software
- SSD TweakIT utility
ASUS is including RAMDisk software that is able to use as much as 80% of system RAM as a virtual drive that can be used to reduce wear on the SSD by using the RAM drive instead of the SSD for writing temporary files and the like. The above mentioned HybriDisk software allows the RAIDR Express SSD to be used as a cache drive for mechanical hard drives up to 4TB in capacity. Users can use the TweakIT utility to manage and optimize the SSD, and the CrystalDiskMark benchmark is being included to allow gamers to run benchmarks on the RAIDR Express to get an idea of its performance.
Oddly enough, ASUS has yet to release specific pricing or availability. More information along with the full press release can be found on the Republic of Gamers blog, however.
With that said, some sites are reporting that the RAIDR Express will be sold for around 440 Euros, which works out to about $600 USD or $2.5 per Gigabyte. Update: Commentor Roberto has pointed out that the RAIDR Express 240GB is available over in Japan for around 39,980 Yen, or ~$409 USD which is a much more reasonable price. US availability and pricing are still just estimates at this point, however. A bit on the expensive side (if the price is true) for sure, but it is nice to see another player in the PCI-E SSD space and it looks to be a speedy drive aimed at ROG fans and enthusiasts.
Also read: Details on a 120GB ASUS ROG RAIDR Express SSD @ PC Perspective.
Subject: Storage | July 26, 2013 - 06:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: TurboWrite, tlc, ssd, slc, Samsung, 840 evo, MEX controller
Along with Al's review of the new EVO line you can get a second opinion from The Tech Report about the performance of the new SSD with a fast cache. The majority of the storage is 19nm TLC NAND but there is an SLC cache sitting between the controller and that long term TLC storage to help with the overall responsiveness of the drive, aka TurboWrite. In the 120 and 250GB models that cache is 3GB while in the larger models you get a 6GB cache. In their real world testing the new EVO drive is incredible at large file copying though Sandforce drives can beat it in small file copy speeds, likely thanks to the compressed write trickery that controller family is so good at. Check out the review here and keep your fingers crossed that MSRP is the acual price these drives sell at.
"Samsung's entry-level 840 EVO SSD combines affordable TLC NAND with a server-style SLC cache. We explain the drive's unique buffering tech and explore how it affects performance."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Samsung 840 EVO SSD @ The SSD Review
- Samsung SSD 840 EVO Review: 120GB, 250GB, 500GB, 750GB & 1TB Models Tested @ AnandTech
- Samsung 840 EVO 250GB, 750GB SSD Review @ Custom PC Review
- Samsung 840 Evo SSD @ Hardware.info
- Samsung unveils 840 EVO solid-state drive family @ The Tech Report
- 240GB OCZ Vertex 450 Solid State Drive @ Benchmark Reviews
- Plextor M5M 128GB mSATA SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- OCZ Vertex 3.20 240GB SSD @ eTeknix
- OCZ Vector 512GB SSD @ Kitguru
- RunCore Pro IV 1.8 Inch ZIF SSD @ LanOC Reviews
- Silicon-Power Velox V55 240GB @ Legion Hardware
- Seagate 600 Pro SSD 400GB @ Bjorn3D
- Securely Erasing Your SSD with Linux: A How-To @ Techgage
- Seagate Central 3TB review: User-friendly? @ Hardware.info
- Silicon Power Blaze B20 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ NikKTech
- USB 3.0 Flash Drive Roundup July 2013 @ Legion Hardware
- Icy Dock FlexCage 2 Bay and 3 Bay Hard Drive Enclosure Review @ HiTech Legion
- Zalman ZM-VE400 USB 3.0 HDD/SSD Enclosure @ Funky Kit
- QNAP TS-421 & QTS 4.0 @ techPowerUp
- Thecus N2520 review: first NAS with Intel Atom CE5315 @ Hardware.info
Introduction and Specifications
Last week, Samsung flew a select group of press out to Seoul, Korea. The event was the 2013 Samsung Global SSD Summit. Here we saw the launch of a new consumer SSD, the 840 EVO:
This new SSD aims to replace the older 840 (non-Pro) model with one that is considerably more competitive. Let's just right into the specs:
Subject: Storage | July 18, 2013 - 01:39 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, Samsung, pricing, EVO, 840 evo
Subject: Storage | July 18, 2013 - 01:12 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: tlc, ssd, slc, sata, Samsung, cache, 840 evo
Samsung's release of the 840 EVO earlier today likely prompted some questions, such as what type of flash does it employ and how does it achieve such high write speeds. Here is the short answer, with many slides in-between, starting off with the main differences between the 840 and the 840 EVO:
So, slightly increased specs to help boost drive performance, and an important tidbit in that the new SSD does in fact keep TLC flash. Now a closer look at the increased write specs:
Ok, the speeds are much quicker, even though the flash is still TLC and even on a smaller process. How does it pull off this trick? Tech that Samsung calls TurboWrite.
A segment of the TLC flash is accessed by the controller as if it were SLC flash. This section of flash can be accessed (especially written) much faster. Writes are initially dumped to this area and that data is later moved over to the TLC area. This happenes as it would in a normal write-back cache - either during idle states or once the cache becomes full, which is what would happen during a sustained maximum speed write operation that is larger than the cache capacity. Here is the net effect with the cache in use and also when the cache becomes full:
For most users, even the smallest cache capacity will be sufficient for the vast majority of typical use. Larger caches appear in larger capacities, further improving performance under periods of large write demand. Here's the full spread of cache sizes per capacity point:
So there you have it, Samsung's new TurboWrite technology in a nutshell. More to follow (along with a performance review coming in the next few days). Stay tuned!
Subject: Storage | July 17, 2013 - 09:06 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: Samsung, ssd, sata
Good morning from Seoul, Korea!
We're covering the 2013 Samsung Global SSD Summit, and the press embargo has just been lifted on a new SSD - the 840 EVO:
The EVO will push 10nm-class (1x nm) flash, promises increased (2x-3x) write speed improvements over the 840, and will be available in capaities as high as 1TB:
Full press blast after the break, and more to follow as the Samsung SSD Summit continues.
Subject: Storage | July 15, 2013 - 04:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sandisk, Extreme II series, ssd, mlc, slc
SanDisk has done something interesting with their new Extreme II SSD series, they have used both SLC and MLC flash in the drive to attempt to give users the best of both worlds. The drive still has a DDR cache sitting between the flash storage and the controller, but there is an nCache between the MLC flash and the DDR comprised of ~1GB of SLC flash. The idea is that the SLC can quickly accumulate a number of small writes into a larger single write block which can then be passed to the MLC flash for storage. Don't think of it as a traditional cache in which entire programs are stored for quick access but more as a write buffer which fills up and then passes its self to the long term storage media once it is full. The Tech Report put this drive through their tests and found it to be a great all around performer, not the fastest nor the best value but very good in almost any usage scenario.
"With MLC main storage and an SLC flash cache, the SanDisk Extreme II is unlike any other SSD we've encountered. We explore the drive's unique design and see whether it can keep up with the fastest SSDs on the market."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB SSD RAID 0 Performance @ Legit Reviews
- SanDisk Extreme II @ SSD Review
- OCZ Vector 256GB @ LanOC Reviews
- Silicon Power Velox V55 240GB SSD @ NikKTech
- Western Digital Se 4TB Review @ TechwareLabs
- Seagate Laptop Thin SSHD 500 GB HDD Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Seagate Desktop HDD.15 4TB / Barracuda XT 4TB @ Hardware.info
- Western Digital SE 4TB Hard Drive @ hardCOREware
- Toshiba Nearline MG03ACA400 4TB SATA III HDD @ NikKTech
- Western Digital Sentinel DX4000 16TB RAID5 4-Bay NAS @ eTeknix
- Icy Box IB-WF200HD @ Rbmods
- Sandisk Extreme microSDXC UHS-I 64GB Memory Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- Patriot SuperSonic Mini 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ NikKTech
- 49 SD and MicroSD cards tested: there's a difference @ Hardware.info
- Mach Xtreme MX-FX 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | July 4, 2013 - 12:45 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, corsair, 900D, 7790, 650ti boost, amd, Richland, nvidia, kepler, titan, Intel, ssd
PC Perspective Podcast #258 - 07/04/2013
Join us this week as we discuss the Corsair 900D, HD 7790 vs GTX 650Ti BOOST, Leaked AMD APUs and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:14:23
Week in Review:
0:10:50 HD 7790 and 650 Ti BOOST Roundup
News items of interest:
0:58:25 Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Storage | July 3, 2013 - 03:04 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: toshiba, THNSNH 256GB, ssd
If you buy a machine with an SSD installed inside of it there is a good chance it is from Toshiba and it might even be the THNSNH 256GB model. As these drives are not sold separately but only inside OEM machines it is not often benchmarked. [H]ard|OCP wants to change that and put this drive and its internally designed controller up against some of their favourite retail drives. Their testing revealed a mixed bag of performance as in some tests it came close to beating out Samsung's 840 series but in other testing ended up at the bottom of the pack. Still, as this drive will end up in many mobile devices it is good to get an idea of the performance you can expect from it.
"Toshiba's massive foundry capabilities allow it to develop some of the leading SSDs for the OEM market. These SSDs come pre-installed in the latest computers with the option for an SSD, and today we look at the Toshiba THNSNH in comparison to current top-flight enthusiast-class SSDs."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ Vertex 450 256GB @ [H]ard|OCP
- OCZ's Vertex 450 solid-state drive reviewed
- Seagate 600 Series SSD 480 GB ST480HM000 @ techPowerUp
- SanDisk Ultra Plus Solid State Drive @ X-bit Reviews
- Strontium Hawk (240GB) @ AnandTech
- SanDisk Extreme II SSD 240GB @ TechSpot
- SanDisk Extreme II SSD Review (240GB) @ SSD Review
- Plextor M5 Pro PX-256M5P 256GB SSD @ NikKTech
- Angelbird SSD2Go 480GB External SSD @ SSD Review
- Monster Digital OverDrive 3.0 1TB External SSD @ SSD Review
- Seagate Backup Plus 1 TB External HDD Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Silicon Power Diamond D20 500GB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive @ NikKTech
- QNAP TS-221 and TS-220 @ Legion Hardware
- SilverStone DS322 Compact USB 3.0 RAID Enclosure Review @ Pro-Clockers
- Patriot Memory Tab 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ Madshrimps
- Icy Dock MB882SP and MB982IP Hard Drive Converter Reviews @ Legit Reviews
- Nine internal DVD burners and Blu-ray drives tested @ Hardware.info
- Hard Disk Drive Myths Debunked! @ TechARP