Subject: General Tech | August 3, 2017 - 12:00 PM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: podcast, wolfenstein, wdc, Vibe, Vega Nano, Threadripper, ryzen 3, radeon rx vega, QLC, htc, Fanatec, Clubsport lite elite, BiCS3, amd, video
PC Perspective Podcast #461 - 08/03/17
Join us for AMD Ryzen 3, Threadripper, Logitech Powerplay, and more!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano
Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg
Program length: 1:38:20
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
1:00:45 Looks Like Vega Nano is GO!
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: Storage | August 2, 2017 - 06:21 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, tlc, slc, QLC, nand, mlc, flash, 96GB, 768Gb, 3d
A month ago, WD and Toshiba each put out releases related to their BiCS 3D Flash memory. WD announced 96 layers (BiCS4) as their next capacity node, while Toshiba announced them reliably storing four bits per cell (QLC).
WD recently did their own press release related to QLC, partially mirroring Toshiba's announcement, but this one had some additional details on capacity per die, as well as stating their associated technology name used for these shifts. TLC was referred to as "X3", and "X4" is the name for their QLC tech as applied to BiCS. The WD release stated that X4 tech, applied to BiCS3, yields 768Gbit (96GB) per die vs. 512Gbit (64GB) per die for X3 (TLC). Bear in mind that while the release (and the math) states this is a 50% increase, moving from TLC to QLC with the same number of cells does only yields a 33% increase, meaning X4 BiCS3 dies need to have additional cells (and footprint) to add that extra 17%.
The release ends by hinting at X4 being applied to BiCS4 in the future, which is definitely exciting. Merging the two recently announced technologies would yield a theoretical 96-layer BiCS4 die, using X4 QLC technology, yielding 1152 Gbit (144GB) per die. A 16 die stack of which would come to 2,304 GB (1.5x the previously stated 1.5TB figure). The 2304 figure might appear incorrect but consider that we are multiplying two 'odd' capacities together (768 Gbit (1.5x512Gbit for TLC) and 96 layers (1.5x64 for X3).
Press blast appears after the break.
Subject: Storage | June 28, 2017 - 09:49 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: wdc, WD, toshiba, QLC, nand, BiCS, 96-layer, 3d
A couple of announcements out of Toshiba and Western Digital today. First up is Toshiba announcing QLC (4 bit per cell) flash on their existing BiCS 3 (64-layer) technology. QLC may not be the best for endurance as the voltage tolerances become extremely tight with 16 individual voltage states per cell, but Toshiba has been working on this tech for a while now.
In the above slide from the Toshiba keynote at last year's Flash Memory Summit, we see the use case here is for 'archival grade flash', which would still offer fast reads but is not meant to be written as frequently as MLC or TLC flash. Employing QLC in Toshiba's current BiCS 3 (64-layer) flash would enable 1.5TB of storage in a 16-die stack (within one flash memory chip package).
Next up is BiCS 4, which was announced by Western Digital. We knew BiCS 4 was coming but did not know how many layers it would be. We now know that figure, and it is 96. The initial offerings will be the common 256Gbit (32GB) capacity per die, but stacking 96 cells high means the die will come in considerably smaller, meaning more per wafer, ultimately translating to lower cost per GB in your next SSD.
While these announcements are welcome, their timing and coordinated launch from both companies seems odd. Perhaps it has something to do with this?
Subject: Storage | May 29, 2017 - 11:42 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, Ultra, ssd, sandisk, nand, computex 2017, Blue, BiCS, 3d
Western Digital bought SanDisk nearly two years ago, but we had not really seen any products jointly launched under both brand labels. Until today:
The WD Blue 3D NAND SATA SSD and SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD are both products containing identical internals. Specifically, these are the first client SSDs built with 64-layer 3D NAND technology. Some specs:
- Sequential read: 560 MB/s
- Sequential write: 530 MB/s
- Capacity: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
- Form factor: 2.5" (WD and Sandisk), M.2 (SATA) 2280 (WD only)
MSRP's start at $99.99 for the 250GB models of all flavors (2.5" / M.2 SATA), and all products will ship with a 3-year warranty.
It might seem odd that we see an identical product shipped under two different brands owned by the same company, but WD is likely leveraging the large OEM relationship held by SanDisk. I'm actually curious to see how this pans out long term because it is a bit confusing at present.
Subject: Storage | May 17, 2017 - 09:57 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, Red Pro, red, NAS, helium, HelioSeal, hdd, Hard Drive, 10TB
Western Digital increased the capacity of their Red and Red Pro NAS hard disk lines to 10TB. Acquiring the Helioseal technology via their HGST acquisition, which enables Helium filled hermetically sealed drives of even higher capacities, WD expanded the Red lines to 8TB (our review of those here) using that tech. Helioseal has certainly proven itself, as over 15 million such units have shipped so far.
We knew it was just a matter of time before we saw a 10TB Red and Red Pro, as it has been some time since the HGST He10 launched, and Western Digital's own 10TB Gold (datacenter) drive has been shipping for a while now.
- Red 10TB: $494
- Red Pro 10TB: $533
MSRP pricing looks a bit high based on the lower cost/GB of the 8TB model, but given some time on the market and volume shipping, these should come down to match parity with the lesser capacities.
Press blast appears after the break.
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.
Subject: Storage | October 11, 2016 - 01:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, ssd, Blue, 1TB, marvell 1074
Al is hard at work benchmarking the new Western Digital SSDs and you should expect to see his full in depth review in the near future but for those who need immediate gratification here is Hardware Canucks review. The 1TB WD Blue uses a Marvell 1074 controller, a full gigabyte of cache provided by a pair of Micron 512MB DDR3 chips and 15nm TLC that should survive 400TB of writes and is warrantied for three years. Western Digital and SanDisk DNA meet for the first time in a consumer SSD, check out how it fares against the competition right here.
"Western Digital, once known for their hard drives alone, is now wading in the SSD market with two new series. In this review, we take the new Blue 1TB SSD out for a spin."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Toshiba OCZ VX500 SSD @ OCC
- ICY DOCK Black Vortex Quad-Bay USB 3.0 & eSATA External 3.5" SATA HDD Enclosure Review @ NikKTech
- Asustor AS6204T 4-bay NAS @ Kitguru
- Kingston Action Camera microSD @ Benchmark Reviews
- iStorage datAshur PRO 8GB Secure Flash Drive @ Kitguru
Subject: Storage | October 11, 2016 - 11:50 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, ssd, Green, Blue
It has been over 6 years since we saw an SSD come out of Western Digital, but we suspected some new ones may be coming after their recent acquisition of SanDisk. That say has come, and today we have two new SSD models announced by WD:
These new SSDs naturally borrow SanDisk 15nm TLC flash but drive that flash with aftermarket controllers. The Blue employs a Marvell 88SS1074 controller while the Green will use a Silicon Motion SM2256S. The Blue will have the typical SATA 6Gbps saturating specs seen in modern SSDs, while the Green will be derated a bit. Detailed specifications are below:
- Form Factors: 2.5¨/7mm cased, M.2 2280
- Endurance (Blue):
- 250GB: 100 TBW
- 500GB: 200 TBW
- 1TB: 400 TBW
- Power (Blue):
- Slumber: 42mW-52mW
- DEVSLP: 4.9mW-9.7mW
- Average Active Power: 70mW
- Warranty (Blue and Green): 3 years
The WD Green will be more budget minded and is to be offered in only a 120GB and 240GB form factor, with reduced endurance ratings of 40 TBW and 80 TBW, respectively.
Pricing (for the WD Blue SSD):
- 250 GB $79.99
- 500 GB $139.99
- 1TB $299.99
The WD Green SSD will be available 'later this quarter', and we do not yet have pricing for that model, but it should come in at a lower cost than the Blue prices above. We have a Blue model in for testing and should see how it fares on our new storage suite later this week.
Subject: Storage | October 11, 2016 - 10:22 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, my passport, my book
Western Digital has refreshed their My Passport and My Book lines with a new industrial design:
The My Passport line (pictured above) features a new design and colors. Capacities now extend all the way up to 4TB. Prices:
- 1 TB $79.99
- 2 TB $109.99
- 3 TB $149.99
- 4 TB $159.99
These feature password protection and AES-256 hardware encryption. There is also a 'My Passport for Mac' model which parallels the above series but comes pre-formated for use with a Mac. Amazing that they are now fitting 4TB of capacity into a 2.5" enclosure.
Also up is a redesign of the My Book. This bookshelf style drive is now a chunkier version of the My Passport products mentioned earlier. Thanks to Helium-filled HGST HelioSeal technology recently acquired by Western Digital, capacities now extend up to 8TB on this line. Prices follow:
- 3 TB $129.99
- 4 TB $149.99
- 6 TB $229.99
- 8 TB $299.99
I like the more squared off design, especially for the My Book, as it should make them more stable and less likely to be tipped over by accidental bumps. These also support hardware encryption. All models of both the My Book and My Passport come with a 2-year limited warranty as well as backup software to help ease the process of automating your backups.