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Subject: Editorial, Storage | June 17, 2014 - 09:56 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: sandisk, fusion-io, buyout
Fusion-io was once a behemoth of flash memory storage. Back when SSDs were having a hard time saturating SATA 3Gb/sec, Fusion-io was making fire breathing PCIe SSDs full of SLC flash and pushing relatively insane IOPS and throughput figures. Their innovations were a good formula at the time. They made the controller a very simple device, basically just a simple bridge from the PCIe bus to the flash memory. This meant that most of the actual work was done in the driver. This meant that Fusion-io SSDs were able to leverage the CPU and memory of the host system to achieve very high performance.
Fusion-io ioDrive 160 creams the competition back in 2010.
Being the king of IOPS back in the early days of flash memory storage, Fusion-io was able to charge a premium for their products. In a 2010 review, I priced their 160GB SSD at about $40/GB. In the years since, while flash memory prices (and therefore SSD products) have steadily dropped in price while achieving higher and higher performance figures, Fusion-io products have mostly remained static in price. All of this time, the various iterations of the ioDrive continued to bank on the original model of a simple controller and the bulk of the work taking place in the driver. This actually carries a few distinct disadvantages, in that the host system has to spent a relatively large amount of CPU and memory resources towards handling the Fusion-io devices. While this enables higher performance, it leaves less resources available to actually do stuff with the data. This ends up adding to the build cost of a system, as more CPU cores and memory must be thrown at the chassis handling the storage. In more demanding cases, additional systems would need to be added to the rack space in order to handle the additional storage overhead in addition to the other required workloads. Lastly, the hefty driver means Fusion-io devices are not bootable, despite early promises to the contrary. This isn't necessarily a deal breaker for enterprise use, but it does require system builders to add an additional storage device (from a different vendor) to handle OS duties.
In 2014, the other guys are making faster stuff. Note this chart is 4x the scale of the 2010 chart.
Lets fast forward to present times. Just over a week ago, Fusion-io announced their new 'Atomic' line of SSDs. The announcement seemed to fall flat, and did little to save the continuous decline of their stock price. I suspect this was because despite new leadership, these new products are just another iteration of the same resource consuming formula. Another reason for the luke warm reception might have been the fact that Intel launched their P3700 series a few days prior. The P3700 is a native PCIe SSD that employs the new NVM Express communication standard. This open standard was developed specifically for flash memory communication, and it allows more direct access to flash in a manner that significantly reduces the overhead required to perform high data throughputs and very high IO's per second. NVMe is a very small driver stack with native support built into modern operating systems, and is basically the polar opposite of the model Fusion-io has relied on for years now.
Intel's use of NVMe enables very efficient access to flash memory with minimal CPU overhead.
Fusion-io's announcement claimed "The Atomic Series of ioMemory delivers the highest transaction rate per gigabyte for everything from read intensive workflows to mixed workloads.". Let's see how this stacks up against the Intel P3700 - an SSD that launched the same week:
|Model||Fusion-io PX600||Intel P3700|
|Interface / Flash type||PCIe 2.0 x8 / 20nm MLC||PCIe 3.0 x4 / 20nm MLC|
|Read BW (GB/sec)||2.7||2.7||2.7||2.7||2.7||2.8||2.8||2.8|
|Write BW (GB/sec)||1.5||1.7||2.2||2.1||1.2||1.9||1.9||1.9|
|4k random read IOPS||196,000||235,000||330,000||276,000||450,000||460,000||450,000||450,000|
|4k random write IOPS||320,000||370,000||375,000||375,000||75,000||90,000||150,000||175,000|
|4k 70/30 R/W IOPS||Unlisted||150,000||200,000||240,000||250,000|
|Endurance / TB||12.0||12.3||12.3||12.3||18.3||18.3||18.3||18.3|
|Warranty||5 years||5 years|
We are comparing flagship to flagship (in a given form factor) here. Starting from the top, the Intel P3700 is available in generally smaller capacities than the Fusion-io PX600. Both use 20nm flash, but the P3700 uses half the data lanes at twice the throughput. Regarding Fusion-io's 'transaction rate per GB' point, well, it's mostly debunked by the Intel P3700, which has excellent random read performance all the way down to its smallest 400GB capacity point. The seemingly unreal write specs seen from the PX600 are, well, actually unreal. Flash memory writes take longer than reads, so the only logical explanation for the inversion we see here is that Fusion-io's driver is passing those random writes through RAM first. Writing to RAM might be quicker, but you can't sustain it indefinitely, and it consumes more host system resources in the process. Moving further down the chart, we see Intel coming in with a ~50% higher endurance rating when compared to the Fusion-io. The warranties may be of equal duration, but the Intel drive is (on paper / stated warranty) guaranteed to outlast the Fusion-io part when used in a heavy write environment.
For pricing, Intel launched the P3700 at a competitive $3/GB. Pricing data for Fusion-io is not available, as they are behind a bit of a 'quote wall', and no pricing at all was included with the Atomic product launch press materials. Let's take a conservative guess and assume the new line is half the cost/GB of their previous long-standing flagship, the Octal. One vendor lists pricing directly at $124,995 for 10.24TB ($12.21/GB) and $99,995 for 5.12TB ($19.53/GB), both of which require minumum support contracts as an additional cost. Half of $12/GB is still more than twice the $3/GB figure from Intel.
My theory as to why SanDisk is going for Fusion-io?
- A poor track record since the Fusion-io IPO have driven the stock price way down, making it prime for a buyout.
- SanDisk is one of the few remaining flash memory companies that does not own their own high end controller tech.
- Recent Fusion-io product launch overshadowed by much larger (Intel) company launching a competing superior product at a lower cost/GB.
So yeah, the buyout seemed inevitable. The question that remains is what will SanDisk do with them once they've bought them? Merging the two will mean that Fusion-io can include 'in house' flash and (hopefully) offer their products at a lower cost/GB, but that can only succeed if the SanDisk flash performs adequately. Assuming it does, there's still the issue of relatively high costs when compared to freshly competing products from Intel and others. Last but not least is the ioDrive driver model, which grows incresingly dated while the rest of the industry adopts NVMe.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 17, 2014 - 01:38 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ssd, Samsung 840, Samsung, kingston hyper x, kingston, endurance, corsair neutron gtx, corsair
In The Tech Report's ongoing SSD endurance challenge, three SSDs are soldiering forward. We have reached the thousand-terabyte mark, which is at least five times more than any of the survivors are rated for. These survivors: The Corsair Neutron GTX, the Samsung 840 Pro, and the Kingston HyperX 3K. Technically, the HyperX was able to reach 1PB of written data with performing only 716TB of actual writes, due to compression.
Image Credit: The Tech Report
Of course, each of the drives are less-than prestine. The Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB was slowly decreasing in its "life" attribute since the beginning, claiming to be somewhere between 75% and 80% with a fairly linear decline. If this trend continues, the drive will reach "zero" at around 4-5PB of writes. That said, its read speed has substantially dropped from the time between 900TB and 1000TB of total writes, from 500MB/s to just under 400MB/s. Also, this "life" could drop substantially if the drive encounters reallocated sectors (which this model has apparently yet to do).
The other two drives are a similar, remarkably successful story.
The Kingston HyperX drive is reporting itself to be substantially worse off, within the last 10% of its life. That said, even though it claims to be pining for the fjords, it is still working and has only reported a couple of reallocated sectors, those occurring in the last 100TB of writes.
The Samsung 840 Pro seems to still be going strong, although it had more zero or "a couple" of reallocated sectors -- every hundred terabytes yields about 500 reallocations.
As always, this is just our brief discussion of what The Tech Report found out. Be sure to check out their full article for many more benchmarks, tests, and conclusions.
Subject: General Tech, Storage, Mobile | June 16, 2014 - 01:54 AM | Scott Michaud
CFast is a standard, based on the merging of CompactFlash with SATA, for memory cards to have SSD-like performance. It has been around for a while, CFast 2.0 having been released in Q4 2012, but with very limited adoption. You could count the number of camera models which use it on a single hand. Still, ADATA is entering that market with a lineup of memory cards, with quite a bit of variety.
The ADATA ISC3E will come in SLC (one stored bit per memory cell) and MLC (two stored bits per memory cell) models. Capacities will range from 4GB to 64GB (SLC) or 4GB to 128GB (MLC). Speeds are fairly low, compared to modern SSDs. SLC is rated at 165 MB/s read and 170 MB/s write, while MLC can read at 435 MB/s and write at 120 MB/s. They support ECC and S.M.A.R.T.
Of course, this is kind-of interesting in terms of its small, removable form factor. Beyond that, it seems to be a few years back in terms of SSD technology. For the high resolution (or high frame rate) camera use case, read and write speeds really do not matter, except when you transfer your media off of your device (which the MLC version is clearly better suited for). Otherwise, as long as your write speed is consistently above what the camera can output, going bigger will be wasted overhead. ADATA suggests using these CFast 2.0 cards in POS terminals and kiosks but, at that point, would you really need small and removable memory?
ADATA has not released pricing and availability.
For a mere $100 you can pick up the 256GB model or for $200 you can double that to 512GB. That certainly makes the drives attractive but the performance is there as well, often beating its predecessor the MX500 series. If reliability is a concern the onboard RAIN feature guards against writes to bad flash, there are onboard capacitors to allow writes to finish in the case of power outages and a 3 year warranty. Check out the full review at The Tech Report if you need a second opinion after Allyn's review.
"The Crucial MX100 is the first solid-state drive to use Micron's 16-nm MLC NAND. It's also one of the most affordable SSDs around, with the 256GB version priced at $109.99 and the 512GB at $224.99. We take a closer look at how the two stack up against a range of competitors, and the results might surprise you."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Crucial MX100 Solid State Drive @ Benchmark Reviews
- Toshiba Q Series Pro 256GB SSD @ NikKTech
- Samsung 845DC EVO @ SSD Review
- OCZ Vertex 460 240GB Review @ OCC
- OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB PCIe SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- Vantec EZ SWAP M3500 Series Review @HiTech Legion
- Netgear ReadyNAS RN312, RN314 & RN316 @ Legion Hardware
- Thecus N4560 SOHO/Home NAS Server Review @ Madshrimps
- Thecus N7710-G @ techPowerUp
- ADATA XPG SDXC UHS-1 U3 Card @ The SSD Review
Subject: General Tech, Memory, Storage | June 9, 2014 - 11:08 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: kingston, ssd, hyperx
Kingston, known primarily for RAM, flash drives, and SSDs, discussed the health of their company. VR-Zone reported on the interview and highlighted the company's sentiments about the PC industry. Long story short, Kingston sees growth in sales of PC gaming hardware -- apparently 20% year-over-year. The company expects that this growth comes primarily from SSD upgrades, either from rotating media or, they claim, replacing years-old, entry-level SSDs with more modern (probably in both speed and size) options.
Nathan Su, APAC (Asia-Pacific) director of Kingston, believes that "many users" have experienced low-tier SSDs and, it seems, would be willing to invest in the full thing. He does not clarify what he means, whether he is talking about SSD caching, or just a really small (or slow) SSDs from drive generations past.
There is a bit of a concern that SSD prices will continue to fall, with some drives reaching under 40c/GB in recent sales. As a consumer, I (selfishly) hope that prices continue to drop, while still remaining profitably sustainable for the manufacturers. Hopefully Kingston is accounting for this and will continue to see growth at the same time.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 4, 2014 - 07:37 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: computex 2014, computex, tlc, ssd, Samsung, 845DC EVO
Well that was an alphabet soup of a title.
Samsung has just announced a new line of SSDs, based on three bit per cell (TLC) memory, for enterprise customers. The Samsung 845DC EVO is rated at 530MB/s reads with 87,000 IOPS. The company will also cover up to 600TB of writes under its warranty (no mention of length in years, though). The drive will be available "later this month" in 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB models. Samsung did not mention price in their press release, but Anandtech claims the 240GB will be $250, the 480GB will be $490, and the 960GB will be $969.
Samsung's SSDs will give you some TLC???
This is basically $1/GB scaling, plus $10. I must admit, this is getting pricy. In the consumer space, we have recently seen 512GB for $199. That said, SSDs are not known for sticking to their MSRP. Also, these are enterprise-rated drives. Being TLC-based, I wonder how much (if any) SLC-style write cache was included, as per the consumer 840 EVO.
Lastly, Samsung claims that these drives use around 4W under load. This is much lower than hard drives but a little high for SSDs, according to benchmarks that I have seen. That said, there are a few ways to parse that (for example, if they mean that its peak is typically 4W, which would be pretty good for a 960GB drive).
The Samsung 845DC EVO will be available later this month for a little over $1/GB.
Subject: Memory, Storage | June 4, 2014 - 11:15 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: ssd, solid state drive, pcie, pci-e ssd, memory, M.2, ddr4, computex 2014, computex, adata, 2tb ssd
ADATA has been showing off some upcoming products at Computex, and it's all about DRAM.
We'll begin with an upcoming line of PCIe Enterprise/Server SSDs powered by the SandForce SF3700-series controller. We've been waiting for products with the SF3700 controller since January, when ADATA showed a prototype board at CES, and ADATA is now showcasing the controller in the "SR1020" series drives.
The first is a 2TB 2.5" drive, but the interface was not announced (and the sample on the floor appeared to be an empty shell). The listed specs are performance up to 1800MB/s and 150K IOPS, with the drive powered by the SF-3739 controller. Support for both AHCI and NVMe is also listed, along with the usual TRIM, NCQ, and SMART support.
Another 2TB SSD was shown with exactly the same specs as the 2.5" version, but this one is built on the M.2 spec. The drive will connect via 4 lanes of Gen 2 PCI Express. Both drives in ADATA's SR1020 PCIe SSD lineup will be available in capacities from 240GB - 2TB, and retail pricing and availability is forthcoming.
Continuing the DRAM theme, ADATA also showed new DDR4 modules in commodity and enthusiast flavors. Both of the registered DIMMs on display (an ultra-low profile DIMM was also shown) had standard DDR4 specs of 2133MHz at 1.2V, but ADATA also showed some performance DDR4 at their booth.
A pair of XPG Z1 DDR4 modules in action
No pricing or availability just yet on these products.
Subject: General Tech, Storage, Shows and Expos | June 3, 2014 - 03:37 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: computex, computex 2014, WD, ssd, pcie, SATA Express, hdd
SATA Express is an interface to either connect a hard drive to PCIe lanes, or up to two drives via SATA. Obviously, PCIe bandwidth over a cable connection is the real draw. To use the full speed, however, the drive needs to be able to communicate over PCIe. Currently, the standard uses two PCI Express 2.0 lanes (1 GB/s).
Now that Z97 and H97 have launched, WD is set to show off the technology at Computex. The above image is apparently of a dual-drive product, containing 4TB of rotating media and 128GB of SSD memory. I am immediately reminded of the Western Digital Black2 dual drive which Allyn reviewed last November. That product crammed a 120GB SSD into a 2.5" 1TB HDD, which appeared to the system as two separate drives. The drive has "Technology Demonstration" written in red font right on it, but it could be a good representation of what the company is thinking about.
WD also asserts that their prototype uses standard AHCI drivers, for OS compatibility.
If you want to see this product in action, then -- well -- you kind-of need to be at Computex. At some point, you might be able to see it in your own PC. When? How much? No pricing and availability, again, because it is a tech demo.
Subject: General Tech, Storage, Shows and Expos | June 2, 2014 - 07:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: usb 3.0, thumb drive, ssd, flash drive, corsair, computex 2014, computex
The Flash Voyager GTX is Corsair's attempt to be an SSD over USB 3.0. Differentiating itself from a standard USB flash drive, the Voyager GTX includes TRIM support, S.M.A.R.T. monitoring, and interfaces with USB Attached SCSI. It also comes in two, SSD-sized capacities, 128GB ($119.99) and 256GB ($199.99). These drives are rated at 450MB/s read and 350MB/s write.
This pricing structure puts the Voyager GTX against the Samsung 840 Pro, which is an interesting comparison to make. Both drives are backed by a five (5) year warranty and, while the 840 Pro has higher read bandwidth, the write speeds are fairly comparable. IOPS and write durability is not listed for the Corsair Flash Voyager GTX but, even if they are marginally behind, this has the advantage of USB.
Benchmarking should be interesting for this. I would be curious if this could lead to portable OS installations and abrupt boosts to Steam library sizes, both with SSD-like speeds.
The Corsair Flash Voyager GTX USB 3.0 drives will be available in July. The 128GB version has an MSRP of $119.99, while the 256GB is listed at $199.99.
For more Computex 2014 coverage, please check out our feed!
Subject: Storage | June 2, 2014 - 07:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: wireless storage, ios, Hard Drive, computex 2014, Android, airplay
Today Corsair annouces the Voyager Air 2, a wireless hard drive with 1TB of storage which can connect to iOS and Android devices, as well as PCs and Macs.
The Voyager Air 2 is battery-powered and rechargeable (Corsair estimates 7-hour battery life from the high-capacity rechargeable lithium-ion battery), and the included software syncs with Dropbox and Google Drive and supports AirPlay streaming to an Apple TV. It supports 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connections for multiple users within a 90 foot range, and can stream 720p high-definition video to up to five devices at once.
And the Voyager Air 2 has quite a bit more functionality than just streaming content over Wi-Fi. It can serve as a wireless hub to share internet access via wireless passthrough, and it also functions as a USB 3.0 drive for fast data transfers when connected to a computer.
The Voyager Air 2 will be available this month with a suggested price of $179.99.
Subject: Storage | May 28, 2014 - 05:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: super talent, RAIDDrive II Plus, pci-e ssd
The Super Talent RAIDDrive II Plus is a rather interesting take on a PCIe SSD card, it's USB 3.0 connected 25nm MLC NAND storage is on one PCB with a SF-2281 to handle the traffic and on the second PCB is an LSI 2108 RAID on a Chip and 1GB of DDR2-800. That LSI RoC can support most RAID modes, giving you either higher performance or increased reliability all on a single PCIe SSD card. For testing purposes The SSD Review used RAID 0 and found that except in one certain scenario the card was outclassed by a single Intel 480 SSD. If you are not scared of a tough price of $4/GB on a 2TB device and need fast large block sequential reads and writes with no expectation of quick random reads nor writes this is a good choice. Otherwise you might want to consider other alternatives but the technology on this device is rather intriguing.
"The second type of PCIe add-in-card storage takes more of a brute force approach. These devices typically have off-the-shelf SATA/SAS controllers and connect via a PCIe bridge. Think of a HBA/RAID card connected to a SATA SSD, but on a single card. These designs have many advantages and disadvantages. While the cost and time-to-market can be low, they are inherently limited due to the architecture."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Samsung XP941 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD Mini Review @ Legit Reviews
- ASRock Z97 Extreme6 Tests Samsung XP941 M.2 x4, Plextor M6e M.2 x2 and Samsung 840 Pro SATA 3 SSDs @ The SSD Review
- Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 V4 6TB SATA III HDD @ NikKTech
- Corsair Force LX SSD @ The SSD Review
- Plextor M6M 256GB mSATA SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- OCZ Vertex 460 (240GB) @ Bjorn3d
- Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Edge Boost Server 7mm SSD @ The SSD Review
- Seagate Desktop 3.5″ 4TB Solid State Hybrid Drive @ eTeknix
- Lexar High-Performance microSDHC UHS-I 32GB (633x) Card Review @ Madshrimps
- Kingston Class 10 UHS-1 Ultimate SDXC Card @ The SSD Review
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ NikKTech
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB USB3 Flash Drive @ Kitguru
- SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II 32GB Memory Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- Kingston DataTraveler R3.0 G2 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ NikKTech
- ADATA XPG 64GB SDXC UHS-I Speed Class 3 U3 Memory Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- Addonics AD25MSD mSATA to 2.5-inch SATA Drive Adapter Review @ Legit Reviews
- RaidSonic ICY BOX IB-RD3662U3S External HDD RAID Enclosure @ NikKTech
- Silicon Power Diamond D20 500GB USB 3.0 Portable HDD Review @ Madshrimps
- QNAP SilentNAS HS-210 2-Bay NAS @ eTeknix
- Synology DiskStation DS214se @ Funky Kit
- ioSafe 214 Dual-bay Disaster-Proof NAS Review @ Techgage
- QNAP SilentNAS HS-210 NAS Server @ NikKTech
- Thecus N2310 2-bay Intelligent NAS @ eTeknix
- Thecus N2560 Network Attached Storage Review @ Modders-Inc
Subject: Storage | May 28, 2014 - 01:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: corsair, Force Series LX, mlc, toggle NAND, SM2246EN
Are you attracted to MLC SSDs with a price under $0.50/GB? Corsair's new Force Series LX uses Silicon Motion's SM2246EN controller and is rated at speeds of up to 560MB/s
sequential write and up to 300MB/s sequential read when tested by ATTO and both the 128GB and 256GB models are available on NewEgg now for just a bit over the recommended price.
FREMONT, California — May 27, 2014 — Corsair, a worldwide designer of high-performance components to the PC hardware market, today announced the release of the Force Series LX solid-state drives (SSD). Available in either 256GB or 128GB capacities, Force Series LX SSDs bring the amazing performance benefits of an SSD to new lower price point – making it easier than ever to move your PC into the SSD fast lane.
The speedy benefits of solid-state drives have long attracted PC enthusiasts, but high prices may have put off some users from making the switch to this faster storage technology. In response to this dilemma, Corsair is bringing all the perks of an SSD to a new, even more budget-friendly price point so everyone can feel the rush. With the Force LX 256GB costing $129.99 and the 128GB just $74.99, there’s never been a better time to upgrade to faster SSD technology.
Powered by a Silicon Motion SSD controller, the Force Series LX SSDs offer fantastic performance up to 10 times faster than that of a conventional spinning-disk hard drive. Force LX’s SATA 3 file transfer speeds of up to 560MB/sec read and 300MB/sec write can massively improve system performance. Operating system start-up and application load times accelerate to mere seconds, anti-virus scans complete far faster, and navigating your PC’s files feels much more responsive thanks to near-instant access times.
A slim-line 7mm aluminum housing makes it easy to install the Force LX into almost every desktop or notebook PC with a 2.5 inch drive bay -- an ideal upgrade to breathe new life into an notebook, ultrabook or PC in need of a boost. Corsair’s bundled SSD Toolbox software utility is also included as a free download, allowing you to easily optimize your SSD’s performance, clone your existing hard drive, or securely erase all data on a drive. TRIM, NCQ and S.M.A.R.T. technologies automatically maintain drive performance for years to come, and Corsair tops off the package with a 3 year warranty and legendary customer service for total peace of mind.
You probably saw some news floating around yesterday that leaked out about an upcoming Crucial MX100 SSD using 16nm flash with an eye towards the mainstream price segment. While we are waiting for our samples of these units to arrive, we did get this comment from Crucial on the matter.
The word is out that Crucial will be launching a new SSD in the early June 2014 timeframe called the Crucial MX100 SSD. The new MX100 will be a competitively-priced, 2.5" SSD based on Micron’s new 16nm chips, and will be the successor to the Crucial M500 drive. The high-performance Crucial M550 drive will also remain part of the Crucial SSD product line-up.
We’re excited to share that PC Perspective has been fully briefed on the new Crucial MX100 by the Crucial SSD product marketing team and have a review sample in hand that we’re now rigorously testing. Once the MX100 drive is officially announced, we’ll have a complete product overview and benchmarks to share with you directly. Stay tuned for the full scoop here!
Image source: Hardware.info
As a replacement for the Crucial M500 line, we expect the MX100 to be a big seller. Just look at the M500 price on Amazon.com today: 960GB for $459 or 480 GB for $219! That's really all we know for now, check back for Allyn's testing very soon!
Subject: Storage | May 21, 2014 - 09:06 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: storage, SATA Express, rumors, chipset, amd
The new SATA Express (SATAe) and M.2 standards are hot topics in the storage world at the moment, and SATAe is one of the more interesting features of the new Intel Z97-based motherboards. Now it looks like it won't be long until AMD counters with support of its own. Well, kind of.
ASMedia is reportedly licensing their SATA Express IP to AMD for an upcoming platform. Didn't know that ASMedia already had a SATAe implementation? The ASUS Z97 Deluxe board which Morry recently reviewed uses an ASMedia controller for one of its two SATAe ports, along with one powered by the chipset.
We can only speculate on the "next gen" platform from AMD mentioned in the report, and it will be interesting to see what kind of performance numbers might be seen from this alleged product.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | May 17, 2014 - 02:47 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Pioneer, bluray
By layering eight layers of 32GB Blu-ray media, Pioneer has achieved 256GB worth of storage on a single-sided optical disc. If you are more interested in storage than labels, the company acknowledges the obvious extension to double-sided media with 512GB of capacity. They also leave the door open for 1TB and larger discs by extending their signaling method to more than twelve layers.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
It suffices to say that this is a lot of storage. If cost can be kept low enough, optical media could once again be viable for archival and backup. Once a drive is purchased, and USB 3.0 makes it trivial to purchase a single drive for multiple computers, a single disc could bit-for-bit copy a full SSD and other, more modern amounts of data. Basically, it is much less work backing up in 256GB chunks than 4.7GB or 25GB ones.
If cost can be kept low enough is a serious point, though. BD-Rs retail for about $50/1.3TB (according to a few Newegg searches) and DVD-Rs are around the same ($25/500GB). This is not too far from hard drive territory (~100$/2 TB). Of course, hard drives are also faster, rewritable, and do not need to be inserted into a drive for reading and writing... because they are one. People are transitioning away from optical media to hard drives. Cost would need to be phenomenal to reverse that momentum.
4K and UHD video content was not discussed but, let's face it, your mind went there, too.
Subject: Storage | May 12, 2014 - 05:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, hyper express, SATA Express
In this case the picture below is definitely worth 1000 words, it is easy to see just how ASUS created a RAID 0 in a single SSD. Those SanDisk mSATA SSDs are both 128GB and communicate via a ASMedia ASM1062R controller. Astute readers will wonder what this means for TRIM, as those commands often do not pass through a RAID controller and you are right to be concerned for as of yet TRIM is not supported on this drive. Even without proper garbage collection the performance of this drive is rather tempting, as you can see for yourself in Legit Reviews full article.
"Last week we talked about what makes SATA Express important and showed off some performance benchmarks of the ASUS Hyper Express SATA Express External Enclosure. We’ve been able to acquire our own ASUS Hyper Express drive and we spent this week trying it out on our own systems to see how it performed on one of our own systems..."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- A first look at SATA Express with Asus' Hyper Express storage device @ The Tech Report
- Intel 730 240GB SSD Review @ hardware Canucks
- Kingston M.2 Sata SSD: a quick look at engineering sample @ Kitguru
- ADATA Premier Pro SP920 512GB SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- OCZ Vertex 460 240GB SATA III 2.5" SSD Review @ Madshrimps
- NETGEAR ReadyNAS 102 Dual-bay NAS Review @ Techgage
- Plextor M6e 256GB PCIe SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Kingston SSDNow E50 100GB Solid-State Drive @ NikKTech
- ADATA XPG SX900 SSD Review @ TechwareLabs
- Mach Xtreme DIY Series SATA-DOM 32GB SSD @ The SSD Review
- PNY Optima SSD Series @ The SSD Review
- Intel 730 Series 480GB SSD Review in RAID @ Legit Reviews
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ The SSD Review
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB USB3.0 Flash Drive @ eTeknix
- Corsair Flash Voyager GO 64GB PC/Mobile Flash Storage Drive Review @ Madshrimps
- Synology DS414j @ Kitguru
- Synology DS214se & DSM 5.0 Overview @ techPowerUp
- Synology DS414j 4-Bay NAS @ eTeknix
- Netgear ReadyNAS RN102 & RN104 @ Legion Hardware
- VisionTek mSATA Mini Enclosure Review @ Legit Reviews
- ioSafe 214 Fire and WaterProof NAS Video Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: General Tech, Storage | May 6, 2014 - 03:46 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: toshiba, ssd, sandisk, 4TB SSD
If you are an enterprise, SanDisk is getting a bit SAS-y with some pretty large SSDs. How large? 4TB. Not large enough? Why are you the way you are. Also, according to VR-Zone, 6TB and 8TB versions will follow, in 2015 (Update: 5/6/2014 @ 5:56pm EST -- VR-Zone might have meant "16TB"... as Tom's IT Pro claims to have heard from SanDisk). These drives will be produced with 19nm NAND, not utilizing the 15nm cells from their partnership with Toshiba. SanDisk claims their choice of 19nm was for reliability. Also, clearly, they are not suffering with density.
Speaking of reliability, the SanDisk warranty is rated in both time as well as the supported number of full drive writes per day. The Optimus MAX SSD is rated at one-to-three drive writes per day, or 4-12TB per day, over the course of its 5-year warranty.
4TB Optimus MAX SSDs are expected to launch "to select OEMs and through the channel" in Q3.
VisionTek recently released a new storage product dubbed the mSATA mini USB 3.0 Bus-Powered SSD Enclosure (900696). Despite the name, VisionTek has an interesting product on its hands as it not only enables speedy portable storage (assuming you have hardware with USB 3.0 ports of course), but allows users to put any mSATA SSDs that would otherwise be gathering dust in a drawer to good use! Essentially, it is a small metal enclosure that accepts a mSATA SSD and interfaces it with a PC over USB 3.0.
The mSATA USB 3.0 enclosure measures 2.88" x 1.63" x 0.51" and is constructed of aluminum with a textured titanium color (for aesthetics) and rounded edges. Users can install any mSATA SSD up to 50mm in length. A third generation ASMedia ASM1153E controller then performs the conversion from the drive's SATA I, II, or III interface to USB 3.0. Naturally, you are going to take a performance hit due to the added latency and interface conversion introduced by the ASMedia controller versus directly attaching the drive to a motherboard's mSATA slot. Fortunately, the hit to performance is fairly minimal when dealing with large file transfers and sequential read and write performance.
According to Legit Reviews, their Kingston 120GB (SATA 3 6 Gbps) mSATA solid state drive saw sequential read and write speeds of 271 MB/s and 160 MB/s respectively when connected to a motherboard slot. When installed in the USB 3.0 enclosure, speeds dropped to 250 MB/s sequential reads and 158 MB/s sequential writes. Further, a large 71GB 4K video file transfer averaged out to 151 MB/s. The exact speeds will vary with the specific drive users install, but the thing to note is that the performance hit should be minimal (at least the performance relating to dealing with file copies, random access will take a larger hit) despite adding the USB 3.0 interface to the equation.
The VisionTek drive is available now with a three year warranty for $30.72 from Amazon, which is a tempting price for fast portable storage especially if you already have a mSATA drive laying around! Notably, it seems that VisionTek is not the only manufacturer sourcing these boards, as MyDigitalSSD has a simlar drive with an MSRP of $24.99.
If you are interested in putting together your own SSD-powered portable drive, check out the full review linked above.
Now, if I can only encourage Allyn to recycle some of his mSATA drives...
Subject: Storage | May 1, 2014 - 07:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: SATA Express, pcie, asus, ssd, Z97-Deluxe
KitGuru had a chance to test the ASUS Z97-Deluxe with a Concept Edition SATA Express SSD from ASUS to see what happens when you can feed the data from an SSD across two SATA ports, giving it the bandwidth of two PCIe lanes. That should allow a theoretical 10Gbps bandwidth as PCIe 3.0 lanes are still being held in reserve as there are not that many available on an LGA1150 board but as KitGuru points out "leaked information suggest (we still cannot confirm anything) that M.2 support will be native to the ‘future Intel chipset’." Check out their review and be prepared to be amazed that the speed of 728MBps was lower than expected.
"We revisit the SATA Express interface to obtain a more up-to-date look at what the next generation of SATA connections is capable of. Our tools for the job; a retail Asus motherboard set to release soon, and a concept version of Asus’ Hyper Express enclosure, internally powered by solid state storage."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- ASUS Hyper Express SATA Express Drive Performance Preview @ Legit Reviews
- OCZ RevoDrive 350 PCIe SSD 480GB @ Kitguru
- What Is SATA Express and Why It Matters @ Legit Reviews
- Plextor M6M 256GB mSATA SSD @ Custom PC Review
- Micron M500DC Enterprise SSD Review (480GB) @ The SSD Review
- Crucial M550 512GB SATA SSD @ Custom PC Review
- Silicon Power 32GB Superior microSDHC UHS-1 Flash Card Review @ Madshrimps
- 32GB OTG USB Flash Drive Roundup - Corsair, Kingston, Transcend @ Legit Reviews
- Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo OTG 32GB USB Flash Drive @ NikKTech
- Lexar Professional 600x SDXC UHS-1 Card @ SSD Review
- Kingwin KF-252-BK Internal Hard Drive Hot Swap Rack Review @ Tweaknews
- Synology DiskStation DS414j
- Vantec NexStar 6G 2.5" Hard Drive Enclosure Review @HiTech Legion
- Synology DS1513+ 5-Bay NAS @ eTeknix
Subject: Storage | April 24, 2014 - 01:41 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: RevoDrive 350, PCIe SSD, ocz, SF-2282
OCZ has announced the release of the RevoDrive 350, a PCIe SSD using the SandForce 2282 controller and available in 240, 480 and 960GB models which should be priced at $530, $830 and $1300 respectively. This is certainly more expensive than SATA SSDs but then again if you check out the three reviews you can see that this drive is also significantly faster than SATA drvies.
- OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB PCI-E SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- OCZ RevoDrive 350 PCIe 480GB @ Legion Hardware
- OCZ RevoDrive 350 PCIe @ The SSD Review
SAN JOSE, CA – April 24, 2014 - OCZ Storage Solutions - a Toshiba Group Company and leading provider of high-performance solid state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced the RevoDrive 350 Series with workstation-grade design capabilities and maximum performance for professional content creation, multimedia, and extreme gaming applications. Achieving three times the performance of SATA-based SSD solutions, RevoDrive 350 is based on proven performance architecture and features 19nm Toshiba NAND to complete OCZ’s portfolio transition to in-house flash, offering a high-performance yet cost-efficient SSD solution for bandwidth-intensive client applications.
Using the PCI Express Gen. 2 x8 interface and up to four LSI SF-2282 processors to offer more available bandwidth than the previous generation, RevoDrive 350 features up to 1.8GB/s sequential speeds and up to 140,000 4K random write IOPS, delivering SSD RAID performance without the hassle in an easy-to-deploy, single card solution. Enabling both performance and functionality for applications ranging from scientific computing to extreme gaming systems, this workstation-class storage product accelerates application performance and takes full advantage of today’s multithreaded processors and software, supporting up to 50GB of host writes per day for 3 years to provide leading endurance for media professionals over less robust consumer SSDs.
“The new RevoDrive 350 is built using proven technology with the added benefit of utilizing in-house premium Toshiba flash and OCZ’s proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA) 2.0 to deliver highly efficient performance aggregation while reducing the burden on host resources,” said Daryl Lang, Senior Vice President of Product Management for OCZ Storage Solutions. “This next generation PCIe SSD is the ideal solution for performance-minded users looking to maximize both bandwidth and density for the complete gamut of gaming, content creation and workstation applications.”
VCA 2.0 effectively makes the RevoDrive 350’s multi-controller design appear and act as a single drive to the host system to enable drive-level management features such as secure erase, SMART, and TRIM. In addition to mass data storage, the RevoDrive 350 can also be used as bootable device, promoting ultra-fast system boot-ups.
Improving on the previous generation, RevoDrive 350 features a sleek integrated heatsink that provides a more stable and cooler thermal SSD environment, and includes optimized drivers redesigned from the ground up with new Linux support in addition to Windows® OS. Available in 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB capacities, RevoDrive 350 provides ample space, and comes backed by a 3-year warranty.