Intel Releasing Firmware Fix For 8MB SSD Bug In Two Weeks

Subject: Storage | August 16, 2011 - 04:07 AM |
Tagged: ssd, Intel, firmware bug, 320

We reported a few weeks ago that Intel was able to reproduce the 8MB firmware bug in it's lab and was working on a fix.  Officially called the Bad Context 13x Error, the 8MB bug is a rather serious firmware issue that a small percentage of users ran into when their drives unexpectedly lost power due to improper shutdown procedures or power outage at an especially wrong time.  Once the drives were powered on again, they reported a capacity of 8MB to its users, who were able to restore the drive using secure erase but not the data.

Fortunately, a fix is on its way very soon, as Computer World quoted Intel in stating "the new firmware update is in final validation testing and is targeted for release on Intel Communities within the next two weeks."

Further, users will be able to apply the firmware fix without needing to secure erase the drive; however, none of the lost data can be recovered.  As with any drive, SSD or otherwise, be sure to perform regular backups to mitigate the amount of data one can lose in drive failure.  Intel is also recommending that users ensure they shut down their computers properly and to avoid unplugging the SSD from a powered on machine.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information on the Bad Context 13x Error as it develops.  Until then, rest assured that a fix is on the way soon.

The Good, the bad and the ugly of SSDs

Subject: Storage | August 15, 2011 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: ssd, SF-2281 controller, sata 6Gps

The good and the bad are obvious, unparalleled transfer speeds and a very high price per gigabyte are familiar to anyone keeping up with the new storage medium.  The ugly is the reliability, as we have seen a variety of manufacturers and controllers spawn significant problems for users.  That is before you consider how long an SSD will last, something that we have yet to fully see the scope of as niether the technology nor the drives have been on the market long enough for MTBF to be tested in the real world.

If you are willing to risk the possible failures that some users have been seeing with the SF-2281 controller, AnandTech have rounded up several drives which use that specific controller.  Head over to see if you can pick a winner in this incredibly close race.

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"It's a depressing time to be covering the consumer SSD market. Although performance is higher than it has ever been, we're still seeing far too many compatibility and reliability issues from all of the major players. Intel used to be our safe haven, but even the extra reliable Intel SSD 320 is plagued by a firmware bug that may crop up unexpectedly, limiting your drive's capacity to only 8MB. Then there are the infamous BSOD issues that affect SandForce SF-2281 drives like the OCZ Vertex 3 or the Corsair Force 3. Despite OCZ and SandForce believing they were on to the root cause of the problem several weeks ago, there are still reports of issues. I've even been able to duplicate the issue internally."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: AnandTech

Samsung Announces New High Performance SSDs for Mobile

Subject: Storage | August 11, 2011 - 05:32 PM |
Tagged: ssd, SATA3, Samsung, mobile

Samsung recently announced volume production of a new lineup of SSDs using the fast SATA 3 (6Gb/s) interface and will be available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities.  The new SSDs are called the PM830 series, and Samsung expects the drives to replace their SATA 2 (3Gb/s) drives by year-end.

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Wanhoon Hong, executive vice president, memory sales & marketing, Device Solutions, Samsung Electronics stated that Samsung's new SSDs "will raise the performance bar to the next level for ultra-slim notebooks and tablets."  In addition, he believes that the new high capacity drives will spur competition in that segment and increase market interest in SSDs with greater-than 256GB capacities.

The new PM830 drives use Samsung's 20nm class (their term for a process node somewhere between 20 and 29), 32 Gigabit MLC NAND flash with a toggle DDR interface in addition to a proprietary controller.  Samsung claims that the controller and flash are able to take advantage of the SATA 6Gb/s interface by delivering 500MB/s sequential read speeds and 350MB/s sequential write speeds.  Further, the drive uses AES 256-bit encryption to secure private and corporate data.

The new SATA 6Gb/s solid state drives are targeted at OEMs for use in notebooks and tablets.  They are currently only available to OEMs; however, a consumer variant of the drive is forthcoming and will be announced at a later date.

Source: Samsung

Hitachi Releases New Enterprise SSD Based On Intel's 25nm MLC HET NAND

Subject: Storage | August 9, 2011 - 09:10 PM |
Tagged: ssd, mlc, Intel, hitachi, enterprise

Hitachi recently released a new enterprise class SSD based on Intel's 25nm MLC flash.  Dubbed the Hitachi SSD400M, the new solid state drive is aimed at Enterprise users and Cloud data centers.  It comes in the standard 2.5" form factor, features a SAS 6Gb/s interface, and will be available in 200GB and 400GB capacities.

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As an enterprise drive, the Hitachi SSD400M supports end to end data protection, error correction, error handling and self encryption on certain models compliant with the Trusted Computing Group’s Enterprise A Security Subsystem Class encryption specification.  Further showing it's intended usage as an Enterprise drive, the 25nm MLC based drive is rated for 7.3 Petabyte lifetime write, which Hitachi says amounts to 10 full drive writes per day for five years.  Coincidentally, the warranty of the drive is a five year limited warranty or until the drive exceeds the maximum rated number of petabyte writes per capacity.  Hitachi states that they expect a .44 annual failure rate and have projected a 2 million hour MTBF.

Performance of the drive is much better than that of the previously reported Intel drive, as it delivers 495MB/s sequential reads and 385MB/s sequential writes.  The SSD is further rated at 56,000 read IOPS and 24,000 write IOPS.

The SSD400M has already shipped to various OEMs and will be available soon.  More information on the new SSD can be found here.

Source: Hitachi

Intel 710 SSD Prices Leaked

Subject: Storage | August 8, 2011 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: ssd, nand, mlc, Intel, 710

According to VR-Zone, Intel's newest enterprise series 710 Lyndonville solid state drives (SSD) will be launching soon in a mid-august time frame, and will be carrying a price-per-gigabyte metric that only a corporate expense account could love.

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The Intel 311.  The 710 series will have the same 2.5" form factor.

The new drives will come in 100GB, 200GB, and 300GB capacities and will be priced at approximately $650, $1250, and $1900 USD respectively.  Featuring 25mm eMLC HET, the drives feature 64MB of cache, user-controllable over-provisioning up to 20% (which helps drive longevity by reserving more of the drive for replacement of worn out cells), and a SATA II 3.0Gbps connection.  The SATA 3Gbps connection is not likely to bottleneck the drive as it will only feature 270MB/s read and 210MB/s write speeds.

The eMLC HET flash chips are higher quality MLC chips that Intel hopes will provide enterprise level SLC enduring without the higher cost of the SLC chips.  Interestingly, the drives only carry a 3 year warranty that is then further impacted by the state of the E9 wear level indicator so that the warranty expires once the three years are up or the E9 indicator reaches 1, whichever comes first.  The consumer grade Intel 320 drives on the other hand carry a longer 5 year warranty.

My aging X-25 drive remembers the days when Intel pushed for driving down the cost of SSDs; however, does Intel still remember that goal?

Source: VR-Zone

For a few dollars more; synchronized SSD shooters draw first

Subject: Storage | August 8, 2011 - 02:10 PM |
Tagged: ssd, sata 6Gps, asynchronous flash, synchronous flash, SF-2281 controller

With the latest SSD controller from SandForce, the SF-2281 SATA III, we have been seeing two different types of flash memory used as the storage medium depending on which vendor or product line you look at.  Asynchronous flash and synchronous flash differ in their timing when sending read and write commands, [H]ard|OCP's analogy of synchronous flash working like DDR is perfect as the new variety can send a command on both the rise and the fall of a clock cycle.

The reason this now matters is SATA III, which allows enough bandwidth for synchronous flash to show off its higher speeds; with the previous SATA standard it simply had no impact.  That speed impact on the new standard becomes obvious in [H]'s testing, especially when they fill both drives half way and conduct some real world tests.  Now that some of both types of drives are on the market, they also look at the price difference between the two types of flash,; a comparison in which the old asynchronous flash does not look good coming out of.

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"News flash! All flash NAND is not created equal! Sure, you know about multi-level and single-level NAND when it comes to speed, but what about synchronous and asynchronous NAND inside your shiny new SSD? We have answers and tell you where your money is best spent for real data speed."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Huda hudda mrphh; Patriot translates the Pyro

Subject: Storage | August 4, 2011 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: SF-2281 controller, sata 6Gps, patriot. ssd, patriot pyro

Patriot has now split it's SATA 6GB/s SSDs into two lines, the faster and more expensive WildFire series and the new Pyro series, which is intended to be a bit more affordable for the average user.  Legit Reviews tested their middle sized 120GB drive to see what, if anything, was sacrificed to bring the price of the Pyro down.  The SF-2281 controller will be familiar to SSD fans while the MLC flash is 25nm Micron which is likely where the cost savings and slightly lower transfer speeds come from.   Legit Reviews calculated the drives MSRP to be roughly $1.88 per usable GB for the 120 GB Pyro drive, under the magic $2/GB mark.

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"Patriot hasn't been as active in the SSD realm as some other companies, focusing instead on their memory products and USB flash media. Recently they released their Wildfire line of SSDs and they follow that up with another flame related theme in the Pyro line. Each features the popular SandForce SF-2281 controller and a SATA III interface but differ in the NAND flash employed. The Pyro line is the more value oriented drive as opposed to the Wildfire line which sports slightly better max performance specifications in terms of MB/s and IOPS..."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

OCZ Technology Launches Next Generation Z-Drive R4 PCI Express Solid State Storage Systems

Subject: Storage | August 2, 2011 - 07:04 PM |
Tagged: PCIe SSD, ocz

SAN JOSE, CA—August 2, 2011—OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced the release of Z-Drive Revision 4 (R4) PCI Express (PCIe) storage solutions designed to dramatically accelerate enterprise applications and significantly reduce total cost of ownership in the data center. The Z-Drive R4 product line features OCZ’s second generation proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA) 2.0, providing the utmost in performance, flexibility, durability and enhanced reliability features, allowing data centers, for the first time, to rely on a PCIe-based SSD as their primary tier one storage solution.

"Objective Analysis forecasts that the PCIe interface will become dominant in the enterprise SSD market in 2012, with unit shipments greater than the combined shipments of its SAS and Fibre Channel counterparts,” said SSD analyst Jim Handy of Objective Analysis. “This is because the PCIe interface puts less drag on the NAND-to-processor communication channel than do standard HDD interfaces. By 2015, Objective Analysis expects well over two million PCIe SSDs to ship, a number larger than all of the SATA SSDs that shipped in 2010.”

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Patriot tries out the SandForce 2281 controller in the newest Wildfire SSD

Subject: Storage | August 1, 2011 - 03:51 PM |
Tagged: ssd, patriot, wildfire 120GB, sandforce, SF-2281 controller

120GB is a nice spot for SSDs, enough space for an OS and limited programs but without forcing you to spend $500+.  The Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD SATA 6GB/s drive is $300, not the least expensive but certainly competitive with other similar drives, in price.  As for performance, with the new SATA standard and a SandForce controller it seemed best matched against the OCZ Vertex III Max IOPS.  Hi Tech Legion's testing showed the two to be running neck and neck in both performance and price.  Competition that close will hopefully bring sales and discounts making both drives even more attractive.

HTL_wildfire.jpg

"The Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD claims to deliver enterprise-class performance on a home PC. The Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD is equipped with the SandForce SF-2281 controller paired with 16 8GB Toshiba 32nm toggle mode NAND chips. Much like other next generation SandForce based SSDs, the Patriot Wildfire 120GB has DuraWrite technology, Windows 7 TRIM support and is 256-bit AES encryption capable. With a sequential read speed of 555MB/s and write speed of 520MB/s, as well as a max random write IOPS of 85,000, the Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD is aimed squarely at enthusiasts who want raw speed and uncompromised performance."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Corsair Forces synchronicity into their latest SSD

Subject: Storage | July 25, 2011 - 05:15 PM |
Tagged: ssd, corsair, corsair force gt 120GB, sata 6Gps

The new Corsair Force GT 120GB SSD goes a different way from the crowd with their use of synchronous MLC flash memory, the SF-2000 controller is very familiar though.  Synchronous flash is more expensive than asynchronous and in theory should provide better speeds with large uncompressed files, though not a huge boost. That theory bore out Neoseeker's testing with better results across the board when compared to the Patriot Wildfire SSD.  If you are willing to invest the money to get that little bit more out of your machine, the Corsair Force is worth considering.

NS_Force GT 4.jpg

"In an SSD market where 500MB/s data read/write speeds are becoming the norm across manufacturers, Corsair's Force GT differentiates itself from the pack by using 25nm ONFI synchronous NAND flash memory, versus standard 25nm asynchronous NAND. This allows the drive to excel at reading and writing compressed data, which is supposed to translate into faster real-world performance with files like video, music and graphics. Hit our latest SSD review to see just how real this real-world performance ends up looking."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: Neoseeker

Intel reproduces '8MB bug', fix coming soon.

Subject: Storage | July 24, 2011 - 09:22 PM |
Tagged: ssd, Intel, firmware, 320

We've seen some recent mumblings about a corner case where inadvertent or improper power loss to an Intel 320 Series SSD would result in the drive getting stuch in an inaccessible mode where it appears as an 8MB drive. From what I've gathered, the issue seems rare and may be tied to some specific hardware configurations.

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The SSD 320 we tested back in March (we couldn't get it to 'stick' in 8MB mode).

More after the break...

Wireless storage on the go with Seagate's GoFlex Satellite

Subject: Storage | July 21, 2011 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: mobile hdd, 500gb, usb 3.0 seagate, seagate GoFlex Satellite

There is nothing special about a generic 500GB USB 3.0 external hard drive anymore, you can get them from a wide variety of storage providers and neither the size nor the interface are particularly unique.  Seagate saw that as a challenge and met it with the GoFlex Satellite, which sports WiFi so that you don't need to attach it the device you want to access the data from and it has an internal battery so you don't need to plug it into a power source either.   Legit Reviews grabbed one to review and you can find the results right here.

LR_goflex.png

"The Seagate GoFlex Satellite is more than just a shell on a 2.5" 500GB notebook hard drive supporting USB 3.0 connectivity with an external power brick. This drive has its own battery supply and integrated 802.11n wireless access point all in the same form factor as other external drives in the GoFlex line. I was amazed by how easily and quickly I was able to use this product right out of the box. It was a simple operation to move content on to the GoFlex and stream it back off to any wireless device..."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

OCZ Technology Unveils Indilinx Everest Series Solid State Drive Controller

Subject: Storage | July 20, 2011 - 02:43 PM |
Tagged: ocz, Indilinx, Indilinx Everest, sata 6Gps, ssd

SAN JOSE, CA - July 20, 2011 - OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today unveiled the Indilinx Everest SATA 3.0 SSD platform. The Everest platform features support of 6Gbps interface speeds, high transactional performance that is optimized for compressed files, and maximum capacities up to 1TB.

"The new Indilinx Everest platform is a complete customizable solution that delivers superior storage performance, features, and capabilities designed to exceed the needs of the most demanding SSD applications," said Bumsoo Kim, President of Indilinx. "Combining a 6Gbps SATA Revision 3.0 host interface, a dual-core CPU, and support for the latest, most advanced NAND Flash memory technology available, Everest offers SSD manufacturers unparallel flexibility in optimizing their designs for both performance and cost."

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As a true next generation solution the new Indilinx Everest platform includes a complete spectrum of enhanced capabilities including:

Supports Next Generation Flash Technologies
The Everest Platform supports state-of-the-art, Multi-Level Cell (MLC) NAND components and next generation three bit per cell NAND Flash. The ability to leverage Triple-Level Cell (TLC) NAND Flash with proprietary Everest and Indilinx Ndurance Technology provides customers with significant cost reductions associated with moving to the new process.

Advanced Architecture Optimized for High Speed and Density
The Everest Platform features the only controller to support 200 mega transfers per second (MT/s) synchronous-mode flash, up over the 166 MT/s supported by other NAND Flash controllers. Everest supports 1TB capacities in a single controller SSD design with current generation Flash components. Its innovative eight channel design with up to 16-way interleaving for maximum performance, supports full data path and power fail protection to deliver best-in-class data integrity and reliability for enterprise applications.

Performance Optimization
Everest's leading-edge design delivers high sequential speeds up to 500MB/s and is optimized for small file writes at the 8K file size with next generation page mapping technology, which increases transactional performance optimized for 4K to 16K compressed files , by matching file sizes to the 8K page size typical in newer generation NAND Flash.

Enhanced Boot Time
Indilinx's new boot time reduction algorithms can be configured to decrease system boot time by up to 50% over existing SSD controller architectures for customers that require faster boot times and an instant-on experience in their applications. This provides the real world benefits users seek from their storage solutions and enables quicker access and greater responsiveness, allowing clients to take full advantage of solid state storage as a boot device.

Indilinx Everest Platform Complete Feature-Set:

  • SATA Revision 3.0 - Supports 6Gbps, 3Gbps, and 1.5Gbps interface speeds
  • Dual Core ARM CPU
  • 1TB Maximum Capacity
  • High Sequential Speeds
  • High Transactional Performance - Optimized for 4K to 16K Compressed Files
  • Up to 8 Channels of ONFI 2.0/Toggle 1.0 Flash at up to 200MT/s with up to 16-way Interleaving
  • Advanced BCH ECC engine - over 70 bits per defined sector
  • 400MHz DDR3 DRAM Cache Interface with Support for up to 512MB
  • Proprietary Ndurance Technology
  • Enhanced Power Fail Protection
  • Supports up to 1xnm Node NAND Flash with 1, 2, or 3 bits per cell
  • Efficient NAND Flash Management - Dynamic and Static Wear-Leveling, and Background Garbage Collection
  • Boot Time Reduction Optimizations - Collaborative Platform Development
  • NCQ Support up to 32 Queue Depth
  • End-to-End Data Protection
  • TRIM Support
  • Numerous Over-Provisioning Options
  • Industry Standard SMART Reporting

Patriot's new SSD is on fire

Subject: Storage | July 14, 2011 - 12:56 PM |
Tagged: patriot, 32nm NAND, Sandforce SF2281, sata 6Gps, ssd

Patriot's original foray into the SSD market was overshadowed by many other manufacturers releasing SSDs and did not get much stage time compared to Intel or OCZ for instance.   This may change now that the community has realized it is the controller that makes the SSD, not the manufacturer.  Their new 120GB Wildfire is a true SATA 6Gps drive and it features the high performing Sandforce SF-2281 controller.  That isn't the only trick they have up their sleeves, though it means the drive costs more, they chose 32nm NAND over 25nm NAND which results in faster performance and possibly longer life which is in line with the three year warranty Patriot offers.  Check out the actual performance over at Neoseeker.

NS_Wildfire 1.jpg

"The Patriot WildFire is a 120GB SSD using the latest Sandforce SF-2281 controller, and 32nm MLC NAND memory. Together these components promise enterprise-level performance in a package priced for hardware enthusiasts. Hit our review to see if the WildFire can live up to its name, or if it ends up burning out prematurely."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: Neoseeker

OCZ Technology Introduces Next Generation RevoDrive PCI-Express Solid State Drives

Subject: Storage | July 13, 2011 - 01:32 PM |
Tagged: VCA, ssd, revo 3, PCIe SSD, ocz

SAN JOSE, CA—July 13, 2011—OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today launched the RevoDrive 3 and RevoDrive 3 X2 lineup of SSDs. Designed to deliver maximum throughput in multithreaded applications, the new RevoDrive 3 incorporates an advanced data management feature-set based on OCZ’s proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA) technology, providing both the performance and features required by the intensive workloads common in high performance computing and workstation environments.

The RevoDrive 3 provides unique benefits to users by incorporating features from the VCA 2.0 flash virtualization software that allow certain direct memory access (DMA) and data management functions. Included in this feature-set are OCZ’s exclusive command queuing and queue balancing algorithms, which can be handled by the onboard processing core for higher performance and reduced burden on the host resources. VCA 2.0 is also the only virtualization layer in the industry with TRIM and SCSI unmap support to enhance sustained performance and provide greater endurance by significantly reducing the overhead associated with garbage collection. Furthermore, VCA also offers consolidated SMART support and provides system administrators with advanced features for monitoring, analyzing, and reporting device attributes.

“OCZ RevoDrive 3 PCIe SSDs use our VCA 2.0 technology to deliver superior performance and functionality for everything from scientific computing to high availability clustering,” said Daryl Lang, Vice President of Product Management of OCZ Technology. “This exciting new workstation-class storage product accelerates application performance and takes full advantage of today’s multithreaded processors and software, providing customers with greater throughput in an easy-to-deploy, single card solution.”

With its all-new architecture, the RevoDrive 3 shatters its predecessor’s performance record and is faster than comparable solutions that are up to ten times the price. Available in two different models, the Revo3 delivers up to 1.5GB/s of bandwidth and up to 230,000 IOPS (4K random write) under HPC or workstation workloads with a single-card solution. Additionally, the Revo3 X2 960GB offers ample capacity for users in media development and management looking for more storage room.

revo3.jpg

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Western Digital's cool and quiet 3TB AV-GP WD30EURS hard drive

Subject: Storage | July 11, 2011 - 02:24 PM |
Tagged: western digital, WD30EURS. 3TB, hdd

If you are building an HTPC or even a file server which is focused on quiet operation in a small area, picking up a Velociraptor isn't your best choice.  Since the plan also includes a drive with a huge amount of storage space, you might use an SSD for your OS but it is a little expensive to pick up an SSD(s) large enough to keep all of your media.  Western Digital's AV-GP WD30EURS is a 3TB HDD which will operate between 5400-7200 RPM and is designed for use in consumer electronics, hence the Audio/Visual part of the name.  It is different from the normal Green Power series as it utilizes ATA streaming commands with optimize the drive for multiple, large and sequential accesses at the expense of data integrity, and it tends to run a little hotter as well.  Make sure you are running Vista or Win7 and a UEFI based motherboard before picking the drive up.  TechARP's full review is here.

TARP_drive_diagonal_big.jpg

"Today, we will look at Western Digital’s largest capacity AV-GP hard disk drive - the WD30EURS. This hard disk drive is not only quieter and cooler than regular hard disk drive, it also packs a whooping storage capacity of 3 terabytes! Let’s take a look!"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: TechARP

ADATA digs their toes into the sand and then jumps into SSDs

Subject: Storage | July 5, 2011 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: sandforce, SF-2281 controller, sata 6Gps, ssd

With SSDs it seems that the brand on the shell tells you very little about the performance of the drive its self and picking up an off brand SSD can net you a great deal, as long as you know what is inside.  Since ADATA chose the SandForce SF-2281 SATA 6GB/s controller, the same as we've seen in Al's review of the OCZ Agility 3 drive which fared very well in our testing.  The reported prices run from $155 for a 60GB to $520 for the 240GB which is in line with OCZ's Vertex 3 series and is too bad in a way.  In almost every test Benchmark Reviews tried, the ADATA offering fell slightly behind both flavours of the OCZ Vertex 3, which you would hope would bring the price down.  However in the market right now SSD makers can pretty much charge whatever they want as enthusiasts will pay the price; that makes it very nice to see the market opening up with a wide variety of vendors putting out top notch SSDs.

BMR_Adata-S511-SSD-Top.jpg

"ADATA knows that SandForce-driven SSDs are a win-win combination of performance and speed. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the ADATA S511 solid state drive. Based on the popular new SandForce SF-2281 SATA 6GB/s controller and fast IMFT-branded NAND flash components, ADATA claims the AS511S3 is capable of 550 MB/s read and 510 MB/s write speed with 4K random write speeds as high as 60,000 IOPS in real world testing. We test these claims, and compare performance to competing storage solid-state solutions in this review to find out which SSD is best."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

OCZ Elevates Enterprise Solid-State Storage with 2nd Gen. of Proprietary Controller Architecture

Subject: Storage | July 5, 2011 - 10:54 AM |
Tagged: ocz, superscale, VCA, ssd

SAN JOSE, CA—July 5, 2011—OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ),a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced the release of the second generation of its proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA). Leveraged in OCZ’s PCI-Express (PCIe) and SAS SSD solutions for workstation, enterprise, and OEM clients, VCA 2.0 supports a rich enterprise feature-set enabling unprecedented flexibility, increased performance, and the reliability required for high throughput storage systems.

ocz_vca2.jpg

“OCZ’s proprietary VCA technology is the next step in the evolution of virtualization layers for solid state storage. VCA 2.0 enables industry-leading configurable performance aggregation along with a rich enterprise feature set not found on competitive products,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology Group. “With its scalable performance, TRIM and SCSI unmap support, and enhanced management tools, VCA 2.0 provides superior reliability and superior performance, in a plethora of OCZ’s easy-to-deploy storage solutions.”

Building on the company’s first generation VCA technology, which was originally deployed in OCZ’s Z-Drive R3 PCIe and Talos SAS SSDs, VCA 2.0 provides even greater enterprise flash management features. In OCZ’s enterprise PCIe devices, VCA 2.0 supports the creation of a virtual pool of logical units (LUNs) and features best-in-class configurable performance aggregation, simplifying data management without impacting performance, to provide clients with an easily deployable total solution. VCA 2.0 is the only virtualization layer in the industry with TRIM and SCSI unmap support, which enhances the sustained performance by significantly reducing the overhead associated with garbage collection.

Additionally, VCA 2.0’s user-selectable data recovery and non-stop modes allow for unprecedented data protection, while consolidated SMART support provides system administrators with advanced features for monitoring, analyzing, and reporting device attributes. Unlike other flash virtualization layers, VCA 2.0 also supports complete power fail protection. In the event of unexpected system power loss, OCZ’s enterprise power fail protection completes all in-progress transactions, protecting the integrity of all active data.

When combined with OCZ’s SuperScale storage controller, VCA 2.0 provides unique benefits to users by allowing certain direct memory access (DMA) and data management functions, including OCZ’s unique command queuing and queue balance algorithms, to be handled by the onboard processing core. This results in higher performance and reduces the burden on the host CPU.

VCA 2.0 technology will become available with the launch of OCZ’s upcoming workstation and enterprise-class PCIe SSDs, including the RevoDrive 3 and Z-Drive R4. IT and datacenter administrators looking to learn more about the technology, or OCZ’s SSD offerings should visit http://ocztechnology.com.

OCZ's new SSD, the Vertex 3, is storage glee

Subject: Storage | June 28, 2011 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: ocz, vertex 3, sata 6Gps, sandforce

OCZ 's third iteration of the Vertex series of SSDs continues their dominance in the feild.  The new Sandforce controller is matched with IMFT 25nm flash from Toshiba on a true SATA 6Gb/s drive.  That all adds up to one incredibly fast SATA SSD, with the slightly larger 240GB drive pushing ahead of the 120GB drive.  [H]ard|OCP also briefly covered the Agility 3 240GB and Vertex 3 max IOPS 240GB which produced mixed results, the Agility 3 dissapointed their high expectations and the MaxIOPs could not beat the normal Vertex 3 though theoretically it will have a longer lifespan.  The plain Vertex 3 drives were simply impressive at everything they were tested on.

You can get a faster drive though, with the PCIe based OCZ RevoDrive 3 x2 480GB SSD, the fastest storage on the planet.  It doesn't come cheap though.

H_Vertex3.jpg

"Today we take a look at the OCZ Technology Vertex 3 in both 120GB and 240GB capacities. The Vertex 3 was the first SF-2000 based client SSD to hit the market in 2011 and such will be the product in which all others will be judged against. The Vertex 3 is capable of transferring data at 550+MB/s."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Super Fast PCI Express Cable Capable of 32 Gbps Announced By The PCI SIG

Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 23, 2011 - 07:30 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, storage, pcie, PCI SIG, Opitical, Intel

Just as Intel is slowly persuading its super fast data interconnect, the PCI Special Interest Group is already introducing their own competing standard in the form of a PCI Express cable that is slated to be capable of a drool-worthy 32Gbps (gigabits per second). Planned to be constructed from copper wire, the cable standard will be launched as part of the PCI Express 3.0 standard and will be able to pipe both data and power through a thin, flattened cable up to 3 meters (9.84 feet) in length.

The PCIe cable is able to achieve this high bandwidth by combining up to four parallel lanes, each capable of 8 Gigatransfers per second (GT/s). Further, it will be able to provide approximately 20 watts of maximum power to peripheral devices. Speedy connectivity to fast SSD based portable hard drives as well as to tablet and smart phone devices for sync, additional touch interface, and external displays are all aims of the PCIe cable. It is squarely aimed to compete with Intel-backed Thunderbolt; however, the PCI SIG has not stated as such, yet. The interest group was quoted by EE Times in saying "There are solutions [like this] in the industry--Thunderbolt is one of them, and some companies are doing own thing,"

 

Intel's Thunderbolt and the PCIe cable will soon enter the Thunderdome to battle for supremacy

The PCIe cable is expected to be ready for peripheral device makers’ integration as early as June 2013. In the future, the cable is likely to be included in the PCI Express 4.0 standard where it will receive an upgrade to 16 GT/s lanes, and from their it will subsequently receive an upgrade to an optical based transmission material.

You can read more about the new PCI Express cable as well as its merits as a open standard (and how that affects Thunderbolt’s proprietary nature) over at EE Times.

Source: EE Times