SandForce finally patches elusive 2200 series SSD controller bug. OCZ issues firmware, others soon to follow.

Subject: Storage | October 18, 2011 - 12:25 AM |
Tagged: ssd, sandforce, ocz, firmware, bug, BSOD

Over the past few months, we had noted a seemingly disproportionate surge of negative reports from users of SandForce-2200 based SSD's. These include OCZ's Vertex and Agility 3, Corsair's Force 3 and GT, Patriot's Pyro and Wildfire, along with many others. The complete list is available in our handy SSD Decoder.

The issue at hand was random BSOD's, with the possibility of an eventual complete failure of the SSD, rendering it unrecognizeable to the BIOS or Operating System. More details (and the fix) after the break:

110529-213748-6.5.jpg

I witnessed this personally, as the SF-2281 pictured above suffered the same fate when we attempted to use it a few weeks ago.

Today (hopefully) marks the answer to everyone's prayers. SandForce issued base firmware 3.3.2 for SF-2000 series controllers.

snap-397-.png

OCZ's Toolbox software V 2.40.02 can patch OCZ's line of SF-2200 SSD's with the new fix.

The release notes follow (and seem to lack mention of the aforementioned bugfix):

OCZ Toolbox version 2.40.02
---------------------------
- Modified Identity data display
- Fixed Smart data display for power fail backup attributes
- Added BIOS update for Hybrid drive

Known Issues:
- Update Firmware feature prohibited for primary drives with 1500 & 2000 controllers
- Intel RST Driver 10.1.0.1008 prohibits SSD detection

OCZ's press tidbit for the new firmware(s):

OCZ is pleased to announce that the cause of a BSOD issue experienced by some SF-2000-based drive owners has been identified by OCZ and SandForce. A new firmware update which directly addresses this BSOD occurrence related to SF-2000 based SSDs is available here. All newly manufactured OCZ SF-2000 based SSDs will feature the new 2.15 firmware revision (which is based on SandForce firmware version 3.3.2.) We highly recommend that any customers that have experienced the BSOD issue update their firmware to 2.15.
 
We sincerely appreciate the support from our customers, and if any customers have any questions or require additional support please do not hesitate to contact a customer service representative and we will be happy to address any questions or concerns.

If you own any of the affected SSD's, I highly recommend updating as soon as possible. Until then, I also recommend you back up any data present on these drives, as the above statements confirm the presence of an issue that can potentially brick your SandForce SSD at any moment.

Remember, patch only applies to the 2200 Series controller (i.e. SandForce SSD's capable of SATA 6Gb/sec).

Salt + electrons = 6x increase in HDD platter density?

Subject: Storage | October 14, 2011 - 05:21 PM |
Tagged: hdd, Hard Drive

With all of this SSD talk lately, let's not forget where storage stuff originated from - the HDD. Here's your spinning rust... ah-hem, Hard Drive lesson for the day:

Hard drives store bits by changing the magnetic alignment of magnetic 'grains' which have been 'sputtered' onto the surface of an extremely flat surface, or platter. Here are some grains created with current tech (lesson after the break):

HardDrivesGrainsSEM100nm.jpg

Due to the random arrangement, storing bits on the above requires each bit to span across several grains as to ensure it is properly written.

The Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), based in Singapore, does all sorts of experimentation with, well, materials research. They had the bright idea to mix in a pinch of table salt into the sputtering process. This, combined with the use of electron-beam lithography, allows much greater control over grain creation - namely they can actually 'draw' them.

etched.jpg

E-beam-etched grains formed with IMRE's new process.

Not only does this enable them to have more control over grain size, but it also allows them to create them in defined tracks. This lets the drive store one-bit per grain. Combine smaller grains with a better ratio of bits to grains and you've got potential for increasing magnetic storage by nearly an order of magnitude. IMRE has already tested the process at densities of 1.9Tb/in2, and they've created platters at up to 3.3Tb/in2. Consider current HDD's run at ~0.5Tb/in2, we're talking 6x the capacity - just when we thought HDD's were leveling off.

IMRE claims the new tech can be easily implemented with existing manufacture lines. The only potential catch I see is that with current HDD's, they make the platter and form tracks onto it once it's already fully assembled. This new tech creates the tracks in the middle of the process. This makes for potential alignment issues when going for a perfect 1-bit per grain density. Think of it as writing to a CD or DVD - the tracks are already there, so your drive's laser has extra components to help it keep the beam locked onto the track during writing (to account for any wobble, etc). HDD's using this new tech may need to employ a similar method, adding complexity to what is likely already the most complex part of these drives.

This development will not only enable higher capacity drives, it should help drop the price of current capacities. I guess SSD's will have to wait a bit longer before taking over the world.

Intel's 710 SATA III 200GB SSD ... and you though PCIe SSDs were expensive

Subject: Storage | October 13, 2011 - 06:05 PM |
Tagged: ssd, SATA3, Intel 710

The Intel 720 is a 200GB SATA 3 SSD with rated specs of 270MBs read/210MBs write or 38500 IOPS read and 2700 IOPS write, which makes it sound great until the sticker shock hits.  At an MSRP of $1300 you suddenly realize that there is more to this drive than just those specifications.  The extra money comes into the picture due to several reasons which make this an enterprise class drive.  The drive is overprovisioned by 120GB, while it does have 320GB of storage the extra memory is not available to you, only to the drive.  That overprovisioning should mean a greatly extended lifetime, just as the 64MB DRAM cache and six transistors ensure you won't suffer data corruption if the drive loses power unexpectedly.  There is more hidden inside this drive, which you can read about at The SSD Review.

SSDR_intel720.jpg

"The SSD Review has compiled a detailed analysis of the newly released Intel 710 SATA III 200GB SSD, an SSD priced at an unexpected $1299. Contrary to original predictions, the 710 is not intended as a consumer product and we believe that it will meet with a great deal of success in the enterprise sector. Follow along as we try to explain why this SSD is such a special addition to the SSD arena."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Source: SSD Review

A quick and easy way to duplicate your drives

Subject: Storage | October 7, 2011 - 02:32 PM |
Tagged: Startech, eSATA, usb, SATA HD Duplicator

Startech's eSATA USB to SATA drive duplicator is a portable device that lets you clone SATA, eSATA and USB disks.  It is quite handy in that you do not need a running PC to be able to clone a disk which can be handy when you are copying an OS installation and need access to all files on the drive.  It is also great in data emergencies or even better, to prevent an emergency from ever happening because you back up your drives frequently.  Plug and Play is very appropriate for this device, you could put in two drives to the duplicator and leave it copying over night as you do not need to monitor its operation at all.  Drop by R&B Mods for their full review of the duplicator

 

rab_duplicator.jpg

"Today we will take take a look at an interesting product from Startech. Startech Portable eSATA USB to SATA Standalone HD Duplicator Dock is a hard disk duplication device that you can do easy hard disk cloning with. Let’s see how it performs in our tests and how easy it is to use."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Corsair Releases High Capacity Force GT and Force 3 SSDs

Subject: Storage | October 6, 2011 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: storage, ssd, sata 3, corsair

Corsair today released three new solid state drives (SSDs) that deliver both speedy performance and high capacity. The new models include two new Force 3 SSDs at 180 GB and 480 GB and one new Force GT SSD at 480 GB. All of the new models are powered by the SandForce 2280 controller and utilize the SATA 3 (6GB/s) storage interface. All models will include a 2.5” to 3.5” adapter for use in desktops, and are backward compatible with older SATA specifications.

The Corsair Force GT being the faster lineup of drives now has a 480 GB Force GT SSD that is capable of 555 MB/s read speeds and write speeds of 525 MB/s. Further, the drive uses ONFI synchronous flash memory and achieves 85K random write IOPS (input/output operations per second).

ssd_fgt3_angle_480gb.png

Although Corsair already has 120 GB and 240 GB models of solid state drives, the lineup now has a 180 GB SSD (to match the 180 GB capacity of the Force GT line) and a 480 GB drive. These two new SSDs use the same asynchronous flash that the other SSDs in Corsair’s Force 3 lineup utilizes as well as the same SandForce 2280 controller. In being compatible with SATA 3 (6GB/s) interface, the drives are able to pump out 85K random write IOPS, 550 MB/s read speeds, and 520 MB/s write speeds. This puts them slightly below the Force GT series, but still delivering respectable performance.

The new solid state drives are available now from authorized distributors and retailers worldwide. The Force 3 SSDs carry an MSRP of $249 USD for the 180GB version and $799 USD for the 480GB SSD. Finally, the 480GB Force GT has an MSRP of $999 USD. Remember to check out our SSD Decoder for help in picking out your solid state drives!

Source: Corsair

Sandforce keeps spreading, check out the EDGE Boost Pro

Subject: Storage | September 30, 2011 - 12:23 PM |
Tagged: SF-2281 controller, sata 6Gbs, EDGE Boost Pro

While you certainly have a wide variety of choice when choosing the manufacturer of your next SSD purchase, the internals will likely be identical.  If you want the fastest SATA 6GB/s SSD you can get then it will be a Sandforce controller handling the data transfer, likely the new SF-2281.  EDGE Tech won't be the first manufacturer you think of but don't let the lack of name recognition turn you off, especially if you are going to be transferring data and software installations as they sell an upgrade kit to make the process even easier.  Benchmark Reviews takes you through the speed and security features of this SSD, especially favouring the three year warranty.

BMR_EDGE-Boost-Pro-SSD-Angle.jpg

"EDGE Tech Corporation has been a manufacturer of peripheral computer hardware for two decades, but only recently have they offered enthusiast storage solutions. New for 2011, the EDGE Boost Pro SSD offers SATA 6GB/s transfer speeds using the latest second-generation SandForce SF-2200 solid state controller technology. EDGE Tech specifies the Boost Pro SSD as capable of 550 MB/s read speeds and 85,000 IOPS write operations. In this article, Benchmark Reviews test the EDGE Boost Pro SSD against the leading competitors and we find out just how much speed and performance this new solid state drive offers."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Look for the SSD sweet spot

Subject: Storage | September 26, 2011 - 06:44 PM |
Tagged: ssd, round up, corsair, crucial, Intel 320, Intel 510, kingston, ocz, SF-2281 controller, Marvell 88SS9174, Intel PC29AS21BA0

Making the assumption you are not as rich as Croesus, there is a sweet spot that many look for when it comes to SSDs.  If you go too small the channel limitations will impact your performance, but a 256GB+ drive is simply out of the budgets of many enthusiasts ... at least for the storage subsystem.  The Tech Report set out in search of the perfect size for an SSD, big enough for full speed performance but small enough it doesn't break the bank.  To that end they assembled nine SSDs, ranging in size from 120GB to 128GB, which gives away the ending in a way.  What you don't know is which drive came out on top, especially in the price to performance tests.  Find out in their full article.

SSD_Salad.jpg

"The latest generation of SSDs is out in full force. We've rounded up nine of 'em to see which offers the best performance and overall value proposition"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Win a Free Drobo Storage Device at PC Perspective!!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Storage | September 22, 2011 - 04:42 PM |
Tagged: pcper, giveaway, drobo, contest

UPDATE: Just a couple more days left on this contest - we are closing entries for this Drobo at 12:01am EST on September 26th!

So you know here at PC Perspective we are big fans of backing up your data.  And one such brand of devices that helps users do that efficiently and safely is Drobo.  We are still working on our Drobo FS review here internally, but should probably check out Allyn's previous review of the 8-bay Drobo Pro to get an idea of the technology and reliability of Drobo.

But, back to the point, did we say you could win a brand new Drobo for yourself?  Yes, you can get your hands on a free Drobo FS unit by simply filling out a form and using your Twitter and Facebook accounts to spread the good word of data security!!

drobo3.png

What do you have to do?  It's a simple three step process:

  1. Follow @Drobo on Twitter and send a message to all your friends with the hash tags #drobo and #pcper telling them about your love of both!
    1. OR .... hit up Drobo on their Facebook page and leave a note on YOUR wall for your friends on the same topic - backing up your data and how Drobo gets it done.
  2. Finally, fill out the form at http://bit.ly/pcperdrobo to finish the job.

You will be emailed a coupon for a Drobo even if you don't win the free one, so you can still get something out this deal, right?!?

Our thanks go out to Drobo for the donations and to our loyal reader base for support PC Perspective over the years!

Source: PCPer

This newcomer to SSDs holds a new iteration of a familiar controller

Subject: Storage | September 19, 2011 - 05:42 PM |
Tagged: sf-2200 controller, sandforce, ssd, silicon power

When you think of SSDs it is very unlikely that your first mention would be Silicon Power, nor would it even make most people's Top 10.  That didn't stop them from releasing a small SSD, the Silicon Power Velox V30 60GB which features the new SandForce SF-2200 controller.  Worth noting is that at no time in the review did Bjorn3D experience the bug that many people, especially Gigabyte board users, have experienced.  What they did find was not unexpected, due to the small size of the drive SandForce has less channels to deal with which impacts performance significantly.  Still the drive will likely beat any SATA II drive out there and at 60GB it will not put you too far into debt.

B3D_SP_Velo.jpg

"Silicon Power Velox V30 60GB SSD is a nice budget SSD. We pit it against top performers like the OCZ Vertex 3 to see how well it does."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Source: Bjorn3D

IDF 2011: Live Blog of Keynotes, Technical Discussions

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors, Chipsets, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 12:15 PM |
Tagged: live blog, Intel, idf 2011, idf

PC Perspective is all over the 2011 Intel Developer Forum and we'll be covering it LIVE here all week.  Expect to hear news about Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge-E, SSDs, X79 chipsets, 22nm tri-gate transistors and more!  We will have specific news posts about the major topics but if you want to keep up with our information to the minute, then you'll want to migrate to this page throughout Tuesday, Wednesay and Thursday morning.  

You can also hit up http://www.pcper.com/category/tags/idf to see all of the posts relating to and coming from IDF this week!

Feel free to leave comments for me on what exactly you want to know and I will do my best to address your questions as the day progresses. 

Source: PCPer

Seven Sandforce SF-2281 SSDs

Subject: Storage | September 13, 2011 - 05:13 PM |
Tagged: sandforce, Sandforce SF2281, ssd, roundup, corsair, kingston, ozc, patriot, sata 6Gps

Four companies with seven SSDs that all share the same controller were tested at X-bit Labs to see if there is any noticeable difference in their performance.   The price per gigabyte varies on the different models as they all use slightly different flash memory as well as different interfaces.  X-bit tries to come out with a general statement about performance and captures the heart when they state "SSDs with synchronous MLC NAND flash are generally faster but also more expensive whereas SSDs with asynchronous flash are cheaper and slower".  That generalization doesn't quite capture the results fully however as even within those two categories there are some choices better than others.  Check out the full review to see which drives came out on top.

xbit_ssds.png

"We tested seven high-speed solid state drives built on second generation SandForce controller that support SATA 6 Gbps. Please welcome our heroes: Corsair Force 3, Corsair Force GT, Kingston HyperX, OCZ Agility 3, OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS, Patriot Pyro and Patriot Wildfire."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: X-Bit Labs

Seagate Releases First 4TB GoFlex External Hard Drive

Subject: Storage | September 8, 2011 - 11:01 PM |
Tagged: Seagate, Hard Drive, goflex, 4TB

Seagate has broken the capacity ceiling for single disk hard drives with their new GoFlex external hard drive reaching a beefy 4 TB of storage capacity. No specific details on performance have been released; however, Seagate has stated that the new four terabyte drive will be housed in their new industrial design enclosure and will carry an MSRP of $249.99.

goflex-desk-4tb-250x302.jpg

The new enclosure is a glossy black design that the company claims delivers a smaller footprint then their previous models. The front face holds a capacity meter that shows the used capacity in 25% increments. Connectivity options on the rear of the drive include FireWire 800 and USB 2.0. Users are also able to pair the 4TB GoFlex drive with a GoFlex adapter that enables USB 3.0 transfer speeds.

Currently, the 4TB hard drive is available for purchase from Seagate’s website, and will be available for purchase from online retailers within the month.  More photos of the drive are available here.  Personally, I had been holding off on the terabyte craze until a drive with at least four terabytes came out; however, storage needs required me to jump on a 2TB drive a bit earlier than I expected. Are you using a TB+ hard drive, or are you holding off for a certain capacity before jumping into the terabyte era?

Source: Seagate

Podcast #169 - SSD Decoder Update, Antec SOLO II, ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, Ultrabook news and a Drobo contest!!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Storage, Mobile | September 8, 2011 - 03:23 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, ssd, podcast, eee pad transformer, drobo, decoder, asus, antec

PC Perspective Podcast #169 - 9/08/2011

Join us this week as we discuss the MARS II combo on Newegg, an update to the SSD Decoder, the new Antec SOLO II chassis, our review of the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer tablet, news on Ultrabook development and even announce a new contest partnership with Drobo!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:23:36

Program Schedule:

  1. Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. MARS II Combo  for $4000!
  6. SSD Decoder Update
  7. Kingwin Stryker 500W Fanless Power Supply Review
  8. Video Perspective: Antec SOLO II Chassis Review
  9. ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101 Review: Assemble!
  10. This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  11. Zotac Releases New ZBOX Nano AD10 Series Mini PCs
  12. Toshiba Unveils Portege Z830 Ultrabook Series
    1. Acer Unveils Super Thin Aspire S3 Ultrabook at IFA in Berlin
    2. Silly Intel, the high price and limited availability were the parts your Ultrabook was supposed to drop
  13. Bulldozer Infused Trinity APU Specifications Confirmed
  14. Intel Unveils 16 New 32nm Processors
  15. AMD Ships Bulldozer for Revenue- Interlagos though- will write up after the podcast and post on front page.
  16. Magma Unveils the First Three-Slot Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis
  17. Drobo contest
  18. Email from Wes about GPU selection
  19. Email from Chris about GPU whine
  20. Email from Lee about SSD security
  21. Email from a mystery writer about GPU stuttering
  22. Finally, a VIDEO QUESTION from David!
  23. Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Blackmagic Intensity Pro
    2. Jeremy: Coil gun revolver with laser sty ((sight?) so there)
    3. Josh: Thermaltake eSports Shock Spin Diamond Black
    4. Allyn: Surefire LED flashlights
  24. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  25. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  26. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  27. Closing

Source: PCPer

Hitachi Releases 1TB per Platter Deskstar and CinemaStar Hard Drives

Subject: Storage | September 6, 2011 - 10:12 PM |
Tagged: hitachi, hdd, deskstar, cinemastar, 1TB Platter

Hitachi GST (Global Storage Technologies) today announced that the company is beefing up their product line by moving to 1 TB per platter technology. With an aerial density of 569 Gb/in^2 (569 Gigabits per square inch) for desktop drives, both Deskstar and CinemaStar product lines will be infused with the new platter technology and will range in capacities from 250 GB to 1 TB. We are currently awaiting an update as to whether the lower capacity drives are using older technology or fractions of the 1TB per platter drives, so stay tuned for an update. This will be important for the performance of the lower capacity drives because the improved aerial density of the 1TB per platter technology brings a healthy performance boost over the older technology due to the amount of data that is able to be read at a time.

The Deskstar lineup is for consumers and enthusiasts while the CinemaStar drives are low power drives best suited for A/V work in streaming HD video and/or writing HD streams to the disk. Such applications include security cameras, IPTV, and DVRs. The new Deskstar drives are available for purchase now; however, the CinemaStar hard drives will not be available until later this fall.

The Deskstar drives come in two flavors, the higher performance 7200 RPM 7K1000.D and the low power 5K1000.B hard drives that employ Hitachi’s Coolspin technology. Both models feature 32MB of cache, SATA 3 (6 Gb/s) interfaces, and power savings versus their predecessors. The HVERT and 8th generation power management technology has allowed Hitachi to claim 15% idle power savings on the 7K1000.D. On the other hand, the 5K1000.B sees a 23% idle power savings versus its predecessor.

DS7K1000.D_top_HR (1).jpg

The CinemaStar drives also employ 32MB of cache and the SATA 3 (6 Gb/s) interface. Hitachi claims that 90% of demand (for AV oriented hard drives) lies in single disk hard drives between 250 GB and 500 Gigabytes in capacity. Just like the Deskstar variants, the CinemaStar lineup is also broken up into faster 7K1000.D and low power, slower spinning 5K1000.B products.

While Hitachi is moving to 1 TB per platter, they are slated to be acquired by Western Digital in Q4 2011. The company will continue to ship the drives until “their logical end of life.” The important bit; however, is that Hitachi GST product warranties will continue to be honored after the acquisition. Have you used Hitachi drives lately, or have you moved on to the larger manufacturers?

Source: Hitachi GST

Solid State Penguin

Subject: Storage | September 6, 2011 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: vertex 3, ssd, SF-2281 controller, sata 6Gps, ocz, linux

The majority of reviews of solid state drives have been focussed on the performance of the drives under Windows, thankfully Phoronix can be counted on to differ from that and present a reveiw of an SSD under Linux.  This particular time it is the OCZ Vertex 3 240GB SSD under Ubuntu 11.10 with the Linux 3.0 kernel and an EXT4 file-system.  The OS had no problems recognizing the drive and it is obvious that Linux has no problems fully utilizing the SATA 6Gb/s interface as the drive blows the competition out of the water.  The only problem is that the price of the drive remains prohibitive no matter what OS you use, but your money will not be wasted.

phrx_ocz3.png

"It's been a while since last providing a Phoronix review of a solid-state drive from OCZ Technology, but now with Serial ATA 3.0 support becoming more prevalent on modern Intel and AMD motherboards, they have been releasing a number of updated products to take advantage of SATA 3.0. In the review we have our hands on an OCZ Vertex 3 240GB SSD as we see how this SATA III SSD performs under Ubuntu Linux."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Source: Phoronix

OCZ Technology Announces the High Performance RevoDrive Hybrid Storage Solution

Subject: Storage | August 31, 2011 - 01:29 PM |
Tagged: revodrive, PCIe SSD, ocz, hybrid ssd

SAN JOSE, CA - Aug. 31, 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 RevoDrive Hybrid PCI Express (PCIe) storage solution. Designed to dramatically accelerate applications and system responsiveness, the RevoDrive Hybrid's superior combination of SSD and hard disk drive (HDD) technology is a revolutionary step forward for high-performance, economical storage.

The RevoDrive Hybrid integrates the benefits of both SSD and HDD technology into a single solution to offer both enhanced responsiveness and ample storage capacity. The drive comes bundled with Dataplex caching software which dynamically manages the use of the 100GB SSD with the 1TB HDD for superior overall storage performance. This combination creates an environment where the most frequently used "hot" data stays on the ultra-fast SSD, while the "cold" data remains on the larger capacity HDD. Advanced caching algorithms learn user behavior and adapt storage policies to ensure optimal performance for each individual user, maximizing productivity for the most demanded programs and applications. In addition, the drive not only eliminates the SATA bottleneck unleashing ground-breaking bandwidth up to 910MB/s, but also features up to 120,000 IOPS (4K random write) for high transactional workloads delivering true SSD-level performance. Finally, the RevoDrive Hybrid provides unique benefits to users by incorporating features of OCZ's proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA) 2.0.

"The RevoDrive Hybrid leverages the best attributes of both solid state drives and traditional hard drive technology to deliver dynamic data-tiering on a single easy to deploy PCIe storage drive," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology Group. "Leveraging Dataplex software to efficiently manage frequently accessed data delivers superior performance and capacity, making the RevoDrive Hybrid the ideal solution for high performance computing and media content creation."

RevoDriveHybrid_main.jpg

Click on the picture for a slightly larger version.

The all-new OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid 1TB comes backed by a three-year warranty and will be available worldwide for an MSRP of $499.99, delivering the industry's best price per GB for SSD-level performance.

High Capacity Corsair SATA 3 Force GT SSDs Now Available

Subject: Storage | August 31, 2011 - 12:27 AM |
Tagged: ssd, storage, corsair, sandforce, SATA3

Today Corsair announced two new high capacity SSDs that have joined the company’s Force GT solid state drive lineup. The new drives come in 180 GB and 240GB flavors, a nice increase from the current 60 GB and 120 GB drives.

SSD_FGT3_angle_240GB.png

The new Force GT SSDs utilize the SATA 3 (6Gbps) interface, and are powered by the SandForce SF-2280 controller. In addition, the drives are powered by ONFI synchronous flash memory. The hardware results in random IOPS of 85K, read speeds of 555 MB/s, and write speeds of 525 MB/s. Thi La, the VP of Memory Products for Corsair stated the new 180 GB and 240 GB SSDs are best suited for enthusiasts systems that require large amounts of high performance storage.

The Force GT drives will come with a 3.5” adapter for cases that do not have 2.5” drive bays. The SSDs are available for purchase now, and carry an MSRP of $379 USD for the 180 GB model and $489 USD for the 240 GB SSD.

Source: Corsair

New Firmware Offers Performance Boost To Crucial M4 SSDs

Subject: Storage | August 30, 2011 - 02:17 AM |
Tagged: ssd, SATA3, M4, crucial

Crucial, a relatively new but successful entrant to the SSD space recently released a new firmware for its M4 lineup that promises faster boot up times and improved write performance. Specifically, the new firmware is version 0009, and users can directly update their m4 SSDs from either revision 0001 or 0002. The update is installed by downloading and burning a bootable CD.

Crucial M4.jpg

According to Tom’s Hardware, the company is promising up to a 20 % performance improvement in sequential read speeds. Further, the official firmware change log includes improvements in throughput performance, write latency, and compatibility with the latest chipsets. In synthetic application testing, Crucial noted an increase in the PCMark Vantage benchmark score using the new firmware update. The company has also improved compatibility between SATA 2 (3Gb/s) chipsets and the SATA 3 (6Gb/s) solid state drives. Lastly, the new firmware reduces the chances for a failed cold boot up (starting the computer from a completely powered down state) of the SSD on certain systems.

Its is certainly nice to see firmware fixes that both squash bugs and offer up some free performance improvements. You can find the firmware download for your specific m4 solid state drive in addition to update instructions here. Let us know what you think of the new firmware.

Source: Crucial

Remember when buying a Blu-ray reader would double the value of your PC?

Subject: Storage | August 29, 2011 - 05:19 PM |
Tagged: plextor, PX-LB950UE, bluray, external drive

That isn't the case anymore as you can pick up the Plextor PX-LB950UE for $220 and plug it in externally to burn single or dual layer Blu-ray disks, as well as DVDs.  With both USB 3.0 and eSATA connections you should have no trouble with compatibility and you will want the fast transfer rates due to the volume of data that Blu-ray can handle.  Unfortunately PCStats could not get the Plextor to play back the movie that they were using for testing, no matter what software they tried to use to play it.  A diagnostic showed nothing wrong with the disk nor with the player and a Google search showed that many people have similar problems with a wide variety of disks and players.  They did have a very early version of the firmware; perhaps an updated version will resolve that particular problem.  Certainly something to keep in mind before picking up this external drive.

PSS-PX-LB950UE_f2.jpg

"In recent weeks the talk of the town has been a sleek black external 12x Blu-ray WRITER from the folks at Plextor. The Plextor PX-LB950UE connects via USB 3.0 or eSATA cables and is capable of burning single layer Blu-ray Disk (BD) media at 12x, double layer BD media at 8x and DVD-R media at 16x speeds. In addition, it supports the playback of Blu-ray 3D movie titles. The bonus to going the Blu-ray writer route, is that BD-R media is even more useful than DVD media for archiving MASSIVE amounts of data."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: PC Stats

IBM Developing 120 Petabyte Water Cooled Storage Array

Subject: Storage | August 26, 2011 - 01:04 PM |
Tagged: storage, Hard Drive, IBM, array

IBM knows how to go big or go home, and their Almaden, California research lab’s current storage project exemplifies that quite nicely. With a data repository that dwarfs anything we have today, IBM is designing a 120 Petabyte storage container. Comprised of 200,000 hard drives, the new storage device is expected to house approximately 1 trillion files or 24 billion 5MB MP3 files. To put that in perspective, Apple has sold 10 billion songs as of February 24, 2010; therefore, you could store every song sold since the Itunes Store’s inception twice and still have room for more!

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More specifically, the Almaden engineers have designed new hardware and software techniques to combine all 200,000 hard drives into horizontal drawers that are then all placed into rack mounts. In order to properly cool the drives, IBM had to make the drawers “significantly wider than usual” to cram as many disks as possible into a vertical rack in addition to cooling the disks with circulating water. On the software side of things, IBM has refined their disk parity and mirroring algorithms such that a computer can continue working at near-full speed in the event a drive fails. If a single disk fails, the system begins to pull data from other drives that held copies of the data to write to the replacement disk, allowing the supercomputer to keep processing data. The algorithms control the speed of data rebuilding, and are able to adapt in the event multiple drives begin failing.

In addition to physically spreading data across the drives, IBM is also using a new file system to keep track of all the files across the array. Known as the General Parallel File System (GPFS), it stripes files across multiple disks so that many parts of a files can be written to and read from simultaneously, resulting in massive speed increasing when reading. In addition, the file system uses a new method of indexing that enables it to keep track of billions of files without needing to scan through every one. GPFS has already blown past the previous indexing record of one billion files in three hours with an impressive indexing of 10 billion files in 43 minutes.

The director of storage research for IBM, Bruce Hillsberg stated to Technology Review that the results of their algorithms enables a storage system that should not lose any data for a million years without compromising performance. Hillsberg further indicated that while this 120 Petabyte storage array was on the “lunatic fringe” today, storage is becoming more and more important for cloud computing, and just keeping track of the file names, type, and attributes will use approximately 2 Terabytes of storage.

The array is currently being built for a yet-to-be-announced client, and will likely be used for High Performance Computing (HPC) projects to store massive amounts of modeling and simulation data. Project that could benefit from increased storage include global weather patterns, seismic graphing, Lard Hadron Collider (LHC), and molecular data simulations

Storage research has an amazing pacing, and seems to constantly advance despite pesky details like heat, fault tolerance, aerial density walls, and storage mediums. While this 120 Petabyte array comprised of 200,000 hard drives is out of reach for just about everyone without federal funding or a Fortune 500 company's expense account, the technology itself is definitely interesting and will trickle down advancements to the consumer drives.

Image Copyright comedy_nose via Flickr Creative Commons