Introduction and Specifications
Storage devices for personal computers have always been a tricky proposition. While the majority of computer parts are solid state, the computer industry has spent most of its life storing bits on electromechanical mechanical devices like tapes and floppy disks. Speaking relatively, it was only recently (less than a decade) that solid state storage became mainstream, and even today the costs of flash production make rotating media the better option for bulk data storage. Hard drives are typically vented to atmosphere, as the Bernoulli Effect is necessary as part of what keep the drive heads flying above the rotating platters. With any vented enclosure, there is always the risk of atmospheric contaminants finding their way in. Sure there are HEPA-class filters at the vent holes, but they can’t stop organic vapors that may slightly degrade the disk surface over time.
By filling a hard disk with an inert gas and hermetically sealing the disk housing, we can eliminate those potential issues. An added bonus is that if Helium is used, its lower density enables lower air friction of the rotating platters, which translates to lower power consumption when compared to an equivalent air-filled HDD. Ever since HGST released their Helium filled drives, I’ve been waiting for this technology to trickle down to consumer products, and Western Digital has recently brought such a product to market. Today we will be diving into our full performance review of the Western Digital 8TB Red.
Compared to the 6TB Red, the 8TB model doubles its cache size to 128MB. We also see a slight bump in claimed transfer rates. Idle power consumption sees a slight bump due to different electronics in use, and power/capacity figures check out as well (more on that later as we will include detailed power testing in this article).
Since Samsung’s August 2015 announcement of their upcoming 48-layer V-NAND, we’ve seen it trickle into recent products like the SSD T3, where it enabled 2TB of capacity in a very small form factor. What we have not yet seen was that same flash introduced in a more common product that we could directly compare against the old. Today we are going to satisfy our (and your) curiosity by comparing a 1TB 850 EVO V1 (32-layer - V2) to a 1TB 850 EVO V2 (48-layer - V3).
While Samsung has produced three versions of their V-NAND (the first was 24-layer V1 and only available in one of an enterprise SSDs), there have only been two versions of the 850 EVO. Despite this, Samsung internally labels this new 850 EVO as a 'V3' product as they go by the flash revision in this particular case.
Samsung’s plan is to enable higher capacities with this new flash (think 4TB 850 EVO and PRO), they also intend to silently push that same flash down into the smaller capacities of those same lines. Samsung’s VP of Marketing assured me that they would not allow performance to drop due to higher per-die capacity, and we can confirm that in part with their decision to drop the 120GB 850 EVO during the switch to 48-layer in favor of a planar 750 EVO which can keep performance up. Smaller capacity SSDs work better with higher numbers of small capacity dies, and since 48-layer VNAND in TLC form comes in at 32GB per die, that would have meant only four 48-layer dies in a 120GB SSD.
Other companies have tried silently switching flash memory types on the same product line in the past, and it usually does not go well. Any drops in performance metrics for a product with the same model and spec sheet is never welcome in tech enthusiast circles, but such issues are rarely discovered since companies will typically only sample their products at their initial launch. On the flip side, Samsung appears extremely confident in their mid-line flash substitution as they have voluntarily offered to sample us a 1TB 48-layer 850 EVO for direct comparison to our older 1TB 32-layer 850 EVO. The older EVO we had here had not yet been through our test suite, so we will be comparing these two variations directly against each other starting from the same fresh out of the box and completely unwritten state. Every test will be run on both SSDs in the same exact sequence, and while we are only performing an abbreviated round of testing for these products, the important point is that I will be pulling out our Latency Percentile test for detailed performance evaluation at a few queue depths. Latency Percentile testing has proven itself far more consistent and less prone to data scatter than any other available benchmark, so we’ll be trusting it to give us the true detailed scoop on any performance differences between these two types of flash.
Read on for our comparison of the new and the old!
(I just referred to a 3D Flash part as 'old'. Time flies.)
Subject: Storage | March 17, 2016 - 08:13 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: 64TB, western digital, wdc, red, 8TB, He8
We've got a lot of storage testing cooking at the PC Perspective offices, and while I usually hold off on publishing things until all testing is complete, I found myself merging two new products in a way that just begged for a photo and quick status update post:
This is a Drobo B810i on our test bench being loaded with 64TB of Helium-filled Western Digital Red 8TB goodness. I made it a point to evaluate this capability since Drobos have historically been limited to 16TB (or 32TB) maximum volume sizes. Drobo has been rolling out firmware updates enabling the new 64TB volume size in units with sufficient performance and bay count to support it (starting with the B1200i last year, and most recently with the 5N). This test was mainly to confirm the B810i's 64TB maximum volume size. The end result looks something like this:
With single drive redundancy (a minimum requirement for any Drobo array), the available capacity comes in at just under 50TB.
Dual redundancy mode drops available capacity down to just over 43TB. Not too shabby considering the Drobo can sustain two drive failures in this mode.
Drobo testing is still in progress and will take a bit more time, but I've completed the initial round on an individual 8TB WD Red and will be posting that review up shortly. Speaking of which, I'm off to get back to it!
Subject: Storage | March 17, 2016 - 02:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: zotac, Premium Edition 480GB, ssd, Phison PS3110
That's right, ZOTAC offers a number of SSDs, including a PCIe based one, but today Hardware Canucks examines the Premium Edition 480GB. It uses the Phison PS3110 controller, 256MB NANYA DDR3 for cache and the slightly older 19nm Toshiba Toggle MLC NAND. This is similar to other lower cost SSDs and so you would expect the performance to be similar as well. This is indeed the case, performance is similar to the PNY XLR8 and the Crucial MX200 drives and the price is attractive, Hardware Canucks saw it on sale for $65US for the 240GB model and less than $140 for the 480GB. If you are looking for a lower cost SSD you should check out the full review.
"The mid-tier SSD market is a crowded place these days but Zotac may have a standout contender with their affordable yet fast Premium Edition."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Samsung 950 PRO SSD RAID-0 Performance @ Benchmark Reviews
- ADATA XPG SX930 240GB @ Kitguru
- OCZ Trion 150 480 GB @ techPowerUp
- QNAP TS-253A Network Attached Storage @ Modders-Inc
- Synology DS216play 2-bay NAS @ techPowerUp
- QNAP TAS-268 QTS and Android Combo NAS @ eTeknix
- ASUSTOR AS3102T NAS Server Review @ NikKTech
The big difference between the Trion 100 and the new 150 is the NAND, it moves from 19nm TLC from Toshiba to the new 15nm TLC but apart from that the drives are essentially the same. Using TLC and making a minimum amount of changes gives a pricing benefit, The Tech Report saw the 480GB model for sale at $130, impressive pricing even for an entry level SSD such as this one. Their testing shows performance improvements across the board compared to the Trion 100 in real life testing; though not enough to challenge the higher priced performance SSDs. Check out the full review if you are in the market for a low cost SSD that will still net you some serious improvements over a HDD.
"With its Trion 150 SSD, OCZ takes another stab at a low-cost TLC drive by putting Toshiba's 15-nm NAND under the hood. We tested out this drive to see if it fares better than the Trion 100, OCZ's first TLC SSD."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ Trion 150 SSD @ The SSD Review
- OCZ Trion 150 480GB @ Benchmark Reviews
- OCZ Trion150 @ eTeknix
- Transcend's SSD370 @ The Tech Report
- Zotac Premium Edition SSD @ The SSD Review
- Crucial BX 200 480 GB @ techPowerUp
- Mushkin Reactor 512GB @ eTeknix
- Samsung 950 Pro 512GB M.2 NVM Express SSD Review @ NikKTech
- Seagate NAS HDD 8TB SATA III HDD Review @ NikKTech
- SilverStone CS01-HS NAS Chassis @ Kitguru
- Synology DS416j NAS @ TechwareLabs
Subject: Storage | March 8, 2016 - 03:07 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, Seagate, pcie, NVMe, flash drive
Today Seagate announced that they are production ready on a couple of NVMe PCIe SSD models. These are data-center tailored units that focus on getting as much parallel flash into as small of a space as possible. From engineering drawings, the first appears to be a half height (HHHL) device, communicates over a PCIe 3.0 x8 link, and reaches a claimed 6.7GB/s:
The second model is a bit more interesting for a few reasons. This is a PCIe 3.0 x16 unit (same lane configuration as a high end GPU) that claims 10 GB/s:
10 GB/s, hmm, where have I seen that before? :)
The second image gives away a bit of what may be going on under that heatsink. There appears to be four M.2 form factor SSDs in there, which would imply that it would appear as four separate NVMe devices. This is no big deal for enterprise data applications that can be pointed at multiple physical devices, but that 10 GB/s does start to make more sense (as a combined total) as we know of no single SSD controller capable of that sort of throughput. It took four Intel SSD 750’s for us to reach that same 10 GB/s figure, so it stands to reason that Seagate would use that same trick, only with M.2 SSDs they can fit everything onto a single slot card.
That’s all we have on this release so far, but we may see some real product pics sneak out of the Open Compute Project Summit, running over the next couple of days.
Subject: Storage | March 1, 2016 - 08:00 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: WD, hgst, HelioSeal, He8, He6, He10, 8TB
Helium-filled HDD technology has been around for a few years, but since HGST launched their He series a couple of years ago, Helium has been stuck in the enterprise sector. Western Digital has been in a lengthy merger process with HGST, and I figured (hoped) that it would be only a matter of time before we saw Helium-filled consumer HDDs. I’m happy to report that time is now:
The first product lines to see this expansion will be WD’s external offerings (My Book / My Book Duo / My Cloud / My Cloud Mirror / My Cloud EX2 Ultra) and a few internal lines (Purple / Red / Red Pro). Taking a look at the new housing for the 8TB Red:
…we can tell that it appears to be the same HelioSeal tech used by HGST, right down to the external housing design. Here is an HGST He8 housing for reference / comparison:
I’m excited to see He making its way down the product chains, as a sealed HDD enclosure significantly reduces environmental effects on HDD reliability and performance. Helium also means less air friction, causing less heat production and therefore less power consumption. While the capacities are higher, we suspect performance won’t be taking any large leaps with WD’s first generation of Helium filled Hard Disk Drives. We will be testing a few of these once samples arrive and will deliver a full review as soon as possible. Since it appears that Western Digital was holding off on their 8TB capacity point until HelioSeal was integrated, it's a safe bet that their other product lines will receive the same technology and capability in the future.
Subject: Storage | February 23, 2016 - 08:05 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: DroboPro, drobo, B810i, B800i
The B810i comes with several improvements over preceding products in the line:
- 180MB/s reads / 110 MB/s writes (across a pair of iSCSI enabled Gigabit Ethernet ports).
- New 64TB max volume size
- Data Tiering
- SSDs installed as part of the array are automatically assigned to caching duties.
- Cache performance is claimed 5-10x faster than the 'cold' HDD tier.
- Cache Pre-heat
- Metadata describing the contents / duplicated data in the cache is also saved to the array, meaning the cache can survive a reboot of the device.
- Accelerated self-healing
- Drobo claims rebuilds are now 8x faster. This is due to increased parallelism taking place during that process.
- This is in addition to Drobo rebuilds that have only ever needed to re-duplicate the data present (and not all disks front to back as with traditional RAID).
- This is the same near-bulletproof system that has proven itself extremely resistant to failure (but remember, RAID is *not* a backup!).
Along with this launch, Drobo is running a promotion where sales by 4/30/2016 will receive two free 2TB HDDs as part of the $1699 purchase of a B810i.
The B810i replaces the B800i in the current Drobo lineup:
We're working on a round of NAS / SAN pieces here...
...along with an ioSafe 1515+, which would have collapsed the desk if I had it tried to fit it into this picture. That 75 lb beast will have to stay on the floor :).
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Around this same time last year, Samsung launched their Portable SSD T1. This was a nifty little external SSD with some very good performance and capabilities. Despite its advantages and the cool factor of having a thin and light 1TB SSD barely noticeable in your pocket, there was some feedback from consumers that warranted a few tweaks to the design. There was also the need for a new line as Samsung was switching over their VNAND from 32 to 48 layer, enabling a higher capacity tier for this portable SSD. All of these changes were wrapped up into the new Samsung Portable SSD T3:
Most of these specs are identical to the previous T1, with some notable exceptions. Consumer feedback prompted a newer / heavier metal housing, as the T1 (coming in at only 26 grams) was almost too light. With that newer housing came a slight enlarging of dimensions. We will do some side by side comparisons later in the review.
Subject: Storage | February 18, 2016 - 03:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Trion 150, toshiba, tlc, ssd, slc, sata, ocz, A15nm
As you may remember from Al's post, the OCZ Trion 150 is essentially the same as the previous Trion 100, except for the use of 15nm TLC flash from Toshiba and a lower initial price. Hardware Canucks got their paws on two of the drives from this series to benchmark, the 480GB and 960GB models. The 480GB model retains the 256MB DDR3 cache, the 960 doubles that to 512MB but there is one thing missing from this new series; instead of relying on capacitors to prevent lost data from a power failure they rely on OCZ's firmware based Power Failure Management Plus. Read Hardware Canucks full review to see if the new Trion can match the price to performance of the original.
"With the budget-focused SSD market exploding, OCZ is launching the Trion 150, a refresh of their original Trion 100 series which should offer better performance and an even lower price."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ Trion 150 480GB @ Legion Hardware
- Mushkin Striker 480GB @ eTeknix
- Samsung 750 EVO @ The SSD Review
- PNY CS1311 & XLR8 CS2211 SSDs Review @ Hardware Canucks
- QNAP TS-453A 4-bay NAS @ techPowerUp
- Kingston DataTraveler 2000 @ The Inquirer