Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
What's better than an 18-channel NVMe PCIe Datacenter SSD controller in a Half Height Half Length (HHHL) package? *TWO* 18-channel NVMe PCIe Datacenter controllers in a HHHL package! I'm sure words to this effect were uttered in an Intel meeting room some time in the past, because such a device now exists, and is called the SSD DC P3608:
The P3608 is essentially a pair of P3600's glued together on a single PCB, much like how some graphics cards merge a pair of GPUs to act with the performance of a pair of cards combined into a single one:
What is immediately impressive here is that Intel has done this same trick within 1/4 of the space (HHHL compared to a typical graphics card). We can only imagine the potential of a pair of P3600 SSDs, so lets get right into the specs, disassembly, and testing!
Subject: Storage | September 22, 2015 - 06:10 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: vnand, V-NAND, Samsumg, 4TB, 48-layer, 2TB, 1TB
During yesterday's SSD Summit, obscured by their 950 PRO launch was new branding for their 32 (and now 48) layer Vertical NAND technology:
This new branding is more in line with what folks were calling their NAND anyway (Samsung was previously using the term '3D VNAND'. Dropping the 3D made sense, as it was implied with the 'V').
Also of interest were some announcements of upcoming higher capacities of their existing models:
4TB 850 EVO and PRO? Yes please.
1TB in the 850 EVO M.2 edition, and while there is no slide for this, the 950 PRO is also expected to be updated with a 1TB model within the same time frame as well.
How is all of this expansion possible? The answer is their third generation V-NAND, which is 48 layers and 256 GBit (32 GB) capacity per die. Samsung intends to roll this flash out and update all model lines currently using V-NAND technology. This decision was made by Samsung's Senior VP of Marketing, UnSoo Kim:
...now before you get out the pitchforks and form up the 'don't change the flash without a new model' lynch mob, I'd like to point out a few things that make this change different than what you might have seen in the past.
- Samsung is trying to prevent confusion by adding product lines with nearly identical specs.
- Samsung is being very open about this change (others were secretive / deceptive).
- Samsung has promised that they will only implement this change in a way that *increases* the performance and *decreases* the power consumption of these products.
I did leave the Q+A with some further questions about this change. The lower capacities of the 850 EVO still see slower write performance when writing straight to TLC flash (SLC cache is full). This is because there are fewer dies available to write the data, and each die can only write so fast in TLC mode. Since the 48-layer V-NAND is to have double the capacity per die, that would mean half the dies per SSD and possibly slower write speeds in the overall product.
I approached UnSoo Kim after the Q+A and asked this specific question, and his answer was both interesting and refreshing. First, he understood my question immediately and assured me that they will not roll out 256Gbit 48-layer V-NAND into their smaller capacity models - in order to prevent any performance reduction over their current 32-layer equipped parts. Second, he told me that they also intend to produce a 128Gbit variant of 48-layer V-NAND at some point in the future, and use *that* part to substitute the 128Gbit 32-layer V-NAND in those smaller capacity models, keeping the die counts (and therefore sequential write speeds) equal. That additional variant of their third generation V-NAND is the only way (in my mind) that they could update their smaller capacity parts without losing performance, and it was great to see that Samsung has thought out the execution of this rollout in such a proper manner.
Subject: Storage | September 22, 2015 - 02:39 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: vnand, V-NAND, ssd, Samsung, pcie, NVMe, M.2 2280, M.2, 950 PRO, 512GB, 256GB
Samsung’s new product launching will be called the 950 PRO. This will be an M.2 2280 form factor product running at PCIe 3.0 x4. Equipped with Samsung’s 32-layer V-NAND and using the NVMe protocol enabled by a new UBX controller, the 950 PRO will be capable of up to an impressive 300,000 random read IOPS. Random writes come in at 110,000 IOPS and sequential throughputs are expected to be 2.5 GB/sec reads and 1.5 GB/sec for writes. Available capacities will be 256GB and 512GB.
- 256GB - $199.99 ($0.78/GB)
- 512GB - $349.99 ($0.68/GB)
- 1TB - (early next year with the switch to 48-layer V-NAND)
The 950 PRO will be shipping with a 5-year warranty rated at 200 terabytes written for the 256GB model and 400 TBW for the 512GB. That works out to just over 100GB per day for both capacities.
These hit retail in October and we currently have samples in hand for testing.
(for those curious, both capacities only have components on the front side of the PCB)
Subject: Storage | September 21, 2015 - 11:32 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: vnand, Summit, ssd, Seoul, Samsung, M.2, Korea, Global, 2015
As I hinted during last week's podcast, I am in Seoul, Korea to cover an upcoming press conference.
..and with a Samsung SSD Global Summit comes product announcements. Those don't happen until tomorrow (late tonight for you folks back in the states), but I did notice a clue on the cover of our itinerary folder:
See it? Here, let me help:
A VNAND powered M.2 (presumably NVMe) SSD is *exactly* the thing I have been waiting for Samsung to unleash into the wild ever since we reviewed their NVMe SM951. Given that Samsung's prior M.2 offerings gave the Intel SSD 750 a run for its money all while consuming half the power, and did so with Samsung's older 2D Planar NAND, you can bet a VNAND version will be something to behold. Let's hope this new model is released as a consumer product and doesn't end up as OEM-channel unobtanium like the NVMe SM951 was!
Keep an eye out for additional posts from our coverage of the 2015 Samsung SSD Global Summit!
Subject: Storage | September 10, 2015 - 03:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: usb 3.1, asus, BOT, UASP
[H]ard|OCP is taking a look at the new USB standard and how it functions on versions of Windows newer than Win7 which support the new transfer protocol. Gone are Bulk Only Transfers, modern OSes support USB Attached SCSI which offers much better transfer speeds. With a Rampage V Extreme USB 3.1 and a bundled PCIe 2.0 x2 USB 3.1 card (available with two USB 3.1 Type A or one of the new USB 3.1 Type C) they tested the difference in transfer speeds between BOT and UASP. Check out their results here.
"Recent changes to the USB spec claim to provide a brighter future for those dependent on USB storage. We have all heard about just how great USB has become, or should have become. We test some of these advances to see if the new USB can deliver the goods when it comes to moving data."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- WD My Passport Ultra 2TB Portable 2.5-Inch Hard Drive Review @ Techgage
- Seagate Backup Plus Portable Drive 2TB USB 3.0 @ eTeknix
- SilverStone Teratrend TS432U 4 Bay 3.5" HDD Tower Enclosure Review @ NikKTech
- Synology DiskStation DS415play 4-bay NAS Review @ Techgage
- QNAP TVS-471-4G High Performance NAS with Intel Processor @ Bjorn3d
- QNAP TS-563 @ Legion Hardware
- PowerNAS Business Mini @ Kitguru
- VisionTek Go Drive SSD RAID 0 @ Bjorn3d
- OCZ Trion 100 480GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- Intel SSD 750 Series Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Crucial BX100 250GB SSD Review @ Madshrimps
- ADATA Premier SP550 @ Benchmark Reviews
- Adata Premier SP550 @ The SSD Review
- Samsung SM863 & PM863 @ The SSD Review
Introduction and Specifications
It has been a while since we took a look at some hard drives here at PC Perspective. While seemingly everyone is pushing hard into Solid State Storage, those spinning platters have gotten the computer industry by for several decades, and they won't be going away any time soon so long as magnetic domains can store bits for cheaper than electrons can. SSDs have been eating away at the market for OS and single drive mobile needs, but when it comes to bulk storage, nothing beats a great hard drive for the money. Since many users would rather avoid maintaining a large array of drives, getting the capacity of each 3.5" unit higher is still a need, especially for storage hungry consumers. Enterprise units have been pushing into 8TB territory lately, but the consumer sweet spot currently remains at 6TB. Western Digital entered this area in July of last year, pushing their popular Green and Red lines up to 6TB. While the capacity was great, those two lines are mean to be power saving, slower spinning drives. When platter speeds are low, the laws of physics (and of rotational latency) kick in and dictate that they could never perform as well as their 7200 RPM counterparts.
...and now they have filled that gap, with their Black and Red Pro models now made available in up to 6TB capacities. To clarify the product lines here, the Green and Black products are intended for usage as a single drive, while the Red and Red Pro are meant for operating in NAS devices and use in a RAID. The two drives in this review are the faster spinning models, so we should see better performance all around. Spinning those platters faster means more power drawn and more heat generated by air friction across the platters, as we can look into below:
Western Digital Red Pro 6TB:
- Model: WD6001FFWX
- Max Sequential Read: 214 MB/s
- Form Factor: 3.5”
- Interface Type: SATA 6.0 Gb/s (SATA 3)
- UBER: <1 in 1015
- Power (active/idle/standby): 10.6W/7.4W/1.6W
- Warranty: 5 years
Western Digital Black 6TB:
- Model: WD6001FZWX
- Max Sequential: 218 MB/s
- Form Factor: 3.5”
- Interface Type: SATA 6.0 Gb/s (SATA 3)
- UBER: <1 in 1014
- Power (active/idle/standby): 10.6W/7.6W/1.6W
- Warranty: 5 years
For comparison, the slower spinning 6TB Red and Green models run at 5.3W/3.4W/0.4W. Lesson learned - moving from ~5400 RPM to 7200 RPM roughly doubles the power draw of a high capacity 3.5" HDD. Other manufacturers are doing things like hermetically sealing their drives and filling them with Helium, but that is a prohibitively expensive proposition for consumer / small business drives, which is what the Black and Red Pro lines are meant to satisfy. It has also been proven that Helium filled drives are not the best if their track geometry is not optimized as well as it could be.
Subject: Storage | September 8, 2015 - 03:43 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, thunderbolt, My Book Pro
Western Digital has launched a new Thunderbolt RAID-capable external drive called the My Book Pro:
The My Book Pro connects a pair of 3, 4, 5, or 6TB HDD's to a host system via either 20 Gbps Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 (at 5 Gbps). The unit comes preconfigured as a RAID-0 to give full capacities of 6, 8, 10, or 12 TB, but can be switched to RAID-1 or JBOD mode upon connection to a host system. Note that RAID-1 (mirroring) will cut the usable capacity in half - limiting to the capacity of a single drive. As seen above, there are also a pair of USB 3.0 ports at the front of the unit for connecting additional devices to the host via the My Book Pro.
Looking at the rear, we see a pair of Thunderbolt ports (daisy chaining of up to six My Book Pros is supported), as well as a USB 3.0 port.
We are not sure which drives come pre-installed, but the press release clearly states 7200 RPM and since WD just launched a higher capacities of the Red Pro, we'd guess that was their choice here.
Subject: Storage | September 1, 2015 - 08:00 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: Seagate, hdd, Enterprise NAS, Enterprise Capacity 3.5, 8TB
Just when we were starting to get comfortable with the thought of 6TB hard drives, Seagate goes and announces their lineup of 8TB HDDs:
Now before you get too excited about throwing one of these into your desktop, realize that these models are meant for enterprise and larger NAS environments:
As you can see from the above chart, Seagate will be moving to 8TB maximum capacities on their 'Enterprise NAS' and 'Enterprise Capacity 3.5' models, which are meant for larger storage deployments.
Home and small business users opting to go with Seagate for their storage will remain limited to 4TB per drive for the time being.
For those curious about Kinetic, this is Seagate's push to connect arrays of drives via standard Ethernet, which would allow specialized storage applications to speak directly to the raw storage via standard network gear. Kinetic HDDs are currently limited to 4TB, with 8TB planned this coming January.
Seagate's full press blast appears after the break.
Subject: Storage | September 1, 2015 - 03:00 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, OS3, My Cloud Mirror
A little over a year ago, we took a look at the Western Digital My Cloud Mirror. This was a simple network connected storage device that came with a suite of software and mobile apps to give remote access to the data stored at home.
Today Western Digital announced a refresh to the My Cloud Mirror. Available for pre-order today and in stores at the end of this month, the new Mirror is essentially just a speed boosted version of the original version (which was no slouch really). Something the added speed may help with is the functionality being added to WD's My Cloud OS software:
The new 'OS3' version adds some requested features, such as using the My Cloud as a hub for syncing across multiple systems (similar to Dropbox, but with your own storage being used instead of their servers).
Another requested feature was the ability to backup and/or offload pictures and videos from mobile devices. This can be done only when connected to WiFi or over cellular data if the user has the GB/month to spare on their data plan.
Another interesting feature is My Cloud Albums. This feature lets you invite your friends/family to share *their* photos / videos from an event. You send them a link and they can then upload their content directly to your My Cloud via their mobile browser or via the My Cloud app (if they have it installed). This sounds like a great idea for collecting photos taken at group events like birthday parties or weddings.
My Cloud OS3 is slated for a 21 September release. We will take a look another look at its features once released.
Western Digital's full press blast appears after the break.
Subject: Storage | August 25, 2015 - 06:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sandisk, Ultra II, Marvell 88SS9189, Marvell 88SS9190
We've seen Sandisk's Ultra series before but the Ultra II is relatively new to the market. If anything, they have made the pricing even more attractive, the top end 960GB model is a mere $310, $0.32/GB is getting closer to Ryan's preferred SSD pricing. As far as the advertised speeds, sequential read and write remain constant at 550MB/s and 500MB/s but IOPS vary by the size of the drive from 81K/80K random read/write for the 120GB model to 99K/83K for the 960GB model. [H]ard|OCP's testing shows performance more or less in line with the OCZ Trion 100 but somewhat slower than the Samsung 850 EVO, both of which are almost the exact same price. Check out the full review to see the exact differences, or simply rejoice in the fact that SSDs are approaching prices below $0.30/GB.
"Most of you know that the easiest way to get a performance boost from your old mechanical hard drive is to get rid of it and replace it with a shiny new SSD. SanDisk's Ultra II offers a lot of capacity for the money and comes with a 3 year warranty. Is that enough to compete in a market where prices are falling across every category?"
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- ADATA XPG SX930 Gaming SSD @ Benchmark Reveiws
- Samsung SSD 850 Evo 2TB @ Legion Hardware
- Toshiba HK3R2 960 GB @ techPowerUp
- QNAP TS-453mini NAS @ Kitguru
- Lexar Professional 2000x SDXC UHS-II Card @ SSD Review
- Toshiba AL13SXB600N 600GB SAS 6Gb/s HDD Review @ NikKTech
- Seagate 2TB Backup Plus Slim Portable Drive @ Kitguru
- Seagate Personal Cloud 2 Bay @ Kitguru
- Thecus N5810 Pro 5-bay NAS @ techPowerUp