CES 2018: Dell SDI T0500 & SDI T1000 Thunderbolt 3 SSDs

Subject: Storage | January 9, 2018 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt 3, ssd, external ssd

Dell has just announced a pair of external SSDs. The Dell SDI T0500 will have a 500 GB capacity. The Dell SDI T1000 will, as the name suggests, doubles that to 1 TB. Both external SSDs connect via Thunderbolt 3. Because it’s using this connector, we can expect it to be fast but not mass-market. I am guessing that Dell intends this product to be purchased with one of their Thunderbolt 3 laptops, and probably with a specific type of user in mind. That is just my speculation, though.

sdi_t0500_t1000_Thunderbolt_3.png

Unfortunately, we don’t have much else to go on. No price, availability, read or write speeds, IO throughput, or anything else has been published.

Source: Dell

CES 2018: The Patriot EVLVR is a Tiny and Fast Portable Thunderbolt 3 SSD

Subject: Storage | January 8, 2018 - 09:15 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt 3, ssd, patriot, external ssd, CES 2018, CES

Memory firm Patriot announced a new Thunderbolt 3 portable SSD at CES this week. The Patriot EVLVR ("evolver") is based on Phison E8 PCIe controller and advertises speeds of up to 1500MB/s in sequential reads and 1000MB/s in sequential writes.

patriot-evlvr-thunderbolt-3-ssd.jpg

The drive connects to PCs and Macs via a single detachable Thunderbolt 3 cable and is bus-powered, although there is no second Thunderbolt port for passthrough capability.

The Patriot EVLVR launches in March and will be available in 256GB ($199.99), 512GB ($289.99), and 1TB ($489.99) capacities.

Source: Patriot

CES 2018: Elgato Shows Off Portable Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock

Subject: General Tech, Networking, Storage, Mobile | January 8, 2018 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: CES, CES 2018, Elgato, dock, thunderbolt 3, adapter

Elgato is launching a smaller Thunderbolt 3 dock aptly named the Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock to its family of docks (how many times can I use dock in one sentence?). The portable dock comes with a tail Thunderbolt 3 cable that is permanently attached and stows away into a groove on the bottom of the dock when not in use.

Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock.jpg

Using the single 40 Gbps connection provided by Thunderbolt 3, the Mini Dock offers up display outputs, USB 3.1, and network ports including:

  • DisplayPort 1.2 (4k60)
  • HDMI 2.0 (4k60 and HDCP 2.2)
  • RJ45 (Gigabit Ethernet)
  • USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps UASP and 0.9A of power).

Users will need a newer laptop or desktop with Thunderbolt running Mac OS Sierra 10.12 or Window 10 operating systems or newer. The compact dock will be available in the sping with as yet unanounced pricing. It should be cheaper than Elgatos larger docks (currently their Thunderbolt 3 Dock is $291) though since it is not powered and offers fewer ports.

As notebooks continue to get thinner, these docks (along with ones based on USB Type-C) are going to become more useful in getting the most out of our faster mobile hardware.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more CES news as it develops!

Also read:

Source: Elgato

CES 2018: Toshiba Announces RC100 NVMe and XS700 Portable SSDs

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2018 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: XS700, toshiba, ssd, RC100, portable, ocz, NVMe, CES 2018, CES

Toshiba announced a couple of new additions to their SSD lineup. First up is the RC100:

Toshiba_RC100-pr (002).jpg

This is a DRAMless design intended to target budget builds - something much needed in the current (pricey) SSD landscape. Just because there is no DRAM present in the design does not mean that the RC100 can't perform well. Toshiba has implemented the Host memory Buffer (HMB) feature, which allows the NVMe driver to share a small (38MB) portion of host memory via the same PCIe 3.0 x2 link used to transfer user data. This memory portion effectively caches a portion of the FTL, which should bring the random performance of smaller sections of the SSD up to what you would expect to see from a higher performance product. Specs are as follows:

  • Capacities: 120/240/480GB
  • PCIe 3.0 x2
  • Random read/write: 160/120k IOPS
  • Sequential read/write: 1620/1130 MB/s
  • Warranty: 3 years

Up next is the XS700, Toshiba's first portable SSD:

XS700_front_high_angle_wlight.jpg

Specs:

  • 240GB only
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 (type-c connector on device)
  • Ships with type-c to type-a cable

The XS700 is the first portable SSD I've seen out of Toshiba. It was just a matter of time here as just about every other major SSD maker has offered a similar product.

We don't have pricing yet, but these should shape up to be highly price-competitive products offering decent performance. Both models will be coming later this year.

Press blast after the break.

Meltdown's Impact on Storage Performance - Really an Issue?

Subject: Storage | January 5, 2018 - 08:45 PM |
Tagged: RS4, RS3, patch, meltdown, KB4056892, cpu, 960 EVO, 900P, 850 EVO

While the Meltdown announcements and patches were in full swing, I was busily testing a round of storage devices to evaluate the potential negative impact of the Meltdown patch. Much of the testing we've seen has come in the form of Linux benchmarks, and today we saw a few come out on the Windows side of things. Most of the published data to date shows a ~20% performance hit to small random accesses, but I've noted that the majority of reviewers seem to be focusing on the Samsung 950/960 series SSDs. Sure these are popular devices, but when evaluating changes to a storage subsystem, it's unwise to just stick with a single type of product.

Test conditions were as follows:

  • ASUS Prime Z270-A + 7700K
    • C-States disabled,  no overclock.
    • ASUS MCE disabled, all other clock settings = AUTO.
  • SSDs:
    • Intel Optane 900P 480GB (Intel NVMe driver)
    • Samsung 960 EVO 500GB (Samsung NVMe driver)
    • Samsung 850 EVO 500GB (Intel RST driver)
  • Conditioning:
    • NTFS partition.
    • 16GB test file. Sequential conditioning.
    • Remainder of SSD sequentially filled to capacity.

The first results come from a clean Windows Redstone 3 install compared to a clean Windows 10 Redstone 4 (build 17063), which is a fast ring build including the Meltdown patch:

KASLR-IRQ2.png

The 960 EVO comes in at that same 20% drop seen elsewhere, but check out the 850 EVO's nearly 10% *increase* in performance. The 900P pushes this further, showing an over 15% *increase*. You would figure that a patch that adds latency to API calls would have a noticeable impact on a storage device offering extremely low latencies, but that did not end up being the case in practice.

Since the 960 EVO looked like an outlier here, I also re-tested it using the Microsoft Inbox NVMe driver, as well as by connecting it via the chipset (which uses the Intel RST driver). A similar drop in performance was seen in all configurations.

The second set of results was obtained later, taking our clean RS3 install and updating it to current, which at the time included the Microsoft roll-up 01-2018 package (KB4056892):

KASLR-IRQ2-.png

Note that the results are similar, though Optane did not see as much of a boost here. It is likely that some specific optimizations have been included in RS4 that are more beneficial to lower latency storage devices.

As a final data point, here's what our tests look like with software polling implemented:

KASLR-POLL2.png

The above test results are using an application method that effectively bypasses the typical interrupt requests associated with file transfers. Note that the differences are significantly reduced once IRQs are removed from the picture. Also note that kernel API calls are still taking place here.

Well there you have it. Some gain and some lose. Given that a far lower latency device (900P) sees zero performance hit (actually gaining speed), I suspect that whatever penalty associated with Meltdown could be easily optimized out via updates to the Windows Inbox and Samsung NVMe drivers.

Crucial's inexpensive terabyte, meet the MX500

Subject: Storage | January 2, 2018 - 01:42 PM |
Tagged: ssd, sata, MX500, micron, crucial, 1TB

Just before the holidays Al wrapped up his review of Crucial's 1TB MX500 SATA drive, which is worth revisiting.  The most attractive feature of this SSD is its price, currently for $260 you can grab 1TB of fast storage; not quite in line with Ryan's law but getting close.  The performance of the TLC SSD does not suffer because of the low price, while it can't match a current generation M.2 NVMe drive it competes with more expensive SATA based SSDs.  If you are concerned about endurance, remember that TLC has matured and Crucial rates this drive as 360TB written over five year.  Drop by the Guru of 3D to contrast their benchmarks with our own.

img_9503.jpg

"Crucial announced their new MX500 series SSD, we put the 1TB model to the test. At 25 cents per GB, these units are all about value for money. But they do not compromise on performance, no Sir. The MX500 remains very fast and very effective for the money you put down on that counter."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Source: Guru of 3D
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Crucial

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction:

Crucial and their parent company Micron have certainly launched their share of SSDs over the years. Product launches have effectively toggled back and forth between both names, with Crucial handling the upgrade market while Micron proper handles the OEM side of things. Both sides have one thing in common - solid performing SSDs at a budget-friendly price point. Having the best performing SSD on the market is great, but does nobody any good if the majority of purchasers can't afford it.

171218-185835.jpg

We had Micron out to discuss the MX500 before we completed our testing. Here is the full discussion video:

Specifications:

  • Micron® 3D TLC NAND Flash
    • RoHS-compliant package
    • SATA 6 Gb/s interface
    • TCG/Opal 2.0-compliant self-encrypting drive (SED)
    • Compatible with Microsoft eDrive®
    • Hardware-based AES-256 encryption engine
  • Performance (ALL CAPACITIES):
    • Sequential 128KB READ: Up to 560 MB/s
    • Sequential 128KB WRITE: Up to 510 MB/s
    • Random 4KB READ: Up to 95,000 IOPS
    • Random 4KB WRITE: Up to 90,000 IOPS
  • Power consumption:
    • 250GB: <3.5W
    • 500GB: <4.5W
    • 1000GB/2000GB: <5.0W
  • Endurance – total bytes written (TBW):
    • 250GB: 100TB
    • 500GB: 180TB
    • 1TB: 360TB
    • 2TB: 700TB

A few points from these impressive specs:

  • Performance specs are common across *all* capacities. Yes, even the smallest model is rated to perform as well as the largest.
  • Endurance is very high, especially for TLC NAND. Samsung's 850 EVO 500GB and 1TB models are rated at 150TB. Heck, the 850 PRO 1TB is only rated at 300TBW. Sure that's the same rating carried up from the 512GB model of the same, but it's not Micron's fault that Samsung opted to capacity-bracket their endurance ratings.

Packaging:

171218-185807.jpg

No frills here. Quick start guide contains a link to crucial.com/support/ssd to get you started.

Read on for our full review of the Crucial MX500 1TB SSD!

Data packrats strike Gold with WD

Subject: Storage | December 14, 2017 - 04:43 PM |
Tagged: western digital, wd gold, hdd, 12TB

The 12TB WD Gold is not quite as impressive as Toshiba's 14TB drive but it should be more affordable for consumers with specific needs or for SMBs.  Like the Toshiba drive it uses PMR as opposed to a shingled design, which again helps keep the drive's price under $600 and in the price range Ryan would like to see SSDs reach.  The drive is rated at 2.5 million hours MTBF and as far as performance, Kitguru saw 245.58MB/s for writes and 237.01MB/s reads.  This is not a drive for most, but for those with huge amounts of data who need to be able to move it frequently and at decent speeds, this review is worth looking at.

WD-Gold-12TB-Hard-Drive-Review-on-KitGuru-INTRODUCTION-650.jpg

"Western Digital’s Gold range of hard drives have been designed to service nearline enterprise environments and as such they have a range of sensors and technologies onboard to help them maintain peak performance in such environments."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: Kitguru

Toshiba Launches 14TB Helium Sealed PMR Hard Drives For Enterprise Customers

Subject: Storage | December 9, 2017 - 11:46 PM |
Tagged: PMR, toshiba, helium, Hard Drive, enterprise, cmr, cloud storage, 14tb

Toshiba recently took the wraps off of a new hard drive series aimed at the enterprise market. What makes the MG07ACA series interesting is that Toshiba is offering a 14 TB 3.5” drive without resorting to using Shingled Magnetic Recording. Instead, the new MG07ACA series uses standard recording methods (CMR) and nine ~1.556 TB PMR (perpendicular magnetic recording) platters in an helium filled hermetically sealed enclosure to hit 40% more capacity and up to 50% better power efficiency than the previous MG06ACA (10 TB) series. The new drives are also important because they represent the first foray into helium filled hard drives for Toshiba following the company pushing air breathing drives to the limit with its seven platter models.

Toshiba MG07ACA 14TB CMR hard drive.jpg

The new drives are standard 7200 RPM models with 256 MB of cache and a SATA 6 Gbps interface. The 14 TB model is able to hit 260 MB/s sustained transfer while the slightly lower areal density of the 12 TB model puts it at a 250 MB/s transfer speed maximum. They are able to hit 167 random 4K read IOPS and 70 random 4k write IOPS (which is fun to compare to even the slowest SSDs today, but these drives aren't for random workloads). Toshiba rates the drives at a fairly industry standard 550 TB per year workload and 2.5 million hours MTBF with a five year warranty. Toshiba is reportedly using its own laser welding technology to seal the drives and keep the helium contained. The MG07ACA drives are offered in emulated 512 (512e) and 4k native sectors with the 512e models featuring Toshiba Persistent Write Cache technology to prevent data loss in the event of power failure while the drives are executing read-modify-write operations. The power loss protection (PLP) is important for enterprise customers using these drives to upgrade the storage in their legacy software and hardware setups.

The MG07ACA series includes 14 TB 9-disk and 12 TB 8-disk drives. That’s a lot of platters in a single drive, but Toshiba claims that going this route with CMR / PMR reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO) for enterprise customers that are buying up high capacity drives for their cloud storage and big data storage needs. The drives are allegedly more power efficient and trusted in the enterprise market as opposed to the newer shingled drives. I suppose these drives are also useful as they can be drop in upgrades of lower capacity models.

John Rydning, Research Vice President for hard disk drives at IDC was quoted in the press release in saying:

"While enterprise server and storage customers realize that shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology can improve HDD capacity, the adoption of SMR HDD products into server and storage systems is a transition that will take several years,"

Interestingly the drives offer 1.5 TB / platter in the 12 TB model and a bit more than 1.55 TB / platter in the 14 TB drive. With SMR technology hitting up to 1.75 TB / platter so far, using that could get a 14 TB drive with just 8 platters, but that is still fairly close that I suppose going with the longer track record of non shingled PMR and its reliability is more important to the enterprise customers.

In order to cram 9 platters into a standard 3.5" drive, Toshiba had to make the platters thinner and move to helium instead of air. Specifically, Toshiba is using 0.635mm Showa Denko (SDK) PMR platters that are a mere 1.58mm apart! The drives have Nidec motors on the top and bottom as well as environmental sensors and RVFF (Rotation Vibration Feed Forward) vibration compensation technology which is important when you have nine platters spinning at 7200 RPM in each drive and then hundreds of drives are placed in close proximity to each other in server racks and SANs. The move to helium and thinner platters is a big part of the power savings in this drive with the platters being easier to spin up and exhibiting less flutter moving through the much less dense helium versus air. Toshiba claims that the MG07ACA series uses up to 7.6 watts in normal operation and 4.6 watts at idle (0.32W/GB).

According to AnandTech, Toshiba will begin sampling the new hard drives later this month and will sell the drives to its large enterprise customers within the first half of next year. Once demand from the big data crowd has been met, Toshiba will being selling the drives through distributors which means enthusiasts will be able to get their hands on the drives through normal channels by the end of 2018. Exact pricing and availability have not been announced at this time.

Also read:

Source: Toshiba

Intel Optane on Linux

Subject: Storage | November 24, 2017 - 04:59 PM |
Tagged: Optane, Intel, linux, 900P, Ubuntu 17.10

Phoronix installed an Optane 900P SSD into their AMD EPYC system to test the performance the new drive provides running under Ubuntu.  Their results were very similar to Al's, showing that this fairly expensive 280GB SSD can justify its premium price by leaving the competition in the dust.  The testing suite they used is quite different from the one here at PCPer but the proof that Optane gets along well with Linux is indisputable.

image.php_.jpg

"At the end of October Intel released the Optane 900P solid-state drive as their new ultra high-end performance SSD. Windows reviews have been positive, but what about using the Optane 900P on Linux? It's working well and delivers stunning NVMe SSD performance."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: Phoronix