Subject: Storage | January 31, 2018 - 08:39 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: z-ssd, Z-NAND, Samsung, HPC, enterprise, ai
Samsung will be introducing a new high performance solid state drive using new Z-NAND flash at ISSCC next month. The new Samsung SZ985 Z-SSD is aimed squarely at the high-performance computing (HPC) market for big data number crunching, supercomputing, AI research, and IoT application development. The new drive will come in two capacities at 800GB and 240GB and combines low latency Z-NAND flash with 1.5GB LPDDR4 DRAM cache and an unspecified "high performance" Samsung controller.
The Z-NAND drive is interesting because it represents an extremely fast storage solution that offers up to 10-times cell read performance and 5-times less write latency than 3-bit V-NAND based drives such as Samsung's own PM963 NVMe SSD. The Z-NAND technology represents a middle ground (though closer to Optane than not) between NAND and X Point flash memory without the expense and complexity of 3D XPoint (at least, in theory). The single port 4-lane drive (PCI-E x4) reportedly is able to hit random read performance of 750,000 IOPS and random write performance of 170,000 IOPS. The drive is able to do this with very little latency at around 16µs (microseconds). To put that in perspective, a traditional NVMe SSD can exhibit write latencies of around 90+ microseconds while Optane sits at around half the latency of Z-NAND (~8-10µs). You can find a comparison chart of latency percentiles of various storage technologies here. While the press release did not go into transfer speeds or read latencies, Samsung talked about that late last year when it revealed the drive's existence. The SZ985 Z-SSD maxes out its x4 interface at 3.2 GB/s for both sequential reads and sequential writes. Further, read latencies are rated at between 12µs and 20µs. At the time Allyn noted that the 30 drive writes per day (DWPD) matched that of Intel's P4800X and stated that it was an impressive feat considering Samsung is essentially running its V-NAND flash in a different mode with Z-NAND. Looking at the specs, the Samsung SZ985 Z-SSD has the same 2 million hours MTBF but is actually rated higher for endurance at 42 Petabytes over five years (versus 41 PB). Both drives appear to offer the same 5-year warranty though we may have to wait for the ISSCC announcement for confirmation on that.
It appears that the SZ-985 offers a bit more capacity, higher random read IOPS, and better sequential performance but with slightly more latency and lower random write IOPS than the 3D XPoint based Intel Optane P4800X drive.
In all Samsung has an interesting drive and if they can price it right I can see them selling a ton of these drives to the enterprise market for big data analytics tasks as well as a high-speed drive for researchers. I am looking forward to more information being released about the Z-SSD and its Z-NAND flash technology at the ISSCC (International Solid-State Circuits Conference) in mid-February.
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Intel has been doing great with their Optane / 3D XPoint products lately, but what about NAND? Samsung had been leading the pack with their VNAND for a few years now, forcing competitors to struggle to keep up on the capacity, performance, and endurance fronts. Intel's 3D NAND production (announced in 2015) is finally starting to come into its full stride, with 64-layer TLC NAND shipping in their 545S in mid 2017. With SATA essentially covered, PCIe NAND solutions have been a bit rough for Intel. The SSD 600p was their first M.2 PCIe product, launching over a year ago. While it was cost-effective, it was not a stellar performer. This left the now extremely dated SSD 750 as their flagship NAND product. It was great for its time, but was only available in HHHL and U.2 form factors, precluding any possibility of mobile use. With their 3D NAND finally in a good position, what Intel really needed was a truly solid M.2 product, and I'm happy to report that such a thing has finally happened:
Behold the Intel SSD 760p Series, currently available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities, with 1TB and 2TB coming later in Q1 2018. Today we will be reviewing all currently available capacities.
This chart makes me happy. Finally, an Intel M.2 SSD with competitive specs! Note that the performance specs all come in at 2x the 600p, all while consuming half of the power of the older model. Endurance remains the same, but the 600p's problems were with performance, not endurance.
Packaging was very similar to that of the 600p and other Intel products. Simple and no frills. Gets the job done.
You know you want to see how these perform, right? Read on to find out!
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Samsung launched their 850 line of SSDs in mid-2014 (over three years ago now). The line evolved significantly over time, with the additions of PRO and EVO models, capacity expansions reaching up to 4TB, and a later silent migration to 64-layer V-NAND. Samsung certainly got their money's worth out of the 850 name, but it is now time to move onto something newer:
Of note above is a significantly higher endurance rating as compared to the 850 Series products, along with an update to a new 'MJX' controller, which accounts for a slight performance bump across the board. Not mentioned here is the addition of queued TRIM, which is more of a carryover from the enterprise / Linux systems (Windows 10 does not queue its TRIM commands).
Aside from some updated specs and the new name, packaging remains very much the same.
Read on for our review of the Samsung 860 PRO and EVO SSDs (in multiple capacities!)
(Those of you interested in Samsung's press release for this launch will find it after the break)
Subject: Storage | January 23, 2018 - 02:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, 760p, NVMe, ssd, 512GB, SM2262, 64-layer TLC
Intel have released a new M.2 SSD line which will come in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB with prices of $74, $109 and $199 respectively. This is a far cry from falling under Ryan's Law but are lower than other NVMe drives. The Tech Report believes it is using the Silicon Motion SM2262 controller though Intel is being cagey about confirmation, with 64-layer TLC flash for storage. The overall performance was mixed, for reads this drive is one of the best TR have tested however the write speeds are barely faster than a SATA drive; at this price point that should not scare you off unless you plan on doing a lot of writes.
"Intel is shaking up the mainstream SSD market by releasing a new NVMe drive at what it calls near-SATA prices. We run the drive through our storage-testing gauntlet to see whether the SSD 760p 512 GB and its 64-layer NAND turn out to be a game-changer."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Intel SSD 760P M.2 NVMe @ The SSD Review
- Samsung's 860 Pro 1 TB SSD @ The Tech Report
- Samsung 860 Pro @ The SSD Review
- Samsung 860 EVO 2TB SSD @ Guru of 3D
- Samsung 860 PRO 2TB SSD @ Guru of 3D
- ADATA XPG SX6000: Benchmarking A ~$50 USD 128GB NVMe SSD @ Phoronix
- Samsung Portable SSD T5 1TB @ Benchmark Reviews
- OWC ThunderBlade V4 @ The SSD Review
- Synology DiskStation DS918+ 4-bay NAS @ Kitguru
- Toshiba TransMemory U363 & U364 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Comparison @ NikKTech
- Docker Performance With KPTI Page Table Isolation Patches (Meltdown Fix) @ Phoronix
Subject: Storage | January 10, 2018 - 08:17 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sm2258xt, SM2258, sata 6Gbs, sata 3, Mushkin, M.2 SATA, CES 2018, CES, 3d nand
In addition to the PCI-E based solid state drives it showed off at CES, Mushkin is adding two new SATA-based SSDs to its Triactor series. The new Triactor 3DL and Triactor 3DX are M.2 and 2.5" form factor SSDs respectively that are available in 120 GB, 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB capacities and utilize 3D TLC NAND flash memory and SMI controllers. Both drives come with M.E.D.S. wear leveling and data protection algorithms and three-year warranties.
The Triactor 3DL is a M.2 2280 form factor SSD that uses a SMI SM2258XT controller with a SATA 3.1 6 Gbps interface. The SM2258XT is a four-channel controller that lacks a DRAM cache. The Triactor 3DL is rated at up to 550 MB/s sequential reads, 505 MB/s sequential writes, 73,000 random 4k read IOPS and 80,000 random 4k write IOPS. Its data protection features include LDPC ECC and algorithms for data shaping, StaticDataRefresh, and wear leveling. While not as impressive as its NVMe M.2 counterparts, it should be a good bit cheaper and compatible with more PCs especially as an upgrade path for older notebooks.
On the other hand, the Triactor 3DX is a more traditional SATA drive that comes in a 2.5" form factor (7mm thick). In this case the 3D TLC NAND flash is paired with a SMI SM2258 controller which is similar to the one above except that it can utilize a DRAM cache and supports AES encryption. The Triactor 3DX is rated at 565 MB/s sequential reads, 530 MB/s sequential writes, 100,000 random 4k read IOPs, and 91,000 random 4k write IOPS. It seems that the cache is helping performance a bit, and the drive is starting to bump up against the real-world limits of the SATA 6 Gbps interface. Since it is of the thinner 7mm type, it will be compatible with most notebooks and desktops.
The new Triactor drives are cheaper options that come in M.2 as well as traditional SATA drives. Mushkin is not talking pricing or availability just yet.
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2018 - 07:38 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: tlc, ssd, slc, sata, nand, MX500, DWA, crucial, CES 2018, CES, 3d nand
Crucial showed off the upcoming M.2 variant of its MX500 product, available in capacities up to 1TB. They also announced (press release after the break) that the MX500 will be available from 250GB up to 2TB capacities.
Here is Crucial's product tour video for the MX500:
We previously tested the 1TB MX500, and Crucial passed along a 500GB model that I was able to spot check to ensure there was no performance fall-off at the smaller capacities of this line:
Looks good so far, and nearly identical to the 1TB capacity across our entire test suite. We did also speak with Crucial reps (Jon and Jon) about the TRIM speed issues noted in our previous review. They are looking into replicating our testing and may be pushing out a firmware to help improve this metric moving forward.
We also saw some sweet looking new RGB Ballistix memory, due out shortly. More to follow there! Crucial's MX500 CES announcement appears after the break.
Subject: Storage | January 10, 2018 - 07:24 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Mushkin, silicon motion, SM2262, SM2263XT, 3d nand, tlc, M.2, NVMe, CES, CES 2018
Mushkin is on site at CES where it is launching a slew of new products. On the storage front, Mushkin is showing off three new M.2 2280 form factor NVMe solid state drives aimed at various price points. The Pilot, Pilot-E, and Helix-L M.2 drives all use Silicon Motion controllers and 3D TLC NAND flash memory. Mushkin further advertises them with a three-year warranty and the company's MEDS Reliability Suite which includes technology to enable end-to-end data path protection, LDPC ECC, and global wear leveling algorithms to ensure data integrity and longevity.
At the top end of performance is the Pilot-E M.2 SSD based on SM2262EN controller which offers up eight channels for connecting all the 3D NAND. This 250 GB to 2 TB drive is able to achieve extremely speedy 3.5 GB/s sequential reads and 3.0 GB/s sequential writes along with 370K read IOPS and 300K write IOPS. Essentially, the Pilot-E M.2 should be able to easily max out the PCI-E x4 connection with the right workloads.
Stepping down a bit, the Pilot drive uses an eight channel SM2262 controller. This drive gets close to the Pilot-E in reads, but has much lower sequential write performance. Capacities for this SSD range from 120 GB to 2 TB. Specifically, the Pilot SSD is rated at 3.2 GB/s sequential reads, 1.9 GB/s sequential writes, 370K random read IOPS, and 300K random write IOPS. This drive should be cheaper than the Pilot-E and will be aimed at the consumer space where reads are more important than writes.
Finally, Mushkin's Helix-L is a lower cost SSD that uses a DRAM-less design to reduce cost as well as a cheaper four channel SM2263XT controller. Capacities range from 120 GB to 1TB. This SSD supports Host Memory Buffer architecture which allows it to use system memory as a cache to improve performance. The Helix-L is rated at 2.4 GB/s sequential reads, 1.7 GB/s sequential writes, 280K random read IOPS (140K without HMB) and 250K random write IOPS.
Mushkin has not yet revealed pricing or availability on its new NVMe 1.3 drives. You can read more about the Silicon Motion controllers used here.
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2018 - 07:32 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: XPoint, Optane, Intel, CES 2018, CES, 800p, 60GB, 3D XPoint, 120gb
Intel broke news just now that they will be launching a larger version of their 16/32GB Optane Memory modules. The new 800P looks very much the same as its little brother but is designed to operate as a sole boot SSD. Mobile applications are also possible now as the 800P includes power management features that the Optane Memory modules lacked (as they were not intended for mobile).
We are under embargo as far as performance goes, but from what we know about how Optane parts scale, it's a safe bet that performance will be very close to what we've seen out of the Optane Memory parts. Warranty will be 5 years with an endurance of ~200GB per day. No word on cost at this time. Overall these though fit nicely between Optane Memory (16/32GB) and the 900P (280/480+GB) capacity points.
The elephant in the room is the capacity. While these can store more than the 16/32GB variants, 60/120GB may not be enough for most users out there. Fortunately, devices like these are great in Zx70 RAID or even VROC configurations!
Subject: Storage | January 9, 2018 - 01:00 PM | Scott Michaud
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.
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.
Subject: Storage | January 8, 2018 - 09:15 PM | Jim Tanous
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.
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.