Corsair recalls entire Force Series 3 SSD line, cites hardware defects.

Subject: Storage | June 7, 2011 - 05:47 PM |
Tagged: ssd, sandforce, corsair

 

Today Corsair announced a full recall of the CSSD-F120GB3-BK line.

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For further details, I yield to the statement from Corsair:

Over the past several days, we have analyzed issues associated with the stability of our recently released 120GB Force Series 3 SSD (Corsair part number CSSD-F120GB3-BK). Our review has identified that a significant percentage of these drive do not operate to specification. The solution will require changes to both the SSD firmware and the hardware components of the SSD itself.
 
We’ve worked closely with our partners to determine a root cause but there is no single issue at fault.  I’m sure you’ll have qu
estions about how this could happen but we can only say that our production test did not catch this combination of issues and we have implemented multiple corrective actions, involving both firmware and hardware, and are confident we have resolved all currently known issues.
 
This is our fault, our production tests didn’t catch the issue before the drives were shipped to the consumer and we take full responsibility for our products, which is why we’re asking for them to be returned and will be picking up return shipping.
 
Consumers should be directed to the following link in our forums for instructions on returning their drives.
 
http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showthread.php?t=95825

For those curious, since the cause is hardware stemming from the reference design of the PCB, it affects only those SandForce drives relying on it. OCZ uses their own design for the Vertex 3 and Agility 3 series SSD's, so those are safe from known hardware issues and remain subject to only the typical firmware bugs addressed by routine updates.

Back to the issue at hand. If you own a model CSSD-F120GB3-BK SSD, back up immediately and hit the link above to have Corsair sort you out.

Can Plextor compete with Drobo?

Subject: Storage | June 6, 2011 - 12:06 PM |
Tagged: plextor, network attached storage, NAS, external drive

There once was a time, when dinosaurs like Compaq ruled the earth, when there was only one choice for the true enthusiast when buying a CD burner.  Plextor was by far the most reliable choice in a time when CDs were more sensitive to external vibrations than a fine souffle. Things have changed a great deal since then and the looks you get when you ask how many sheep your burner has can be quite amusing.   This has left Plextor looking for alternative revenue sources and the area they have chosen is NAS devices.  The new Plextor PX-NAS4 has impressive stats but it is competing against heavy hitters like Drobo.  Think Computer tries out this ~$400 NAS device and contrasts its features and controls with similarly priced competitors offerings in their latest storage review.

 

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"Plextor introduced the PX-NAS4 quad-bay network attached storage device late last year to augment its PX-NAS2 dual-bay device and break into a market with larger storage needs. The dual gigabit Ethernet PX-NAS4 can house up to 8 TB of storage in several RAID configurations and sports volume encryption and low power consumption among other standard enterprise and business features. ThinkComputers takes a look, and finds that while the PX-NAS4 provides the basic features, it leaves something to be desired for users with more. Read on for the review."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

OCZ's 240GB Agility 3 SATA 6G drive; can asynchronous flash bring down the price only?

Subject: Storage | June 1, 2011 - 01:38 PM |
Tagged: ssd, ocz, agility 3, asynchronous flash

In case you missed it in the rotation at the top, Al has wrapped up his review of the Agility 3 SSD, which utilizes less expensive asynchronous flash memory to bring the MSRP down and hopefully leaves the performance at the same level.  Slow is a relative term when you describe SSDs, even one ranked at the bottom of the performance charts will give you better performance than a platter based hard drive.  Al does answer the performance question in the review, unfortunately no one can answer the pricing question yet.  If these sell like previous models have, retailers will be able to charge whatever they feel like if the supply cannot keep up.

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"While the switch to asynchronous flash memory makes the Agility 3 cheaper to produce and therefore sell, the performance dynamic can shift in either direction, varying with what you plan to do with the drive. Many users saw the same type of thing back with the Agility 2 / Vertex 2, and some users actually preferred the cheaper drive performance wise. We may see the same thing here once users (and us) get some actual seat-of-the-pants time logged with it."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

RevoDrive 3 and Hybrid Highlight OCZ Showcase at Computex

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | June 1, 2011 - 08:37 AM |
Tagged: ssd, revodrive, ocz, hybrid, computex

OCZ is definitely pushing its SSD products to the consumer and it was no different when we stopped by the OCZ suite at Computex 2011.  The most interesting devices came in the form of PCI Express based SSDs including the pending RevoDrive 3 model that upgrades the SSD controllers to SandForce 2200 models and gets some pretty hefty performance boosts because of it.

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The RevoDrive 3 includes a pair of SF-2200 controllers and was rated at 900 MB/s read and 700 MB/s write using the PCIe x4 interface.  The 240GB model is apparently only going to have a $599 price tag and it should be available in a matter of a short few weeks.  The X2 model adds another module to the mix and doubles the controller count to four and improves performance to as high as 1500 MB/s read and 1200 MB/s write.  Obviously these types of devices are only for those that REALLY need to push the envelope in storage performance.

Also, more good news: OCZ has implemented a newer firmware feature on the RevoDrive 3 (and other newer PCIe based models) that will enable support for features like TRIM natively.  This is done by hiding the multiple controllers from the operating system and passing on / delegating the TRIM commands as needed.  Allyn will have more on this when we get a sample later this month.  

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Another new PCIe-based SSD was the new Z-Drive R4 that fits more into the enterprise market with insanely high IOPS and performance. 

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OCZ actually showed a server running a pair of the R4 88 models that were able to achieve a 1 million IOPS rating on random 4K. 

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Another option for consumers was the new RevoDrive Hybrid that is exactly what it sounds like it is - a combination of a PCI Express SSD and a standard 2.5-in spindle based drive on a single unit.  This will bring the performance benefits of not only an SSD but a PCIE SSD to consumers that want to have the appearance of a single large hard drive inside their system.  It will use SandForce SF-2200 controllers and is rated at 575 MB/s read and 500 MB/s writes with several models planned for production.  The SSD portion that acts as the cache will be available in either 60GB of 120GB capacities while the HDD will start at 500GB and go up from there.  Pricing will apparently start at $400 for the 60GB/500GB version and will definitely be appealing for enthusiasts.  Now everyone can get the advantages of hybrid storage without being locked into the Z68 chipset or even an Intel platform at all. 

This implementation does not use any kind of Intel technology at all and instead is based on a firmware option from NVELO called Dataplex.  Based on the marketing numbers we saw the implementation that OCZ has created with the PCIe-based SSD will outperform Intel's SATA-based SRT technology by a noticeable margin, at least in benchmarks.  We can't wait to get our hands on one to see for ourselves. 

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Finally, OCZ is going to throw their hat into the ring with the mSATA offering called the Devena 2 that runs on a SandForce SF-2181/2141 controller.  Expect to see this marketed as an option even for Intel SRT.  It looks like the rest of 2011 will be very busy for Allyn and our storage test bed.

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

Source: OCZ

OCZ Achieves Performance Record Live At Computex, Over 1 Million 4K Write IOPS & 1.5 Million Read IOPS

Subject: General Tech, Storage, Shows and Expos | May 31, 2011 - 01:55 PM |
Tagged: z-drive, PCIe SSD, ocz

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TAIPEI, Taiwan - May 31, 2011 - OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, announces the Company has set a new benchmark of 1 million 4K write IOPS with a Z-Drive R4 equipped 3U Colfax International Server based on a Supermicro platform, which features 7.2TB of MLC storage.

As the fastest performing single server solution on the market, this Z-Drive R4 equipped platform significantly accelerates demanding transactional workloads and reduces latency across a broad array of enterprise applications.

"The Z-Drive R4 enables our data center clients to maximize performance in the industry standard 4K file size, and this achievement with Colfax International demonstrates the raw performance benefits and latency reductions that OCZ PCIe SSDs can deliver over multi-terabyte device densities in a single 3U server," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology Group. "We are proud to enable our clients to deliver servers and storage arrays which provide the highest performance, maximum capacity, and lowest latency available to data centers today."

"We have been working closely with OCZ to create a ready to deploy server solution with both exceptional performance and reliability, all within a compact and energy efficient footprint," said Gautam Shah, President and CEO of Colfax International. "OCZ's Z-Drive PCIe SSDs add considerable performance and we are thrilled to achieve this significant 4K Write IOPS benchmark, as well as making this industry leading total solution available to our enterprise clients."

This demonstration highlighted the Z-Drive R4's ability to offer industry-leading performance and efficiency for enterprise clients seeking the benefits of SSDs over hard drives. This total solution will be available for pre-order from Colfax International in multiple built-to-order configurations, and will ship in the coming weeks following the Computex event.

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

Source: OCZ
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ Technology
Tagged: ssd, sata, sandforce, ocz, 6Gb

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging

Introduction

Just over a month ago, OCZ released the Vertex 3, an immediate follow-up to the Vertex 3 Pro. At the time they promised an even cheaper solution at some point down the line. We've now seen that come to pass. Following the same convention as with the last series, the lower cost solution will be called the Agility 3. This is meant to be a mid-grade performance drive, as there is to also be a 'Solid 3' model on the horizon, but for today we'll focus on the new Agility.

Specifications

60GB Max Performance*

  • Max Read: up to 525MB/s
  • Max Write: up to 475MB/s
  • Random Write 4KB: 50,000 IOPS
  • Maximum 4K Random Write: 80,000 IOPS

120GB Max Performance*

  • Max Read: up to 525MB/s
  • Max Write: up to 500MB/s
  • Random Write 4KB: 50,000 IOPS
  • Maximum 4K Random Write: 85,000 IOPS

240GB Max Performance*

  • Max Read: up to 525MB/s
  • Max Write: up to 500MB/s
  • Random Write 4KB: 45,000 IOPS
  • Maximum 4K Random Write: 85,000 IOPS

    *Max performance achieved using Native SATA 6Gbps chipset. Please refer to product sheet for additional performance metrics.

Their * note is very important. You won't be able to hit the best possible performance marks without using these newest SATA 6Gb/sec drives in conjunction with native SATA 6Gb/sec storage controllers. There are just too many bottlenecks and other irregularities seen with the aftermarket / add-on solutions at this time, and they just can't stack up against a good native chipset implementation.

Yet another Sandforce drive, the PQI S535 256GB SSD

Subject: Storage | May 27, 2011 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: ssd, sandforce, PQI, SF-1200

While Legit Reviews might be mixing their metaphors when they refer to Sandforce SSDs as a 'dime' a dozen, they are certainly right that there are a lot of companies implementing that particular controller.  This time it is PQI, long time sellers of flash memory based products, and their PQI S535 256 GB drive.  One thing that makes this company different is that the speeds advertised on the box were slower than what Legit Reviews saw in their benchmarks.  See just how much faster in the full review.

LR_pqi-front1.jpg

"At this point there isn't a lot new we can say about the PQI S535 256 GB drive as SF-1200 based SSDs are a dime a dozen right now. Ok, that may draw ire from those that are still waiting on buying an SSD because of the cost but we've done no less than ten reviews now on such drives. PQI is a little conservative in their specifications of 250 MB/s reads and writes as we saw well above that for each in the ATTO benchmark..."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Patriot goes their own way with the Torqx 2 128GB SSD

Subject: Storage | May 23, 2011 - 05:24 PM |
Tagged: patriot, torqx, ssd, phison, PS3105-S5

Instead of using everyone's favourite Sandforce controller, Patriot opted for the Phison PS3105-S5 controller to provide the speed to their new Torqx 2 lineup.  The controller differs from Sandforce in two ways, one good and one bad.  On the bad side even the claimed read and write speeds are slower, at 210 and 150MB/s but on the plus side the drives will be noticably less expensive than the competitions.  Legion Hardware put this 128GB SSD to the test and weren't disappointed, though their expectations were fairly low going into the review.

LH_torqx2.jpg

"There was never the expectation that the Patriot Torqx 2 128GB might blow our socks off, with claimed read/write performance of just 270–230MB/s that was just not going to happen. At best we were hoping for a mid-range product and at $225 US for the 128GB version this is how the Torqx 2 is priced."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Samsung Develops 64Gb MLC NAND Flash at 20nm, Promises Lots of Storage With High Bandwidth

Subject: Storage | May 21, 2011 - 05:00 AM |
Tagged: ssd, nand, mlc

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Samsung recently began production on new 20nm MLC NAND flash memory chips with densities of 64Gb (Gigabit) and a toggle DDR 2.0 interface. The chips are not only twice as dense as their previous NAND chips, but Samsung also claims that they are capable of 400Mbps of bandwidth.

This 400Mbps bandwidth is thanks to a new toggle DDR 2.0 interface, which purports to bring a three times performance increase over the 133Mbps of bandwidth provided by the older toggle DDR1 interface with 32Gb NAND chips. Samsung further states that the new 64Gb MLC NAND chip offers close to a 50% increase in productivity versus 20nm 32Gb MLC NAND with a toggle DDR 1.o interface that Samsung began producing in April 2010.

The press release also states that:

"According to IHS iSuppli, the worldwide NAND flash memory market will continue to steadily grow from approximately 11 billion 1 Gigabyte (GB) equivalent unitsin 2010 to 94 billion 1GB equivalent units in 2015 with a CAGR of 54 percent. In addition, shipments of NAND flash memory with 64Gb or higher density are expected to account for approximately 70 percent of total NAND flash memory shipments in 2012, a huge increase from the three percent level in 2010."

The NAND flash market is certainly seeing rapid growth and technological progression, with the proliferation of SSDs from Intel, OCZ, Crucial, and others. As densities of flash memory get higher and manufacturing nodes get smaller, cheaper and more spacious storage will make it's way to both future mobile devices and solid state drives, which is good news for both consumers and Samsung.

Source: Samsung

Western Digital Launches 2.5 TB and 3 TB 3.5" Hard Drives For AV Systems

Subject: Storage | May 21, 2011 - 03:10 AM |
Tagged: WD, TB, Hard Drive

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Western Digital recently launched two new hard drives for it's AV-GP series. The AV-GP series are WD Green Power hard drives with special firmware optimized for heavy audio/visual applications such as video streaming, surveillance systems, and HD video recorders.  The two new additions to the series come in 2.5 TB and 3 TB respectively.  Both drives are 3.5" form factor, contain 64MB of on-board cache, and utilize the SATA II 3Gb/s interface.  Designed for use in high temperature environments, the drives have a claimed 1 million hour MTBF (mean time before failure) rate and are covered by a three year warranty.  Further, the 2.5 TB and 3 TB drives use the advanced format (4K sector) partitioning, which means that these drives are not well suited as boot drives, especially in the case of many older computers.  The 2.5TB WD25EURS hard drive is available for $159.99 USD while the 3TB WD30EURS variant will cost $179.99 USD.