Subject: Storage | August 14, 2017 - 08:09 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: P4800X, XPoint, NVMe, HHHL, Optane, Intel, ssd, DC
We reviewed the Intel P4800X - Intel's first 3D XPoint SSD, back in April of this year. The one thing missing from that review was product pictures. Sure we had stock photos, but we did not have the product in hand due to the extremely limited number of samples and the need for Intel to be able to make more real-time updates to the hardware based on our feedback during the testing process (reviewers making hardware better FTW!). After the reviews were done, sample priority shifted to the software vendors who needed time to further develop their code bases to take better advantage of the very low latency that Optane can offer. One of those companies is VMware, and one of our friends from over there was able to get some tinker time with one of their samples.
Paul whipped up a few videos showing the installation process as well as timing a server boot directly from the P4800X (something we could not do in our review since we were testing on a remote server). I highly encourage those interested in the P4800X (and the upcoming consumer versions of the same) to check out the article on TinkerTry. I also recommend those wanting to know what Optane / XPoint is and how it works to check out our article here.
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Today Corsair launched their first ever HHHL form factor SSD, the NX500:
Just from the looks of this part, it is clear they were pulling out all the stops with respect to product design. This is certainly one of the most impressive looking SSDs we have seen come through our lab, and it will certainly be the type of thing enthusiasts would show off in their system builds. The NX500 is also likely to be the best showcase of Phison's new E7 controller. I'm just as eager to see if this SSD performs as well as it looks, so let's get to the review!
The specifications here are in line what we would expect for a modern day NVMe SSD. Note that ratings are identical for the 400GB and 800GB models, aside from a doubling of endurance due to the corresponding doubling of flash. There were some additional details in our press kit:
Extreme PerformanceThe Phison PS5007-E7• Description: PS5007-E7 is Phison’s first NVMe controller designed for high performance application. Supporting up to 8-channels in its NAND Flash interface.Extreme ReliabilityMultiple features are built into the PS5007-E7 to ensure stability and reliability.• SmartECC™ – Reconstructs defective/faulty pages when regular ECC fails• SmartRefresh™ – Monitors block ECC health status and refreshes blocks periodically to improve data retention• SmartFlush™ – Minimizes time data spends in cache to ensure data retention in the event of power lossExtreme ControlThe Neutron NX500 SSD with Phison PS5007-E7 controller works with CORSAIR SSD Toolbox.• Drive monitoring – Monitor the health of your Force Series• Secure wipe – For security purposes, completely clear the drive of any recoverable data• Firmware update – Install updated firmware as needed
As the Phison E7 is a new controller, it's worth taking a look at the internals:
Highlights from above are 8 channels to the flash, ONFI 3.2 and Toggle 2.0 support (covering most flash memory types), along with support for all modes (SLC/MLC/TLC).
I haven't seen SSD packaging this nice since the FusionIO ioDrive, and those parts were far more expensive. Great touch here by Corsair.
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | August 9, 2017 - 09:19 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: FMS 2017, ssd, S4600, S4500, ruler, pcie, NVMe, Intel, EDSFF
Yesterday we saw Samsung introduce their 'NGSFF' form factor during yesterday's keynote. Intel has been at work on a similar standard, this one named EDSFF (Enterprise & Datacenter Storage Form Factor), with the simpler working name as 'Ruler', mainly because it bears a resemblance:
Note that the etching states P4500 Series. P4500 was launched a couple of days ago and is Intel's next generation NVMe PCIe Datacenter SSD. It's available in the typical form factors (U.2, HHHL), but this new Ruler form factor contains the exact same 12 channel controller and flash counts, only arranged differently.
SFF-TA-1002 connector (aka 'Gen-Z'), shown next to an AA battery for scale. This connector spec is electrically rated for speeds up to 4th and 5th generation PCIe, so future proofing was definitely a consideration here. In short, this is a beefed up M.2 style connector that can handle more throughput and also has a few additional pins to support remote power and power-loss-protection (capacitors outside the Ruler), as well as support for activity LEDs, etc.
Here is a slide showing the layout of the Ruler. 36 flash packages can be installed, with the possibility of pushing that figure to 42.
Thermals were a main consideration in the design, and the increased surface area compared to U.2 designs (with stacked PCBs) make for far cooler operation.
Intel's play here is fitting as much flash as possible into a 1U chassis. 1PB in a 1U is definitely a bold claim, but absolutely doable in the near future.
I'll leave you with the quick sniper shot I grabbed of their demo system. I'll be posting more details on the P4500 and P4600 series products later this week (remember, same guts as the Ruler), so stay tuned!
Subject: Storage | August 8, 2017 - 05:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: thunderbolt 3, NAS, LaCie, big12, 96TB
The big12 NAS device from LaCie comes in 48TB, 72TB, 96TB and 120TB varieties, all having a dozen 3.5" bays for your drives. The device stands 447x161x237mm which is somewhat larger than the Ruler drive Intel just announced and is 17.6kg fully loaded. It will connect via Thunderbolt 3 and supports RAID 0/1/6/10/50/60. Just because it is loaded with HDDs doesn't mean it is a slowpoke, KitGuru measure speeds of 2287MB/s for RAID 0 and 2231MB/s for RAID 5, impressive by any means. The price is also impressively high, however the speed and quality of the RAID software installed in the device makes it desirable for those who need a serious storage solution.
"LaCie’s 12big is the current flagship of the company’s professional range of external drives and if you are in the market for huge amounts of capacity and very, very fast data transfer rates then the 12big might be just the thing you are looking for…..but beware, you will need deep pockets – the 96Tb version we review today costs close to £8,300."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- HP SSD S700 PRO @ benchmark Reviews
- WD Blue 3D NAND 500GB @ Kitguru
- Kingston DCP1000 NVMe SSD Enthusiast Testing in RAID 0 @ The SSD Review
- Seagate IronWolf Pro 10TB SATA III HDD Review @ NikKTech
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | August 8, 2017 - 05:37 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: z-ssd, vnand, V-NAND, Samsung, QLC, FMS 2017, 64-Layer, 3d, 32TB, 1Tbit
As is typically the case for Flash Memory Summit, the Samsung keynote was chock full of goodies:
Samsung kicked off by stating there are a good 5 years of revisions left in store for their V-NAND line, each with a corresponding increase in speed and capacity.
While V-NAND V4 was 64-layer TLC, V5 is a move to QLC, bringing per die capacity to 1Tbit (128 GB per die).
If you were to stack 32 of these new V5 dies per package, and do so in a large enough 2.5" housing, that brings the maximum capacity of such a device to a whopping 128TB!
Samsung also discussed a V2 of their Z-NAND, moving from SLC to MLC while only adding 2-3 us of latency per request. Z-NAND is basically a quicker version of NAND flash designed to compete with 3D XPoint.
M.2 SSDs started life with the working title of NGFF. Fed up with the limitations of this client-intended form factor for the enterprise, Samsung is pushing a slightly larger NGSFF form factor that supports higher capacities per device. Samsung claimed a PM983 NGSFF SSD will hold 16TB, a 1U chassis full of the same 576TB, and a 2U chassis pushing that figure to 1.15PB.
Last up is 'Key Value'. This approach allows the flash to be accessed more directly by the application layer, enabling more efficient use of the flash and therefore higher overall performance.
There were more points brought up that we will be covering later on, but for now here is the full press release that went out during the keynote: (after the break)
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | August 8, 2017 - 12:02 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: U.2, pcie, NVMe, micron, HHHL, FMS 2017, 9200, 3d nand
We were extremely impressed with the Micron 9100 Enterprise SSDs. They are still the fastest NAND flash SSDs we've tested to date, but they were built on planar NAND, and we know everyone is replacing their flat flash with more cost efficient 3D NAND. Same goes for the 9200:
Highlights for the new models are IMFT 3D NAND running in TLC mode and a new controller capable of PCIe 3.0 x8 (HHHL form factor only - U.2 is only a x4 interface). Here are the detailed specs:
Improvements for the x4 models are marginal upgrades over the 9100, but the x8 variants bump up the maximum performance to 900,000 IOPS and 5.5GB/s! These should be shipping by the end of the month, and we will review them as they come in.
Subject: Storage | August 2, 2017 - 06:21 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: BiCS3, western digital, wdc, WD, tlc, slc, QLC, nand, mlc, flash, 96GB, 768Gb, 3d
A month ago, WD and Toshiba each put out releases related to their BiCS 3D Flash memory. WD announced 96 layers (BiCS4) as their next capacity node, while Toshiba announced them reliably storing four bits per cell (QLC).
WD recently did their own press release related to QLC, partially mirroring Toshiba's announcement, but this one had some additional details on capacity per die, as well as stating their associated technology name used for these shifts. TLC was referred to as "X3", and "X4" is the name for their QLC tech as applied to BiCS. The WD release stated that X4 tech, applied to BiCS3, yields 768Gbit (96GB) per die vs. 512Gbit (64GB) per die for X3 (TLC). Bear in mind that while the release (and the math) states this is a 50% increase, moving from TLC to QLC with the same number of cells does only yields a 33% increase, meaning X4 BiCS3 dies need to have additional cells (and footprint) to add that extra 17%.
The release ends by hinting at X4 being applied to BiCS4 in the future, which is definitely exciting. Merging the two recently announced technologies would yield a theoretical 96-layer BiCS4 die, using X4 QLC technology, yielding 1152 Gbit (144GB) per die. A 16 die stack of which would come to 2,304 GB (1.5x the previously stated 1.5TB figure). The 2304 figure might appear incorrect but consider that we are multiplying two 'odd' capacities together (768 Gbit (1.5x512Gbit for TLC) and 96 layers (1.5x64 for X3).
Press blast appears after the break.
Subject: Storage | July 24, 2017 - 05:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: toshiba, ssd, ocz, NVMe, nand, M.2, XG5, BiCS, 64-Layer
We first saw Toshiba's XG5 M.2 SSD at Computex this year but as of yet we have not had a chance to review it. The Tech Report on the other hand did get their mitts on the 512GB model of this drive and they put it through its paces in this review right here. Their results show a drive that beats OCZs' RD400 across the board and is impinging on Samsung's 960 Pro and EVO, though they are not quite there yet. The next generation will improve on performance which should spur Samsung to new heights with their next NVMe product. At the start of the article is some history on the current state of Toshiba which is worth checking out if you are not familiar with what is going on there.
"Toshiba's XG5 NVMe SSD is shipping to the company's OEM partners now. We run it through our test suite to see if the company's newfangled 64-layer BiCS NAND helps it compete with the best in the business."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- HP SSD S700 @ Benchmark Reviews
- Apacer Z280 M.2 PCIe 240GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- The 8TB WD Gold Datacenter Drive @ TechARP
Subject: Storage | July 18, 2017 - 07:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: XPoint, srt, rst, Optane Memory, Optane, Intel, hybrid, CrossPoint, cache, 32GB, 16GB
It has been a few months since Al looked at Intel's Optane and its impressive performance and price. This is why it seems appropriate to revist the 2280 M.2 stick with a PCIe 3.0 x2 interface. It is not just the performance which is interesting but the technology behind Optane and the limitations. For anyone looking to utilize Optane is is worth reminding you of the compatibility limitations Intel requires, only Kaby Lake processors with Core i7, i5 or i3 heritage. If you do qualify already or are planning a system build, you can revisit the performance numbers over at Kitguru.
"Optane is Intel’s brand name for their 3D XPoint memory technology. The first Optane product to break cover was the Optane PC P4800X, a very high-performance SSD aimed at the Enterprise segment. Now we have the second product using the technology, this time aimed at the consumer market segment – the Intel Optane Memory module."
Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:
- G.SKILL TridentZ RGB 3600 MHz C16 DDR4 @ techPowerUp
- GSKill Trident Z 4133Mhz RGB CL19 DDR4 Dual Channel Memory Review @ Hardware Asylum
- Ballistix Elite 3466 MHz DDR4 @ techPowerUp
Subject: Storage | July 11, 2017 - 01:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: SU900, adata, 256GB, mlc, SM2258, sata ssd
Adata have added a new series of SSDs to their Ultimate lineup, the SU900, which ranges from the 256GB model sent to The Tech Report to review straight through to a 2TB model. This incarnation uses 3D MLC flash but retains the Silicon Motion SM2258 controller which was used on the SU800s. In testing the drive surpassed the previous Ultimate drive but did not quite reach the performance levels of the Samsung 850 EVO in some benchmarks, however it did in the actual usage testing. If you are looking for a drive in that class and have concerns about the longevity of TLC flash, this drive is worth a look.
"Adata has issued an update to its Ultimate line of SSDs with its SU900 family. Join us as we find out how much of an upgrade 3D MLC flash brings to the company's Ultimate drives versus its past forays with 3D TLC NAND."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- HP SSD S700 500GB Review @ Neoseeker
- Corsair Neutron NX500 400GB @ Techspot
- Morro Data: Your NAS in the Cloud @ Modders-Inc
- Lexar JumpDrive P20 128GB & S57 256GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Comparison @ NikKTech