Back in October 2011, we reviewed the 120GB Patriot Wildfire, the company’s first SF-2281-based SSD. With 32nm Toshiba asynchronous NAND, the Wildfire was a solid, if unremarkable, drive—awesome compared to nearly every other drive, but not quite up to the standard set by Corsair’s Force GT, OCZ’s Vertex 3, or OWC’s Mercury Extreme Pro. With the Pyro SE, Patriot hopes to change that.
The Force GT, Vertex 3, and Mercury Extreme Pro have one thing in common that the Wildfire lacked: 25nm synchronous NAND. Now a Patriot drive has the same stuff. The 240GB Patriot Pyro SE uses 16 128Gb modules of Micron 25nm synchronous NAND. Can the smaller process and synchronous NAND help the Pyro SE keep pace with the best SF-2281 SSDs on the market?
Yes. The better NAND pushes the Pyro SE past its stablemate and into the rarified air at the top of the SandForce-powered heap. With sequential read and write speeds at 482MB/s and 300MB/s, respectively, as measured by CrystalDiskMark, the Pyro SE is about as fast as the OWC Mercury Extreme Pro, and its 4KB random write speed, at over 91,000 IOPS, is the fastest we’ve ever seen from a 6Gb/s SATA drive. The synchronous NAND makes the most impact on sequential write speeds, offering a 40–50MB/s boost over the asynchronous NAND in the Wildfire.
For every season, there is a spin. Intel’s first consumer SSDs, the X-25M series, didn’t have the fastest performance, but they gained a reputation for reliability. We had high hopes for Intel’s 320 Series SSDs, which turned out to be really great 3Gb/s SATA drives, at a time when everyone else was shipping 6Gb/s drives. When Intel did ship a 6Gb/s SATA drive, the 510 Series, it used a Marvell controller, not an Intel one. Well, Intel has finally released its second 6Gb/s consumer SSD series, and it’s powered by… SandForce?
Yep. The 520 Series may ship in Intel’s familiar 7mm aluminum chassis with a 2mm black spacer, but inside it’s running the same SandForce SF-2281 as everyone else. It does use 25nm Intel synchronous NAND and Intel-validated firmware, which Intel says makes it better, faster, and more reliable than plain-Jane SF-2281-based drives.
Not a lot of folks can justify paying a premium for a Blu-ray burner and then the media to go along with it. At the other end of the pricing spectrum, DVD burners and media are dirt cheap, and so are mechanical hard drives, for that matter. But if you are going to spend a portion of your fun money on Blu-ray backups, it certainly helps if you can write to discs more than once, something you'll be able to do with Panasonic's upcoming 100GB rewritable Blu-ray disc.
When Microsoft's Major Nelson announced a public preview of an "updated Xbox 360 disc format," the Internet was immediately abuzz with speculation that Blu-ray was finally coming to Redmond's flagship console. We hate to be the ones to break it to you, but that isn't the case. As has been the case with every previous rumor suggesting the Xbox 360 is getting a Blu-ray drive, it's not happening, and it probably never will. Want to know what this new format is? Hit the jump.
Optical drives aren't potatoes. You can't boil them, mash them, or stick 'em in a stew. And by that, I mean there's simply not that much you can do with your average digital coffee holder. Optical drives read CDs. Optical drives write CDs. And... well, unless you have your drive hooked up to some kind of crazy Rube Goldberg device that feeds your guinea pig whenever you eject the tray, there's simply not much else you're going to be able to do with this essential part of your PC. CD goes in; CD goes out--end of story.
Of course, I'm being a little tongue-in-cheek with this description. There's a great deal you can do with your optical drive on the software side of things. Here's the problem: There are a ton of different programs out there for ripping, burning, and mounting images, amongst other behaviors. Finding the best-in-class application for your device can be like trying to find a tiny scratch on the bottom of the disc itself--a mind-numbing task that's sure to frustrate you as you sift through the 30 different utilities you've pulled down onto your desktop.
Allow me ease the pain a bit. In this week's freeware files, I'll be taking a look at some of the must-have software to supplement your CD drive. With these five apps, you'll be covered for a wide range of uses--ripping all different kinds of media to your (presumably) terabytes of storage space, burning your own custom discs and presentations based on preexisting files, and converting physical media to digital images that you can pull up off of your hard drive instead of ever having to fiddle with a disc again.
Grab a CD-R coaster for your drink and join me after the jump for all the software goodies!
Blu-ray has faced down some pretty significant criticisms in its rise to dominance over the past few years, but complaints about its storage capacity was never one of them. Never the less a research partnership between Panasonic and Sony has yielded a new technique which will increase disk capacities from 25GB per layer to 33GB. Normally a small jump like this would have us rolling our eyes when it comes to the prospect of replacing all our hardware, but interestingly enough, it appears as though the jump in capacity can be achieved using the optics in our current players.
The new standard is called i-MLSE which stands for Maximum Likelihood Sequence Estimation, this is a method of estimating the read error rate of disks on the fly. If all goes as planned the only action users will need to take to read the disks would be a firmware update on existing players. There is no timeline for the rollout yet, but Sony is set to propose the adoption of i-MLSE to the Blu-ray Disk Association in the coming months, which as you might imagine, they have a fair bit of sway over.
While the news of the 400GB Pioneer disc isn’t necessarily new, the fact that it’s made it to production is. Just today at the IT Month fair in Taiwan, Pioneer announced that their 400GB Blu-ray disc would be hitting mass production sometime in 2010.
The disc’s ability to pack so much storage is all thanks to a breakthrough in the material used to create reflective layers. According to Pioneer High Fidelity Taiwan, this also allows the pick-up head of the disc to match that of current Blu-ray technology, allowing the discs to be played using current drives.
Pioneer’s plan to release the disc to the public in 2010 is followed swiftly by the release of rewritable discs in 2010-2012. Though, 1TB discs will quickly follow in 2013, according to the current roadmap.
Following Hitachi's annoucement of plans to hit 5TB in a single hard drive by 2010, Pioneer follows suit by proclaiming a major advancement in the optical storage arena with an unprecedented 16-layer optical disc capable of storing 400GB. Presumably intended for distribution as Blu-ray media, Pioneer points out the new disc's 25GB per-layer capacity is the same as that of a Blu-ray disc (BD).
Cross-talk among multiple layers has been a stickling point in the optical industry, but Pioneer claims to have tackled the problem with a specialized disc structure designed to reduce interference from adjacent layers. And what about compatibility with existing Blu-ray players? Pioneer says that because the optical specifications of the lens are the same as those for existing BD discs, there shouldn't be any compatibility concerns between the new 16-layer discs and existing BD media.
Dampening the announcement, the 16-layer discs are read-only. That may change in time, but for the here and now, you'll still need to resort to standard discs or HDDs to store your epic music collection, downloaded videos, and other legally acquired data. Of course, finding someone who owns a Blu-ray drive capable of burning BD discs is more rare than spoting a MacBook victory at Maximum PC.