Crucial this week announced what it describes as a "revved-up line" of SSD products, while also noting that the M225 series is the fastest, highest capacity Crucial SSDs to date.
"By upgrading their system with a solid-state drive, mobile computer users will enjoy a faster, more rugged system with storage built for mobility. The fact that SSDs don't have any moving parts makes Crucial solid-state drives quieter, cooler, and more durable than traditional hard drives," said Robert Wheadon, Lexar Media's senior worldwide product marketing manager.
The M225 series is available in 64GB (CT64M225), 128GB (CT128M225), and 256GB (CT256M225) capacities with the following speed grades:
256GB: 250MB/s read, 200MB/s write
128GB: 250MB/s read, 190MB/s write
64GB: 200MB/s read, 150MB/s write
The MLC-based drives also sport 64MB of DRAM cache and come with a 5-year warranty. The drives are available now for $160 (64GB), $330 ($128GB), and $600 (256GB).
Following the success of its high performance X25-M solid state drive, Intel is getting back into the SSD game, this time with higher capacity models that will reportedly offer a much better bang-for-buck.
According to German news site Golum.de, Intel's upcoming Postville family of SSDs will top out at 320GB, with both 80GB and 160GB capacities also planned. These will be MLC-based drives built around a 34nm manufacturing process. By comparison, the X25-M is an SLC-based drive.
Even so, the new series should be decent performers if Golum's information is accurate. The site says the Postville family will serve up read speeds over 200MB/s, putting them in line with the rash of high performance SSDs recently being offered by competitors. The new series might also use a new controller.
No official word on price or release date, but Golum did say both the 80GB and 160GB Postville drives will cost less than the X25-M (80GB).
One of the caveats that many people have with using Linux is the current state of media support. While media playback on Linux is presently much better than it has ever been before, it still requires a little bit of know-how and tweaking to get everything working properly. This guide will go over each step of optimizing your media capabilities.
Why doesn't media just work? The reason why some types of media do not work out of the box on Linux is due to legal and technological reasons. Many of the popular media formats (like DVD, MP3, Adobe Flash, etc.) require a codec, DRM workaround, or other sort of player before content in any of those formats can be viewed. Because of patent and copyright law, Linux distro maintainers are not able to include these extra packages in their distros, so media performance is somewhat crippled as a result. Some distros actually license these codecs (e.g. Mandriva's Codina tool) and have working media support out of the box. However, such features are not free and many people balk at the notion of paying for Linux. If it provides any reassurance, it helps to know that this problem is not specifically limited to Linux. Windows XP and some of the low-end editions of Vista are unable to play DVDs out of the box as well, and no version of Windows offers out of the box Blu-Ray support.
It seems as though SSD manufacturers are increasingly taking aim at the performance market, and that's certainly the case with Corsair's new Extreme Series SSDs.
Available in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities, the Extreme Series X32, X64, and X128 boast read speeds of up to 240MB/s and write speeds of up to 170MB/s. All three drives also incorporate the Indilinx Barefoot controller and Samsung MLC NAND flash memory.
"The combination of the Indilinx Barefoot controller, Samsung flash memory, and 64MB of on-board cache delivers blistering, stutter-free performance, eliminating the bottleneck imposed by traditional mechanical hard disks," said Jim Carlton, VP of Marketing at Corsair.
In addition, Corsair says its Extreme Series also come with user-upgradeable firmware, which will later add features such as the upcoming TRIM command for Windows 7.
Corsair says the drives are available now, though we didn't spot any being sold at the usual online outlets. Suffice to say, no word on price.
Home users aren't the only ones reluctant to shell out big bucks for low capacity SSDs; companies are too. But while the former might be justified in waiting until the bang-for-buck ratio becomes a bit more favorable, a new report by J. Gold Association says that companies can save money by investing in SSDs right now.
"Our intent was to identify the true costs associated with equipping notebook computers deployed in the enterprise," said Jack Gold, principal analyst at the firm. "We discovered that the savings were very significant for a standard three year cycle."
According to the report, despite the comparatively high cost of SSDs, a company stands to save about $214 over three years and up to $492 if the notebook remains in service for five years. Part of the savings comes from in-warranty repair costs, which J. Gold Association claims averages out to $970 for a notebook with a conventional hard drive, compared to $715 for one equipped with an SSD.
Other reasons for the disparity include lower failure rates and less power consumption.
Several SSD owners have reported intermittent stuttering, a problem that usually creeps up on drives built around a JMicron controller. But according to Patriot, insufficient cache can also be the culprit, and the company's new Torqx M28 series seeks to solve the problem by doubling the amount of DRAM cache from 64MB to 128MB.
"The Torqx series SSDs takes the technology of SSD to the next level," says Meng J. Choo, Patriot's Flash Product Manager. "Competitor non-cache drives suffered from what consumers described as 'stuttering effect' which inhibited the drive performance. Torqx series addresses this issue with a DRAM cache that acts as a buffer for data transfer bottlenecks and increases the random and sequential read and write transfer speeds."
So far available in both 128GB and 256GB capacities, the Torqx M28 come rated at up to 220MB/s sequential read and up to 200MB/s sequential write speeds - respectable, but not earth moving. Somewhat more impressive, the drives come backed by a 10 year warranty, or at least double that of most hard drives.
Last month, we learned that OCZ would be releasing a Turbo Vertex SSD line with hand picked parts, but no specifications had been finalized at the time. That's no longer the case, as OCZ officially introduced the new series this week, which is being aimed at the performance sector.
"The new Vertex Turbo makes use of the fastest SDR DRAM cache available and a proprietary FTL level firmware that provides an even faster solid state drive for enthusiasts looking for the ultimate desktop or laptop storage upgrade," said Ryan Edwards, Director of Product Management for OCZ.
Available in 30GB, 60GB, 128GB, and 250GB capacities, the new drives sport 64MB of 180MHz DRAM cache. Primed for performance, the flagship 250GB model registers up to 270MB/s read and up to 210MB/s write speeds (the 128GB model checks in with a slightly slower 200MB/s write speed, while both the 30GB and 60GB offer up to 240MB/s and 145MB/s read and write speeds, respectively).
You probably can't taste the rainbow by popping one of Super Talent's new Pico Mini USB drives into your mouth like you can with Skittles, but the new drives are every bit as colorful.
Like the Pico drives, the Pico Mini are built using COB technology, which Super Talent says makes it possible to stuff "impressive Flash capacities into extremely small packages." And small they are, measuring just 32 x 15 x3 mm, or 1.3 x 0.6 x 0.1 inches when shunning the metric system.
More than just aesthetic appeal, the color designates the capacity of the new drives:
2GB, 150X (Orchid Pink)
4GB, 200X (Lime Green)
8GB, 200X (Sky Blue)
16GB, 200X (Classic Black)
The drives will begin shipping this week for $10 (2GB), $15 (4GB), $24 (8GB) and $40 (16GB).
Seagate, who originally planned to serve up enterprise SSD products in 2008 and later changed its target date to sometime in 2009, has suffered a setback in SSD development that may end up delaying the release until at least 2010, according to an investment bank briefing note.
"Notably in the last two weeks, we heard that Seagate (the company we think is closest in terms of market penetration) had another setback in its efforts to design an enterprise storage drive to compete with ZeusIOPS," wrote Kevin D. Vassily, an analyst at investment bank Pacific Crest Securities.
It remains unclear exactly what kind of setback Seagate is running into, but Vassily did bring up LSI in his note, the company Seagate picked to design and supply controller silicon for its SSDs. If Seagate is forced to find a new supplier, it might be mid-2011 or later before Seagate is able to ship SSDs in any volume, Vassily says.
Good news for storage buffs - Micron today said it has begun mass producing 34nm flash memory products, resulting in 16Gb (gigabit) and 32Gb NAND chips that will push high end storage capacities to new levels.
"Our industry-leading NAND products are opening new possibilities for some of the world's most popular consumer electronic devices," said Brian Shirley, vice president of Micron's memory group. "With our new 16- and 32Gb NAND chips in mass production, we are enabling customers to design cost-effective, high-capacity storage in their small-form factor products, using less space and fewer die."
Micron says its 32Gb MLC NAND chip is 17 percent smaller than its first -generation 32Gb chip, and that both new chips offer transfer speeds of up to 200MB/s.
As a result of the new product, mainstream SDHC cards may double in capacity from 4-8GB to 8-16GB, with 64GB or more leading the high-end market.