Synology has a history of making excellent NAS boxes, and the new four bay DS410j is no exception. Front and center on the spec sheet is support for Apple’s Time Machine backup system, a rarity on third-party NAS units.
The unit is designed for home and entry-level business use. The four drive bays can take up to 2TB 3.5 inch drives. The DS410j also supports multiple RAID configurations when loaded with multiple compatible drives. Automated backup and DNLA support come standard as well. The DS410j can be purchased with or without hard drives preinstalled, but either way it’s going to be pricey. If you look around, the driveless version can be had for a bit under $400.
Last fall, Intel slapped the solid state drive market on the back of the head with the release of the 80GB X25-M MLC drive. That drive absolutely trounced the competition with its 200MB/s read speeds, incredibly low random-access times, and best of all, no random-write stuttering or cache overflows. The first X25-M garnered a Kick Ass Award and defeated all comers in our last SSD roundup (November 2008), but the market has come a long way since then. With powerful competition from drives sporting Indilinx and Samsung controllers, can the 160GB X25-M maintain Intel’s crown?
The 160GB X25-M ships in a silvery chassis, unlike its predecessor’s black, and is 7mm tall—an included spacer accommodates 9.5mm drive bays. Intel’s kicked the flash manufacturing process down from 50nm to 34nm, and retained native SATA and Native Command Queuing from its previous iteration.
Solid state drives show immense promise with regards to reliability and read speeds, but current-generation models are rife with drawbacks. Due to NAND flash memory’s architecture, writing data to a block (after the first time) requires copying the entire contents of that block to cache, erasing it, and rewriting it with the added data. Large numbers of small writes run the risk of overloading the SSD’s disk cache, causing high latency. Multi Layer Cell (MLC) solid state drives, especially those utilizing JMicron’s JM602 controller, are particularly susceptible.
Fortunately, Samsung’s SSDs, like Intel’s (whose X25-M is the gold standard for solid state drives), use their own controllers, and the results are impressive. This 256GB SSD reached sustained average read speeds of 175MB/s, just 12 percent slower than the Intel drive and 75 percent faster than a Western Digital VelociRaptor. Better still, the Samsung drive’s average sustained write speeds topped 150MB/s, much faster than the 64.3MB/s average offered by the Intel drive. Oddly, Intel’s X25-M still reigns supreme in our Premiere Pro encoding test, beating the Samsung drive by nearly two minutes. The Samsung’s random access times, while slightly slower than the X25-M’s, still average at under .2ms for read and write.
The Samsung drive’s PCMark Vantage score, at 14,088, is less than half that of the Intel drive’s, but still double that of any standard hard drive.
It was a big month for storage. Not only did Western Digital bring to the market the first 2TB consumer hard drive, but Seagate came to the game with another milestone: a two-platter 1TB drive. Both offerings contain 500GB platters, the highest platter density yet achieved.
The Barracuda 7200.12 1TB is the first drive we’ve tested from the 12th generation of Seagate’s 7,200rpm Barracuda line, and it’s Seagate’s best chance for a fresh start following the firmware issues that plagued its 7200.11 line.
The 1TB 7200.12 has much in common with drives from the previous generation of Barracudas: It features 32MB of L2 cache, 7,200rpm rotational speeds, and SATA 3Gb/s data transfer with Native Command Queuing. The 7200.12, though, needs just two platters to achieve 1TB, whereas the 7200.11 used four.
Today, hard drive manufacturer Seagate and chip manufacturer AMD unveil the first tech demo of Serial ATA Revision 3.0, which boasts transfer rates of up to six gigabits per second, twice the speed of the current SATA spec. The specification, which was announced by the Serial ATA International Organization last August, will appear in hardware starting later this year.
SATA 6Gb/s comes several years before Seagate estimates it will be needed for standard hard drives, but, as we reported last year, several current-gen SSDs are already bumping against the 3Gb/s limit of the current spec.
Western Digital just upped the capacity ante with a mind-blowing two-terabye internal hard drive. It doesn’t break any land speed records, but the 2TB Caviar Green is unmatched for capacity—at least for now.
The Caviar Green 2TB packs a full 500GB more onto its four platters than our previous capacity champion, Seagate’s 1.5TB 7200.11 Barracuda, which has suffered from firmware-related hitches and freezing. The Barracuda (when it works) marries speedy performance with high capacity, while the Caviar Green, like the rest of Western Digital’s Green line, focuses on quiet performance and lower power consumption. The 2TB Caviar Green has four 500GB platters spinning at a rate somewhere between 5,400 and 7,200rpm, with a 32MB cache, and an areal density per platter of 400Gb/square inch.
Hard drive encryption sounds like an intimating concept, mostly because it is. The thought of taking your precious files, then using a mathematical formula to convert them into random noise before scattering them back across your disk is a hard sell. The harsh reality is, mobile computing is on the rise, and so is laptop theft. Depending on who you ask, anywhere from 500,000 to over 1,000,000 laptops are lost or stolen in the US each year. In some cases, the data on the hard drive is often more valuable than the machine itself.
To determine if disk encryption is something you should be considering, simply ask yourself if your PC contains anything you wouldn’t want posted publically on the internet. If the answer to this is yes (and I assume for most of us it is) then encryption is worth considering.
The good news is, you no longer need to be a member of the CIA to lock down your machine with government level encryption.In fact, one of the most highly regarded and powerful encryption tools available is both free, and open source (our favorite combination!) True Crypt allows you to protect either all your data, or only what you choose. You can mask your boot drive and sensitive documents, while leaving your games or other non generic data in the clear. While no encryption process is without risk, True Crypt is designed to put your mind at ease, and takes no chances with your data. The process can be reversed at any time even without being able to boot into windows.
So if your ready to get started click the jump to learn step by step how to protect your data.
Sometimes it’s OK not to take the medal stand in the race to get a product out first. Take the case of Western Digital’s new 5,400rpm Scorpio Blue 500GB notebook drive. It’s the fourth 500GB mobile drive to hit the market, after Hitachi’s Travelstar 5K500, Fujitsu’s MHZ2 BT, and Samsung’s Spinpoint M6, but the Scorpio is, arguably, better than its competitors.
How big a deal is Intel’s entry into the solid-state-drive game? The announcement of the company’s new X-25M SSD, and a faster version for enthusiasts, all but overshadowed details of the company’s next-generation CPU at its fall developer conference.
After testing Intel’s entry-level SSD, we can understand why. The X-25M offers the fastest read speeds we’ve ever seen from a single SSD or hard drive.
How fast? The 10,000rpm Western Digital Velociraptor (reviewed September 2008) offered sustained transfer speeds of 98MB/s. The $1,500 MemoRight MR25.2-32/64S GT from our SSD roundup (November 2008) turned in read speeds of 112MB/s. The Intel X-25M hits 206MB/s read speeds.
Samsung’s 2.5-inch SSD packs 64 gigabytes of storage into an above-average package. Granted, the SLC-based drive delivers sustained read transfer rates that are slower than those of nearly all the SSDs reviewed here. But the drive makes up for this inadequacy by posting write speeds that match those of the fastest SLC-based drives in this roundup.
Our real-world experience with the drive followed suit. The Samsung SSD turned in a Premiere time of 8:43, nearly 2 minutes slower than Memoright’s GT-series 64GB SSD, but a mere 10 to 20 seconds behind the rest of the non-MLC drives we tested. The Samsung’s PCMark Vantage scores were within 4 percent of Memoright’s SSD, even though the latter crushes theSamsung by nearly 6 milliseconds in its random access write measurement.