In what sounds like a simple formula for success, Dell plans to combine one good thing with another good thing for what it hopes will turn out to be a great thing. Or to be less vague, Dell, who offers both SSDs and encrypted drives, will start adding encrypted SSDs to its notebook lineup sometime this summer.
Samsung will manufacture the drives, which will come in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities to start. The self-encrypting drives will automatically encrypt data as it is being saved, "an industry first" for SSDs, according to Samsung and Wave Systems.
"Benefits of hardware encryption over today's software-only encryption approaches include faster performance, better security, and an 'always on' feature," Samsung and Wave Systems said in a statement. "Because encryption keys and access credentials are generated and stored within the drive hardware, they never leave its confines and are never held in the operating system or software."
No word yet on exactly when Dell will implement the new SSDs or at what price points.
Apple is reported to have put NAND flash supplies under considerable strain by placing an order for 100 million 8Gb NAND flash chips with Samsung Electronics.
Taiwanese website Digitimes was the first to report on the issue. Sources told Digitimes that NAND supply will remain sparse until the end of May. NAND prices are expected to continue their upward trend on the back of this huge order. This is because NAND flash chip manufacturers are not keen on increasing production.
According to Daniel Amir, an analyst with Lazard Market Capital, Apple’s gargantuan order comprises both 16Gb and 8Gb NAND flash chips. Amir believes Apple’s order for 16Gb NAND is a harbinger of 32GB iPhones being around the corner. The same analyst had reported last month that industry insiders had told him that 32GB iPhones would become available in June, 2009.
If it’s odd to see Samsung’s name on a notebook, you’ll likely get used to it. While the company had previously sold its branded notebooks only overseas, it recently entered the U.S. market with no fewer than five notebook lines, ranging from netbooks to the desktop replacement model we review here, the R610.
Actually, desktop replacement is a bit of a stretch, unless your expectations are pretty minimal. Costing little more than a grand, the R610 is better classified as a budget notebook. And on first look, you might be impressed with what can be had for so little cabbage: a 16-inch glossy screen, a large keyboard and numeric pad, three USB ports, HDMI, dedicated graphics, and a relatively sleek and lightweight design.
But just a little time using the R610 is sure to bring out the critic in any power user. Our first disappointment was with the screen’s image quality. There’s a very narrow sweet spot at which the picture looks good. Stray from that spot either vertically or horizontally and the colors fade or reverse and the contrast is diminished—qualities suggesting this is a 6-bit-color panel, and not a good one at that. The keyboard feels similarly low rent.
It seems as though everyone is looking to put a twist on their netbook lineup as of late in order to stand out from the crowd. Dell tossed a TV tuner into its Inspiron Mini 10, OCZ unveiled a DIY netbook at CeBIT, and more recently, Asus announced its first optical drive-equipped Eee PC. Not to be left behind, Samsung's upcoming N120 netbook will come with integrated 2.1 speakers, and it's available for pre-order now.
Samsung still hasn't published an official product page for the N120, but that's okay, because a handful of merchants have coughed up the core configuration. And at this point, we have the basic netbook blueprint fairly well memorized. In addition to somehow managing to cram a subwoofer into a 10.1-inch netbook, Samsung's N120, available in either black or white, will come configured with Intel's Atom N270 (1.6GHz) processor, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, a 160GB hard drive, and Windows XP.
Pre-order pricing has so far hovered in the $450 range with at least one site showing an ETA of April 14.
Today's netbooks typically ship with either Linux or Windows XP, each of which places low demands on hardware so you can focus more on basic computing tasks and less time lamenting how woefully inadequate that Atom processor is compared to your Core i7 desktop. Moving forward, Microsoft plans to release a gimped version of Windows 7 for netbooks and nettops called Starter Edition, which will limit users to running just three applications at a time. But according to Samsung, such restrictions are unnecessary.
"Currently Microsoft provides Windows XP for netbooks. For Windows 7 they would like to give us Windows 7 Starter Edition for netbooks. That's the current plan. [Different versions are a] matter of how much we need to pay to Microsoft. It is an open issue. So we can ship other Windows 7 versions, but it is a matter of royalties," said Kyu Uhm, Samsung's Head of Worldwide Sales and Marketing during an interview with TechRadar.
The pricing structure for Microsoft's upcoming operating system has not yet been announced, but it's safe to say the Starter Edition will ring in the lowest, an important factor when it comes to marketing netbooks and other low-power PCs. So even though netbooks could probably handle an uncrippled version of Windows 7 -- and according to users running the Windows 7 beta on current netbooks, performance isn't much of an issue -- OEMs might have a tough time upselling consumers on a fully functioning version of the OS if it drives the price too high.
How much more would you be willing to pay for a full version of Windows 7 on a netook? Hit the jump and sound off.
We’ll admit we’ve been perfectly content with Samsung’s SH-S203 DVD burner for more than a year. Once we were writing 4.38GB of data to a disc in five minutes flat, we were feeling pretty satisfied with the state of DVD technology. Nevertheless, we’re not about to turn our nose up at a performance increase. And that’s what Samsung’s latest DVD burner, the SH-S223, offers.
As you might have guessed from the name, the SH-S223 represents a jump from 20x to 22x DVD+/-R burn speeds. In our tests, this effectively shaved 12 seconds off the time it took to fill a single-layer DVD+R disc. The SH-S223 took 4:46 (min:sec) compared with the SH-S203’s flat 5:00. In both cases, we used 16x media, the fastest-rated media that’s readily available. And in both cases, the drives’ “over-speed” feature enabled them to burn data at higher than rated speeds. In the course of its write, the SH-S223 steadily climbed from a starting speed of 8.38x to 20.7x.
Just this week Samsung introduced two netbooks that reportedly last up to 11-hours on battery power alone – an impressive number.
The first of the new netbooks is the N110, a machine that features an Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB HDD, Intel’s GMA 950 graphics, a 1024x600 screen, and 802.11g WiFi.
Second up is the N130 (pictured), with an Intel Atom N270 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB HDD, Intel’s GMA 950 graphics processing, a 1024x600 screen and, of course, built-in WiFi.
Now, I do realize that I just repeated myself almost completely over the last two paragraphs, but other than aesthetics (and price) there’s nothing setting these two apart from one another. The N110 will cost $469 and be available during the first week of April, while the N310 is coming “in the next couple of months” for about $580.
Early solid state drives (SSDs) suffered from a number of negative characteristics preventing them from finding use in mainstream applications. These included low capacity, surprisingly poor performance, reliability concerns, and high prices. Recent advances have addressed many of these concerns, but comparatively high prices still plague SSDs. Not for long, says Samsung, who expects SSD pricing to fall in line with HDDs in the next few years as flash memory prices continue to fall.
"Flash memory in the last five years has come down 40, 50, 60 percent per year," said Brian Beard, flash marketing manageing for Samsung Semiconductor, in a phone interview with CNet. "Flash on a dollar-per-gigabyte basis will reach price parity, at some point, with hard disk drives in the next few years."
Samsung, who makes both SSDs and HDDs, points out that hard disk drives have a fixed cost for its various parts, such as $40 or $50 for the spindle, motors, PCB, and cables, and that adding capacity or making them faster really doesn't add much incremental cost to the drive. But with SSDs, which also have a fixed cost for the PCB, case, and controller, adding capacity entails adding more flash chips, which adds to the fixed cost of the drive. "For example, if the spot price of the flash chip itself is $2, a 64GB drive is going to cost $128 just for the flash and then you would add the fixed cost of the PCB an the case," Beard said.
According to Beard, the sweet spot for for SSDs this year will be 64GB moving to 128GB on the business side, and 128GB moving to 256GB on the consumer end.
Move over Western Digital and make room for Samsung with its new EcoGreen F2EG hard drive. At 1.5TB, Samsung's environmentally conscious hard drive offers high capacity while cutting back on power consumption by almost half over "competitive drives."
"Lower platter count means less power to start the motor, less power to continuously spin the motor and a lighter head-stack which takes less power to seek," said Andy Higginbotham, director of HDD sales and marketing for the Samsung Semiconductor Storage Division. “With fewer heads and disks, the F2EG hard drive has a lower probability of head-disk failures, enabling customers to build more reliable systems."
The EcoGreen F2EG hard drive serves up 500GB on each of its 3 platters. Combined with the company's EcoTriangle "low-power, low-heat, low-noise operating technology," Samsung says the F2EG reduces power consumption by 40 percent in idle mode and 45 percent in reading/writing mode.
In addition to 1.5TB, the EcoGreen series also comes in 500GB and 1TB capacities with both 16MB and 32MB cache.
The F2EG drives are shipping now to "major OEM businesses," with the 1.5TB version priced at $149 MSRP.
Think your quad-VelociRaptors in a RAID 0 array are hardcore? Try 'hardly impressive,' at least when compared to the scintillating setup Samsung put together consisting of 24 -- TWENTY FOUR -- 256GB SSDs running in RAID. The goal? To show the world how awesome SSDs are via a YouTube video.
"While one SSD gives you an amazing 220MB/s access speed, we could actually use more of them together to build something extreme," Samsung narrated in a YouTube video. "Through RAID, we could theoretically combine 24 in tandem to make the world's most power consumer computer. Now that would prove SSD awesomeness."
Even without the massive collection of SSDs, Samsung's testbed impresses with two quad-core QX9775 processors, two HD 4870 X2 videocards in a CrossFire configuration, a custom 4GB 800MHz FB-DIMM, and two 1000W power supplies. But with the SSDs hooked up, Samsung's setup is nothing short of astonishing.
After playing around with stripe sizes, Samsung managed to break 2000MB/s (2GB/s). But Samsung didn't just strut its stuff with synthetic benchmarking. The video shows all of Microsoft Office opening in just 0.5 seconds, or instantaneously. This was followed by opening up all of the system's Start menu programs (53 in all) in a mere 18 seconds. Want more? Try copying a 700MB DVD rip from one location to another in 0.8 seconds.
And yes, it can play Crysis. See for yourself right here.