Lost in the buzz surrounding the latest DirectX 11 GPUs and hexacore CPUs is the ability to actually store and retrieve your stuff. Your applications, games, photographs, digital music and everything else lives on your hard drive. But that boring old rotating magnetic disk just doesn’t seem exciting or high tech – even though the technology in a hard drive is actually pretty incredible.
We’ll first touch briefly on technology and jargon, then look at several different scenarios, and try to focus on what storage options might be appropriate and cost effective. But first, let’s talk tech. We’ll first briefly discuss hard drives, then take a quick look at SSDs.
A company called Pure Storage raised an additional $30 million in its third round of funding led by Greylock Partners, Redpoint Ventures, and Sutter Hill Ventures, with Samsung sneaking in as part of a broader strategic partnership, the company announced today. The millions in funding come as Pure Storage enters the limelight with its flagship product, the FlashArray FA-300 Series all-flash enterprise array.
Had we asked you prior to today to go on a scavenger hunt and find a 90GB solid state drive with a SATA 6Gbps interface, you would have struck out. Today's a different story. Corsair is beating its chest like King Kong over the latest additions to its Force Series 3 and Force Series GT lines, a pair of 90GB SSDs with native support for SATA 6Gbps, which Corsair claims is a world's first for that capacity.
All you Intel SSD 320 Series drive owners can stop banging your head against the wall. For one, it's bad for your brain, not to mention it's rude if you live in an apartment with neighbors. But more importantly, or at least just as important, Intel is finished testing new firmware for its problematic 320 Series drives and has made it available for download. See that, you're feeling better already.
If you've been pouting all week because Samsung announced its first SATA 6Gbps SSD line -- PM830 SSD series -- would only ship to OEMs, you can go ahead and turn that frown upside down. The drive maker today cut the ribbon on the home consumer version and said it will start shipping its new SSD 830 series in October.
Hold up a minute playa, before you go tossing that shiny Intel 320 Series SSD on Ebay with a big, bold warning about how it's a bug ridden storage device with an identity crisis, there's a fix! Intel over the weekend announced that new firmware is in the final validation testing phase and will be released within the next two weeks, if you can hang on that long.
Remember Samsung's 470 SSD series? That marked Samsung's first foray into the retail SSD market, and we rated the 256GB version a solid 8 for its competitive performance. Representing another first for Samsung, meet the PM830, the only SATA 6Gbps SSD in Samsung's stable and offered in up to 512GB of capacity.
Hitachi and Intel are fast becoming best buddies in the storage space, and why not, the two apparently play very well together. The latest effort from these two tech heavyweights is Hitachi's new Ultrastar SSD400M multi-level cell (MLC) solid state drive family. Pitched as a cost-effective alternative to those pricey single-level cell (SLC) SSDs, these new drives are built using Intel's 25nm enterprise-grade MLC NAND flash memory, Hitachi says.
SandForce has built quite a name for itself by building high-end solid state drive controllers employed in a number of enthusiast level SSDs, and the company doesn't show any signs of slowing down. After launching its second generation SF-2200 (SATA 6Gbps) and SF-2100 (SATA 3Gbps) chipsets earlier this year, SandForce says it's now prepared to demonstrate a prototype SSD built with Toshiba's 24nm multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory.
Do you go for oodles of affordable storage in your next PC build with a mechanical hard drive, or raid your son's piggy bank and splurge on an ultra-fast solid state drive? You could go with both -- SSD for the OS, HDD for storage chores -- but that's the most expensive option of all. There's somewhat of a happy medium available in Seagate's Momentus XT solid state hybrid drive, of which Seagate said it shipped 1 million units since last year. Market research firm IDC says that's just the beginning.