Back in the summer of 2010, we awarded OCZ's Vertex 2 100GB SSD a 9-verdict and our coveted "Kick Ass!" award because of its "blazing fast" performance. We hope to see more of the same from OCZ's newly announced Vertex 3 pro SSD being showed off at CES.
OCZ says its latest MLC-based Vertex variant is built around the next generation enterprise SandForce controller. The result? Staggering performance numbers to the tune of 80,000 IOPS and 550MB/s transfer rates, according to OCZ.
OCZ also has a handful of other products on display, including the follow-up Z-Drive "R3' PCI-Express SSD, which is OCZ's first SandForce-driven PCI-E SSD for Tier-0/1 data applications, as well as the new ZX Series of power supplies with 80-Plus Gold certification. These PSUs will be available in 850W, 1KW, and 1.2KW configurations.
Micron on Wednesday introduced a new portfolio of its RealSSD line, these newest models the first to incorporate the company's 25nm NAND flash technology.
Capacities range from 64GB to 512GB and come in both the 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch form factors. All of the new drives support SATA 6Gbps, just like the previous generation RealSSD models, but these latest units are 17 percent faster than before, Micron says. Depending on capacity, drive speeds come rated at up to 415MB/s (the flagship 512GB model comes rated at up 260MB/s write speeds, a 20 percent increase over the C300).
Micron said it's currently working with notebook makers to qualify its new RealSSD drives under the C400 product name. Samples have already started shipping and the memory maker expects mass production to begin next month.
Enterprise big wigs have a new solid state drive (SSD) series to choose from, Toshiba's new MKx001GRZB family. Toshiba's latest SSDs come built on a 32nm manufacturing process and sport enterprise grade single-level cell (eSLC) NAND flash memory, whereas most desktop SSDs use multi-level cell (MLC) chips.
The new drives also boast a 6Gb/s Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interface, up to 510MB/s sustained reads, up to 230MB/s writes, and random sustained read and write IOPS of 90,000 and 17,000, respectively.
Toshiba's shipping its new SSD family in 100GB, 200GB, and 400GB capacities, each of which the company says is designed for ease of integration into new or existing tier-0 enterprise storage systems and designs, including servers, direct-attached storage, and network-attached storage.
PC enthusiasts already know the benefits SSDs bring to the table, but as it turns out, these flash-based drives are pretty awesome for consoles, too. To prove it, Beyond3d.com forum member "Phil" shoved a Corsair F120 SSD into his PlayStation 3 and fired up Gran Turismo 5 "since it allows a big chunk of the game to be copied onto the hard drive."
According to Phil's numbers, the SSD had a tremendous impact on load times, often cutting down the time spent waiting for a race to begin by half. Loading GT5 took 55 seconds with the stock hard drive, which was reduced to just 29 seconds with the SSD. Similar results were seen when loading the London track, in which the SSD cut the load time from 39.47 seconds to 19.26 seconds, as well as a handful of other tracks.
"Is it worth it? Not for me -- not for that price. Perhaps when SSDs become a cheaper, I may get one cheap one day for the PS3," Phil says. "I'm also not sure how optimized the PS3 file system is for SSD usage and how long such a drive would live. No way really to benchmark this, sadly."
Valid points, and it's worth mentioning that not all games are as hard drive heavy as GT5. Still, initial results are impressive, and we can only imagine how much better they would be if Sony (or Microsoft or Nintendo) built a console specifically designed to take advantage of SSDs.
Would you be willing to pay more for a console using SSDs, or do these gaming boxes cost enough as it is?
Until prices come down, there isn't a whole lot for solid state drive (SSD) makers to do other than flesh out their lineups with additional capacities. That's what Corsair has done (again) with its Force series, today announcing the addition of 90GB (F90) and 180GB (F180) models.
"Corsair's Force series of SSDs have become extremely popular with enthusiasts and gamers, and with these two new capacities we can offer our customers greater flexibility to choose the capacity that best suits their budget," stated Thi La, VP of Memory Products at Corsair. "The 90GB and 180GB capacities neatly fill the gaps in the current family, which now ranges from 40GB all the way to 240GB."
Built around the Sandforce SF-1200 controller, Corsair rates the latest additions at up to 285MB/s read and up to 275MB/s write speeds, with a 4K random write throughput of up to 50,000 IOPS.
Samsung wants the world to know that its new enterprise solid state drives (SSDs) with built-in hardware encryption are the shiznit, or to use plain English, they boast government grade AES 256-bit encryption.
"Faster and more secure than its predecessor, our new corporate-focused SSD is the only one with self-encryption built on TCG's Opal standard that's available on the market today," said Jim Elliot, Vice President, Memory Marketing and Product Planning, Samsung.
By Samsung's estimation, a lost or stolen notebook ends up costing a company $200 per lost record. Samsung's SSDs include always-on hardware encryption with the data encryption and user authentication taking place in the drive controller rather than being stored in software. According to Samsung, its self-encrypting SSDs also perform 2.4 times higher than an SSD with software encryption and 3.7 times higher than an HDD with software encryption.
Market research firm iSuppli is the bearer of bad news, that is if you're rooting for solid state drives (SSDs) to knock their mechanical brethren from the storage throne. According to iSuppli, even though SSDs made some inroads into a handful of influential segments, they aren't likely to replace HDDs in key storage sectors anytime soon.
By the time 2010 comes to a close, SSDs will have tripled their penetration rates in both the enterprise server and desktop markets. Sounds impressive, but even after tripling up, SSDs still will only account for 1.7 percent (enterprise) and 1.2 percent (desktop). Even among notebooks, where SSD penetration is the highest, these drives will account for 2.3 percent of the storage market.
"SSDs will continue to make inroads into these three target markets (enterprise, desktops, notebooks) from 2009 to 2014 -- each segment proceeding at its own rate, but all showing an unmistakable pattern of growth," iSuppli notes. "Yet, SSDs pose no threat at all to the dominion of HDD. While SSD shipments will reach 7.2 million units in 2010, HDD shipments will total a mammoth 662 million."
As always, the roadblock for SSDs is price. According to iSuppli, the OEM cost of a 256GB notebook SSD in October was nearly $400, compared to a 320GB notebook HDD that sells for less than $50.
"All told, iSuppli does not expect SSD to threaten HDD dominance in the overall PC, server, and storage markets within the next five years," iSuppli said.
OCZ on Tuesday announced tweaked versions of its first generation Vertex and Colossus solid state drive (SSD) series, the Vertex Plus and Colossus Plus.
While both drives still sport the Indilinx controller, OCZ said the Plus versions are "based on optimized firmware that boosts performance to new, competitive levels." OCZ didn't back that claim with very many numbers, though did say the Colossus Plus features an internal RAID 0 design capable of more than 40,000 4K random write IOPS.
"The original Vertex and Colossus series of solid state drives set the benchmark for performance and reliability, and quickly became top-selling solutions for customers seeking all the benefits of SSD technology over traditional rotational media both in mobile and desktop computing," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology Group. "The new Vertex Plus and Colossus Plus further improve on already popular products by delivering higher performance with the latest NAND technology, and make SSDs even more accessible to customers with a lower cost per gigabyte."
No word on price or availability, though OCZ did promise the new drives will over a lower cost per gigabyte than the original versions.
Slowly but surely, solid state drive (SSD) pricing continues to come down, and according to DigiTimes, Intel and A-DATA in particular have been making concerted efforts to reduce the cost of entry. In the second half of 2010, the two firms have dropped prices by about 10-15 percent.
Meanwhile, hard drive makers have been flirting with price increases for mechanical HDDs so far in the fourth quarter. As DigiTimes tells it, most of the major players -- Hitachi, Seagate, Toshiba, and Western Digital -- have reduced capacity in Q4, which so far has resulted in 4-5 percent price increases among 500GB models.
Then again, HDDs have come down in price so much in recent years that a fourth quarter bump will hardly register on the radar. Much more noticeable is what's going on in the SSD industry, with Intel having recently slashed the prices of its X25-M Generation 2 line, and even Micro Center getting in on the action with a second gen 64GB SSD built around the SandForce 1200 controller for $100.
OCZ pushed the SSD speed limit with the release of its RevoDrive PCI-E solid state drive earlier this year, and now the company looks to shift to an even higher gear with its new RevoDrive X2.
"The original OCZ RevoDrive SSD was designed to be the first high-performance, bootable PCI-E SSD solution and has become a popular choice for demanding computing applications that require faster, more reliable storage," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology. "Building on the success of the original design, we are excited to introduce the RevoDrive X2, which delivers both increased performance and capacity, making the RevoDrive X2 a viable option for a wide spectrum of applications that include professional graphic design, multimedia rendering, and workstations."
Side-stepping the SATA II bottleneck, the RevoDrive X2 plops into a PCI-E x4 slot to deliver up to 740MB/s read and writes, and up to 120,000 IOPS. Part of that is achieved by using an onboard RAID 0 design, though the X2 also employs four -- yes, FOUR-- SandForce 1200 controllers versus two in the original, OCZ says.
The RevoDrive X2 is available now in capacities ranging from 100GB to 960GB.