We're starting to see a shift in how high performance SSDs are marketed. We all know that these NAND flash-based drives are ridiculously fast, but they're also ultra-pricey, which relegates them to the enthusiast market. So how do you go about plucking dollars from the wallets of mainstream users? Drop the capacity and bill these speed demons as boot drives, that's how.
Corsair got the memo on how to market SSDs to mainstream consumers, and so the company went and added a trio of new capacities to its existing Force Series SSD line. Already available in 60GB, 100GB, 120GB, 200GB, and 240GB flavors, potential buyers now have access to 40GB, 80GB, and 160GB models, with Corsair billing the 40GB unit as being "perfect for a Windows 7 boot drive."
"In our testing in the Corsair Lab, we found that the new Force Series 40GB SSD outperform competitive SSDs from Intel and Kingston by a wide margin," said John Beekley, Vice President of Technical Marketing at Corsair. "With SandForce's unique DuraWrite architecture, there is almost no performance penalty when reducing the capacity of the drive."
According to Corsair's in-house ATTO Bench32 testing, the F40 pulls in 282.6MB/s maximum reads and 270.1MB/s maximum sequential writes. Both the F80 and F160 benched 285.6MB/s maximum reads, while turning in 276.7MB/s (F80) and 275.9MB/s (F160) maximum write speeds.
These new capacities will start shipping in August for $130 (F40), $230 (F80), and $450 (F160).
OCZ is hoping its new RevoDrive will bring PCI-E based SSD storage to the masses, and given the price points, that's a real possibility.
The drive comes in both 120GB and 240GB capacities with MSRPs set at $390 and $700, respectively. Not exactly cheap, but in line with what other high-performance SSDs are going for. And unlike their SATA based brethren, the RevoDrive SSDs aren't bound by the same bottlenecks.
"The RevoDrive is the first PCIe SSD that delivers both performance and affordability and radically alters the SSD landscape," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of the OCZ Technology Group. "Up to this point PCIe SSDs have been reserved for enterprise applications and priced out of the range of many consumers, the bootable RevoDrive SSD changes the game by delivering a PCIe based solution that costs as low as $3 per gigabyte, exceptional small file write IOPS of over 80K, which is the most available in any low-cost solution."
The RevoDrive features a proprietary RAID 0 design that helps it ramp up transfer rates to up to 540MB/s read and up to 480MB/s write speeds, or nearly twice that of traditional SATA-based SSDs.
One of the big advantages of owning a solid state drive (SSD) over a mechanical hard disk drive (HDD) is that SSDs are far more durable and less prone to failure. Nevertheless, having a warranty in place gives us all kinds of warm fuzzies, so we'll give G.Skill credit for extending the warranty on its flagship Phoenix SSD series from 2 years to 3 years.
"In order to provide a better service for its customers, G.Skill has extended the warranty to 3 years for all Phoneix series SSD, including Phoenix and the latest Phoenix Pro drives," G.Skill announced. "For the consumers who have already purchased any G.Skill Phoenix series SSD, G.Skill will also provide 3 years of warranty service too."
G.Skill's Phoenix (120GB) and Phoenix Pro (240GB) are some of the highest performing SSDs on the market, at least on paper. Built around the well regarded SandForce SF-1200 controller, both drives claim read and write speeds up to 285MB/s and 275MB/s, respectively.
Until prices come down to pedestrian levels, there's only so much headway SSD vendors can make in the consumer market. That isn't the case on the enterprise side, where companies have the money to spend on pricier SSDs, and a greater need for faster performing drives.
Along those lines, we've seen a few SSDs aimed at SMBs in recent times, the most recent of which is Super Talent's new ShuttleCraft Series SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) SSD family.
"Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) is a new interface standard designed to meet the storage needs of the Enterprise market.," Super Talent said. "SAS features key benefits required by enterprise servers including: high performance, strong reliability and advanced management features. Already known for extreme reliability, Solid State Disk (SSD) technology can be improved to meet the needs of the enterprise by implementing advanced: Wear Leveling, Bad Block Management, Error Correction and Power Failure Management features. These new features are the cornerstones of our ShuttleCraft Series SAS drive products."
The new drives come in both SLC and MLC flavors, including the ShuttleCraft S60 (60GB, SLC), S120 (120GB, SLC), M120 (120GB, MLC), and M240 (240GB, MLC).
Look for the ShuttleCraft Series to start shipping in July. No word yet on price.
During a recent press meeting, the Tokyo Institute of Technology talked up details of its Tsubame 2.0 project, a next-gen supercomputer slated to start crunching numbers in the fall of 2010.
"It will be the first petaflops computer in Japan," said Satoshi Matsuoka, professor at the Global Scientific Information and Computer Center (GSIC) of the University. "And it will be the world-class supercomputer system for our university."
At full bore, Tsubame 2.0 will be capable of computing 2.39 PFLOPS, making it the second most powerful supercomputer in the world. It will also be one of the greenest supercomputers on the planet, helped in large part by 173.9TB of SSD storage.
"By using them to input and output local data (that are not shared by other nodes), the performance of the entire system can be enhanced," Matsuoka added.
Samsung sounds awfully excited about its latest SSD, a 512GB drive utilzing "toggle-mode DDR NAND" memory. It's the first SSD to do so, and according to Samsung, this is a pretty major deal. As Samsung explains it, toggle-mode DDR allows for higher performance without a subsequent increase in power consumption.
"The resulting power throttling capability enables the drive’s high-performance levels without any increase in power consumption over a 40nm-class 16Gb NAND-based 256GB SSD," Samsung said. "The controller also analyzes frequency of use and preferences of the user to automatically activate a low-power mode that can extend a notebook’s battery life for an hour or more."
Samsung's first-run SSD to employ this technology checks in with up to 250MB/s sequential read and up to 220MB/s sequential write speeds. Respectable, though not earth shattering when considering that the competition has begun cranking out high-performance SSDs with read and write speeds in the vicinity of 280MB/s.
Volume production is expected to begin next month. No price has yet been set.
If you're not up to speed on your storage form factors, here's the quick and dirty rundown. Most desktop setups come with 3.5-inch drive bays, traditional notebooks typically ship with one or two 2.5-inch drive bays, and devices like ultra-thins, netbooks, some nettops, and tablet PCs usually employ 1.8-inch bays.
Now that you've graduated Storage 101, let's move on to solid state drives (SSDs), and specifically, a pair of new models from OCZ. Put more accurately, the memory maker took two existing SSD families -- the Vertex 2 and Onyx -- and put them under a shrinking ray, much like the one used in the movie "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids," only far less powerful. The result is OCZ was able to deliver 1.8-inch versions of each drive without sacrificing any performance in the process.
"Solid State Drives provide numerous benefits to mobile users including improved performance and reliability as well as lower power consumption versus traditional hard drives," said Alex Mei, CMO of the OCZ Technology Group. "We are now introducing two new drives that are designed to cater to the entire range of mobile applications including the Vertex2 1.8-inch which delivers the same performance as our popular 2.5-inch version in a smaller form factor for customers looking to achieve maximum performance on the go, and the new Onyx 1.8-inch which is designed for consumers looking for a quality SSD that is aggressively priced and is ideal for netbooks."
In other words, these are the exact same drives, only smaller, so you can expect the same 285MBs read (Vertex 2) and 275MB/s write (Vertex 2) speeds.
Sure it's a blatant publicity stunt, but we don't care, watching boutique system builder iBuyPower chuck a laptop off the roof of a building is two parts awesome and one part informative. How so? Well, it gave iBuyPower the chance to demonstrate exactly how durable solid state drives really are (and the awesome part is self explanatory).
In a three-and-a-half minute YouTube video, reps from iBuyPower first drop a laptop from about waist high onto a carpeted floor. It was enough of a drop to kill the laptop, but not the Intel SSD, which loaded just fine from an external enclosure.
Kicking it up a notch, the duo then flung the laptop from the roof of a building, giving it a nice backspin in the process. As you might imagine, the notebook was in pretty poor shape afterward, but once again, the SSD managed to one-up gravity and load just fine
Determined to kill the SSD, the team finally took the PCB with NAND chips out of the metal casing and whacked it with a hammer several times, using both sides as if inspired by Dexter. We won't spoil the ending, but let's just say it's worth a few minutes of your time to see what happens.
If you thought your 2-year-old solid-state-drive (SSD) was fast, you may want to bury your head in the sand. The alternative is to take a peek at the ridiculous read and write speeds current-gen SSDs are hitting, such as Super Talent's new TeraDrive CT SSD series, and get hit with the upgrade bug.
Built around the SandForce 1222 controller, the TeraDrive CT series comes rated at up to 285MB/s read and up to 275MB/s write speeds, which is only half of the story. In addition to raw performance, these drives come in capacities up to 480GB (60GB, 120GB, and 240GB also available), giving you nearly 1TB of blazing fast storage should you deck out your desktop or notebook with two of Super Talent's flagship models in a RAID 0 array.
Built-in Garbage Collection and TRIM support are part of the package, as are other technologies for enhanced reliability (RAISE) and improved endurance (DuraWrite).
The new drives are available now priced at $199 (60GB), $349 (120GB), and $669 (240GB). And the 480GB? Super Talent didn't say, though we'd suspect it's around the $1,300 mark.
Few other companies are as active in the solid state drive (SSD) space as OCZ, which not only focuses on desktop consumers, but the enterprise market as well. Taking aim at the latter, OCZ has just unveiled a couple of new high-performance SSD lines, the Vertex 2 Pro and Vertex 2 EX.
Both drives come built around the latest SandForce SF-1500 controller. The Vertex 2 Pro is a multi-level cell (MLC)-based drive boasting transfer rates of up to 285MB/s read and up to 275MB/s write, while the Vertex 2 EX flavor uses single-level cell (SLC) memory and features the same speed rating. The difference, says OCZ, is that the EX has ten times the program/erase (P/E) cycles as the Pro.
"OCZ is committed to enabling our enterprise clients with the latest solid state drive technology in a variety of interfaces," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of the OCZ Technology Group. "With our new Vertex 2 EX and Pro series SSDs, we are able to deliver robust solutions that address the critical requirements of enterprise applications, including enhanced endurance, write performance, and data protection, with the option of either MLC or SLC NAND. These are truly best-in-class solutions designed for the most rigorous computing environments."
The Vertex 2 Pro and EX will both be made available in 50GB, 100GB, and 200GB capacities. No word yet on price.