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.
You may already be familiar with Dynamite Data through the company's Firefox plugin, which crawls through cyberspace to see if it can locate a better deal on items than the one you're viewing at, say, Newegg for example. The plugin works fast, and to ensure it always will, Dynamite Data has entered an agreement with OCZ to let the latter provide SSDs to boost server performance.
"Disk I/O is the fundamental bottleneck of any data heavy business," delcared Kristopher Kubicki, Chief Architect at Dynamite Data. "We could not scale without reductions in storage latency, and the best way to get that today is with OCZ SSDs."
Dynamite Data says it extracts more than 10,000 webpages per minute, roughly the equivalent of downloading content from 17 million webpages per day. This, the company says, causes considerable disk strain, and using conventional hard drives penalizes the process. By switching to OCZ's SSDs, Dynamite Data says it's able to deliver data processing in real-time without any lag.
Until price-per-gigabyte ratios come down to pedestrian levels, the sweet spot in solid state drives (SSDs) might be 128GB and under. More and more manufacturers are concentrating on low capacity SSDs, pitching them as affordable boot drives to improve overall performance. Enter Patriot, which just announced the availability of its Torqx TRB series.
The Torqx TRB line comes in 32GB and 64GB flavors, enough to install Linux or Windows (Windows 7 requires a minimum of 16GB in 32-bit form, or 20GB for 64-bit) and a handful of programs. These drives are built around the once-dreaded JMicron controller, though Patriot says the latest generation (JMF616) doesn't suffer the same stuttering problem as previous versions. Towards that end, the drives also include 64MB of DDR2 cache memory.
"As solid-state drive technology advances, we are able to develop SSD solutions that provide the performance users want while reaching the affordable price points they demand. Patriot’s objective is to offer the latest technology while providing the best performance and price options," states Les Henry, Vice President of Engineering at Patriot. "Our Torqx TRB family of SSDs meet these goals. Users upgrading with a Torqx TRB SSD will benefit from improved transfer rates, quicker boot times and the reliability of solid-state storage in their boot drive option. Including a Torqx SSD in your desktop or notebook upgrade plans provides one of the best bang-for-the buck improvements you can make to your system."
Patriot rates the 32GB at up to 245MB/s read and up to 60MB/s write speeds, while the 64GB checks in with up to 260MB/s read and up to 115MB/s write speeds.
Despite the supposed "immediate availability" of these drives, we didn't spot any listed at the usual online hangouts (Newegg, Amazon, and the like). Suffice to say, no word yet on price, either MSRP or street.
During the "Back to Mac" event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the new MacBook Airs represent the "future of the notebook," which many took to mean he was referring to the solid state drive (SSD) inside each one. But as far as Seagate is concerned, SSDs won't be killing off traditional hard drives in the notebook sector anytime soon.
"Obviously Steve [Jobs] sits in a position that only Steve sits in, in terms of the offering that they provide to their customers and its obviously pretty competing," Seagate CEO Steve Luczo said during a recent Q&A session. "I would say though that from what we know of the offering for example Apple, the percentage of their units that they sell with SSDs versus HDDs is a tiny fraction. I think it’s under 3 percent, certainly under 5 percent. Obviously this isn’t the first product that they’ve had. I have an Air book with an SSD unit that I’ve had for I guess a year and half now. And I think, there are certain things that are certainly very nice about it. And other things that are little bit frustrating and a little bit frustrating parts are the cost and the lack of capacity."
Luczo said he spends "a lot of time cleaning out files" in order to "make room for not a lot content." Luczo also lamented the fact that his "SSD drive takes about 25, 30 seconds to boot now versus the 12 seconds" it took when he first bought it, an issue he admits has more to do with the OS than the technology. Regardless, Seagate's hybrid HDD/SSD devices don't suffer from this same problem, he points out.
"You get basically the features and function of SSD at more like disc drive cost and capacity [with our hybrid drive]... So I think that's where mainstream notebook computing is going," Luczo said.
You'd be hard pressed to find a company more active in the solid state drive (SSD) space than OCZ, and they're about to kick things up a notch. The SSD maker on Tuesday announced the opening of a new SSD manufacturing plant in Taipei, Taiwan that will begin cranking out new drives starting October 25, 2010.
"As our SSD revenues continue to expand, we are happy to announce our new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Taipei, Taiwan," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of the OCZ Technology Group. "Our new 20,000 square foot facility was set up in response to increased demand from OEMs for our Enterprise Solid State Drive products and significantly increases our monthly SSD capacity."
The new plant will nearly triple OCZ's SSD output from 50,000 units a month to 140,000 units. That's made even more impressive when you consider OCZ was averaging 15,000 units per month for the fiscal first quarter ending May 31, 2010.
It didn't take long for memory makers to employ SandForce's brand-spanking-new SF-2000 series controller on the next generation of SSDs. First out of the gate is Mushkin, which just announced new SSDs based on the enterprise-class SF-2500 and SF-2600 processors.
SandForce's updated controllers take advantage of the SATA 6Gb/s interface, and as such, the new Mushkin drives offer up to 500MB/s read and write sequential transfers, and up to 60,000 sustained read and write IOPS. Other enterprisey features include advanced ECC with up to 55 bits correctable per 512-byte sector, and power/performance throttling..
SandForce changed the SSD game by kicking out high-end controllers without the stuttering problem that plagued early drives. Now the company is taking things to another level by announcing the availability of the SF-2000 controller with a native 6Gbps SATA host interface.
The new controller is capable of 60,000 sustained random read/write IOPS and sequential read and write speeds up to 500MB/s, all without any DRAM cache.
"Eighteen months ago, SandForce transformed the data storage industry by being the first company to demonstrate ground-breaking SSD Processor technology that enables MLC flash to be used reliably in enterprise-class SSD applications with world-class performance," said Michael Raam, President and CEO for SandForce. "We are building on the success of our first generation product now in production with multiple Enterprise OEMs by introducing the SF-2000 family that offers significant feature and performance enhancements for our rapidly expanding customer base of trusted SandForce Driven Enterprise and Industrial SSD manufacturers."
On the engineering side, the SF-2000 features support for advanced 30nm and 20nm class Flash with Asynch/ONFi2/Toggle interfaces with data rates up to 166MT/s, enhanced dual-ported SAS bridge support, TCG Enterprise security with selectable multi-banded 256/128-bit AES encryption, an advanced ECC engine, and power and performance throttling options.
It all adds up to a worthy upgrade to previous SandForce controllers, which are found on many of today's faster performing SSDs.
Intel just made upgrading to an SSD a little bit easier by offering up its Data Migration Software to all existing Intel solid state drive owners. The clone utility, which is powered by Acronis, purportedly makes easy work out of copying over your current drive's contents, including your OS and system settings, to the new SSD.
"The Intel Data Migration Software, powered by Acronis, makes the process of migrating to Intel Solid-State Drives faster and easier for both home and corporate users," said Troy Winslow, director of product marketing, Intel NAND Solutions Group. "Having a simple and accessible method to clone a user's existing drive, makes it that much easier for consumers to start experiencing the high performance of solid-state drive computing."
The utility is free, though if you get a hankering for a full-featured backup and recovery solution, Intel SSD owners have the options of upgrading to Acronis True Image Home 2011 at a discounted price ($30 versus $50).
HLDS (Hitachi-LG Data Storage) might be onto something here. The company just introduced its second generation SSD/ODD hybrid drive with SATA 6Gpbs support, giving laptop and all-in-one (AIO) owners an easy upgrade path to SSD.
"We are very excited about the potential of this ground-breaking product. Once the Hybrid Drive is loaded in all PC products, including AIO, mini PC, and notebook, a new solution will be provided for user classes who were previously unsure of purchasing an SSD. And our Hybrid Drive also enable a smaller PC footprint (under 12-inch tablet PCs such as the Ultra Mobile PC, for example) by removing the HDD or SSD from the motherboard and just having the Hybrid Drive with SSD as its primary storage," stated HLDS Chief Marketing Officer YK Park.
The beauty of a hybrid ODD/SSD is that many notebooks and nearly all netbooks ship with a single drive bay, while larger notebooks typically ship with two bays at best. That can make upgrading to an SSD a tough proposition -- do you really want to swap out your 500GB HDD for a 64GB SSD?
HLDS's second-gen Hybrid Drive sidesteps the issue by incorporating a speedy SSD into the optical drive, which can then be used independently or in tandem with the existing HDD as a hybrid SSD/HDD solution somewhat similar to Silverstone's HDD Boost.
We have to hand it to OCZ for the company's relentless march into SSD territory, which hopefully is getting us closer to mainstream price-per-gigabyte ratios. And that's really the intent behind OCZ's new Onyx 2 series, the company says.
"While we are constantly looking to push the envelope in solid state drive performance, we are also dedicated to making the technology more affordable to consumers," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ. "The new Onyx 2 series SSDs give customers the very best of both worlds when it comes to performance and value, and they are an ideal solution for mobile and desktop users that want to take advantage of all the benefits that SSDs offer over traditional rotational based drives."
Though OCZ is shooting for affordable, performance isn't exactly an afterthought. The Onyx 2 series benefits from the mighty SandForce controller that's become so popular, resulting in up to 270MB/s read and up to 265MB/s write speeds, as well as up to 10,000 random write IOPS (4k aligned). And of course TRIM support comes as part of the deal.
The 2.5-inch Onyx 2 series will be available in 120GB and 240GB capacities. Pricing has yet to be determined, so we'll reserve judgment on whether these are truly affordable or not.