Earlier in the week Corsair announced the latest addition to their Storage Solutions line with a monster 256GB SSD.
The drive, which will go by the name P256, will be one of the first to use Samsung’s new multi-level cell flash chips, and Controller IC technologies. Along with this, it’ll have a 128MB cache, and Native Command Queuing support. The drive also sports a read and write speeds of up to 200MB/sec.
“The Corsair Storage Solutions P256 delivers the best computing experience of any single storage drive available today,” stated John Beekley, Corsair’s VP of Applications Engineering. “Using the P256 results in immediate and dramatic improvements in system startup and shutdown, game level loading, application startup, and many other everyday tasks. Additionally, the P256 is more durable and reliable than hard disk drives, and has been shown in the Corsair Labs to provide up to 25% longer battery life in portable computers.”
If you’re looking to pick up one of these drives today, it won’t be cheap, but you can do it for $699 over at Newegg.
We don't care one bit that PhotoFast's G-Monster-Promise SSD drive was supposed to be released last month. We're even willing to look past the reportedly obscene price tags being attached to the different sized units, because even more obscene is how freakin' fast the G-Monster claims to be. We're talking about sequential read and write speeds up to 1000MB/s, random 512KB read and write speeds not far behind, and random 4KB read and write speeds still a manageable 66MB/s and 58MB/s, respectively.
The two-slot G-Monster-Promise plugs into a PCI-E X8 slot and comes with a 256MB of ECC DDRII and 64MB x 4 SDRAM cache buffer. PhotoFast bills its new SSD as being ideal for high-end digital and video editing, as well as for a high-capacity data server. On the later front, the G-Monster is being offered in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and even 1TB capacities.
Back to the issue of cost. As expected, these drives won't be cheap, and if rumored pricing holds true, look for a starting price of $1,600, with the 1TB drive commanding $4,500. But did we mention 1000MB/s read and write speeds?
There's fast, and then there's stupid-fast, and a new hybrid SSD drive will fall into the latter category if it can live up to the speed claims being put out by its manufacturer, who says a single DDRDrive X1 can hit a staggering 300,000 IOPS.
The new drive combines 4GB of DDR memory for high-speed operation along with 4GB of NAND flash memory for backup duties. By doing so, the manufacturer claims a full 4GB backup will take no longer than 60 seconds. Equally impressive, the drive scales at a 1:1 ratio with multiple drives, making it theoretically possible to backup 32GB, 64GB, or even 128GB in 60 seconds with the appropriate configuration.
DDRDrive CTO Christopher George says the hybrid drive was designed with a maximum IOPS performance in mind, and according to the X1's spec sheet, it offers 512B reads and writes up to 300,000+ and 200,000+ IOPS, respectively, and 4KB reads and writes up to 50,000+ and 35,000+ IOPS, respectively. By comparison, Intel's fastest SSDs offering 35,000 IOPS in 4KB read and 3,300 IPOS in 4KB writes.
Less impressive is the DDRDrive X1's read and write transfer rates, which is bound by its PCI-E Gen 1 interface and checks in around 250MB/s (read) and 155MB/s (write).
RipNAS this week announced two new storage devices, the Statement SSD and Statement HDD. Both come capable of ripping CDs, leading the company to claim the former as the "world's first Solid State Drive Ripping NAS." And as far as we know, they're right.
The aptly named Statement series also challenges traditional NAS design in aesthetics. Instead of a bulky box, RipNAS chose a svelte silver enclosure that would fit right in with a home theater setup. Combined with its media streaming capabilities and dead silent operation (SSD version), RipNAS might be on to something.
On the hardware front, both boxes come an Intel Atom dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and four USB 2.0 ports. The SSD version will come configured with 500GB (2x250GB), and 3TB (2x1.5TB) of storage in the HDD version.
There are backup solutions, and then there's the Phoenix System built by Axxana. The company's tagline reads, "Built to Last," and boy do they mean it. After all, the backup box claims to be able to withstand power failures, earthquakes, terror attacks, fires, flood, and all kinds of nasty weather.
On the inside, Axxana's Phoenx holds anywhere from 72GB to 300GB of data via removable flash media. System performance checks in at up to 200MB/s data transfers, up to 17,000 IOOPs, and protection for up to 4,096 independent volumes. But the 'how much' and 'how fast' serves as only a footnote to the Phoenix's real strength, which is its ability to withstand nearly ever conceivable catastrophe.
According to Axxana, the rugged 436-pound, 38in (H) x 27in (W) x 48in (H) box can survive up to 2000¼ F for up to an hour, after which time it can still withstand 482¼ F for 6 more hours. It can also emerge unscathed following a 40G shock, having 5000 pounds of weight come crashing down on it, or being submerged in 30 feet of water pressure.
Actually getting to your data in the event of a disaster might be the hardest part, so Axxana also outfitted the Phoenix with 3G and WiFi antennas for remote access, with the battery providing up to 6 hours of 3G transfer.
When solid state drives (SSDs) first made a push into the mainstream market last earlier this year, less than stellar benchmark results and buggy controllers did little to convince users it worth paying a premium for flash-based drives over less expensive and much larger (in capacity) hard drives. But the latest round of SSDs have picked up their game, such as OCZ's refreshed Vertex line, the Vertex EX.
"The new OCZ Vertex EX is designed to deliver unparalleled performance and reliability, featuring the latest-generation architecture and SATA interface utilizing single-level cell NAND flash memory for unmatched overall system responsiveness and stability for enterprise grade server solutions," said Alex Mei, CMO of the OCZ Technology Group.
But forget about enterprise grade server solutions - the Vertex EX looks to be a killer storage option for high end desktops, at least on paper. Available in 60GB and 120GB capacities, the new drives boast an impressive 260MB/s read, 210MB/s write (200MB/s for the 60GB), and up to 100MB/s sustained write. Like the previous Vertex drives, the new EX refresh also comes with 64MB of onboard cache and support RAID configurations.
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.
Engineers working together from Fusion-io and Hewlett Packard were able to achieve about 1 million IOPS (input/output per second) and 8GB/s sustained throughput in a custom-built HP ProLiant DL785 G5 server with four quad-core AMD Opteron processors. To reach the high level of IOPS, the server included five 320GB ioDrive Duos and six 160GB ioDrives.
"The ioDrive and ioDrive Duo are to supply the extreme storage performance (for data centers) at a fraction of the power, cooling, and per unit-of-processing-power price compared to traditional solutions," said David Flynn, chief technology officer of Fusion-io, in a statement.
The ioDrive and ioDrive Duos used consist of single level cell (SLC) flash memory and come rated for 48 years with the company's wear leveling algorithm. Both drives also utilize the PCI-E interface.
Noticeably absent from the momentous solid state drive (SSD) market is Western Digital, whose Raptor hard drives have often been used as a performance comparison when benchmarking the fastest SSDs. Following a $65 million cash acquisition of SiliconSystems, a supplier of SSDs for the embedded systems market, look for Western Digital to soon jump into the foray.
"We are delighted to have the SiliconSystems team join WD," said John Coyne, president and CEO of WD. "The combination will be modestly accretive to revenue and margins as a result of SiliconSystems' existing position as a trusted supplier to the well-established $400 million market for embedded solid-state drives. SiliconSystems' intellectual property and technical expertise will significantly accelerate WD's solid-state drive development programs for the netbook, client and enterprise markets, providing greater choice for our customers to satisfy all their storage requirements."
Western Digital says it has immediately begun integrating its acquisition, starting with SiliconSystems now becoming known as the WD Solid-State Storage business unit.
In a related Q&A regarding the acquisition, WD says it plans to "retain substantially all of the approximately 100 employees" working for SiliconSystems. However, WD was more coy when it came to offering an ETA for marketing SSDs, saying that it only announces new products when they begin shipping.
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.