The last time we saw the SanDisk Extreme SSD it wasn’t exactly “extreme.” It was a fine drive and all, and we awarded it a “what a nice boy” verdict of 8 because it was decent, but it didn’t blow off our anti-static leashes or anything. The problem was it was a “me, too” SSD, using 24nm toggle NAND and an LSI SandForce SF-2281 controller, which was all the rage in the ancient SSD era of 2012. Times have changed though, and SandForce isn’t the only game in town anymore. SSD manufacturers are now trying to separate themselves from the pack of wannabes by going with different combinations of controllers and NAND flash, and that’s the tactic SanDisk has employed this time around by changing both the NAND flash and the controller, making the Extreme II SSD an all-new drive.
Note: This review was originally featured in the September 2013 issue of the magazine.
You may recall that several years back, OCZ gave up its DRAM memory business so that it could focus more of its attention on solid state drives (SSDs). Since then, OCZ has launched several different models, though no other SATA III SSD line in the company's portfolio is rated as fast as its newly announced Vector 150 Series. The latest 19nm NAND flash process geometry and an in-house controller design are what power these new drives.
A winning package of low price and high performance
The Crucial M500 is the company’s third-generation 6Gb/s SSD, and the successor to the often-praised M4 SSD, which we named the “Best Bang for your Buck” SSD back in December 2012 due to its well-rounded package of decent performance at a great price. In our estimation, the new drive follows suit, though with much-improved write speeds and massively increased capacities at lower prices, thanks to its move to smaller-process NAND flash. Not only does it come in the standard 120GB, 240GB, and the 480GB version you see before you, but it’s also offered in a pants-tightening 1TB version at just $600, making it the only truly affordable 1TB SSD ever offered. Since the terabyte drive was not available at press time, we’re taking a look at the 480GB version, which sports the exact same specs as its big brother.
Note: This review was originally featured in the July 2013 issue of the magazine.
Toshiba on Thursday announced its new Q Series Pro line of high-performance solid state drives. These 2.5-inch drives adhere to the 7mm form factor, which means they're slim enough to fit into an Ultrabook, a point of emphasis for Toshiba. Judging by the graphs on Toshiba's website, the Q Series Pro drives feature sequential read performance of around 550MB/s and sequential write performance in the neighborhood of 500MB/s.
Team OCaholic set new PCMark 7 and PCMark Vantage world records during an overclocking event in Glattfelden, Switzerland, and the team did it with a bit of help from Samsung, which provided them with the coolest looking tree we've ever seen. Instead of branches and leaves, Samsung's tree consisted of a dozen SSD 840 Pro 256GB solid state drives (SSDs) and cable connectors tucked almost completely out of sight.
Intel recently posted a public agenda revealing that it plans to demonstrate SSD overclocking technology at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) next month, but a bunch of lucky PAX attendees got to see how it works ahead of schedule. They also got to leave their feedback at the conclusion of the demo in a survey that asked some interesting questions about what they'd be willing to sacrifice in exchange for an overclockable SSD.
Once considered a dark art that required messing with DIP switches and praying to the PC gods, overclocking in the past several years has become a mainstream and mostly safe activity. Overclocking allows you to squeeze every last ounce of performance out of your parts, whether you're talking about goosing the RAM, nudging your CPU, or coaxing your graphics card to run faster than stock. After the Intel Developer Forum (IDF), you may be able to add solid state drives (SSDs) to the list of components that can be overclocked.
Corsair today added to its ever expanding line of solid state drives with a new entry level offering, the Force LS Series. These new drives are powered by a Phison SATA 6Gbps controller, the first in Corsair's Force family of SSDs to deviate from LSI's Sandforce SF-2200 controller. They also features multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory built by Toshiba on a 19nm manufacturing process.
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. It’s time for a crash course in solid-state drive technology
Solid-state drives are taking the PC world by storm with their silent operation, blazing speeds, and ever-sinking prices, and yet you're hesitant to buy one. Maybe you're afraid of SSDs, or you don't think you know enough to make an educated purchase, or maybe a bad SSD controller took all your data down to Chinatown. Regardless of the reason for your trepidation, every horsepower junkie should be getting in on the SSD action, and to do that you need a little bit of cash and a whole lot of knowledge. Over the next several pages we will attempt to answer all of your SSD-related questions. We'll walk you through all the reasons why you need an SSD first, then break down the terminology so you can talk like an SSD badass at the next LAN party, then show you the parts of an SSD so you know how it all fits together, and we'll wrap it up with a discussion of the software you'll need to monitor and optimize your drive. Though SSDs might seem complicated with their 24nm synchronous MLC Toggle NAND flash and their AHCI-enabled SATA 6Gb/s IOPS gobbledygook, you're about to find out they are not as scary as you thought they were.
Note: This feature was originally featured in the June 2013 issue of the magazine.
The folks at Plextor are planning a special launch at the upcoming Flash Memory Summit in Santa Ana, California, next week, the company revealed to Maximum PC in an email. On tap is the unveiling of Plextor's new M6 Series solid state drive (SSD) family. It will feature the next generation of Plextor's proprietary TrueSpeed technology working in tandem with the Marvell 88SS9187 controller to deliver "enhanced performance and reliability," the company said.