Several months ago, the supreme high-end SSDs from Corsair and Samsung faced off in the Octagon known as the top of our desk area that holds drives being tested. In that blood-curdling battle (in which neither drive moved nor made a sound), the Samsung 840 Pro was victorious, vanquishing its opponent by a slim margin in a contest where zero trash talk was delivered by either storage device. This month, Round Two commences as the companies’ value-conscious SSDs clash like cars in a demolition derby by sitting quietly on a test bench while we perform benchmarks upon them. Neither of these drives is as fast as their top-tier brethren, but they are priced accordingly, and both are a damned-good value.
Note: This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of the magazine.
Savvy move by Western Digital is low risk, high reward
There will always be those who doubt or remain skeptical of the long-term reliability of solid state drives (SSDs), but at this stage of the game, they're generally viewed as a viable storage medium, even among enterprise clients. Hence Western Digital felt compelled to spend approximately $340 million in cash ($6.85 per share) acquiring Stec, a Santa Ana firm that specialize in flash memory-based solutions and the first vendor to develop SSDs for large-scale enterprise storage.
Samsung has ramped up production of what it claims is the industry's first PCI-Express solid state drive (SSD) for next generation ultra-slim notebooks. Dubbed XP941, these new drives come in the new M.2 form factor and measure just 80mm by 20mm. They weigh a scant 6g, which is about 9 times less than a standard 2.5-inch SSD, Samsung says. Though they're small and light, these drives kick out some heavy-hitting performance numbers.
Intel this week announced a new line of solid state drives for data centers and cloud computing servers. Dubbed DC S3500, the new series of SSDs are designed for read-intensive applications such as web hosting, cloud computing, and data center virtualization, the Santa Clara chip maker says. The S3500 line is also being billed as a cost-effective replacement for traditional hard drives.
SanDisk today unveiled its Extreme II SSD series, a follow-up to the original Extreme SSD that we reviewed last year (we evaluated the 240GB model). The Extreme II SSD line is supposedly faster than the original in most instances, part of which is due to the use of a select amount of single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash memory for what SanDisk describes as a "two tier caching" setup.
New SSD line gets its kicks from the Indilinx Barefoot 3 Series controller.
One thing OCZ had yet to do up to this point was deploy in-house ASIC technology on its Vertex family of solid state drives. That changes with the introduction of the Vertex 450 Series, which OCZ is marketing as a mid-range performer that sits between its value offerings and flagship Vector line. The Vertex 450 Series uses OCZ's Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 controller, essentially a newer iteration of the Barefoot controller found in the Vertex 4.
Seagate, one of the largest suppliers of hard drives in the world, announced on Tuesday a new portfolio of flash-based storage solutions. Among the portfolio of products is a new Seagate 600 Series solid state drive, the company's first client-based SSD and one that's available in multiple z-heights, including an industry first 5mm-high drive that can squeeze into ultra-thin devices and laptops alike.
Three USB hard drives: WD My Passport vs Toshiba Canvio Plus vs Adata DashDrive Elite
There are times when a USB key can’t handle the action we’re throwing at it and we need something bigger to step in and get the job done. Like a police officer calling for backup, it’s at these times that we summon a USB 3.0 hard drive. This latest batch of drives offers something for everyone, from WD’s huge 2TB jobbie to Adata’s super-thin, sexy little thang. Toshiba’s 1.5TB drive is thrown into the mix, too, for folks looking for a basic, affordable, high-capacity solution.
Note: This article was taken from the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
A quick and easy way to compare solid state drives.
The same people who brought you CPUBoss and GPUBoss have now launched a similar comparison website for solid state drives. SSDBoss.com is nearly identical in form and function to the other two sites, offering storage shoppers an easy way to compare the performance and value of different SSDs. You can also look up full spec comparisons of various drives, all under the hood of a single site.
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 in December of 2012 due to its well-rounded package of decent performance at a great price. In our estimation, the new drive fulfills the same well-rounded role, 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 pant-tightening 1TB version at just $600, making it the market's first truly affordable 1TB SSD. 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.