Don't look know, but Toshiba's OCZ Storage Solutions division just rolled out a new flagship SATA 6Gbps solid state drive, the Vector 180. It's an "enthusiast-class" SSD that's supposed to deliver rock-solid stability and performance to high-end consumer systems. Armed with an OCZ Barefoot 3 controller and in-house Toshiba A19nm MLC NAND flash memory, the Vector 180 series is rated to read and write files sequentially at up to 550MB/s and 530MB/s, respectively.
It's been a couple of months since Mushkin first trotted out its Striker line of solid state drives. First announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this year, the Striker line drew interest for its rated speeds, which can reach up to 565MB/s for read and up to 550MB/s for write transfers. Not quite recording breaking, but certainly one of the faster spec'd SATA 6Gbps SSD lines. If you've been waiting for them to be available, your wait is over -- Mushkin's Striker line is now available to purchase online.
The first fix, issued in October, turned out to be a dud
The Samsung 840 Evo launched to some rave reviews in 2013. We gave it a “kick ass” 9 out of 10 and hailed it as “the fastest SSD we have ever tested by a sizable margin.” Unfortunately, some of that luster has since worn off, with a large number of 840 Evo owners reporting a serious decline in read performance of drives with several months’ of data on them. As for the firmware update and Performance Restoration Software that the company released in October to address the issue, they were apparently of very little help as the problem has resurfaced like a recrudescent cancer.
In the world of PC technology, there’s always a bottleneck somewhere in the platform. For years, hard disk drives were arguably the worst offenders, poking along at about 150MB/s while the rest of the PC could communicate in GB/s. The third version of SATA can truck along at up to 550MB/s, and it took some time for solid-state drives to mature and hit those speeds. Now, pretty much every SSD manufacturer can mash the gas pedal, making price a more compelling factor than performance. This is where the SanDisk Extreme Pro finds itself now: super fast… just like everyone else. How, then, do you distinguish yourself?
Memory and storage heavyweights Micron and Seagate have signed a multi-year agreement in which the two will form a "framework for combining the innovation and expertise of both companies." Or in plain English, they're going to help each other in the storage space with an initial focus on SAS solid state drives and NAND supply, and then later in the enterprise SSD space.
The world of solid-state drives has reached a state of limbo. We’re pretty much at the limit of current SATA technology, and SATA Express will be more of an evolution than a revolution. If you really need some extra horsepower, where do you turn? The new M.2 slot promises up to 40 percent faster speeds than SATA, but we haven’t seen anywhere near that yet. They’re on the right track though, since the PCI Express bus they use has a lot of spare bandwidth, if it’s not fully occupied with a video card. OCZ has known this for some time, as its new RevoDrive 350 is the latest entry to a long-running line of PCIe-based SSDs. OCZ’s new drive offers speeds of up to 1,800MB/s, which is three to four times faster than a SATA-based SSD.
Out with the old and in with the new, or in this case, MSI is anxious to bid a fond farewell to the Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) and get cooking with Non-Volatile Media Express (NVMe). To get the party started, MSI issued a round of BIOS updates for a whole bunch of motherboards based on Intel's X99, Z97, and H97 chipsets, making the company the first motherboard maker to fully support NVMe.
Apacer exec expects another free fall in SSD pricing
Solid state drives may never reach the tantalizing price-per-gigabyte ratio that mechanical hard disk drives enjoy, though that's okay, we're willing to pay a premium for performance. However, that premium might not be finished shrinking. We already saw NAND flash memory pricing take a nose dive, which in turn led to more affordable SSDs, and now we hear that the cost of SSDs could drop even lower this year.
With the US still lagging behind the rest of the developed world when it comes to the availability of high-speed Internet, there's still a lot of need for high-capacity external storage. It's also a good idea to have local system backups. A few years ago, your choices were mostly clunky 3.5-inch drive enclosures that needed external power. We've since graduated to sleek 2.5-inch units that get their juice straight from USB 3.0 cables that shuttle bits between the drive and your PC. Today, Samsung is taking it a step further with the Portable T1, which is an external SSD that can operate in the neighborhood of SATA III speeds.