Finally, a 4TB hard drive. That’s one more than three!
MOST OF US DON'T NEED 4TB hard drives. Most of us don’t even need 3TB drives. Unless you create, edit, or store lots of high-definition video; have backups of all your machines; have a massive lossless audio library; or…. You know what? Maybe we do need 4TB drives. After a couple of years making do with puny 3TB drives (like animals!), it’s time to get 25 percent more stuff into our 3.5-inch drives. Though other drive makers offer 4TB external drives, Hitachi GST is the first drive maker to give you 4TB on the inside. And didn’t your mother or mother-equivalent teach you that it’s what’s on the inside that counts?
We’ve been expecting 4TB drives since Seagate’s 1TB/platter 3TB drive in the January 2012 issue, but the four-platter 4TB 7,200rpm drive we’ve been dreaming of isn’t here yet. Instead, we get Hitachi’s Deskstar 5K4000, which packs a full four terabytes into a standard 3.5-inch drive, but on five platters, not four. The platters have a maximum areal density of 443Gb per square inch. The 5K4000 has 32MB of cache, a 6Gb/s SATA controller, and a spin speed of 5,400rpm.
Remember Indilinx? The company’s Barefoot SSD controller was the first really good solid-state controller. It was one of the first controllers to offer Trim support, as well as sustained read and write speeds near 200MB/s, and it ruled the roost until SandForce’s SF-1200 controller leapt ahead of Barefoot’s capabilities. The company’s next-gen controller was delayed, and in March 2011 OCZ bought the company. It’s been nearly a year, but OCZ finally has a consumer drive with the new Indilinx Everest controller. Was it worth the wait?
The 512GB Octane drive sent to us by OCZ contains 16 256Gb 25nm Intel synchronous NAND modules, two 2Gb Micron DDR3 SDRAM cache modules (512MB total), and, of course, the Indilinx Everest controller, all in a standard 2.5-inch SSD form factor. In CrystalDiskMark, it averaged 445MB/s sustained reads (35–40MB/s slower than the SandForce drives we’ve tested) and 315MB/s sustained writes (15MB/s faster). Its single-queue-depth 4KB random writes were competitive at around 5,600 IOPS, but at QD32, it only put out 22,000 IOPS—Samsung’s 830 Series does 35,000 and the Patriot Pyro SE does over 90,000. The Octane’s maximum response time in Iometer, at 429ms, is a bit worrying, too—its competitors have max response times of around 40ms. The Octane’s video encoding performance was within seconds of the other drives, and its PCMark Vantage and PCMark 7 scores, though lower than the rest, weren’t too shabby.
Think you're having a productive Thursday? You've got nothing on the memory makers over at Corsair. It's barely past lunch time on the east coast and the company has already announced plans to drop its plans for a $78 million IPO thanks to "weak equity market conditions," and while the bigwigs were busy doing that, Corsair somehow squeezed in the time to launch its new Force Series 3 SSD notebook upgrade kits. Meanwhile, I'm barely through my second cup of coffee.
Thin is in, as it pertains to the tech world, and the current trend is towards increasingly skinny devices. Just take one look at the Ultrabook frenzy, including similar devices that don't carry Intel's official Ultrabook label, but are just as flat and portable nonetheless. Catering to this crowd of thin and light machine owners is OCZ, which is rolling out a line of low profile Vertex 3 solid state drives.
RunCore's latest solid state drive offering is an oxymoron in the tech world, or perhaps the company was being ironic when naming its new SSD line 'InVincible' when 'Impenetrable' might have been a better choice. Naming scheme aside, the neat thing about RunCore's InVincible line is that the drives feature a pair of self-destruction modes, including one that wipes out data by overwriting the entire disk -- otherwise known as zeroing out -- and one that's, um, a bit more permanent.
One of the big knocks against SSDs is that they simply don't have the same storage capacities as traditional mechanical HDDs. Well, that argument's about to fly out the window: OCZ is finally making good on its promise to deliver a 1TB SSD as part of its 2.5-inch Octane lineup.
Eight out of ten geeks agree: once you've taken an SSD's blazing fast speeds for a whirl, it's hard to go back to standard HDDs. (The last two geeks horde ripped HD video files like they're going out of style.) The problem is, the comparatively sky-high price point of SSDs have kept most folks away from their oh-so-sweet performance. New reports indicate that may change in the coming months, however, as the big movers and shakers in the SSD industry lower prices to try and squeeze out the little guys.
Remember back in the beginning of the month, when etailer leaks suggested that the low-price Intel 330 SSD was supposed to drop on Friday the 13th? Those leaks were wrong -- but only slightly. Intel took an extra weekend to put its products in place and today -- that's the 16th, not the 13th -- Chipzilla announced that the budget priced SSDs are now available. One even breaks the $100 MSRP barrier.
When is an Indilinx Everest SSD Controller not an Indilinx Everest SSD Controller? Pretty much all the time, as it turns out -- at least physically. OCZ purchased Indilinx back in 2011 and has shipped two generations of Everest-powered SSDs; the OCZ Octane sported the first gen tech, while the new OCZ Vertex 4 rocks an Indilinx Everest 2 controller. Yesterday, it came to light that both variations actually use Marvell hardware, but with Indilinx-developed custom firmware.
In a perfect world, solid state drives would cost less than mechanical hard drives. Not just the small capacity, low performance SSDs either, but the beefier drives with fast read and write transfer speeds and big IOPS. We don't live in a perfect world, of course, so we have to settle for reasonably priced high performing SSDs, like Kingston's new SandForce-driven HyperX 3K line.