Back in the summer of 2010, we awarded OCZ's Vertex 2 100GB SSD a 9-verdict and our coveted "Kick Ass!" award because of its "blazing fast" performance. We hope to see more of the same from OCZ's newly announced Vertex 3 pro SSD being showed off at CES.
OCZ says its latest MLC-based Vertex variant is built around the next generation enterprise SandForce controller. The result? Staggering performance numbers to the tune of 80,000 IOPS and 550MB/s transfer rates, according to OCZ.
OCZ also has a handful of other products on display, including the follow-up Z-Drive "R3' PCI-Express SSD, which is OCZ's first SandForce-driven PCI-E SSD for Tier-0/1 data applications, as well as the new ZX Series of power supplies with 80-Plus Gold certification. These PSUs will be available in 850W, 1KW, and 1.2KW configurations.
Micron on Wednesday introduced a new portfolio of its RealSSD line, these newest models the first to incorporate the company's 25nm NAND flash technology.
Capacities range from 64GB to 512GB and come in both the 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch form factors. All of the new drives support SATA 6Gbps, just like the previous generation RealSSD models, but these latest units are 17 percent faster than before, Micron says. Depending on capacity, drive speeds come rated at up to 415MB/s (the flagship 512GB model comes rated at up 260MB/s write speeds, a 20 percent increase over the C300).
Micron said it's currently working with notebook makers to qualify its new RealSSD drives under the C400 product name. Samples have already started shipping and the memory maker expects mass production to begin next month.
Marvell will soon be launching the 88SE9130 6GB/s SATA Controller, a new drive controller that uses its propriety HyperDuo technology to combine an HDD and SSD into a single logical unit, the company said Monday. The SSD-HDD hybrid is apparently much faster than spinning drives as the SSD effectively functions as a cache for the hard drive.
Simply put, this technology works by using the SSD for caching the most frequently used data while keeping the less active data on the hard drive. But to the user the hybrid storage solution always appears as a single volume. This technique of automatically moving data between different storage types based on its frequency of use is called automated tiering and widely used in the enterprise market.
Mobos and add-on cards bearing the 88SE9130 6GB/s SATA Controller are expected to hit the market some time during the first half of 2011.
Enterprise big wigs have a new solid state drive (SSD) series to choose from, Toshiba's new MKx001GRZB family. Toshiba's latest SSDs come built on a 32nm manufacturing process and sport enterprise grade single-level cell (eSLC) NAND flash memory, whereas most desktop SSDs use multi-level cell (MLC) chips.
The new drives also boast a 6Gb/s Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interface, up to 510MB/s sustained reads, up to 230MB/s writes, and random sustained read and write IOPS of 90,000 and 17,000, respectively.
Toshiba's shipping its new SSD family in 100GB, 200GB, and 400GB capacities, each of which the company says is designed for ease of integration into new or existing tier-0 enterprise storage systems and designs, including servers, direct-attached storage, and network-attached storage.
PC enthusiasts already know the benefits SSDs bring to the table, but as it turns out, these flash-based drives are pretty awesome for consoles, too. To prove it, Beyond3d.com forum member "Phil" shoved a Corsair F120 SSD into his PlayStation 3 and fired up Gran Turismo 5 "since it allows a big chunk of the game to be copied onto the hard drive."
According to Phil's numbers, the SSD had a tremendous impact on load times, often cutting down the time spent waiting for a race to begin by half. Loading GT5 took 55 seconds with the stock hard drive, which was reduced to just 29 seconds with the SSD. Similar results were seen when loading the London track, in which the SSD cut the load time from 39.47 seconds to 19.26 seconds, as well as a handful of other tracks.
"Is it worth it? Not for me -- not for that price. Perhaps when SSDs become a cheaper, I may get one cheap one day for the PS3," Phil says. "I'm also not sure how optimized the PS3 file system is for SSD usage and how long such a drive would live. No way really to benchmark this, sadly."
Valid points, and it's worth mentioning that not all games are as hard drive heavy as GT5. Still, initial results are impressive, and we can only imagine how much better they would be if Sony (or Microsoft or Nintendo) built a console specifically designed to take advantage of SSDs.
Would you be willing to pay more for a console using SSDs, or do these gaming boxes cost enough as it is?
Until prices come down, there isn't a whole lot for solid state drive (SSD) makers to do other than flesh out their lineups with additional capacities. That's what Corsair has done (again) with its Force series, today announcing the addition of 90GB (F90) and 180GB (F180) models.
"Corsair's Force series of SSDs have become extremely popular with enthusiasts and gamers, and with these two new capacities we can offer our customers greater flexibility to choose the capacity that best suits their budget," stated Thi La, VP of Memory Products at Corsair. "The 90GB and 180GB capacities neatly fill the gaps in the current family, which now ranges from 40GB all the way to 240GB."
Built around the Sandforce SF-1200 controller, Corsair rates the latest additions at up to 285MB/s read and up to 275MB/s write speeds, with a 4K random write throughput of up to 50,000 IOPS.
Samsung wants the world to know that its new enterprise solid state drives (SSDs) with built-in hardware encryption are the shiznit, or to use plain English, they boast government grade AES 256-bit encryption.
"Faster and more secure than its predecessor, our new corporate-focused SSD is the only one with self-encryption built on TCG's Opal standard that's available on the market today," said Jim Elliot, Vice President, Memory Marketing and Product Planning, Samsung.
By Samsung's estimation, a lost or stolen notebook ends up costing a company $200 per lost record. Samsung's SSDs include always-on hardware encryption with the data encryption and user authentication taking place in the drive controller rather than being stored in software. According to Samsung, its self-encrypting SSDs also perform 2.4 times higher than an SSD with software encryption and 3.7 times higher than an HDD with software encryption.
Kingston has announced the launch of its first USB 3.0-certified external solid-state drive. According to the company, the drive is aimed at PC enthusiasts, prosumers and professionals. And just to make sure that there is no doubt about the target demographic Kingston has lent the famous HyperX badge to the drive. When paired with a USB 3.0 compatible device, the HyperX Max External USB 3.0 drive is capable of a read speed of up to 195MB/s and a write speed of up to 160MB/s. The company will begin selling the drive in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB capacities in December. However, it hasn’t disclosed any prices.
"The HyperX MAX 3.0 External USB 3.0 Drive follows the tradition of Kingston's HyperX enthusiast DRAM family providing users with premium quality and extreme performance," said Andrew Ewing, USB product manager, Kingston®. "In addition to portability and speed, users will be pleased with the durability of this drive. Its Flash memory-based architecture is designed for the rigors of mobile use."
Market research firm iSuppli is the bearer of bad news, that is if you're rooting for solid state drives (SSDs) to knock their mechanical brethren from the storage throne. According to iSuppli, even though SSDs made some inroads into a handful of influential segments, they aren't likely to replace HDDs in key storage sectors anytime soon.
By the time 2010 comes to a close, SSDs will have tripled their penetration rates in both the enterprise server and desktop markets. Sounds impressive, but even after tripling up, SSDs still will only account for 1.7 percent (enterprise) and 1.2 percent (desktop). Even among notebooks, where SSD penetration is the highest, these drives will account for 2.3 percent of the storage market.
"SSDs will continue to make inroads into these three target markets (enterprise, desktops, notebooks) from 2009 to 2014 -- each segment proceeding at its own rate, but all showing an unmistakable pattern of growth," iSuppli notes. "Yet, SSDs pose no threat at all to the dominion of HDD. While SSD shipments will reach 7.2 million units in 2010, HDD shipments will total a mammoth 662 million."
As always, the roadblock for SSDs is price. According to iSuppli, the OEM cost of a 256GB notebook SSD in October was nearly $400, compared to a 320GB notebook HDD that sells for less than $50.
"All told, iSuppli does not expect SSD to threaten HDD dominance in the overall PC, server, and storage markets within the next five years," iSuppli said.
Slowly but surely, solid state drive (SSD) pricing continues to come down, and according to DigiTimes, Intel and A-DATA in particular have been making concerted efforts to reduce the cost of entry. In the second half of 2010, the two firms have dropped prices by about 10-15 percent.
Meanwhile, hard drive makers have been flirting with price increases for mechanical HDDs so far in the fourth quarter. As DigiTimes tells it, most of the major players -- Hitachi, Seagate, Toshiba, and Western Digital -- have reduced capacity in Q4, which so far has resulted in 4-5 percent price increases among 500GB models.
Then again, HDDs have come down in price so much in recent years that a fourth quarter bump will hardly register on the radar. Much more noticeable is what's going on in the SSD industry, with Intel having recently slashed the prices of its X25-M Generation 2 line, and even Micro Center getting in on the action with a second gen 64GB SSD built around the SandForce 1200 controller for $100.