Honey, SanDisk shrunk the SSD. How small, you ask? The memory card maker's new 64GB SSD is smaller than a postage stamp and weighs less than a paper clip, SanDisk claims.
This isn't a standard SSD that you'd pop into your desktop or notebook, but an integrated SSD (iSSD) designed for embedded applications. Capacities range from 4GB to 64GB, with the 64GB variant ranking as the world's smallest at that capacity.
"The new category of embedded SSDs should enable OEMs to produce tablets and notebooks with an unprecedented combination of thin, lightweight form factors and fast performance," said Doron Myersdorf, senior director, SSD marketing, SanDisk. "With our embedded flash storage leadership, SanDisk believes it is uniquely positioned to deliver the ultra compact SSD solutions needed by OEMs."
These tiny iSSDs offer 160MB/s sequential read and 100MB/s sequential write speeds, so they're not going to break any SSD speed records, but as SanDisk points out, the real benefit here is in portability.
SanDisk has already started sampling iSSDs to OEMs and expects top-tier manufacturers to follow.
Not one, but TWO Intel roadmaps recently fell off a truck and somehow managed to land on the Web, giving curious tech junkies a peek into what the Santa Clara chip maker has in store for 2011.
One of the roadmaps lists no less than 19 upcoming notebook and desktop processors, including a handful of "very low-power" parts with a 35W TDP. These 19 chips run the gamut from dual-core 2.5GHz parts (3.2GHz Turbo) to quad-core 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) CPUs, including one with an unlocked multiplier (core i7 2600K).
Also on tap from Intel are several new SSDs. Budget buyers will have new X25-E drives to choose from with capacities of up to 400GB, while the X-25M line will get a boost to 600GB.
We’ve seen a few USB 3.0 external drives here at Maximum PC, and we do appreciate the long-overdue speed boost. It’s nice to have file transfers limited by drive speed again, rather than the interface—the 33MB/s maximum was killing us. And while we appreciated the boost we got from USB 3.0 in WD’s My Book 3.0 and the Vantec NexStar 3 SuperSpeed enclosure, the former was only as fast as the mechanical drive within it and the latter couldn’t even match the speeds of the drives it enclosed.
It’s great to have a USB 3.0 interface on a mechanical drive, but wouldn’t it be nice to combine USB 3.0 with SSD? With a theoretical bandwidth limit exceeding 5Gb/s, why wouldn’t you? Thankfully, OCZ did. The Enyo is a compact anodized aluminum brick stuffed with MLC NAND and a USB 3.0 SuperSpeed port.
Built for performance, these MLC-based drives boast up to 285MB/s read and up to 275MB/s write speeds, as well as an obscene 24K IOPS (write) at 4K file sizes. In other words, these little fireballs are fast, which is starting to become standard fare for SSDs built around the SandForce SF-1200 controller.
"The Inferno series of SSDs are the fastest and most exciting that Patriot has yet brought to the market," states Les Henry, Vice President of Engineering at Patriot. "Our Inferno series has been well received and reviewed. We are excited to expand the product family with the introduction of the new larger capacity Inferno drives as well as the new 60GB capacity option. With the addition of the 60GB capacity drive, enthusiasts can enjoy the blistering performance of the Inferno SSD at a more affordable price point making it ideal as a boot drive in a high performance system."
For those who plan to do that, all Inferno series SSDs ship with a 2.5-inch to 3.5-inch adapter plate. No word yet on price or availability.
It’s about damn time. 6Gb/s SATA is old news now. It’s been half a year since we saw the first 6Gb/s SATA–enabled hard drive, and it was a frickin’ mechanical drive. Talk about unnecessary. Solid state drives, on the other hand, have been bumping at the ceiling of 3Gb/s SATA’s available bandwidth for a while now. So why not slap a 6Gb/s SATA controller on a solid state drive? Duh. Crucial, apparently alone among flash memory vendors, heard the call. Thus, the Crucial C300, a 6Gb/s SATA–enabled SSD that comes in 128GB and 256GB flavors.
But does the C300 actually benefit from a 6Gb/s SATA connection? Yes and no. In sequential read tests, it blows every other drive out of the water, with a maximum sequential read speed of 317MB/s and an average read of over 300MB/s! That’s more than 50 percent faster than the SandForce-based drives, like OCZ’s Vertex 2, that comprise our favorite SSDs and typically top out at around 200MB/s read speeds. On a standard 3Gb/s connection, the C300’s read speeds were a still-impressive 222MB/s—about the same as a Barefoot Indilinx-based drive, like the Patriot Torqx or Corsair Nova.
We're starting to see a shift in how high performance SSDs are marketed. We all know that these NAND flash-based drives are ridiculously fast, but they're also ultra-pricey, which relegates them to the enthusiast market. So how do you go about plucking dollars from the wallets of mainstream users? Drop the capacity and bill these speed demons as boot drives, that's how.
Corsair got the memo on how to market SSDs to mainstream consumers, and so the company went and added a trio of new capacities to its existing Force Series SSD line. Already available in 60GB, 100GB, 120GB, 200GB, and 240GB flavors, potential buyers now have access to 40GB, 80GB, and 160GB models, with Corsair billing the 40GB unit as being "perfect for a Windows 7 boot drive."
"In our testing in the Corsair Lab, we found that the new Force Series 40GB SSD outperform competitive SSDs from Intel and Kingston by a wide margin," said John Beekley, Vice President of Technical Marketing at Corsair. "With SandForce's unique DuraWrite architecture, there is almost no performance penalty when reducing the capacity of the drive."
According to Corsair's in-house ATTO Bench32 testing, the F40 pulls in 282.6MB/s maximum reads and 270.1MB/s maximum sequential writes. Both the F80 and F160 benched 285.6MB/s maximum reads, while turning in 276.7MB/s (F80) and 275.9MB/s (F160) maximum write speeds.
These new capacities will start shipping in August for $130 (F40), $230 (F80), and $450 (F160).
It seems like just yesterday that we said farewell to our June 2010 issue and with it our second-ever solid state drive roundup. But no sooner had we shipped that issue to the printers than a new pile of tasty solid state drives landed on our doorstep. This month, the OCZ Vertex 2 (the sequel to that “limited edition” drive from June) bumps heads with another SandForce drive—Corsair’s Force F100—as well as the Patriot Zephyr, which uses JMicron’s new JMF612 controller. The SandForce SF-1200 controller seems to be replacing Barefoot’s Indilinx as the go-to performance chipset, but what about JMicron? Its JM602 controller was largely responsible for the poor write performance of first-gen SSDs, so can the JMF612 wash that bitter taste out of our mouths? You can bet your second-favorite platypus that we’ll find out. Don’t bet your favorite platypus; that’s just irresponsible.
Man, we are all about SandForce these days. The controller company burst out of stealth mode early this year, and proceeded to rock our socks with every drive that uses its SF-1200 firmware. The Corsair Force F100, like all drives of its ilk, relies on commodity NAND and the rock-solid SandForce SF-1200 controller, which eschews DRAM cache entirely in favor of not sucking. And though it doesn’t reach the unprecedented reads and writes offered by the OCZ Vertex 2 and its custom firmware, the Force F100 performs on par with the next best drives out there, which all happen to be SandForce-powered.
The JMicron JM602 controller, paired with insufficient cache, hobbled the first generation of consumer SSDs—once the cache filled, write speeds slowed to a crawl. Random-write latencies could get as bad as a fifth of a second (compared to .1ms for most modern SSDs), pulling average sustained writes down as low as 20MB/s in some cases. Manufacturers responded by adding more cache or by building future generations of drives on different controllers, such as the Barefoot Indilinx part. Since then, JMicron has been pretty quiet, but now Patriot’s Zephyr line has arrived, powered by JMicron’s new JMF612 SATA controller. Is this new effort enough to the put JMicron into our good graces?
In June, we tested OCZ’s Vertex Limited Edition, one of two drives we had that used the SandForce SF-1200 controller. At the time, we wondered why OCZ would artificially limit supplies of an SSD with such great performance. And now we know: It was a trial run to help SandForce, a recent startup, gain capital to scale up production. It’s since done that, and in gratitude to OCZ has granted the company exclusive random-write-IOPS-boosting firmware for its Vertex 2 drives. The new firmware will be available to other SF-1200 drives (probably by the time this issue hits stands)—but as of press time, it’s an OCZ Vertex 2 exclusive deal. Ethics of “exclusive firmware” aside, is the Vertex 2 any better than its Limited Edition stable mate?