Israeli startup Anobit has announced its debut product – the Genesis range of solid-state drives (SSD). It has managed to draw our attention to its SSDs because of some very lofty claims. Genesis SSDs are essentially multilevel cell (MLC) SSDs with uncharacteristically high endurance levels. According to the company's press release, Anobit's Memory Signal Processing (MSP) technology is what extends MLC endurance levels to those usually associated with SLC-based SSDs.
It is said to improve endurance levels from around 3K read/write cycles to 50K cycles, representing an improvement by a factor of 20: “This guarantees drive write endurance of ten full disk writes per day, for five years, or 7,300 TBs for a 400 GB drive, with fully random data (worst-case conditions).”
Anobit promises this mammoth leap in reliability and performance at the usual price of MLC flash.“For too long, the high prices of SLC SSDs and concerns about MLC SSD endurance have slowed the adoption of flash memory storage in the enterprise. Anobit Genesis SSDs effectively neutralize both of these concerns,” said Prof. Ehud Weinstein, Anobit CEO. “By delivering true enterprise-class SSD reliability at affordable MLC SSD prices, Anobit Genesis SSDs unlock the full promise of solid-state enterprise storage.”
The SSDs are available in 200GB and 400GB capacities, and boast sustained read rates up to 220 MB/s and sustained write rates up to 180 MB/s.
At the end of our November 2008 solid-state-drive roundup, we concluded that those NAND-flash-based drives just weren’t ready for prime time, thanks to astronomically high prices, small capacities, and flaky first-gen controllers.
Flash forward to mid-2010. Not only have newer drive controllers thoroughly washed the bad taste of the first-gen SSDs out of our mouths, but performance has shot through the roof. And the slowdowns that early SSDs experienced when writing to memory blocks where data had been deleted have been vanquished by the TRIM command. Implemented in modern SSDs as well as in Windows 7 and Linux, TRIM’s garbage-collection functionality has helped SSDs overcome one of their remaining hurdles.
Of course, there’s still the matter of price. While solid state drives have several advantages over their mechanical hard drive brethren—durability, reliability, and speed among them—they still cost a lot more. A one-terabyte mechanical hard drive costs less than $100, but a 256GB SSD can cost close to $800. Nevertheless, today’s SSDs have significantly dropped in price, and combined with the technological advances, are a much improved value. Is that enough to get your purchasing dollars? We were compelled to find out, Maximum PC–style.
If you thought your 2-year-old solid-state-drive (SSD) was fast, you may want to bury your head in the sand. The alternative is to take a peek at the ridiculous read and write speeds current-gen SSDs are hitting, such as Super Talent's new TeraDrive CT SSD series, and get hit with the upgrade bug.
Built around the SandForce 1222 controller, the TeraDrive CT series comes rated at up to 285MB/s read and up to 275MB/s write speeds, which is only half of the story. In addition to raw performance, these drives come in capacities up to 480GB (60GB, 120GB, and 240GB also available), giving you nearly 1TB of blazing fast storage should you deck out your desktop or notebook with two of Super Talent's flagship models in a RAID 0 array.
Built-in Garbage Collection and TRIM support are part of the package, as are other technologies for enhanced reliability (RAISE) and improved endurance (DuraWrite).
The new drives are available now priced at $199 (60GB), $349 (120GB), and $669 (240GB). And the 480GB? Super Talent didn't say, though we'd suspect it's around the $1,300 mark.
Few other companies are as active in the solid state drive (SSD) space as OCZ, which not only focuses on desktop consumers, but the enterprise market as well. Taking aim at the latter, OCZ has just unveiled a couple of new high-performance SSD lines, the Vertex 2 Pro and Vertex 2 EX.
Both drives come built around the latest SandForce SF-1500 controller. The Vertex 2 Pro is a multi-level cell (MLC)-based drive boasting transfer rates of up to 285MB/s read and up to 275MB/s write, while the Vertex 2 EX flavor uses single-level cell (SLC) memory and features the same speed rating. The difference, says OCZ, is that the EX has ten times the program/erase (P/E) cycles as the Pro.
"OCZ is committed to enabling our enterprise clients with the latest solid state drive technology in a variety of interfaces," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of the OCZ Technology Group. "With our new Vertex 2 EX and Pro series SSDs, we are able to deliver robust solutions that address the critical requirements of enterprise applications, including enhanced endurance, write performance, and data protection, with the option of either MLC or SLC NAND. These are truly best-in-class solutions designed for the most rigorous computing environments."
The Vertex 2 Pro and EX will both be made available in 50GB, 100GB, and 200GB capacities. No word yet on price.
Not everything at Computex is geared towards home users, there's plenty of enterprise fodder as well. OCZ is among those spreading the love to the corporate world, starting with the RevoDrive, a bootable PCI-Express based SSD designed for workstations.
High-end gamers with deep pockets will also be interested in the RevoDrive, which boasts read and write speeds that will make your SATA-based SSD crawl in a corner and assume the fetal position. We're talking about 540MB/s read speeds and 530MB/s write speeds, or about double that of performance-oriented SATA-based drives.
"Computex is always a good opportunity to showcase our latest solutions to both our clients and trade press and this year we have a complete range of solid state drive solutions that further push the envelope," commented Ryan Petersen, CEO of the OCZ Technology Group. "At the show we will be demonstrating exciting new products, including a truly affordable PCIe SSD for consumer applications, ultra reliable enterprise drives and a first look at the HSDL (High Speed Data Link) interface that delivers far superior transfer rates over traditional SATA."
According to those on-hand at the convention, the RevoDrive comes equipped with two SandForce SF-1200 controllers. There's also a connection on the middle of the card for future expansion -- purchase one RevoDrive to start with, add a second one later.
OCZ has not yet determined pricing and availability.
Memory storage maker SanDisk made some headway in the solid state drive space today by introducing two new families of SSDs, the G4 (drop in replacements for HDDs) and P4 (for use in thin netbooks and tablets). Both families are built around an advanced 32nm multi-level cell (MLC) process technology and now come in capacities of up to 128GB for the P4 and up to 256GB for the G4.
"We designed our new SSDs with long-term consumer usage in mind," said Doron Myersdorf, senior director, SSD marketing, SanDisk. "Our drives offer faster boot times and improved system responsiveness while maintaining our uncompromising reliability standards. In addition, the drives utilize our Adaptive Flash Management (AFM) technology, which enables them to bridge the gap between demanding market requirements and increasingly challenging raw NAND flash characteristics."
On paper, performance is bit of a mixed bag. Sequential read and write speeds top out at up to 220MB/s and 160MB/s, respectively. That's a bit faster than the 120MB/s write speed threshold found on the G3, but not quite up to par with a number of new SSDs built around the vaunted SandForce SF-1200/1500 controllers that have started to appear.
Nevertheless, SanDisk did equip the new drives with a handful of performance-enhancing technologies, such as a page-based algorithm called ExtremeFFS designed to increase random write speeds and efficiency, and nCache acceleration technology, which SanDisk describes as a large non-volatile write cache technology intended to boost burst random write performance for shorter boot times, as well as to help present lag.
SanDisk says the new drives will start to show up in the third quarter. Pricing will depend on how many units top tier OEMs put on order.
The problem with solid state drives is two-fold. First, they're bloody expensive, putting higher performing models out of reach of most mainstream shoppers. And secondly, SSDs don't offer a ton of storage space. It's this latter shortcoming OCZ is trying to address, and towards that end, they've gone and released some high-capacity Vertex 2 and Agility 2 SSDS, both of which are now available in 400GB and 480GB capacities.
"Solid state drives have long delivered on exceptional performance and reliability but capacity has been a barrier to adoption for some clients," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of the OCZ Technology Group. "Building on our popular Agility 2 and Vertex 2 SSD lines our new high capacity models give customers up to 480GB of storage space allowing them to enjoy all the benefits of SSDs with plenty of room for even the largest applications and files, making this the ideal solution for customers that place a premium on speed, reliability and capacity."
What this means is that if you have deep enough pockets, you could ditch your mechanical hard drive entirely. A pair of 480GB SSDs checks in at nearly 1TB, enough space to boot your OS, run your applications, and store a whole lot of data. According to OCZ, both Vertex 2 and Agility 2 400GB editions feature 250MB/s read and 240MB/s write speeds. OCZ didn't disclose performance numbers on the 480GB models, nor did the company mention a release date or price. Our guess? "Soon" and "you don't want to know."
Today's blistering fast SSDs with read and write speeds approaching 300MB/s have nothing on what's in store for tomorrow. Thanks to a breakthrough in NAND flash memory technology, a Japanese research group says 9.5GB/s SSD writes are entirely possible.
The Cliff Notes version is that the research team found a way to reduce the operating voltage to 1V, resulting in power consumption that's 86 percent lower than existing NAND flash chips, while also overcoming what are called "write disturb" problems. The lower voltage makes it possible for parallel writing to occur on up to 110 NAND chips, or nearly 7 times more than existing NAND flash memory.
The research team calls the procedure the "single-cell self-boost" method, which "turns off two cells adjacent to the unchosen cells by applying a voltage of 1V from both ends of the bit line connected to the unchosen cells so that the channel of the unchosen cells is in the state of floating," as TechON! explains it.
Wrap your head around all the technical jargon here, and then sit back and hope we see this technology manifest itself before SSDs become obsolete.
Corsair won the race to release the first SSD built around the Sandforce SF-1200 controller, and with that victory under their belt, they can now concentrate on releasing additional models. That's what they've done -- three of them, to be exact -- adding the F60 (60GB), F120 (120GB), and F240 (240GB) to the Force Series.
"We have had excellent feedback on our Force Series F100 and F200 from both reviewers and customers, and we are excited about expanding our Sandforce-based offerings," stated Jim Carlton, VP of Marketing at Corsair. "These solid-state drives are an excellent option for any enthusiast looking to build their system using the best storage system performance that is currently available."
Use of the Sandforce SF-1200 controller has paid big dividends in performance, with the new drives serving up to 258MB/s read and 275MB/s write speeds, while 4K random writes clock in at 180MB/s. All Force Series drives also support the TRIM command, and according to Corsair, even ECC data protection is improved.
We're seeing a lot of memory makers incorporate the mighty Sandforce SF-1200 controller into their SSD line for higher read and write speeds, with the latest to do so being Patriot. The company has just announced its new Inferno series, and like other Sandforce-based SSDs, performance should be the least of your concerns (save your worries for the price).
"The Inferno series of SSDs are the fastest and most exciting that Patriot has yet brought to market," states Les Henry, Vice President of Engineering at Patriot. "We have been pleased to work with SandForce to bring these enterprise level SSDs to the mainstream market at a fraction of the costs. We are very impressed with the performance numbers based on the SandForce SSD Processor. This solution fits well with our objective of offering the latest technology and best performance in our product lineup."
Available in 100GB and 200GB capacities, Patriot says its Inferno series will read data at up to 285MB/s and write files at up to 275MB/s, making them some of the fastest spec'd SSDs on the market. And to make installation easier, each Inferno drive ships with a 2.5-inch to 3.5-inch adapter, Patriot says.
Patriot didn't say anything about price or availability, but apparently they're already shipping. We found both drives on Newegg listed at $369 (100GB) and $679 (200GB).