Covering both ends of the solid state drive (SSD) spectrum, Corsair today announced the addition of two new drives to its Nova Series SSDs in 32GB and 256GB form.
The 32GB model is now the lowest capacity Nova drive Corsair carries. Read and write speeds check in at 195MB/s and 75MB/s, respectively, and like the other Nova drives, the 32GB model supports the TRIM command used by Windows 7.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the 256GB model is Corsair's largest Nova SSD to date, but it's not just about capacity. The largest drive ups the performance ante with 250MB/s read and 195MB/s write speeds. Both drives sport the popular Indilinx Barefoot controller, 64MB of cache, and a SATA II interface.
Corsair didn't announce a price for either drive, but give the street prices of the 64GB and 128GB models, we expect the 32GB to check in at around $100 and the 256GB somewhere in the vicinity of $700.
G.Skill, which is primarily known for its system memory products, wants to also build a reputation for blazing fast solid state drives (SSDs), and the company's new Phoenix drive should go a long way towards that.
On paper, the MLC-based Phoenix SATA II 2.5-inch SSD has all the makings of an enthusiast grade part. The heart of the SSD consists of the increasingly popular SandForce SF-1200 controller. Combined with high-speed NAND flash memory, G.Skill says its Phoenix drive will rip through data with up to 280MB/s read and 270MB/s write speeds, positioning the SSD as one of the fastest on the market.
"In order to continually satisfy computer enthusiasts and gamers' continuing thirst for performance technology, G.Skill has worked with SandForce to integrate its latest technology that provides previously unseen performance, quality, and reliability in G.Skill's Phoenix drive," G.Skill said.
The Phoenix line will ship in 50GB, 100GB, and 200GB capacities. No word yet on price or availability.
It seemed like déjà vu to us, too—didn’t we review a Kingston SSDNow V+ as recently as December? Turns out we’re not crazy (at least in this respect); that was the first-generation SSDNow V+, built on the same Samsung controller as the Corsair P256. The second-gen SSDNow V+, by contrast, uses Toshiba’s T6UG1XBG SSD controller, which features TRIM support (for clearing deleted blocks) and has theoretical maximum reads and writes of 230MB/s and 180MB/s, respectively.
On the outside, the SSDNow V+ looks, well, like every other SSD out there. Unlike most of them, however, the second-gen SSDNow V+ comes as a Performance Upgrade Kit, which includes Acronis-based drive-cloning software, a USB external enclosure, a SATA cable, and adapter rails for 3.5-inch hard drive bays. Sure, you can get all of those things elsewhere, but it’s a thoughtful kit for the upgrader.
Here's some sobering news if you're hoping to pick up a low cost, high capacity solid state drive (SSD) any time in the near future. According to A-Data chairman Simon Chen, the SSD market won't experience robust growth for at least another two years.
NAND flash chips are at the root of problem. While the development of chip controllers have matured and TRIM support is now commonplace, NAND flash memory still costs way too much to push SSDs into the mainstream on any kind of level approaching hard drives.
Chen did note that NAND flash chip prices have come down a little bit since the fourth quarter of 2009, but not nearly enough to make an impact. Market research firm DRAMeXchange backs Chen's claims, noting that contract quotes for mainstream 16Gb (gigabit) multi-level cell (MLC) chips have stayed high at $4.06 so far this month.
Patriot on Wednesday launched a new line of SSDs built on top of the JMicron JMF612 controller. According to Patriot, you can expect "aggressive pricing and performance" from their Zephyr series.
"As solid-state drive technology advances, it is becoming more affordable, allowing SSD solutions to reach an increasing segment of end users. Patriot's objective is to offer the latest technology in our solutions which provide the best performance and price options", states Les Henry, Vice President of Engineering at Patriot. "Our Zephyr family of SSDs offer great performance, aggressive pricing and the inherent benefit of SSD technology over antiquated hard disk drives: quicker boot times and shorter application loading times. Including a Zephyr SSD in your desktop or notebook upgrade plans provides one of the best bang-for-the buck improvements you can make to your system."
That's all well and fine, but while Patriot was busy tooting its own horn, the company failed to mention exactly how much these new drives will cost. However they did release capacity and performance numbers, which breaks down as follows:
Zephyr 256GB: 240MB/s read, 180MB/s write
Zephyr 128GB, 240MB/s read, 145MB/s write
Zephyr 64GB, 240MB/s read, 85MB/s write
All three drives also ship with native support for the TRIM command in Windows 7. No word yet on when these will be available.
Come this summer, Micron will go gunning for the high-end enterprise hard drive market, but not with an HDD of its own. Instead, the company will release its SATA 3.0-based P300 SSD line, which it hopes will replace 10,000RPM and 15,000RPM HDDs.
"We think [the P300] is going to lend itself much better to this space," said Kevin Dibelius, senior product marketing manager for Micron.
In addition to pushing data through a 6Gbps interface, the upcoming SSD will also use ONFI (Open NAND Flash Interface) 2.1, which is a faster connection between the flash silicon and the SSD controller. If all this sounds familiar, it's because Micron's existing C300 series share the same specs. The P300 series, however, will use SLC (single-level cell) technology instead of the cheaper MLC (multi-level cell) technology found in the C300 series.
Pricing hasn't yet been announced, but Micron did say the P300 line will ship in 50GB, 100GB, and 200GB capacities starting in June.
There's no mistaking OCZ's new Colossus LT SSD for what it is: a desktop drive. Measuring 3.5 inches, you're not going to stuff one of these inside your notebook, not if you have any hopes of it ever working again, anyway.
"Designed to offer PC enthusiasts a best-in-class storage upgrade from traditional hard disc drives, the innovative Colossus LT Series features incredible speed and ample storage for the complete gamut of gaming, multimedia and demanding productivity applications," OCZ claims. "The Colossus delivers all the proven benefits of SSDs such as superior system responsiveness, ultra-fast data access, and greater durability, while providing the storage capacity desktop users demand."
Available in 120GB, 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB configurations, the Colossus shatters the notion that SSDs have to be short on storage. Noteworthy features include an dual-controller design, internal RAID 0, 128MB of onboard cache, background garbage collection, read and write speeds up to 260MB/s each, sustained writes up to 220MB/s, and max IOPs of 15,000 (4K random).
Street pricing starts at about $450 and goes on up to about $3,500.
Intel once blazed a trail into the high-end SSD arena with its X25 series, and while the Santa Clara chip maker's X25-E is no slouch wih read and write speeds of 250MB/s and 170MB/s, respectively, those are no longer best-in-class numbers.
Don't count Intel out, however. After completing the transition to 25nm NAND flash wafers in a joint effort with Micron, Intel is reportedly making new SSDs based on the die shrink. Codenamed Lyndonville, these upcoming SSDs are expected to run faster than anything currently in Intel's stable.
Lyndonville SSDs will use MLC-based NAND flash memory and will likely be aimed at the enterprise market. Capacities are expected to come in 100GB, 200GB, and 400GB when they launch in the first quarter of 2011, though no decision has yet been made on pricing.
It seems like every few weeks OCZ comes out with a new SSD, and this time around, the company announced two new products to its flash-based storage lineup. Both the Vertex 2 and Agility 2 target enthusiasts with high transfer rates and relatively high capacities.
"OCZ’s original Vertex Series of solid state drives have become a top seller due to the product’s exceptional performance and reliability," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology Group. "The new Vertex 2 and Agility 2 SSD lines continue that tradition by incorporating the latest controller and firmware technology. They are an excellent solution for customers who are looking for improved transfer rates and best-in-class input/output per second (IOPS) for a wide range of uses, ranging from entertainment to workstation and tier 2 storage applications. Additionally, this new product line highlights our continuing determination to be the market leader in the high reliability memory and flash-based storage market."
Both drives come rated at up to 285MB/s read and 275MB/s write speeds, and both are available in 50GB, 100GB, 200GB, and 400GB capacities. So what separates the two? According to OCZ, the higher-end Vertex 2 has been tuned for 4KB random writes up to 50,000 IOPs, while the Agility 2 boasts random writes up to 10,000 IOPS.
When this week began, Xtremesystems forum member SteveRo held the PCMark Vantage world record with a score of 30,359,. Now SteveRo sits in second place, having conceded the top spot to Corsair Labs with a record-breaking score of 32,947.
"To demonstrate just how fast our products are, we decided to go after the PCMark Vantage world record," Corsair said. "This benchmark heavily stresses the entire system, not just he CPU and GPU like the 3DMark Series. With PCMark Vantage the memory and SSDs are stressed just as much if not more than the CPU and GPU, with almost all of the individual benchmark tests taking advantage of the fast solid-state drives."
SSD performance proved key in Corsair's successful attempt at taking the performance crown. Corsair's record-breaking system included eleven Force Series F200 SSDs along with Corsair Dominator GTX2 DDR memory. Overclocking also played a heavy role, with Corsair using liquid nitrogen to cool an Intel Core i7 980X processor and pushing the frequency up to a blistering 5.79GHz.