OCZ has been pretty clear that the delays on their Vertex drives was due to the state of their firmware, and now that they appear to have that part out of the way, they’re boasting some mighty impressive numbers.
The latest version of their firmware speeds up sequential read and write performance, so much that it can keep up with Intel’s X-25E Extreme series. But, the Vertex will feature lower prices and higher capacities.
The Indilinx Barefoot SSD controller that the Vertex uses was initially specified to work at 200MB/s sequential read and 160MB/s sequential write, whereas the latest version was able to blow those old numbers out of the water, now moving at 250MB/s sequential read and 240MB/s sequential write.
Intel has recently slashed the prices on their SLC (Single Level Cell) and MLC (Multi Level Cell) SSDs. This move comes in the wake of the failing economy, but also in the interest of helping to keep their competitors, such as OCZ, at bay.
OCZ claims that their series of SSDs have continued to see delays due to firmware reliability and performance. Reportedly many customers are anxious to buy them, but it is notable that OCZ is doing their best to avoid Seagate’s firmware issues.
Intel is planning for a 128GB SLC drive and a 320GB drive using new 34nm MLC chips in late 2009. For the time being though, their price cuts are mighty significant. Their 80GB model is down fro $585 to $390, 160GB down from $945 to $765 and their 32GB is down from $575 to $415.
Many a hardware-encrypted disk has crossed the path of the consumer market lately, but they’ve universally been a questionable investment. All the encryption systems have been proprietary, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone that’s looking to store all their valuable data on a system that can’t be read in a few years down the line.
Thankfully, the Trusted Computing Group has just announced that (almost) every drive maker has agreed on 128-bit encryption for all SSDs and HDDs. The major vendors, such as Fujitsu, Hitachi, Seagate, Samsung, Toshiba, Western Digital, IBM, Wave Systems, LSI and Ulink Technology have all hopped on board.
With any luck we in the consumer market will be looking at simpler disk encryption sometime very soon.
As the NAND flash memory market slowly stabilizes in the later half of this year, it’s expected that SSDs will take over as the primary source of storage for computers industry-wide.
According to research firm DRAMeXchange, the oversupply of NAND flash chips is currently weakening the global SSD market, and is scheduled to balance out. Once this balance happens, the price gap between the HDDs we all currently know and love and the SSDs we all fantasize about and desire will close, ultimately causing a HD-to-SSD replacement cycle that was delayed thanks to the worldwide economic crisis.
Reportedly many computer manufacturers have been preparing for the transition. Many have begun to include SSDs in their laptops, but many desktops are beginning to feature them as well.
Every time Intel sets foot in the SSD market, something good seems to happen. The company's first foray resulted in one of the fastest SSDs yet available with its X-25M boasting read and write speeds of up to 250MB/s and 70MB/s respectively, and now the chip maker wants to boost capacities.
The amount of storage space most SSDs offer has typically been a weak point with the technology to this point, but according Bloomberg, Intel sent a document to its customers telling them to expect a 320GB SSD in the fourth quarter. The comparatively high capacity SSD will be one of eight new drives Intel plans to release, all of which will be built with 32nm chips.
No word yet on pricing or a specific release date, but if released today, the 320GB SSD would be the consumer market's largest capacity to date. However, Toshiba is also working on a high capacity SSD that will offer 512GB of storage and expects to ship the drive in Q2.
Add Corsair to the list of manufacturers now offering SSDs. Like many others before them, the memory maker is focusing on the mainstream market with its SSD debut, but is skipping lower capacity 32GB and 64GB models, at least for the time being, and has jumped straight to 128GB.
Corsair's also skipping the JMicron 602 controller, which is probably a good move considering the associated complaints of stuttering and poor overall performance. Instead, Corsair's S128 will use a Samsung controller and specially-selected Samsung NAND chips. Just don't expect to be blown away by its performance - the MLC-based SSD comes rated at up to 90MB/s and 70MB/s read and write speeds respectively, although Corsair says that faster drivers are in the works.
No word yet on price and availability in the U.S.,
Sometimes it’s OK not to take the medal stand in the race to get a product out first. Take the case of Western Digital’s new 5,400rpm Scorpio Blue 500GB notebook drive. It’s the fourth 500GB mobile drive to hit the market, after Hitachi’s Travelstar 5K500, Fujitsu’s MHZ2 BT, and Samsung’s Spinpoint M6, but the Scorpio is, arguably, better than its competitors.
No matter how fast or reliable solid state drives become, there will be some who will continue to scoff at the price per gigabyte ratio, particularly as SSDs breach the 256GB mark. That could change if we start to see significant capacity increases in upcoming SSDs, such as the 1TB SSD Pure Silicon was showing off at CES.
Hold your excitement, however, as there's a major rub. While a 1TB SSD sounds like a tantalizing option, pureSilicon doesn't have you, the consumer, in mind. Instead, when the Nitro drives become available in Q3 2009, they will be used for industrial applications, including military, medical, and other such uses. Drats!
Even still, if pureSilicon paves the way to 1TB, it's likely other manufacturers would soon follow. And when they do, it doesn't appear performance will have to be sacrificed to reach higher capacities. The company rates its entire Nitro line, including the 1TB model, at 240MB/s and 215MB/s sustained read and write speeds, respectively, placing it in line with higher performing consumer SSDs.
Now in its third generation of solid state drives (SSDs), SanDisk says its new G3 series qualifies as the world's fastest multi-level cell (MLC) based SSDs, equating the performance to that of a theoretical 40K RPM hard drive. That's a big claim considering that, for the most part, SSDs have thus far failed to push real-world performance boundaries.
SanDisk rates the G3 series at 200MB/s read and 140MB/s write, which the company says is five times speedier than the fastest 7,200 RPM hard drives, and twice that of SSDs shipping in 2008. On the reliability side, which is another concern when it comes to high usage Flash memory, SanDisk says its G3 series can withstand 160 terabytes written (TBW) for the 240GB version before the cells turn into read-only. By SanDisk's measurements, that translates to over a century of typical usage.