We were always big fans of OCZ’s Barefoot 2–powered Vertex 4 SSDs. Heck, we even ran two of them in the almighty Dream Machine 2012. If that’s not a stamp of approval, we don’t know what is. But the SSD game moves quickly, and you have to keep up or you get left behind, so this month OCZ has put the Vertex 4 out to pasture and ushered in a new drive bearing the moniker Vertex 450. Unlike the Vertex 4, which ran a Marvell-based controller with custom OCZ firmware, this bad boy is juicing via OCZ’s very own Barefoot 3 controller, which we first examined in the Kick Ass–caliber Vector SSD. The Vector is so fast that it currently sits atop the leaderboard of our SSD benchmarks, right next to the equally Kick Ass Samsung 840 Pro, and both drives are as good as it gets in the SSD world. But like Samsung, OCZ needs a drive to appeal to the common folk with a bit less cash in their PayPal accounts, so it’s done what Samsung has done with its vanilla 840 drives and released this midrange SSD with a 3-year warranty to compete at a lower price point than the Vector. These are hotly contested waters, though, so the Vertex 450 has its work cut out for it.
Note: This review was originally featured in the August 2013 issue of the magazine.
A winning package of low price and high performance
The Crucial M500 is the company’s third-generation 6Gb/s SSD, and the successor to the often-praised M4 SSD, which we named the “Best Bang for your Buck” SSD back in December 2012 due to its well-rounded package of decent performance at a great price. In our estimation, the new drive follows suit, though with much-improved write speeds and massively increased capacities at lower prices, thanks to its move to smaller-process NAND flash. Not only does it come in the standard 120GB, 240GB, and the 480GB version you see before you, but it’s also offered in a pants-tightening 1TB version at just $600, making it the only truly affordable 1TB SSD ever offered. Since the terabyte drive was not available at press time, we’re taking a look at the 480GB version, which sports the exact same specs as its big brother.
Note: This review was originally featured in the July 2013 issue of the magazine.
Toshiba on Thursday announced its new Q Series Pro line of high-performance solid state drives. These 2.5-inch drives adhere to the 7mm form factor, which means they're slim enough to fit into an Ultrabook, a point of emphasis for Toshiba. Judging by the graphs on Toshiba's website, the Q Series Pro drives feature sequential read performance of around 550MB/s and sequential write performance in the neighborhood of 500MB/s.
Team OCaholic set new PCMark 7 and PCMark Vantage world records during an overclocking event in Glattfelden, Switzerland, and the team did it with a bit of help from Samsung, which provided them with the coolest looking tree we've ever seen. Instead of branches and leaves, Samsung's tree consisted of a dozen SSD 840 Pro 256GB solid state drives (SSDs) and cable connectors tucked almost completely out of sight.
Intel recently posted a public agenda revealing that it plans to demonstrate SSD overclocking technology at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) next month, but a bunch of lucky PAX attendees got to see how it works ahead of schedule. They also got to leave their feedback at the conclusion of the demo in a survey that asked some interesting questions about what they'd be willing to sacrifice in exchange for an overclockable SSD.
Once considered a dark art that required messing with DIP switches and praying to the PC gods, overclocking in the past several years has become a mainstream and mostly safe activity. Overclocking allows you to squeeze every last ounce of performance out of your parts, whether you're talking about goosing the RAM, nudging your CPU, or coaxing your graphics card to run faster than stock. After the Intel Developer Forum (IDF), you may be able to add solid state drives (SSDs) to the list of components that can be overclocked.
Corsair today added to its ever expanding line of solid state drives with a new entry level offering, the Force LS Series. These new drives are powered by a Phison SATA 6Gbps controller, the first in Corsair's Force family of SSDs to deviate from LSI's Sandforce SF-2200 controller. They also features multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory built by Toshiba on a 19nm manufacturing process.
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. It’s time for a crash course in solid-state drive technology
Solid-state drives are taking the PC world by storm with their silent operation, blazing speeds, and ever-sinking prices, and yet you're hesitant to buy one. Maybe you're afraid of SSDs, or you don't think you know enough to make an educated purchase, or maybe a bad SSD controller took all your data down to Chinatown. Regardless of the reason for your trepidation, every horsepower junkie should be getting in on the SSD action, and to do that you need a little bit of cash and a whole lot of knowledge. Over the next several pages we will attempt to answer all of your SSD-related questions. We'll walk you through all the reasons why you need an SSD first, then break down the terminology so you can talk like an SSD badass at the next LAN party, then show you the parts of an SSD so you know how it all fits together, and we'll wrap it up with a discussion of the software you'll need to monitor and optimize your drive. Though SSDs might seem complicated with their 24nm synchronous MLC Toggle NAND flash and their AHCI-enabled SATA 6Gb/s IOPS gobbledygook, you're about to find out they are not as scary as you thought they were.
Note: This feature was originally featured in the June 2013 issue of the magazine.
The folks at Plextor are planning a special launch at the upcoming Flash Memory Summit in Santa Ana, California, next week, the company revealed to Maximum PC in an email. On tap is the unveiling of Plextor's new M6 Series solid state drive (SSD) family. It will feature the next generation of Plextor's proprietary TrueSpeed technology working in tandem with the Marvell 88SS9187 controller to deliver "enhanced performance and reliability," the company said.
It's easy to take for granted the parts that we put inside our PCs, but have you ever stopped to wonder about what's involved to build each piece? The manufacturing process of different components is rather fascinating, though for one reason or another, we rarely catch a glimpse of how it's done. Many of the factories are overseas, which presents a logistics problem for inside looks, and some companies are super secretive with their operations. However, Kingston allowed the folks at GamerNexus to take a look at how RAM and SSDs are made, and if you're a fan of technology, it's a must-read article with accompanying video.