Samsung's caching technology unlocks an insane speed boost on select SSDs
One thing we didn't cover in Samsung's earlier unveiling of a 1TB 840 Evo mSATA solid state drive (SSD) is the immediate availability of the company's Magician (version 4.3) software. This is notable because it introduces two big upgrades to Samsung's current SSD product lineup, including RAPID (Real-time Accelerated Processing of I/O Data) Mode for Samsung's 840 Pro family of SSDs, and a security features for the company's Evo SSD line. It's the RAPID Mode that really excites us, however, as it offers a significant speed boost to an already insanely fast SSD lineup.
Ultrabooks and laptops in general aren't getting any chunkier these days, and to accommodate increasingly thin profiles, mSATA form factor solid state drives (SSDs) are taking the place of 2.5-inch drives. That doesn't mean you'll need to give up storage space. Samsung today launched its 840 Evo mSATA SSD line, among which is the industry's first 1TB mSATA-based SSD, the company claims.
Imagine swapping out that 1TB mechanical hard drive that's been making grinding noises with a 2GB solid state drive. Talk about an upgrade! If your pockets are stuffed with enough cash and you can justify spending what's likely to be a small fortune on a 2TB SSD in 2.5-inch knickers, you'll have your chance in 2014. So says a leaked Intel roadmap outlining the company's SSD plans.
Toshiba scores big with a relatively low investment
Investors weren't beating down OCZ's doors to hand the company money, or even a floatation device. Out of options, out of time, and out of cash, OCZ could do nothing but negotiate with the only company showing interest in its assets. That company is Toshiba, which hammered out a deal with OCZ to acquire all of the drive maker's assets in a chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding for $35 million.
The last time we saw the SanDisk Extreme SSD it wasn’t exactly “extreme.” It was a fine drive and all, and we awarded it a “what a nice boy” verdict of 8 because it was decent, but it didn’t blow off our anti-static leashes or anything. The problem was it was a “me, too” SSD, using 24nm toggle NAND and an LSI SandForce SF-2281 controller, which was all the rage in the ancient SSD era of 2012. Times have changed though, and SandForce isn’t the only game in town anymore. SSD manufacturers are now trying to separate themselves from the pack of wannabes by going with different combinations of controllers and NAND flash, and that’s the tactic SanDisk has employed this time around by changing both the NAND flash and the controller, making the Extreme II SSD an all-new drive.
Note: This review was originally featured in the September 2013 issue of the magazine.
Not a caching or hybrid drive, but a separate SSD and HDD
Today WD is unveiling a slick 2.5" hard drive it calls the Black Squared Dual Drive. Unlike previous 2.5" drives which featured either a spinning hard drive or an SSD, or the two combined in a caching setup, this model features two separate volumes that coexist peacefully in one chassis. It's designed to be a high-performance drive for those with single-bay devices, such as a notebook, SFF rig, or AIO. If you fall into this category, and can squeeze your OS onto a 120GB volume, Christmas has indeed come early.
DDR4 RAM is incoming, next-gen consoles finally launch, Microsoft tries to woo PC gamers, and we compare a retail R9 290X to the press board
It's time for episode #214 of the No BS Podcast! On this week's episode we break down the details surrounding the looming release of DDR4 memory, then have a brief discussion about the next gen consoles and what it means for PC gamers. We also discuss Microsoft's recent statements about how it abandonded PC gaming. Next, we talk about the AMD R9 290X retail board we acquired, and compare it to the press board, then we wrap it all up with our editor picks. Gordon ends the proceedings by delivering his usual rant, but this time paints his targets a little closer to home.
You may recall that several years back, OCZ gave up its DRAM memory business so that it could focus more of its attention on solid state drives (SSDs). Since then, OCZ has launched several different models, though no other SATA III SSD line in the company's portfolio is rated as fast as its newly announced Vector 150 Series. The latest 19nm NAND flash process geometry and an in-house controller design are what power these new drives.
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.