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.
In November, cloud backup firm Backblaze posted some detailed data on the life expectancy of hard drives based on the company's experience with over 25,000 HDDs. One thing Backblaze found was that evaluating such a thing is bit tricky for a number of reasons, though it was able to make some observations. As a followup, Backblaze has posted another blog that examines how reliable enterprise drives are compared to consumer drives, and the results are surprising.
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.
Fancy yourself a digital packrat? If oodles of storage options float your boat, you're going to love what ASRock has done with its new Z87 Extreme11/ac motherboard. This slice of silicon is, according to ASRock, "the most high-end Z87 motherboard on the face of the earth!" It's certainly one of the most storage friendly with 22 SATA3 ports, including 6 SATA3 ports by way of Intel's Z87 chipset, and another 16 SAS-3 12.0GB/s ports from the added LSI SAS 3008 controller plus 3X24R Expander.
Heat-assisted magnetic recording technology could increase HDD areal density to 4 terabits per inch
We've come a long way from when hard drives were measured in megabytes, and then gigabytes. Today the biggest drives are measured in terabytes, and while that probably won't change for a long time to come -- we're not quite on the cusp of the petabyte era -- owning massive capacity hard drives that dwarf today's offerings could be a commonplace practice in the next few years if Seagate's heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology lives up to the hype.
Whenever talk turns to the topic of hard drives, inevitably you'll find that some people swear by brand X while others will only buy HDDs from brand Y. Their reasons are often anecdotal, and usually influenced by a bad experience with a particular model or brand. A person may say something like, "Each time I've plopped a brand Y HDD in my home server, it's crapped out after a year, but my brand X drive is still going strong after 10 years!" Unfortunately, two separate accounts of HDD longevity can (and often do) contradict each other, but there are other problems that prevent a logical conclusion, such as the lack of scientific data. What's much more meaningful is an ongoing study of 25,000 hard drives.
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.
Helium filled hard drives will find homes in cloud data centers
HGST just made every home consumer a little bit jealous today by announcing that it's now shipping the 6TB Ultrastar He6 hard drive to massive scale-out data center environments. For the time being, you can't head over to your favorite online vendor or local electronics store and pick up a 6TB drive with helium inside, but perhaps this technology -- and the resulting capacities -- will trickle into home user territory. In the meantime, these drives will end up being utilized by companies like HP, Netflix, Huawei Unified Storage, CERN, Green Revolution Cooling, and Code42, all of which are working with Western Digital's subsidiary to qualify the drive.
As long as hard drive makers keep making technological advances, these mechanical devices will maintain a capacious advantage over their solid state brethren. Wondering what the next thing in HDD design is going to be? Try helium. Turns out that helium is useful for more than making funny sounding voices and filling up balloons -- it's also the key to building bigger capacity HDDs (and no, they don't float).