It seems as though SSD manufacturers are increasingly taking aim at the performance market, and that's certainly the case with Corsair's new Extreme Series SSDs.
Available in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities, the Extreme Series X32, X64, and X128 boast read speeds of up to 240MB/s and write speeds of up to 170MB/s. All three drives also incorporate the Indilinx Barefoot controller and Samsung MLC NAND flash memory.
In the interest of bolstering their line of portable hard drives, Samsung recently announced their newest 1.8-inch drive, which supports capacities up to 250GB.
The new drive, known as the Spinpoint N3U, will come with a native USB controller instead of a PATA controller, allowing it to work without any data conversion. This also provides fewer potential points of failure. The drive will use up to 40 percent less power than a drive of similar capacity, and can withstand a free fall drop of up to 50 centimeters.
Shipments are slated to begin in mid-July, and the drive is expected to cost $199.
Home users aren't the only ones reluctant to shell out big bucks for low capacity SSDs; companies are too. But while the former might be justified in waiting until the bang-for-buck ratio becomes a bit more favorable, a new report by J. Gold Association says that companies can save money by investing in SSDs right now.
"Our intent was to identify the true costs associated with equipping notebook computers deployed in the enterprise," said Jack Gold, principal analyst at the firm. "We discovered that the savings were very significant for a standard three year cycle."
According to the report, despite the comparatively high cost of SSDs, a company stands to save about $214 over three years and up to $492 if the notebook remains in service for five years. Part of the savings comes from in-warranty repair costs, which J. Gold Association claims averages out to $970 for a notebook with a conventional hard drive, compared to $715 for one equipped with an SSD.
Other reasons for the disparity include lower failure rates and less power consumption.
Several SSD owners have reported intermittent stuttering, a problem that usually creeps up on drives built around a JMicron controller. But according to Patriot, insufficient cache can also be the culprit, and the company's new Torqx M28 series seeks to solve the problem by doubling the amount of DRAM cache from 64MB to 128MB.
"The Torqx series SSDs takes the technology of SSD to the next level," says Meng J. Choo, Patriot's Flash Product Manager. "Competitor non-cache drives suffered from what consumers described as 'stuttering effect' which inhibited the drive performance. Torqx series addresses this issue with a DRAM cache that acts as a buffer for data transfer bottlenecks and increases the random and sequential read and write transfer speeds."
So far available in both 128GB and 256GB capacities, the Torqx M28 come rated at up to 220MB/s sequential read and up to 200MB/s sequential write speeds - respectable, but not earth moving. Somewhat more impressive, the drives come backed by a 10 year warranty, or at least double that of most hard drives.
Last month, we learned that OCZ would be releasing a Turbo Vertex SSD line with hand picked parts, but no specifications had been finalized at the time. That's no longer the case, as OCZ officially introduced the new series this week, which is being aimed at the performance sector.
"The new Vertex Turbo makes use of the fastest SDR DRAM cache available and a proprietary FTL level firmware that provides an even faster solid state drive for enthusiasts looking for the ultimate desktop or laptop storage upgrade," said Ryan Edwards, Director of Product Management for OCZ.
Available in 30GB, 60GB, 128GB, and 250GB capacities, the new drives sport 64MB of 180MHz DRAM cache. Primed for performance, the flagship 250GB model registers up to 270MB/s read and up to 210MB/s write speeds (the 128GB model checks in with a slightly slower 200MB/s write speed, while both the 30GB and 60GB offer up to 240MB/s and 145MB/s read and write speeds, respectively).
You probably can't taste the rainbow by popping one of Super Talent's new Pico Mini USB drives into your mouth like you can with Skittles, but the new drives are every bit as colorful.
Like the Pico drives, the Pico Mini are built using COB technology, which Super Talent says makes it possible to stuff "impressive Flash capacities into extremely small packages." And small they are, measuring just 32 x 15 x3 mm, or 1.3 x 0.6 x 0.1 inches when shunning the metric system.
More than just aesthetic appeal, the color designates the capacity of the new drives:
2GB, 150X (Orchid Pink)
4GB, 200X (Lime Green)
8GB, 200X (Sky Blue)
16GB, 200X (Classic Black)
The drives will begin shipping this week for $10 (2GB), $15 (4GB), $24 (8GB) and $40 (16GB).
A-DATA today unveiled a new line of colorful USB flash drives with a swivel design case the company claims will keep the USB connector free from harm.
"Unlike conventional swivel-designed USB flash drives, the unique asymmetric outer casing of C903 protects the USB connector and serves as a lock mechanism to prevent the connector from sticking out due to constant turning and wearing," A-DATA stated in a press release. "The same design enables users to turn and store the USB connector properly in place with much of an ease."
The case comes constructed with a glossy metallic finish wrapped around either a bright red or blue USB stick, with initial capacities available up to 32GB.
Seagate, who originally planned to serve up enterprise SSD products in 2008 and later changed its target date to sometime in 2009, has suffered a setback in SSD development that may end up delaying the release until at least 2010, according to an investment bank briefing note.
"Notably in the last two weeks, we heard that Seagate (the company we think is closest in terms of market penetration) had another setback in its efforts to design an enterprise storage drive to compete with ZeusIOPS," wrote Kevin D. Vassily, an analyst at investment bank Pacific Crest Securities.
It remains unclear exactly what kind of setback Seagate is running into, but Vassily did bring up LSI in his note, the company Seagate picked to design and supply controller silicon for its SSDs. If Seagate is forced to find a new supplier, it might be mid-2011 or later before Seagate is able to ship SSDs in any volume, Vassily says.
If solid state drives (SSDs) are to ultimately replace standard hard disk drives (HDDs) as the default storage option, they're going to have to do it the old fashioned way - by offering a better, or at least comparable, bang for buck.
Because Windows 7 offers better support for SSDs than either Vista or XP, it was thought that Microsoft's upcoming OS might help bolster SSD sales and push the flash-based storage medium further into the mainstream. But this isn't likely to happen, say notebook vendors, who point out that the price gap between SSDs and HDDs is still too large.
SSDs currently check in at about $4-5 per GB, whereas HDDs cost less than $0.50 per GB, and that includes some higher end models. And despite rapid advancements in SSDs, it might be another three years before HDDs are finally dethroned.
The going rate on a 16GB USB flash drive is anywhere from $30 on the lower end up to around $80 on higher end models, and we've even spotted a pair of Kingston drives selling for just shy of $300 on Newegg. But a $10,000 USB drive? That's a first for us.
Not yet available for purchase, the exorbitantly priced USB drive comes from SolidAlliance Mnemosyne, and not only will it tax your wallet, but your mind as well. That's because the drive comes housed in an aluminum puzzle cube that must first be solved before you can get to those digital files stored inside.
"Our USB Flash Drive is similar to a puzzle where the memory is housed in the inner part of the body," Mnemosyne explains. "Without disassembling the puzzle, you will never be able to access the memory that is stored inside. And once you store your unforgettable memory there, you mush assemble the cube."