Sometimes ignorance is bliss, so if you just blew this month's rent by investing in a high performance, low capacity SSD instead, you may want to stop reading.
For those of you still with us, your decision to put off buying an SSD could pay off big time. In a massive report called "Intel's Braidwood: Death to SSDs?," research firm Objective Analysis points out that Intel's upcoming Braidwood NAND flash memory, which will reside directly on the motherboard, costs less to install and offers the same benefits of a discrete SSD.
"The move to NAND in PCs will boost the NAND market, soften the SSD and DRAM markets, and pose problems for thsoe NAND makers who are not poised to produce ONFi (open NAND flash interface) NAND flash," said Jim Handy, an Objective Analysis analyst who authored the report.
But while Objective Analysis has all but written the SSD market's obituary, Intel maintains it sees a "long life ahead for SSDs," saying the focus with Braidwood is not sheer performance, but added reliability.
Western Digital today starting shipping its new desktop 7200 RPM 2TB hard drive to OEMs and becomes the second manufacturer to offer the high spindle speed and capacity combination (Hitachi being the first).
As part of the WD Caviar Black series, the 2TB model is based on the company's 500GB-per-platter technology. Other features include a heaping 64MB of cache, dual stage actuator technology, SATA 3Gb/s, an integrated dual processor, and NoTouch ramp load technology, which ensures the recording head never touches the disk media and, according to WD, results in significantly less wear and tear on the drive.
Western Digital's speedy 2TB drive is available now with an MSRP of $299.
Xtreamer on Thursday announced its new eTRAYz 2-bay NAS unit with support for up 4TB in storage. Best of all, existing Xtremer Media Player owners are eligible for a sizable introductory discount, bringing the price down from 99 EUR ($141 USD) to 59 EUR ($84) plus shipping.
Price doesn't include drives -- you'll have to bring your own HDDs -- but otherwise the eTRAYz NAS comes with Windows 7 and Mac OS X Snow Leopard support, RAID 0/1, torrent management, 802.11n, and a surveillance webcam to keep tabs on the unit from a remote location.
Iomega has announced a quad-drive desktop NAS appliance (StorCenter ix4-200d) aimed at small to medium sized businesses the company promises will offer oodles of storage without thrashing your piggy bank.
On the setup side, Iomega says you can be "up and running in a matter of four mouse clicks and a few minutes." Once configured, you'll have access to up 8TB of networked storage (4TB and 2TB capacities also available).
The StorCenter works with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux PCs and supports a number features. These include iSCSI block-level access, device-to-device replication to network targets (useful for file recovery), various RAID configurations, Windows Active Directory support, remote access and management, IP security camera support, and a new front-panel LCD and QuickTransfer button for one-touch copying duties.
The 2TB, 4TB, and 8TB models are all available now for $700, $900, and $1,900 respectively.
Since 2001 Microsoft researcher Gordon Bell has been compulsively tracking every bit of personal data that he generates in his daily life, in the interest of finding out just how much digital storage it would take to contain it.
Bell, who works at the Microsoft Silicon Valley Research Group and is calling his project MyLifeBits, has stated that “The problem isn't putting it all in. The problem is getting it out. When I started, I couldn't find anything!” Currently Bell has been able to track all the web sites that he’s visited (221,173), photos he’s taken (56,282), emails he’s sent and received (156,041), documents written and read (18,883), phone conversations had (2,000), photos snapped by a SenseCam hanging around his neck (66,000), songs he’s listened to (7,139), and videos taken by him (2,164). In order to collect all this information he users a desktop scanner, a digicam, a heart rate monitor, voice recorder, GPS logger, pedometer, smartphone and an e-reader.
He does suspect that there’s some need to forget though. Being able to wipe clean difficult memories of the past could be some evolutionary trick. “If you think you should forget, you should,” states Bell. “But for God's sake, keep all the papers you've written and the photos you take. Sometime down the road you might be looking for something and you won't even give yourself the chance of finding it.”
We've seen a plethora of new SSDs come to market this past year, some of which have been geared towards upping the performance ante while others have attempted to make the price-per-GB ratio a bit more appealing. Corsair's new Extreme Series X256 focuses solely on the former and turns a blind eye towards the latter.
"The new 256GB Extreme Series X256 is a response to the growing popularity of high-capacity SSDs, and it joins our Performance Series P256 at the top of its range, for enthusiasts who want the fastest speeds and plenty of space available for their pictures, music, and videos."
The new drive combines the Indilinx Barefoot controller with Samsung MLC NAND flash memory and is aimed at "enthusiasts who don't want to compromise on speed or capacity." To that end, the 256GB drive boasts read speeds of up to 240MB/s and write speeds of up to 170MBs, 64MB of cache to help prevent stuttering, and user-upgradeable firmware.
Last week, Corsair announced its new 128GB Voyager flash drive, a super-capacious thumb drive with a super-high price tag ($400). At the exact opposite end of the spectrum, OCZ today announced a new line of USB flash drives, dubbed Zee, aimed at users on a tight budget.
"Designed for the consumer on the go, the compact Zee is an economical USB drive that makes it easy to transfer images, multimedia, and essential data between multiple computers," commented Alex Mei, CMO of OCZ. "The Zee is designed to be affordable to the complete range of consumers, and is available in large capacities up to 16GB yet is both lightweight and compact so that it is highly portable."
In addition to 16GB, the Zee is also offered in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB capacities. Other details remain sparse, including rated transfer speeds, price, or availability.
All of a sudden we feel woefully inadequate waving around our 16GB and 32GB thumb drives. That's because Corsair on Thursday launched what it claims is the the world's fastest high capacity USB flash drive, the 128GB Flash Voyager GT.
"High performance is a key requirement for super-high capacity flash drives, such as the 128GB Voyager GT, simply because it is able to store such a large volume of data," said John Beekley, the VP of Applications at Corsair. "The 128GB Voyager GT is nearly twice as fast as other high-capacity flash drives, which means less time waiting for your music, video, or office files to copy to and from the drive."
According to Corsair, the MLC-based drive can hit read speeds of up to 32MB/s and write speeds of up to 25.6MB/s thanks to the Voyager's dual-controller architecture. The company also says you're more likely to run into bottlenecks with your USB 2.0 bus or OS system overhead before the drive loses its pep.
All that speed and capacity doesn't come cheap, however. The 128GB Voyager GT is available now with a street price of around $400.
A password bug forced Intel to halt shipments of its new 34nm X25-M G2 SSDs after some customers -- including OEM builder Puget Systems -- complained of data corruption if a password is set on the drive in the system BIOS and then is changed or disabled later. Intel was able to hammer out a firmware update that squashes the bug and resume shipments of the new drives.
For those who purchased one of the potentially faulty drives before they were pulled, Intel has posted the firmware update to its website. The firmware applies to both the X25-M and X18-M SSDs on 50nm (black case, G1) and 34nm (silver case, G2), however there are some issues with the latest firmware.
According to Intel, some Nvidia chipset-based systems, including Macs, will not recognize an Intel SSD. The solution? Install the SSD in a different system to update the firmware and then reinstall in the Nvidia rig. Other potential roadblocks include a "known website compatibility" issue with Apple Safari (Intel recommends running Firefox to download the update), and the Firmware update Tool does not support updating SSDs in systems running RAID.
Intel and Micron have developed a new 34nm NAND flash memory technology that is capable of 3 bits per cell, which allows for greater density than the standard 2 bits per cell technology currently in use, the two companies announced this week.. According to Micron, this will pave the way for high-capacity USB flash drives.
Micron also said the technology isn't yet as reliable as flash memory based on 2 bits per cell technology. Because of this, the 3 bits per cell chips will only be used in the manufacturer of flash drives that don't require the data storage reliability of an SSD.
"The chip is not for all markets," claims Jim Handy of semiconductor market researcher Objective Analysis. "The companies explained that they need more experience in production volumes before they will be confident to position it as a chip suitable for the high-write environment of the SSD."
Micron said the chips will be in mass production in the fourth quarter.