In the past year and a half, solid state drives have come from nowhere to take their place as the Next Big Thing in storage, especially in notebooks. The MacBook Air and the Asus Eee PC and OLPC XO-1 (One Laptop Per Child) netbooks were among the first consumer notebooks to utilize solid state drives. While SSDs are still most popular in netbooks, they have begun appearing in more mainstream notebooks and even high-end desktops.
SSDs have much higher read speeds than traditional drives, and with no moving parts, they’re more durable. They’re not susceptible to magnetic interference or vibration, and they use less power and run much more quietly than standard magnetic hard drives. Best of all, they come in standard 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch formfactors with SATA connectors and emulate traditional drives, so they’re compatible with existing architecture. Unfortunately, they’re also orders of magnitude more expensive per megabyte, thus limiting widespread adoption, at least for now.
Although the fastest solid state drives use DRAM for storage (with a battery backup to preserve data), this White Paper will focus on flash-based SSDs—the variety most commonly found in consumer gear.
Early solid state drives (SSDs) suffered from a number of negative characteristics preventing them from finding use in mainstream applications. These included low capacity, surprisingly poor performance, reliability concerns, and high prices. Recent advances have addressed many of these concerns, but comparatively high prices still plague SSDs. Not for long, says Samsung, who expects SSD pricing to fall in line with HDDs in the next few years as flash memory prices continue to fall.
"Flash memory in the last five years has come down 40, 50, 60 percent per year," said Brian Beard, flash marketing manageing for Samsung Semiconductor, in a phone interview with CNet. "Flash on a dollar-per-gigabyte basis will reach price parity, at some point, with hard disk drives in the next few years."
Samsung, who makes both SSDs and HDDs, points out that hard disk drives have a fixed cost for its various parts, such as $40 or $50 for the spindle, motors, PCB, and cables, and that adding capacity or making them faster really doesn't add much incremental cost to the drive. But with SSDs, which also have a fixed cost for the PCB, case, and controller, adding capacity entails adding more flash chips, which adds to the fixed cost of the drive. "For example, if the spot price of the flash chip itself is $2, a 64GB drive is going to cost $128 just for the flash and then you would add the fixed cost of the PCB an the case," Beard said.
According to Beard, the sweet spot for for SSDs this year will be 64GB moving to 128GB on the business side, and 128GB moving to 256GB on the consumer end.
At a glance, it'd be easy to mistake Patriot's newest Warp SSD for a Western Digital VelociRaptor hard drive. That's because like the VelociRaptor, Patriot plans to include a bracket with the Warp drive that converts the 2.5-inch drive into a 3.5-inch form factor.
Keep in mind that Western Digital's IcePAK was designed to help keep its 10K RPM hard drive cool. Patriot's bracket, which Fudzilla says is made out of aircraft-grade aluminum, will undoubtedly lend additional cooling prowess to the Warp SSD, but SSDs don't typically get hot in the first place.
As for the drive itself, the third-gen SSD checks in at 256GB and boasts increasingly common read and write speeds of 240MB/s and 160MB/s, respectively.
No word yet on availability or price, however according to Fudzilla, Patriot plans to give the bracket away for free with the Warp SSD.
Here's one you don't see every day, and have probably never seen before: A man with an embedded USB drive in his prosthetic finger.
After being involved in a motorcycle accident last May, Jerry Jalava was half a finger short of having all five digits on his left hand. On the advice of his doctor, who learned that Jalava was "a hacker," Jalava opted to have a USB drive attached to the fingertip of his prosthetic finger, instantly earning himself several hundred geek cred points. And if that weren't enough, Jalava earns a geek merit badge for carrying around a Billix Linux distro and the Freddy Got Fingered movie on his USB key.
On his blog, Jalava clarified that the prosthetic finger is removable, allowing him to detach and "just leave my finger inside the slot" until he's finished.
The SSD market is maturing right before our eyes and it seems every new release comes with high read and write speed ratings. Such is the case with A-DATA's newest SSD, the 2.5-inch SATA II SSD 300 Plus. And the company couldn't be more excited about it.
"Adopting the latest breakthroughs in SSD technology and new controller design, the new 300 Plus SSD dramatically increases the performance on data-reading speed by 40 percent while writing 60 percent at least when comparing with a regular SSD!!," A-DATA stated excitedly in a press release.
The new SSD comes rated with a read speed of 250MB/s and write speed of 160MB/s, putting it on par with other recent high performing releases. The company says the 300 Plus SSD makes use of a special mobile SDRAM to reach those speeds by serving as a cache buffer for frequently stored data.
A-DATA's 300 Plus series will be available in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities. No word yet on when or for how much.
Move over Western Digital and make room for Samsung with its new EcoGreen F2EG hard drive. At 1.5TB, Samsung's environmentally conscious hard drive offers high capacity while cutting back on power consumption by almost half over "competitive drives."
"Lower platter count means less power to start the motor, less power to continuously spin the motor and a lighter head-stack which takes less power to seek," said Andy Higginbotham, director of HDD sales and marketing for the Samsung Semiconductor Storage Division. “With fewer heads and disks, the F2EG hard drive has a lower probability of head-disk failures, enabling customers to build more reliable systems."
The EcoGreen F2EG hard drive serves up 500GB on each of its 3 platters. Combined with the company's EcoTriangle "low-power, low-heat, low-noise operating technology," Samsung says the F2EG reduces power consumption by 40 percent in idle mode and 45 percent in reading/writing mode.
In addition to 1.5TB, the EcoGreen series also comes in 500GB and 1TB capacities with both 16MB and 32MB cache.
The F2EG drives are shipping now to "major OEM businesses," with the 1.5TB version priced at $149 MSRP.
Think your quad-VelociRaptors in a RAID 0 array are hardcore? Try 'hardly impressive,' at least when compared to the scintillating setup Samsung put together consisting of 24 -- TWENTY FOUR -- 256GB SSDs running in RAID. The goal? To show the world how awesome SSDs are via a YouTube video.
"While one SSD gives you an amazing 220MB/s access speed, we could actually use more of them together to build something extreme," Samsung narrated in a YouTube video. "Through RAID, we could theoretically combine 24 in tandem to make the world's most power consumer computer. Now that would prove SSD awesomeness."
Even without the massive collection of SSDs, Samsung's testbed impresses with two quad-core QX9775 processors, two HD 4870 X2 videocards in a CrossFire configuration, a custom 4GB 800MHz FB-DIMM, and two 1000W power supplies. But with the SSDs hooked up, Samsung's setup is nothing short of astonishing.
After playing around with stripe sizes, Samsung managed to break 2000MB/s (2GB/s). But Samsung didn't just strut its stuff with synthetic benchmarking. The video shows all of Microsoft Office opening in just 0.5 seconds, or instantaneously. This was followed by opening up all of the system's Start menu programs (53 in all) in a mere 18 seconds. Want more? Try copying a 700MB DVD rip from one location to another in 0.8 seconds.
And yes, it can play Crysis. See for yourself right here.
A-DATA this week launced its 512GB XPG 2.5-inch solid state drive (SSD), which it claims is the highest capacity SSD to date. The new drive will be pitched to both laptop and desktop users.
Balancing capacity with performance, A-DATA says its 512GB XPG reads data at up to 230MB/s and writes up to 160MB/s. By comparison, Intel's highly touted X-25M boasts read and write speeds of up to 250MB/s and 70MB/s, respectively, giving A-DATA's a sizable paper-spec advantage in write speeds and a slight disadvantage in read bandwidth.
The new drive comes enclosed in a "dashing, durable, lightweight aluminum casing" and boasts a shock resistance rating of 1500G/0.5ms. In other words, it could probably survive an accidental drop or three, even if the rest of your laptop doesn't.
This looks to be a good year for the Network Attached Storage (NAS) market. Western Digital this week announced its new WD ShareSpace NAS with a massive 8TB capacity, and at CeBIT, Acer's showing off its Atom-based Altos easyStore NAS box with support for four hot swappable hard drives, meaning it too should be able to hold 8TB.
Inside the little box sits an Intel Atom 230 embedded processor using Intel's 945GC chipset. Other specs include a single PCI-E x4 slot, five USB 2.0 ports, a LAN port, and a single eSATA port.
Not much else is known about Acer's upcoming easyStore, including when it will be available or at what price point(s). However, Engadget has a bunch of pictures for you to ogle at, which you can view here.
You know what's larger than a single 2TB Western Digital hard drive? The answer is four them, all stuffed into Western Digital's ShareSpace NAS for a total capacity of 8 freakin' terabytes.
More than just increased storage, WD claims its new four bay NAS serves up 30 percent faster transfer speeds, along with support for DLNA media streaming.
"With its huge capacity and small footprint, WD ShareSpace has become a popular choice among small business owners. By doubling capacity and increasing transfer speeds, the new 8 TB WD ShareSpace offers more value to small business users," said Jim Welsh, senior VP and GM of WD's branded products and consumer electronics groups. "Digital media enthusiasts, on the other hand, will really appreciate the new streaming support which lets them easily stream to PCs, Macs and game consoles. With the new WD ShareSpace, we have made important improvements for all our customers."
Several other goodies abound, such as GigE connectivity, RAID 0/1/5 capabilities, built-in email alert system, iTunes server support, three USB 2.0 ports, and a built-in FTP server.
WD says the new 8TB capacity will be available this week through the company's online store in 2TB, 4TB, and 8TB capacities. The 8TB version will run $1700, and all three models include WD's Anywhere Backup software.