From the 10-inch floppy disk to Super Talent's ultra-tiny 16GB Pico USB key, storage makers are always looking for ways to shove more storage capacity into smaller mediums. A pair of professors -- Ting Xu at the University of California, Berkeley and Thomas Russell at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst -- have come up with a technique they say could stuff up to 10.5 terabits of data, which is the equivalent of 250 DVDs, into a disk no larger than a quarter. That's 15 times more dense than the densest data storage device that currently exists.
"If you can't keep up with Moore's Law, forget it," says Russell. "This is beating Moore's Law by a couple orders of magnitude."
Ruh-roh, Shaggy, it looks as though SSDs might not be all that and a bag of chips after all. Or more specifically, Intel's mighty X25-M SSD may prove a better sprinter than a marathon runner.
One of the major concerns with SSD technology is that the cells are good only for a finite number of writes, at which point they become read-only. Intel address this potential problem using sector remapping and wear-leveling algorithms, but a new report shows it might carry a nasty performance-reducing side effect.
Most wear-leveling algorithms dynamically move frequently-rewritten logical sectors to different physical sectors of the drive, ensuring that no cells are written to more frequently than others. Intel takes it a step further by extending its remap table into individual sectors, which reduces the number of small block writes needed for small files. The problem, according to PCPerspective, is that Intel's method seriously degrades long-term performance. After two of the site's writers noticed that their X25-M SSDs were performing signicantly slower after a length of time, the review site reran the drives through its gamut of benchmarks and found the drives had indeed degraded in performance, and in some cases, reads were reduced to a paltry 22MB/s. Zoinks!
If you own an X25-M and find that your drive has also slowed down considerably, there are fixes in place. According to Intel, one way to restore performance is to use IOMeter to sequentially write content to the entire drive. PCPerspective said it met with limited success using this method, but had much better results using Intel's second suggestion, which is to use a tool to perform a SECURE ERASE command on the drive. Using an older version of HDDErase (v3.3), the site says it was able to restore its X25-M back to its original performance levels.
Check out the article here, then hit the jump and sound off.
The SSD era is fast approaching and Intel would like nothing more than to flood the retail channel with its own branded solid-state drives. To help do that, and to clear out stockpiled inventory, Intel has started offering significant discounts to its channel partners who opt to buy Core i7 processors and SSDs bundled together, says Digitimes.
According to the report, discounts range from 10 to 15 percent and primarily target markets in China, Europe, and North America. For reference, pricing for the company's latest SSDs looks like this:
X25-E 32GB: $410
X18-M 80GB: $385
X25-M 80GB: $385
X18-M 160GB: $760
Intel also plans to launch the X25-E 64GB later this year for $790, before discount. However, it's not a given that the bundled price points will result in less expensive parts for the end-user. There's no stipulation in place that the discount has to be passed on to consumers, and vendors could opt to keep the savings for themselves.
Western Digital just upped the capacity ante with a mind-blowing two-terabye internal hard drive. It doesn’t break any land speed records, but the 2TB Caviar Green is unmatched for capacity—at least for now.
The Caviar Green 2TB packs a full 500GB more onto its four platters than our previous capacity champion, Seagate’s 1.5TB 7200.11 Barracuda, which has suffered from firmware-related hitches and freezing. The Barracuda (when it works) marries speedy performance with high capacity, while the Caviar Green, like the rest of Western Digital’s Green line, focuses on quiet performance and lower power consumption. The 2TB Caviar Green has four 500GB platters spinning at a rate somewhere between 5,400 and 7,200rpm, with a 32MB cache, and an areal density per platter of 400Gb/square inch.
Super Talent this week released an SSD upgrade intended for the Asus S101 Eee PC. The flash storage comes embedded on a SATA mini-PCIe board and served up in 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB capacities. All three models share the same read and write speeds -- up to 90MB/s and 55MB/s respectively -- offering modest performance.
"You can never have enough storage space," noted Joe James, Super Talent's director of marketing. "This is sure to be a popular upgrade for the S101."
And it probably will be, given that the interface should work with any netbok offering mini-PCIe storage expansion. Super Talent says all three models are shipping now, with the 64GB model retailing for approximately $169.
Confirming an earlier rumor that Western Digital had been nearing the release of a 2TB internal hard drive, the HDD maker is now producing and shipping the record capacity HDD. However, the new drive is so far only available through Mwave Australia.
The 2TB drive carries Western Digital's GreenPower moniker, an eco-friendly designation WD claims represents a 4-5 watt savings over standard desktop drives. According to Western Digital's product page, the new drive sips up to 7.4W during read/write operations, 4W at idle, and 0.97W during sleep or standby. Other specs for the WD20EADS include a 7200RPM spindle speed and 32MB of cache.
The drive sells for AU$378, which converts to about $250USD. No word yet on U.S. availability or pricing.
We've been following closely ever since some Seagate hard drive owners started complaining late last week that their hard drives were failing "at an alarming rate." Following a flood of complaints on Seagate's support forum and plenty of media coverage, Seagate responded with a firmware update that was supposed to solve the issue and prevent future lockups from occurring for owners who hadn't yet been affected. Turns out the new firmware wasn't quite ready for prime time, and Seagate had to pull the update after learning it was bricking users' hard drives. Oops!
The latest straight from Seagate is that the company has now released yet another firmware update that both will prevent future problems and undo the damage inflicted by installing the original firmware 'fix.'
Every time Intel sets foot in the SSD market, something good seems to happen. The company's first foray resulted in one of the fastest SSDs yet available with its X-25M boasting read and write speeds of up to 250MB/s and 70MB/s respectively, and now the chip maker wants to boost capacities.
The amount of storage space most SSDs offer has typically been a weak point with the technology to this point, but according Bloomberg, Intel sent a document to its customers telling them to expect a 320GB SSD in the fourth quarter. The comparatively high capacity SSD will be one of eight new drives Intel plans to release, all of which will be built with 32nm chips.
No word yet on pricing or a specific release date, but if released today, the 320GB SSD would be the consumer market's largest capacity to date. However, Toshiba is also working on a high capacity SSD that will offer 512GB of storage and expects to ship the drive in Q2.
Add Corsair to the list of manufacturers now offering SSDs. Like many others before them, the memory maker is focusing on the mainstream market with its SSD debut, but is skipping lower capacity 32GB and 64GB models, at least for the time being, and has jumped straight to 128GB.
Corsair's also skipping the JMicron 602 controller, which is probably a good move considering the associated complaints of stuttering and poor overall performance. Instead, Corsair's S128 will use a Samsung controller and specially-selected Samsung NAND chips. Just don't expect to be blown away by its performance - the MLC-based SSD comes rated at up to 90MB/s and 70MB/s read and write speeds respectively, although Corsair says that faster drivers are in the works.
No word yet on price and availability in the U.S.,
As it turns out, both Seagate and Maxtor-brand SATA drives can be affected by firmware problems. So, how can you find out exactly which models may be on the naughty list and when Seagate has a firmware fix that's ready for prime time? Join us after the jump for details.