There usually isn't anything inherently sexy about Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices, not unless you're really into storage chores and get unusually excited about the prospect of backing up data. Newer generation NAS boxes, however, are proving much more than just simple backup solutions. Asustor's new AS 3 Series, for example, boasts a wealth of multimedia functionality, including support for Full HD 1080p video playback.
Savvy move by Western Digital is low risk, high reward
There will always be those who doubt or remain skeptical of the long-term reliability of solid state drives (SSDs), but at this stage of the game, they're generally viewed as a viable storage medium, even among enterprise clients. Hence Western Digital felt compelled to spend approximately $340 million in cash ($6.85 per share) acquiring Stec, a Santa Ana firm that specialize in flash memory-based solutions and the first vendor to develop SSDs for large-scale enterprise storage.
Suitable for both ultra-thin and standard size notebooks
Toshiba this week put storage on a diet by announcing its incredibly thin, 7mm MQ01ABFH solid state hybrid drive (SSHD) family. Outfitted with Toshiba's NAND flash memory chips and available in 500GB and 320GB capacities, the MQ01ABFH series is the company's first foray into 7mm territory as it pertains to SSHD products. Thin and light notebooks are the obvious target here, though Toshiba says the drives are equally suited for standard size laptops as well.
Samsung has ramped up production of what it claims is the industry's first PCI-Express solid state drive (SSD) for next generation ultra-slim notebooks. Dubbed XP941, these new drives come in the new M.2 form factor and measure just 80mm by 20mm. They weigh a scant 6g, which is about 9 times less than a standard 2.5-inch SSD, Samsung says. Though they're small and light, these drives kick out some heavy-hitting performance numbers.
Intel this week announced a new line of solid state drives for data centers and cloud computing servers. Dubbed DC S3500, the new series of SSDs are designed for read-intensive applications such as web hosting, cloud computing, and data center virtualization, the Santa Clara chip maker says. The S3500 line is also being billed as a cost-effective replacement for traditional hard drives.
World's fastest thumb drive uses Thunderbolt, not USB 3.0.
At the Computex trade show in Taipei, Intel was showing off a prototype thumb drive that it claims is the fastest in the world. Intel can make that claim because unlike most other thumb-size flash drives, it plugs into a PC's Thunderbolt port rather than a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port. In true thumb drive fashion, it plugs in without the aid of a cable, giving users fast access to 128GB of flash storage.
PC users have been in a bit of a quandary about the new Thunderbolt interface from Intel. On the one hand, we’re all about maximum performance, so given its sizable speed advantage over USB 3.0, at least on paper, we’re eager to adopt it. On the other hand, there are three issues that have prevented us from jumping on the Thunderbolt bandwagon with both feet. The first is the fact that it debuted on the Apple platform. Granted, we’re a bit sensitive, but this just rubbed us the wrong way. Second, Thunderbolt doesn’t exist on LGA2011 due to a requirement for integrated graphics. And finally, we already have USB 3.0, so do we really need Thunderbolt? Sure, it’s twice as fast on paper (10Gb/s versus 5Gb/s), but will we see that benefit in the real world, and is it worth the cost? To help us answer all these nagging questions we snagged a very special hard drive, the Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt, which has both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports, allowing us to test both interfaces back-to-back and make an apples-to-apples comparison.
SanDisk today unveiled its Extreme II SSD series, a follow-up to the original Extreme SSD that we reviewed last year (we evaluated the 240GB model). The Extreme II SSD line is supposedly faster than the original in most instances, part of which is due to the use of a select amount of single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash memory for what SanDisk describes as a "two tier caching" setup.
Bulky hard drives, be gone! Western Digital today announced it's begun shipping what it claims is the world's thinnest 1TB-class hard drive, the new 2.5-inch WD Blue 7mm. The WD Blue hard drive family is available in smaller capacities too, down to 320GB, all of which measure 7mm in height. They're designed to usher in increasingly slimmer and lighter notebooks, though they're also compatible with industry standard 9.5mm drive slots, WD says.
New SSD line gets its kicks from the Indilinx Barefoot 3 Series controller.
One thing OCZ had yet to do up to this point was deploy in-house ASIC technology on its Vertex family of solid state drives. That changes with the introduction of the Vertex 450 Series, which OCZ is marketing as a mid-range performer that sits between its value offerings and flagship Vector line. The Vertex 450 Series uses OCZ's Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 controller, essentially a newer iteration of the Barefoot controller found in the Vertex 4.