On October 23 along with the highly-anticipated announcement of the iPad 4, Apple rolled out new Macintosh computers that for the first time in an Apple product pairs an SSD with a conventional HDD to get the best combination of capacity, speed, and price. The company calls this its Fusion Drive, not to be confused with Fusion-io’s highly-regarded products.
The SSD Guy did not attend the announcement, and there is little on the Apple website. I contacted Apple, and they don’t have very much detail to share at this time. This is important to note, since Continue reading “Apple’s Fusion Drive – An SSD Cache for the Macintosh”
In this post we will explore how the right wear leveling algorithm can help a controller maximize the life of an SSD.
Wear leveling is a fact of life with NAND flash – blocks start to suffer bit failures after a certain number of erase/write cycles (usually specified from the thousands to the hundreds of thousands) and it is only natural that software will attempt to over-write some blocks more than others. In order to prevent this from causing failures, all of today’s SSD, USB flash drive, and flash card controllers incorporate some sort of wear leveling.
This is a simple re-mapping of the contents of the flash chips. A more graphical explanation is Continue reading “How Controllers Maximize SSD Life – Better Wear Leveling”
At the Intel Developer Forum Intel showed Seagate‘s updated Momentus XT Hybrid Solid State Drive in operation. The new drive is only 7mm thick, significantly thinner than the 9.5mm Momentus XT that the company has been shipping for the past 2 years.
This is significant because the 13mm target thickness of the Ultrabook platform is extremely difficult to achieve using a 9.5mm drive, yet the performance specification of the Ultrabook requires the use of NAND flash, either in the form of a full-blown SSD, an HDD with an additional cache SSD, or a hybrid drive. Of the three choices, Continue reading “Seagate Updates Hybrid Drive”
The folks at NVELO recently provided The SSD Guy with some benchmark data comparing their Dataplex software’s performance against the Intel iSRT caching software that is becoming prevalent among Ultrabooks.
For those unaware of these two technologies, they are both caching software that automatically maintains “Hot” data within a low-capacity SSD while leaving “Cold” data on the system HDD. The end result is that the PC performs as if it boasts a large SSD when, in truth, it uses Continue reading “PC Caching Software is Not All the Same”
DensBits, a flash memory controller company, has just introduced its new DB3610 “Memory Modem” eMMC controller for 3-bit or TLC flash. The controller is the first to use DensBits’ new technology which the company claims can coax better reliability out of 3-bit flash than most controllers can out of 2-bit MLC, to provide important cost savings to OEMs.
Read and write performance is also said to be nearly on a par with 2-bit MLC.
DensBits’ Memory Modem is a blend of Continue reading “DensBits Debuts with eMMC Controller”
When I have a question about SSD retail pricing I know exactly who to consult. Andy Higgenbotham (pictured here) and his Price G2 service track HDD and SSD retail pricing and publish data to a very high degree of resolution.
Price G2 data has been used in another post in the blog: When Will SSD Prices Drop Below HDD Prices?
This company publishes weekly reports of pricing from all major HDD and SSD manufacturers (Seagate, Western Digital, Toshiba, Samsung, Intel, Micron, and the like) with information on market trends like this for the week of April 23:
Flat to increasing pricing continues throughout 2012. Only on the 512GB have we seen sustained price drops from Q1 and through Q2. The 512GB capacity currently sells for $1.05/GB in week 17.
Amid recent rumors of steep SSD price declines this service has served to disprove any notion that the SSD market is undergoing fundamental change. The SSD Guy highly recommends Price G2 for anyone whose business relies on timely and thorough HDD and SSD price tracking.
Intel has gotten into the fast-growing and lucrative market for PCIe SSDs. The company has announced a PCIe SSD, the 910, that provides the high performance you would expect of a PCIe drive with the quality guarantees that customers expect of Intel.
Who could blame them? Fusion-io has become a Wall Street darling for creating the PCIe SSD market, and still rides it to continually growing revenues. LSI is fascinated by the growth of its Warp Drive. Micron attained a significant design win at EMC, Texas Memory Systems (TMS) has had success in its own narrow markets, and Virident, OCZ, and STEC have also participated in the PCIe SSD’s market growth.
Intel’s 910 consists of four Hitachi SAS SSD Continue reading “Intel Jumps Into the PCIe SSD Market”
On April 3 & 4 Avnet Embedded will host an on-line conference called the SSD Virtual Summit. This free on-demand seminar will feature a keynote by Yours Truly, The SSD Guy, and presentations by leading SSD makers and related firms including Adaptech, Crucial, Dell, HGST, Intel, Kingston, LSI, Micron, OCZ, Rorke Data, Seagate, SMART Storage, STEC, and Toshiba.
Come join in to learn the latest information on SSDs.
Today Hitachi announced the company’s second generation Ultrastar SSD400S.B family, which Hitachi claims to be the industry’s first 25nm SLC enterprise-class SSD family.
This comes only two days after Intel announced a 25nm MLC SSD – Intel‘s highest-performance SSD to date.
The new Hitachi SSDs support a SAS 6Gb/s dual port interface. SLC NAND flash was chosen for its high write performance and endurance.
Maximum sequential read speeds of 536MB/s and a sequential write speed of up to 520MB/s with 57K random read IOPS and 25K random write IOPS help to give ultra-fast access to data.
Continue reading “Hitachi’s New 2nd Generation SAS SSDs”
Intel has announced a new SSD for the Enthusiast/Gamer market. Intel’s fastest drive to date, this SSD, formerly known as “Cherryville” but now called the 520, is the first Intel SSD to use a SandForce/LSI controller and is made using Intel’s own 25nm flash.
Intel worked with SandForce for a year and a half to produce an SSD that met Intel’s rigorous standards, and made hundreds of changes to SandForce’s firmware. Users of SandForce controllers can differentiate their SSDs through the addition of features in the SSD controller’s firmware. Intel did this by tapping into its expertise in end-to-end data protection (something the company learned when working with Hitachi to introduce that company’s Intel-based enterprise SSDs) while harnessing Intel’s deep understanding of its own NAND flash and of the I/O needs of the PC.
End-to-end data protection is not a trivial feature: Continue reading “Fast New Intel SSD: The 520”