The Storage Developer Conference in September gave a rare glimpse into two very different directions that SSD architectures are pursuing. While some of the conference’s presentations touted SSDs with increasing processing power (Eideticom, NGD, Samsung, and ScaleFlux) other presentations advocated moving processing power out of the SSD and into the host server (Alibaba, CNEX, and Western Digital).
Why would either of these make sense?
A standard SSD has a very high internal bandwidth that encounters a bottleneck as data is forced through a narrower interface. It’s easy to see that an SSD with 20+ NAND chips, each with an 8-bit interface, could access all 160 bits simultaneously. Since there’s already a processor inside the SSD, why not open it to external programming so that it can perform certain tasks within the SSD itself and harness all of that bandwidth?
Example tasks would include Continue reading “SSDs Need Controllers with More, NO! Less Power”
Samsung recently introduced its 3D V-NAND-based 850 SSD which, according to The Tech Report, uses the same MEX controller as the company’s 3-bit planar SSD, the 840, introduced last year.
Samsung said in its keynote speech at the 2013 Flash Memory Summit that V-NAND consumes an average of 27% less power and runs at least 20% faster than its planar counterpart in an SSD application, all while providing ten times the endurance. It’s only natural to assume that this would allow designers to produce a V-NAND SSD that would significantly outperform its planar NAND counterpart.
The SSD Guy had an opportunity to review Continue reading “Comparing Samsung’s Planar and V-NAND SSDs”
Someone recently asked The SSD Guy to guess what would be the largest amount of flash that could be fit into an SSD’s case. This sounded like a fun problem, so I did a “Back-of-the-Envelope” estimate to try and figure it out.
First of all, I would judge by this post’s picture that you could get no more than 20 chip packages (4 x 5) on one side of a PC board for a 2.5″ SSD. That’s probably an optimistic estimate.
If you ignore the controller that would allow you to squeeze 40 packages onto a single circuit board.
Certain high-capacity SSDs use a “Butterfly” design to fit three circuit boards into a single 2.5″ HDD housing. With three 40-package circuit boards you could fit 120 chip packages into the 2.5″ HDD housing.
Today’s densest flash chip stores 128 gigabits or 16 gigabytes. Samsung and SanDisk can stack 16 of these chips within a single package, making a 16 x 16 gigabyte or 256 gigabyte package. SanDisk just announced a 512 gigabyte SD Card that doubles Continue reading “How Big Can an SSD Get?”
SanDisk has just introduced the Ultra II SSD, an upgrade of the company’s original Ultra drive. The new device is being promoted as a 28 times faster HDD replacement that offers faster boot-up, longer battery life, and shock resistance, in an approach that appears to be a throwback to the early days of SSDs where the point was to sell the technology rather than the product. Although the press release shows sequential read & write bandwidth numbers of 550 and 500MB/s, neither the press release nor the online product literature even mention IOPS or other measures that are now commonly used to compare one SSD against the other.
SanDisk does tout the fact that this SSD uses Continue reading “SanDisk’s 3-Bit SSD, the Ultra II”
Samsung on Monday introduced a new “840” SSD series which reviewers have found is based on TLC flash.
Oddly enough the press release for this product seems only to have been distributed in Korea to reviewers who attended a special introduction of the device. The SSD Guy has not been given the specifications presented at the event, and had to ask Samsung for a copy of the press release.
The press release focuses on the product’s 100,000 read IOPS, that it comes in two versions, the “Pro” model for the enterprise and another model for client applications, and the fact that the controller uses a new design based on three ARM cores. A read IOPS figure of 100,000 is very high performance for a SATA drive! One has to wonder if the client market will be able to distinguish between this level of performance and drives with fewer than 10,000 IOPS.
Other specifications Continue reading “Samsung Introduces TLC SSD”
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”
At The Consumer Electronics Show this week, Swiss army knife maker Victorinox introduced a one-terabyte SSD in a form factor similar to a fat Swiss army knife. Yes, that is right – a terabyte of NAND flash in your pocket. The company tells us that the device’s dimensions, including the connector, are a scant 52x18x10mm.
Some of the other features include the use of an eSATA connector (to allow the product to be plugged into either a SATA port or a USB socket), AES256 encryption (any army would like this), and a bi-stable LCD to tell how much free space remains on the device.
But let’s look at the difficulty of building a 1TB flash SSD in such a small space:
Continue reading “Victorinox’ Terabyte-in-Your-Pocket”
At Oracle’s October OpenWorld conference in San Francisco more exhibit hall space was dedicated to SSDs this year than ever before. That’s because Oracle runs faster on systems with SSDs than on systems without.
Even Oracle ships SSDs in its popular Exadata system, and the company recently announced that it had shipped over 1,000 installations since its introduction in 2009. Continue reading “SSD Presence Growing at Oracle OpenWorld”