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The disk unit of Hitachi, HGST, have announced the development of something quite special, helium-filled hard drives. Helium-filled HDDs are set to me more energy-efficient, paving the way for higher storage capacity than normal HDDs of today.
At the moment, HDDs are not sealed air-tight, they are affixed with dedicated channels so that the drive can balance its internal pressure with changes in external pressure. Because of this, the drives have a typical mixture of air inside them, which causes turbulence to the platters, which are usually spinning at over 7,200RPM.
HGST has a way around this, by sealing the drive off and filling the insides with helium. HGST have said that this achievement caused a 23% increase in power efficiency, as well as the ability to add two extra platters to a 3.5-inch hard drive. When helium is used, we could see HDDs pumped up to around 6TB in size.
Not at IDF 2012 - While looking for a local watering hole to get our morning Dirty Martini we passed a familiar face from OCZ Technology. As we went to exchange business cards, a PCB fell out of his pocket. We could tell it was something new, that 'new PCB' smell filled the air. It was so strong we could smell it through the antistatic bag.
What you are looking at is the OCZ Vector, OCZ Technology's upcoming flagship SSD. This product will sit atop the OCZ SSD hill and move the Vertex 4 down a step.
OCZ tells us the new Vector will be a better-rounded drive than Vertex 4. In our testing, we saw OCZ push the IOPS to new levels but low queue depth sequential performance suffered because of it on the Vertex 4. Vector is OCZ answer to that achieving the best of both worlds.
If the marketing and the manufacturing line up right we should get our first glimpse of Vector branded SSDs from OCZ in the middle of Q4 this year.
Corsair has released firmware version 5.03 for the 22** series of SandForce-based solid state drives. This firmware is the version that fixes TRIM, so it is an important update. Corsair has said that the update is designed to be non-destructive. That said, they still recommend backing up important data, and so do we.
The update has only been validated for Windows 7 and has not been tested on Windows Vista or XP. Corsair has written a post describing the update and providing instructions and the firmware files.
It's good to see manufacturers are starting to push out updates based upon the 5.03 firmware, because without TRIM, the performance of the SSD degrades and you lose that speed that you are used to.
WD have today unveiled some USB 3.0-powered HDDs for Mac. The drives arrive in the form of WD's My Passport for Mac range, and range up to 2TB in size. The added addition of USB 3.0 gives the My Passport for Mac drives a serious injection of speed, if you have an appropriate USB 3.0-powered Mac.
There aren't many on the market at the moment, but if you do have one, you'll enjoy much higher speeds than the USB 2.0 on most Apple systems, and with its small footprint, you can take it anywhere without having to worry about it being a nuisance.
My Passport for Mac drives also include password protection and hardware encryption features, which will protect your precious data in the case that someone steals it, or you were to accidentally lose it. WD's My Passport for Mac drives also slide nicely into the company's Nomad rugged case which protects your drive from dirt, dust, moisture, and sudden impacts.
Pricing on the My Passport for Mac is not bad at all, with MSRP pricing on the 500GB, 1TB and 2TB at $99.99, $129.99 and $199.99, respectively.
Western Digital are ready to shake up the external storage industry with their latest Thunderbolt-powered storage product, the My Book VelociRaptor Duo. The My Book VelociRaptor Duo comes with two 1TB 10,000RPM drives in RAID.
This means that the VelociRaptor Duo is capable of an astounding 760MB/sec write and 800MB/sec read. One of the better features that the new My Book VelociRaptor Duo sports is that it's user-serviceable. If you want to replace a drive, simply open the case, pull the existing drive out, and replace it with a new one.
The VelociRaptor Duo is also capable of daisy chaining with Thunderbolt, as the Thunderbolt technology has much more room to move within its architecture. USB 3.0 limits at around 350MB/sec of real-world performance, but Thunderbolt scales right up to 1GB/sec, meaning that you'd need to have some seriously fast internal storage to get close to that 1GB/sec mark.
MSRP on the 2TB WD My Book VelociRaptor Duo is $899.
Flash Memory Summit 2012 - It really didn't matter where you were standing at Flash Memory Summit, within ten feet was a product with either LSI or LSI SandForce silicon.
For years, LSI has played a significant role in several markets, video processing, encoding and so forth, but their largest presence has been enterprise storage. SandForce, before joining LSI was known for their consumer SF-1200 and SF-2200 controllers, but these products were created from their enterprise counterparts, SF-1500 and SF-2500. The enterprise SandForce parts were successful on their own, but by adding three letters to the SandForce name, LSI SandForce flash processor units are now displacing the competition from the enterprise sector.
These are not DDR3 DIMMs, they are Viking SATADIMMs using LSI SandForce SF-2500 Series FPUs. These products draw power from the DRAM bus, but are enterprise SSDs in an innovative form factor that allows for unprecedented scalability...
Flash Memory Summit 2012 - At Computex, Biwin distinguished themselves from the herd by showing the first Novachip Bugatti controlled SSD, NuvoDrive NX. We spent a few days with the upcoming NuvoDrive NX but that is old news now because Biwin just displayed an even more exciting product at Flash Memory Summit 2012.
We didn't get a chance to ask Biwin about the new drive but you know we are on top of it this morning. Under the heatsink is an undisclosed RAID controller, most likely either LSI or Marvell. Four mSATA SSDs using LSI SandForce FPUs are on each side for a total of eight.
On the connector side we found an 8x PCIe 2.0 connector, the industry standard at this time but PCIe 3.0 is just around the corner so this product may be shadowed by the start of 2013. Still, we'll take 8x LSI SandForce 2281 performance with PCIe 2.0 as a starting point.
We're excited about this one for sure!
American Airlines Flight 1318 - High in the skies, somewhere between Dallas and Indianapolis we would like to interrupt your morning with this special announcement.
Just moments ago we received confirmation that Kingston has released firmware version 5.0.3, AKA The TRIM FIXING FIRMWARE, for the HyperX and HyperX 3K!!!!!!!!!
Using Kingston's Toolbox, a free SSD utility located on the Kingston's support website, HyperX and HyperX 3K owners will be the first to gain access to the new firmware that fixes TRIM in Windows.
Obviously since we are in the air we have yet to update our sample HyperX 3K but we have installed the FW in beta form. This is a non-destructive update but I would suggest treating this update as destructive.
OCZ's AEON Series drive is probably one of the coolest things I saw at Flash Memory Summit 2012. This drive ditches the typical NAND memory in favor of using DRAM chips which have no durability issues. These chips are clocked at around 40MHz as opposed to a typical DDR3 stick which could be clocked as high as 800MHz.
Essentially this drive is like your DDR RAM in your PC. It's faster than a typical SSD due to the use of volatile memory, however, if the power goes out, the data is lost. It's almost like a RAM disk, though the bandwidth is limited by the interface. In the event of a power loss, the data is flushed to typical NAND memory.
The drive's capacity is up to 64GB as of right now, and has super low latency (20 microseconds or less) and typically is about 1 microsecond. The chip is built to be used in servers and features a 6GB/s SAS connection. Note that these are preliminary specifications which are subject to change. Even still, this is a sweet drive!
I've never really been a believer in hybrid hard drives as they've never been competitive to SSDs when it comes to speed. Today at the Flash Memory Summit 2012, Toshiba had a demo showing just how wrong I could be. They had three identical laptops set up, one with a 19nm NAND SSD, one with a 5,400RPM drive, and one with an undisclosed hybrid drive.
The demo was booting from a completely powered down state into Windows and then starting a movie playing. Some of the results were shocking, to say the least. The traditional 5,400 RPM hard disk of course came in last as you would expect. However, the hybrid drive and the SSD were locked in a dead heat to the finish.
While the SSD finished before the hybrid drive, it couldn't have taken the hybrid drive more than 2 seconds longer. This result is quite a bit different from what I have seen in the past with regards to hybrid drives. When pressed, Toshiba wouldn't say when we would see this hybrid drive on the market or really give us any info. The best I could get from them is that it is a demo showing what is possible. All of a sudden hybrid drives are looking a whole lot more attractive.