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Computex 2012 - Today we met with KingSpec and had some hands on time with their new PCI Express product that has up very excited.
The new card is designed for the entry level enterprise market but with the low price of around 3,500 USD (2TB, projected price) we see this product making it's way to the high end workstation market as well.
We now have a bit more info on the card. At first we thought only one side of the card was populated but as you see in this image, both sides hold mSATA ports for a total of eight. The performance should be amazing and we are quite excited to have one on the way. For our review we'll test the new card in our standard consumer / workstation tests and then ship it over to Paul for a round of enterprise tests.
KingSpec also manufactures 2.5" form factor SSDs. Here we see a standard 9.5mm model and a new updated 7mm model.
We have products in bound from KingSpec and lining up KingSpec with some contacts that might be able to bring the brand to the US market.
Computex 2012 - Half of the normal cast and crew from Micron are here in Taipei, but two of our favorite contacts were no shows. We met up with a handful of Micron / Crucial team members in Tokyo, but business was off the table, a full media blackout is taking place on the consumer side of things.
On the enterprise side Micron is set to swing for the fences. Our own Paul Alcorn just met with Micron hours ago and had a nice conversation about the already announced P320h, an enterprise class PCIe SSD that is sure to take the enterprise world over with PCIe version 2 8 lane interface.
So where does that leave Micron and Crucial on the client side of things? Well to be honest we really don't know. No amount of intoxicant could break the wall of silence and that might be just as telling. This could go two ways. The first is Micron is just relying on their m4 product line, which is doing very well in the market right now. The Crucial m4 512GB model is now selling for less than 400 USD.
Maybe Micron is having some issues with the new Marvell controller. Then there is a complete flip in controller architecture. We've already seen two new controllers here at Computex 2012, one in a Corsair client SSD and one in a Biwin Enterprise SSD...
Computex 2012 - Corsair threw a curve ball to us this morning with a new SATA 6Gbps controller. The new Neutron GTX was up and running with 24nm Toshiba Toggle Mode Flash and delivering class leading performance in ATTO. Two models are already on the road map, the flagship Neutron GTX with Toggle Flash and a Neutron with 25nm synchronous IMFT flash.
We're told pricing should be in line with current SandForce based models like the Force GT and Force 3.
ATTO is not a very good way to measure real world performance but we'll work on that on our own soon enough. The demo systems were running the drives as the OS boot drive so we didn't get a chance to rock Vantage or our Fill Test.
Another system was up and running with two drives in RAID 0 on an Intel PHY. The Neutron GTX scales very well but as you can imagine we have many questions since this is a new controller. For now, enjoy the image art and we'll make sure to bring you the performance information as soon as we can.
Computex 2012 - LSI SandForce displayed their second generation Flash Processor Unit paired with 19nm Toshiba Toggle Mode and IMFT 20nm NAND flash today at Computex. These new competing technologies will leads us into 2013 with even low prices on consumer solid state drives.
Our first image shows Intel 20nm ONFi2 flash.
The other half of the IMFT team was also present. Micron is now sampling their ONFi2 20nm flash.
Toshiba is also sampling their new 19nm Toggle Mode flash.
Next generation flash should still deliver the same amount of performance as we see now in current 24/25nm. The biggest difference is that you can fit more flash on each wafer which will lower the total cost of the flash. Flash makes up the largest expense in consumer SSDs so major changes in price have a direct affect on the cost of ownership.
Computex 2012 - Our first stop for Computex 2012 was at the Intel Thunderbolt event where Intel had walls full of Thunderbolt based products on displays from its partners.
We saw a full wall of storage based products that support the fast 10Gbit interface that is slowly but surely gaining more and more market adoption. Judging by the amount of products on display at the Intel event, the market is going to get somewhat flooded with new Thunderbolt toys soon.
Also on display were a range of Z77 based motherboards that support the Thunderbolt interface from companies such as MSI, GIGABYTE, ASUS and more. Intel also had some Ultrabook's and other laptops on display that support Thunderbolt. For a close up look at some of these products, hit the play button on the video above.
Solid state drives are becoming a dime a dozen as more manufacturers intro models at lower and lower prices. These drives often don't sacrifice any performance to save costs. Today OCZ has introduced a new set of Agility 4 SSDs "for Mainstream Users Requiring the Best Price-to-Performance Ratio." We haven't tested that claim quite yet.
The newest line of solid state drives by OCZ is powered by an Everest 2 controller platform and "excels in real-world compressible and incompressible workload performance." OCZ is claiming the drives consistently exceed transfer rates of up to 400MB/s, and up to 85,000 random write IOPS. The press release says: "The dual core controller architecture also includes an advanced error correction code (ECC) engine, dynamic wear-leveling, auto encryption, and Indilinx Ndurance 2.0 technology that addresses and overcomes specific shortcomings of NAND flash memory to extend flash life well beyond the manufacturer's rated program and erase cycle specifications."
"For mainstream storage applications, there is no product better suited in the industry than our Agility 4 SSDs, providing the ultimate in access speed, application performance, endurance and reliability, at price points that most cost-conscious users will find appealing," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology.
Some of the hardware in the Apple MacBook Air is designed specifically for the MacBook Air so that everything would fit inside that tiny chassis. An example of that is the solid state drive which doesn't follow a traditional 2.5-inch form factor. Thankfully there are companies out there like RunCore who will build to such a niche market.
The drive itself is small. According to the RunCore press release it is "almost a half-size of conventional 2.5" SSDs without case." Usually when a device is shrunk down performance and storage capabilities take a hit, but that is not the case here. In this instance, this SSD offers up to 4 times the original storage amount of the MacBook Air.
It manages to have all that storage while performing better. Testing shows that the SSD is capable of over 500MB/s transfer thanks to its SATA III interface. It also offers Tier 1 Toggle Synchronous NAND which adds to its performance. The key features, as RunCore says, are as follows:
- Compatible with Late-2011 MacBook Air perfectly
- SATA III interface and Tier 1 Toggle Synchronous NAND
- Data Encryption: 128-bit AES-compliant
- ECC: Up to 55 bits correctable per 512-byte sector (BCH)
- Wear Leveling: Enhanced endurance by dynamic/static wear-leveling
- Trim supported
- Dimension: 108.9(L) x 24(W) x 3.2(T) mm
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The Computex news train continues to roll as bits and pieces of exciting new hardware comes in.
KingSpec, a SandForce partner is getting a new PCIe product ready for the show. Coming from the new Multicore Series, this PCIe solution has four SandForce SF-2281 controllers and four mSATA slots that may be used to expand the capacity size and controller count.
The details are thin now, but we do know that the maximum capacity is 2TB and the PCIe configuration is 8 lanes. The high number of PCIe lanes will let this product really stretch its legs.
We've reviewed several OCZ RevoDrive products and they were limited by the PCIe 4 lane interface. In theory, the new KingSpec Multicore PCIe could double the performance of the RevoDrive 3!
Corsair has announced the availability of its new SSD notebook upgrade kits which aid a user in transitioning to a solid state drive. The purpose of changing over to a solid state drive is the better performance and battery life offered by one. They are quite a bit better than their mechanical alternatives, so having an easy upgrade path should help more users transition.
The kits are available in both a 120GB version and a 240GB version and have an MSRP of $139.99 and $259.99 respectively. The kit includes an easy-to-use USB-to-SATA cable and software which help with the data migration. The software is capable of transferring the operating system, program files, and data files to the new drive.
"Laptop owners have become more aware of the performance, power efficiency, and reliability of SSDs but many have been put off by the complexity of moving their existing data," said Thi La, Vice President of Memory Products at Corsair. "The new Force Series 3 SSD Notebook Upgrade Kits simplify the data migration process, making upgrading to an SSD easier than ever."