Western Digital's Red hard drives are finally getting a competitor in the form of Seagate's appropriately named NAS HDD lineup of hard drives. Just like the WD Red drives, Seagate's NAS lineup is geared toward 1 to 5 bay NAS units.
Seagate NAS drives run what Seagate is calling NASWorks, which supports customizing error recovery controls, power management, and vibration tolerance otherwise known as TLER. TLER ensures that drives do not get dropped from the NAS which sends the array into a rebuilding phase. The company is also claiming that the drives are optimized for sequential and random performance.
Additionally Seagate has a lead over Western Digital in the capacity wars. While Western Digital's Red drives top out at 3TB, Seagate's NAS line is available in 2TB, 3TB and 4TB models. Prices are set at $126, $168, and $229, for the 2TB, 3TB, and 4TB NAS hard drives.
Computex Taipei 2013 - Western Digital had a lot of momentum going into Computex but at the show they went for the checked flag. First up in a few posts coming from the company is the new 7mm, dualplatter 1TB, 2.5" HDD.
Getting to 7mm is a feat in itself but stuffing two platters in 7mm took some engineering talent. We sat down with Western Digital so they could explain some of the engineering that went into making the world's highest capacity 7mm HDD.
Computex Taipei 2013 - Once you go black....you never go back to blue? Western Digital's performance line for consumers is the Black Series. With flash increasing performance the company decided it was time to add a little flash magic to their proven mechanical products.
The result is Western Digital's first SSHD. SSHD, the industry term for hybrid drive is part SSD and part spinner. In this case, the marriage of a special SanDisk iSSD that is between 8GB and 24GB depending on the OEM customer, and a 5mm slim Western Digital hard drive.
We finished testing Western Digital's 5mm Blue drive right before walking out of the door for Computex.
Look for a review of that product first and a follow up from Tyler on the UltraSlim Black SSHD.
Computex Taipei 2013 - We know it's coming and coming sometime soon but that isn't good enough when OCZ Technology teases it at CES and Computex in 2013.
With two Indilinx Barefoot 3 controllers and up to 1TB of NAND flash, we know you want it too. If the PCIe version of Vector includes SCSI unmap, a form of TRIM, then we'll do back flips followed by cartwheels. Wouldn't that be a sight to see?
As far as I know, this is the first back side picture of the card. All together there are 32 NAND flash chips, four DRAM buffers and two Barefoot 3 controllers. Bridging the two controllers to the PCIe 4 lane is an OCZ VCA II. This is a full height card for desktop use. When they finally come out I want six for RAID 5 in a prosumer SAN.
Computex Taipei 2013 - MemoRight had a sizable booth this year at Computex and inside we found a product we're ready to try. To date, only Samsung has shipped consumer grade SSDs with triple-level cell (TLC) flash but that's about to change now that Toshiba has their 1Xnm TLC in production.
The MemoRight XT3 Series will use a Marvell controller with MemoRight's own firmware and pair it with Toshiba's new TLC NAND.
There aren't a lot of details yet but MemoRight expects performance in the 540 MB/s sequential read and 300 MB/s sequential write area. Wear-leveling will be very important with TLC NAND and MemoRight even mentions Global Wear-Leveling on the spec card. This will be an interesting one for sure.
Computex Taipei 2013 - It's been a few years now but we tested a product from a company called PhotoFast with two SF-1200 controllers. KingFast is using that idea to get to the magic 1TB mark but this time with SATA III and LSI SandForce's SF-2281 controller.
The KF2510MCF03 packs two small 512GB SSDs inside standard 2.5" form factor, 9.5mm housing. A RAID controller couples the two internal drives together in RAID 0 and that's how KingFast managed to get past the SF-2281 density limitation.
KingFast also had a few other products on display at the show including their SLC model that also uses a LSI SandForce SF-2281 controller.
Computex Taipei 2013 - The storage market is growing rapidly and for good reason. Cloud storage is booming, but not just for consumers looking to keep family photos in two or more secure locations. QNAP had two demos and more than one product in the racks are unannounced as of this time.
The first rack we looked at was titled Scale-up. In this picture we can see a 20-bay 2.5-inch form-factor model that has us quite excited. Several products in this rack connect to a central NAS via expanders. It's a good way to increase density while working with a smaller budget.
With the Scale-out option, you're increasing density through full NAS products. This increases both drive count and increases compute power at the same time.
We have a few QNAP rackmount systems in our lab and appreciate their versatility. A NAS is no longer a NAS when the feature set is stacked as deep as it is in these products.
Computex Taipei 2013 - We have a few stories from QNAP in the works, but this one will affect the largest number of new buyers. Until now, the 10GbE Ethernet option was available only on larger NAS systems, platforms with eight or more drives.
In a bold and exciting move, QNAP has brought 10GbE to six-bay and four-bay models. The TS-670 Pro uses six drive bays and has the processing power to go with it.
We're starting to see 10GbE ship on workstation and server boards, mainly from on-board Intel X540 parts. Intel X540 add-in cards are available for less than $300 if you look around for good deals. The add-in cards allow you to add 10GbE capability to any system, including desktop computers.
We're using 10GbE in the office now and love the performance. Transferring files to and from the NAS with roughly a 10x increase over gigabit Ethernet not only reduces the wait time, but also increases the number of users who can comfortably connect to the NAS at the same time.
Computex Taipei 2013 - Intel has hacked together some Thunderbolt-powered thumb drives. These 128GB drives interface using Intel's still relatively unused Thunderbolt connection to boost theoretical transfer speeds above those that are possible using a traditional USB 3.0 or SATA 3 interface.
We doubt that the thumb drive will hit Thunderbolt's theoretical 10GB/s limit, but it should outperform SATA 3 6Gpbs. Interestingly, the hacked device makes use of a SanDisk SSD rather than an Intel SSD. It's not clear why they didn't make use of their own technology in the device.
While a Thunderbolt drive would be awesome, it's still quite expensive. It's cost-prohibitive to produce these devices until the cost for Thunderbolt comes down. The cost for Thunderbolt will likely only come down as adoption picks up. We're stuck in situation where one thing has to move first, but which will?
Computex 2013 Taipei - I wanted to bring you this story yesterday, but one of the images didn't turn out too well so I swallowed by pride and returned to the ADATA booth at Computex Nangang to do it right today.
Less than 24 hours ago we published a short news story about ADATA's new enterprise products, among them included another 1800MB/s part. This gumstick sized piece of engineering marvel (but not from Marvell) uses four PCIe 2.0 lanes just like the enterprise SX2000, but it uses the consumer m.2, known around these parts as NFGG interface.
Just like the enterprise part, this unit has the same bandwidth as the higher cost server model. In years past we've seen enterprise products come to market first but that isn't the case this time around. Several new Ultrabooks and at least one motherboard is ready for NGFF in some form or another today.
Computex Taipei 2013 - Just a few days ago we set a PCMark Vantage world record with an Areca ARC-1882-ix-16 and 16 Mushkin Chronos Deluxe drives in a BitFenix Prodigy system, you can read about that over here.
We can't help to imagine what might have been possible with a new 12Gb/s Areca controller. With a 12Gb/s expander, we could have the same performance for less cost.
The two top ports you see are part of the new SAS cable standard that shrinks the connector size. From these two ports, each with four 12Gb/s channels, we could go to what's called an expander. The expander would take a 12Gb/s channel and divide it by two, thus giving us performance equal to 16 6Gb/s channels.
Computex Taipei 2013 - The enterprise SSD market is a tough nut to crack, just ask OCZ. That doesn't mean others aren't seeing the same projections that show enterprise storage revenue on the rise. With the consumer PC market shrinking as mobile increases, some are looking at other areas of growth and enterprise is where the action is for the next few years.
Contrary to what was reported yesterday by The Preview Site, the new ADATA SX2000 is not a SAS 12Gb part; it uses a PCIe connector that looks similar to SAS. The interface isn't exactly new; Micron's P320h uses it and Dell has already shipped several 12 generation PowerEdge servers with the technology.
Computex Taipei 2013 - We didn't get a lot of time to talk with ADATA today, so more details will follow shortly. At the booth we found several interesting products though. First up are two personal cloud products that use NAS technology to give users access to their data anywhere in the world through other devices. You can use the Internet--err 'the cloud'--to access your files. I use this technology everyday on my notebook, smartphone, and other people's hardware to get to my files. Since I'm literally on the other side of the globe right now, it's an important detail to toss in.
We're not going to try to BS you, this is obviously a rebranded unit from ASUSTOR. ADATA's global network of distribution should help products like this gain traction. I've said for years the most important tech in my home and office is my NAS server and that digital home needs one as the foundation for ever device to connect to. With the new cloud features, your data is no longer tied to a physical device on your person as you can access it from anywhere.
Computex Taipei 2013 - ADATA's SX series branding has always been associated with LSI SandForce controllers. Even before SX, the S Series products like S510 and S511 were LSI SandForce. It's been quite some time since we've seen ADATA using a Marvell controller. The last time I can think of is at Computex three years ago when ADATA closed a section of their booth so we could test a then new SATA III product based on the same controller used in the Crucial C300, the world's first SATA III controller.
Looking to increase diversity to the brand, the SATA SX920 uses a Marvell controller and appears to be ready for entry into the channel. We suspect this is the same controller used in the SanDisk Extreme II and Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme. Talking to the product manager at the show, we learned that SX920 uses Type C Toggle NAND, the good stuff that everyone wants but few are getting access to.
With 20nm yields down and next-gen LSI SandForce stuck somewhere in 3Q or 4Q, ADATA needed a product to compete with M500 and Extreme II. Personally I would have liked to have seen ADATA not follow the SX product naming scheme and release this under a different name since SX920 is quite a bit different than SX900 and SX910. The five-year warranty from the SX910 didn't carry over either.
Computex Taipei 2013 - With our meetings at Hyatt finished, Cameron and I finally had a chance to get to the show floor for a few minutes today. There we saw the future of SSDs at just about every booth we stopped by: NGFF or Next Generation Form Factor, commercially known as m.2. Over the next few days, we'll have a lot of NGFF product images and slide in some details about the interface that most are not familiar with yet. We should be able to take a few products back to the test lab as well.
The largest crowd at Plextor's booth was around the two NGFF products seen above. This form factor has several versions, roughly 14 or 15 the last I looked into it. That number will come down to just a few common sizes once system builders roll out motherboards, notebooks and Ultrabooks with the new form factor.
Electrically, NGFF can connect to a SATA bus or PCIe. The PCIe connection moves us past the limits of SATA III, making SSDs exciting once again from a performance standpoint. Companies will once again race to maximize the performance of products and more distinction in the market place will occur.
Right out of the gate, NGFF will bring sequential read performance close to 800MB/s. Sequential write performance will increase as well. Plextor's offering shows up to 780MB/s read and 550MB/s write at this point in time in the marketing documents.
Computex Taipei 2013 - Off to the side at the Plextor booth and getting little attention was an early look at what may become the M6 Series. We were told it's a working product name but considering the M1 through M5 product naming scheme M6 seems appropriate since it's next in line.
The specifications shown are very close to those found on the existing M5 Pro model that's selling today.
That means the baseline M6, or M6S depending on your market, should have nearly identical performance to the existing M5 Pro product but at a lower cost. With that said, where are the M6 Pro specs? That's the model we want to see since the Pro versions in the Plextor product series are the bleeding edge performance drives. We'll get out the shovel tomorrow and look for treasure.
Computex Taipei 2013 - We learned today that Plextor has dropped any immediate plans to release the 2.5" TLC model shown at CES 2013 and CeBIT 2013. Citing endurance concerns, a Plextor rep stated to TweakTown that the TLC model shown at previous shows has been shelved. "With Toshiba's new 1y NAND flash we can meet the same or better price point and not [have] issues with endurance."
The product in question used a Marvell 88SS9189 controller with Toshiba TLC NAND, lithography unknown. In 512GB capacity size, the rated performance was 540MB/s sequential read and 465MB/s sequential write speeds. The quoted IOPS performance was 80K read and 72K write, 4K aligned. These numbers are significantly higher than Samsung's 840, especially the write performance. Allowing TLC NAND to write at those speeds would have been an issue since TLC has lower PE cycles than MLC NAND.
The buzz around the show is that 1y will change the SSD market from a price perspective. Also, new controllers are emerging that can scale beyond 512GB and new interfaces that work over PCIe will mean moving beyond the limits of SATA III. These new products should start hitting e-tail stores in 3Q.
Computex Taipei 2013 - In a move that surprised no one, Seagate today announced a new ultrathin 5mm HDD for use in slim laptops, ultrabooks and tablet devices.
The 5mm standard will start off strong this year with large OEMs and ODMs taking advantage of the 25% reduces height compared to 7mm HDDs that were all the rage just one year ago. Shown above, at the top of the pile is the new 5mm, single platter wonder. The drive sits atop 7mm and 9.5mm products.
With design wins in hand from ASUS and GIGABYTE (shown here), Seagate has this model in production already. The new product supports Seagate Secure Self-Encrypting Drive Features with on-the-fly data encryption that meets TCG Opal protocol.
Computex Taipei 2013 - VANTEC has just unveiled the latest product in their NexStar line of hard drive docks. The NexStar Wi-Fi Hard Drive Dock is a complete and easy way to add Wi-Fi-based storage to your home network.
The Wi-Fi Hard Drive Dock will fit both 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch hard drives and is able to connect to your 802.11 B/G/N wireless home network. It will allow you to access it from any Wi-Fi connected device including iOS and Android devices. This is possible through the use of VANTEC's NexStar Wi-Fi App that is available in the Apple App Store or on Google Play. Unfortunately, the NexStar will only allow simultaneous connections of up to three devices.
Additionally, the NexStar Wi-Fi Hard Drive Dock contains a USB 3.0 port for those times when you need a higher data transfer rate than what is available over Wi-Fi. The dock is capable of transfer speeds of up to 150MB/s, supports WEP/WPA/WPA2 encryption, and can handle hard drives up to 3TB in capacity.
Computex Taipei 2013 - In a move that surprised no one, Seagate today announced a new ultra-thin 5mm HDD for use in slim laptops, Ultrabooks and tablet devices.
The 5mm standard will start off strong this year with large OEMs and ODMs taking advantage of the 25 percent reduction in height compared to 7mm HDDs that were all the rage just one year ago. Shown above, at the top of the pile is the new 5mm, single platter wonder. The drive sits atop 7mm and 9.5mm products.
Earlier today at the Computex 2013 show in Taipei, Taiwan, Western Digital announced that it has began shipping the world's thinnest 1 TB hard drive. The 2.5-inch WD Blue measures just 7 mm thick. The company says this opens up new storage solutions for the increasingly popular light-and-thin category of notebooks.
Western Digital said that their entire line of 2.5-inch WD Blue drives from the 320GB to 1TB range will now be available in the 7mm thickness. The 7mm drives feature Western Digital's Shock Tolerance, Cool and Quiet, and Stable Track technologies for an improved customer experience.
"Users with large portfolios of content no longer need an Ultrabook or upgrading to a thin and light notebook," said Matt Rutledge , Vice President and General Manager for client storage products at WD. "This most compact 1TB hard drive to-date offers manufacturers of systems an upsell path for their customers who will now be able to choose systems offering both sleek design and high capacity."