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Computex 2014 - SanDisk released a new flagship consumer / prosumer SSD that fits into what we call the Hyper Class of product at Computex 2014. Hyper Class is a term we coined from the automotive industry, hyper cars, the fastest products on the market that are beyond excessive luxury and performance. The new Extreme Pro SSD carries an industry leading 10-year warranty that shows the companies confidence in the drive, but just as impressive are our early tests here in Taipei on a loaner system from the TweakTown Taipei office.
The SanDisk Extreme PRO is one of the most significant SSD product launches of the year for enthusiasts and demanding users who need high reliability coupled with top tier performance. SanDisk has raised the warranty bar and doubled previous hyper class warranty lengths, showing that the company is very confident in releasing a product of this caliber. At the same time, the Extreme Pro SSD warranty triples the existing standard for mechanical storage warranty length. In our view, this isn't a marketing ploy, SanDisk SSDs are worthy of such a high standard and it the industry should take note.
Offered in three capacity sizes that range from 256GB to a massive 1TB model. Just as impressive as the warranty is the fact that SanDisk was able to achieve high data write transmissions at a constant rate without using additional overprovisioning. On paper and in traditional SanDisk fashion, the Extreme PRO's specification sheet shows conservative performance numbers to account for older and slower computing systems. In our early tests, we confirmed the tested drives deliver higher than advertised speeds in nearly all areas right out of the box without any system tweaking.
While at Computex, Paul Alcorn and I had the opportunity to test a new, unreleased Areca ARC-1883ix-24 RAID controller with early firmware and drivers. We reached out to SanDisk to run the new Extreme PRO SSD in an array with the controller and achieved a set of very impressive results even with the beta driver on the Areca Technology ARC-1883ix-24. The unmatched performance consistency of this product makes it an ideal candidate for RAID environments.
The Extreme PRO has a broad range of applications with the starting point at gamers and power users who demand the fastest response times and reliable operation that allows faster game loading times, ultimate system response and the best user experience possible.
The drive also carries over to professional markets as well, such at audio and video engineers and photographers who value reliability and the fastest speeds possible. When booking celebrities and super models that charge by the hour, you don't want to waste time on slow system boot times and slow file transfers.
It's difficult not the come back to the the SanDisk Extreme PRO's 10-year warranty though because no matter what your market or system demands, the Extreme Pro will outlive every other component in your system, period.
Look for a full review of all three capacity sizes in the coming days from out US SSD testing lab.
Computex 2014 - Error rates are increasing as NAND manufacturers shrink lithography. This requires SSD controller innovation to provide stronger error correction without negative performance ramifications. Even with a standard HDD, data read directly from the media is rarely decipherable without post-processing, such as BCH error correction. As we move towards smaller NAND with much higher bit-error rates, manufacturers are scrambling to develop error-reduction technologies. Some approaches occur prior to, and during, drive operations. However, there are inevitable errors that require correction after command completion.
The method currently favored is BCH ECC. BCH can handle the error rates of current NAND, but all error correction methods add additional processing overhead to command latency. As the error rates have increased, designers have simply implemented more robust BCH ECC. The problem is the diminishing point of returns, and more robust BCH adds too much overhead on thee low-wattage controllers utilized in SSDs. Eventually there is a point where the controller can no longer correct the errors, and the data is corrupted.
Computex 2014 - Super Talent displayed their new RAID Drive II Plus, an SSD designed to address supercomputer and caching applications. There were also several other industrial and enterprise SSDs on display, highlighting Super Talents continued focus on SSD designs for the professional segment.
The RAIDDrive II Plus features speeds of 2.6GB/s in maximum sequential read and 3.2GB/s in sequential write. The drive features fairly standard built-in ECC and redundant firmware. There is also a fairly large chunk of 1GB of DDR2 cache, but this will be needed for LBA mapping for the large capacities, up to 2TB, provided by the PCIe 2.0 x8 drive.
Computex 2014 - We've already tested, poked and prodded the new PNY Optima 240GB SSD in its coming out party here at TweakTown but the 120GB model has eluded us. While preparing for the 240GB review, we were told the case would change in the coming months to further differentiate the Optima line from the XLR8 models.
At Computex, we caught our first glimpse of the new case Optima case design. While in itself not that big of a news story but the Optima is a news worthy product. When we reviewed the Optima 240GB model the price at Newegg was $89.99. Newegg is currently sold out but Google Shopping returned a price of just $112.
Optima uses a new Silicon Motion 4-channel low power controller that delivers solid mainstream performance at a low price point.
Computex 2014 - G.Skill has been quiet in the SSD market for the last two years due to low flash availability and high flash prices. Now that flash is abundant again the company is testing the SSD waters with an impressive showing at Computex 2014.
At this time, the Phoenix Blade isn't a guaranteed retail product. The company received the first samples just days before the show so TweakTown didn't have a warning in advance but once the show started we called into action.
A 960GB model and 480GB model were on display at the G.Skill booth and the 480GB model was actually running full tilt.
Computex 2014 - Angelbird gave us a look at their upcoming Novachips Bugatti-powered SSD ad the new X2 Wings.
This is the new Angelbird X2 Wings. This AHCI compatible PCIe card is bootable and utilizes an undisclosed RAID controller to aggregate the performance of two SSDs in RAID. The card can be a bit power hungry, pulling over 75 Watts. There is a embedded power connector to assist with external power. There is also backlighting during operation to appeal to the enthusiast crowd.
The NVS 3600A is a 10 channel controller that works in concert with 256MB of DRAM in this configuration.
Computex 2014 - JMicron displayed their new M.2 controller in their suite for us at Computex 2014. As motherboard manufacturers release more motherboards with embedded M.2 connections there will be a rapid expansion of the M.2 market. SSD controller manufacturers such as JMicron are focusing on delivering products with wide compatibility for older, existing, and future types of NAND. JMicron accelerates time to market by providing a complete solution with included firmware. This reduces the need for extended firmware development time and engineering staff.
This is a reference SSD design featuring the JMF811 controller with Micron L85A NAND. The JMF811 features a PCIe 2.0 x4 interface with 8 channels. This provides a native PCIe connection with up to 125,000 random IOPS from their controller. The controller will support A19, 16nm, 3D and TLC flash.
This close-up shows the JMF811 controller, and there is also a JMF810 controller that provides the option of either a PCIe 2.0 x2 or a SATA 3 connection.
Computex 2014 - MemoRight had their new M.2 SSD on display in their suite at Computex. The NF8-830 features a Marvell 88SS9183 controller paired with either Toshiba 19nm or Micron 20nm MLC NAND.
Expect top speeds of 740 MB/s in sequential read and up to 550 MB/s in sequential write. Random reads weigh in at 100,000 IOPS and random writes top out at 85,000 IOPS. The three capacity points of 128, 256 and 512GB will feature 256, 512, and 768MB of DRAM cache, respectively.
MemoRight also displayed the Extreme PCIe SSD that features capacities up to 2TB. Sequential read weighs in at 2,500 MB/s and sequential write is 1,800 MB/s. 4k random read/write is 300,000 / 250,000 IOPS for the 2TB version.
The new XT3 is MemoRight's first consumer TLC-based SSD. Samsung still has an advantage in this category, and we are finally seeing new entrants into this space from other players.
Computex 2014 - LSI recently was purchased by Avago, who wasted no time selling the lucrative and successful SandForce and ASD (Accelerated Storage Division) to Seagate for a tidy sum. The elephant in the room is whether or not SandForce controllers are going to continue to be offered to SandForce's existing, and future, customers.
SandForce was the driving factor behind enabling a whole ecosystem of vendors and their respective SSD products. Seagate isn't necessarily in the component business, they tend to focus on providing complete solutions. This has created quite a bit of apprehension amongst SandForce customers. Until the sale is completed, and Seagate formally announces their buisnesss plan, there will continue to be a bit of uneasiness amongst current SandForce vendors.
Our meeting with SandForce representatives did much to allay the fears of many that SandForce controllers will be taken off the market. For SandForce, business is being conducted as usual and they are focused on executing their roadmap and providing support for their vast number of customers. It is full steam ahead on SF-3700, so lets take a closer look.
Computex 2014 ASUSTOR displayed seven new exciting NAS products at Computex 2014 this year. The first for are from the upcoming 7-Series, first shown at CES 2014. The seventh is a new rackmount in the 2-Series that promises to be a low cost solution for small office use but still delivers ASUSTOR features that make the products efficient and easy to configure.
The first two 7- Series products are rackmount units, one a 9-bay and the other a 12-bay. ASUSTOR chose Core i3 processors running at 3.5GHz for the AS7009RD and AS7012RD. The new AS7009RDX and AS7012RDX move to Xeon E3 processors running at 3.2GHz but with advanced Xeon features.
Here we get our first look at the new 12-bay model that features 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, 2x HDMI 1.4 ports on top of a number of other I/O connectors.
In addition to the 7-Series rackmount products, ASUSTOR also displayed two pedestal servers with 10 and 8 bays. Both use Intel Core i3 processors also running at 3.5GHz.