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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.
Computex 2014 Not waiting on the market to catch up, ASUS invests in the company's own SATA Express products to bring higher than SATAIII speeds to market.
SATAe or as we refer to it in long form, SATA Express increased the data storage path from 6Gb/s to a full 10Gb/s bus which allows for higher sequential throughput speeds for gamers, enthusiasts and power users looking for faster performance than products offered with an aging interface.
The first product takes advantage of M.2 SSDS, also working at 10Gb/s via PCIe 2.0 x2 technology. This is an easy way to increase disk performance, breaking the 6Gb/s barrier on systems with SATAe and without native PCIe based M.2 connectors.
Computex 2014 ASUS displays USB 3.1 on two prototype motherboards at the show. USB 3.1 doubles USB 3.0 performance, all the way to 10Gb/s. It seems USB-IF doesn't want to get left behind by Thunderbolt and is quickly ramping up performance. For motherboard makers, USB is cheaper to implement than Thunderbolt and has backwards compatibility dating back to the mid 90s and has widespread support from peripherals, storage, monitors and even accompanies CE products. It truely lives up to it's name as the Universal Serial Bus.
It truly lives up to it's name as the Universal Serial Bus.
Computex 2014 The SSD market is rapidly consolidating. Those who create flash, or who have strategic agreements with NAND fabricators, are beginning to take over the SSD market. For smaller companies the challenge is to find ways to innovate and stay relevant in the SSD market. Plextor, and their Lite-On counterpart, have some of the most experienced and advanced firmware engineering teams in the world. This allows them to deliver products that give them the edge on their competitors. Plextor is looking to leverage this considerable experience to weather the storms of SSD consolidation.
The latest addition to Plextor's arsenal is the PlexTurbo caching software. By utilizing system DRAM Plexotr creates a flexible cache pool that can boost performance of the underlying storage by leaps and bounds. Above we witness astounding system performance, 4.6GB/s read and 5.6GB/s write speeds, created by leveraging up to 16GB of system DRAM for a cache layer. Samsung has a similar solution, but a key difference is that Samsung limits the amount of system DRAM used for caching, primarily as a power-conserving measure in mobile applications. Plextor is essentially one-upping Samsung's offering by allowing users to allocate much larger chunks of DRAM for even more bleeding-edge speed.
DRAM caching brings along inherent risk during power loss, so stay tuned for Chris Ramseyers full review off the new Plextor software to see just how they address that issue.
Computex 2014: Areca Technology displayed their newest high-performance RAID controller at Computex 2014, along with their expanding line of Thunderbolt products. This new 12Gb/s RAID controller, the ARC-1883ix-24, can handle up to 24 SATA or SATA drives but has a few new features that will distance it far from any other RAID controller on the market.
Most RAID controllers ship with only 1GB of DDR cache, and for years Areca has led the high-performance RAID realm with their adjustable DRAM modules that allow up to 4GB of cache. The new 1833ix series allows up to a whopping 16GB of DDR3 cache on one controller. This necessitates the addition of a 6-pin connection to help power the controller, another first.
There are currently only two prototypes of this controller, and TweakTown has one for a world record attempt during Computex 2014. Stay tuned for more information on that once we begin our tests!
Areca has also began diversifying thier product line and expanding into the Thunderbolt storage market. Areca has a long history of producing enterprise-class external enclosures, and the move to providing Thunderbolt 2 solutions is a natural fit.
Computex 2014 ADATA was demonstrating a running demo of DDR4 memory at their booth today, here we can see several sticks of memory connected and running during the live demo.
The DDR4 sticks are running at 2133 speeds, and run at a low voltage of 1.2V which will lead to big power d savings. The CAS latency is CS15, and the 288-pin design will deliver 50% more bandwidth and 40% lower energy consumption.
Pairing the new DDR4 memory with speedy SSDs, such as this SandForce SF-37000 design shown with the board here, will provide ultimate performance from memory and the storage subsystem. With new SSD architectures and faster memory much of the bottleneck will be pushed back to the CPU and applications.
Storage can be one of the most expensive parts of a PC build, particularly if you are using a SSD. Micron has announced a new SSD storage solution for PC builders and upgraders that makes solid state storage much more affordable while giving you lots of storage space.
The SSD is the Crucial MX100 SSD and it gives 256GB of storage space for a price right under $110. The exact sales price is $109.99 making it much cheaper than the typical price of $150 for 256GB of SSD storage from major brands.
Computex 2014 - One of the more impressive, and very surprising things to see at Computex this year was seeing G.Skill re-enter the SSD game with the amazingly fast Phoenix Blade series of SSDs.
G.Skill's new set of flash is based on the PCI Express 2.0 x8 bus, and comes in two sizes: 480GB and 960GB. The 960GB model is capable of sequential reads of up to 1800MB/sec, or 1.8GB/sec while the sequential writes are being pushed up to a huge 1100MB/sec, or 1.1GB/sec. 4KB Random IOPS are hitting 230K, which is impressive. I definitely need a few of these in my life!
Strontium, a leading digital storage brand from Singapore, today launched its finest and fastest range the ultra-high speed Nitro Plus, in Singapore. The much awaited range of products by Strontium consists of UHS-I Speed Class 3 SD and microSD cards, which enable consumers to capture and watch 4K2K Ultra HD pictures and videos on their high performance cameras, tablets and smartphones.
Users can capture up to 2 hours of 4K2K HD video on a 128GB SD card. In addition to 4K2K video capture, Nitro Plus cards can also be used for burst or continuous mode photograph capture and television recording. The faster transfer speeds also reduce the time needed to download large movie and music files to smartphones and tablets.
The NITRO PLUS microSD 3-in-1 comes in three memory capacities 16GB, 32GB and 64GB which are priced at $25.99, $47.99 and $95.99 respectively. The NITRO PLUS SD card is available in four memory capacities - 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB, which are priced at $25.99 SGD, $47.99, $95.99, and $166.99 respectively.