OWC have just announced the first SSD upgrade for the Retina-powered Apple MacBook Pro, with the new drive available on a single 480GB capacity. The upgraders who purchase before September 30 will receive OWC's Envoy Pro USB 3.0 bus-powered portable enclosure that will house the removed SSD, and use it as an external drive at no extra cost.
OWC's drive is dubbed the Mercury Aura drive, and is user-installable. The Mercury Aura drive is capable of 500MB/sec, compared to the stock Apple drive of 461MB/sec. The Mercury-branded SSD is also capable of block management and wear leveling technologies, which limits the reduction in speed common in SSD drives over long-term use.
The Mercury Aura 480GB sell for $580 and is available right now.
DigiTimes is reporting that hard drive makers are working on slimming the 2.5" HDD standard down to a 5mm thick version. The move appears to be to compete with solid state drives and to provide a product that can be used inside today's fashionable ultra-portables and Intel's Ultrabooks. The slimmed models would still feature a hybrid design to provide better performance than a traditional drive.
DigiTimes reports that most hard drive manufacturers are still in the planning stages of development for the new 5mm thick drives and there has not been one manufactured as of yet. The source says the two major issues with the shrinking is stabilization of the read and write actions and increased cost due to the shrinking.
The source also believes that early 2013 will see heavy hybrid hard drive competition as the drives continue to be adopted in Ultrabook settings as well as entry- to mid-level laptops. Furthermore, this competition should accelerate the speed at which a 5mm 2.5-inch drive standard is developed and adopted.
Solid State Drives (SSDs) have been out for quite some time now, but as with any new technology, the iron needs to be bought out to get out some of the niggly issues, some big, some small. One of these has been RAID 0 on SSDs with TRIM.
RWLabs has an editorial where they talk about the subject itself, and I can't really condense it into a news post as its a four-page piece. If you're interested in SSD RAID 0 with TRIM enabled, then I suggest you check out the piece here.
RWLabs reckon it won't be long before we see motherboard makers bake the necessary goods into their BIOS', so as long as you've got the hardware, TRIM on RAID 0 SSDs shouldn't be too far away!
Intel have plans to standardize SSD specifications for their popular, and heavily marketed Ultrabook platform. The chipmaker wants to steer it toward slimmer, faster Ultrabooks. Intel plan to invite a large number of industry players such as NAND flash memory makers SanDisk, Micron and Samsung.
This would result in a bunch of the big players in the market discussing what is known as Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF), a new SSD form-factor derived from mSATA. Intel wants to accelerate their NGFF SSD plans, as current mSATA has limitations, including limited PCB area, where a number of ONFI channels can be wired out.
NGFF will probably end up as mSATA with much more PCB area, which will allow the same number of ONFI channels as 2.5-inch SSDs, with the latest generation of controllers and toggle-NAND flash memory. NGFF doesn't increase the thickness of the SSD itself compared to mSATA, but just elongates it. Intel and their Ultrabook partners are discussing five length standards at the moment.
Western Digital's latest mini creation, the latest in their 2.5-inch range of HDDs, the WD Green WD20NPVT has made its way onto a Japanese retailers shelf. The drive is built from the 2.5-inch form-factor, is 15mm thick, which means it won't fit in most notebooks.
But, the 2.5-inch drive sports an insane 2TB of storage, features IntelliPower variable spindle speed, 8MB cache, SATA 3Gb/s interface, 0.2W idle (parked) and 1.7W (active) power consumption. The new 2TB 2.5-inch drive is priced at $240.
What do you think? We're eyeing 2TB 2.5-inch drives, isn't that a little crazy? Would you have thought 10 years ago this is possible, and not be that surprised? At just $240, that's quite a deal.
eSATA is one of those ports that has seemingly gone away. For those of you who still have an external enclosure that utilizes the eSATA connection, finding one on a laptop, or an open port on a desktop install one can be challenging. That's why ORICO has produced an adapter that converts USB 3.0 to an eSATA port.
Stylish? Maybe. Useful? Definitely. The CT6539U3E by ORICO plugs into a USB 3.0 port or USB 2.0 port and provides an eSATA port. The eSATA port operates at a maximum host data-rate of 3Gb/s and draws the necessary power from the USB port that it is plugged into. The converter's host controller features activity LEDs to indicate when data is being transferred.
The adapter should also support AHCI in order for hot-swap capabilities to work properly. The price of the adapter is a reasonable $15, nothing that's going to break the bank. The price is certainly cheaper than buying a new external drive, as long as the current drive still has enough space for what you need.
NVELO have opened their arms to The SSD Guy, who provided the site with some benchmark data comparing the company's Dataplex software's performance versus Intel's iSRT caching software that is getting baked into more and more Ultrabooks as they arrive.
For those, like me, who aren't fully aware of this technology, they are both caching software that "automatically maintains "Hot" data within a low-capacity SSD while leaving "Cold" data on the system HDD. The end result is that the PC performs as if it boasts a large SSD when, in truth, it uses a standard HDD and a modest-sized SSD, giving SSD-like performance at HDD-like prices, with full HDD capacity."
The above chart was provided to The SSD Guy by NVELO, shows a few standard benchmarks run on three different systems. The first is an off-the-shelf HP Envy 4-103 Ultrabook using the iSRT-based write-back cache that it ships with (represented by the grey columns), the same system but adapted to use a write-around implementation of NVELO's Dataplex (shown in pale blue), and finally, the same system sporting Dataplex running in write-back mode (shown in dark blue).
Intel's plans for their solid-state drives (SSD) for 2013 are beginning to form, where we should see the release of the mainstream SSD 335 series, and the performance SSD 525 series getting released. Intel could also unleash their latest 20nm NAND flash memory technology onto some of these bad boys.
Intel's 335 series will replace the 330 series in most aspects, and could sport a new NAND flash memory type, as mentioned above. Intel could tweak the performance of the drive, making it faster than the LSI-SandForce SF-2881-powered 330 series drive, if it had the right firmware and NAND flash combination. The 335 series looks to be receiving, at first, 80GB and 180GB sizes in Q1 2013. 2013 could mark the time when we see 180GB drives become "the new" 120GB size.
Intel's performance-minded SSD 525 series looks to arrive in 25nm NAND flash, why 25nm and not 20nm? We don't know. Intel most likely won't change from the SF-2281 controller that powers the current SSD 520 series, either. But, the herbs and spices that Intel could build into their firmware could change things up a bit. Intel's SSD 525 series will arrive in mSATA, as well as 2.5-inch form-factors, and will arrive in 30, 120, 180, and 240GB capacities.
Where's Vin Diesel? Because the fast, and the furious just arrived in the form of a new SSD from Texas Memory Systems (TMS). The company has announced the world's fastest PCI Express-connected, flash-powered solid-state drive, the RamSan-70.
TMS' RamSan-70 uses 685GB of single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash parts, which only 450GB of usable. The rest is given to overprovisioning and RAID parity storage for reliability and performance purposes, as well as sporting a pretty decent PowerPC CPU.
TMS also claim that the RamSan-70 can reach an astounding 2,500MB/sec sustained read, with anywhere between 300K-1,200K read input/output operations per second (IOPS). This is all backed up with a write latency of 30 microseconds,with bandwidth being sustained through a PCI Express 2.0 x8 slot. Isn't that the hottest few lines of text you've ever heard regarding storage? I think so.
TMS also claims that the the RamSan-70 is the fastest flash-based SSD around, considering rivals OCZ with their RevoDrive 3 maxing out at just 1GB/sec read and 130k write IOPS. Comparing that to TMS' solution, it now feels slow.
But, the RamSan-70 is aimed mainly at the professional market, considering there's no cost yet, it could cost you an organ. But, can it run Crysis?
Seagate Australia today announced their new range of external hard drives targeted to the consumer market. The new Backup Plus external hard drives come in both 2.5-inch (Portable/Slim) and 3.5-inch (Desktop) form factors with the same Universal Storage Module (USM) adopted in 2010 by Seagate. USM allows the user to switch between USB 3.0 (included), Firewire 800 (purchased separately) or Thunderbolt (also purchased separately) input connections with a modular connector attached to the hard drive. These USM connectors work interchangeably with the previous GoFlex line from Seagate.
A lot of people do not backup their data regularly, data that may hold a lot of value to us. According to Seagate's research on the average Australian's backup strategy; 69% do not regularly back up content from home computers and notebooks, 77% of consumers do not backup the data on their phones & tablets and a huge 93% of Australians do not backup their photos and videos from social media websites.
The reasons behind these statistics are varied and explaining these reasons will probably call for another article. However, the biggest obstacle is probably the lack of knowledge from the public and also, the notion that backing up data is complicated to do...
MSI's reflexes are great, doctor approves their entry into the SSD market with the MSI Reflex Series of SSD's
There were rumblings of this just days ago, but it appears that MSI are officially entering the solid-state drive (SSD) business. Enter MSI's Reflex Series of SSDs. Reflex will come in three sizes, 60GB, 120GB and 240GB with model numbers of RX-60, RX-120, and RX-240 for the respective sizes. MSI's Reflex Series of SSD's are based on the SandForce SF-2281 processor.
All drives will be based on the SATA 6Gbps standard, with the RX-60 capable of 525MB/sec read, 495MB/sec write and 85k IOPS, the RX-120 is slightly faster with 550MB/sec and 515MB/sec for read/write, respectively, backed up by 90k IOPS. Finally, the RX-240 sports 560MB/sec and 525MB/sec for read/write, respectively, with the same 90k IOPS.
Unfortunately, no information is available regarding price, or availability. As soon as we get one of these bad boys into our labs you can be sure we'll put it through some testing.
It looks as though OCZ are hard at work on a new Indilinx controller, where according to CEO Ryan Peterson, the Barefoot 3 controller is currently in production over at TSMC. OCZ expects to offer sampling drives based on the Barefoot 3 controller by September.
Peterson also revealed the progress on the new SSD controller during a conference call with financial analysts. There's not much information on the chip itself, but it reportedly sports a 32-bit, 400MHz "Aragon" processor, with a SSD-specific RISC instruction set. Peterson also said that the chip's "primary IT blocks" are licensed from a third-party.
OCZ expects these new Barefoot 3-powered SSDs to outperform their current offerings, obviously, with Peterson mentioning a "significant performance increase over [OCZ's] current products", but he didn't provide any numbers. We should expect Barefoot 3-powered SSDs from OCZ sometime before the end of Q3 2012.
Western Digital announces new range of Red hard drives aimed at the NAS market, coverage from their Aussie event
Western Digital Australia today announced their new range of hard drives at a media event in Sydney with a few of their NAS partners; Promise, QNAP & Synology. The WD Red NAS drives are the newest addition to the Western Digital hard drive family, specifically designed for SOHO and prosumers that utilise a 1-5 bay Network Attached Storage (NAS) in their network.
All NAS vendors were approached to ensure that their products were compatible with the new WD Red NAS drives. Both ARM & Intel chipsets are supported.
Western Digital explains that the NAS market is the fastest growing market in hard drives. "People are purchasing diskless NAS systems and worry about which hard drives are compatible," said Albert Chang, Senior Product Marketing Manager for WD, "We want to make the perfect choice clear."...
If you thought those current 600GB HDDs at 10,000RPM were good, Toshiba have just bettered them. Toshiba's new AL13SE range of HDDs come in sizes of 300GB, 450GB, 600GB and 900GB. All of them run at an insane 10,500RPM.
The new drives promise a 32-percent increase in sustained transfer rates when compared to previous-generation drives. They also send and receive data through a 6Gbps SAS 2.0 connection. Toshiba have kept pricing under wraps at this point in time.
Western Digital have just announced a fresh new series of HDDs, this time bound for Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices. Enter the WD Red NAS HDDs, designed specifically for SOHO NAS systems with one to five bays. WD have had the Red series of HDDs compatibility-tested with top NAS box manufacturers for power and performance, which is something that is perfect for NAS setups.
WD's Red NAS drives come in 1TB, 2TB, and 3TB capacities, all in the 3.5-inch form factor. WD's Red line sports NASware technology, which is designed to improve reliability and system performance, reduce customer downtime and to simplify the integration process. WD's Red customers also get something special, free premium 24x7 dedicated support, and a three-year warranty.
Western Digital's Red line of HDDs is their fourth color to enter the market from the company, with the other colors being Black, Blue and Green. WD puts this down to the "Power of Choice", with their storage solutions clear and easy to identify. Blue for "solid performance and reliability for everyday computing", Green for "cool, quiet, eco-friendly", and then we have Black which features "maximum performance for power computing", and of course, Red for "home and small office NAS".
Pricing on the drives is not too bad, with MSRP for the 1TB, 2TB and 3TB being $109, $139 and $189, respectively.
Corsair's Force Series of SSDs are some of the best in the world, and decently priced, so Corsair have added another member to the Force Series family. Corsair have just announced the Force Series GS, which sports the current-generation SandForce SF-2281 controller with Toggle DDR NAND in order to create Corsair's fastest SSD yet.
Corsair's Force Series GS sports a maximum random 4K write of up to 90K IOPS, features SATA 6Gbps connectivity, TRIM support and continues its 2.5-inch form factor. Corsair have made the Force Series GS available in four capacities, 180GB, 240GB, 360GB and 480GB with prices ranging from $189.99 to $489.99, depending on the capacity. Performance varies a little bit depending on the drive, too:
- 180GB: 555MB/s read, 525MB/s write, 90,000 Max Random 4k Write IOPS
- 240GB: 555MB/s read, 525MB/s write, 90,000 Max Random 4k Write IOPS
- 360GB: 555MB/s read, 530MB/s write, 50,000 Max Random 4k Write IOPS
- 480GB: 540MB/s read, 455MB/s write, 50,000 Max Random 4k Write IOPS
Seagate haven't really bothered with the rocketing solid-state drive (SSD) business, but it looks as though those thoughts are about to change. Seagate have just struck a deal with Seagate controller maker DensBit.
Seagate wants its new friend DensBit to help them build "low-cost, high-performance" consumer SSDs. Consumers are destined to get slower, but denser 3-bits-per-cell memory made on a 20nm-or-loss process, while business-class drives will reach 2-bits-per-cell flash.
There's no ETA on these SSDs, but we should expect them in the not too distant future and we should also see Seagate pour considerable resources, time and sweat into SSDs over the coming years.
We often forget just how incredible the technology in a spinning drive is. We just take for granted that the size and speed of said drives will just keep increasing without thinking of the incredible speeds already present in the drives. Take for example the actuator arm in the video: it moved back and forth 22 times in just a mere 0.25 seconds.
That works out to just over 0.01 seconds per movement. Incredible. It's not recommended that you try this at home as opening the case of an HDD will allow dust in and will kill the drive extremely quickly. Additionally, most people don't have cameras capable of 1000fps just laying around in their homes.
That said, the video shows just how incredibly nimble and beautiful the inner workings of a disk drive are. That said, a solid state drive is faster and still one of the best upgrades you can do for a computer.
Our Deal of the Day is 1.5TB Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex USB 2.0 External HDD for $79.99 w/FREE Shipping!
Staples has the 1.5TB Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex external USB 2.0 hard drive with 2 year warranty for $79.99 with FREE shipping until 6/16/12. Lights at the bottom front of the device show the remaining available capacity. They make relatively inexpensive accessories for this drive to turn it into USB 3.0 or FireWire 800 too.
ADATA often produces high quality products at bargain pricing. Today's announcement is no different. ADATA has launched a new line of USB flash drives which range in capacity from 4GB to 32GB and won't break the bank. USB drives have been coming down in price for a while now, but I often still don't see drives for sale for what the MSRP of the 32GB one is.
The min selling feature for these drives is there color. They are available in navy blue, milk white, cotton candy pink, and caramel brown. These colors help to keep the drive fashionable. The flash drives are perfect for someone looking for a fashionable, high capacity USB thumb drive to take with them.
The drive is available in the US and Canada through selective retail channels. The MSRP for the various devices is as follows:
- 4GB: $5.99
- 8GB: $7.99
- 16GB: $13.99
- 32GB: $21.99
Intel has decided that AES encryption feature of the 520 Series SSD (Cherryville) does not actually feature 256-bit encryption. It turns out that the SSD actually only supports 128-bit encryption, which should be plenty for most users. These details have come to light after Intel published an updated specification document for the series.
Intel is doing the right thing and offering a refund for users who feel 128-bit isn't enough:
Intel stands behind its products and is committed to product quality, and is working to bring AES 256-bit encryption to future products. If, however, our customers are not satisfied with the 128-bit encryption in an Intel 520 Series SSD purchased before July 1, 2012, they can contact Intel customer support prior to October 1, 2012 to return their product and Intel is offering to provide a full refund of the purchase price. For further information or questions about this specification change, consumers should contact Intel Customer Support.
Intel asserts that 128-bit is enough for most consumers, and I have to agree. The bit number refers to the length of the key and 128-bit keys are pretty hard to crack. The longer the key, the longer it takes to crack due to a larger keyspace. 256-bit is only really needed for military and super secret applications. But then again, if you aren't careful with the password, a huge key doesn't matter.