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We are lucky enough here at TweakTown to be on the cutting edge of storage devices, and right now the bleeding edge is currently NVMe (Covered in our Defining NVMe article). As part of our standard testing, and also for daily operating system usage, we have been using NVMe SSDs for some time. The only problem has been spotty boot support. We have went through a merry-go-round of various motherboards to find models that will actually support booting an NVMe device, as none are officially certified as NVMe compatible...until now.
MSI has announced they are in fact the first consumer motherboard manufacturer to fully support NVMe. The compatible motherboards are confined to the 9 series chipset, but encompass the X99, Z97, and H97 models. Current users can head over to MSI to find a BIOS update for their motherboard that enables the functionality.
The new BIOS revisions support NVMe devices in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 in 64-bit flavors. They also fully support booting from NVMe devices. Consumer-oriented NVMe devices are still in the pipeline and yet to be released. However, bleeding-edge enterprise devices can be used in a desktop environment if one has the cash to spare, so check out a review by our RAID expert Jon Coulter in standard desktop usage in his Intel DC P3700 800GB NVMe vs. Intel 730 Series SATA SSD RAID Report.
Featuring a dual-core processor and a compact design, Synology's new DiskStation DS115 is designed for use in any come environment or small business. Giving you the ability to centralize your data storage without a full server in use, this NAS box features border-less file sharing, cloud synchronization, multimedia streaming, home surveillance and more.
With the ability to transfer files at speeds exceeding 111 MB/s read and 104 MB/s write, this product claims to give you a 36% increase in writing speeds when compared to its predecessor. Synology's built-in floating-port unit comes with a USB 3.0 port, giving you the ability to connect it to external hard drives or other similar devices.
Said to consume only 5.44W during hibernation and 10.21W when in full use, the DiskStation DS115 is a nice addition to any growing file storage needs.
Storj is working to provide decentralized cloud storage in a gambit to provide a network free from censorship and monitoring. The key to this concept is for a peer-to-peer network to allow users to store their data on other people's computers in a distributed manner. This isn't exactly breaking the mold. Peer-to-peer cloud storage networks, such as Symform, have been around for years. However, Symform requires users to donate their own capacity in order to join the network, while Storj is offering to just buy spare capacity from anyone.
Storj has already raised roughly $215,000 through crowdfunding, but the donations were in Bitcoins, so that amount is subject to price variations. Renting out free drive space is purportedly easy, the person renting space simply installs software that receives files that have been split into easily digestible encrypted chunks. Data is then stored from other computers on the network, and is distributed in a parity-like scheme across multiple locations to provide access even if one user drops off the network.
Unfortunately, there are a slew of reasons to be skeptical of just renting out your free drive space. First, in order to receive payment the the HDD landlord has to cash out the payments in Storjcoin X, a digital currency similar to Bitcoin. Storjcoin's can be traded for cold hard cash, but noting the growing pains of several other digital currencies, HDD landlords may find it hard to get a reliable amount when converting the coins to cash. And thats just the tip of the storage iceberg.
CES 2015 - I'm not sure how much we can talk about the Vector 180 SSD since we're under NDA until *cough* mid January or thereabouts.
From what we can tell the Vector 180 looks ready for prime time action. Armed with the Barefoot 3 M00, the same used in the original Vector and Vector 150. The new 180 model differs from the previous models in two ways. The first is the NAND flash. Now armed with Toshiba A19 MLC NAND. The A19 is Toshiba's second generation 19nm flash that has a smaller die size (19mm x 19.5mm vs. first generation 19mm x 26mm). The smaller die size means Toshiba can produce more die per wafer, a move that reduces cost.
The new Vector 180 also increase the capacity size to 1TB of raw flash, 960GB after OP. The 128GB capacity size was also removed, still leaving OCZ with three capacity sizes, 240GB and 480GB rounding out the selection.
On the surface the Vector 180 looks like previous Vector models...
CES 2015 - OCZ Storage Solutions had two upcoming products in the suite at CES 2015 that we want to talk about today.
The first is known as JetExpress, a native PCIe 3.0 x4 solution that may appear in three form factors, M.2 (as shown), SFF-8639 and even a 2.5" AHCI SATA model. Given the AHCI SATA connection, the controller will be able to detect connection rates and negotiate with the system based on the connection method.
The model number on the controller tells us quite a bit. JX should stand for JetExpress, 1600 could be a connection rate or performance specification such as 1600 MB/s for the first model. M00 was used on early versions of the Barefoot 3 to the first version (OCZ also has an M10 second generation model for lower power consumption and slightly less performance).
CES 2015 - Plextor officially announced the M6e Black Edition at CES, a product we broke an exclusive story on just a few weeks ago. The M6e Black Edition is a gamer focused version of the original M6e PCIe 2.0 x2 SSD released one year ago at CES 2014.
The new model will ship in three capacity sizes, as shown from our suite high up in the MGM Grand on the beautiful Las Vegas Strip.
Enhancements include a new black and red aluminum cover that doubles as a heat sink, allowing the new drive to perform well in systems without a lot of air cooling.
CES 2015 - Despite the new M6e Black Edition with PlexTurbo 2.0 software just hitting the market, Plextor was prepared to talk about a future M7e SSD that doubles the available bandwidth of the just announced M6e Black Edition.
The new M7e moves the PCIe AHCI SSD to PCIe 2.0 x4. This doubles the theoretical bandwidth from the M6e and M6e Black Edition. Users will need to balance the fact that the M6e Black Edition is available now with the performance increase offered by the new model available in six months or so.
The new M7e is build with the Marvell Altaplus controller we first broke cover on in an exclusive report at CES 2014.
CES 2015 - Crucial announced a new 'SSD Toolbox' type software at CES 2015. Officially, the new software is called Crucial Storage Executive. The software installs on your system and then is browser based for quick and easy management. It works with all SSDs back to the M500 model.
The interface looks really good and scales to the resolution of your browser window. This is just the above the fold image on a 1920x1080 display with the browser set to 50% size.
The menu system was thought out well and shows you information on every drive in your system, not just the Crucial SSDs.
CES 2015 - Two themes stuck out this year in the consumer SSD world at CES 2015, Silicon Motion and 3bit per cell NAND flash.
At the ADATA suite we found these two topics merging together in the new ADATA SP320 SSD, the first retail branded product with a SMI SM2256 controller. Paired with the new Silicon Motion controller is 3bit per cell (TLC) NAND. ADATA didn't tell us what flavor of TLC rests under the cover. At this time the pool is fairly shallow but in the coming months several NAND flash fabs will deepen the pool.
The SP320 will ship in four capacity sizes, read up to 560 MB/s and write up to 510 MB/s, both sequential . No word on the random performance or price but we expect both to be low considering the low cost consumer placement of this product.
In 2015 the trend is to focus on higher SSD adaption rates, trying to displace HDDs and that can only be achieved by giving consumers larger capacity at better prices than what we have now. The SP320 puts ADATA on the right track to make that happen.
CES 2015 -ADATA had a working reference Seagate SandForce SF3700 SSD on display at CES 2015. The SF3700 has run over the expected release date, but with manufacturers highlighting the SF3700 in working demo's we know the controller is coming closer to market. Speculation is that shipping products will be ready around June, which is around the Computex trade show.
The demonstration was powered by a SandForce SSD placed on a PCB adapter board which allows an M.2 SSD to work over a standard PCIe slot. The SF3700 controller on display, commonly referred to by the code-name Griffen, communicates over a PCIe 2.0 x4 connection, though a x2 variant is also under development. The Griffen controller can communicate via either the AHCI or the NVMe protocol across the PCIe connection.
An important distinction between earlier demo's is the fact that the working demo was running without a heat sink. This points to continued optimization of the power consumption metrics, which relate directly to heat generation. The SF3700 has several key technologies, such as DEVSLP functionality, to allow it to operate within a very low power and thermal envelope.
The Jaguar codename on the demo board refers to a reference PCB design offered by SandForce, not the actual Griffen controller. The board contains 512GB of Toshiba A19nm flash. The SF3700 controller itself still bears LSI branding, a holdover from SandForce's parent company before the Seagate acquisition.
Read on for the performance results...