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Computex 2014 - QNAP went on a new product spree at Computex 2014 showing the new TS-x51 product series comprised of four new products at launch.
QNAP wanted to the new models in the spotlight and placed a few throughout the booth. Here we see all four lined together.
The new models should ship with QNAP's new QTS 4.1 software. We're currently testing 4.1 on a few QNAP products in the lab to get a feel for both the consumer and enterprise side.
Computex 2014 - Marvell displayed their SATA Express solutions at Computex 2014, including a SATA Express to M.2 enclosure. This allows the use of M.2 SSDs with SATA Express cabling and utilizing a 2.5" enclosure.
The emergence of SATA Express as an interconnect will create an entire ecosystem of products built to take advantage of the increased throughput of the PCIe bus.
Marvell also had their 88SS9293 PCIe 2.0 X4 controller on display with 512GB integrated into the small form factor.
The 5th generation Marvell 88SS1074 is a SATA SSD controller compatible with 15nm TLC NAND. This controller is using the SSD controller industries' smallest process at 28nm CMOS. This controller is optimized for the M.2 form factor. Marvell's 3rd gen LDPC technology is a big reason the controller can deal with the higher error rates of TLC NAND, which we covered more in-depth here.
Computex 2014 - OCZ Storage Solutions was showing its latest entrant to the SSD market, the Vector 180, at Computex 2014. The Vector 180 straddles the blurry line between client enthusiast-class and the light-enterprise markets. This is a growing segment that has seen a flurry of recent releases from all major SSD manufacturers, including OCZ Storage Solutions parent company Toshiba. The merging of development roadmaps and segmentation between the two product lines offered by Toshiba and OCZ Storage Solutions will become clearer as the merger progresses.
OCZ continues to develop their proprietary Barefoot 3 M00 controller and enhance functionality to bring it to different market segments.
The Barefoot is paired with Toshiba A19nm flash and also has Micron NAND packages for caching purposes.
The rear of the drive reveals the capacitors that provide power hold up in the event of power loss. This is a critical requirement for enterprise applications. There is also a third DRAM package on the rear of the PCB, which indicates a possible ECC implementation to protect cached data. Other data path protection features will also be implemented to satiate the needs of enterprise customers.
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.