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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.
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.