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Computex Taipei 2013 - With our meetings at Hyatt finished, Cameron and I finally had a chance to get to the show floor for a few minutes today. There we saw the future of SSDs at just about every booth we stopped by: NGFF or Next Generation Form Factor, commercially known as m.2. Over the next few days, we'll have a lot of NGFF product images and slide in some details about the interface that most are not familiar with yet. We should be able to take a few products back to the test lab as well.
The largest crowd at Plextor's booth was around the two NGFF products seen above. This form factor has several versions, roughly 14 or 15 the last I looked into it. That number will come down to just a few common sizes once system builders roll out motherboards, notebooks and Ultrabooks with the new form factor.
Electrically, NGFF can connect to a SATA bus or PCIe. The PCIe connection moves us past the limits of SATA III, making SSDs exciting once again from a performance standpoint. Companies will once again race to maximize the performance of products and more distinction in the market place will occur.
Right out of the gate, NGFF will bring sequential read performance close to 800MB/s. Sequential write performance will increase as well. Plextor's offering shows up to 780MB/s read and 550MB/s write at this point in time in the marketing documents.
Computex Taipei 2013 - Off to the side at the Plextor booth and getting little attention was an early look at what may become the M6 Series. We were told it's a working product name but considering the M1 through M5 product naming scheme M6 seems appropriate since it's next in line.
The specifications shown are very close to those found on the existing M5 Pro model that's selling today.
That means the baseline M6, or M6S depending on your market, should have nearly identical performance to the existing M5 Pro product but at a lower cost. With that said, where are the M6 Pro specs? That's the model we want to see since the Pro versions in the Plextor product series are the bleeding edge performance drives. We'll get out the shovel tomorrow and look for treasure.
Computex Taipei 2013 - We learned today that Plextor has dropped any immediate plans to release the 2.5" TLC model shown at CES 2013 and CeBIT 2013. Citing endurance concerns, a Plextor rep stated to TweakTown that the TLC model shown at previous shows has been shelved. "With Toshiba's new 1y NAND flash we can meet the same or better price point and not [have] issues with endurance."
The product in question used a Marvell 88SS9189 controller with Toshiba TLC NAND, lithography unknown. In 512GB capacity size, the rated performance was 540MB/s sequential read and 465MB/s sequential write speeds. The quoted IOPS performance was 80K read and 72K write, 4K aligned. These numbers are significantly higher than Samsung's 840, especially the write performance. Allowing TLC NAND to write at those speeds would have been an issue since TLC has lower PE cycles than MLC NAND.
The buzz around the show is that 1y will change the SSD market from a price perspective. Also, new controllers are emerging that can scale beyond 512GB and new interfaces that work over PCIe will mean moving beyond the limits of SATA III. These new products should start hitting e-tail stores in 3Q.
Computex Taipei 2013 - In a move that surprised no one, Seagate today announced a new ultrathin 5mm HDD for use in slim laptops, ultrabooks and tablet devices.
The 5mm standard will start off strong this year with large OEMs and ODMs taking advantage of the 25% reduces height compared to 7mm HDDs that were all the rage just one year ago. Shown above, at the top of the pile is the new 5mm, single platter wonder. The drive sits atop 7mm and 9.5mm products.
With design wins in hand from ASUS and GIGABYTE (shown here), Seagate has this model in production already. The new product supports Seagate Secure Self-Encrypting Drive Features with on-the-fly data encryption that meets TCG Opal protocol.
Computex Taipei 2013 - VANTEC has just unveiled the latest product in their NexStar line of hard drive docks. The NexStar Wi-Fi Hard Drive Dock is a complete and easy way to add Wi-Fi-based storage to your home network.
The Wi-Fi Hard Drive Dock will fit both 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch hard drives and is able to connect to your 802.11 B/G/N wireless home network. It will allow you to access it from any Wi-Fi connected device including iOS and Android devices. This is possible through the use of VANTEC's NexStar Wi-Fi App that is available in the Apple App Store or on Google Play. Unfortunately, the NexStar will only allow simultaneous connections of up to three devices.
Additionally, the NexStar Wi-Fi Hard Drive Dock contains a USB 3.0 port for those times when you need a higher data transfer rate than what is available over Wi-Fi. The dock is capable of transfer speeds of up to 150MB/s, supports WEP/WPA/WPA2 encryption, and can handle hard drives up to 3TB in capacity.
Computex Taipei 2013 - In a move that surprised no one, Seagate today announced a new ultra-thin 5mm HDD for use in slim laptops, Ultrabooks and tablet devices.
The 5mm standard will start off strong this year with large OEMs and ODMs taking advantage of the 25 percent reduction in height compared to 7mm HDDs that were all the rage just one year ago. Shown above, at the top of the pile is the new 5mm, single platter wonder. The drive sits atop 7mm and 9.5mm products.
Earlier today at the Computex 2013 show in Taipei, Taiwan, Western Digital announced that it has began shipping the world's thinnest 1 TB hard drive. The 2.5-inch WD Blue measures just 7 mm thick. The company says this opens up new storage solutions for the increasingly popular light-and-thin category of notebooks.
Western Digital said that their entire line of 2.5-inch WD Blue drives from the 320GB to 1TB range will now be available in the 7mm thickness. The 7mm drives feature Western Digital's Shock Tolerance, Cool and Quiet, and Stable Track technologies for an improved customer experience.
"Users with large portfolios of content no longer need an Ultrabook or upgrading to a thin and light notebook," said Matt Rutledge , Vice President and General Manager for client storage products at WD. "This most compact 1TB hard drive to-date offers manufacturers of systems an upsell path for their customers who will now be able to choose systems offering both sleek design and high capacity."
Computex Taipei 2013 - A few of us walked around the halls of Nangang today, where we bumped into the Innodisk booth and saw something quite newsworthy. It was an NGFF-based SSD, which is the future of storage for super-slim devices.
Innodisk had an M.2-SATA device on show, which is based on the SATA 6Gbps spec, and comes in capacities of between 4GB and 64GB. Performance-wise, we can expect around 300MB/sec for reads, and 70MB/sec for writes. Sure, it won't break any records, but for super-slim devices, this is actually some quite good performance.
This morning storage company Silicon Power released its latest portable hard drive, the Stream S03. The new portable hard drive features design cues that were inspired by how folded pages may look in a book.
The Stream S03 features a matte finish which does well to hide fingerprints and stains while still maintaining the sleek and stylish streamlined design the Stream series is known for. In addition, the portable storage device utilizes rounded corners that allow users to handle the device with ease.
Located on the "page fold" corner is the LED status light which turns red when a USB 2.0 port is used and Blue when connected to USB 3.0. The Stream S03 is available in 500GB and 1TB capacities and features a free backup utility as well as a three-year warranty.
Early Tuesday morning Western Digital announced a new line of hard drives that is specifically designed for scale-out datacenter deployments. Western Digital says that the WD Se line is the first hard drives to be specifically designed for this specific market.
The new drives are built on an enterprise-grade platform designed for reliable 24x7x365 datacenter operation. The drives were tested to five million hours of functional and thermal testing and over 20 million hours of additional testing while being under an actual workload in server and storage systems environments.
Western Digital had the following to say about the new WD Se line:
"Today's cloud datacenter installations require a cost-effective way to build large-scale storage systems, while maintaining the 24x7 reliability necessary to minimize total cost of ownership. "WD's utilization of vast amounts of manufacturing and engineering data has forced us like many other companies to use mapreduce methodologies to effectively analyze our data. The WD Se hard drives are used in our own big datacenter, where we have gained real-world experience with Apache Hadoop."
The new drives have begun shipping in three models (WD2000F9YZ, WD3000F9YZ and WD4000F9YZ) that range from 2TB to 4TB capacities, MSRP for the new WD Se drives range from $159.99 to $309.99 for the 4TB model. Western Digital says the drives are available now through select distributors and resellers.