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Computex Taipei 2013 - We didn't get a lot of time to talk with ADATA today, so more details will follow shortly. At the booth we found several interesting products though. First up are two personal cloud products that use NAS technology to give users access to their data anywhere in the world through other devices. You can use the Internet--err 'the cloud'--to access your files. I use this technology everyday on my notebook, smartphone, and other people's hardware to get to my files. Since I'm literally on the other side of the globe right now, it's an important detail to toss in.
We're not going to try to BS you, this is obviously a rebranded unit from ASUSTOR. ADATA's global network of distribution should help products like this gain traction. I've said for years the most important tech in my home and office is my NAS server and that digital home needs one as the foundation for ever device to connect to. With the new cloud features, your data is no longer tied to a physical device on your person as you can access it from anywhere.
Computex Taipei 2013 - ADATA's SX series branding has always been associated with LSI SandForce controllers. Even before SX, the S Series products like S510 and S511 were LSI SandForce. It's been quite some time since we've seen ADATA using a Marvell controller. The last time I can think of is at Computex three years ago when ADATA closed a section of their booth so we could test a then new SATA III product based on the same controller used in the Crucial C300, the world's first SATA III controller.
Looking to increase diversity to the brand, the SATA SX920 uses a Marvell controller and appears to be ready for entry into the channel. We suspect this is the same controller used in the SanDisk Extreme II and Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme. Talking to the product manager at the show, we learned that SX920 uses Type C Toggle NAND, the good stuff that everyone wants but few are getting access to.
With 20nm yields down and next-gen LSI SandForce stuck somewhere in 3Q or 4Q, ADATA needed a product to compete with M500 and Extreme II. Personally I would have liked to have seen ADATA not follow the SX product naming scheme and release this under a different name since SX920 is quite a bit different than SX900 and SX910. The five-year warranty from the SX910 didn't carry over either.
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.