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Computex 2012 - Computex is starting to wrap up and we only have one day left to run the halls. So far I've only visited half of the companies I planned to, but all is not lost as we made a few changes to the schedule to bring you some really nice exclusive coverage.
The first of our exclusive coverage comes from SandForce and what makes this particular SF-2281 controlled drive special is it's paired with Toshiba's upcoming 19nm Toggle Mode flash!
We're just going to run over the numbers with brief commentary. At the end we'll talk about what we're seeing...
Computex 2012 - Today was our last day on the Computex 2012 show floor as tomorrow is public day and it just gets way too crowded, bur our sore legs can only take us so far at this stage of the week.
We stopped by the HighPoint booth where the obvious push for the storage company was with new Thunderbolt based products. The one product which caught my eye was the RocketStor 5212 which is a dual SATA 6G dock which of course features the speedy new Thunderbolt interface which is making its way on to new Intel Z77 Express based motherboards around this time.
The RocketStor 5212 supports both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch hard drives and solid state drives. The docket is rather light in weight and features a glossy white plastic that looks quite nice. We don't have any details on pricing or availability yet, but are looking forward to getting a unit in for review sometime a little later this year.
Computex 2012 - A blink and you'll miss it NAS was in the Synology booth in the halls of Nangang yesterday, where we spotted Synology's DS411slim. The Synology DS411slim is a 4-bay, 2.5-inch HDD based network attached storage (NAS) device.
The DS411slim can take 4 x 2.5-inch drives, and provide you with a great performing NAS that is tight on both physical space and power consumption. It sports a single-core 1.6GHz processor, 256MB of RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, and a single eSATA port. All of this weighs in at less than 0.66kg, yes, under 1kg! It's not noisy, either, with a rated noise level of just 21.1dBA.
Computex 2012 - We nearly walked past this, but then saw it just in time and boy does it look good. Promise's Pegasus J4 is a Thunderbolt-based storage solution on the smaller side of the scale. It sports 4 bays for 2.5-inch drives, supporting both HDDs and SSDs.
It features 2 x Thunderbolt ports that can deliver speeds of up to 600MB/sec. The Pegasus J4 supports RAID0, RAID1 and JBOD. One of its outstanding features is the ability to daisy chain up with other Pegasus devices, where you can link up 6 of these beasts for up to 24TB of storage. I'll take 6, thanks.
Computex 2012 - Biwin is also making news in the 2.5" form factor market with the new NuvoDrive NX SSD. This drive uses the fresh Novachips NVS3600A controller, AKA Bugati. Hopefully the Biwin NovaDrive has Bugatti performance and not a Bugatti price!
This is an enterprise targeted product so all bets are off on the price. The designer of the controller has a history of producing solid SSD controllers, we can thank him for a large part of the Indilinx Barefoot design.
The performance looks really good, at least with the benchmarks provided by Biwin. We've very excited to benchmark this drive in the coming weeks... or maybe hours.
Computex 2012 - Biwin, the Chinese SSD manufacturer with their sights set on the US market today unveiled a new PCI Express 8-lane product. The new PCIe card using a LSI 1064E controller but there are two significant downsides. The first is the PCIe interface is PCIe 1.0 and the second is the flash is asynchronous. A SLC model is in the works though but the cost of ownership will be significantly higher we expect.
The card was under glass so we didn't get a very good shot of it but we promise to have some more data to share tomorrow.
On the screen, Biwin had an ATTO run to display. The numbers look very good but we expect more from the SLC model.
Computex 2012 - Today we met with KingSpec and had some hands on time with their new PCI Express product that has up very excited.
The new card is designed for the entry level enterprise market but with the low price of around 3,500 USD (2TB, projected price) we see this product making it's way to the high end workstation market as well.
We now have a bit more info on the card. At first we thought only one side of the card was populated but as you see in this image, both sides hold mSATA ports for a total of eight. The performance should be amazing and we are quite excited to have one on the way. For our review we'll test the new card in our standard consumer / workstation tests and then ship it over to Paul for a round of enterprise tests.
KingSpec also manufactures 2.5" form factor SSDs. Here we see a standard 9.5mm model and a new updated 7mm model.
We have products in bound from KingSpec and lining up KingSpec with some contacts that might be able to bring the brand to the US market.
Computex 2012 - Half of the normal cast and crew from Micron are here in Taipei, but two of our favorite contacts were no shows. We met up with a handful of Micron / Crucial team members in Tokyo, but business was off the table, a full media blackout is taking place on the consumer side of things.
On the enterprise side Micron is set to swing for the fences. Our own Paul Alcorn just met with Micron hours ago and had a nice conversation about the already announced P320h, an enterprise class PCIe SSD that is sure to take the enterprise world over with PCIe version 2 8 lane interface.
So where does that leave Micron and Crucial on the client side of things? Well to be honest we really don't know. No amount of intoxicant could break the wall of silence and that might be just as telling. This could go two ways. The first is Micron is just relying on their m4 product line, which is doing very well in the market right now. The Crucial m4 512GB model is now selling for less than 400 USD.
Maybe Micron is having some issues with the new Marvell controller. Then there is a complete flip in controller architecture. We've already seen two new controllers here at Computex 2012, one in a Corsair client SSD and one in a Biwin Enterprise SSD...
Computex 2012 - Corsair threw a curve ball to us this morning with a new SATA 6Gbps controller. The new Neutron GTX was up and running with 24nm Toshiba Toggle Mode Flash and delivering class leading performance in ATTO. Two models are already on the road map, the flagship Neutron GTX with Toggle Flash and a Neutron with 25nm synchronous IMFT flash.
We're told pricing should be in line with current SandForce based models like the Force GT and Force 3.
ATTO is not a very good way to measure real world performance but we'll work on that on our own soon enough. The demo systems were running the drives as the OS boot drive so we didn't get a chance to rock Vantage or our Fill Test.
Another system was up and running with two drives in RAID 0 on an Intel PHY. The Neutron GTX scales very well but as you can imagine we have many questions since this is a new controller. For now, enjoy the image art and we'll make sure to bring you the performance information as soon as we can.
Computex 2012 - LSI SandForce displayed their second generation Flash Processor Unit paired with 19nm Toshiba Toggle Mode and IMFT 20nm NAND flash today at Computex. These new competing technologies will leads us into 2013 with even low prices on consumer solid state drives.
Our first image shows Intel 20nm ONFi2 flash.
The other half of the IMFT team was also present. Micron is now sampling their ONFi2 20nm flash.
Toshiba is also sampling their new 19nm Toggle Mode flash.
Next generation flash should still deliver the same amount of performance as we see now in current 24/25nm. The biggest difference is that you can fit more flash on each wafer which will lower the total cost of the flash. Flash makes up the largest expense in consumer SSDs so major changes in price have a direct affect on the cost of ownership.