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Patriot Memory was one of the early pioneers in the consumer SSD market and had several successful product lines. Patriot backed away from the SSD market as competition became stiff and the market consolidated. They never really gave a reason, but the SSD market is brutally competitive and margins are shrinking. They still have three models listed on their site, but these are older models with SandForce processors. New controller manufacturers, such as Phison and SMI, have begun to experience success. These controllers allow smaller SSD players without NAND fabrication capability to compete with leading SSDs from the fab-enabled behemoths.
A new unannounced Patriot SSD recently popped up on Amazon. The Patriot Torch is available in capacities of 120 and 240GB, and features a Phison controller. The Torch is outfitted with 16nm Synchronous NAND and features 555/535 MB/s sequential speeds. There is precious little information available on the new SSD, such as random performance and endurance. We do know the SSD features a three-year warranty and sports a 6Gb/s SATA controller. The SSDs are competitively priced, but the relatively small capacity points may be leading the way for high capacity versions.
As according to a press release sent by ADATA HQ this week - they're launching a new stylish series of external hard drives, including 500GB, 1TB and 2TB iterations.
These hard drives come bundled with ADATA's own OStGO and HDDtoGO software, alongside a bright blue/red LED to indicate data transfer status. We've been told that these drives come packed with G Shock Sensor Protection to help protect your device, alongside a three year manufacturer warranty.
Named the HV100 series, this drive is being marketed as a sleek option to help you back up important data - being quoted as "compact, lightweight, smooth and stylish". One of the main features talked about quite often in this press release is all based around its shock protection qualities, stating that once a disturbance has been detected, a flashing red light will be displayed. Once the threat has passed, the hard drive will continue to function as normal.
Those looking for the ultimate in NAS performance have long yearned for SSD specific NAS models. 2.5" NAS models offer a slim design and impressive density, but adding in SSDs can actually provide a big capacity bump along with increased performance. Due to popular demand QNAP has released the TS-451S Turbo NAS, the first consumer NAS unit designed for SSDs.
The four-bay TS-451S Turbo NAS features a quad-core Celeron 2.41Ghz processor and comes with 4GB of DDR3L, which can be easily increased to 8GB. The Turbo has a low price point that is similar to HDD NAS models, so users do not have to pay a premium for the 4,000+ IOPS performance, at least for the NAS. SSDs are selling as low as 35 cents a GB, so users can find plenty of economical SSDs on the market. SSDs are well-suited for NAS environments due to lower power consumption and totally silent operation. The new TS-451S Turbo will be available within a month.
Mushkin announced the release of the Reactor SSD. The drive only has one listed capacity of 1TB, but we would expect it to be available in numerous capacity points. The Reactor sports the Silicon Motion SM2246EN controller, but no word on the type of NAND employed. The SSD only features a three-year warranty, which is a bit light in the era of 10-year warranties we see with several MLC SSDs. The NAND is likely MLC, as that version of Silicon Motion's controller doesn't support TLC, at least to our knowledge.
The Reactor comes in a 2.5" 7mm form factor, which is perfect for mobile applications. The SMI controller also supports DevSlp, a key function that idles the SSD to save power in mobile applications. The Reactor features speed of 74,000/76,000 IOPS random read/write and 560/460 MB/s sequential read/write speed. The Reactor wades into an extremely competitive market, and low-cost MLC and TLC SSDs are lowering the bar on pricing. The fab-enabled SSD manufacturers are in the midst of a cost-cutting cycle, and current prices are as low as 34 cents per GB.
Data storage affects every aspect of modern life, but it turns out the technology developed for Blu-ray data storage can also have other uses. Solar cells work by trapping light, and it turns out that the same patterns used on the surface of Blu-Ray disks can absorb 21.8% more light than other textures. Solar cell efficiency is measured by how many photons they can absorb, and current designs utilize quasi-random nanostructures to boost efficiency. The pits and grooves present on a Blu-ray are between 150 and 525 nanometers, which is coincidentally the perfect size for trapping photons.
Researchers at Northwestern University began by testing with the patterns from a blank Blu-ray, but interestingly enough they found that greater efficiency is achieved when data is present. Researchers tested with different types of video on the Blu-ray, such as Jackie Chan's "Supercop", episodes of "Family Guy", and black and white movies. The efficiency of the solar cells increased no matter what type of video was present. The 21.8% increase in efficiency equates to a 12% improvement in conversion efficiency, which will result in more efficient solar panels and other applications.
Starting on Black Friday, and only available while supplies last, Samsung is offering a free Far Cry 4 download with any purchase of an 840 EVO SSD. The offer is only available from participating retailers, most notably Best Buy, Amazon, Newegg, Microcenter, Fry's, and Tiger Direct. Users will be able to download the game at a Samsung-hosted web address (Samsung.com/fc4) until September 1.
The 840 EVO is a value SSD that delivers tremendous performance. Our resident SSD expert, Chris Ramseyer, recently took a look at the 840 EVO in his Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD Review - An SSD with a Good Price and Performance article. Chris found the 840 EVO to offer a great mixture of price and performance, and the EVO won the TweakTown Editor's Choice award. The 840 EVO is currently selling at roughly 45 cents per gigabyte, and adding in the free Far Cry 4 game is the cherry on top.
The floods in Thailand in 2011 sent a tidal wave of high prices through the HDD market. The ripples of the flood are just receding and HDD prices are finally rebounding. Black Friday sales are going to feature HDDs for roughly $25 a terabyte, and expect many of these great deals to come without the normal mail in rebate programs. External drives are also going to be exceptionally low priced and feature speedy USB 3.0 interfaces.
After years of declining sales the PC market is also finally improving. Storage devices are somewhat of a litmus test for the PC market. When sales of PC are bad the HDD market declines. Users seem to be turning back to their home computers. Sales of tablets, which helped eviscerate the PC space, are also starting to decline. The personal storage category has rebounded with a 4.8% increase in overall units shipped last quarter, according to IDC.
As according to their press release sent out a mere 9 hours ago, Patriot have just announced they are increasing the sizing of their LX series of SDXC and microSDXC flash memory storage models.
These come in the form of a 256GB UHS-I class 10 SDXC Flash Card and a 128GB UHS-I Class 10 microSDXC Flash Card and are said to be available very soon for a MSRP of $129.99 from major American retailers such as Fry Electronics, Newegg and Amazon.
In an earnings call today for investors, Robert Crooke, VP and GM NVM Solutions Group, publicly announced Intel's 3D NAND. The new 3D structure will use lithography larger than 20nm but Intel didn't disclose anything further. The new 3D NAND will be produced in Utah, a IMFT factory, Intel's joint venture with Micron Technology.
Robert Crooke holding an Intel 3D NAND package.
Intel stressed the disruptive nature of the new 3D structure. The company plans to release products in the second half of 2015 with the new flash and plans to use the technology to disrupt SSD prices.
Apple recently upset their users by removing support for third-party software that enables TRIM functionality. Perhaps most distressing was the fact the change went unannounced. Many Apple users with Trim Enabler, a third party app that enables TRIM functionality, unfortunately bricked their installs when they updated to OS X 10.10 Yosemite. There is a method for enabling TRIM with third-party SSDs, but it involves creating a massive security vulnerability. SSDs can work without TRIM but speed is reduced and endurance also takes a hit. TRIM works by complimenting the Garbage Collection routines inside the SSD, which allows the early removal of previously deleted data.
After the news was released we were contacted by several third-party SSD vendors about the impact of removing TRIM functionality. From our conversations it was revealed that only one manufacturer currently has native TRIM support for Apple products. Angelbird has supported native Apple TRIM support for two years, and the Angelbird wrk for Mac is the only SSD right now that circumvents the issue. Chris, our consumer SSD guru, recently took an in-depth look at the SSD in the Angelbird SSD wrk 512GB SSD Review. The wrk leverages a Silicon Motion SM2246EN controller, but we aren't sure if that specific controller is the key to native Apple TRIM support. We contacted Angelbird representatives and they confirmed native TRIM support, but could not share specifics on exactly how they enable it. Angelbird representatives also confirmed they have external USB 3.0 devices that support TRIM through their proprietary software.