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HGST Ultrastar SSD800MM Enterprise 12Gb/s SSD Review (Page 1)

HGST Ultrastar SSD800MM Enterprise 12Gb/s SSD Review

The HGST Ultrastar SSD800MM brings PCIe-like performance to a 2.5" form factor SSD with the new 12Gb/s SAS interface.

By Paul Alcorn on Jul 9, 2013 08:01 am CDT - 3 mins, 13 secs reading time for this page
Rating: 95%Manufacturer: HGST


HGST Ultrastar SSD800MM Enterprise 12Gb/s SSD Review 01 |

The release of the Ultrastar SSD800MM dual-port 12Gb/s SSD is the culmination of a long process of research and development, interoperability testing and qualification from HGST. Releasing a new storage product with a new interface is a lengthy process, evidenced by the demos that we have seen for nearly two years at a wide range of storage trade shows of the HGST SSD800MM.

HGST, a Western Digital company, has a long history of innovation in the SAS space. Developing the next generation of 12Gb/s SSDs also requires the other end of the hardware to be in place, such as an HBA or RAID controller. LSI and HGST have been working hand-in-hand and we are using the still-under-development LSI SAS 9300-8e to test the performance of the SSD800MM.

The SSD800MM is the middle child in a family of three Tier-0 12Gb/s SSDs from HGST, with each member providing a different level of endurance. The top-level offering is the High Endurance Ultrastar SSD800MH. The MH version features sequential throughput of 1,200/750 MB/s read/write, and 145,000/100,000 sustained read/write IOPS, respectively. This SSD provides the highest endurance with up to 25 DW/D (Drive Writes per Day) for the toughest workloads, such as HFT and OLTP environments.

The Read Intensive Ultrastar SSD1000MR brings up the low-end of the endurance pyramid, and features sequential speeds of 1,200/700 MB/s read/write and 145,000/70,000 read/write IOPS, respectively. With an endurance rating of 2 DW/D, this SSD is clearly intended for the write-once, read-many class of applications, such as audio/video streaming, cloud computing and other internet applications. While the other models top out at a capacity of 800GB, the SSD1000MR offers a larger 1TB capacity point.

The Mainstream Endurance Ultrastar SSD800MM in the lab today is for the middle ground, with up to 10 DW/D of endurance on tap. The SSD800MM brings blistering sequential throughput of 1,200/700 MB/s read/write, and 145,000/70,000 sustained read/write IOPS. This mid-level of SSD endurance is well suited for Big Data, online gaming and cloud computing applications.

The previous generation Ultrastar products employed varying types of flash as endurance technology has improved. The SSD400S utilized ultra-rugged 34nm SLC, and as NAND processes shrunk the SSD400S.B made the switch to 25nm SLC. The SSD400M brought about the inclusion of eMLC into the Ultrastar family, providing a lower level of endurance, but a more palatable price point as well.

The SSD800MM utilizes 'enterprise grade' 25nm MLC. eMLC brings higher endurance than standard consumer-grade MLC, yet still provides a much lower price point than SLC NAND. The eMLC provides up to 36.5 PB of endurance in the highest capacity SSD800MH, providing an excellent amount of endurance from MLC. The SSD800MM features 14.6 PB of endurance for the 800GB model.

HGST and Intel have enjoyed a great partnership over the years, with the jointly developed HGST/Intel DB29AA11AB0 controller and firmware powering the HGST enterprise SSDs. The strategic collaboration leverages Intel's industry leadership in core NAND and controller technologies and HGST's vast experience with the SAS interface.

HGST Ultrastar SSD800MM Enterprise 12Gb/s SSD Review 02 |

To test the 12Gb/s HGST Ultrastar SSD800MM, we utilized LSI's newest 12Gb/s SAS 9300-8e HBA. The 9300-8e is currently unavailable to the public and is not utilizing production-level firmware. Even though the 9300-8e is still rough around the edges, it provides more than enough performance to test the SSD800MM.

The LSI SAS 9300-8e is built around the Fusion-MPT LSI SAS 3008 Fury controller. The 9300-8e provides eight ports of 12Gb/s connectivity that communicates via a x8 PCIe 3.0 interface. The 9300-8e supports RAID 0, 1 and 10 and utilizes the new Mini-SAS HD SFF-8644 external connectors. We will cover the new connectors and 12Gb/s SAS enhancements on the following pages.

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Paul Alcorn


The quest for benchmark world records led Paul further and further down the overclocking rabbit hole. SSDs and RAID controllers were a big part of that equation, allowing him to push performance to the bleeding edge. Finding the fastest and most extreme storage solutions led to experience with a myriad of high-end enterprise devices. Soon testing SSDs and Enterprise RAID controllers at the limits of their performance became Paul's real passion, one that is carried out through writing articles and reviews.

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