Data Storage

NAND Flash Density Surpasses HDDs', But Price Is Still a Sticking Point (computerworld.com) 168

Lucas123 writes: With the introduction of 3D or stacked NAND flash memory, non-volatile memory has for the first time surpassed that of hard disk drives in density. This year, Micron revealed it had demonstrated areal densities in its laboratories of up to 2.77 terabits per square inch (Tbpsi) for its 3D NAND. That compares with the densest HDDs of about 1.3Tbpsi. While NAND flash may have surpassed hard drives in density, it doesn't mean the medium has reached price parity with HDDs — nor will it anytime soon. One roadblock to price parity is the cost of revamping existing or building new 3D NAND fabrication plant, which far exceeds that of hard drive manufacturing facilities, according to market research firm Coughlin Associates. HDD makers are also preparing to launch even denser products using technologies such as heat assisted magnetic recording.
Data Storage

Triple M.2 NVMe RAID-0 Testing Proves Latency Reductions 73

Vigile writes: The gang over at PC Perspective just posted a story that looks at a set of three M.2 form factor Samsung 950 Pro NVMe PCIe SSDs in a RAID-0 array, courtesy of a new motherboard from Gigabyte that included three M.2 slots. The pure bandwidth available in this configuration is amazing, breaching 3.3 GB/s on reads and 3.0 GB/s on writes. But what is more interesting is a new testing methodology that allows for individual storage IO latency capturing, giving us a look at performance of SSDs in all configurations. What PC Perspective proved here is that users often claiming that RAIDs "feel faster" despite a lack of bandwidth result to prove it, are likely correct. Measurements now show that the latency of IO operations improves dramatically as you add drives to an array, giving a feeling of "snappiness" to a system beyond even what a single SSD can offer. PC Perspective's new testing demonstrates the triple RAID-0 array having just 1/6th of the latency of a single drive.
Portables

Asus ZenBook UX305CA Shows What Skylake Core M Is Capable Of (hothardware.com) 158

MojoKid writes: ASUS recently revamped their ZenBook UX305 family of ultralight notebooks with Intel's 6th generation Skylake Core m series, which brings with it not only improved graphics performance but also native support for PCI Express NVMe M.2 Solid State Drives. The platform is turning out to be fairly strong for this category of notebooks and the low cost ZenBook ($699 as tested) is a good example of what a Skylake Core M is capable of in a balanced configuration. Tested here, the machine is configured with a 256GB M.2 SSD, 8GB of RAM and a 2.2GHz Core m3-6Y30 dual-core CPU. Along with a 13.3-inch 1080p FHD display and 802.11ac wireless connectivity, the ZenBook UX305 is setup nicely and it puts up solid performance numbers in both standard compute tasks and graphics. It also offers some of the best battery life numbers in an ultralight yet, lasting over 10 hours on a charge in real world connected web testing.
Data Storage

OCZ RevoDrive 400 NVMe SSD Unveiled With Nearly 2.7GB/Sec Tested Throughput (hothardware.com) 117

MojoKid writes: Solid State Drive technology continues to make strides in performance, reliability and cost. At the CES 2016 show there were a number of storage manufacturers on hand showing off their latest grear, though not many made quite the splash that Toshiba's OCZ Technology group made with the annoucement of their new RevoDrive 400 NVMe PCI Express SSD. OCZ is tapping on Toshiba's NVMe controller technology to deliver serious bandwidth in this consumer-targeted M.2 gumstick style drive that also comes with a X4 PCI Express card adapater. The drive boasts specs conservatively at 2.4GB/sec for reads and 1.6GB/sec for writes in peak sequential transfer bandwidth. IOPs are rated at 210K and 140K for writes respectively. In the demo ATTO test they were running, the RevoDrive 400 actually peaks at 2.69GB/sec for reads and also hits every bit of that 1.6GB/sec write spec for large sequential transfers.
HP

HP's Spectre X2 Is a Solid Core M Powered Surface Pro Alternative For Less (hothardware.com) 93

MojoKid writes: Now that we're a few years removed from the introduction of the original Surface and Surface Pro, it's clear that Microsoft's vision had merit, and virtually all of the company's major OEM partners are producing at least a few machines that were influenced by Microsoft's design. HP's new Spectre X2 hybrid is as similar a machine to the Surface Pro 4 that we have seen to date. Its form factor, detachable keyboard design, kickstand and overall look at feel of the machine are very "Surface-like". But HP has made some well thought-out changes and packed the machine with different hardware. The end result is rather interesting, somewhat better experience in some respects, for a lower price point. The model tested here features a Core m7-6Y75 dual-core / quad-thread processor with a base frequency of 1.2Hz and a max Turbo frequency of 3.1 GHz. Its on-processor HD 515 graphics can Turbo up to 1GHz and feature all of Intel's latest graphics tech, like Quick Sync, InTru 3D, etc. Other specs include 8GB of LPDDR3 memory, a 256GB Lite-On SSD, a 12" WUXGA screen, 802.11ac WiFi / Bluetooth and Verizon LTE support, a various IO including a built-in card reader and USB type C. The machine's detachable keyboard is held in place by magnets, similar to Microsoft's method. However, the Spectre X2's keyboard is quite similar to a full laptop keyboard. It's arguably superior to Microsoft's Type Cover, both aesthetically and functionally. Power users looking for a high-performance mobile device for heavy-duty workloads would probably be better served by something powered by a Core i5 or i7-series processor, but for the majority of users out there, the Core m at the heart of this machine should pack more than enough punch.
Data Storage

SSDs Approaching Price Parity With HDDs (computerworld.com) 272

Lucas123 writes: Hard disk drive per-gigabyte pricing has remained relatively stagnant over the past three years, and prices are expected to be completely flat over at least the next two, allowing SSDs to significantly close the cost gap, according to a new report. The report, from DRAMeXchange, stated that this marks the fourth straight quarter that the SSD price decline has exceeded 10%. Over the past three years, SSDs have dropped from 31 to 13 cents per gig annually. In contrast, from 2012 to 2015, per gigabyte pricing for HDDs dropped just one cent per year from 9 cents in 2012 to 6 cents this year. However, through 2017, the per-gigabyte price of HDDs is expected to remain flat: 6 cents per gigabyte. Consumer SSDs were on average were selling for 99 cents a gigabyte in 2012. From 2013 to 2015, the price dropped from 68 cents to 39 cents per gig, meaning the average 1TB SSD sells for about $390 today. Next year, SSD prices will decline to 24 cents per gig and in 2017, they're expected to drop to 17 cents per gig. That means a 1TB SSD on average would retail for $170, though online prices are often much lower than average vendor retail prices. DRAMeXchange also stated that SSDs are expected to be in 31% of new consumer laptops next year, and by 2017 they'll be in 41%.
Graphics

Linux 4.4 Kernel To Bring Raspberry Pi Graphics Driver, Open-Channel SSD Support (phoronix.com) 67

An anonymous reader writes: Linux 4.4-rc1 has been released. New features of Linux 4.4 include a Raspberry Pi kernel mode-setting driver, support for 3D acceleration by QEMU guest virtual machines, AMD Stoney APU support, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 support, expanded eBPF virtual machine programs, new hardware peripheral support, file-system fixes, faster SHA crypto support on Intel hardware, and LightNVM / Open-Channel SSD support.
Intel

Intel Offers More Insight On Its 3D Memory (itworld.com) 115

itwbennett writes: When Intel and Micron Technology first announced the 3D XPoint memory in July, they promised about 1,000 times the performance of NAND flash, 1,000 times the endurance of NAND flash, and about 10 times the density of DRAM. At OpenWorld last week, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich disclosed a little more information on the new memory, which Intel will sell under the Optane brand, and did a demo on a pair of matching servers running two Oracle benchmarks. One server had Intel's P3700 NAND PCI Express SSD, which is no slouch of a drive. It can perform up to 250,000 IOPS per second. The other was a prototype Optane SSD. The Optane SSD outperformed the P3700 by 4.4 times in IOPS with 6.4 times less latency.
Data Storage

Samsung 950 Pro Brings NVMe To M.2, Over 2.5GB/s 36

Vigile writes: Samsung just released its first non-OEM, consumer level NVMe enabled SSD, the 950 Pro series. This drive will ship in an M.2 form factor rather than a 2.5-in drive size that is the standard for users today, allowing installation into notebooks, small form factor PCs and desktop PCs that have at least one M.2 slot on-board. It peaks at 512GB capacity today but Samsung promises a 1TB version using 48-layer VNAND in 2016. The NVMe protocol allows much better performance directly over the PCIe bus without the overhead of the AHCI protocol used in hard drives and previous SSDs. PC Perspective's review has performance breaking the 2.5GB/s read speed level while also introducing an entirely new type of performance evaluation for SSDs centered around latency distribution of IOs. By measuring how long each IO takes, rather than reporting only an average, the performance of an SSD can be determined on a per-workflow basis and drives can be compared in an entirely new light. There is a lot of detail on to be read over and digested but again the new NVMe Samsung 950 Pro impresses. Hot Hardware takes a similarly data-dump-heavy look at the same drive.
Data Storage

Samsung Demos PCIe NVMe SSD At 5.6 GB Per Second, 1 Million IOPS (hothardware.com) 88

MojoKid writes: Samsung decided to show off their latest SSD wares at Dell World 2015 with two storage products that are sure to impress data center folks. Up and running on display, Samsung showcased their PM1725 drive, which is a half-height, half-length (HHHL) NVMe SSD that will be one of the fastest on the market when it ships later this year. It sports transfer speeds of 5500MB/sec for sequential reads and 1800MB/s for writes. Samsung had the drive running in a server with Iometer fired up and pushing in excess of 5.6GB/sec. The PM1725 also is rated for random reads up to 1,000,000 IOPS and random writes of 120,000 IOPS. The top of the line 6.4TB SSD is rated to handle 32TB of writes per day with a 5-year warranty.
Data Storage

China's Flash Consumption Grows To 30%; 8TB SSDs Are Coming (computerworld.com) 67

Lucas123 writes: Seven of the world's top 10 smartphone vendors hail from China as does PC giant Lenovo, which is driving up the amount of NAND flash and DRAM the country consumes. This year alone, China is expected to purchase nearly 30% of the world's NAND flash and 21% of its DRAM, according to a report from TrendForce. Additionally, state-backed companies are trying to break into Western markets with SSDs. For example, Sage Microelectronics (SageMicro), a four-year-old company based in Hangzhou, China, plans to release an 8TB SSD next month that will be based on eMMC flash, and it said it will release a 10TB drive next year. Update: 10/16 15:11 GMT by T : Note this interesting highlight from the second story linked above: SageMicron is selling not just drives that emphasize capacity over speed, but also a feature that will do doubt appeal to government agencies or private citizens intent on replicating Mission Impossible-style data wiping. The company's "Smart Destruction" function "can be set to erase encryption keys, perform a drive erase or physically fry the memory chips with a pulse of high voltage ... [and] can be triggered using a digital timer, a mobile phone instruction, or by simply pressing a button. 'Yes, it actually smokes sometimes when you push the button,' [Sage U.S. sales director Troy Rutt] said. 'People like that.'"
Hardware

Dell Brings 4K InfinityEdge Display To XPS 15 Line, GeForce GPU, Under 4 Pounds (hothardware.com) 94

MojoKid writes: There's no doubt that Dell's new XPS 13 notebook, when it debuted earlier this year, was very well received. Dell managed to cram a 13.3-inch 3200x1800 QHD+ display into a 12-inch carbon fiber composite frame. Dell has now brought that same InfinityEdge display technology to its larger XPS 15, which the company boasts has the same footprint as a 14-inch notebook. But Dell didn't just stay the course with the QHD+ resolution from the smaller XPS 13; the company instead is offering an optional UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD panel with 8 million pixels and 282 pixels per inch (PPI). The 350-nit display allows for 170-degree viewing angles and has 100 percent minimum Adobe RGB color. Dell also beefed up the XPS 15's internals, giving it sixth generation Intel Core processors (Skylake), support for up to 16GB of memory and storage options that top out with a 1TB SSD. Graphics duties are handled by either integrated Intel HD Graphics 530 or a powerful GeForce GTX 960M processor that is paired with 2GB GDDR5 memory. And all of this squeaks in at under 4 pounds.
Stats

Ask Slashdot: Is the Gap Between Data Access Speeds Widening Or Narrowing? 92

New submitter DidgetMaster writes: Everyone knows that CPU registers are much faster than level1, level2, and level3 caches. Likewise, those caches are much faster than RAM; and RAM in turn is much faster than disk (even SSD). But the past 30 years have seen tremendous improvements in data access speeds at all these levels. RAM today is much, much faster than RAM 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Disk accesses are also tremendously faster than previously as steady improvements in hard drive technology and the even more impressive gains in flash memory have occurred. Is the 'gap' between the fastest RAM and the fastest disks bigger or smaller now than the gap was 10 or 20 years ago? Are the gaps between all the various levels getting bigger or smaller? Anyone know of a definitive source that tracks these gaps over time?
Intel

Intel Launches SSD DC P3608 NVMe Solid State Drive With 5GB/Sec Performance 65

MojoKid writes: Intel just launched a new NVMe-based solid state drive today dubbed the SSD DC P3608. As the DC in the product name suggests, this drive is designed for the data center and enterprise markets, where large capacities, maximum uptime, and top-end performance are paramount. The Intel SSD DC P3608 is somewhat different than the recent consumer-targeted NVMe PCI Express SSD 750 series, however. This drive essentially packs a pair of NVMe-based SSDs onto a single card, built for high endurance and high performance. There are currently three drives slated for the Intel SSD DC P3608 series, a 1.6TB model, a 3.2TB model, and a monstrous 4TB model. All of the drives feature dual Intel NVMe controllers paired to Intel 20nm MLC HET (High Endurance Technology) NAND flash memory. The 1.6TB drive's specifications list max read 4K IOPS in the 850K range, with sequential reads and writes of 5GB/s and 3GB/s respectively. In the benchmarks, the new SSD DC P3608 offers up just that level of performance as well and is one of the fastest SSDs on the market to date.
Data Storage

Intel Promises 'Optane' SSDs Based On Technology Faster Than Flash In 2016 80

holy_calamity writes: Intel today announced that it will introduce SSDs based on a new non-volatile memory that is significantly faster than flash in 2016. A prototype was shown operating at around seven times as fast as a high-end SSD available today. Intel's new 3D Xpoint memory technology was developed in collaboration with Micron and is said to be capable of operating as much as 1000 times faster than flash. Scant details have been released, but the technology has similarities with the RRAM and memristor technologies being persued by other companies.
Data Storage

Samsung Unveils V-NAND High Performance SSDs, Fast NVMe Card At 5.5GB Per Second 61

MojoKid writes: Sometimes it's the enterprise sector that gets dibs on the coolest technology, and so it goes with a trio of TCO-optimized, high-performance solid state drives from Samsung that were just announced, all three of which are based on three-dimensional (3D) Vertical NAND (V-NAND) flash memory technology. The fastest of bunch can read data at up to 5,500 megabytes per second. That's the rated sequential read speed of Samsung's PM1725, a half-height, half-length (HHHL) PCIe card-type NVMe SSD. Other rated specs include a random read speed of up to 1,000,000 IOPS, random write performance of up to 120,000 IOPS, and sequential writes topping out at 1,800MB/s. The PM1725 comes in just two beastly storage capacities, 3.2TB and 6.4TB, the latter of which is rated to handle five drive writes per day (32TB) for five years. Samsung also introduced two other 3D V-NAND products, the PM1633 and PM953. The PM1633 is a 2.5-inch 12Gb/s SAS SSD that will be offered in 480GB, 960GB, 1.92TB, and 3.84TB capacities. As for the PM953, it's an update to the SM951 and is available in M.2 and 2.5-inch form factors at capacities up to 1.92TB.
Hardware

Military Data Center In a Suitcase To Get Commercial Release 90

judgecorp writes: The Mobyl Data Center, designed for the US Department of Defense, puts a data center in a rugged suitcase-sized box, and it will shortly be available commercially. The box includes up to 88 Xeon cores a maximum of 176 GB of RAM, and 2.8 TB of SSD storage with 12TB of hard disk as an option. The system uses credit-card sized MobylPC server units, sealed in epoxy, and rated to survive 300g of shock, but apparently proprietary to the vendor, Arnouse Digital Devices Corp.
Bug

Samsung Finds, Fixes Bug In Linux Trim Code 184

New submitter Mokki writes: After many complaints that Samsung SSDs corrupted data when used with Linux, Samsung found out that the bug was in the Linux kernel and submitted a patch to fix it. It turns out that kernels without the final fix can corrupt data if the system is using linux md raid with raid0 or raid10 and issues trim/discard commands (either fstrim or by the filesystem itself). The vendor of the drive did not matter and the previous blacklisting of Samsung drives for broken queued trim support can be most likely lifted after further tests. According to this post the bug has been around for a long time.
Hardware

OCZ Toshiba Breaks 40 Cent Per GB Barrier With New Trion 100 Series SSD 144

MojoKid writes: OCZ is launching a brand new series of solid state drives today, dubbed the Trion 100. Not only are they the first drives from the company to use TLC NAND, but they're also the first to use all in-house Toshiba technology with the drive's Flash memory and controller both designed and built by Toshiba. That controller is paired to A19nm Toshiba TLC NAND Flash memory and a Nanya DDR3 DRAM cache. Details are scarce on the Toshiba TC58 controller but it does support Toshiba's QSBC (Quadruple Swing-By Correction — a Toshiba proprietary error correction technology) and the drives have a bit of SLC cache to boost write performance in bursts and increase endurance. The OCZ Trion 100 series is targeted at budget conscious consumers and users still contemplating the upgrade from a standard hard drive. As such, they're not barn-burners in the benchmarking department, but performance is still good overall and a huge upgrade over any HDD. Pricing is going to be very competitive as well, at under .40 per GiB for capacities of 240GB, 480GB and 960GB and .50 per GiB for the smallest 120GB drive.
Data Storage

Samsung Releases First 2TB Consumer SSD For Laptops 195

Lucas123 writes: Samsung has released what it is calling the world's first 2.5-in consumer-grade, multi-terabyte SSD, and it's issuing the new drive a 10-year warranty. With up to 2TB of capacity, the new 850 Pro and 850 EVO SSDs double the maximum capacity of their predecessors. As with the previous 840 Pro and EVO models, Samsung used its 3D V-NAND technology, which stacks 32 layers of NAND atop one another in a microscopic skyscraper. Additionally, the drives take advantage of multi-level cell (MLC) and triple-level cell (TLC) (2- and 3-bit per cell) technology for even greater density. The 850 Pro, Samsung said, can manage up to 550MBps sequential read and 520MBps sequential write rates and up to 100,000 random I/Os per second (IOPS). The 850 EVO SSD has slightly lower performance with 540MBps and 520MBps sequential read/write rates and up to 90,000 random IOPS. The SSDs will range in capacity from 120GB to 2TB and in price from $99 to $999.

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