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Data Storage

Seagate Reveals 'World's Largest' 60TB SSD (zdnet.com) 162

An anonymous reader writes: While Samsung has the world's largest commercially available SSD coming in at 15.36TB, Seagate officially has the world's largest SSD for the enterprise. ZDNet reports: "[While Samsung's PM1633a has a 2.5-inch form factor,] Seagate's 60TB Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) SSD on the other hand opts for the familiar HDD 3.5-inch form factor. The company says that its drive has "twice the density and four times the capacity" of Samsung's PM1633a, and is capable of holding up to 400 million photos or 12,000 movies. Seagate thinks the 3.5-inch form factor will be useful for managing changing storage requirements in data centers since it removes the need to support separate form factors for hot and cold data. The company says it could also scale up capacity to 100TB in the same form factor. Seagate says the 60TB SSD is currently only a 'demonstration technology' though it could release the product commercially as early as next year. It hasn't revealed the price of the unit but says it will offer 'the lowest cost per gigabyte for flash available today.'"
China

Xiaomi Launches Mi Notebook Air Windows 10 Laptop Featuring 1080p Display, Starts at $520 (engadget.com) 88

Speaking of Chinese electronics giants, Xiaomi on Wednesday announced it is entering the PC market. The company, which is often referred to as "Apple of China", announced its first-ever laptop line, the Mi Notebook Air, running on Windows 10. It comes in two sizes -- 13.3-inch and 12.5-inch -- with both models featuring a slim body, a 1080p display, a backlit keyboard, a USB Type-Charging port. The Notebook Air starts at roughly $520 and goes all the way up to $750. Starting with the smaller of two, the 12.5-inch model is only 12.9mm thick and weighs 1.07kg. It packs in Intel Core M3 CPU with no dedicated GPU, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD. It is priced at $520. The 13.3-inch model, which is 14.8mm thick and weighs 1.28kg, packs in Intel Core i5-6200U Skylake-U processor, an Nvidia GeForce 940MX GPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, 256GB of SSD. It is powered by a 40Wh battery, which according to company's claim can last for up to 9.5 hours on a single charge, but can be charged from 0 to 50 percent in half an hour using the bundled USB-C charger. It is priced at $750. No word on when -- and if -- the laptop will be available outside China.
Intel

Samsung Starts Mass Producing New 512GB NVMe SSD That's Smaller Than a Stamp (pcworld.com) 75

An anonymous reader writes from a report via PCWorld: Samsung announced late Monday night that it has begun mass producing a new SSD that is tinier than a postage stamp. PCWorld reports: "The PM971-NVMe fits up to 512GB of NAND flash, a controller, and RAM into a single BGA chip measuring 20mm x 16mm x 1.5mm and weighing just one gram, the company said. Samsung says the PM971-NVMe will hit 1.5GBps read speeds and 800MBps write speeds. The PM971-NVMe is built using 20nm NAND chips and includes 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM as a cache. The NAND is triple-level cell but uses a portion as a write butter. The drive will come in 512GB, 256GB and 128GB capacities." While on the topic of hardware, Intel unveiled its Broadwell-E family, which consists of an "Extreme Edition" Core i7 chipset that has 10 cores and 20 threads.
Portables (Apple)

ASUS' ZenBook 3 Is Thinner, Lighter and Faster Than the MacBook (engadget.com) 209

At the ongoing Computex trade show in China, Asus unveiled the ZenBook 3 laptop. The ZenBook 3's chassis measures 11.9mm while the whole body weighs 910g. At the event, the company's executive said that ZenBook 3 is better than both MacBook Air and the 12-inch MacBook. As for the specifications, the ZenBook 3, which is crafted from aerospace-grade aluminum alloy, sports a 12.5-inch full-HD display (1920x1080 pixels), and offers up to Core i7 processor, 16GB of 2133MHz RAM, up to a 1TB PCIe Gen 3 x4 SSD, a next-gen USB Type-C port (for power and data transfer), powerful quad-speaker audio by Harman Kardon, and a fingerprint scanner. Do note that there is only one USB port on the device. The entry-level variant featuring Core i5 processor, 256GB of SSD and 4GB of RAM is priced at 999, while the top-of-the-line model will set you back by $1,999. Asus also had nice things to say about the keyboard, though Engadget's reporter was not impressed. More details here.
Data Storage

Slashdot Asks: What's Your View On Benchmark Apps? 50

There's no doubt that benchmark apps help you evaluate different aspects of a product, but do they paint a complete picture? Should we utterly rely on benchmark apps to assess the performance and quality of a product or service? Vlad Savov of The Verge makes an interesting point. He notes that DxOMark (a hugely popular benchmark app for testing a camera) rating of HTC 10's camera sensor is equal to that of Samsung's Galaxy S7, however, in real life shooting, the Galaxy S7's shooter offers a far superior result. "I've used both extensively and I can tell you that's simply not the case -- the S7 is outstanding whereas the 10 is merely good." He offers another example: If a laptop or a phone does well in a web-browsing battery benchmark, that only gives an indication that it would probably fare decently when handling bigger workloads too. But not always. My good friend Anand Shimpi, formerly of AnandTech, once articulated this very well by pointing out how the MacBook Pro had better battery life than the MacBook Air -- which was hailed as the endurance champ -- when the use changed to consistently heavy workloads. The Pro was more efficient in that scenario, but most battery tests aren't sophisticated or dynamic enough to account for that nuance. It takes a person running multiple tests, analyzing the data, and adding context and understanding to achieve the highest degree of certainty. The problem is -- more often than not -- gadget reviewers treat these values as the most important signal when judging a product, which in turn, also influences several readers' opinion. What's your take on this?
Portables (Apple)

Apple Launches MacBook 2016 With Intel Skylake Processor, Longer Battery Life 179

Apple, on Tuesday, announced a refresh for its 12-inch MacBook laptop. The 2016 MacBook comes with an Intel Skylake processor -- sixth-generation dual-core Intel Core M model, offering up to 1.3 GHz clock speed with Turbo Boost speeds of up to 3.1 GHz, faster 1866 MHz memory, and a 'rose gold' color variant. Apple assures 10 hours of wireless Web browsing time, or 11 hours of movie playback on a single charge. The new model will hit retail stores on Wednesday. It starts at $1,299 for the 256GB SSD and 8GB (up from 4GB) version, and goes all the way up to $1,599 for the top-of-the-line model which offers 512GB SSD.

A couple of points: the first-generation MacBook didn't fare well with reviewers and plenty of users alike. Second, today's announcement also hints that the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro lineups won't be getting the Intel Skylake upgrade for at least a few more months -- which is really sad, because, at present, they come equipped with almost three-year-old processor and graphics chips. No wonder, Oculus executive made fun of Apple's computers.
Data Storage

Intel's Optane SSD Compatible With NVMe; Could Boost MacBook Storage Speeds By 1000x 76

More details have emerged about Intel's Optane, a new kind of memory and SSD that utilizes 3D Xpoint. The upcoming 3D Xpoint technology, which is supposedly 10 times denser than DRAM and 1,000 times faster than flash storage, will be compatible with NVMe, a storage protocol that allows an SSD to make effective use of a high-speed PCIe. Several MacBook Pro models already support NVMe technology. Apple is often among the first companies to adopt emerging standards and technologies, which has led many to believe that the Cupertino-based company might leverage Intel's Optane solid state drives for super fast performance speeds in its next batch of laptops. Apple is expected to announce the refreshed MacBook lineup sporting Intel Skylake processor later this year.
Data Storage

There's No End In Sight For Data Storage Capacity (computerworld.com) 107

Lucas123 writes: Several key technologies are coming to market in the next three years that will ensure data storage will not only keep up with but exceed demand. Heat-assisted magnetic recording and bit-patterned media promise to increase hard drive capacity initially by 40% and later by 10-fold, or as Seagate's marketing proclaims: 20TB hard drives by 2020. At the same time, resistive RAM technologies, such as Intel/Micron's 3D XPoint, promise storage-class memory that's 1,000 times faster and more resilient than today's NAND flash, but it will be expensive — at first. Meanwhile, NAND flash makers have created roadmaps for 3D NAND technology that will grow to more than 100 layers in the next two to three generations, increasing performance and capacity while ultimately lowering costs to that of hard drives."Very soon flash will be cheaper than rotating media," said Siva Sivaram, executive vice president of memory at SanDisk.
Data Storage

Seagate Debuts World's Fastest NVMe SSD With 10GBps Throughput (hothardware.com) 66

MojoKid writes: Seagate has just unveiled what it is calling "the world's fastest SSD," and the performance differential between it and the next closest competitive offering is significant, if their claims are true. The SSD, which Seagate today announced is in "production-ready" form employs the NVMe protocol to help it achieve breakneck speeds. So just how fast is it? Seagate says that the new SSD is capable of 10GB/sec of throughput when used in 16-lane PCIe slots. Seagate notes that this is 4GB/sec faster than the next-fastest competing SSD solution. The company is also working on a second, lower-performing variant that works in 8-lane PCIe slots and has a throughput of 6.7GB/sec. Seagate sees the second model as a more cost-effect SSD for businesses that want a high performing SSD, but want to keep costs and power consumption under control. Seagate isn't ready yet to discuss pricing for its blazing fast SSDs, and oddly haven't disclosed a model name either, but it does say that general availability for its customers will open up during the summer.
Data Storage

Samsung Ships 15.38TB SSD With Up To 1,200MBps Performance (computerworld.com) 103

Lucas123 writes: Samsung announced it is now shipping the world's highest capacity 2.5-in SSD, the 15.38TB PM1633a. The new SSD uses a 12Gbps SAS interface and is being marketed for use in enterprise-class storage systems where IT managers can fit twice as many of the drives in a standard 19-inch, 2U rack compared to an equivalent 3.5-inch drive. The PM1633a sports random read/write speeds of up to 200,000 and 32,000 IOPS, respectively. It delivers sequential read/write speeds of up to 1,200MBps, the company said. The SSD can sustain one full drive write (15.38TB) per day, every day over its life, which Samsung claims is two to ten times more data than typical SATA SSDs based on planar MLC and TLC NAND flash technologies. The SSD is based on Samsung's 48-layer V-NAND (3D NAND) technology, which also uses 3-bit MLC flash. Also at Hot Hardware
Data Storage

Google-Backed SSD Endurance Research Shows MLC Flash As Reliable As SLC (hothardware.com) 62

MojoKid writes: Even for mainstream users, it's easy to feel the differences between using a PC that has an OS installed on a solid state drive versus a mechanical hard drive. Also, with SSD pricing where it is right now, it's also easy to justify including one in a new configuration for the speed boost. And there's obvious benefit in the enterprise and data center for both performance and durability. As you might expect, Google has chewed through a healthy pile of SSDs in its data centers over the years and the company appears to have been one of the first to deploy SSDs in production at scale. New research results Google is sharing via a joint research project now encompasses SSD use over a six year span at one of Google's data centers. Looking over the results led to some expected and unexpected findings. One of the biggest discoveries is that SLC-based SSDs are not necessarily more reliable than MLC-based drives. This is surprising, as SLC SSDs carry a price premium with the promise of higher durability (specifically in write operations) as one of their selling points. It will come as no surprise that there are trade-offs of both SSDs and mechanical drives, but ultimately, the benefits SSDs offer often far outweigh the benefits of mechanical HDDs.
Technology

CompuLab Rolls out Fanless, High-End PCs With Unique Design (phoronix.com) 101

An anonymous reader writes: Israeli PC maker CompuLab has begun shipping the Airtop PC that allows assembling high-end PC components into a completely fanless design. Phoronix's initial testing of the Airtop PC showed that it has a Core i7 5775C Broadwell processor, 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and GeForce GTX 950 all while being fan-less thanks to the innovative design. The early results are quite positive for this uniquely designed PC but it comes at a cost premium of a fully-loaded system costing more than $2,200 USD.
Intel

Intel and Micron Partnership Soon To Launch 10TB SSD For Enterprise Market (hothardware.com) 94

MojoKid writes: Intel and Micron have been tag-teaming various storage and memory technologies and word on the web is that the fruits of that partnership is a 10-terebyte SSD that's right around the corner. The largest SSD in Intel's stable at the moment is 4TB, which itself is pretty large. However, both Micron and Intel are of the opinion that typical planar NAND flash memory has gone about as far as it can go, and that 3D stacked Flash memory is the future. They've also developed a "floating gate cell" design - a first for 3D stacked memory - resulting in 256Gb multi-level cell (MLC) and 384Gb triple-level cell (TLC) die that fit inside of a standard package. The two companies are targeting gumstick-sized SSDs reaching 3.5TB and regular 2.5-inch SSDs hitting (and even surpassing) 10TB. Apparently that's about to become a reality.
Data Storage

Samsung Returns To 2D, Releases 250GB 750 EVO For $75 37

Vigile writes: Even with Samsung pushing forward into 3D NAND with 32-layer technologies used in SSDs like the 850 Pro and the recently released M.2 PCIe NVMe 950 Pro, there is still plenty of traditional 2D planar memory being fabbed on production lines. To utilize that inventory, Samsung is shifting its low-capacity SSDs back to it, announcing the 750 EVO drives today available in 120GB and 250GB capacities. Though based largely on the very popular, but sometimes troubled, 840 EVO specs, the new drives are faster and start with some impressively low prices. The starting MSRP for the 250GB 750 EVO will be just $75.
Data Storage

OCZ Toshiba Breaks 30 Cents Per GB Barrier With New Trion 150 SSD (hothardware.com) 141

MojoKid writes: OCZ's Trion 150 SSD is an update to the company's Trion 100, which was the first drive from OCZ to feature TLC NAND and all in-house, Toshiba-built technology. As its branding suggests, the new Trion 150 kicks things up a notch over the Trion 100, thanks to some cutting-edge Toshiba 15nm NAND flash memory and a tweaked firmware, that combined, offer increased performance and lower cost over its predecessor. In testing, the Trion 150 hits peak reads and writes well north of 500MB/sec like most SATA-based SSDs but the kicker is, at its higher densities, the drive weighs in at about 28 cents per GiB. This equates to street prices of $70 for a 240GB drive, $140 for 480GB and $270 for a 960GB version. It's good to see mainstream solid state storage costs continuing to come down.
Data Storage

NAND Flash Density Surpasses HDDs', But Price Is Still a Sticking Point (computerworld.com) 185

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) 160

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.

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