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  1. SSD shipments outpaced HDDs by 3:2 last quarter, but hard disks still lead the storage race 99 million solid-state drives were shipped in Q1 In brief: We’ve come a long way since solid-state drives were the expensive alternative to traditional HDDs, making up only a small part of the market. Falling prices and increasing capacities have seen their popularity rise in recent times, to the point that in Q1 2021, SSD shipments outpaced their hard disk drive counterparts by 3:2, while in 2020, SSDs saw 28% more unit sales than HDDs. According to a Trendfocus report (via Tom’s Hardware), three hard drive makers shipped as many as 64.17 million HDDs in Q1 2021, while fewer than a dozen SSD suppliers shipped 99.438 million SSDs during the same period. We all know the typical speed and physical size advantages that come with SSDs, so the figures aren’t too surprising; a recent IDC report revealed that nearly 60% of new PCs shipped in Q1 used SSDs. The trend of SSDs outselling HDDs isn’t new. A jump in fourth-quarter sales last year helped SSDs push past 333 million units for the entirety of 2020, moving ahead of the 260 million HDD units sold. One area where HDDs have an advantage, of course, is their superior $/gigabyte ratio, which makes them ideal for enterprise solutions. And while datacenters do still use SSDs for caching, it means the total exabytes (EBs) shipments for HDDs in the first quarter far exceeded that of SSDs: 288.28 EBs vs. 66 EBs. Solid-state drives are bringing in more money, too. Analyst firms had the SSD market valued at $34.86 billion in 2020, while HDDs lagged behind with $22.6 billion. As with so many tech products, Samsung, the top supplier of NAND flash memory, is the industry leader when it comes to SSDs, boasting the largest market share for units shipped (25.3%) and exabytes (34.3%). It’s followed by Western Digital (18.2% units and 15.8% EBs) then Koxia—formerly Toshiba Memory (13.3% units and 9.4% EBs). SSDs, and the storage market in general, is facing a tough time right now—despite the positive report. The shortage of SSD controllers is expected to affect sales, while the introduction of cryptocurrency Chia, which can ruin a 512GB SSD in 40 days, is starting to impact drive supply and prices in some areas. Source: SSD shipments outpaced HDDs by 3:2 last quarter, but hard disks still lead the storage race
  2. Intel announces new SSD that combines Optane Memory and NAND flash Intel has announced the latest iteration of its Optane Memory sticks for laptops, the Optane Memory H20 with Solid State Storage. If the name doesn't give it away, it's exactly what it sounds like - a storage drive that combines Intel's Optane Memory technology with a traditional QLC SSD, offering higher capacities and speeds in a more compact form factor. Optane Memory is a proprietary Intel technology that's designed to improve performance in applications, specifically when running them from slower storage devices, and it sits somewhere between RAM and traditional storage in terms of speed. However, Optane Memory sticks are typically sold in an M.2 form factor by themselves, and they only come in small sizes such as 16GB or 32GB, meaning you'll almost always need two M.2 slots on your machine. The Optane Memory H20 with Solid State Storage includes both the Optane Memory chip and NAND flash on a single M.2 2280 card, meaning you get both the benefits of Optane and the higher capacity of a typical SSD while only using one M.2 slot. It comes with 32GB of Intel Optane Memory and either 512GB or 1TB of QLC SSD 3D NAND storage, and it promises read and write speeds up to 3,300MB/s and 2,100MB/s, respectively. It's still using the older PCIe 3.0 interface, so its maximum speeds aren't quite as high as they could be, but that's not to say they're slow either. They also promise latency of just 6.75µs on average for reads, and 12µs for writes. As for durability, Intel touts 1.6 million hours of mean time between failures, and up to 185TB written for the 512GB SSD model and 370TB written for the 1TB version. If you're hoping to buy one of these, you can't, at least not directly. Intel will be making these available to OEMs to use in laptops, all-in-ones, and mini PCs starting June 20. This makes sense since those are the devices where saving space is usually more important to achieve thinner or lighter designs. Source: Intel announces new SSD that combines Optane Memory and NAND flash
  3. M1 Mac Users Report Excessive SSD Wear Over the past week, some M1 Mac users have been reporting alarming SSD health readings, suggesting that these devices are writing extraordinary amounts of data to their drives (via iMore). Across Twitter and the MacRumors forums, users are reporting that ‌M1‌ Macs are experiencing extremely high drive writes over a short space of time. In what appear to be the most severe cases, ‌M1‌ Macs are said to be consuming as much as 10 to 13 percent of the maximum warrantable total bytes written (TBW) value of its SSD. Flash memory on solid-state drives, such as those used in Macs, can only be written to a certain number of times before they become unstable. Software ensures that load is spread evenly across the drive's memory cells, but there is a point when the drive has been written to so many times that it can no longer reliably hold data. So while SSD wear is normal, expected behavior, drives should not be exhausting their ability to hold data as quickly as some ‌M1‌ Macs seem to be. One user showed that their ‌M1‌ Mac had already consumed one percent of its SSD after just two months, while another ‌M1‌ Mac with a 2TB SSD had already consumed three percent. The total data units written for these machines is running into many terabytes, when they would normally be expected to be considerably lower. 16GB ‌M1‌ MBP, 2TB SSD, 2 months in. pic.twitter.com/SaSmieaT1s — David (@david_rysk) February 15, 2021 The user with three percent usage speculated that, were his machine a 256GB model, it could have used as much as 30 percent to date, and have reached maximum TBW in around two years. An SSD can continue to function once its TBW limit has been reached, but there is no knowing how long it will last past this point. It is not known how widespread the TBW issue is, but reports of strange SSD behavior are also now emerging from users with Intel-based Macs, suggesting that the TBW issue may not be exclusive to ‌M1‌ Macs. The reported wear is so extreme on some ‌M1‌ Macs that it suggests the problem is due to a bug rather than the expected behavior of the ‌M1‌ chip, but it is unclear if the problem pertains to erroneous readings or macOS genuinely writing vast amounts of data to the drive. Drive monitoring tools are sometimes unreliable and it is likely that the issue can be fixed via an update to macOS Big Sur. Source: M1 Mac Users Report Excessive SSD Wear
  4. Microsoft Announces Standalone SSDs for the Surface Pro 7+ The Surface Pro 7+ supports removable SSDs Microsoft has just announced SSD commercial spares for the Surface Pro 7+, a device specifically aimed at businesses and launched earlier this year. With this upgrade, companies can purchase SSD kits that allow IT admins to replace the storage in a Surface Pro+ in a matter of minutes and without paying for professional services. Currently available in the United States exclusively, the kits come with a single certified refurbished SSD and the necessary screws, with capacities starting at 128 GB and ending at 1TB. Keep in mind, however, that the SSD kits are only available for the Surface Pro 7+ and are not aimed at other Surface devices. “We designed the kits to facilitate data retention and enable IT to restore devices to productive use as quickly as possible. If an employee encounters issues that are related back to the SSD, the IT admin can replace the machine’s SSD in a matter of minutes saving time and money. At this time, the kits cover Surface Pro 7+ only and will not work for Surface Pro X or Surface Laptop Go,” Microsoft explains. Third-party upgrades not recommended In theory, IT admins can always purchase an SSD separately and thus upgrade the storage capacity of the Surface Pro 7. Microsoft, however, strongly recommends against this third-party upgrade, warning of possible compatibility issues. “While technically possible, Microsoft strongly discourages users from installing an SSD that has not been tested for your device configuration. Microsoft takes measures to ensure product quality and tests the hardware configurations offered for sale. Installing a non-Microsoft or a Microsoft SSD of different volume than the one provided originally may lead to reduced performance and unsupported configurations,” the company says. Customers who want to purchase an SSD kit just need to reach out to regional resellers or Surface specialists, with Microsoft explaining that expanded availability would be announced soon. Source: Microsoft Announces Standalone SSDs for the Surface Pro 7+
  5. SSD shipments outpaced HDDs in 2020, but capacity still favors mechanical drives 2020 was a banner year for solid-state drives Why it matters: Solid-state drive shipments surpassed those of traditional hard drives by a significant margin in 2020 but spinning media retained the crown in terms of overall capacity served. As pricing continues to plummet and capacity increases, we can expect to see the ratio become even more skewed. According to data storage research and consulting firm TrendFocus (per Storage Newsletter), manufacturers shipped 333.12 million solid-state drives in 2020 – an increase of 20.8 percent year-over-year. Hard drive shipments, meanwhile, were down 18 percent annually to 259.81 million units. Doing some quick math, we see that 28 percent more SSDs versus HDDs were shipped last year. Total SSD capacity was around 207.39 exabytes compared to 1,018.32 exabytes for hard drives. One exabyte equals a billion gigabytes. Narrowing the scope to Q4 reveals that 87.453 million SSDs were shipped, mostly courtesy of Samsung and Western Digital. The next closest competitors - Kingston, Kioxia and SK Hynix - shipped half as many drives as Western Digital. (Q4 2020 SSD shipments and capacity) For years, I’ve been telling anyone who would listen that a solid-state drive is arguably the single best general performance upgrade you can perform on a computer. Early SSDs were prohibitively expensive but pricing has come way down in recent years, and even more so as of late due to continued NAND flash oversupply. These days, you can pick up a basic SATA III 240GB Kingston SSD for just $30. Source: SSD shipments outpaced HDDs in 2020, but capacity still favors mechanical drives
  6. Silicon Motion says it will debut its PCIe 5.0 SSD controller in 2022 Faster SSDs are on the horizon Why it matters: Silicon Motion is looking to cash in on the huge demand for fast storage in the enterprise space, so it's scrambling to be among the first companies to launch a PCIe 5.0 SSD controller. And while that may not mean much for consumers today, it signals that significantly faster SSDs might arrive a bit sooner than expected. PCIe 4.0 has brought little performance improvement on the graphics card end, as we've shown through our testing using the GeForce RTX 3080 FE. However, it did lead to a new crop of NVMe solid state drives that offer incredibly fast read and write speeds, while some models like the Samsung 980 Pro can hit a blistering 7,000 MB per second. On the eve of PCIe 4.0's arrival in 2019, the Peripheral Component Interconnect Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG) announced PCIe 5.0 and PCIe 6.0 specs, which looked like a peculiar decision. On the other hand, enterprise and industrial requirements are evolving so fast that these standards will no doubt coexist to serve a variety of applications. Silicon Motion PCIe 4.0 controllers support read speeds of up to 7,400 MB/s Silicon Motion recently said that it would start sampling a new enterprise SSD controller that uses the PCIe 5.0 interface as soon as the second half of this year. The company plans to introduce server SSDs based on the new controller next year, which means consumer-grade PCIe 5.0 SSDs are potentially also in the pipeline. Consumer PCIe 4.0 SSDs are plenty fast for most applications, but they're quickly saturating the theoretical maximum of 8 GB per second that a 4-lane connection can afford. PCIe 5.0 can effectively double that bandwidth, which is going to benefit machine learning and big data applications more than gaming or video editing, though Microsoft's DirectStorage API might change that in the near future. Kioxia (formerly Toshiba Memory) is also working on enterprise-grade PCIe 5.0 SSDs based on its CM6 platform, and is already shipping engineering samples to its customers. At any rate, the soonest we might use a PCIe 5.0 SSD in a normal PC is whenever Intel will be able to ship its Alder Lake CPUs, which could be as soon as this year or early 2022. Source: Silicon Motion says it will debut its PCIe 5.0 SSD controller in 2022
  7. Samsung 870 EVO review: Quality mass storage for the masses Samsung's first new SSD of the year is, as you might expect, very good. Seeing a product announcement a week after CES 2021 closed its virtual doors may be a little peculiar, but here we are with Samsung's first new SSD of the year. The 870 EVO isn't a superfast PCIe 4.0 SSD that will break performance records, instead, it's back down to the now, quite old hat, SATA standard. But Samsung is always there when talking about the best SSDs whatever you're looking for. SATA SSDs do continue to be important. In a world where nobody wants to rely on slow, noisy, janky old mechanical hard drives, the SATA SSD is the new mass storage device for the PC builder of today. And if previous Samsung SSDs are anything to go by, the 870 EVO is going to be extremely popular. But is it any good? Yes. It is. Samsung 870 EVO specifications Capacity 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB Interface SATA 6Gb/s Sequential read Up to 560 MB/s Sequential write Up to 530 MB/s Random read Up to 98,000 IOPS Random write Up to 88,000 IOPS NAND Samsung V-NAND 3-bit MLC (TLC) Controller Samsung Cache memory 512MB LPDDR4 (250GB/500GB) 1GB LPDDR4 (1TB) 2GB LPDDR4 (2TB) 4GB LPDDR4 (4TB) Warranty Five years Endurance 150TBW (250GB) 300TBW (500GB) 600TBW (1TB) 1,200TBW (2TB) 2,400TBW (4TB) Samsung 870 EVO against the competition Source: Windows Central Being a SATA SSD there's only so much performance that's possible, just down to the technology. Nevertheless, there are some that fare better than others across the spectrum. This chart compares the listed read/write speeds of the 870 EVO against not only some of Samsung's own predecessors but other manufacturers with similar products, too. Samsung 870 EVO Samsung 860 EVO SK Hynix S31 Crucial MX300 Samsung 850 EVO Read 560 MB/s 550 MB/s 560 MB/s 530 MB/s 540 MB/s Write 530 MB/s 520 MB/s 525 MB/s 510 MB/s 520 MB/s Performance gains would always be mild, but what you don't see from the chart above are the capacities available and the respective pricing. SSDs continue to become better value with higher capacities at lower prices, and in that regard the 870 EVO certainly has the edge over the 860 EVO and 850 EVO before it. The 870 EVO is actually on par with the 870 QVO QLC SSD I reviewed in 2020 Samsung 870 EVO performance Source: Windows Central Without continually banging the same drum, performance is something you can make a fairly decent estimate of without running any tests. Nevertheless, what a manufacturer puts on the box shouldn't be taken as gospel, so let's see what the 870 EVO achieves in a series of benchmarks. First up, CrystalDiskMark. For comparison, the new 870 EVO is on the left with its predecessor, the 860 EVO is on the right. Source: Windows Central The two are almost the same in sequential read and write tests, but the 870 EVO has the edge when it comes to more complex tests. The 870 EVO is much better positioned for random read performance compared to the 860 EVO. Following up with first, the ATTO benchmark, testing performance across a range of file sizes, and then using Samsung's own Magician application to test read and write speeds. Source: Windows Central Source: Windows Central All of the tests tell a similar story. Samsung's claimed figures are right on the money, and, as expected, there's a minimal gain over the 860 EVO in terms of outright performance. Temperatures on the 870 EVO remained low even during benchmarking, never going above 22C (71F). It was tested on an open-air test bench, but it's unlikely being inside a PC case would have any serious impact on this. For comparison, the Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSD on the same bench ran almost double this temperature under regular use. The 870 EVO is also rated for up to 2,400TBW and is covered by Samsung's excellent five-year limited warranty. Samsung Magician Source: Windows Central Samsung Magician is a basic but useful application that supports any of the company's SSDs. Besides running a performance check and optimizations, Samsung has a feature called Rapid Mode which is supported on most of its SATA SSDs. Rapid mode engages the available resources on your PC, such as the RAM, to help it intelligently cache data you access often, thus creating the appearance of faster data transfer. It doesn't make the SSD any faster, and the limits of the hardware are still the limits, but it's a clever trick that could make a difference in your system. The software has undergone a pretty big visual overhaul in recent times, too, and it's actually very pleasant to use. If you're getting a Samsung SSD for your system it's an essential download, not least because it'll make sure your drives always have the latest firmware. Should you buy the Samsung 870 EVO? Source: Windows Central I feel like this part of the review should be copied and pasted by now when looking at Samsung SSDs. Because, as always, the answer is yes. And unlike the 870 QVO which launched last year, it doesn't just make the most sense when buying the highest capacity, more expensive versions. Then again, the 870 QVO is also targeted at a different type of user. As an upgrade to the 860 EVO, the 850 EVO, or even any other SATA SSD, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I've said it before and I'll say it again, upgrading SATA for SATA doesn't make a lot of sense. At least, not unless you have a drive failure and it needs replacing. 4 out of 5 But for new system builders, this is an SSD to put on the shopping list. I've been using Samsung SSDs for many years and have never once been let down or disappointed in any way. And the 2TB model I have here is good value, too. When the 860 EVO launched you were paying the same for 1TB as you now are for 2TB with the 870 EVO. But that's not so much of an issue anymore. SSDs are still more expensive than mechanical hard drives, but when you have a package like this on the table there's absolutely no reason not to invest. The Samsung 870 EVO is set to go on sale in January 2021 with prices starting at $50. Source: Samsung 870 EVO review: Quality mass storage for the masses
  8. Adata’s new SSD gives you speedy PCIe 4.0 performance for less cash – but with a catch It’s not as fast as other PCIe 4.0 drives, but it’ll hopefully be a good chunk cheaper (Image credit: Adata) Adata has launched a new SSD that makes use of PCIe 4.0 tech to achieve very fast speeds – although compared to other PCIe 4.0 solid-state drives, it’s not nearly as quick, but the good news is that this will be reflected in the price tag. Adata is introducing the XPG Gammix S50 Lite SSD (an M.2 drive) as a product aimed at ‘mainstream users’ as opposed to the more expensive enthusiast PCIe 4.0 drives. The S50 still reaches some impressive speeds compared to non-PCIe 4.0 models, with read speeds of up to 3900 MB/s and write speeds of up to 3200 MB/s. Random read and write performance is rated at 490K and 540K IOPS respectively, according to Adata. Cool customer The SSD uses an SMI SM2267 controller and benefits from what the manufacturer describes as an optimized thermal design, with a ‘robust aluminum heatsink’, meaning it should run cool and stable even when pushed. The XPG Gammix S50 Lite will come in 1TB and 2TB capacities with pricing still to be confirmed, and buyers will get the benefit of a 5-year warranty. We expect the S50 SSD will make a good budget choice for a PCIe 4.0 drive for gamers, although of course, exactly how the pricing falls will be crucial in determining the value proposition relative to existing models. Adata’s new SSD gives you speedy PCIe 4.0 performance for less cash – but with a catch
  9. Samsung accidentally leaks details of its upcoming 980 Pro NVMe SSD The PCIe 4.0-based 980 Pro looks fast—but it may not really be a "Pro" anymore. Enlarge / The 980 Pro offers up to 7,000 MB/sec throughput, on the right workloads—but you'll need a PCIe 4.0 motherboard, a very fast CPU, and good system cooling to take advantage of it. Samsung 57 with 39 posters participating, including story author Everybody makes mistakes sometimes, and it looks like Samsung made one yesterday: the product page for its upcoming 980 Pro NVMe SSD went briefly online before being discovered by TechPowerUp and then getting yanked offline again. The 980 Pro is a particularly interesting product, since it shakes up Samsung's lineup in several ways. We've known since CES 2020 that it would be the company's first consumer-available PCIe 4.0 SSD. The higher-bandwidth PCIe4 bus allows for a blistering throughput increase; the 980 Pro is rated by Samsung for up to 7000MB/sec of throughput, compared to the PCIe3 970 Pro's 3500MB/sec. Unfortunately, the 980 Pro's sharp increase in throughput comes with an equally sharp decrease in warranted write endurance. 980 Pro 970 Pro 970 Evo Seq Read * Seq Write * Seq Read * Seq Write * Seq Read * Seq Write * 7000 MB/sec 5000 MB/sec 3500 MB/sec 2700 MB/sec 3400 MB/sec 2500 MB/sec Write Endurance Write Endurance Write Endurance 600 TBW 1200 TBW 600 TBW You should take these numbers with enormous grains of salt—besides being leaked, they're all filtered through several layers of marketing shenanigans. For one thing, they're in MB/sec, not MiB/sec—so lop 5 percent off the top. For another, they're very deliberately listed in megabytes, not gigabytes, with the same potential confusion between 10^3 and 2^10—so another chunk comes off the top if you're inclined to think of it in GiB/sec. The 980 Pro's 7000MB/sec really boils down to 6.5GiB/sec... and even that's entirely up for grabs. The fine gray print further down the page says that results "may vary based on system hardware and configuration." That's a meaningful disclaimer—in our experience, NVMe M.2 drives have a distinct tendency to overheat and thermally regulate. You'll also need a mean CPU to keep up with 6.5GiB/sec throughput without bottlenecking. What we can reasonably expect is significantly increased performance, with—unfortunately—significantly decreased long-term lifespan. To understand why the write endurance—and thus effective lifespan of the drive—dropped so sharply, we'll need to take a peek under the hood. Understanding NAND terminology In order to understand the 980 Pro's change in endurance, you need to understand at least a little bit about the NAND flash-storage medium used by most SSDs. NAND flash comes in SLC, MLC, TLC, and QLC varieties—with the leading initial standing for Single, Multi, Tri, and Quad, respectively. Unpacking this a bit further, what we're really talking about is the number of bits stored by each cell. SLC is the fastest, highest write endurance and most expensive NAND cell type. Each cell only stores a single bit—but this means there are only two meaningful voltage levels per cell to read or write. With charge levels effectively being simply "on" or "off," SLC media can tolerate plenty of sloppiness in both reading and writing of the cells before any errors occur that might require retries or even result in data loss. MLC media is a misleading term, and Samsung's marketing department leans heavily on that fact in its spec sheets above. Although MLC literally just means "Multi-Level Cell," in common industry use it specifically refers to only two bits per cell. This means each cell must have four distinguishable voltage states, corresponding to numbers 0 through 3. This makes for a cheaper drive at the same capacity, since you only need half the cells a comparable drive made of SLC would—but it's a bit slower to read or write values, and sloppiness in charge state as the drive's write endurance decreases hits you correspondingly faster. Now that you've got the pattern, TLC means three bits per cell and eight distinguishable voltages corresponding to values 0 through 7. QLC—as seen in Samsung's big, cheap QVO drives—goes one step further than that, with 16 distinguishable voltages corresponding to values 0-15. With each additional bit you ask an individual cell to store, you need more precision (and less speed) in both reading and writing the cell state—and less write endurance available before the cell gets too sloppy to reliably charge to and maintain a given voltage with the necessary precision. An architectural sea change Until now, Samsung's retail SSD line has been simple to understand, if you understand the basics of NAND storage. The Pro line are MLC drives—two bits per cell—with higher cost but greater speed and write endurance. The EVO line are TLC drives—cheaper, but slower and less durable. The QVO are QLC drives, and most people should likely avoid them—they aren't enormously cheaper than the TLC EVOs, but they have significant penalties to both performance and endurance. So far, the thing most likely to confuse consumers is that the EVO line doesn't look any slower than the Pro line from reading the spec sheets. This is because the write tests Samsung uses to generate these numbers aren't particularly prolonged, and they don't burn through the SLC cache onboard the EVO. If you have a long-running write workload that fills the cache, you have to fall back to committing writes directly to the TLC—which can feel like falling off a cliff, particularly on smaller-capacity SSDs. With the 980 Pro, Samsung has moved from two-bit MLC down to cheaper, lower-endurance TLC flash like the Evo line uses. There's not enough information in the leaked product page to be certain what changes may have been made to the SLC cache, which it refers to as the "Intelligent Turbowrite Region." The fine print on the performance numbers tells us that the write performance for the 1TB 980 Pro drops to 2,000 MB/sec "after Intelligent Turbo Write Region." But it doesn't specify how large that region is. Opinion: Does lower write endurance matter? For most consumers, the lower write endurance of the 980 Pro won't likely matter too much—600TB written is a lot of data, and a typical desktop user or gamer is unlikely to hit that number within a typical five- to seven-year consumer-PC life cycle. What bothers me here is that typical desktop users and gamers, in my experience, weren't often buying Pro SSDs in the first place—they were buying EVOs to save a few bucks. Samsung's spec sheets claimed almost identical performance between the two lines, so the cheaper EVO seemed like an easy call to make for most end users. The usual Pro customer tends to be someone who is specifically looking not only for higher sustained performance but much higher write endurance. Sometimes the extra write endurance is just a hedge against longer-than-usual PC life cycles. If you tend to keep your PC running for 10 years instead of five, burning an extra hundred bucks or so on a Pro can mean not having to refresh suddenly glacial storage around the six- or seven-year mark. But longer-lived PCs aren't the only application for high-endurance SSDs. If you plan to run databases or virtual machines on an SSD, you can rack up enormously larger daily write numbers than a typical user or gamer would see—and those can burn through the endurance on a purely consumer-grade SSD like the EVO, or the new Pro, in pretty short order. In extreme cases, I've seen busy database and VM servers burn out consumer-grade SSDs like the EVO in under a year. Again, none of this is likely to matter to a "typical desktop user." But this sudden shift in the meaning of a brand can hurt a lot more users than the vendor expects—as witness the months-long fiasco Western Digital endured, when it changed the meaning of the "Red" branding on one of its conventional hard drive lines. The silver lining to this rather gloomy cloud is that exhausting the write endurance of an SSD results in a pretty safe failure mode—I have yet to see an SSD lose data due to exhausted write endurance. As the drive approaches the end of its life, it gets slower—user-visibly slower—to the point that it's incredibly unlikely for the drive not to be replaced before it actually fails. If you're a typical desktop user or gamer, you should be able to buy an EVO—or the newer, TLC-based Pro—with confidence. You're unlikely to exhaust the write endurance on a 1TB SSD before five years, and it's very unlikely to eat your data even if you do. But if you've been in the habit of buying MLC SSDs and know what you've been paying for, caveat emptor. Samsung accidentally leaks details of its upcoming 980 Pro NVMe SSD
  10. At 15TB, this is probably the highest capacity SSD you can fit in a laptop TeamGroup unveils huge 15.3TB SSD for client PCs (Image credit: TeamGroup) TeamGroup has revealed new consumer-grade SSD that offer capacity typically expected from a workstation-class drive. Team’s QX SSD can store up to 15.3TB of data and is aimed at users who need to store a lot locally. TeamGroup’s QX 15.3TB SSD comes in a 2.5-inch/7mm form-factor and therefore can fit into a typical laptop, something that hard disk drives of the same capacity just cannot do. Like other 2.5-inch SSDs, Team Group’s QX SSD features a SATA 6Gbps interface with applicable performance levels. The manufacturer claims an up to 560MB/s sequential read speed as well as an up to 480MB/s sequential write speed when pseudo-SLC cache is used, which is in line with mainstream SATA SSDs. Extreme capacity TeamGroup says that it uses 3D QLC NAND memory for the drive, but does not disclose which controller is being used for its QX 15.3TB SSD. The only thing we do know about the controller at this point is that it supports pSLC caching and features a DRAM cache buffer. TeamGroup’s QX SSDs are covered with a three-year warranty and are rated for up to 2560 terabytes written (TBW), which is about 0.15 drive writes per day (DWPD). The DWPD rating of the drive is lower than that of typical consumer SSDs, but since we are dealing with a high-capacity drive, such a low rating may be justified in the consumer environment. Apart from its extraordinary capacity (at least for this class of drives), TeamGroup’s QX 15.3TB SSD also carries an astonishing price tag of $3,990. This is significantly higher when compared to competing SATA drives carrying 16TB of 3D QLC NAND. For example, Nimbus Data charges $2,900 for its ExaDrive NL 16TB model. Team Group’s QX of course has a unique selling point: a 2.5-inch/7mm form-factor and compatibility with laptops and ultra-compact desktops. But this USP may be just too overprized. Meanwhile, TeamGroup’s QX SSDs will be only made by order, so their final pricing will depend on factors like volumes and current NAND pricing. At 15TB, this is probably the highest capacity SSD you can fit in a laptop
  11. Samsung introduces the 980 Pro SSD with PCIe 4.0 support and up to 7,000MB/s speeds Samsung is upping the ante with a new top-tier SSD announced today, the 980 Pro. This is Samsung's first consumer SSD to come with full support for PCIe 4.0, specifically using a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface, which allows for much higher speeds than previous generations. Specifically, the 980 Pro SSD has sequential read speeds up to 7,000MB/s, which is double of what Samsung promised for the 970 Pro SSD. Likewise, sequential write speeds go up to 5,000MB/s, almost doubling the speed of its predecessor, which promised 2,700MB/s for the 1TB version. As for random writes and reads, the 980 Pro promises up to 1,000K IOPS. In addition to improving the performance, Samsung says it has also worked on the SSD's thermals to prolong its longevity. The SSD uses a nickel coating on the controller and a heat spreader label on the back to make heat dissipation more efficient. One thing to keep in mind is that the promised speeds don't apply to every tier. The base version of the SSD has 256GB of capacity, but the maximum speeds are actually lower on this one, maxing out at 6,400MB/s for reads and 2,700MB/s for writes. You'll need to spring for the higher tiers, but speeds are the same starting with the 512GB model. The 980 Pro SSD will be available this month, with a recommended retail price of $89.99 for the 256GB variant. Capacities will go up to 1TB at launch, but a 2TB model will arrive later in the year. The SSD is already listed on Samsung's website, so it should be a matter of time until it goes on sale. Samsung introduces the 980 Pro SSD with PCIe 4.0 support and up to 7,000MB/s speeds
  12. Samsung announces the QVO 870 SSD with double the capacity of its predecessor Samsung today announced the QVO 870 consumer SSD, its second-generation SSDs using quad-level cell (QLC) technology. The company debuted QLC SSDs in late 2018 with the QVO 860 SSD, which came in sizes up to 4TB. The new model doubles the maximum capacity, with an "industry-leading" 8TB of storage space. In addition to a significant bump in storage capacity, the new model also promises enhanced performance and reliability. The drive uses a single-level cell (SLC) buffer to help maintain its peak performance for longer, since QLC storage tends to be slower in exchange for the higher capacity in a smaller physical package. The SLC buffer is variable, with up to 42GB on the 1TB model and up to 78GB on the larger models. It promises slightly higher sequential read and write speeds, plus up to 13% better random read speeds. However, despite the promised improvements, the spec sheet doesn't look all that different between the new model and the previous one. Here's a quick comparison between the two: QVO 860 QVO 870 Interface SATA 6 Gbps SATA 6 Gbps Form factor 2.5-inch 2.5-inch Storage memory Samsung V-NAND 4-bit MLC (QLC) Samsung V-NAND 4-bit MLC (QLC) Controller Samsung MJX Controller Samsung MKX Controller DRAM 4GB LPDDR4 for 4TB 2GB LPDDR4 for 2TB 1GB LPDDR4 for 1TB 8GB LPDDR4 (8TB) 4GB LPDDR4 (4TB) 2GB LPDDR4 (2TB) 1GB LPDDR4 (1TB) Capacity 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, and 8TB Sequential Read/Write Speed Up to 550/520 MB/s Up to 560/530 MB/s Random Read/Write Speed Up to 97K/89K IOPS Up to 98K/88K IOPS Total Bytes Written 1,440TB (4TB) 720TB (2TB) 360TB (1TB) 2,880TB (8TB) 1,440TB (4TB) 720TB (2TB) 360TB (1TB) The new QVO 870 SSD is available for pre-order starting today on Samsung's website, with a shipping date of July 17, though the 8TB model doesn't seem to be available yet (Tom's Hardware reports that variant will launch in August). It starts with a 1TB option at $129.99, and the 4TB costs $499.99. Samsung didn't say how much the 8TB model will go for. Samsung announces the QVO 870 SSD with double the capacity of its predecessor
  13. Incredible vinyl-like super SSDs could make hard disk drives obsolete Wafer-level SSD could offer major improvements all round (Image credit: MS Mikel / Shutterstock) Modern hyperscale datacenters have infinite appetite for storage performance, capacity, and density, which is why multiple new SSD form-factors designed to maximize performance and capacity were introduced in the recent years. But Kioxia believes that there is a faster and cheaper way to deliver desired solid-state storage solutions to cloud customers: wafer-level SSDs. With capacities starting at around 50 TBs using current 3D QLC NAND, such devices could offer unbeatable performance. Wafer-level SSDs In a nutshell, Kioxia proposes to skip dicing, assembly, chip packaging, and SSD drive assembly, but use a whole wafer with 3D NAND instead. The wafer is to be probed using Kioxia’s ‘super multi-probing technology’ to discover as well as disable faulty 3D NAND dies and then attached to a pad with I/O and power connectors. The whole thing should be operated in parallel to extract maximum sequential and random IOPS performance. The current capacity of SSDs is limited by form-factors and chip packaging technologies, whereas performance boundaries are defined by controllers (i.e., by the number of their NAND channels as well as their ability to effectively perform ECC and other necessary operations quickly) and the PCI Express interface. On a wafer level, one can get an extreme number of NAND channels (think well beyond Microsemi’s 32 channels common on enterprise-grade SSDs), whereas a PCIe 6.0 x16 interface would deliver up to 128 GB/s of bandwidth. As for IOPS, we are talking about a multi-channel monstrous SSDs, so think of millions of IOPS. (Image credit: Blocks & Files) Shigeo Oshima, Kioxia’s chief engineer, described the concept of wafer-level SSDs in a presentation at VLSI Symposium 2020, meaning this is not a product from the company’s roadmap, but hopefully something to come soon. However Kioxia currently produces 1.33 Tb 96-layer 3D QLC NAND chips that measure 158.4 mm2 and deliver up to a 132 MB/s write performance due to a quad-plane architecture. Approximately 355 of such dies fit on a 300-mm wafer, so assuming a yield rate of approximately 90%, Toshiba gets around 320 good dies, or 53 TB of raw 3D QLC NAND. With future iterations, Toshiba will have even more raw 3D NAND per wafer. A solid-state storage solution based on 300-mm 3D NAND wafer(s) would look like a standard rack server with its own logic, PSU, cooling system, and other components like network interfaces. From storage density point of view, such a server is not going to be a champion (not in a world where you can pack 100 TB into a 3.5-inch form-factor), but if you need extreme performance at a relatively low price, a device of such kind could make sense. Via Blocks & Files Incredible vinyl-like super SSDs could make hard disk drives obsolete
  14. This 30.72TB SSD brings something exciting to the table Ever heard of SAS? No, not that SAS (Image credit: Kioxia) In the race to build the largest SSD, Kioxia (formerly known as Toshiba Memory) is playing catch up with Samsung Semiconductor as it brings the CM6 and PM6 to market. Both are 2.5-inch 15mm drives, with the former sporting a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface and the latter a dual-port 24G SAS (Serial-Attached SCSI) - a popular connector usually found in data centers and servers that delivers a staggering 24Gbps. As expected, they use Kioxia’s proprietary 96-layer 3D TLC BiCS Flash and firmware and will be available in capacities up to 30.72TB. Write endurance stands at a beefy 1 DWPD (that’s a staggering 11.22 Exabytes), with sequential reads hitting 4.3 GBps and 6.9Gbps for the SAS and PCIe versions respectively. Random IOPS reaches up to 1.4M IOPS, which is slower than Samsung’s monstrous PM1733. According to a statement from Kioxia, the drives will be “priced to compete with SAS, however, OEMs determine final pricing to customers”. Whatever that means in practice remains to be seen, but we can expect the PM6 to be priced competitively against the only other SAS drive of this capacity, the Samsung PM1643. Kioxia also claims to be the only SSD supplier to offer failure recovery if two dies were to fail at the same time, offering “multi stream write support” to reduce write amplification and extend endurance, as well as four different enterprise security options. Note, this particular SKU (the 30.72TB) will be available to purchase in August 2020. This 30.72TB SSD brings something exciting to the table
  15. PS5-like SSD speeds could be coming to PCs in August thanks to Samsung 980 Pro Showcasing the benefits of PCIe 4.0 (Image credit: Anandtech / Samsung) Samsung’s 980 Pro SSD, the manufacturer’s first SSD to use PCIe 4.0, should be out before the end of August, according to a fresh rumor. This comes courtesy of Ice Universe (as spotted by HWBattle), who is a fairly prolific leaker on Twitter, although they mainly deal in smartphone rumors (but seems to have expanded into the PC arena more, of late, having floated a Ryzen 4000 rumor recently). Within the next two months, the ‘super performing’ SSD will apparently showcase the benefits of moving to PCIe 4.0, for those who have purchased a motherboard which supports the standard (like AMD’s X570 boards, or B550). Of course, there are already PCIe 4.0 solid-state drives out there, like the Sabrent Rocket, a well-liked drive which hits a 5,000MB/s read speed. But the Samsung 980 Pro (which was unveiled at CES back at the start of the year) boasts a sequential read speed of 6,500MB/s, and a write speed of 5,000MB/s. Seriously nippy That’s very nippy in layman’s terms, even if you compare it to what we’ve heard about the much-talked-of PS5’s SSD, Sony’s drive will hit 5,500MB/s (5.5GB/s) of bandwidth – though admittedly with clever compression it could hit more like around 8 to 9GB/s in certain cases. As you may have seen recently, Samsung is pushing hard in other areas with solid-state drives, and certainly when it comes to capacity with the incoming Samsung 870 QVO. That SSD will be one of the cheapest you can get in terms of price per TB, and the 870 QVO will top out at an 8TB model according to a recent leak – and it will retail at $900, which doesn’t work out much more expensive than the very cheapest 1TB SSDs (in terms of cost per TB, that is). Samsung’s 980 Pro will naturally come in more modest capacities ranging between 250GB to 1TB. PS5-like SSD speeds could be coming to PCs in August thanks to Samsung 980 Pro
  16. This 8TB SSD is the biggest you can fit in a (normal) laptop Largest SSD capacity for an NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 consumer drive (Image credit: Sabrent) An up-and-coming storage challenger has managed to do what the likes of Samsung and Micron have yet to achieve; launch a consumer 8TB NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD. Sabrent quietly unveiled the Rocket Q (SB-RKTQ-8TB) to the unsuspecting masses, doubling the capacity of its previous chart topper. This is not the largest solid state drive out there - the ExaDrive DC100 from Nimbus Data holds that crown at 100TB - but it is the largest you can plug into a normal laptop with an M.2 slot. 8TB SSD The rest of the specification sheet is rather predictable; this is a PCIe Gen3 (rather than Gen4) model, with support for TRIM and SMART commands. It also features advanced wear leveling, bad block management and over-provision features, which should improve the drive's useful shelf life and general performance. As with other Sabrent drives, this one also comes with a free Acronis True Image software for easy cloning. Read/write speeds are not yet available, but given the 4TB version delivered 3.4GBps/3GBps on read/write and 0.49/0.68 MIOPS on random 4K QD32 read/write, we’d expect the 8TB model to perform at least as well. It's worth noting the Rocket Q uses Micron QLC chips, rather than TLC technology, and a Phison E12S controller. Sabrent is yet to confirm how much the drive will cost, but since the 4TB version was 2.5 times the price of the 2TB model, we expect the 8TB drive to retail for at least $1900, if not more. Source: This 8TB SSD is the biggest you can fit in a (normal) laptop (TechRadar)
  17. Kyle_Katarn

    HDDExpert 1.18.2

    HDDExpert + Portable Multilingual HDDExpert gives you a crystal-clear vision of your Hard Drive (HDD or SSD) health and performance and translates S.M.A.R.T. attributes into readable indication. It then recommends maintenance (fans upgrade, spare purchase, backups and more) depending on the amount of failures detected on your hard drives. Features: Clear S.M.A.R.T. attribute decoding S.M.A.R.T. attribute classification : failures, health, performance, temperatures,.. Maintenance recommendations : Fans upgrade, Spare purchase, backups... depending on failures User-friendly interface Internationalization support. OS: Windows Changelog: https://www.kcsoftwares.com/bugs/changelog_page.php Homepage: https://www.kcsoftwares.com/?hdde Changelog: https://www.kcsoftwares.com/bugs/changelog_page.php?project_id=16 Download Installer : https://www.kcsoftwares.com/files/hdde_lite.exe Download Portable : https://www.kcsoftwares.com/files/hdde.zip
  18. source Flaws in Popular SSD Drives Bypass Hardware Disk Encryption By Lawrence Abrams November 5, 2018 01:56 PM 8 Researchers have found flaws that can be exploited to bypass hardware decryption without a password in well known and popular SSD drives. In a new report titled "Self-encrypting deception: weaknesses in the encryption of solid state drives (SSDs)", researchers Carlo Meijer and Bernard van Gastel from Radboud University explain how they were able to to modify the firmware or use a debugging interface to modify the password validation routine in SSD drives to decrypt hardware encrypted data without a password. The researchers tested these methods against well known and popular SSD drives such as the Crucial MX100, Crucial MX200, Crucial MX300, Samsung 840 EVO, Samsung 850 EVO, Samsung T3 Portable, and Samsung T5 Portable and were able to illustrate methods to access the encrypted drive's data. "We have analyzed the hardware full-disk encryption of several SSDs by reverse engineering their firmware," stated the report. "In theory, the security guarantees offered by hardware encryption are similar to or better than software implementations. In reality, we found that many hardware implementations have critical security weaknesses, for many models allowing for complete recovery of the data without knowledge of any secret." To make matters worse, as Windows' BitLocker software encryption will default to hard drive encryption if supported, it can be bypassed using the same discovered flaws. Accessing encrypted files without knowing the password To bypass decryption passwords, the researchers utilized a variety of techniques depending on whether debug ports were available, the ATA Security self-encrypting drive (SED) standard was being used, or if the newer TCG Opal SED specification was being used. These flaws were responsibly disclosed to Crucial and Samsung to give them time to prepare firmware updates. New firmware is availble for Crucial SSD drives, while Samsung has only released new firmwarefor their T3 and T5 Portable SSD drives. For their non-portable drives (EVO), they recommend that users utilize software encryption instead. Crucial MX 100, Crucial MX 200, & Samsung T3 Portable For the Crucial MX 100, Crucial MX 200, and Samsung T3 Portable SSD drives, the researchers were able to connect to the drive's JTAG debugging interfaces and modify the password validation routine so that it always validates as successful regardless of the password that is entered. This allows them to enter any password and have the drive unlocked. JTAG Interface Crucial MX300 SSD Drive The Crucial MX300 also has a JTAG debugging port, but it is disabled on the drive. Therefore, the researchers had to rely on a more complicated routine of flashing the device with a modified firmware that allows them to perform various routines, which ultimately allow them to either decrypt the password or authenticate to the device using an empty password. Samsung 840 EVO and Samsung 850 EVO SSD Drives Depending on which SED specification is used, the researchers were able to access the encrypted data by either connecting to the JTAG debug port and modifying the password validation routine or by using a wear-level issue that allows that them to recover the cryptographic secrets needed to unlock the drive from a previous unlocked instance. The Samsung 850 EVO does not have the wear-level issue, so would need to rely on the modification of the password-validation routine through the debug port. BitLocker fails by defaulting to hardware encryption Most modern operating systems provide software encryption that allows a user to perform whole disk encryption. While software decryption offered by Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS offer strong software encryption, BitLocker on Windows falls prey to the SSD flaw by defaulting to hardware encryption when available. When using BitLocker to encrypt a disk in Windows, if the operating system detects a SSD drive with hardware encryption, it will automatically default to using it. This allows drives encrypted by BitLocker using hardware encryption to be decrypted by the same flaws discussed above. BitLocker software encryption on the other hand has no known and verifiable flaws that allow users to bypass password authentication. In order to prevent the use of SSD hardware encryption, the researchers suggest that users disable its use using a Windows Group Policy at "Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\BitLocker Drive Encryption\Operating System Drives" called "Configure use of hardware-based encryption for operating system drives". Windows Policy to disable Hardware Encryption This policy is also available for removable and fixed data drives and should be disabled for them as well to enforce software encryption. Before software encryption will be used, after you change these policies you must first completely decrypt the drive and then enable BitLocker again to use software encryption. Update 11/6/18: Microsoft has issued an advisory related to BitLocker and discovered flaws in SSD hardware encryption. This advisory contains mitigation information "Microsoft is aware of reports of vulnerabilities in the hardware encryption of certain self-encrypting drives (SEDs). Customers concerned about this issue should consider using the software only encryption provided by BitLocker Drive Encryption™. On Windows computers with self-encrypting drives, BitLocker Drive Encryption™ manages encryption and will use hardware encryption by default. Administrators who want to force software encryption on computers with self-encrypting drives can accomplish this by deploying a Group Policy to override the default behavior. Windows will consult Group Policy to enforce software encryption only at the time of enabling BitLocker."
  19. straycat19

    SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

    I was lucky enough to have our IT department give me a couple of these devices that they received for testing but that they didn't want. I took one and used WintoUSB to create a portable windows drive using a virtual machine vhd file of Windows 10 LTSC as the source. I was surprised when I booted the drive how fast it was compared to actual windows to go devices. The device is small enough to be carried in a pocket and lightweight. I would consider buying several, but larger than the 250GB I was given, if they continue to perform as they have initially performed. Here is the data from SanDisk on them. The rugged SanDisk® Extreme Portable SSD delivers high-speed transfers with up to 550MB/s read speeds.** This makes it perfect for saving and editing hi-res photos and videos. With an IP55 rating, it also stands up to rain, splashes, spills and dust. Capacities of 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB With up to 2TB of high-speed storage for high-res photos, videos and sound files, the SanDisk Extreme® Portable SSD is perfect for all your creative pursuits. Works with Windows and Mac, USB-C or USB-A Designed to work with both Windows and Mac, the SanDisk Extreme® Portable SSD is equipped with a USB 3.1 Type-C connector and also includes a USB Type-C to Type-C cable and a Type-C to Type-A adapter, meaning it will work with the PCs and Macs of today, tomorrow and yesterday. Compact, Pocket-Sized Design Good things come in small sizes! The SanDisk Extreme® Portable SSD delivers high-performance and capacity in a drive that’s smaller than a smartphone. 0.348 x 1.951 x 3.787 in. (8.850 x 49.550 x 96.200 mm) Built by a technology leader More than 25 years ago the SanDisk® brand created the world’s first flash-based solid state drive and that was just the beginning. As a technology leader, we ensure that our products continue to deliver superior performance that you can rely on.
  20. First SSD with 1PB ‘usable capacity’ could come in 2023 Exclusive: The dawn of a new era in storage (Image credit: Nimbus Data) In an exclusive email exchange with TechRadar Pro, CEO and founder of Nimbus Data Thomas Izakovich revealed that solid state drives with capacities of up to 400TB are on the horizon. "We can do 200TB in 2021 and likely 400TB by 2023," he said, in reference to the unformatted storage capacity of the company's yet-to-be-announced SSDs. This is a symbolically significant milestone, because a prospective SSD with a native capacity of 400TB equals 1PB in tape capacity. Tape vendors usually deliver a native/compressed number for tape storage. The largest tape size, LTO-8, currently tops 12TB native and 30TB compressed, while LTO-9 (expected to land later this year) is set to double the capacity to 24TB (60TB compressed). In other words, you would need at least 17 of these tapes to match the expected capacity of a 400TB Nimbus Data SSD. While the theoretical Nimbus drive is likely to be a few orders of magnitude more expensive, it will probably be much smaller (as it doesn’t need a separate tape drive) and far faster. Nimbus Data is behind the world’s largest solid state drive to date, the $40,000 100TB ExaDrive DC, and has remained unchallenged for two years now. The full email interview, set to be published next week, covers topics including: Nimbus Data's view on computational storage Where Ultra High Capacity (UHC) solid state drives fit in the storage continuum Why no big vendors have released a drive bigger than 32TB Why 3.5-inch SSDs are here to stay What's inside the 100TB drive So, make sure to keep your eyes peeled. First SSD with 1PB ‘usable capacity’ could come in 2023
  21. Hello guys, I need a solution to clone my entire HDD of an old computer which has installed Windows XP Professional SP3 in it to a SSD. I tried Macrium Reflect 7.2 to clone it, but the whole process ended up with an Error code "0". Thanks.
  22. SSDs are on track to get bigger and cheaper thanks to PLC technology Storage of five bits in every NAND cell is coming, courtesy of Intel and Toshiba. Enlarge / This listing image is honestly a bit of a bait-and-switch: Optane isn't a NAND technology at all, and is about as far away from PLC as you can get. Intel Corporation Wednesday, Intel announced it's joining Toshiba in the PLC (Penta-Level Cell, meaning 5 bits stored per individual NAND cell) club. Intel has not yet commercialized the technology, so you can't go and buy a PLC SSD yet—but we can expect the technology will lead eventually to higher-capacity and cheaper solid state drives. To understand how and why this works, we need to go over a little bit of SSD design history. One of the most basic architectural features of a solid state disk is how many bits can be stored in each individual NAND cell. The simplest and most robust design is SLC—Single Layer Cell—in which each floating-gate NAND cell is either charged or not, representing a 1 or a 0. SLC flash can be written at very high speed and typically survives several times more write cycles than more complex designs can. (Endurance levels are specified per drive, but National Instruments uses 100K, 20K, and 3K as sample program/erase cycle endurance levels for SLC, eMLC, and MLC drives here.) Although SLC flash is high performance, high endurance, and high reliability, it's also extremely expensive to manufacture. SSDs didn't hit the consumer market until MLC—Multi-Layer Cell—flash became widely available. Naturally, the storage industry being what it is, they confused things from here. These are the industry terms for the various NAND storage levels: SLC—Single Layer Cell. One bit stored per cell. Typically only found in small cache layers, or extremely high-performance enterprise SSDs. MLC—Multi Layer Cell. In the real world, this refers specifically to two bits per cell. Examples include early consumer drives such as Intel X-25M and modern high-performance drives such as Samsung 860 Pro. eMLC—enterprise Multi Layer Cell. This is, effectively, just MLC with write speeds throttled in order to reduce error rates. Still only two bits stored per cell. TLC—Triple Layer Cell. Three bits stored per cell. Most modern consumer drives, such as Samsung 860 EVO and Western Digital Blue, are TLC drives. QLC—Quadruple Layer Cell. Four bits stored per cell. Used by a few high-capacity, low-cost consumer SSDs such as Samsung's 860 QVO and Intel's 660P. PLC—Penta Layer Cell, because an acronym for "quintuple" would have collided with 4-bit QLC. Five bits stored per cell. This is new technology that Intel and Toshiba have debuted this quarter. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. Intel also differentiates itself from competitors by sticking with the floating-gate cell design used in early SLC devices, instead of the less expensive charge-trap design the rest of the industry has shifted to. It's unclear to casual researchers which technology is actually better from a technical perspective, but Intel argues that the floating gates can be manufactured at a higher density, meaning it can pack more cells into the same physical area. Unfortunately, while PLC SSDs will likely be bigger and cheaper, they'll probably also be slower. Modern SSDs mostly use TLC storage with a small layer of SLC write cache. As long as you don't write too much data too fast, your SSD writes will seem as blazingly fast as your reads—for example, Samsung's consumer drives are rated for up to 520MB/sec. But that's only as long as you keep inside the relatively small SLC cache layer; once you've filled that and must write directly to the main media in real time, things slow down enormously. Samsung makes widely-available consumer and prosumer drives with MLC, TLC, and QLC cell densities, so it's helpful to see their rated speeds to get some idea of how this plays out. It's worth noting that these published specifications are for the drive as a whole, not for individual NAND cells. Larger SSDs can use more parallelism and operate with higher throughput than smaller ones. There is no Samsung QVO at a lower capacity than 1TB, presumably in part because it would have to be even slower. SSD model Cell level SLC cache sequential write speed Media sequential write speed Samsung 860 Pro 512GB MLC n/a 530MB/sec Samsung 860 EVO 512GB TLC 520MB/sec 300MB/sec Samsung 860 QVO 1TB QLC 520MB/sec 80MB/sec We can't tell you exactly how fast PLC media will (or won't) be, but the progression we see here doesn't make it look great. As the number of distinct voltage levels per cell that must be reliably detected increases, the time it takes to accurately and reliably read or write to those cells increases along with it. We can see this reflected especially well in Samsung's published specs for the three SSD models shown above: the Pro series drive doesn't use an SLC cache at all, and therefore maximum write speeds are consistent no matter how hard you push it. By contrast, the EVO and QVO fall off a cliff once you exhaust the cache. With sequential write speeds to QLC media already decreasing to or below that of conventional hard drives, PLC seems likely to be a niche player that will compete far more with NAS and datacenter drives than it does with laptop and desktop SSDs aimed at high performance. Sequential throughput isn't everything, of course—and PLC media should still offer much higher IOPS in challenging random-access workloads than conventional disks can. But it's probably not going to be a good solution in anything but truly massive-capacity drives, which can use higher parallelism (think "invisible RAID0") to offset the invididually-slow characteristics of PLC cells. Source: SSDs are on track to get bigger and cheaper thanks to PLC technology (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  23. Micron and Intel co-developed 3D XPoint memory as a high-performance alternative to flash, but so far only Intel has brought products to market, under their Optane brand. Despite owning the fab where 3D XPoint memory is produced, the closest Micron has come to commercializing that tech for themselves was their announcement in 2016 that upcoming Micron products using 3D XPoint memory would be branded as Micron QuantX, their counterpart to Intel's Optane brand. Years later, we finally have a concrete product announcement, and they seem to have abandoned the QuantX name. The new Micron X100 is a high-end enterprise NVMe SSD to compete against Intel's upcoming second-generation Optane SSDs and any specialized low-latency SLC NAND their competitors can come up with (eg. Samsung Z-NAND, Toshiba XL-FLASH). Micron has not yet released full specs for the X100, but the top line performance numbers are 2.5M IOPS for 4kB random reads and around 10GB/s for sequential transfers—both likely to be new records for a single SSD if they can ship it soon enough. A preview video posted by Micron includes a graph that labels the 2.5M IOPS figure as being tested at QD1, which sounds too good to be true: almost 5x the performance of Intel's current Optane SSDs. Micron says the X100 should be good for at least 9GB/s for reads, writes, or mixed workloads, reflecting how much closer 3D XPoint is to symmetrical read/write performance than any flash memory. (And also suggesting that the controller may be the bottleneck for sequential transfers more than the 3D XPoint memory itself.) For QoS, Micron is listing both read and write latencies of 8µs or less, slightly better than the 10µs that Intel's current Optane SSDs promise. The card Micron is showing off today is a full-height half-length PCIe x16 add-in card, so it should be able to reach full throughput even on PCIe 3.0 systems. Micron says the X100 will be in limited sampling to select customers sometime this quarter, so it's not going to be shaking up the storage market much in the immediate future but it is far enough past the vaporware stage that Micron should be able to deliver the rest of the specs soon—including the range of available capacities. Since Micron hasn't said anything about a second generation of 3D XPoint memory being ready, the density and costs of the X100 shouldn't be drastically different from Intel's Optane offerings. Source: Micron Finally Announces A 3D XPoint Product: Micron X100 NVMe SSD (via AnandTech)
  24. Seagate backs up a truckload of flash, and introduces a gaming dock, too. Seagate is blazing up a firestorm with the release of two new storage products for gamers, a new gaming dock, and a PCIe 4.0 x4 FireCuda SSD. The company is also refreshing a few of the other SSDs in its lineup, too. FireCuda Gaming Dock Seagate’s FireCuda Gaming Dock is a high-end gaming hub that integrates a docking station and external storage into one device. It’s meant to be a perfect fit for laptop gamers who aren’t ready to jump on the desktop gaming PC bandwagon yet. As many laptops are constrained by storage, Seagate is launching the unit with 4TB 7200RPM HDD inside for those growing game libraries. The company also threw in a PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 expansion slot just in case you’re looking to add some high-speed NVMe storage, too. The dock features one-cord plug-and-play connectivity over a single Thunderbolt 3 input. There are also 10 connections to the docking station to connect your other peripherals. • 1x TB3 port for accessory devices • 1x DisplayPort 1.4 • 4x USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports • 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 battery charge port • 1x RJ45 Ethernet network port • 1x 3.5mm audio-in / mic port • 1x 3.5mm audio-out port Unfortunately, there is no charging support for laptops, so you will have to use your power brick when you're connected to the dock. But it offers a slick industrial design with LED illumination. It comes to market with an MSRP of $349.99 and a three-year warranty. FireCuda 520 SSD If the gaming dock wasn’t enough to spark your interest, Seagate’s new PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 NVMe SSD just might. It’s Seagate's top-of-the-line SSD, and a solid choice to add some more speed to your new AMD Ryzen 3000 build. Like a few other PCIe 4.0 SSDs in the market, Seagate’s FireCuda 520 features a Phison E16 SSD controller that has been validated by the company. Paired with Kioxia’s 96L BiCS4 TLC NAND flash, Seagate says this combo enables incredible performance with up to 5,000/4,400 MBps of sequential read/write throughput and up to 760,000/700,000 random read/write IOPS. The drive comes with a black PCB and has an MTBF rating of 1.8M hours. It also comes with a five-year warranty with endurance figures of up to 3,600 TB to match. Available now, Seagate’s FireCuda 520 comes in three capacities: 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB. MSRPs are $124.99 (500GB), $249.99 (1TB), and $429.99 (2TB). FireCuda 510 SSD Refresh While the FireCuda 520 launch steals the spotlight, Seagate’s FireCuda 510 PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 NVMe SSD gets some love, too. Today, Seagate told us that it is refreshing the FireCuda 510 with new hardware. First, Seagate added in a black PCB to appeal for those concerned about aesthetics. Who likes ugly blue and green PCBs distracting from your blacked-out or red accented gaming build, anyways? Seagate also swapped out the NAND from 64L BiCS3 to the latest Kioxia 96L BiCS4 flash. They have also added in a 500GB capacity point because high-capacity models are a hot seller. Barracuda 510 SSD Refresh Just as the FireCuda is expanding to smaller capacities, the company’s mainstream PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 NVMe SSD, the BarraCuda 510, is getting a 1TB model. Like the FireCuda, the BarraCuda features a Seagate-validated Phison E12 SSD controller and the latest Kioxia 96L BiCS4 flash, but not the fancy black PCB. The main difference between the BarraCuda 510 and FireCuda 510, other than aesthetics and capacity points, is that the BarraCuda is a single-sided M.2 SSD optimized for flexible compatibility, while FireCuda is a double-sided M.2 solution optimized for enhanced performance and greater endurance. BarraCuda 120 SSD Refresh To conclude the refresh list, we finally have the BarraCuda 120 SSD. Seagate’s BarraCuda 120 is a 2.5 in × 7mm SATA 6Gb/s SSD that replaces the previous BarraCuda SSD. Seagate replaced the internals with new and up-to-date hardware. The company also swapped out the aging S10 SSD controller and replaced it with a Phison S12 SATA controller to ready it for 3D NAND. Seagate will have two sources of NAND for this SSD. Depending on inventory, the BarraCuda 120 will come with either Kioxia 96L BiCS4 TLC or Micron 64L TLC to ensure consistent supply. Source: Seagate Announces Thunderbolt 3 Gaming Dock and New FireCuda SSDs (via Tom's Hardware)
  25. Hi all Yesterday I mounted a SSD drive on my mobo to accelerate my computer. And a strange thing happened : - I switched off my computer, put the SSD in its slot, screwed it and rebooted. - The pc booted fine. I entered the bios to verify that my new disk was there and... no, it was not. The M2.1 slot - where i put the SSD - was marked "empty". Argg... Never mind, I launched Windows 10. The OS found a new drive and asked me to initialize it for future use, what I did. I then ran the samsung utility (Samsung Magician). All worked fine. The speed is ok as you can see on the picture. I rebooted, re-entered the Bios, to see if i missed something... The M2.1 slot was still empty but, strange thing, the SSD was found in the boot order section. I quit the bios ,pressed F8 to access the Boot menu : and, yes, my new drive was there. So, i do not worry about that, but i would like to know if anybody had encountered this situation. And if someone has an explanation.... it would be great too Thank you for reading Config : Asus Prime X470-pro with an AMD Ryzen 5 2600 (2019) Samsung EvoPlus NVMe M2 (250 Go) Windows 10 x64
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