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Data Storage Hardware

Samsung's Solid-State Disk Drive Unveiled 241

Posted by kdawson
from the fast-and-flashy dept.
Iddo Genuth writes "After unveiling their upcoming hybrid hard drive, Samsung — along with a number of other manufacturers — is planning to begin shipping solid-state drives during 2007. Unlike the upcoming hybrids, solid-state drives should work with windows XP as well as Vista." The drives will be introduced in 1.8- and 2.5-inch form factors for notebooks. While streaming performance can't equal that of hard disks, Samsung claims that random-access performance is more important and that (e.g.) Vista users would see a 4x speedup in many key operations. Pricing was not announced.
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Samsung's Solid-State Disk Drive Unveiled

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  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:21PM (#17238136)
    Reminds me of when a company in the 70's built a solid-state swapping "drum" memory system for IBM S/370 mainframes. Of course, that one wouldn't fit in a 2.5" form factor.
  • by magarity (164372) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:23PM (#17238178)
    ...because they don't want you to get a bad case of sticker shock. If texas memory systems (http://www.texmemsys.com/) is any guide, these things won't be comparable to platter drives in cost per GB per performance. Maybe they've figured out a way to manufacture the things not too expensively per GB but the performance will be wretched. And even though most apps will not care unless you have a stopwatch people will look at the raw numbers and shy away. Just see all the trouble AMD had with the Pentium 4 vs Athlon XP CPU GHz wars.
  • Re:Not on XP? (Score:2, Informative)

    by MankyD (567984) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:23PM (#17238190) Homepage
    Could someone tell me why one type of drive wouldn't work with a specific version of Windows? Shouldn't they be able to write drivers for that?
    I am guessing that a better description of the problem would be "not optimized for Windows". A hybrid drive is best used when small, in-demand data chunks are put on the flash components and large or infrequently accessed files are left on the platters. Perhaps there is no reasonable method to decide what files should go where?
  • by humphrm (18130) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:25PM (#17238236) Homepage
    I did an eval of SSD back, oh five years ago for my employer. These were SSD's attached via SCSI to Sun boxes running Solaris and Sybase. Based on the results I saw then, I have two problems with this:

    >Vista users would see a 4x speedup in many key operations.
    Back in the day, we were seeing 10-20X improvements over spinning media in Random Access. 4x is almost not worth it, depending on price - give spinning media another year or two and they'll match that gain.

    >Pricing was not announced.
    Of course not, because it's going to be outrageously expensive!
  • Re:Not on XP? (Score:5, Informative)

    by IntergalacticWalrus (720648) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:26PM (#17238252)
    Could someone tell me why one type of drive wouldn't work with a specific version of Windows? Shouldn't they be able to write drivers for that?

    Obviously because Microsoft paid them a certain amount of money to make it an extra reason to force people to upgrade.
  • by TeknoHog (164938) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:28PM (#17238284) Homepage Journal
    Hard disks also have maximum lifetimes. Both HDDs and flash drives reallocate damaged blocks to compensate for the problem. The question is how the two compare in practical use.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:29PM (#17238296)
    If I remember correctly, I believe that these drives are already designed to spread out data evenly so as to minimize the number of writes to any one sector. Since seek time is not an issue, you're not going to get a performance boost by putting data at the "front" of the drive like you do with traditional hard drives, so it's much more feasible to apply this "load balancing" approach.
  • Re:Not on XP? (Score:5, Informative)

    by alexhs (877055) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:32PM (#17238362) Homepage Journal
    Solid-state drives are flash drives with a PATA/SATA connector, and will work like a regular hard disk, as far as the motherboard and the OS are concerned. Therefore working whatever OS you're using.

    Hybrid drives, OTOH, are relying on two different technologies, and it seems the choice of using disk or flash is up to the OS. It means that if your OS isn't Hybrid-drive aware, you probably will end up with using the disk and losing its flash ability. Vista OTOH will be able to put some files on the flash part.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:32PM (#17238368)
    No, this drive will be worse for boot up time. Boot time is a function of how fast info can be pulled off the drive, and this thing is modestly slower than hard drives. But its latency is terribly faster and will increase responsiveness whenever information scattered at different points is rapidly needed, since it takes no time to move a physicial arm between memory locations.
  • by ironwill96 (736883) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:39PM (#17238516) Homepage Journal
    And if anyone had actually read the article, they would see that according to Samsung, the Flash technology in use in the drives has a lifetime of TEN years (your IDE / SATA HD likely wont last that long btw). They also note how much the R/W cycle issue has improved in the last few years.

    Oh wait, this is /., we don't read the articles we just write silly comments first!
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:41PM (#17238568) Journal
    TFA states that current flash technology has a lifespan of about 10 years. Unlike hard drives, when flash fails you can still read from it, just not write to it. This means that, when your drive wears out, you just dump the contents to the new one, which is much larger anyway. You don't lose data.

    Off topic, when did 32MB/s write speeds become slow? My new laptop gets about 30MB/s sustained (linear) write speeds, and I thought that was pretty impressive.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 14, 2006 @12:54PM (#17238868)
    OS bootup time depends largely on the time required to find and load all the dynamically linked libraries and the various tools, programs and daemons that are scattered around the hard disk, so access time is a very important factor.
  • Re:Not on XP? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Surt (22457) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @01:20PM (#17239376) Homepage Journal
    Vista has features at the OS level to take advantage of hybrid drives.

    While a hybrid could function in XP with a driver, you can't get the magic (extra fast app and os load) without vista.
  • Re:Not on XP? (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @02:00PM (#17240088)
    Could someone tell me why one type of drive wouldn't work with a specific version of Windows? Shouldn't they be able to write drivers for that?


    As others have pointed out, they are standard connectors and would work with any OS basically.

    Why 'Vista' is singled out, is Vista will recognize that it is a solid state drive, and use a 'different' set of cache and pre-cache techniques to get even more performance out of it than a regular OS would, by utilizing the drives random r/w speed over conventional HDs.

    The Vista ReadBoost technology goes into play on this type of drive 'so to speak', even though it would be the primary HD, and this is why Vista would get even more of a boost from the solid state technology than other OSes currently.
  • Re:Not on XP? (Score:2, Informative)

    by riskeetee (1039912) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @02:31PM (#17240844)
    On the gripping hand...
  • by owlstead (636356) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @04:01PM (#17242830)
    I would not know about that. 5 years ago, a fast drive would do a seek in about 12 ms. Now it is 9 ms. That's not impressive. Density and streaming speed has increased manyfold within that time frame. Seek time has not. And it'll be some time before the random access speed of flash is met by spinning disks (and more importantly maybe, the drive heads). Especially if you read the article carefully, and see that the 4x speed up mentioned is the overall speed speedup.

    From the faq:

    Q: How fast is your current SSD and what performance improvements does it offer?

    A: The streaming R/W speeds are 57 MB/s and 32 MB/s, respectively, but the most significant performance advantage comes from its latency feature - less than 1 millisecond; roughly 10-15x faster than a hard disk drive.

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