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Samsung 256GB SSD is World's Fastest 190

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-write-faster-with-a-pencil dept.
i4u submitted one of many holiday weekend slow news day stories which starts "Samsung Electronics announced today the world's fastest, 2.5", 256GB multi-level cell (MLC) based solid state drive (SSD) using a SATA II interface. Performance data of the new Samsung 256GB SSD features a sequential read speed of 200 megabytes per second (MB/s) and sequential write speed of 160MB/s. The Samsung MLC-based 2.5-inch 256GB SSD is about 2.4 times faster than a typical HDD. Furthermore, the new 256 GB SSD is only 9.5 millimeters (mm) thick, and measures 100.3x69.85 mm. Samsung is expected to begin mass producing the 2.5-inch, 256GB SSD by year end, with customer samples available in September. A 256GB capacity is getting large enough to replace hard-drives for good — now just the prices just need to come down further for large capacity SSDs."
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Samsung 256GB SSD is World's Fastest

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  • Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mark Trade (172948) on Monday May 26, 2008 @08:04AM (#23543625)
    Don't buy any other similar products. Ours will come out Really Soon (TM). At least we hope so.
    • Re:Summary (Score:4, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday May 26, 2008 @10:22AM (#23544833) Journal
      And since it's using MLCs, expect to buy another one quite soon after. While SLC flash is up to the 100,000 to 1,000,000 rewrites level, MLC is still closer to 10,000. This, combined with the larger cell sizes on most MLC products means that it is likely to wear out much faster. This is why most flash manufacturers are only pushing MLC technology for consumer electronics type applications (e.g. MP3 players), where you want high density and low cost but don't perform many writes.
      • Wear leveling (Score:3, Informative)

        by tepples (727027)

        And since it's using MLCs, expect to buy another one quite soon after. While SLC flash is up to the 100,000 to 1,000,000 rewrites level, MLC is still closer to 10,000. This, combined with the larger cell sizes on most MLC products means that it is likely to wear out much faster.

        MLC products use wear leveling [wikipedia.org] at the controller level to spread writes to high-traffic areas such as directories and extent maps around the physical medium. That's also why they store 256 GB and not 256 GiB: that's 7 percent for spare sectors. Even if this wear leveing is only 10 percent effective, how long does it take to write to all 256 GB of the drive 1,000 times?

  • by Eccles (932) on Monday May 26, 2008 @08:06AM (#23543641) Journal
    Looking at a hard drive, it's got lots of moving parts, the need for sealing, etc. One would think that in the long run a solid state drive that is just a few chips and connecting logic would be cheaper to produce once you have the facilities.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by berwiki (989827)
      you're probably right.

      but just like CD's are cheaper to produce than cassettes, that doesn't mean the cost will ever come down.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by kipman725 (1248126)
        they have come down a blank cd can be had for less than a pence if you buy in large enough quantities. It's just not viable to sell CD's at less than the cost of transportation in individual quantities.
      • Apples to Celery (Score:4, Insightful)

        by benhattman (1258918) on Monday May 26, 2008 @10:09AM (#23544715)
        You can't just compare different markets. As another poster said, you can buy CD-R for less than a penny each. What you are referring to is how record companies have used the lower medium price to make an even larger profit off of the content.

        However, how does an oligopoly selling copyrighted content compare to a commodity market? Basic economics tells you they don't, and you can count on one of two things happening. A) SSD prices fall in line with hard drives. Or B) hard drive capacity moves beyond the needs of most consumers and SSD takes up that niche while being only marginally more expensive per GB than hard drives.
        • However, how does an oligopoly selling copyrighted content compare to a commodity market?
          Recent patent lawsuits by SanDisk and Seagate show that the market for flash memory is closer to an oligopoly selling content subject to exclusive rights than to a commodity market.
      • by vux984 (928602)

        but just like CD's are cheaper to produce than cassettes, that doesn't mean the cost will ever come down.


        When were you ever able to buy 100 blank cassettes for 20$?
    • by Kjella (173770)
      Easier to miniaturize, certainly. Right now they're doing massive RAID0 to get performance, I wonder what it'd be like if they could do RAID1/5/6 for example - forget hard disk crashes more or less, just replace some flash plug-in modules in your SSD. Ok the electronics could still fry, it could get lost or stolen but mechanical failure seems to be the typical killer.
      • BAARF (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tepples (727027)

        Easier to miniaturize, certainly. Right now they're doing massive RAID0 to get performance, I wonder what it'd be like if they could do RAID1/5/6 for example - forget hard disk crashes more or less, just replace some flash plug-in modules in your SSD. Ok the electronics could still fry, it could get lost or stolen but mechanical failure seems to be the typical killer.

        I've read that RAID 3/4/5 is unreliable [baarf.com]. As capacities grow, it takes longer to reconstruct a new spare from the surviving drives when one dies. In fact, BAARF contends that capacities have grown to the point that it's likely that another drive will fail during reconstruction. Are there any big drawbacks to RAID 6?

        • Re:BAARF (Score:4, Insightful)

          by WuphonsReach (684551) on Monday May 26, 2008 @04:32PM (#23548623)
          I've read that RAID 3/4/5 is unreliable. As capacities grow, it takes longer to reconstruct a new spare from the surviving drives when one dies. In fact, BAARF contends that capacities have grown to the point that it's likely that another drive will fail during reconstruction. Are there any big drawbacks to RAID 6?

          RAID6 is a far better option then RAID5. At least it makes it less likely that you'll end up with a double-drive failure that takes out the entire array.

          OTOH, the failure mode of both RAID5 and RAID6 leaves a lot to be desired. Rebuild time increases linearly as you add more disks to the array. So a 10+ RAID5/RAID6 array can have huge rebuild times, leaving you vulnerable for a lot longer. As in half a day or longer to rebuild the array (or at least a few hours).

          Personally, my preference is the more conservative RAID10 approach. Rebuild times are based on the size of an individual disk in the array (not the total array size), which means your vulnerability window is a lot smaller. And depending on luck, you can survive a multi-disk failure. Rebuild times are typically under 2 hours for arrays that are based on 300-500GB drives.

          (My preference is to have 1 spare disk for every 6-8 drives in the array. So a 12 disk RAID10 array would probably be RAID10 over 10 disks with the other two as spares.)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by canuck57 (662392)

      Looking at a hard drive, it's got lots of moving parts, the need for sealing, etc. One would think that in the long run a solid state drive that is just a few chips and connecting logic would be cheaper to produce once you have the facilities.

      Given sufficient amount of time, solid state SSD will likely overtake hard drives. But I think many industry analysts are far too quick to estimate wide adoption if the SSD media over hard drives. It will be slow. And I have heard those predictions 10 years ago.

      Problems exist in SSD adoption, 3 huge ones.

      • density, hard drives seem to be always many steps ahead in density
      • costs, a $100 hard drive w. 1TB version the SSD 1TB cost?
      • write speed/reliability issues with SSD

      Oh, the SSD will creep in, but I

  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Monday May 26, 2008 @08:08AM (#23543657) Homepage
    I like the idea of the SSD, but I think they need to concentrate on lowering costs down to earth before flaunting their capacity achievements. Hell, any monkey can build a 500-TB mega-RAID stripe with a large enough budget.

    When this SSD is cheap enough that I can buy 3-4 of them and stripe that into a bus-raping powerhouse, for less than a mortgage payment, then we'll talk.
    • by Sascha J. (803853) on Monday May 26, 2008 @08:14AM (#23543699) Homepage Journal
      If the SSD's price only increases very slightly with greatly increasing capacity, they already lowered the cost.

      Also, it doesn't help to have cheap 32GB SSDs when nobody buys them and you can't really launch into mass production because you are stuck with a niche market. To drive down the price you need to be able to produce them en mass and in order to do that you need to catch up (or outstrip) existing technology.
    • I actually RTFA and this device is obviously not remarkable because of the storage size. It's remarkable because of the transfer speed and the number of transactions/operations per second.
      I can see how this device can be considered dirt cheap by people that are looking for a solution in that last area.
    • by mrkitty (584915)
      SSD is fairly cheap on eBay [solidstate-drives.org]
    • I'd like a USB dongle with, say, eight slots for SD cards in it. I can fill the slots up with cheapo cards and the controller would treat them like a RAID.

      I'm sure performance would be competitive with a hard disk and it would only cost me $100 for cards to make a drive big enough for system, some workspace and swap file. Seagate's Raptor drives have had similar capacities and it hasn't held them back.

  • This is good news... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tastecicles (1153671) on Monday May 26, 2008 @08:09AM (#23543665)
    ...if it can cope with high definition capture it'll be handy for me and my shutterbug family who're always out with various still and video cameras. Nothing worse than shortdropping a notebook and killing the hard disk.
  • MLC, not SLC. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2008 @08:17AM (#23543727)
    But it's a Multi-Level Cell based Flash drive, not a Single-Level Cell based Flash drive. The cells hold 4 states, not 2.

    High capacity, yes, and apparently high speed as well. Excellent... but also lower reliability. SLC Flash is extremely durable these days, but MLC Flash is not, last I checked, even one tenth as long-lasting.

    How much lower? Well... ...frankly, we don't really know yet. We won't really know, as such, until they start to die - which could well be 5-10 years, and if so, that's really not bad - and you might not see the same type of can't-write-blocks failure, but rather a more conventional can't-read-blocks failure. Which would be about as bad as a hard disk crash (and we might have to develop whole new data recovery techniques).

    Maybe it might last years longer than a hard drive owing to fewer moving parts. Perhaps it will slowly die, but good write levelling will largely mitigate the issue and overall it'll come out better, or about the same. Or perhaps we're looking at a flaky brick with lower reliability than a Quantum Fireball.

    Early adopters, start your engines, because someone's gotta find out.

    For enterprise use, it might be wiser to stick to more conservative SLC flash. Past that, all bets are off.

    But we're seeing the beginning, here. Hard drives are, slowly, on the way out. It'll be a long phase-out where they are much more cost-effective for a long time... but it is coming. And I, for one, welcome our new nanosecond-seek-time overlords.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Normal SSD drives die in a matter of months on a typical developer's machine so it shouldn't be that hard to test.

      I have first hand experience with this so I laugh when people say flash drives will last longer than their mechanical counterparts. The rewrite cycle count needs to be way, way higher than it currently is. Wear leveling can only do so much and it just gets worse as the drive gets full.
    • by flnca (1022891)
      That's what RAID is for. Mirroring and/or striping with multiple drives and automatic error correction can make them more reliable. Bad areas of the SDD drive can automatically be excluded from storage by the filing system. That's basically the same thing with hard drives. A hard drive also accumulates bad sectors during its lifetime, and some day, fails completely. SSDs have a higher ruggedness when it comes to environment conditions.
    • Early adopters, start your engines, because someone's gotta find out.

      I was rather expecting a "iWantOne" tag on this article, because I DO.

      I've been an early adopter on hard drives more than once. Back in '98 my laptop had a 23gb (yes, 23) HDD in it, and that was awesome to have that kind of portable storage. It made that nasty "I'm about to die" click about ten times a day, for every day of the two years I owned it too, when I sold it in working condition.

      If it's not too painful I may bite. My laptop s
  • Well, since the technology isn't developed, is it really that surprising that we read a story about 'Worlds Fastest' every couple weeks?

    Solid State Drives for computers? They aren't really out of beta!
    • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Monday May 26, 2008 @08:25AM (#23543793)

      Solid State Drives for computers? They aren't really out of beta!
      400,000 eee PCs say you're wrong.
      • I guess you're right ... if we're talking about 8 gig SSDs in tiny, underpowered but portable netbooks. SSDs have been in use in cellphones for awhile .... as flash memory. The EEE is only slightly more functional than a full featured palm device or blackberry, and both use flash memory as well.

        I was talking about home computers, work computers, computers that do more than just check email and the occasional word processing... I've got a solid state 'drive' as a flash drive right now bigger than the 'hard
  • 256gigs is a lot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FudRucker (866063) on Monday May 26, 2008 @08:27AM (#23543805)
    I don't requires that much disk storage space, I could get by on 40 gigs and 80 would never run out of disk space for my purposes, make an 80 gig SSD that would sell for less than 200 USD and I will use my disk platters for target practice...
    • I am getting by just fine on my Eee PC with a 4GB SSD and a 8GB SD card, for a total of 12GB.

      The trick is to have a server somewhere with enough disk space to keep the bulk of the crap online.
    • by Idaho (12907)

      I don't requires that much disk storage space, I could get by on 40 gigs and 80 would never run out of disk space for my purposes, make an 80 gig SSD that would sell for less than 200 USD and I will use my disk platters for target practice...

      Exactly, my current notebook (3 years old) only has a 60 GB disk, and even then I have split it into 2x30 GB so I can run both Linux and Windows XP. I've never had a problem related to lack of space. OK, you can't keep huge movie or music collections on it, but seeing a

    • by Bryan Ischo (893)
      I am so totally with you. I have never used more than about 20 GB of any workstation hard drive I have ever owned.

      But, I don't steal videos, music, and software off the internet, so I guess I don't represent the majority of the market.
      • But, I don't steal videos, music, and software off the internet

        I don't either, and I still have terabytes of data, such as audio and video files.

        Depending on how it's encoded, 1 hour of video can take 1GB to 13GB without even going to a professional codec. ATSC HDTV recorded from an antenna easily takes 6GB per hour. My AVCHD camcorder runs at about 8GB per hour, converting it to a more editable intermediate codec easily runs 13GB an hour.
  • Once the prices come down and the tech matures a little more, a nice small 32-64GB SSD for the apps and a 1TB+ for storage should be a great overall solution. This could even happen in form of an elegant hybrid unit.
  • With high capacity non-volatile memory, is it now time to redesign "personal computer" hardware and the operating systems?
    • Definitely. How much faster could life be if every program were permanently resident in memory? Buh bye pagefile, hello performance.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 4D6963 (933028)

      A most interesting and pertinent question! I think that if such a memory reached the speed of RAM with the capacity of a HDD then we could merge the two concepts into a central memory that would be used for anything. The first real gain with that type of design is that instead of loading (uncompressed) files (from the HDD to the RAM) you could simply point to them, and directly access them. Virtual machines could benefit greatly from that by pausing and resuming their execution instantly, for all their virt

      • A most interesting and pertinent question! I think that if such a memory reached the speed of RAM with the capacity of a HDD then we could merge the two concepts into a central memory that would be used for anything.

        Newton OS and Windows Mobile 4 already did this.

        They could have all their memory space in a file (the OS would take care of it), and if the program was to be prematurely killed you could resume its execution state.

        How would revision control work under your system? The naive revision control supported by most document-editing applications has three revisions: a "current version" loaded into working memory, an "undo buffer" also in working memory, and a "stable version" saved to a persistent file system. "Save" copies the current version to stable; "revert" does the opposite. The Newton OS's unified memory model had problems with rollback: once you made two unwanted cha

  • by Jeppe Salvesen (101622) on Monday May 26, 2008 @09:16AM (#23544185)
    How would this perform for index tablespaces and logfiles? I imagine lifetime/health will have to be monitored, but that's already being done with regular platterspinners.
    • If you look at the lifespan of an SSD just using the limited write-cycle aspect is a function of how many physical blocks you have * number of write-cycles (if you have a proper wearlevelling algorithm that swaps writes from most used block to the least used ones).

      From what I've read physical block size usually are in the range 16 kbyte - 256 kbyte. Let's assume a low 100000 cycles, a highish 256 kilobyte blocksize on a 256 GB drive giving you 1 million physical blocks. If you use that to estimate the num
      • by DDumitru (692803)
        Most current Flash SSDs have a 2 Megabyte erase block. Take a 32 GB MLC drive with 10,000 cycles and you wear out in 160 million random write operations. At 20/sec this is 92 days. At 200/sec it is 9 days.

        Good enough for laptops. Not good enough for servers.
  • this flash type memory is not being incorporated into existing platter based HDDs? It would seem to me that a few (read 8 - 64) GBs of flash memory coupled to a .5 to 1 TB standard HDD would be a great easy to use product.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I think the problem is, if you try to use the flash as a sort of buffer, you end up with the worst of both worlds. You're still subject to the same mechanical failure risks for long-term storage as a simple hard disk, but you're also limited by the number of writes you can do to the buffer.

      You can accomplish the same thing, with fewer flaws, by just having two drives.
  • I like SSD but.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jeffc128ca (449295)
    I've been waiting for something to get around the hard drive speed bottle neck for a long time. I do a lot of data analysis on huge data sets, mostly financial market data. I end up doing a massive amount of reads and writes to hard drives which slows things down a lot.

    My main fear with SSD's is the wearing out of blocks and bits. Typical data sets I work with are about 2 gigabytes. I run scripts against the data to look at various patterns and generate forecasting data. I could read and write that dat
    • by toddestan (632714)
      Just curious, if you're main problem is the hard drive speed, but your datasets are only ~2GB in size, why don't you just build a machine with a massive amount of ram? I figure you could easily have a computer with 16-32GB+ of DDR2 ram for a few grand. Seems like a cheaper and faster way of dealing with it instead of moving to flash disks.

    • Anyway, for single cell flash, I would think that at your volume you'd be obsoleting the drive before it wore out. For multi-cell, I'm not so sure.

      If you're working in the financial services industry, shouldn't cost not be that much of a factor?

      C//
  • So, Dell is about to offer up their MD1120 - same exact thing as the MD1000 but with 24 drives - 2.5" each.

    If you didn't care about redundancy, for a DB this thing would be perfect... Mix and match slower sas drives in an array that doesn't require such fast IO, then on your data intensive VD, have SSD's!

    That would be pretty slick.
  • I do hope that operating system and application programmers will be wise and start to program to cater for faster system drives and slower storage drives. It's a shame if a game uses a real fast drive just to load some levels. Safe the big number data on a "slow" moving drive and store the engine and some much used textures on the main drive.

    256 GB SDD (or a spanking new 300 GB Velociraptor for that matter) can be lots of fun, but not if each and every game stores 40 GB of uncompressed game data on the driv
  • I don't want 256Gb next year. I want 64Gb right now for about a quarter of the price.... I can manage with 40Gb on my laptop. 2Gb of MP3's is enough, 2-5Gb of operating system, a few movies, which have to be "replenished" at home after viewing. All in all, you can make a laptop work just fine with 32 or 64Gb. The biggest laptop drives are now 160 or 200Gb. So why go larger? Just provide bigger sequential speed, better random access speed, bump-proofness. Bigger size next year is fine.
    • by Joce640k (829181)
      Have you seen the average notebook buy in a shop? It's all a game of "find the biggest number".

      As a geek I'm always being asked if such-and-such a laptop is "fast enough", if XX is enough disk space, etc.

      People have no idea what the numbers mean, or how they compare to the numbers six months ago. They don't even know the difference between RAM and hard disk. All they know is they don't want low numbers.

      Bottom line ... "disk capacity" is a number on the little label so it has to keep increasing no matter wha

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