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AnandTech Gives the Skinny On Recent SSD Offerings 96

Posted by timothy
from the they're-small-and-quiet-the-end dept.
omnilynx writes "With capacity on the rise and prices falling, solid state drives are finally starting to compete with traditional hard drives. However, there are still several issues to take into account when moving to an SSD, not to mention choosing between a widening array of offerings. Anand Lal Shimpi of AnandTech does a better job than anyone could expect detailing those issues (especially those related to performance) and reviewing the new offerings in the SSD arena. Intel's X25 series comes out on top for sheer speed, but OCZ makes a surprise turnaround with its Vertex drive giving perhaps the best value."
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AnandTech Gives the Skinny On Recent SSD Offerings

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  • great article (Score:2, Insightful)

    by weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @02:40PM (#27260429) Journal

    i read this article yesterday and thought it was very interesting. I didn't know much about SSD's besides the common "better performance but not worth the money" opinion. Nor did i know about the 1st gen problems that most of them have. Good stuff, anyone interested in getting a SSD soon should definitely read this.

  • Bad controller (Score:2, Insightful)

    by afidel (530433) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @02:45PM (#27260499)
    They only got 31.7MB/s with the X-25e @4K random writes, that's MUCH slower than I've been able to get out of it. On my HP P400 I get ~75MB/s and on my HP workstation with builtin Intel chipset I get ~150MB/s. I would say it's their testing rig that was seriously holding the drive back and if they redid it with a better controller they would have come to a very different conclusion. Of course I have yet to find an enterprise class RAID controller that can keep up with a 2 drive RAID-10 of X-25e's so the absolute performance may be moot.
  • Amazing Article (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @04:06PM (#27261625)
    I read the article in it's entirety. One thing that I was impressed by was the tremendous power of internet hardware reviewers. The reviewer in the article is some geek with a website, but he influences thousands, probably millions of dollars in sales. In the article, he figures out that the OCZ Vertex is an SSD that actually offers a good price/performance ratio. After reading that, I check newegg.com : yep, the top selling SSDs are the OCZ Vertex and Intel's. Geeks really do look for objective, hard benchmarks to decide what to spend their hard earned cash on. More than that, OCZ actually revised their firmware to meet the reviewer's demands. They would not have done this at all if they had been left to their own devices, and the final product is actually usable. Finally an SSD upgrade is viable : on newegg, the smallest OCZ Vertex drive is 30 gigs, for $108. Two of those in a RAID 0 configuration would be ideal, giving performance exceeding the Intel X-25M for half the cost. ($216 versus $350 for the X-25M) I'm strongly tempted to make the purchase, although I know it'll be even cheaper if I just wait a few more months...
  • Re:Amazing Article (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @04:16PM (#27261761)

    Does he have an engineering degree? Could he have made the change to the firmware himself? Does anyone but other geeks know who he is?

    I'm not trying to badmouth him, it's amazing that he does what he does, but it isn't immediately obvious why he carries so much respect.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@NOspAm.world3.net> on Friday March 20, 2009 @09:23AM (#27267961) Homepage

    Adding cache RAM would mitigate a lot of the problems too. It's a shame only high end RAID cards have it, because it could really help out both HDDs and SSDs.

    Basically you have a relatively small RAM cache for the drive. It could be in the drive itself or on the motherboard, depending on how you want to do it. When any data is written to the drive, it goes into the cache RAM and gets written out as quickly as the drive can manage. From the OS's point of view the write completes as soon as the data is in cache RAM, which is almost instantly. RAM is amazingly cheap now, so you could easily have 1GB of cache meaning that writing anything less than 1GB of data completes pretty much instantly.

    The only slight issue is that if there is a power cut before data in the cache RAM is written out to disk, it could be lost. RAID cards use backup batteries to maintain the cache RAM in this case, but with an SSD you could just use a super-capacitor to keep both the SSD and the RAM powered up long enough to save all the cached data. Capacitors charge instantly and don't wear out.

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