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Data Storage Intel Hardware

"Limited Edition" SSD Has Fastest Storage Speed 122

Posted by timothy
from the genuine-leather-bits dept.
Vigile writes "The idea of having a 'Limited Edition' solid state drive might seem counter-intuitive, but regardless of the naming, the new OCZ Vertex LE is based on the new Sandforce SSD controller that promises significant increases in performance, along with improved ability to detect and correct errors in the data stored in flash. While the initial Sandforce drive was called the 'Vertex 2 Pro' and included a super-capacitor for data integrity, the Vertex LE drops that feature to improve cost efficiency. In PC Perspectives's performance tests, the drive was able to best the Intel X25-M line in file creation and copying duties, had minimal fragmentation or slow-down effects, and was very competitive in IOs per second as well. It seems that current SSD manufacturers are all targeting Intel and the new Sandforce controller is likely the first to be up to the challenge."
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"Limited Edition" SSD Has Fastest Storage Speed

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  • by beelsebob (529313) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:49PM (#31206902)

    Why does it matter if they get their blazing fast speed by fragmenting all the data all over the place? On hard disks fragmentation is a bad thing, on SSDs it's a good thing, what's your point?

  • by timeOday (582209) on Friday February 19, 2010 @10:28PM (#31207080)

    The whole issue with SSDs is that their blazing speed gained in this fashion eventually slows down to almost a halt, once the nodes near being full.

    I've had one in my laptop for about 8 months and write gigabytes to it every day, particularly suspending VMWare images to disk. It still writes at 140 MB/s sustained (to ext3 filesystem, not just raw write speed). That might be slower than when it was new, I don't remember, but it destroys any laptop harddrive. This drive was expensive though, like $800 IIRC, but it also supports full-disk hardware encryption which was mandated at my workplace.

    Before that I had a first-gen X25M. It did slow down more, but still completely blew away hard drives. "Slowing down to almost a halt," no, not even close. Especially for multitasking, which brings HDDs almost to a halt.

    As you can see for this newer drive, there is practically no slowdown [pcper.com], and in any case even its slowest results are many times faster than any laptop HDD.

  • Misleading title (Score:5, Informative)

    by dnaumov (453672) on Friday February 19, 2010 @10:38PM (#31207150)
    The new OCZ SSDs, while a welcome addition to the market aren't anywhere near "fastest storage".
    Crucial RealSSD C300: http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/3118/crucial_realssd_c300_256gb_sata_6gbps_solid_state_disk/index5.html [tweaktown.com]
    Fusion-IO: http://storage-news.com/2009/10/29/hothardware-shows-first-benchmarks-for-fusion-io-drive/ [storage-news.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 19, 2010 @10:42PM (#31207172)

    If you're doing non linear sound and video editing with multiple simultaneous streams coming out of many files, and those files are greater than the amount of your available RAM (common), then yes, an SSD would make a big difference. You'd also experience comparatively blazing boots on your workstation. And yes, SSDs will connect to your SATA controller. As far as the system is concerned, they are hard drives. Very very fast hard drives.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Friday February 19, 2010 @11:02PM (#31207298)

    It should be trivial to make them many thousands of times faster.

    Not really. You're limited to the speed of the individual chips and the number of parallel storage lanes. They also target the 2.5" SATA market because it gives them an immediate in. Directly into new desktops and systems without consuming a slot the high performance people who would buy these are likely shoving an excess of games into. The high end is already using those slots for storage.

    Believe me, the industry -is- looking into ways of getting SSDs on to faster buses, but it takes time and some significant rearchitecture. Also, NAND sucks ass, with high block failure rates fresh out of the fab outweighed by sheer density. And it's only going to get worse as lithography gets smaller.

    The controller chip has a heat sink, because it's designed for performance, not power efficiency!

    No, it's because the thing's running an Xilinx Virtex5 FPGA. It also costs a ton as it's using 96GB of SLC NAND, and is part of a fairly modular design that is reused in the io-drive Duo and io-drive Quad.

    Today, we still have SSDs that are slower that mechanical drives at some tasks

    If you're referring to the older JMicron drives that failed utterly at 4K random reads/writes, then you're mistaken. That was the case of a shit controller being exposed. Even the Indilinx controllers, which paled next to the Intel chip, outclassed mechanical drives at the same task.

    on the other hand we have FusionIO, a company with technically great products that decided to try to target the consumer market by releasing a tiny 80GB drive for a jaw-dropping $1500. I mean.. seriously... what?

    If you think that's bad, consider that the Virtex5 they're using on it costs on the order of $500 for the chip itself. You linked the "pro" model, which supports multiple devices in the same system in some fashion. You want this one [amazon.com], which is only $900. Both models use MLC NAND, and neither are really intended for mass-market buyers (you can't boot from them, after all.)

  • Re:Misleading title (Score:5, Informative)

    by AllynM (600515) * on Saturday February 20, 2010 @12:11AM (#31207696) Journal

    - We included some early C300 results with the benches. The C300 will read faster (sequentially) under SATA 6Gb/sec, but it is simply not as in most other usage.
    - Fusion-IO - good luck using that for your OS (not bootable). Fast storage is, for many, useless unless you can boot from it.

    Allyn Malventano
    Storage Editor, PC Perspective

  • by Jeffrey Baker (6191) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @01:12AM (#31207990)

    This is completely backwards. It is hard drives which fail without warning. See Google's recent paper on the futility of S.M.A.R.T. And when an HDD fails, your data is _gone_. The best you can hope for is spending huge amounts of money to put the platters into another drive and reading the data back. The predominant failure mode for flash is erase cycle endurance exhaustion, upon which time the flash reverts to being read-only. Compared to a HDD the flash failure mode is hugely desirable. You can also monitor an SSD and replace it when it reaches the 100,000 erase cycle limit (or 10,000 for MLC). HDD has no such mechanism.

  • Re:Misleading title (Score:3, Informative)

    by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Saturday February 20, 2010 @02:02AM (#31208194) Homepage Journal

    "Fusion-IO - good luck using that for your OS (not bootable)."

    Not until Q4, when we release the firmware upgrade to get it working.

    Then, your point will be moot.

  • by seifried (12921) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @05:46AM (#31208894) Homepage

    Try running a laptop off an SSD for a month and then go back to a mechanical drive - the apparent slowness will drive you crazy :)

    Not to mention the battery life decrease, HD -> SSD got me 40% longer battery life on my netbooks. About 11 hours in total now, which is the way it should be. Plus no more worries about vibrations, decreased heat and it's quieter.

  • Re:Misleading title (Score:4, Informative)

    by AllynM (600515) * on Saturday February 20, 2010 @07:30AM (#31209180) Journal

    I've got a copy of the fusion-IO faq from early 2008 that reads as follows:

    > Will the ioDrive be a bootable device?
    > This feature will not be included until Q3 2008 ...Then it was promised for the Duo (and never happened). ...Then it was promised for the ioXtreme and even it was released without the ability.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of fusionIO, but you can only fool a guy so many times before he gives up hope on a repeatedly promised feature.

    Allyn Malventano
    Storage Editor, PC Perspective

  • by atamido (1020905) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @01:50PM (#31211124)

    The predominant failure mode for flash is erase cycle endurance exhaustion, upon which time the flash reverts to being read-only. Compared to a HDD the flash failure mode is hugely desirable.

    At my company a few years ago we purchased two OCZ SSD drives (using the now infamous JMicron controllers). They were for two identical systems, but we kept having problems with the first one we were setting up (using Linux). Everything would seem fine at first, but the system would start crashing and become unbootable within hours. We formatted and started over a couple of times replacing various pieces of hardware. Eventually we narrowed it down to the SSD by using a command (I forget the command used in Linux) to fill the drive with specified patterns of bits and then read back the data to see if it is correct. There was a patch where every other bit would not flip from 0 to 1. Of course, due to wear leveling the location of the patch would move around for each test, but it was easily reproducible in size. The drive was silently failing on write, producing random garbage. OCZ ended up replacing the drive, but we ended up not using them due to other performance issues. (OCZ has hidden the relevant threads on their forums since then.)

    Anyway, that's my anecdote for the day.

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