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Data Storage Hardware

When SSD and USB 3.0 Come Together 158

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-got-stick-in-my-drive dept.
An anonymous reader writes "USB flash drives have been a quiet revolution in computing. Their rise broke the death grip that the floppy drive had on the PC industry, and smaller capacity models have become cheap, disposable means of data transport and distribution. Yet while you can pick up a 4GB model for less than the price of a meal, large capacity drives are still prohibitively expensive. Meanwhile, solid state drives (SSDs) also utilize flash memory, but masquerade as mechanical hard drives rather than USB storage devices. Now it seems the two technologies are bashing into each other, with this article pointing to OCZ's new Enyo USB 3.0 SSD — a rather curious beast that looks like a thin external hard drive and connects via USB, but houses an SSD inside."
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When SSD and USB 3.0 Come Together

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  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @08:39AM (#32110650) Homepage Journal

    When Slashdot and Advertisements come together... Slashvertisements! You could have learned as much or more by reading the press release [ocztechnology.com] where it is revealed that "Enyo USB 3.0 Portable SSDs will begin shipping this now and will be available through OCZ's extensive worldwide channel." Thank goodness, I thought I would have to wait for the next now. Also per the pr, "the Enyo features a sleek, anodized aluminum housing" ... the choice of words implies that it's a desktop SSD in a box. It would be nice to know which one, if so.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      yeah, but perhaps, like a million other technology sites, this one has seemed to have added something, by explaining why the product is so interesting, giving it some historical context, and discussing the implications. The price comparison with flash drives too -not quite what you'd find in OCZ's material.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well fuck, what do you expect on a part TECHNOLOGY website? People arguing over Windows, Mac and Linux? That's what 4chans /g/ is for... and Linux articles. (sadly)

      This is actually a fascinating short article / long summary on the history of the devices.
      And since it is a USB3 SSD, that is a pretty big deal to be honest, even if the lines "this is an advertisement" were present as well.
      There is nothing wrong with advertising a product, especially if it is one of the reasons we even visit this website, to d

      • And since it is a USB3 SSD, that is a pretty big deal to be honest, even if the lines "this is an advertisement" were present as well.

        Why is it a big deal? I mean, did anyone not see this coming? We have the USB3 standard coming out (well, it's already out, but a lot of people still don't have the hardware for it) - was the application of USB3 to flash storage somehow not obvious? It was bound to happen sooner or later.

    • When Slashdot and Advertisements come together... Slashvertisements! You could have learned as much or more by reading the press release [ocztechnology.com] where it is revealed that "Enyo USB 3.0 Portable SSDs will begin shipping this now and will be available through OCZ's extensive worldwide channel." Thank goodness, I thought I would have to wait for the next now.

      When will "then" be "now"?
      soon...

    • and find photo's here [ocztechnology.com] if you'd like to know more...

  • by Machupo (59568) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @08:41AM (#32110678)

    From the summary: "Yet while you can pick up a 4GB model for less than the price of a meal, large capacity drives are still prohibitively expensive. Meanwhile, solid state drives (SSDs) also utilize flash memory, but masquerade as mechanical hard drives rather than USB storage devices. Now it seems the two technologies are bashing into each other"

    SSDs, whether they are internal or external will continue to be exorbitantly priced, so you're not getting larger storage densities for cheaper.

    This development is nothing new... I use a deconstructed external USD HDD container and just swap on SATA 2.5" drives as necessary; a SSD would just be another drive to toss on there. While SSDs are significantly faster than most thumb drives, the question at the end of the day is: "Do you have the disposable income for this storage strategy?"

    • The thing with putting a SSD in an ordinary external enclosure is that ordinary external enclosures are USB 2 at the moment and while probablly fast enough for a laptop drive (at least a laptop drive doing random access) they are going to seriously bottleneck a decent SSD.

      What is the point in paying the extra for superfast storage only to bottleneck it with a shitty bus all the time?

  • Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @08:43AM (#32110702) Homepage

    ...but for big-time storage, mechanical drives are still king. As the technology stands now, it is pretty much useless for large-scale storage due to many different things, not the least of which is the cost. That being said, I'm curious if by the time SSDs reach the capacity, price point, and reliability needed for long term storage if they will still be relevant.

    Here's to hoping, though...I love the idea of an SSD, but they still need some advancements before I consider one as my main system drive, much less for storage.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by somersault (912633)

      they still need some advancements before I consider one as my main system drive

      What kind of advancements are those? I've been using one for my main drive for the last year and it's great. At 32GB I do have a distinct lack of music storage space, but I have a 16GB SDHC card in the side for caching subsets of my music, as well as external HDD with all of my music on it.

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        Larger size/more affordability, for the most part. I know it's a huge performance boost to a system, but I don't want to only have a 40 GB system drive, and the larger ones get a bit too rich for my blood.

        I recognize the prices are high because they are still "new", but compared to the cost of a mechanical drive their price-per-GB is outrageous.

        • Ah, I was thinking you meant technical advancements. 32GB should easily be enough for your main system drive no matter what desktop OS you're running, though I haven't run any performance comparisons to see just how worth it that would be. I primarily got mine for the fact that I don't have to worry about moving it around or dropping it when it's in use :P

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Bakkster (1529253)

            32GB should easily be enough for your main system drive no matter what desktop OS you're running

            Tell that to the bastards who keep forcing their program installation directories to the system drive!

            • In Windows you can map a folder to point to a different drive (in the Manage option of my computer then in the disk manager or something like that). You could probably use that to put your Program Files somewhere else, assuming you're talking about Windows here. Not that that's a great solution for a mobile computer.

          • by NFN_NLN (633283)

            32GB should easily be enough for your main system drive no matter what desktop OS you're running

            Hahah, 32GB of storage and 640K of memory, gotcha.

            • Okay, maybe I should have said "current desktop OS". Seriously, what OS is there today that needs more than say 4GB for the base system (not including 3rd party programs or data).

    • by Viol8 (599362) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @09:24AM (#32111110)

      Just because its not enough for a major bank or for you to store your porn collection on doesn't mean it isn't enough for 99% of small businesses.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        A "porn collection" is going to be multiple or even 10s of terabytes.

        We're not even talking about that here. Just a few high-res photos or some home videos can easily blow away 64G.

        Regardless, there just isn't any reason for small businesses or home users to care about SSD. The performance gains are marginal along the lines of fixating on a few more fps in your FPS.

    • I have yet to buy a SSD, but everyone I hear who has bought one says that they will never go back to a system without one. SSDs aren't there to replace your mass storage, they are there to replace your boot drives.

      My system right now has 3 HDDs, I have 2 performance 640GB HDDs in Raid 1 for the OS and programs, and a 1.5TB slow spinning HDD for my movies and any other very large storage that I don't feel needs to be duplicated. SSDs aren't trying to replace my media HDD, for the foreseeable future this task

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      Yet, not everything needs "big-time storage".

      I plan/hope to migrate all but one or two of my systems (that's 40+) to RAIDed SSDs from the current 10k-15k SAS and SCSI drives in them now. I wouldn't be losing any capacity - much of which is not currently being used, anyway. These aren't storage systems, they're network appliances which back up to actual storage elsewhere (or use the storage on another host).

      With hard disk failure rates approaching or surpassing 50% within the first 6 months for some manufact

      • by afidel (530433)
        With hard disk failure rates approaching or surpassing 50% within the first 6 months for some manufacturers and lots (regularly) I'd argue that we've reached the point where SSD system drives Make Sense.

        Uh, quit buying cheap crap... My failure rate across 170 servers and two SAN arrays is less than 1.5% per year.
    • by afidel (530433)
      Actually the near to midterm future is tiered storage with fast ram cache first, then SSD's and finally big slow, cheap disks (or perhaps big fast moderate cost disk if you have a database too large to fit into SSD cache and your application can't stand the high latency of SATA). This is the design of the new Sun storage servers and also the design that Netapp uses (I'm sure there's others but those are the two big ones I'm aware of) and I think it's the way that makes the most sense since it most efficient
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        If you mean RAM cache at the storage engine level, it makes little to no sense at the desktop PC level [anandtech.com]. You just add more system RAM and let the OS handle caching. It costs too much to add a bunch of DIMMs to the storage chain. In a SAN or just an immense disk pool, sure, it probably makes sense to have some RAM-based volumes.

        • by afidel (530433)
          Yeah, the GP was talking about big time storage, to me that means SAN =) And the ram cache I was thinking of is battery backed for writes which system ram obviously can't do, and even for SSD's a bit of ram cache allows you to reorder writes which can greatly improve throughput and life.
  • And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by carp3_noct3m (1185697) <slashdot@noSPam.warriors-shade.net> on Thursday May 06, 2010 @08:43AM (#32110710)
    There are plenty of things on the market that address this issue. You can get 64 Gb flash drives on newegg for less than $150. I remember when I bought a gigabox that was 5 gig for more than that. If you really must have the extra space, I doubt that the max 256 GB model of this SSD is worth it, just get a sata dock, or a regular external, as the speeds of SSD are going to fairly useless on a USB 2.0 system most people have today. The other point to USB flash drives is their portability, I carry about three at all times in my pocket, I don't think I'd want to carry one of these in a pocket. It's interesting, but this is just a slashvertisment.
    • by NekSnappa (803141)
      What is the fascination with putting shit in your pockets around here lately?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Last week, I was in the bathroom, washing my hands after taking a piss. Some guy exits one of the stalls and starts cleaning his hands. I noticed his hands are covered in shit and when I do a second take, I see there's a fucking turd in his shirt pocket. I assumed he was just orion-blastar crazy but if you've seen people stuffing shit in their pockets, maybe there's something else going on?
        • by StikyPad (445176)

          Oh, I've heard that one before. He says "In the Army, they teach us to wash our hands," then YOU say, "Well in the Marines, they teach us not to shit on our hands." Then, from one of the stalls, someone shouts "Zing!"

      • And more importantly, when did clothes catch on around here? I need to get with the times.

    • Title says USB 3.0 (Score:2, Insightful)

      by archer, the (887288)

      It'll make a big difference when the USB 3.0 systems arrive.

      • by IBBoard (1128019)

        Yeah, because if the current Gigabyte mobos are anything to go by then you'll get faster occasional external drive transfer and slower graphics!

        (At least, that's what I found when investigating my latest purchase - I wanted to pay a little more a "future-proof" with a USB3 mobo, but enabling USB3 or their new SATA dropped the PCIe16 down to an x8)

        • The trouble is that the LGA1156 platforms are somewhat lacking in terms of PCIe expandability. There are 16 2.0 lanes off the CPU which can be used for either one x16 device or two x8 devices. Much the same applies to lower end LGA775 stuff (with LGA775 the chipset determines PCIe configuration)

          There are some (6-8 depending on chipset) lanes off the southbridge but they only run at 1.0 speeds.

          PCIe bridges can provide a protential way out of this predicament (e.g. by taking 1.0 x4 from the southbridge and pr

    • by medcalf (68293)

      You can get 64 Gb flash drives on newegg for less than $150. I remember when I bought a gigabox that was 5 gig for more than that.

      You young whippersnapper! At my first job, we spent $60,000 to get our Multimax up to 1GB of disk. Get offa my lawn!

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @08:57AM (#32110846) Homepage

    I mean obviously it's posers with more money than sense who simply must have the latest gadget just so they can show off that they're the first to have it, while being secretly disappointed and wishing that they'd waited for the next version.

    But the iPad doesn't have a USB 3 port, so there's no overlap with people who might buy this and people who can use it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by somersault (912633)

      Pretty sure USB 3 is designed to be backwards compatible. That makes it an even more perfect device for iPad users because they don't even get the full functionality out of it.

    • These would come in quite handy in extreme environments. Well at least extreme in regards to motion. Very useful in say a rough terrain spy vehicle. With a device like this expensive, heavy, shock protection for a normal hard drive would not be necessary. It would come in quite handy in blackboxes, and such. In other words there is certainly a market out there beyond gadgeters. It would be a nice feature in a AI car, you could pack a lot of rules and patterns in and retrieve them in rapid succession. Oh, ye
  • by Firethorn (177587) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @08:58AM (#32110862) Homepage Journal

    SATA 2.0 - 3 GBit
    SATA 3.0 - 6 GBit

    USB 2.0 'highspeed' - 480MBit (Tricky fact: USB 2.0 connection can still be 'lowspeed')
    USB 'superspeed' - 4.8 GBit.

    Going by what the article says, I think that the e-sata specification should have included some power providing abilities. Preferably enough to run a 2.5" HD/SSD on it's own.

    I mean USB specifications are actually changing to be able to provide even MORE power. Looking at the octopus nest behind my computer, I count elimination of cables as a GOOD thing. If I could have a Monitor with 1 cable(at the cost of an even beefier power supply in my computer), power my DSL modem via PoE, I'd be happy. I love my bluetooth mouse, but am too paranoid to go with a wireless keyboard until they come out with one with more serious encryption.

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      The difference isn't just bandwidth and whether it provides power.
      USB uses a lot of CPU, while SATA uses none at all.

      This may change for USB 3.0 though, I don't know.

      • by Firethorn (177587)

        USB uses a lot of CPU, while SATA uses none at all.

        Do you happen to have a source on this? I mean, I remember shopping for full modems specifically because 'winmodems' sucked down CPU time for their operation, but near the end, it didn't matter.

        I highly doubt that SATA really uses 'none at all', I'm sure there's some CPU utilization with SATA.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      You are too paranoid.
      What I have to wonder is just why you personally are worth the effort it would take to snipe your wireless keyboard and decrypt the bluetooth connection?

      My life is just not that interesting.
      besides what type of protection do you have form a standard tempest attack on your wired keyboard?

    • by Tetsujin (103070)

      I love my bluetooth mouse, but am too paranoid to go with a wireless keyboard until they come out with one with more serious encryption.

      Don't conventional, wired keyboards put out enough RF noise to be effectively sniffable anyway?

      • by Firethorn (177587)

        Don't conventional, wired keyboards put out enough RF noise to be effectively sniffable anyway?

        Yes, but the equipment required to do it is both far more expensive and shorter ranged than with wireless.

        Bluetooth, for example, has been picked up from over a mile away.

  • USB 3.0? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @09:20AM (#32111078) Homepage Journal

    What about Light Peak? Why upgrade to a minor speed bump when the next available speed bump is hundreds of times faster?

    Light Peak has enough bandwidth to replace USB 2.0, FireWire 800, DVI/HDMI, Ethernet 1000... all at once, on the first revision no less. Will USB 3.0 ever take off?

    • Re:USB 3.0? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CAIMLAS (41445) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @10:20AM (#32111652) Homepage

      Light Peak, if it actually comes out as specified, looks like it will be an awesome advancement: it'll change datacenter storage, home storage, and pretty much everything else overnight.

      The crux will be how it's licensed and how it's designed: will it be licensed like USB (ie, liberally) or like Firewire (ie, barely)? Will it be designed to allow for people to abuse the specifications (ie, USB) and still work, or will it be painfully restrictive, allowing only "good" devices to work (ie, Firewire)?

      If it behaves as an interface and costs like USB, it'll fly off the shelves, I think. I'm hoping so, and looking forward to it. But, frankly, I can see it becoming the future equivalent of something like iSCSI or FC: too awesome and capable for the consumer, and it's got such an incredible profit margin we're going to keep it Enterprisey.

      • by hitmark (640295)

        to me at least it seems that light peak is something intel dreamed up when their bid to make usb3 intel exclusive for a year go torpedoed. And its not helping that they have apparently partnered up with apple on it, given how apple seems to be going back to its proprietary ways thanks to the success of the iphone platform.

      • ... daisy-chaining. One of the supposed advantages to both FireWire and USB was that you could daisy-chain devices. But in practice, how many devices ever actually contained an upstream port so you could use this feature? I have a FW external hard drive that had an additional port, and I can and do use that as a link in a daisy chain. But no other device I own, either USB or FireWire, supports this. You have to plug them straight into the computer or get a hub. Since my main machine is a laptop and has exac

    • by Surt (22457)

      Light Peak devices are 6 years away (at best). USB 3 devices are here now. Will USB3 take off? It already has.

      • by Tetsujin (103070)

        Light Peak devices are 6 years away (at best). USB 3 devices are here now. Will USB3 take off? It already has.

        Well, I wouldn't go that far. USB3 is out, but personally I feel like it's "early adopters" using it at this point. After a couple years, once new machines have included it for a while and a fair number of people have upgraded, then maybe it will have "taken off"...

  • Disposable?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Thursday May 06, 2010 @09:30AM (#32111178) Homepage Journal

    smaller capacity models have become cheap, disposable means of data transport and distribution

    Can we please stop "disposing" of things, especially complex, hard-to-recycle things like electronic devices?

    • by satoshi1 (794000)
      No.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Can we please stop "disposing" of things, especially complex, hard-to-recycle things like electronic devices?

      Sure, all we have to do is stop progress.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Disposable is the wrong term but I can not think of the a better term.
      How about giveable or loanable? I don't mind giving someone a cheap flash drive with data on it as a form of transport. Or I don't mind loaning one to someone. Hopefully they will reuse or return it to me for reuse but if that doesn't happen I am not out a large amount of money.
      Of course I have a 128 MB drive sitting in a drawer that I have no Idea what to do with. Might use that a way to give digital pictures to someone in the future.

      • by hitmark (640295)

        indeed, while internet makes file exchange easy, one should not underestimate the bandwidth and flexibility of sneakernet.

        heck, even if the net should be down, sneakernet may still function.

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          Or privacy.
          Yes I could just post my family videos on youtube but...
          Plus if you have an old 128mb drive or an old 256, or 512mb flash drive why not keep using it as a floppy? Just pass it on or lend it out.
          The other choice is to burn a CD or DVD and just how many of those are in landfills now?

      • Disposable is the wrong term but I can not think of the a better term.

        I think the word you are trying to find is "Consumable"

  • Didn't I read something about SSD including a USB (electrical) interface anyway? Or maybe it was one of the new SATA standards.

    • by Richy_T (111409)

      My mistake, I think I was thinking of mini-pci which I think is that the EEEPC uses for its SSD (though I think it's a mangled version without the USB). It's really been a long time since I looked into it.

      • by Richy_T (111409)

        Ah, from wikipedia:

        PCI Express Mini Card (also known as Mini PCI Express, Mini PCIe, and Mini PCI-E) is a replacement for the Mini PCI form factor based on PCI Express. It is developed by the PCI-SIG. The host device supports both PCI Express and USB 2.0 connectivity, and each card uses whichever the designer feels most appropriate to the task. Most laptop computers built after 2005 are based on PCI Express and can have several Mini Card slots.

  • Such an awkward phrase... if only we had a single word for it.

  • There are other curious beasts out there, such as Kanguru's e-Flash which has both eSATA and USB connectors. It's steepish at $105+ for 32GB (vs $60 or so for 32GB USB), but not absurd. 64GB also available.

    I'm sure it's a niche product that will go away after USB3 becomes widespread, but for now it's a nice mix of both worlds.
  • seriously, I wouldn't mind one like that because my system wont boot from external usb drive, but will boot from external floppy :(

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