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Data Storage Intel Hardware

Leaked Intel Roadmap Shows 600GB SSD 228

Posted by Soulskill
from the bigger-and-bigger dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Solid State Drives have been trying to fill the mechanical hard drive niche for some time now. The problem is that while flash memory is faster than a spinning platter, it is also much more expensive per gigabyte. Over the weekend details leaked about Intel's SSD roadmap, and what's most interesting about it is that the capacities of Intel's SSDs are going to increase in a big way. First off is a refresh to the high performance X25-M range of SSDs. Currently available in 80GB and 160GB models, these will be replaced by a new design, codenamed Postville, which will come in 160GB, 300GB and 600GB variants."
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Leaked Intel Roadmap Shows 600GB SSD

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  • by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Monday August 16, 2010 @02:15PM (#33266192) Journal

    When I see real-world usage reports of SSDs under a range of regular HDD duty cycles, rather than hand-waving "well with the wear levelling algorithm you should get about xyz writes by which time you totally would have worn out your spinning rust" (oh, really?), I might consider applying them to servers which require frequent writes.

  • by ocularsinister (774024) on Monday August 16, 2010 @02:29PM (#33266344)
    Bear in mind that when a hard disk fails you typically loose at least some of your written data, and in worst case scenarios all of it. You won't be able to write to certain areas when an SSD fails, but you can often still read the data. So, yes, SSDs might fail a bit sooner, but its usually not critical like a hard disk fail.
  • by Coren22 (1625475) on Monday August 16, 2010 @02:34PM (#33266418) Journal

    Yeah...I am sure that you have looked at the reliability numbers...like ever...

    Intel x-25m reliability: http://download.intel.com/design/flash/nand/mainstream/mainstream-sata-ssd-datasheet.pdf [intel.com]

    BER (read error rate) of 1 sector per 10^15 bits read
    MTBF 1,200,000 hours
    Minimum 5 years useful life

    WD Raptor Reliability: http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=495 [wdc.com]

    MTBF 1,400,000 hours
    Other figures not given

    and the WD Raptor is considered an Enterprise hard drive, so that should say something about the reliability expected. I don't see these drives failing any time soon, and I have a Intel x-25m 32GB I bought a little over a year ago running quite strong with no errors in my desktop that rarely is shutdown.

    The only reliability problems I have seen is in MLC based drives we use here at work for database servers, they go offline and have to be reseated in order to bring them back, but we haven't had any of these fail yet even under the heavy strain of a database server.

  • by rabtech (223758) on Monday August 16, 2010 @02:42PM (#33266516) Homepage

    Agreed, SSDs still have many cost and reliability issues to overcome, and I'm not going to get too excited till I see some improvements in those areas. Solid State is the wave of the future, but the wave is still way out there and is only just reaching the rocks off-shore.

    That greatly depends on your specific application. I can tell you that installing an SSD in my work laptop was the single greatest (relative) performance jump I've ever seen, starting with my 8086/1MB/CGA machine until the present day, including all processor/memory/graphics upgrades I've ever done.

    I can also say that some Antivirus products really, really suck and take up tons of CPU and have single-threading bottlenecks, so that if you have the RTV scanner turned on, you will give back a lot of the performance gains. (I'm talking about the one that installs 19 different drivers and services. Someone in IT got a kickback on that purchase).

    I'd pit this SSD against a mechanical hard drive in a laptop any day of the week. It can take all sorts of bumps, bounces, heat, etc that could kill a HDD. Better battery life, increased performance. At 160GB, it is about 100GB less than the HDDs they are installing in new laptops, but other than that it is better in every way.

  • by nschubach (922175) on Monday August 16, 2010 @03:19PM (#33266946) Journal

    That's why I think hard disks will still be the norm for mid-term retention for a while. It can't take much to run your system off an SSD and mirror it to a platter... can it?

    My best guess would be like a "hybrid" drive that uses the SSD for all immediate tasks and cache write that data to disk when it's free. In the event of an outage, you still have the data on the SSD which should always be considered accurate and you have the platters in case the SSD fails.

    I'm pretty sure there are no RAID controllers that support that, but my RAID knowledge is limited to the basics of 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 so there could be...

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Monday August 16, 2010 @03:21PM (#33266972) Journal

    I couldn't disagree more, for several reasons:

    • Your OS, drivers, and applications will easily eat half of that 64 GB without saving a single file of user data.
    • A web browser's on-disk cache typically hovers at another gig or so.
    • My photo collection alone is 60 GB. Sure, I take lots of pictures, but as megapixel counts increase, the size of photo collections does, too. That's mostly from shooting at the smallest size on my DSLR....
    • In this day and age, most computer users buy laptops as their primary machines because they are portable. External hard drives are the opposite of that.
    • External hard drives drain your battery much faster than a larger internal drive. Much, MUCH faster.

    My current laptop HD is 500 GB. I have only 50 GB free. Now about 240 GB of the space taken up is in the form of large files that could reasonably live on an external HD because I don't really need or want it with me. Still, that means I have 210 GB of stuff that I legitimately would want to carry around at all times, up from 160 GB two years ago when the last drive died, meaning that I pack on an estimated 25 GB per year of new material. And even that pales compared with people who do lots of movie downloading (legal or otherwise). (Yes, you could argue that those downloads could be put on an external drive, but that becomes a management headache when deciding what movies to bring with you on a trip, and... you get the idea.)

    With the upswing in downloadable content (both movies and software), the need for hard drive space is in a rapid upswing. If most people only needed 60 GB drives, you'd still be able to buy spinning drives that small, and the few percent of users who needed the bigger capacity would have to deal by adding external drives. Since we're not seeing any sign of the demand for larger drives slowing, I think it's safe to say that 64 GB is not enough for most users. I doubt it is enough even for most casual users.

  • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Monday August 16, 2010 @03:21PM (#33266980)

    I have to wonder why the cost is still so expensive. They are starting to see widespread use, with most vendors offing an SSD selection for notebook and desktop models. Most technology typically experiences a rapid drop in price long before the level of market acceptance we're seeing for SSD. These have been available for years now, yet the price is still prohibitive. Is it the raw materials that are so expensive? The R&D for the basic design is pretty much a done deal at this point, no?

  • by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot@pitabred.dyndns. o r g> on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:02PM (#33267422) Homepage

    Very much so. But hard drives with the shock protection are still pretty robust. I love having the SSD in my machine... it's amazing how fast everything goes. Programs start instantly, it boots so fast that I disabled hibernation, but I'm still at a paucity of space with a 256GB SSD.

    The thing you're paying for with SSDs is performance. If you haven't used one, you don't know what you're missing, but if you have, you never wanna go back to things the way they were.

  • by bobcat7677 (561727) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:11PM (#33267528) Homepage
    Certain models of Adaptec controllers with recent firmware (since April 2010) support SSDs and platter drives on the same mirror array (RAID 1 or 10). The controller intelligently sends all reads to the SSD unless it goes offline. It's not at all an advertised feature, I have only ever seen mention of it in the firmware release notes. Note that this is not the same thing as what their "MAXIQ" product does, which is essentially add more cache to the controller in the form of a small SSD attached to one of the controller's ports.
  • by Kjella (173770) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:12PM (#33267540) Homepage

    Unfortunately, Intel seems to do like the rest, drop SLC in favour of MLC. That has a huge negative impact on both reliability and performance, but brings the price down and the capacity up.

    I've never heard that reliability is that much different, but durability yes. SLC drives can take about 10x as many writes per cell before they wear out. However, MLC drives are rated at 10000 writes/cell too and smart algorithms avoid overusing single cells. Each MLC cell is slower individually, but by writing to many in parallel both have IOPS way, way beyond traditional drives and we're discussing degrees of lightning fast. In other words, both the shortcomings are largely avoided by making smarter controller chips. Unfortunately due to the latter the small and cheap SSD never really came because few cells mean low speed. So when Intel announces bigger drives, it probably means faster too. But compared to a HDD, SSDs are already plenty fast. Try trashing your drive with some random writes and a HDD will grind to a halt, even my Vertex beat the fastest HDDs by a factor of 10x under those conditions.

  • by vadim_t (324782) on Monday August 16, 2010 @06:48PM (#33269372) Homepage

    Not as robust as you might think.

    Shock protection (unless there's some development I'm not aware of) measures acceleration and parks the drive's heads if the acceleration is too much, in case that acceleration means the laptop is about to hit the floor. It's a good idea, but the application is limited. It's excellent when you drop the laptop, but it won't do you any good if you give the laptop a good jolt without any warning.

    I killed my laptop's drive once by turning around in an office chair, and hitting the laptop with the chair's back. Drive immediately started making weird noises, and I spent all night copying stuff off it. The acceleration sensors are completely useless for something like that, since there's no way for it to guess an impact might be coming.

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