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Data Storage Hardware

Colossus 3.5-in SSD Combines Quad Controllers 160

Vigile writes "The new Colossus SSD comes in capacities starting at 256GB and going all the way up to 1TB in a standard 3.5-in hard drive form factor. This larger size was required because the drive actually integrates not one but four Indilinx SSD controllers and three total RAID controllers in a nested RAID-0 array. All of this goodness combines to create an incredibly fast drive that beats most other options in terms of write speeds and is competitive in read tests as well. Using some custom 'garbage collection' firmware, the drive works around the fact that TRIM commands aren't supported in RAID configurations to maintain high speeds through the life of the SSD."
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Colossus 3.5-in SSD Combines Quad Controllers

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  • On SATA? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @02:19PM (#30195022)
    Really, if you want to spend that kind of money, put it on a card. It would be much faster on the PCI buss that SATA for a negligible incremental cost.
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @02:37PM (#30195148) Journal

    That's not bad. The 512 gig SSD is only 30 times more expensive than the 512 gig HDD I bought at staple last week.

  • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @02:40PM (#30195188)

    I'm really only interested in cost per gigabyte at this point, among the quality vendors, every single drive is faster than a spinning disk (and the trend is generally that the performance is getting better and better, not to mention that they probably won't reach prices I find attractive before trim support is widespread and working well).

  • by nedlohs ( 1335013 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @02:41PM (#30195194)

    Because a 1TB drive that costs $3300 is aimed at "most desktop users".

  • by thue ( 121682 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @02:50PM (#30195256) Homepage

    The slow random write will also be a problem for some very common server workloads, such as databases.

  • Useless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShooterNeo ( 555040 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @02:55PM (#30195288)

    This kludgey design is a bad idea for several reasons :

    1. Despite throwing the kitchen sink at the problem, those indilinx chips are still much slower than Intel's controller at small, random reads and writes.

    2. Since the drive needs four indilinx controllers rather than 1, some complex packaging, AND 3 RAID controllers it's going to cost a lot more per gigabyte. It's probably also more failure prone. And the MSRPs bear that out : this is a lot more expensive than the MSRPs for the equivalent Intel product.

    3. Doesn't support native TRIM support

    4. Biggest problem of all : the drive is bandwidth starved because it's on the SATA bus rather than on the PCI express bus. Furthermore, those slow internal RAID chips don't help matters. So instead of supporting sequential reads at 600 megabytes/second, it's capped at about 240. Lame.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 22, 2009 @03:10PM (#30195394)

    I, for one, welcome our new Colossus and Guardian masters.

  • Forget that (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @03:24PM (#30195498) Homepage Journal

    I'm waiting for the Guardian model.

  • by evanbd ( 210358 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @03:30PM (#30195546)

    This drive is a performance-oriented drive. If you only care about cost per GB, you won't be buying it. Anyone who is buying it, cares about performance; neglecting the aspect of performance that most desktop users will find most relevant is shoddy reviewing.

    FWIW, I mostly agree with you — I care more about cost per GB than raw performance. That said, I still care about performance. Fortunately, most of the good vendors have drives with good performance now.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @03:43PM (#30195678) Homepage

    I guess for small values of "only". I think the more important metric is this:

    Cheapest 2.5" SSD (40GB): 696,- NOK
    Cheapest 2.5" HDD (160GB): 285,- NOK

    That's now <2.5 times the difference. Sure it's 10x the difference if you price it per gigabyte, but only if you need 160GB. That's what'll trigger the SSD revolution, the bulk storage will come much later.

  • Re:Useless (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 22, 2009 @03:51PM (#30195722)

    It has all the earmarks of a 'just cause we could' design. Not one people really need. It ignores every other feature everyone has been asking for and only puts in 1 (size).

    Using basically last generations (not this gen with trim and better controllers) SSD tech to build something. They have smashed together 4 256meg drives, put it in RAID, slapped a (at least 500 dollars) premium price tag on it and called it a day. Then like you pointed out putting all that BW on one line so you do not even get the full benefit of all that speed you put in. I would bet the power requirements are like 4 drives.

    The biggest issue I can think of was leaving out TRIM. Wow. It has been know for at least a year that TRIM is needed. To ship a new SSD these days with no trim suppport. Wow ... just wow.

    Maybe if you were drive bay starved in a rack that was already full this would make some sense, and were already using this type of drive, and needed 4x the HD space.

    I personally think SATA is done. We need a new physical HD transport layer for this. Plugging it right into the PCI bus sounds cludgy to me (but hey I could be wrong). It may be time to bring back some sort of ribbon cable or crank the speed on the wire even more.

  • by Sulphur ( 1548251 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @05:09PM (#30196340)

    Just like old times. Sell your car and buy a hard disk.

  • by bcmm ( 768152 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @05:20PM (#30196400)
    Everybody complaining that they cost more than HDDs is missing an important point: they're better than HDDs.

    Remember, backup tape still has a large bytes/cent advantage over HDDs. I take it your laptop keep everything on tape?
  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @05:54PM (#30196632)

    The drive outperforms the mechanical drive in IOPs and block reads/writes which is what matters.

    Databases actually tend to use larger block reads and writes, the drive would be perfect for most databases, that is, database load is just the type of load where this drive is better than other SSDs...

    With suitable amount of system memory and host controller with reasonable cache, this drive would be phenomenal in table scan performance.

    It's application loads that are heavy in small random reads and writes that the drive isn't that good for compared to some other high-end SSDs.

    Still 5000 random IOPs in 1 3.5" package is nothing to sneeze at.

    Most hard drives pull off a small fraction of that.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.