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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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  • Random write speed? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by evanbd ( 210358 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @02:29PM (#30195090)

    I thought it was pretty clear that what matters for most desktop users is the random small write speed. See, for example, Anandtech's SSD anthology [] and later followups.

    So, where are the 4 KiB random write benchmarks? They are conspicuously absent from this review. We can see the effect, I think, in the IOMeter results -- the X-25M outperforms the OCZ drive across the board on those, despite the OCZ win in the throughput tests. But, personally, I'd like to see the raw numbers on 4 KiB random writes. Have this many reviewers really learned so little about benchmarking SSDs since they came out?

  • Re:Useless (Score:4, Interesting)

    by seanalltogether ( 1071602 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @03:45PM (#30195684)
    What I don't understand is that if they're going to make a RAID SSD in a 3.5 enclosure, why don't they give it 2 SATA links in so they can saturate 2 buses? In fact, how many SATA links could you support in a single 3.5 enclosure?
  • by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @03:53PM (#30195738)

    and the companies ( Hello, Samsung!) should be ashamed. It wasn't until a few years ago that MLC was commercially viable but it only increases
    by a factor of TWO. That's one of the lowest, most pointless tradeoffs ever in recent computing.

    So, I get merely TWICE the storage for a TEN TIMES reduction in average component life, a 40% reduction in write speed, without fancy controller
    redesign, and we get to enjoy all the ludicrous "benefits" of MLC for the price that SLC would have been anyway, through market forces and silicon die shrink

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 22, 2009 @04:18PM (#30195918)

    While a 30x price-per-space difference is less bad than it was in the past, as long as the magnetic drives are improving at a similar rate, it will take the solid state drives a *long* time to catch up.

    IMO, there's one turning point coming: when good 128 GB flash drives drop to well under $100, they become viable for system-and-main-programs drives in desktops. Judging by the $550 price given, that means about three more Moore's Law generations ( $550 / 2^3 = $68.75), which will take about 4.5 years. 128 GB won't be enough for everyone - conceivably OS (windows 8?) + critical programs/games may exceed that by 2014 - but it'll be enough for many. You'd probably want a flash/magnetic hybrid for laptops, since they generally come with 160-512 GB these days and you can't fit two hard drives in most laptops without using the optical drive bay...

    But for bulk storage, it's much harder. If magnetic drives *gain nothing at all ever again*, it would still take 5 Moore's Law generations (7.5 years) for this company's flash drives to match them in price-per-space. But, IIRC, solid state is only advancing slightly faster than magnetic. That probably delays their convergence to more than ten years from now, and it may be that either tech runs into its physical limits before they meet, and we all end up using something else that hasn't been invented yet.

  • Re:On SATA? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @05:02PM (#30196290)

    Yes, but if it was a PCI card, we couldn't plug these into external JBOD arrays that combine 24 drives and allows volumes/LUNs to be carved out and served up to various servers... Actually, it'd be nice if they made it SAS instead of SATA.

    WTH is with high-end hardware using the low-performance ATA standard instead of SCSI nowadays, anyways?

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @05:06PM (#30196314)

    What about 4gb and 8gb SSDs? There are some you can get for under $200. You can find a 2 or 4gb SSD for under $100, if you look hard enough.

  • by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @06:24PM (#30196936) Homepage Journal

    Are MLCs really that bad? I'm finding budget SSDs with MLCs, with warranties of several years. If the drive lasts several years, I'm a satisfied customer. I don't care if an SLC-based drive would have lasted longer, because by that time, I'll be replacing my drive with a larger one, anyway.

  • RAID+TRIM (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 22, 2009 @07:29PM (#30197406)

    Why shouldn’t TRIM be supported in RAID configurations? That is just lack of implementation.

  • Re:Speed (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AllynM ( 600515 ) * on Sunday November 22, 2009 @08:01PM (#30197594) Journal

    It would, but don't do it with that one or you'll fry either the board. They rewired the internal connectors so they could pass 2 channels over a single SATA connector. The SATA data lines passed via the power connector IIRC, so yeah, don't do it :). []

    Allyn Malventano
    Storage Editor, PC Perspective

  • by Unnamed Chickenheart ( 882453 ) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @08:22PM (#30197704)

    Is 25% VAT absurd in your opinion?

  • by AllynM ( 600515 ) * on Monday November 23, 2009 @01:51AM (#30199674) Journal

    I think you're missing something about IOPS. With a 256K block size, you'd be lucky to crack 1000 IOPS over a SATA 3Gb/sec link. At such a large block size you hit the interface bandwidth limit way before you hit any IOPS limit.

    Multithreaded database applications do not hit a drive with sequential 256K block requests. Under load, there will be several of those requests occurring simultaneously. Given the timing, a non-NCQ drive may receive the parallel requests rapidly alternating among multiple 256K streams in differing locations. The now highly random stream will bring non-NCQ drives to their knees, while an X25 will just keep right on cruising at very close to 100 MB/sec.

    Allyn Malventano
    Storage Editor, PC Perspective

  • by Jesus_666 ( 702802 ) on Monday November 23, 2009 @04:49AM (#30200160)
    However, Blu-Ray is also technologically superior to DVD, yet I still know plenty people that will most likely not get a Blu-Ray player/drive in the next five years. Why? DVD is adequate, HDTVs are expensive and on the storage side BD-R is both much too expensive and much too slow.

    DVD and modern HDDs hit the sweet spot of "good enough". They're fast enough for most people, they're resilient enough for most people (granted, this is helped by the little long-term data we have on SSDs being inconsistent) and they're really cheap. SSDs are faster, lighter, quieter, possibly more resilient and take lesser power - but they're nowhere near the pricing sweet spot and that's enough to make people settle for HDDs.

    It's all about priority. Most people are happy with the performance of their 7200 RPM drive so speed doesn't factor in. Weight and power drain appeals to netbook users but few want their netbook to go outside the 100-200 USD range just because of a storage option. Resilience is great for notebooks but again the high USD/GB figure means that storage is either small or very expensive (which is fine with those who don't need much space and unacceptable with those who do).

    SSDs are getting there but like Blu-Ray they need to displace a technology that is already "good enough" for most users. SSDs' advantages are essentially "soft skills"; until they can become competitive in what many people are primarily looking after (cheap storage), they won't displace them.

    The mistake all those people complaining about SSD complainers make is that they assume everyone has lots of money to spend on equipment. People on a budget go for what gives them the most bang for the buck. So far, many people take only storage size to contribute to the bang, therefore SSDs are nowhere near competitive for the budget buyer.
  • by MojoStan ( 776183 ) on Monday November 23, 2009 @05:30AM (#30200254)

    That's my plan. I've got the cheap, big disk... I just have to buy the small, fast SSD.

    You have heard about Kingston's 40GB SSD that uses Intel's X25-M G2 controller [], right?

    It's supposed to be $115 ($130 with 3.5" adapter kit), but it's hard to find in stock now.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner