Team Group Announces L3 EVO Series SATA3 SSD

Team Group just launched their all new L3 EVO SSD that thanks to its SATA3 interface is compatible with almost any system. While M.2 and U.2 along with PCIe might be what the future looks like right now, SATA is still the most compatible interface out there and the one that most people can take advantage of.

The name, L3 EVO, suggest a budget drive and it is, but the Team Group L3 EVO still provides some good performance figures. The drive is also available in a wide variety of capacities, ranging from 120GB over 240GB and 480GB onto the biggest version with 960GB capacity.

The bigger the capacity, the better the performance rating. The 120GB model is rated up to 530MB/s read and 400MB/s write while the 960GB version can read with the same, but write with up to 500MB/s. The figures look about the same when we look at the random performance where the 120GB model can do 70/20K IOPS in 4K read/write benchmarks and the 960GB model performs with up to 85K/60K IOPS.

The new Team Group L3 EVO series has an MTBF of 1 million hours and comes backed by a 3-year warranty. Team Group didn’t announce what NAND or controller they used at this time and a release date and price wasn’t revealed either.

Mushkin Launches New ATLAS VITAL Family of Solid-State Drives

Mushkin announced its latest addition to the ATLAS family of products, the new ATLAS VITAL M.2 2280 Series for Ultrabooks, notebooks, and small form-factor PCs. Atlas Vital is said to be suitable for mobile gamers, professionals, or general end-users looking to take their computing experience to the next level with solid state storage.

The drive comes in a quite a few capacity versions, but all in the M.2 2280 form factor. There will be 120GB, 140GB, 250GB, 480GB, and 500GB versions of this SandForce SF-2000 series based solid state drive. It seems like somewhat of a weird choice to go with a SandForce controller these days, as there are far better ones available. It isn’t a bad controller either and the Atlas Vital drive can perform sequential speeds up to 550MB/s while reading and 535MB/s while writing. The random 4K performance is rated up to 86K IOPS for low-latency and high throughput.

The Atlas Vital is aimed at the value-minded users looking to improve their experience over traditional hard drives and that also explains the choice of controller. It is a cheaper controller that allows Mushkin to create a better performing drive at a lower price, but at the costs of a few features.

Mushkin did not announce the availability or price of the drives yet, but those information are sure to follow very soon.

Samsung Unveils New Class of Solid State Drives for SMBs

Samsung have been incredibly successful with their 840 and 850 series of drives in the consumer market and the drives have been well received for their performance vs price ratio. But Samsung also makes drives for the more business oriented sector and they’ve just introduced the latest high-performance SATA solid state drives for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB), the Samsung PM864 and SM863 SSDs.

The PM863 and SM863 solid state drives are the ideal solution for SMBs as they offer a much higher density in the 2.5-inch form factor which in return saves IT managers precious real estate in the data center without sacrificing power or performance.

The PM863 and SM863 deliver outstanding performance and reliability thanks to the V-NAND technology. The 3-bit MLC V-NAND-based PM863 is developed for mixed pattern applications and ideal for use in content delivery networks and streaming or Web servers. Alternatively, the write-intensive SM863 based on 2-bit MLC V-NAND is an optimal choice for online transaction processing (OLTP) and serves as an ideal choice for email and database servers.

There are plenty and great capacity choices in these two drive series. The Samsung PM863 comes in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB, 1.9TB and 3.8TB capacities and offers sequential read speeds up to 540 MB/s and random read speeds of up to 99,000 IOPS.

The Samsung SM863 provides more options for configurable over-provisioning and is available in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB, and 1.9TB capacities. It features read speeds up to 520 MB/s and write speeds up to 485 MB/s. Both drives will be available to SMBs in early August 2015 and are already available for the enterprise customers now.

The price isn’t all that bad, but it is of course a premium price over ordinary desktop drives such as the Samsung 850 series. The PM863 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB, 1.92TB, and 3.84TB capacities have an MSRP of $124.99, $159.99, $289.99, $1099.99, and $2199.99 respectively. The SM863 drives will cost you $139.99, $179.99, $329.99, $869.99, and $1259.99 respectively for the 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, 960GB and 1.92TB drives.

OWC Released the Thumb-Sized Envoy Pro Mini USB 3.0 SSD

OWC released a new mini SSD drive in their Envoy line of storage drives, the new Envoy Pro Mini. The Envoy Pro Mini is a full-fledged SSD drive packed into a tiny thumb-sized aluminium stick that you can connect directly to a USB 3.0 port.

Taking a lot of data with you on the road doesn’t need to take a long time nor take up much space. The Envoy Pro Mini can perform sequential speeds up to 433MB/s and it comes with the choice of 120GB or 240GB capacity. Aggressive data management keeps the Envoy Pro Mini working at maximum potential even when full. Hardware error correction yields superior data retention and drive health, and gold-standard compression and data distribution maximizes write performance and drive endurance. Inside the drive is an ASMedia 1153e USB 3.0 controller.

“This isn’t your average thumb drive,” said Larry O’Connor, Founder and CEO, Other World Computing. “The pocket-sized Envoy Pro mini delivers full-sized, desktop-class SSD performance and doesn’t slow down with use like competing SSDs. And because it’s both lightweight and rugged, it’s the ultimate go-anywhere storage companion for anyone on the move.”

The new pocket-sized USB 3.0 Envoy Pro Mini SSDs are available now and backed by a 3-year limited warranty The 120GB is set to $119 and the 240GB is set to $199, that is about $1 per GB and that’s a nice price considering what we get.

Get Your Old Rig Gaming Ready on a Tight Budget

Introduction


Have you been looking at the latest graphics cards, then looking at your own PC and thinking you’ve got a gutless gaming rig? I know the feeling, the new cards can be very tempting, at least until you check your bank balance and remember you’re not rich. High-end hardware is great, but do you really need a $1000 Titan X to enjoy your favourite games? Nope. If you’re thinking that your current system is a little outdated, that you need to upgrade the whole thing to be able to enjoy the latest games, you’re wrong and I’m going to prove it.

Now I will admit, if you have a good bit of money saved up to replace your entire rig, go for it, it’ll be awesome. However, if your budget is limited and your system needs a new lease of life, we’re going to see how much improvement you can get for a modest investment of just £300 (approx $440 US)!

I’ll be starting out with a rather humble system, which features the hardware listed below, which I think you’ll agree is pretty unremarkable by today’s standards. The motherboard is an overclocking board, but we’ll be running at stock clocks to help better simulate an under powered system, it just happens to be the most suitable board I had at the time.

  • Dual-core i3 4330 3.5GHz
  • MSI GTX 560 Ti 1GB graphics card
  • ADATA 8GB 1600Mhz Memory 11-11-11-28
  • Gigabyte GA-Z97N Motherboard
  • Western Digital 500GB Hard Drive 7200RPM
  • Silverstone Kublai KL06 Chassis
  • Seasonic 600W 80+ Bronze PSU
  • CoolerMaster Gemini Low-Profile CPU cooler

I’ll be upgrading the system with the following components, then benchmarking it in some popular applications to compare how much the performance improves.

All prices correct at the time of writing.

As you can see, there’s nothing exciting about this system. Perhaps a couple of years ago, a system of this specification may have raised an eyebrow a little, but perhaps not so much today.

No SSD here, just a standard and rather well aged mechanical hard drive, so expect boot times to be enough to go and make a coffee.

The GPU has had a hard life, it’s actually the one we used to use for chassis reviews, so there’s are a few bumps and scrapes, but it’s still in perfect working order.

I’ve already benchmarked the system with this setup and we’ll get to the scores for that very soon, so let’s install our new Ballistix Sport memory, which has tighter timings than the old kit, it won’t be much, but it should give us that extra edge for very little investment.

The Crucial BX100, an absolutely incredible bargain at under £60 ($88 US); this will no doubt have a huge impact on the systems performance.

I’ll be using the new ASUS GTX 960 STRIX 2GB card for my upgrade.

It’s certainly one of the nicest GTX 960’s on the market right now and while I’m expecting great performance gains, it’s also aesthetically pleasing, so should provide a nice visual upgrade too!

The card also features more video outputs than the 560 Ti, giving you greater connectivity options.

It also features a nice back plate and only required a single 6-pin power connector vs the dual 6-in required by the GTX 560 Ti.

 

New components all installed, which only took about ten minutes to get them out of their respective boxes and plugged in.

The GTX 960 looking great!

Our new BX100 SSD.

Finally, the new Ballistix Sport memory.

GALAX Enters the SSD Market with New Gamer Series SSD

GALAX is a company mostly know for the graphics cards, but now they’re venturing into the storage market with their new Gamer series solid state drives. The new drives are powered by the JMicron Heracles SATA III controller and boosted by an SLC Cache Auto-Release which streamlines the data pipeline and prevents cache bottlenecks.

The new SSDs are created with both high-end desktop PCs and notebooks in mind and excel at both random read/write operations for multitasking and sequential operation for fast loading times; two things a gamer wants. Other features include a high physical durability and 2 million hours MTBF, built-in wear leveling and Error Correct Code (ECC) to ensure that the data remains secure and transfers reliable even after years of heavy use.

The performance of the Gamer SSD is pretty good with sequential read and write speed of 540 and 480 MB/s respectively. Random 4K read and write performance is rated to 74,000 and 76,000 IOPS.

The GALAX Gamer SSD follows the form factor of most solid state drives with a 7mm height and comes is 2.5-inch big. “Demonstrations have shown the GALAX Gamer Series to have among the lowest power consumption of any drive in their class during even the most intense activity, with power usage practically nil during idle.” That sounds pretty good and the Gamer series SSD could be amazing for improving both performance and battery life of your notebook simultaneously.

The new GALAX Gamer SSD are available now as a 120GB model for $59.99 and 240GB model for $104.99 directly at GALAX. I couldn’t find it available in Europe at the time of writing.

Thanks to GALAX for providing us with this information

Patriot Torch SSD Listed and Available Ahead of Launch

Some people just have a keen eye when being at the right place at the right time, and as such the Patriot Torch SSD has been spotted as listed on Amazon ahead of its launch. While the drive isn’t even listed on the product pages yet, we do get some information about the drive from this listing. It actually already has one user review dated the 4th November 2014.

The Patriot Torch is built around the Phison SSD controller and paired with qualified 16nm Synchronous MLC NAND flash chips to deliver a good performance and reliability while staying cost-effective. The sequential read and write speeds are listed up to 545MB/s and 430MB/s for the 120GB model while the 240GB model can achieve 555MB/s reading and 535MB/s writing.

The only two features mentioned are TRIM and Advanced wear-leveling, but we can assume that SMART is present just as well, and DevSleep is a good bet. It’s backed by a 3-year warranty and supports Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, Mac OS, and Linux.

It’s listed as available and ready for dispatch at a price of $106.01 (MSRP $109.99) for the 240GB model while the 120GB capacity will cost you $66.63 (MSRP $79.99).

Thanks to TechPowerUp for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Amazon

VisionTek Launches Pocket-Sized USB 3.0 Solid State Drive

VisionTek just announced the new USB Pocket SSD line of thumb drive-sized Solid State Drives for creative professionals, IT power users, and performance enthusiasts seeking ultra-fast media and large file transfers. VisionTek USB Pocket SSD comes in two sizes of either 120 or 240GB while being compatible to nearly all Windows, Mac OS X and Linux based systems with USB ports.

While this drive only has the size of an ordinary thumb drive, it can do a lot more as it’s basically a full SSD that is inside this drive. The drive itself is built from aircraft-grade aluminium. The internals are powered by a LSI SandForce 2281 controller that can deliver up to 455 MB/s reads and up to 440MB/s writes with a UASP compatible motherboard or USB controller.

One of the really cool features more and more external USB drives have lately, is the ability to download Boot Camp drivers and install a full and working version of Windows 8 or higher directly on the thumb-drive. This allows you to take your own Windows version with you anywhere and have your personal settings and files available on any system that can boot from USB. Another added bonus is that no external power supplies are needed, the drive can get enough power from the USB port itself to run, making it truly portable.

The drive also features the LSI DuraClass Technologies to offer better performance and power efficiency. DuraWrite is said to extend the drives endurance 20 times or more compared to other SSD controllers and the Advanced Wear Leveling and Monitoring ensures equal distribution of the data across the drive. RAISE (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements) is another feature in the DuraClass technology that protects your data on the drive from flash block failures without typical RAID inefficiencies. The drive also features ECC correction, but there is no mention of how many bytes it can recover.

The new thumb drives have a 7 percent over-provisioning to ensure real-time redundancy and the error correction mentioned above. The random 4K performance is rated up to 39k IOPS and the drive itself measures a tiny 93mm x 24mm x 12mm, weighs 57 grams. It has a 2-year warranty attached beside the lifelong technical support from VisionTek US.

Both the 120GB ($109.99 MSRP) and 240GB ($174.99 MSRP) models are designed and built-in the US, and are available immediately from VisionTek, and select e-tailers such as Newegg and Tiger Direct.

Thanks to VisionTek for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of VisionTek

AMD Unveils Radeon Series SSDs

 

It’s been a while since AMD expanded their product range, the last we saw was the Radeon branded memory. Now they are at it again, and this time it’s gaming SSDs. The Radeon R7 Gaming SSD will come in the usual sizes of 120, 240 and 480 GB.

The disks will be build upon the A19nm Toshiba Multi Level Cell (MLC) Flash design and the Barefoot 3 controller. Encryption will be supported in the form of 256-bit AES and the disk is rated for 30GB/day and come with a 4 year warranty.

The drives are rated for 550 MB/s read speed at 100k random IOPS and 530 MB/s write speed with 90k IOPS. Having those great figures, AMD has lined up a comparison with the competition in form of a graph.

At the time of writing there are no news on pricing yet. Considering both the R7 name and AMDs overall business model one could assume them to be very affordable.

Thank you WCCF Tech for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of EXPReview.com

Kingston SSDNow V300 120GB SSD Review

Over the years, Kingston have been one of the leading manufacturers of solid state drives and their selection of drives range from entry level consumer options right up to their top end HyperX editions. Whilst it’s great having a top end drive, most day to day users either don’t have the needs to push a HyperX drive to the limit or don’t have the money for the top end options. This is where the V series of drives come in, offering solid state benefits without the same high price tags. Though this is not to say though that they are couch potatoes and are not worth buying. For many first time users, these drives are a great first step into the world of solid state storage.

The V300 is the latest edition to the V family and over its predecessor, the V200, we find a new set of flash IC’s and a new level of performance to suit. Similar to the older drives we do get the same extensive range of bundle options including vanilla packaging with the drive only, but also desktop, notebook and combo kits that both include a USB enclosure. Other new features include a lowered 7mm profile, ideal for installation into the latest generation of ultrabooks and a customised SandForce controller specifically for Kingston.

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