Lexar 512GB Portable SSD D512 USB 3.0 Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Today we are taking a closer look at fast external storage, more specifically Lexar’s newest portable SSD called the D512. Lexar also offers the drive in a smaller D256 version with 256GB capacity, but I have the pleasure to have to big 512GB model on the test bench today.

Right away we see that we have a small and compact drive which is perfect for a portable unit. On top of that, it is also a very light drive that you barely will notice when you have it packed next to the rest of your items. So we have a strong portable drive right of the start, but what about the performance. Performance has to match and that’s where a portable SSD shines over a flash drive. Both types of drives use NAND technology, but other than that there are big differences.

Lexar’s portable SSD is capable of sequential transfer speeds up to 450MB/s when reading and 245MB/s writing which is pretty nice for a portable storage solution that is as small and light as the D512. The is no official rating for random performance, but we’ll naturally have a look at that once we get the benchmarks rolling.

The tiny D512 provides plenty of space for you while you are on the go and travel about. Whether you want to take along you movie collect, music library, and photos, you’re covered with plenty of storage. It is also an optimal drive to unload all your vacation photos onto from memory cards and portable capture devices.

One of the unique things that come with the D512 is the capacity meter on the front. The first five LEDs act as such and will light up as the drive gets filled with data. This allows you an instant view on the drive fillage as soon as you plug it into your system. The second unique feature works in conjunction with Lexar’s other Workflow products. The new portable SSD uses the same form factor and connector which makes it compatible with the Workflow drive hubs. Just plug the drive in and you are good to go. I love the Workflow system so much and use it almost every day for my work here at eTeknix.

The drive is also highly compatible when it comes to volume setup as it supports both NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT. On its own, the drive is fully plug-and-play and doesn’t require any drivers or tools of any sort. This naturally originates from USB standard that is plug-and-play by definition.

Lexar is part of the Micron Group which also means that the drive is equipped with some of the best NAND flash on the market and that has undergone high-grade quality checks before assembly.

Feature Highlights

  • SSD-level performance — up to 450MB/s read and 245MB/s write speeds
  • Sleek and compact design
  • Available in 256GB and 512GB capacity options
  • LED capacity meter displays available storage space
  • Great for use with Lexar Professional Workflow line products
  • Two-year limited warranty

Package and Accessories

Lexar packed the 512GB Portable SSD in a neat white box that shows the drive’s look and basic specifications on the top.

The bottom of the box also has the system requirements, which is a USB port, as well as the basic specification again, but in several languages.

Inside the box, you will find the portable SSD itself as well as a USB 3.0 cable.

Both sides of the drive are covered with a protective plastic film to make sure it arrives scratch-free in your hands. It also gives you that little bit of joy it is to remove the film from your brand new device.

Mushkin Reactor 512GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


After I recently had a look at Mushkin’s Striker SSD, it is now time to take a closer look at the Mushkin Reactor SSD and that’s just what I am doing in today’s review. Mushkin’s Reactor solid state drive promises simultaneous capacity and performance while also keeping the initial costs of purchase in the mainstream spectrum. The Reactor drive is available in three capacities from 256GB to 1TB, but I’m taking a closer look at the 512GB model today.

The Mushkin Reactor is a basic mainstream drive that will be a great solution in any workstation system or gaming rig. It is built around the Silicon Motion SM2246EN controller which is a little cheaper than the Phison S10 for example. In return, we get a drive that is cheaper to purchase. It still delivers a great performance thanks to the use of MLC NAND and it is rated for sequential operations up to 560MB/s reading and 460MB/s writing. The random access performance isn’t bad at all either and the drive comes with a rating of up to 71K IOPS reading and up to 75K IOPS writing.

With solid performance figures like these, the Reactor drive has no reason to hide behind any other competing drives. Capacity wise you got three options in this series where the 512GB model that I’m having a look at today is right in the middle. There’s also a smaller version with 256GB capacity and the larger model with 1TB capacity. That’s a lot of fast storage at an affordable price thanks to clever hardware choices.

The drive has a couple features less than the Mushkin Striker SSD that I recently reviewed, but the basics are well covered on this drive too. The Reactor has the basic S.M.A.R.T. and Trim features as well as early weak block retirement, DataRefresh, and built-in BCH ECC with up to 66 bits per 1kb. The only thing that could be considered missing is DevSleep and that’s only really relevant for notebook users anyway.

Just because the Reactor drive doesn’t have the DevSleep feature doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be a great upgrade for any notebook, laptop, or ultrabook out there. The 7mm height and default 2.5-inch form factor makes the upgrade quick and easy in either case. The Reactor is also a light drive and that’s something everyone can appreciate for their portable devices. You don’t want to carry any more weight with you than absolutely necessary.

The SATA power and data connectors are default in the sense of pin connectors, as it should be, but they are also another place where Mushkin managed to save a little in order to provide you with a better-priced drive. The connectors are almost transparent when you shine a light on them, but they still appear to be an equal quality when compared to conventional connectors stability.

Mushkin’s Reactor SSD is one of the few drives these days that’s still assembled with screws, which makes my life a lot easier when showing you what the drive looks like on the inside. The enclosure itself is put together with four screws and the PCB is also secured to the case with four screws. In the photo below we also see the thermal transfer pad located on the controller that connects to the chassis. This effectively turns the entire drive into a heatsink and it’s something we’ve seen quite often in other drives because it simply works well.

Having a closer look, we see the Silicon Motion SM2246EN controller next to eight NAND chips from SanDisk.

The other side of the PCB has another eight NAND chips and a Nanya RAM chip as a cache buffer.

Feature Highlights

  • Capacity and Performance
  • Optimal Data Flow: Optimized for dependable and reliable data flow
  • TRIM Support when used with compatible operating system
  • Shock-Resistant: Designed for continued reliable function
  • 3 Year Warranty: Quality guaranteed

Specifications

  • Capacity: 512GB
  • Dimensions: 7mm X 69.85mm X 100.5mm
  • Performance: Up to 560MB/sec (Read) / Up to 460MB/sec (Write)
  • IOPS: Up to 71,000 IOPS (Read) / Up to 75,000 IOPS (Write)
  • MTBF: 1,500,000 hours
  • Controller: Silicon Motion SM2246EN
  • Interface Type: SATA 3.0 (6Gb/s) interface (backwards compatible with SATA 2.0 (3Gb/s) and SATA 1.0 (1.5Gb/s))
  • Temperature Range: 0-70°C
  • Warranty: 3 years limited

Packaging

The Mushkin Reactor comes in a simple blister package that showcases the included drive itself.

It is surrounded by a simple inlay that also shows the drive’s main features on the rear. Other than that, there isn’t much to the package.

Samsung Launches 950 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD

While Intel probably was the company that drew most headlines with their 750 SSD NVMe drive, Samsung’s SM951 NVMe SSD has been the go-to choice for a lot of enthusiasts. It convinced everyone with its M.2 form factor and great performance. Samsung is now ready to follow up on that drive with their brand new 950 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD.

The Samsung 950 Pro M.2 SSD is quite impressive, but there are some disappointments too, at least to begin with. Initially, the drive will be released in two capacities, 256GB and 512GB. These are currently the most wanted drive capacities when it comes to SSDs and as such it’s a logical choice. It is, however, a bit disappointing that there aren’t any larger drives available yet, especially after the recently revealed 2TB consumer SSDs. The second disappointment might follow right away for users that need other form factors than the 2280 as that is the only form factor that will be released initially.

The Samsung 950 Pro M.2 utilizes the same UBX controller as the SM951 does, but it uses the latest version of their own 3D V-NAND technology as well as having support for the Magician software. The 512GB model is rated for up to 2500MB/s read and 1500MB/s write as well as 300K IOPS at random reads and 110K at random writes. The 256GB model is a little slower, but not much. The 950 Pro also features 256-bit hardware encryption.

The Samsung 950 Pro drive is backed by a 5-year warranty and are expected to hit retail shelves on October 15th for an MSRP of $199.99 and £349.99 respectively. 1TB and 4TB versions are planned for next year sometime and will be built with the upcoming 48-layer V-NAND that will enter products later this year.

 

Thank You TomsHardware for providing us with this information

Kingston Adds 512GB Capacity to its UHS-I SD Cards

If you are one of those people who likes to take lots and lots of photos and never emptying the memory card before taking even more, then you should take a look at Kingston’s latest SD card that sports up to 512GB capacity now. This is could also be a perfect card for those who take a lot of ultra-high resolution photos, 4K or 3D video, or just wants to carry a lot of files in a compact form factor.

The new 512GB capacity card is added to the line of Class 10 UHS-I SDHC/SDXC cards and it can provide a read performance of up to 90MB/s and a write performance of up to 45MB/s. These speeds might not sound like much when we’re used to SSD speeds, but it is enough to support continuous shooting with burst modes and reduce stutter in videos. In addition to the new large 512GB capacity, the cards also are available as 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities. Those who wish more performance than that have to take a look at Kingston’s U3 series that offers up to 80MB/s write speeds, but only come as 256GB cards.

The new memory cards haven’t arrived at the shops I checked while writing this, but they can be pre-ordered for around 250 Euro. That is about €0.49 per GB, and while it isn’t cheap, it is a fair price for such a card.

Plextor Releases All New V-Series Solid State Drive Series

Plextor already has some really great solid state drives in their line-up, they’ve proven that in every review we’ve done with their drives so far. The newest member has just been officially introduced and it is called the V series.

The Plextor V-series SSDs comes in three different form factors, the M6V standard 2.5-inch, the M6GV M.2 2280 NGFF SSD, and the M6MV mSATA SSD. The drives are built around SMI’s newest generation 2246 controllers and are packed with Toshiba’s 15nm Toggle NAND flash memory. This allows these value based drives to come with a very good performance and they’re capable of reaching up to 535MB/s at sequential reads and 455MB/s at sequential writes. Random performance is equally great with 83K IOPS reading and 80K IOPS writing.

The M6V is also compatible with the latest version of PlexTurbo, they intelligent caching software that can increase your performance with up to seven times while it also saves on your SSDs wear and tear and thereby lifetime. The dynamic RAM buffer will automatic detect hot and cold data and only keep the needed in your memory.

The V series SSDs also passed rigorous tests executed with Plextor’s strenuous SSD testing equipment. Professional simulations on actual read/write statuses were performed with several “Plextor endurance testing mechanisms” to ensure that the V series SSDs have a Mean Time Between Failures of 1.5 million hours and they come backed by a three-year warranty.

The Plextor V series is estimated to hit the market at the end of July, so that is any day now. The 2.5-inch 7mm M6V and the M6GV M.2 drive will be available as 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB versions while the mSATA M6MV only comes as 128GB and 256GB versions. We should also have reviews of the Plextor V-series SSDs ready for you very soon.

Microdia Tease 512GB MicroSD Card at Computex

If you thought that SanDisk had achieved something impressive with their 200GB microSD card, the world’s largest capacity microSD card, then you might need to rethink that statement as Microdia teased their upcoming 512GB Xstra Elite microSD card.

That is half a terabyte packed down into the size of a nail, that’s quite impressive. Microdia didn’t bring along any working samples though and only showed the packaging – so don’t get too excited yet.

I have to be honest, while this is possible, I have a hard time believing it and especially the promised July release date. With a release date so close, you’d think that they would bring along working cards – if not the final retail version then at least a prototype.

But let us assume that it’s real and take a look at the further specifications. The card promises transfer speeds up to 300MB/s thanks to the SD4.0 microSDXC U3 interface. The card won’t be cheap either and is strictly aimed at professional users. The street price is estimated to be around $1000 for one card, that’s $2 per GB.

Thanks to the SD specifications, the card is backwards compatible with older generation readers – but you need a newer one that can connect to the second row of pins on the card if you want to take advantage of the full speed.

Thank you CNET for providing us with this information

Mushkin Expands the REACTOR SSD Series

Mushkin has announced the expansion of their REACTOR SSD line-up in recognition that not every user needs the same amount of storage. The REACTOR SSD was launched as a 1TB version which might be too much for some people, both storage-wise and certainly on the price point. Now Mushkin has added a 256GB and a 512GB version to the series for just those people.

The Mushkin REACTOR SSD is built around a Silicon Motion SM2246EN SSD controller and it is rated with transfer speeds of up to 560MB/s reading and 460MB/s writing in sequential tests. The random 4K figures look equally great with a performance of 74K IOPS read and 76K IOPS write.

Mushkin is an American company that both develops and manufactures their products in-country, so it’s no surprise that this is where the drives will be available first. American customers and fans can also get a little bonus at the moment as Mushkin launched a new campaign together with NewEgg for a bonus on your purchase as well as a sweepstake for a complete gaming system.

 

To celebrate this launch of these two new REACTOR capacities, Mushkin launched a campaign with NewEgg where you’ll get a $30 Ghost Recon Phantoms voucher with the purchase of participating Mushkin products and as long as supply lasts. Starting May 1, 2015, gaming fans can also enter the Ghost Recon Phantoms Sweepstakes for a chance to win up a custom-built Mushkin Extreme Gaming PC and much more.

Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ512GCSU 512GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Toshiba’s drives are mostly sold as OEM models and built into other products such as workstations and laptops, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve to get a good spin on my test bench. Today I’m taking a closer look at the Toshiba HG6 series of solid state drives, more specific the Non-SED model with 512GB capacity (THNSNJ512GCSU).

The HG6 is a series of mainstream SATA Solid State Drives that combine high performance with power efficiency to satisfy a wide range of applications from notebook PCs to servers in the data centers. Toshiba is the inventor of NAND flash memory technology, so we know that we have some of the best on our hands when dealing with these drives.

Toshiba leverages its NAND flash memory expertise to optimize the performance and data integrity, integrating enterprise-class technology such as the Toshiba Quadruple Swing-By Code (QSBC) for improved error correction and reliability. It is the 2.5-inch drive that I’m taking a look at today, but the drive is available in a wide variety of form factors such as mSATA and M.2 2280 and with capacities between 60GB and up to 512GB.

Toshiba’s Quadruple Swing-By Code (QSBC) technology is in improved error correction code (ECC) that is said to be far superior to the otherwise used technologies and as such should provide you with far better data security. It also features End-to-End Data Protection, S.M.A.R.T., TRIM and Garbage collection. The drives support Read-only mode for emergency and serial ATA DIPM (Device Initiated Power Management), HIPM (Host Initiated Power Management) and Device Sleep for reduced power consumption.

The reduced power consumption from the above-mentioned features is great for use in laptops and so it the drives weight of just 53 grams. The HG6 is using Toshiba’s own A19nm Toggle 2.0 MLC NAND Flash memory as well as the in-house created Toshiba T635879BXBG SSD controller. It comes with a normal mean time to failure for this market segment of 1.5 million hours and an expected product life of 5 years. Since this is an OEM product, the warranty is based on whatever product you’ve purchased with it built-in.

The drive doesn’t use a RAM buffer like most SSDs on the market, but rather relies on the Adaptive Size SLC Write Cache technology that assumes a similar function as Samsung’s TurboWrite feature. It is treating a portion of the NAND as SLC for write operations to improve performance before flushing the writes to the MLC when idle. It’s also to be noted that Toshiba used thermal pads on all chips, providing the most efficient heat dissipation for high-performance systems such as servers.

MyDigitalSSD OTG mSSD 512GB USB 3.0 Review

Introduction


Pocket storage becomes faster and more affordable almost every day and once in a while something special comes along. One of those is the MyDigitalSSD OTG mSSD that I’m taking a closer look at today. The OTG mSSD connects through the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and comes with UASP support for proper SSD speeds.

The MyDigitalSSD OTG mSSD is a device that truly lives up to the USB 3.0 SSD hype with its transfer speeds of up to 465MB/s while reading and 450MB/s while writing. This tiny OTG drive is a powerhouse in compact form factor. But the pocket-sized wonder doesn’t stop there as the use of just the best of components reduce the waiting times and maximizes the bandwidth utilization, thus enabling faster and more efficient transfers while helping lower CPU utilization for extended battery life for on-the-go users.

The drive easily performs four times the speed of a traditional hard drive, so you could even run your operating system, play games and stream media directly from it, all without a hiccup. And even if your system doesn’t support UASP yet, the OTG mSSD guarantees complete compatibility with all USB devices. USB 3.0 users will still see blazing speeds up to 210MB/s and USB2.0 users up to 38MB/s.

Just saying tiny or small doesn’t really justify this drive as it’s just about the size of a credit card. The detachable micro-USB 3 cable further holds up the drives mobility. Oh, and it weighs just 35 gram, impressive.

Solid state storage is the optimal choice for portable mediums as it naturally is more resilient against bumps, shakes, and drops. This is further aided in this drive by the durable outer case design, so there is no need to worry about data loss in that area. And without moving parts, the power requirements are a lot lower, making it even better as a portable drive and perfect for laptop or tablet use.

Internally the mSATA SSD is using Micron MLC Sync NAND Flash and a Phison PS3108 S8 controller while the converter board is powered by an ASmedia ASM1051 SATA to USB bridge controller.

Whether you’re in the field on assignment, on vacation, or sharing with a friend, this versatile plug and play device makes transferring files hassle free by being compatible with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports on PC, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

Asus ROG G751JY-T7051H Gaming Notebook Review

Introduction


With every incarnation of Next-Gen mobile GPU releases there is always a high-end selection from each major manufacturer vying for the title of “World’s Fastest Laptop”, “Ultimate Portable Gaming Notebook” or similar, and Asus is no stranger for aiming for this accolade. Their Republic Of Gamers (or “ROG” as more commonly known) series is specifically designed towards this area, and has put out regular revisions of its G-Series laptops since the launch of the G70 in 2008. Fast forward to 2014 and we have the G751 series, aimed the highest point in the market in terms of price and performance, using the latest Intel Haswell CPU and the Nvidia GTX 980m GPU based on the new Maxwell architecture.

There was a point in time where most manufacturers could get away with purchasing the latest Clevo OEM motherboard and cramming it with the latest hardware and then shipping it out – though Asus was one of the few at the time to take thermals into account and actually create a custom cooling solution that helped gamers get the most out of their the high-end hardware. Add some aggressive looking “Stealth Fighter” design choices and you have the ROG series in a nutshell.

As an owner of gaming laptops over the years including the Asus G73 back in the day, I have high hopes going into this review that Asus have delivered a monster of a machine capable of gaming till my eyes go square. After briefly looking over the hardware specifications I am looking forward to pushing the G751 to its limits, while hopefully being met with a tremendous gaming experience that will keep me glued to my seat over the New Year. As a laptop pushing the £2000 boundary, this represents a significant investment and therefore we have high expectations going into this review.

Specifications
  • Name: Asus G751JY-T7051H
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4860HQ @ 2.4GHz (up to 3.4GHz Turboboost)
  • RAM: 32GB 1600MHz DDR3 1.35w (8GB*4)
  • SSD: 512GB PCIE SSD
  • HDD: 1TB 7200RPM
  • GPU:NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M 4GB
  • LAN:10/100/1000/Gigabits Base T
  • WLAN: Integrated 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
  • Monitor: 3″1920 x 1080 Anti-glare LED backlit
  • Keyboard: Chiclet Red blacklit Asus ROG branded
  • I/O: 4x USB3.0, 1x HDMI, 1x VGA, 1x Thunderbolt, SD Reader, Mic-in, Headphone-out, line-in, line-out, 1x 1Gb LAN, FHD Webcam
  • ODD: BD-RW (6x)
  • Battery: 8-Cell 6000mAh 88w/h
  • OS: Windows 8.1
  • Dimensions: 41.6 x 31.8 x 5.3 cm
  • Weight: 8kg with battery (10.6lb)
  • Warranty: 2 year Global Warranty, can be extended to 3 for an extra £65
  • Price: £1999.99 Inc VAT

Packaging & Accessories

The notebook box provides a decent amount of protection to the laptop inside, and both the machine itself and accessories have an extra layer of protection in that they are inside in thin foam bags. Having said that though for a laptop of this value, it would have been nice if it had been shipped inside a padded box for extra protection, in the same way the PC Specialist Cosmos 2 was packed.

The box is well designed, with carry handle and angled sides reminiscent of the laptop’s aggressively edged design. Upon lifting the lid of the box you are greeted with the line “In Search of Incredible” on the inner lid, and the system itself wrapped inside its afore-mentioned sleeve. The power supply is located in a compartment to the right of the system, and the accessories are stored in a compartment that is revealed under the laptop once it has been lifted from the box.

Included is a power supply, UK 3 pin plug with kettle connection to the power supply, an Asus branded cable tidy wrap, manual, quick start guide, warranty card and cleaning cloth.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

Lite-On Introduced World’s First TLC NAND-Based SSD With Advanced LDPC Tech

During a press conference at CES, Lite-On Storage introduced its new CV2 family of solid-state drives packed with next-generation low-density parity-check (LDPC) technology that is said to extend the endurance by up to 33%. The new drives are powered by Marvell’s four-channel 88SS1074 controller with 256-bit AES encryption and DEVSLP and coupled with Toshiba’s A19 NAND.

The result is an SSD that is rated for 2,000 program-erase cycles, comes as 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities, and is backed by a three-year warranty. Sequential read performance tops out at 500 MB/s over SATA 6Gb/s, while random 4KB throughput hits the 100,000 IOPS mark

“Advances in manufacturing technology are responsible for facilitating higher-capacity SSDs at lower prices. The challenge becomes keeping their ones and zeros straight as more bits are stored in each memory cell. Today’s BCH error-correcting codes do a fair job of maintaining reliability, even faced with modern TLC NAND. But LDPC is universally accepted as the future, and Lite-On is leading the charge forward with its CV2 SSD family. The CV2 is built on Marvell’s newest mainstream processor and outfitted with an advanced implementation of LDPC. So, even as you enjoy enthusiast-class responsiveness at value-oriented prices, you can be sure the most cutting-edge storage technology is keeping your data safe.”

No word on pricing or availability yet, but expect both to follow soon.

Thanks to Lite-On for providing us with this information

Corsair Launches Four New High-Performance USB 3.0 Flash Drives

 

Mobile storage needs are increasing in capacity all the time and the transfer speeds have to match when we’re copying those amounts of data. Corsair has updated their lineup with four new USB 3.0 flash drives that should make sure we got both the speed and capacity.

The Voyager Slider X1 and Slider X2 have a sleek glossy design and a capless sliding mechanism to expose the connector. The Slider X1 is available from 16GB up to 256GB capacities and boasts read speeds up to 130MB/s. The Slider X2 comes in the same sizes but take the speeds up to 200MB/s.

The rugged Voyager GS and GTX flash drives kick the whole thing up another notch. The Voyager GS will be available as 64GB to 512GB models with read speeds up to 260MB/s and write speeds up to 105MB/s. If that still isn’t enough speed for you, Corsair has the Voyager GTX that actually is a USB 3 SSD in flash drive form factor. With capacities of either 128GB or 256GB, the Voyager GTX can achieve speeds up to 450MB/s with its onboard SSD controller.

The MSRP for the drives are:

  • Voyager Slider X1: 16GB (14.99), 32GB ($19.99), 64GB ($39.99), 128GB ($64.99), 256GB ($149.99)
  • Voyager Slider X2: 16GB (19.99), 32GB ($29.99), 64GB ($54.99), 128GB ($99.99), 256GB ($189.99)
  • Voyager Slider GS: 64GB ($89.99), 128GB ($109.99), 256GB ($199.99), 512GB ($399.99)
  • Voyager Slider GTX: 128GB ($129.99), 256GB ($249.99)

Thanks to Corsair for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Corsair

Corsair Released Neutron XT SSDs

We could report a couple of months ago that Corsair was getting ready to launch their new line of Neutron XT SSDs, and now it finally come that time. Corsair announced the release of the new Neutron Series XT SSDs in 240GB, 480Gb and 960GB capacities.

The Neutron XT is using a Quad-core Phison SSD controller and MLC NAND. Those two make the drive able to perform sequential read speeds of 560MB/sec and sequential write speeds of 540MB/sec. SmartFlush and SmartRefresh technologies offer enterprise-level data management and retention in the event of power failure and advanced wear-leveling and garbage collection help to maintain performance over the life of the drive.

The Neutron XT is backed by a five-year warranty and should be available immediately for an MSRP of $149.99 for the 256GB, $269.99 for the 512GB, and $539.99 for the 960GB model.

Thanks to Corsair for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Corsair

Lexar Workflow DD512 USB 3.0 Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Not all external storage drives are equally suited for every scenario and there are a lot of different drives on the market. Most of these are branded for the ultra durability or portability. There is a third kind of external storage drives, those that need to be practical as well as universal in their everyday usage.

Lexar has created a unique line of mobile storage products dubbed the Professional Workflow series and is based on the USB 3.0 connectors. The series consists of several card readers that support the newest and fastest memory cards, as well as storage drives with either 256GB or 512GB storage capacity. Today I’m taking a look at the Professional Workflow DD512 USB 3.0 storage drive with a capacity of 512GB.

One of the great things about this series of mobile storage options is the sturdy full sized USB 3.0 B-type connector, but also its universal module size. Every model in the series uses the same enclosure and the reason for this are the unique drive hubs that Lexar also created for this series. By using the Professional Workflow hubs, you can take 4 drives or card readers and just plug them into the hub for simultaneous backups and data transfers. Perfect for photographers, action junkies with their GoPro cameras or other people who have a lot of files on mobile storage.

There are two Lexar Professional Workflow Hubs available, a basic USB 3.0 model and a more advanced model that also features Thunderbolt 2 connectivity for up to 4 times the transfer speeds. Just plug the module into the hub and you’re ready to copy, store and backup your files. The hubs aren’t needed if you don’t want to invest in them as each module also features their own USB 3.0 connector. This is the only connector on the drive and it is also used when plugged into the hubs. The hubs future proof you, as you can swap out a module with a newer standard when it becomes available or needed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzVrqPxuiFQ

The Lexar Professional Workflow DD512 USB 3.0 storage drive that I’m having a look at today can deliver up to 450 MB/s while reading and up to 250 MB/s while writing and comes with a 2-year warranty. Before these drives are shipped out to us customers, Lexar has had them undergo extensive testing with more than 1,100 digital devices to ensure performance, quality, compatibility and reliability.

The Workflow DD512 storage drive has another unique feature that is located right on the front of the drive. It has six LEDs and five of these are used to show how full the drive is. Each LED represents 20% of the drive’s capacity and will in return allow you to see how full your drive is with just a glance and as soon as it’s plugged in. The last LED is used to show connection and activity.

Sonnet Announces Tempo Low-Profile PCIe SSD

Sonnet Technologies has announced their a PCIe card with a 512GB SSD module included as part of their Tempo series of storage products. It is built around a M.2 PCIe SSD module, which is the fastest consumer type of SSD available.

The low-profile PCIe 2.0 card allows for use in compact enclosures and it will work with any x4 PCI Express slot in Mac Pro tower or Windows desktop or server computer, or into any Thunderbolt-to-PCIe card expansion system such as those Sonnet also offer.

It can deliver transfer speeds up to 1100MB/s at both writing and reading which is better than what most SATA3 RAID setups can do. It’s AHCI compatible and supports SMART, but there aren’t any other features listed.

The new Tempo PCIe SSD (PCIE-SSD1-512-E) is available now at a suggested retail price of $799 and is listed as compatible with OS X 10.8.5+ (including Yosemite), Windows 8 and 7, and Windows Server 2012 and 2008. Warranty is only 1-year, which is kinda sad, but something Apple customers are used to and this is a card is geared for use with Mac systems.

 

Thanks to Sonnet Technologies for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Sonnet Technologies

Micron Release Next Generation Client-SSD’s

Micron is one of the leading manufacturers of memory chips, and as such they’ve just released their next generation consumer-class solid state drive; the M600 SATA SSD. We as end-users won’t have the pleasure of buying this drive right away, because it will start as an OEM-only drive. It could however very well be at the heart of the next mobile gadget you purchase. We can also expect it to appear as a Crucial drive in the not so distant future.

“The M600 sets a new bar for power, security and efficiency in client SSDs and delivers on our vision to provide the most advanced storage solutions,” said Darren Thomas, vice president of Micron’s storage business. “OEMs expect Micron to deliver leading-edge SSDs that give their products an advantage and a noticeably better user experience. The M600 fulfills that promise.”

There are two things that sets this drive apart from the rest. The first of them is the power consumption, as the M600 consumes less than 2 mW in sleep mode and has an average power draw of 150 mW during active use. As a comparison, a traditional 2.5-inch hard drive uses up to 2000 mW when used and 130 mW in idle. The gap isn’t as big when we compare to other SSD’s on the market, but it is still a difference.

Micron didn’t have to compromise the performance in any way to achieve this low power consumption, the drive actually promises exceptional performance. The drive has been tested to perform 100K IOPS on random reads and 90K on the writes. The numbers for the sequential tests are just as impressive with 560 MB/s when reading and 510 MB/s when writing. Even the smallest 128 GB model can deliver these speeds. That is something new and it is the second thing that sets the M600 apart from the crowd.

This is achieved by using Micron’s own 16 nm process technology, the most advanced flash on the market. It is packed in Micron’s 128 Gb NAND so even the smallest form-factors can benefit from large storage. The longevity should be guaranteed as well with the 1 TB model being rated to reach up to 400 TB total bytes written (TBW), that is enough for 220 GB a day, every day, for five years.

Further more, some of the models use the Dynamic Write Acceleration (DWA) technique. A fake SLC caching mechanism that works in real-time to dynamically switch between SLC and MLC conversions in the NAND. This is the what makes the small drives just as fast as the large ones.

Encryption is more important than ever these days, and Micron of course have added an AES-256-bit hardware encryption to the drive. It complies with the TCG Opal 2.0 standards and the Microsoft eDrive protocol for easy management under Windows 8 environments. The drive also has a long list of other features we’re used to and are expecting by now, such as RAIN on-board fail-over protection and client-class power-loss protection for data in the buffer. The adaptive thermal-monitoring dynamically adjusts power consumption based on system temperature, ideal for ultra-small, thermally constrained systems.

The Micron M600 is offered in 128, 256 and 512 GB mSATA and M.2 module configurations, where the M.2 module is offered in both 80mm and 60mm versions. The 2.5-inch, 7 mm drive will be available in capacities from 128 GB to 1 TB. Shipping has already started, so expect products to be available very soon.

Thank you Micron for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Micron

Angelbird SSD2go Pocket USB3 Solid State Drive Released

Angelbird have released their brand new SSD2go Pocket today; a durable USB3 powered Solid State Drive for the person on the go. The newest member of the Angelbird family delivers everything you would expect from a premium brand, including first-class components, superb craftsmanship and breathtaking read/write-speeds.

The SSD2go Pocket is a small drive, but only in terms of physical size; measuring 89.0 x 69.9 x 10.4 mm and weighing just 90 grams. The case is made of CNC-machined aluminium, with a stylish pearl blasted and hard-anodised finish. At the time of launch there are four colour options for the SSD2go pocket: Silver, Blue, Red and Black. The power consumption is equally low with just 0.8W at idle and 2.4W under full load, making sure the drive doesn’t drain your battery unnecessary.

With it being an extremely durable 

and portable drive, you’d want it to work under extreme condtions as well, and it does. It works flawlessly from -20°C to 70°C and has a guaranteed data integrity from -40°C to 85°C. Angelbird have also put some extra thought into the connection type, and used an extremely robust type-A USB 3.0 port on the drive itself. Not only is it more durable than the micro versions, it also allows them to move the port further into the drive.

The SSD2go pocket is rated with transfer speeds of 450 MB/s read and 390 MB/s write. Those transfer speeds are possible through the native implementation of UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol), which makes optimal use of the Silicon Motion 2246EN-controller and custom packed original micron NAND (16nm/L95B).

Angelbird is so sure of the quality they deliver here, that they offer a 5-year warranty on the drive, and rate it to a MTBF of over 2 million hours.

 It’s not just robust and fast, it’s also user-friendly and will work straight from the box with computers, TV sets and a huge range of multimedia devices in your car and home. Even USB On-The-Go (OTG) is supported, so you could attach it directly to your smartphone or tablet.
 The SSD2go pocket has surge and overload protection built in (ESD, EMS, ECC), as well as TRIM and SMART. It’s actually the worlds first USB drive to support TRIM and SMART on Mac devices.

Each SSD2go pocket has a unique serial number which can be used to register the device online with Angelbird’s PSP (Personal Support Portal), giving you access to useful information. This one-stop-shop will let you know how much time remains on your warranty etc., as well as giving you access to exclusive software downloads. It is worth noting that the software is already loaded onto the drive when you buy it. Full versions of Parallels 10 (limited to 6 months), Bitwig Studio 1.0 (limited to 3 months), System Reflection back-up tool (unlimited) and PureMix instructional videos are all available at your disposal. In addition, renowned musicians like Marshall Jefferson, CeCe Rogers and Trash Junk offer exclusive music and samples for remix purposes too.

The SSD2go pocket is currently available in capacities of 128, 256 and 512 GB. Customers who choose to order directly from Angelbird’s own website, can now order special personalized units, with a bespoke two-line engraved message. Considering what you get here, the drive is more then reasonable priced at £119.99 for 128GB, £159,99 for 256GB and £269,99 for the 512GB model.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”500″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVjvGhhyA88[/youtube]

If you’d like to convince yourself just how durable this drive is, then I’ll encourage you to watch the video above. Angelbird’s CEO, Roman Rabitsch, gives the drive an extreme test in an uncut video. The test starts around 2:50, if the entire video is to long for you. We’ll also have a review of the drive ready for you soon.

Thank you Angelbird for providing us with this information

Images and video courtesy of Angelbird

SanDisk Announces 512GB SD Card

Are you ready for a whole lot more compact sized data storage? SanDisk’s upped their micro-storage game, becoming the first company in the world to announce a 512GB capacity SDXC card. SanDisk hopes that the card will help professional photographers and videographers with the 512GB SanDisk Extreme PRO® SDXC UHS-I card. With more and more camera’s shooting in 4K resolutions as well as higher megapixel counts – those shooting uncompressed video and photos will certainly have their appetite for storage whet.

Over the last decade alone, SD card storage has increased by 1,000 times. All the way back in 2003 we saw the first SD card – which packed just 512MB into the card. The new 512GB SD card will be able to fit a total of 20,000 8MP RAW photos, however all that extra storage won’t come cheap. Prices are starting for the new capacity at $800 US – your wallet is going to be hurting for a while on this one.

Image curtsey of SanDisk.

Crucial MX100 512GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


The SSD market these days is flooded with high performance drives that are geared to push the boundaries of what is possible both on the SATA interface, but now also on the mSATA and M.2 platforms as the desktop market moves forward in an era where speed is everything and where the focus in my eyes is too concentrated. There are, however loads of options out there on the budget end of the scale and it comes as no surprise, due to the leaking of information from a handful of sources, that Crucial have been working away to update their SSD portfolio to bring a fresher and better performing budget drive to the market.

Set to replace the M500, which I took a look at little over a year ago, the MX100 is Crucial’s answer to the growing demand for budget drives that offer both strong levels of performance and high capacities – 128GB drives, for some users, simply does not cut it any more. Built on a platform comprising of Marvell’s latest 88SS9189 controller with a custom revision of the firmware, specifically for the MX100, the drive features Micron’s latest 16nm NAND design with capacities ranging from 128GB right up to 512GB as we have in this review. Crucial are pushing this drive towards the upgrade market, where users may have a small, older SSD already in their systems, or more commonly as a performance upgrade to a system which is running on an ageing hard drive. Whichever background the user is coming from, with speeds of up to 550MB/s read and 500MB/s write (on the 512GB drive) with IOPs levels of around 90k read and 85k write – again on the 512GB model, users are certainly set to see a significant boost in performance over their current setup.

In addition to high performance levels, Crucial have also made the drive cheaper to run, with a design over the M500 which is reportedly 94% more efficient, requiring around 150mW of power under full load and around 100mW when sat idle and with a high level of endurance that tops 72TB – that’s 40GB of data being written to the drive each day for 5 years straight, a 3-year warranty is added on top – just in case anything does go wrong.

In order to make the upgrade process as easy as possible, a copy of Acronis True Image Home is bundled in with each drive, allowing the users current installation of Windows and all of their data to be moved over to the drive with ease and this can mean that in under an hour you can have your system upgraded to a high performance SSD whilst leaving you with the desktop environment and setup that you had with the older drive. For laptops that require a 9.5mm drive for installation, a 2.5mm spacer is included which can be stuck on to the drive in a couple of seconds.

256GB Blu-Ray Disc Created By Pioneer, 512GB In Development

Pioneer have been hard at work developing a new media based on the current Blu-ray standard. This new format is still effectively a Blu-ray, but has a staggering 256GB of unformatted capacity at its disposal. This is achieved by staggering eight layers, doubt the number of layers used in the Blu-ray XL format, which can only support 100GB at maximum capacity.

256GB is very impressive for the Blu-ray standard, but Pioneer say they’ve already made progress towards a 512GB edition. Both of these new formats, if they make it to market, would prove incredibly useful as backup discs, giving us a quick way to mirror devices such as SSD hard drives for a cheap and removable backup. They also have big implications for 4K video, given that currently the Blu-ray format doesn’t have the capacity to hold 4K video formats, at least not at the length of a feature film.

Sony and Panasonic have created 300GB discs of their own, but they required new hardware that wasn’t in keeping with the Blu-ray format. Pioneer’s disc will still require new drives, but because it sticks with the existing standard for Blu-ray, it will be much cheaper for optical drive makers to adopt, which would then be reflected in a more reasonable retail price.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TechPowerUp.

Plextor M6e 512GB PCI Express Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Over the last few years, virtually all of the solid state drives that I’ve looked at and put through their paces have been part of the SATA III family of drives and whilst I have seen the performance levels come forward in leaps and bounds, there has always been a certain plateau of performance that was going to be reached eventually. Today’s SATA III SSDs have, for quite some time now, been able to max out and saturate the bandwidth that the interface has had to offer and this has left manufacturers with a strong challenge of how to improve the solid state drive as we know it and squeeze out better IOPs performance and improve the NAND itself to give a better life span as far as read/write cycles are concerned. To say the least we are literally at the limits of what can be done on the SATA III interface – so the real question that one would ask is where do we go from here? One path would be to bring out a new SATA standard – lets call it SATA IV; but to do this would require a lot of work and the cost of the products at the end of it could be potentially jaw dropping, so for now lets wait for a new standard to brew at a lower rate and let it slowly trickle into the market.

So with upgrading the SATA standard out of the question for new, we start to look at how else we can let the SSD run free and this brings us to PCI Express. Having a PCIe mounted drive is not a new concept by any means, after all OCZ got their footsteps into this market years ago with the RevoDrive and even when we look at the latest model, the RevoDrive 3 X2 – the performance that is on offer is way past the levels that we can get from a SATA interface. Whilst PCIe SSDs are not common place on the consumer market at this moment in time, over the last couple of years they have become a popular product in the enterprise market, partly due to the increased bandwidth, but more importantly due to their greater capacities that a single drive can offer and also superior IOPs performance, which in the enterprise market is far more important than sequential speeds.

Coming back down to the consumer level, advances in SSD technology have seen the mSATA interface mature and with the unveiling of the NGFF (Next Generation Form Factor) drive late last year, we are now watching drives push past the lucrative caps of SATA III. Once again the gates have been flung wide open as manufacturers start to hop onto the PCIe bandwagon to take storage to the next level.

Coming over to Plextor’s addition to the new trend, the drive that I’m taking a look at today is part of the M6 family of drives, which is home to three different types of drive. The first drive in this family is a traditional 2.5″ SATA drive, whilst a smaller mSATA spin-off provides compatibility with compact devices such as notebooks and ultra-compact desktop systems. The third drive to make up the group is the M6e – a NGFF drive that is mounted on to a PCIe backplane, giving it the freedom to open up the throttle and take speed and performance well over that of SATA.

The M6e comes in a well padded box in an anti-static bag and aside from the drive, Plextor include a quick installation guide and a VIP booklet.

Crucial M550 512GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


During the middle stages of last year I took a look at a SSD that, in my eyes, set the ball rolling when it came to high capacity drives and with options of up to 1TB on offer, Crucial’s M500 made its statement loud and clear – you don’t need to sacrifice performance for space. To follow in the footsteps of the M500 and to keep Crucial at the forefront of the SSD market, a drive that is able to offer the performance whilst costing less is what is needed. Bring forth the leaner and more refined M550.

Based loosely around the M500, the M550 strives to take the performance and value one step further, with a more powerful single core Marvell controller, paired with 256MB 1066MHz DRAM and up to 1024GB of raw storage. As well as controller improvements, the NAND has seen a rise up to 256Gb dies and as a result of all these improvements, we are now looking at sequential read speeds of up to 550MB/s and 500MB/s write; with read and write IOPs levels of 95k and 85k respectively also available. The key factor though is price and the purchase price is not the only monetary figure that has been put under the microscope. With the market slowly moving over towards the mobile era, system and component manufacturers are looking at ways in which they can reduce the power needs of their products – the end goal being longer battery life but with the same strong performance on tap.

This price per performance factor is where Crucial have focused the M550 at, so in addition to the power usage and to stay one step ahead of the competition, the drives will be available in SATA, mSATA and M.2 formats.  The result from these focal points is a wallet that is not only happy at the point of purchase, but also further down the line as the cost of ownership is taken into account.

Like any other Crucial product that I’ve seen, the contents of the box are to the point with little more than a 9.5mm drive spacer included alongside the 7mm slim drive.