Seagate Announces Three New 8TB Hard Disk Drives

Seagate announced that not one but three new 8TB hard disk drives have been added to their portfolio. The three new drives are from the Seagate Enterprise Capacity, Seagate Enterprise NAS, and Seagate Kinetic HDD series and all got the 8TB upgrade. While these aren’t the first 8TB drives, they are worth a closer look as they’re a force in themselves.

The first new 8TB drive comes from the Enterprise Capacity 3.5 HDD series and this is where reliability meets high-capacity. The drive is aimed at the cloud markets where I’m sure that it will be welcome with open arms. The drive performs with a 100 percent increase in random read and write performance compared to its previous generation. That is quite an accomplishment and impressive.

Moving on to the small and medium-sized business oriented drives and we find the new Seagate Enterprise NAS HDD. There isn’t the big performance improvement here like there was in the Capacity line, but the new 8TB drives do allow companies to reduce the amount of drives they need and thereby the server sizes as well power consumption. An overall saving on the running costs and less hardware to worry about, that sounds like a good deal.

The Seagate Kinetic HDD series is the most interesting of the new 8TB options, but it is also the one that isn’t for home users at all, at least not yet. The Seagate Kinetic HDDs take a new approach on storage infrastructure as it is based on the Kinetic Open Storage Platform. The open source object storage protocol combined with Ethernet connectivity allows the Kinetic HDD to eliminate multiple layers of legacy hardware and software infrastructure with a simple Key/Value interface. This in return dramatically reduces the need for traditional storage servers. The reduction in equipment, power consumption, and human expenses results in a total cost of ownership saving of up to 70 percent. The LHC in Cern is one of the places where the Kinetic HDDs are being used to store and analyze the many petabytes of data collected.

Netflix Soon to Secure Video Streams via HTTPS

The video streaming giant, Netflix will soon be using the HTTPS protocol to encrypt its customer streams. A great plan that helps ensure that what they watch stays secret. This change will leave Amazon as one of the largest encrypted sites.

Turning on HTTPS on Netflix’s vast network of servers has been an impressive feat by the Netflix tech teams; This was because the demands of implementing TLS are rather severe in comparison to standard HTTP.

Each Netflix server has a 64bit Intel Xeon processor and runs the FreeBSD operating system. A single server can store up to 120 terabytes of data and can server up to 40,000 long length connections. This means the server can use up to 40 gigabits per second of bandwidth.

Netflix attempted to change this six months ago. They changed several dedicated servers to use the TLS protocol to a select set of end users. They compared the performance results with a similar range of end users and the same amount of dedicated servers and saw as much as a 53% capacity hit. The end result of the test finding that this was because of the extra power that encryption requires. The change meant that some of the streaming optimizations were lost.

On Wednesday the director of streaming standards, Mark Watson announced that it was ready to begin rolling out HTTPS for both the website and the content itself. Browser tests will be at scale in the next three months and the full website should be complete in the next coming year.

The performance impact has been restricted due to some TLS optimizations that the Netflix engineers crafted for high performance FreeBSD applications.

Netflix’s entry into the HTTPS world comes as security advocates have been calling on all websites to encrypt their traffic. The force behind these requests is that if HTTPS is used then it can stop state sponsored attacks that countries such as the US and China launch from the internet backbone.

Thank you to The Register for this information

Batteries Need to Triple Capacity and Cut Price by 67%

Batteries hold a strong place in today’s lifestyle, from remote controls, mobile phones, to hybrid and all-electric car batteries. Battery research is one of the hottest subjects in material science, with researchers promising new creative ideas from their labs. Despite battery capacity slowly increasing in recent months and years, we need something radical to appear that could already have been invented; locked away in a lab somewhere.

Right now, batteries cost roughly $300 per each kiloWatt-hour. For all-electric cars to become a serious and affordable contender to rule out fossil fuels, we need that figure to drop to around $100. Dropping the price could be easy, just increase the size of the battery. However, for electric cars to take off, they need to have small enough batteries that can provide long-term power supply. Currently electric vehicles (EV’s) have a battery density of around 200 W-hr/kg, that needs to rise to around 600 W-hr/kg.

Today’s batteries contain lithium, pretty good for what we’ve got out of them, but researchers have started playing with silicone. Using silicone, can yield 1 silicone atom for every 4.4 lithium atoms. The problem with using silicone? The massive expansion under load.

They first experimented with silicon nanowires, adjusting the spacing enough to allow for expansion, the issue here is after a few charge and discharge cycles; the nanowires lose form and become a mess, losing all benefits to using silicon.

Tests then moved on to using solid wire inside a silicon shell and then placed inside a rigid shell. The issue with this again is the expansion of the silicon. Tests proved that the silicon expanded to the extent of breaking the shell beyond safe use.

At this point, the researchers changed their field of view to self-fixing polymers, which basically rearrange hydrogen bonds to potentially restore breaks. They coated their silicon beads with this polymer and if a break does occur they will gradually heal over the breaks “While you’re sleeping, your battery can self-heal” Cui, head researcher, said.

There is now a commercially available 270 W-hr/kg battery on the market, with a 360 W-hr/kg version on the way. However, we do not know on which of the previous technologies this is based on.

To read more on this subject, see ArsTechnica’s full coverage here.

Motorola G2 Apparently Shipping September 10th with 8Gb Storage

Only 8Gb!? That is a bad sign as that won’t be what you actually receive as you’ll have the OS and pre-installed apps on there too, your probably looking at around 6Gb out of the box but that’s just me guesstimating.

Following the success of the Moto G, Motorola are busy with their plans with the G2. According to a source who claims to have been given launch details about the G2 straight from a Motorola representative, the G2 will launch on September 10th this year. The handsets are supposedly with retailers now or will be very soon, orders won’t be sent out until release date. The handset is said to sell for €250, not as expensive as other phones on the market but it still isn’t exactly cheap. The reason for this pricing can be seen by looking at the rumored specification list.

Apparently the G2 will have a 5-inch 720p screen, Snapdragon 400 chipset, 1GB of RAM, and an 8MP rear camera. The front camera is a 2MP unit and the smartphone will run Android 4.4.4 KitKat out of the box. Internal storage is 8GB; presumably, the smartphone will have storage expansion, which it will need otherwise people will not be happy with such a small amount of undependable storage. Now those specs are average nowadays in a smartphone so the €250 price mark makes sense.

Thanks to Tweaktown for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tweaktown.

I’M Intelligent Memory Launches 16 GB DDR3 Memory Modules

Hong Kong based DRAM manufacturer, I’M Intelligent Memory, has announced its 8 GB DDR3 components with a single chip, which doubles the amount of memory per chip compared to other DRAM devices on the market. Based on the latter chip, the company is said to have introduced the 16 GB DDR3 UDIMM and SO-DIMM memory modules, having EEC error-correction technology as an optional upgrade.

It is said that the JEDEC specification JESD9-3 has always allowed a 8GB capacity for DDR3 devices. However, it seems that most manufacturers are waiting for the 2x nm process in order to fit smaller chips and bring high memory capacity. I’M Intelligent Memory has apparently made the leap by developing their own way of manufacturing 8 GB DDR3 components with a single chip using existing 30 nm technology.

The company states that their memory modules are compatible with the JEDEC standard pinout, timing and row/column/bank addressing. In addition to the latter, the company has made available devices including x8 (1Gx8) configuration in FBGA 78 ball package, a x16 (512Mx16) type in FBGA 96 ball package, a x32 (256Mx32) configuration in FBGA 136 ball package, as well as providing DDR3L low-voltage 1.35V versions, all of which are currently available on the market.

Given the 8 GB device, the company has released its first 16 GB DDR3 240 Pin unbuffered DIMMs and 204 Pin SO-DIMMs on the market, while also having them available in 72 Bit width for EEC error correction. The latter modules are said to be compatible with processors and micro-controllers from AMD, Cavium, Freescale, Tilera and others.

While not all processors used in desktop PCs are compatible with the high-capacity memory, Intel has offered support for the Atom C2000 series and Atom E3800 series with a new BIOS version available to download now. Also, ASUS has confirmed support for the latter memory on its X79-DELUXE, RAMPAGE IV BLACK EDITION and other ASUS X79 motherboards. Other manufacturers, such as ASRock, Supermicro, AIC and Portwell have already verified and approved the IM 16 GB DDR3 memory modules for a variety of their motherboards based on ADM, Tilera, Intel’s C2000 series and other processors.

I’M Intelligent Memory apparently has noticed the potential embedded markets, networking and telecommunication applications, as well as PCs and laptops, allowing all to reach a memory capacity previously untouched by any manufacturer out there.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TechPowerUp

Lexar JumpDrive M10 Secure 64GB Flash Drive Review


Recently I’ve been taking a look at some of the newest flash drives on the market, including those from Lexar and whilst they may be either the fastest, best looking, or offer the best value for money, there is one area where they all fail. This is security. We hear about security all the time, and in the home or work place, security is key, after all we don’t want to let our data get out into the wrong hands. Typically this generally entails users locking their computers with a password and in the case of networks, securing the wireless with an encryption key for example. We also lock our buildings, filing cabinets, doors and vehicles, but for the most part, there is one everyday item that we tend to forget about; the humble USB flash drive.

When we look at the world of flash drives, they’re inexpensive to buy and their extremely convenient for moving and sharing data between point A and B with ease. This is all and well, but what happens when we lose then – let’s be honest we’ve all misplaced our flash drives at some point, be it on the home or office, or more worryingly when we are out and about. For the most part, the concern is not so much on having to replace the drive as they are easy to get hold of, the factor of getting the data back or someone else getting hold of the data if they find it is the real worry. Whilst some files are more mundane and harmless, from time to time there may be sensitive data on them such as personal details that is at risk of getting spread.

Take my personal circumstances, as a reviewer, I often have confidential files sent to me on unreleased products and when you hear us mention that we can’t disclose too much information due to an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), we have to sign paperwork to declare that we will not reveal certain pieces of information. Loosing a flash drive with the sensitive information on for example is something that we would rather not do. Take graphics card launches as another example; in the run up to the launch date we always hear rumours and snippets of information being leaked out, but should we lose a flash drive and the wrong person get hold of the data then everything could be out in the open. This is what we try to avoid and thus brings us round to the item that I’ll be looking at today.

You may have recently read my review on Lexar’s JumpDrive P10 – one of their fastest and one of the fastest USB3.0 flash drives on the market with an astonishing price point but in the JumpDrive range there is another product that offers up something else of interest to many of us as opposed to speed – security. The JumpDrive M10 Secure offers up the piece of mind that your files are secure with industry leading 256-bit AES encryption through Lexars own EncryptStick Lite software, whilst offering up to 4x the speed of an equivalent USB2.0 drive and an always-on capacity meter. Available in capacities ranging from 16GB through to 128GB, the M10 is PC and Mac compatible, giving secure storage backed by a three-year warranty.

ADATA DashDrive Durable UD310 32GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive Review

We’ve been focussing on storage a lot as of late, and for a very good reason as files are getting larger, especially when you look at the size of a good quality image, HD video footage or just a multi-page document. Together these all add up and cause the need for expandable storage, but that comes at a cost, especially when you want speed in conjunction with it too. Taking a step back from the plethora of USB 3.0 SuperSpeed flash drives on the market, you can never go wrong for something small and discrete but with a large capacity, and of course having a price point that doesn’t hurt your bank balance.

The DashDrive UD310 is a rugged USB drive that is aimed at everyone, especially if you like a bit of bling in your life. It comes in a variety of sizes with the smallest 8GB model, mid-range 16GB and the one we have today; the 32GB. Branded under the DashDrive Durable branding, the device is catered to be ultra small and ultra convenient, and when we say it’s tiny, we really mean it. It comes as expected with a lifetime warranty and due to the advanced COB manufacturing process, it also has protection against impact resistance and water damage.

The Design

The overall design is a unique one to say the least with a “jewel like” design as ADATA brand it currently. It comes in two flavours; red or black and today we happen to have the black version with us.

It’s branded as “jewel like” due to the shape of the top part which has a jewel/crystal style. For the most part, it is made from plastic with the only metal part being the USB connector itself.

When plugged into a computer/laptop, the flash drive sits snug and doesn’t obscure in any way due to its low-profile design and sits discretely out of the way.

The Performance

With most USB 3.0 products, a big part of the marketing is the rated speeds, but with this USB 2.0 device, ADATA don’t quote any speeds on the packaging or on any of their marketing material, including the website. There is a very good reason as to why, and it mainly comes down to the times that we’re in. USB 2.0 isn’t trying to be the fastest thing out there, and with this product, it’s trying to be affordable and to give the user exactly what they want. With that in mind, we still have to see how it fairs when looking at performance, and so we fired up CrystalDiskMark to start things up.

To see how performance lays across the board, we also booted into ATTO to see if the results were consistent.

With no rated speeds direct from ADATA, we have nothing to compare to, but was glad to see the results consistent across both CrystalDiskMark and ATTO at 21MB/s read and 8MB/s write.

The Price

We mentioned that a device of this nature is aiming itself at the value segment, by offering a large capacity for a small price and that’s exactly where it ends up. We had the 32GB model with us, and while availability isn’t fantastic in the UK, you’ll still find the UD310 priced at around £17 making it stand out at a whopping 53 pence per GB.

Other models in the range include the 16GB UD310 at £9.50 and the 8GB model at £5.60, all giving extremely good value for money.

Is It Worth It?

If we look at this product from a performance point of view, you won’t be rivalling anyone as it doesn’t offer blistering speeds, but it wasn’t made to offer that in the first place. This is a value product, aimed at the value segment of the market, but value doesn’t mean cheap as this clearly isn’t a cheap, flimsy product. It offers a small footprint that will be hard to damage and is water-resistant too.

Looking at it head-on, it’s definitely worth the money, and we could see ADATA using something like this in the OEM sector, for branding and promotion for other businesses. As we know, ADATA have no problem working as an OEM partner, as they do with many DRAM modules currently on the market under different brands. With this in mind, I honestly feel that OEM may be a way to go with this product, where they could be sold in their hundreds, maybe with some eTeknix branding on in the future?

The simple fact is, it offers fantastic value for money and is pretty much unbeatable considering what it offers for that small outlay, and if you are after an all-year-round stocking filler, then the UD310 32GB will not disappoint, and you’ll still have some change left in your pocket at the end of the day. What more could you want? For us, we’re happy to award it with our bang for buck award, but a word of advice may be to go for the red one, as throughout writing this review; we lost the black one 3 or 4 times. Ooops!