When good isn’t good enough, then you’ll want great, and when looking for great, you can’t get past QNAP. They have just launched two new NAS series for the enterprise sector with plenty of storage capacity options, great connectivity, and strong CPUs. Perfect for enterprise users that don’t want to compromise. The two new series are the TVS-ECx80U-SAS R2 and the TS-ECx80U R2.
Both of these new NAS series feature two built-in SFP+ based 10Gbps Ethernet ports without increasing the price over the previous models without the R2 name addendum. Besides the two SFP+ connectors, the system also features four 1Gbps Ethernet ports. Overall, everything you need for an IOPS-demanding application setup such as virtualisation setups and database systems.
The TVS-ECx80U-SAS R2 series comes equipped with a powerful Intel Xeon E3-1246 v3 3.5 GHz processor and 16GB DDR3 non-ECC or 8GB DDR3 ECC RAM. A great hardware base for almost any setup. The TS-ECx80U R2 series provides models powered by an Intel Xeon E3-1246 v3 3.5 GHz processor too and these come with 4GB DDR3 ECC RAM. Further, the series offers options with an Intel Core i3 3.5 GHz processor and 8GB DDR3 non-ECC or 4GB DDR3 ECC RAM too.
There are quite a few models to choose from, in various sizes and with varying drive bays. They all have four DIMM slots, extra internal ports for caching, redundant power supplies, and much more.
Today’s motherboard review lands right in the middle of everything. Not because it’s all over the place, but because it has a lot of usage scenarios and support for pretty much any setup. You could use ASRock’s E5V5 WS motherboard in a gaming system as well as in a server setup as both of those setups are fully supported, but its real area of operation is to act as the base for a powerful workstation.
The ASRock E5V5 WS uses an LGA 1151 socket and the board is compatible with both E3-1200 v5 processors such as the one I’ll be using later on in this review, but it also supports normal 6th Generation Intel Core processors – so basically the entire Skylake and Skylake-S line-up. As backbone behind the CPU that you end up using is the Intel C232 chipset that is perfectly tuned for workstation environments and a motherboard like this. Memory wise you can use normal DDR4 DIMMs as well as ECC UDIMM memory modules with a speed of up to 2133 MHz in the four DIMM slots with 15μ gold contacts for a total of up to 64GB RAM.
The gold contacts in the memory slots aren’t the only quality feature in this motherboard. The E3V5 WS motherboard is part of ASRock’s Super Alloy series and comes with premium 50A power chokes and is made of a high-density glass fabric PCB. It also features ASRock’s full spike protection that protects from sudden surges, lightning, and electrostatic discharges (ESD).
The network connection isn’t controlled by the average low-performance controller either and we find an Intel PHY i219LM controller on this motherboard. The Gigabit Ethernet controller supports Wake-On-LAN, supports 802.3az energy efficient ethernet and PXE. The Ethernet controller is one of the parts that is protected by the Full Spike Protection. The second part with protection is the USB. The ASRock E35 WS features two USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel and you can connect another four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports via headers. All of these are protected by the ASRock Full Spike Protection. The audio is also protected by this and we find a 7.1 channel HD Audio controller, the Realtek ALC892. It features Blu-ray audio support and uses ELNA solid audio capacitors. Last but not least, you also find legacy PS2 connectors for both your mouse and keyboard.
Internally we find good expansion options too. Since we are dealing with an Intel-based motherboard, we also get IRST for RAID setups across the six SATA3 6 Gb/s connectors. Supported modes include the normal RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 modes.
There are two PCIe Gen3 x16 slots that support both Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro workstation graphics cards as well as consumer graphics cards. There is also full support for the use of AMD’s CrossfireX technology for multiple graphics card usage. As I mentioned earlier, you can make a great workstation with this motherboard. There are three more PCIe Gen3 x1 slots available for further expansion and neither of them will be blocked by the use of two-slot graphics cards. Even with a CrossfireX setup, you’ll still have access to the three x1 slots.
Quality hardware and components are just one side of the story, we also need a good BIOS and proper software to have the best experinece. The E3V5 WS comes with both of those features too. The UEFI BIOS has the easy EZ mode dashboard besides the advanced setup pages, which contains multiple readings of the system’s current status. You can check the most crucial information of your system, such as CPU speed, DRAM frequency, SATA information, fan speed, etc.
Even better, you can reach the tech support purely from the systems BIOS, as long as the system has an internet connection. You can also install LAN drivers onto your windows installation directly from the BIOS.
The ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard) technology allows you to establish an internet curfew or restrict internet access at specified times for your kids. Stay in control of their surfing times without yelling. This probably isn’t the most used function in a workstation system, but it could be used to shut down any connection attempts outside of office hours. Another useful feature is the USB Key function that can replace the password question when you log into windows. Do it by plugging a USB drive in instead.
The well-known ASRock XFast RAM and XFast LAN are also built into this motherboard. The XFast RAM feature allows you to fully utilize the memory space that otherwise can’t be accessed in 32-bit systems, among others. XFast LAN is a quality of service protocol that prioritizes the important traffic so you don’t have to wait for loading times. ASRock Live Update and APP Shop also help to make the maintenance easier.
The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers product page and can as such be subject to changes in future revisions of the product.
Thecus announced the launch of two new enterprise-grade NAS with 12 and 16 bays and packed with plenty of features and connectivity while running on Haswell Xeon processors. The new N12580 and N16850 offer massive scalability on top of their cross-platform file sharing, schedulable snapshots, and resilient data integrity for a working environment that won’t let your enterprise down.
The two new servers come equipped with the Intel’s Haswell Xeon E3-1231 v3 3.4GHz processor and the C224 chipset. They are equipped with 16GB DDR3 ECC RAM but support up to 32GB each. Four RJ45 LAN ports allow for plenty of connectivity and the units come with plenty of USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports too. Inside the NAS’, you’ll find an 8-lane (x1) or 4-lane (x2) and 1-lane (x1) PCI-E slot for further expansions. All that coupled together should make the N12850 and N16850 deliver lightning fast, persistent throughput speeds while offering the requirements necessary to efficiently complete CPU-consuming tasks and serves more concurrent tasks at the same time.
“Businesses today are seeking a NAS system that can best handle the demanding day-to-day high storage needs that occur in the workplace. Our new enterprise-class N12850 and N16850 NAS series are the solution. With advanced data protection and integrity mechanisms, these rackmounts NAS provide the ideal choice for storing a business’s crucial data.” said Florence Shih, CEO of Thecus Technology Corp.
With native support for both SAS and SATA drives, users can experience the superior storage performance of 12G SAS and 6G SATA drives for a flexible storage environment. These new models are 10GbE ready and support High Availability for system redundancy. The units also deploy Daisy Chaining via SAS technology which offers connections to four additional D16000 units, allowing users to reach storage capacities of up to 640TB. Impressive.
These new units also come with some new features which include Virtualization, Volume encryption, Free Intel Security, Thecus App Center and User Profiles. This new enterprise series delivers significant improvements in design, performance, and user experience.
Intel Haswell XEON processor
16GB DDR3 ECC RAM
AES-NI hardware encryption engine
Redundant power supply
4 x USB 2.0 ports, USB 2 x 3.0 ports
1 x VGA port
6G SATA and SAS 12G compatibility
Hot-swappable hard drives
RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, 60 and JBOD
The new Thecus N16850 and N12850 servers are expected to begin shipping globally in April, so that will be very soon and the wait won’t be long.
When we report on storage news as well as in our reviews, we use a lot of terms and features that might not be familiar to everyone. The words and acronyms sound good and you chose your products based on whether they are present or not. But what do they actually mean? That is something that I’ll try to explain a little more today. I think there is a little bit for everyone here, whether you’re an advanced system builder or new to the area.
First I’ll start out with the basic features that are present in almost any storage drive these days, whether it’s a flash drive, hard disk drive, or solid state drive, and then slowly move on to the more exclusive features further down.
S.M.A.R.T. is the most basic feature that you’ll find and at the same time it is one of the most useful ones. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology and it is a way for the drive to keep track of itself and let you have access to the information too. There are many tools out there that can read out the information for you and most systems can also keep track of them trough BIOS and chipset functions. A simple and free tool to get access to the information is CrystalDiskInfo.
Most SMART values are can be two values, either good or bad, but there are a few that keep track of total reads, writes, and power-on hours as well. An application like CrystalDiskInfo will also show you the expected health status as you can see in the image above.
S.M.A.R.T. can also include self-tests that can be run manually or scheduled by a lot of systems. The short and long tests will check electrical and mechanical performance and are basically identical. The short will only test small parts of the area where the long test will test the entire surface of the disk with no time limit.
TRIM, also know as a Trim command, is a way for the operating system to inform a solid state drive which blocks of data are no longer considered in use and can be wiped. Internally, SSD operations are quite a bit different from HDD operations and TRIM was created because of that. The typical way in which operating systems handle deletes and formats would result in progressive performance degradation of write operations on SSDs.
With TRIM, the SSD is able to handle the garbage collection itself and free up the cells for new writes. We all know that a deleted file in the operating system doesn’t mean a deleted file on the drive, not until the physical location of the file has been overwritten. A mechanical drive handles a write and an overwrite action the same way, but an SSD doesn’t. It would first need to erase the area before it can write there again. It also means that a deleted file is gone ones the Trim command has processed the area.
There are manual tools to trigger the Trim command, but they’re aren’t needed if you got a modern operating system. There are independent tools for it and pretty much any SSD toolbox and software also has a button to send the command to the drive. This is a thing that we can expect to see removed from such software in the future as it’s fully automatic now.
Garbage collection is basically the same function, except that the garbage collection is performed on a drive level where TRIM is an operating system function. In return, it means that it also works on systems that don’t support TRIM and helps to keep the performance up.
I could go a lot into detail about how it works, but then we’re missing the point of easy information in this article. Without TRIM or garbage collection, the SSD doesn’t know what files have been marked as deleted and aren’t no longer needed. Those deleted data might still be moved around on the drive itself when it is optimizing and that will result in a lot of extra writes. There are many ways this is implemented in drives and it comes down to the drive itself, the controller, and manufacturer how exactly it works.
There are two types of wear leveling, dynamic and static. Static is also sometimes referred to as global wear leveling and it is this type that we usually find in solid state drives. Dynamic wear leveling, on the other hand, is mostly found on flash drives. Both types will attempt to use all physical flash equally so one chip doesn’t burn out before the rest and render the drive useless. Where the static will do this on the entire drive, the dynamic will only do this with memory blocks that get replacement data. The static wear leveling is a little slower but gives the drive a longer life expectancy. It doesn’t just help to prolong the life of the drives, it also helps with a more even performance.
DevSleep, DevSlp, or Device Sleep are all words for the same thing and it is the newest and most effective way for drives to enter a low-power sleep mode. In traditional low-power modes, the SATA link still needed to remain powered on to allow the device to receive a wake-up signal again. With DevSlp, the rarely used 3.3 V power connection is used instead to send the signal, allowing the drive to enter an even deeper sleep state by turning off more functions. The return is an even faster response time when it wakes up again and less power consumption. This is particularly useful for notebook users.
PFM+, IPS, and more
These are all synonyms for basically the same function, so I’ll stick with one that is present in one of the drives that we’ve recently reviewed: Power failure management plus (PFM+) that is present in OCZ’s Vector 180 series. With different names, they all perform the same function: get as much data safely to the storage drive in case of a power failure. There are extra capacitors in the drive that store currency in order to flush more data to the flash cells before all the power is gone. The capacitors also ensure that all metadata is safe and that the drive will continue to operate normally after a power loss, i.e. the NAND mapping table won’t be lost, which can brick the drive or at least slow down the next boot up as the drive has to go through a recovery process. This used to be a feature reserved to enterprise class drives, but we see it enter more and more enthusiast drives too.
ECC or Error Correction Code is present in a lot of devices and it is no different for solid state drives. It is an extra code that allows the drive to correct minor errors in sector reads and to recover data from sectors that have gone bad while storing that data in the spare sectors. It is basically what it says it is. It corrects errors.
Low-density parity-check (LDPC) is the go-to standard today for multiple reasons that I won’t go to much into here. In the past, it was rather BCH that was used, but that isn’t an effective method for modern SSDs. To say it short, LPDC allows you to correct more errors for the same ratio of user data to ECC parity. With ECC, fewer actions have to be repeated in case something goes wrong which in return gives a better overall performance.
CES 2016: Intel’s Xeon CPUs have a reputation for being extremely expensive and designed for the most demanding professional workloads. However, since the release of Skylake, Intel has outlined their plans to bring the Xeon name back to affordable consumer-grade motherboards. In theory, consumers can purchase the E3 1230 v5 CPU which offers the same core/thread count and L3 cache compared to the i7-6700. The only real downsize is a slight 0.2GHz turbo deficit, 20W higher TDP and lack of onboard graphics. Although this isn’t an issue as most high end users will be using a discrete GPU.
After speaking at length with Gigabyte about this, it seems they feel the consumer Xeon range provides great value, and could become a popular choice. However, I’m pretty sceptical as marketing the Xeon name as an affordable proposition will be a difficult task. During CES, Gigabyte unveiled the X170 Gaming 3 WS, X170-Gaming 7 WS, X170-Extreme ECC, X150-Plus WS and X150M Plus WM.
As you can see the motherboards adopt a stylish camo design which looks phenomenal and should suit various colour schemes. Rather surprisingly, the majority of these do not have ECC support although this might be revised in time for the official release. These C232/C236 workstation products aren’t as barren as you might expect and include gaming features like an isolated audio PCB section, USB 3.1 Type-C connectivity, 32Gb/s M.2 support 115dB SNR, DualBIOS and more!
This is only a brief overview of the range, and we should be taking a more in-depth look when the motherboards arrive for review purposes.
Intel’s SoC based Xeon processors bring along amazing performance abilities and features for a SoC system as we’ve already had the pleasure to see in our motherboard review section. They come with full support for up to 128GB DDR4 ECC memory, impressive IOPS and support 10G Ethernet to bring an incredible value on a small footprint. ASRock Rack is now ready with two motherboards featuring the Intel D1500 series SoC processors, the new D1540D4U-2T2O8R and the D1520D4I, targeting the exponential growth for edge data.
The ASRock Rack D1540D4U-2T2O8R is a microATX motherboard slim enough to fit into 1U chassis and allow for 14 trays of 3.5-inch HDDs at the same time, allowing for an effective system with a low total cost of ownership. It features a D1540 processor and has four DDR4 DIMM slots for easy setups with 128GB ECC memory. You get six SATA3 ports from the SoC as well as eight SAS3 ports from an LSI3008 onboard controller. Besides these more legacy connectors, the board also features two M.2 slots that are perfect for both caching options and the operating system. It also supports up to 40G Ethernet controllers to connect all this raw performance and storage to the rest of the world.
Integrated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and dedicated LAN (RTL8211E)
Supports Intel X540+ CS4227 by PCH
The second motherboard is the D1520D4I and it comes in an mITX form factor with a four-core D1520 processor. Despite the small size, it still features four DDR4 DIMM slots for up to 128GB DDR4 ECC memory. You also get six SATA3 slots, one PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, integrated IPMI 2.0 with dedicated LAN and dual Intel i210 Gigabit Ethernet.
Intel Xeon D1520 Processor
Supports Dual channel DDR4 2133/1866 R-DIMM max 64/128 GB
Supports 6*SATA3 by D1500
Supports 1* PCIex16
Integrated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and Dedicated LAN (RTL8211E)
Transcend’s newest memory card may not be the largest with a capacity of just 16GB and 32GB, but it is definitely a fast one with transfer speeds of up to 530MB/s and the new Transcend CFX700 memory cards based on the new CFast 2.0 technology can be proud of that.
The new memory cards are built using SLC NAND and utilize the SATA3 interface, which is why they can perform as great as they do. The sequential read speed can reach up to 530 MB/s and the sequential write reaches 260 MB/s on the 32GB Transcend CFX700 memory card. The cards also come with a lot of features you normally find in SSDs, such as S.M.A.R.T., global wear leveling, built-in ECC functionality, and Device Sleep.
The new Transcend CFX700 series is designed for use in embedded systems where they can enhance the overall performance greatly. They are also designed to run in harsh environments and have a working temperature between -5°C and 70°C. The memory cards provide superb performance here and would be optimal suited as a boot disk, making it a great alternative of a SSD in regards to its lower power consumption and higher portability while they still perform just as good.
Transcend’s CFast 2.0 CFX700 memory cards are available in 16GB and 32GB capacities and are backed by a three-year limited warranty. If you rather want a card with MLC NAND instead, Transcend already has that covered with the CFX600 memory cards.
Today I’m taking a look at a motherboard for those that need that extra bit of power behind the curtains for heavy workstation or server tasks. The Supermicro X10DAX is aimed at workstations, but it would work well as a basis for a server as well with the features at hand. In the end, as always, it comes down to what tasks the system has to perform.
Supermicro’s X10DAX is a dual CPU motherboard with plenty of memory and multi-GPU support. The motherboard supports up to 1TB ECC DDR4 2133MHz LRDIMM memory over its 16 DIMM memory banks as well as Triple-SLI setup or Quadro-SLI with dual-GPU graphics cards. Those who will use RDIMMs instead of LRDIMMs will be limited to 512GB maximum memory capacity.
The motherboard supports up to two processors from the Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 family thanks to the Dual Socket R3 (LGA 2011). That means up to 18 cores and 45MB cache per processor which in return equals a lot of power. The chipset is the Intel C612 which by itself provides a lof of features and enhancements over the predecessor.
One of the unique features on this motherboard versus its brothers is the overclocking features thanks to the BCLK settings in the BIOS and Supermicro has dubbed this Hyper-Speed on their motherboards. This will allow you to get that extra power from your system when it is needed and if it is needed. A great bonus that surely will be appreciated by many of the people purchasing this motherboard. Next to the Hyper-Speed technology, the Supermicro X10DAX also includes Hyper-Turbo mode which allows more power to be delivered to the CPUs and thereby maximize the CPU Turbo Mode frequency.
Supermicro also made sure that the motherboard is Thunderbolt 2 ready, but that’s an optional add-on you’ll have to get. Since this is a workstation board, it also comes with an onboard sound card. It could, for example, get a pretty hard job to edit videos without sound. The Supermicro X10DAX provides onboard 7.1 channel HD audio for just that reason.
Storage connection isn’t a problem either and we don’t have to pay for an extra SAS controller here that we probably don’t need in a workstation. Ten SATA3 ports, of which two supports SuperDOMs, should be plenty for your storage needs. If you need more than that, you’ll most likely have a server located somewhere anyway and thus eliminating the need again. You also get a Type-A USB 2.0 connector on the motherboard, placed right next to the SATA connectors. Since the SATA3 ports are controlled by Intel’s C612 chipset, we have RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 at our disposal on this board.
Dual Gigabit LAN is included thanks to a couple of Intel i210 network controllers, but we don’t find any dedicated IPMI on this motherboard. The PCI Express connectors available are three PCI-E 3.0 x16, two PCI-E 3.0 x8, and one PCI-E 2.0 x4 (in x8).
With such an amount of power at our disposal, we also need proper cooling. The Supermicro X10DAX has eight 4-pin fan headers that support tachometer monitors, status monitoring, and PWM fans. There are no dedicated CPU fan headers, so you can use any two of the eight for that.
The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers homepage and are as such subject to change in possible future revisions.
Supports 3-way Geforce SLI
Supports 4-way SLI support with dual GPU graphics cards
Dual socket R3 (LGA 2011) supports Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v3 family; QPI up to 9.6GT/s
Intel C612 chipset
16x DIMM slots for up to 1TB ECC DDR4 2133MHz memory
3 PCI-E 3.0 x16, 2 PCI-E 3.0 x8, and 1 PCI-E 2.0 x4 (in x8) slot
Intel i210 Dual port GbE LAN
10x SATA3 (6Gbps) ports (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)
6x USB 3.0 (4 rear, 2 via header), 5x USB 2.0 (2 rear, 2 via header, 1 Type A)
7.1 HD Audio with optical S/PDIF
Packaging and Accessories
The box for the Supermicro X10DAX is a default layout for the entire line-up and as such presents key features from all boards. While we can spot such things as 40GbE here, we won’t find it on this board.
The rear of the box details the different boards from Supermicro in this category for easy comparison.
Inside the box, next to the motherboard itself, we find six SATA3 cables and an IO shield with proper padding and yet unopened ports. Remember to only pop the ones that the motherboard actually has.
Included is also a Quick Start Guide that will show you the headers and jumper positions, how to install your memory depending on the amount of modules you are using, as well as front header layout and other vital information for installation.
Crucial launched their MX200 series quite a while ago and you might remember our reviews of the 2.5-inch SATA3 models in the series. Crucial has now supplied us with this M.2 version of the drive and today I am giving it a good spin on our test bench to see if it can perform as good as the 2.5-inch versions did. The Crucial MX200 M.2 SSD that I’m taking a closer look at today is the 500GB version (CT500MX200SSD4), an impressive capacity considering the size and even more so considering the amount of chips used, but that is something you’ll see further into the review.
The MX100 series originally set new standards for SATA SSDs and Crucial continued that with the MX200. It boasts great features and a great performance, and it does all that are a very reasonable price. One of the features that help the MX200 push ahead of many competitors is the Dynamic Write Acceleration technology. It uses an adaptable pool of high-speed, single-level cell flash memory for a consistent and fast performance rather than a fixed cache of multi-level cell flash.
The Crucial MX200 M.2 500GB drive is rated with a sequential speed of up to 550MB/s when reading and 500MB/s when writing. The random read performance is rated at 100K IOPS while the write performance has an impressive 87K IOPS. That is pretty sweet considering that we have a drive that’s only 22mm wide and 80mm long.
Crucial also made sure that the MX200 will survive for a very long time and it comes with a total bytes written (TBW) rating of 160TB. That equals to 87GB per day for a 5 year period, which should be more than sufficient and at that time you’ll want to upgrade with a more modern drive anyway. Sounds like a safe bet and a purchase where you can’t do much wrong.
Once we peel off the sticker, we see that this 500GB SSD only uses two NAND chips, one controller, and one RAM chip. Removing the sticker also removed most of the print on the NAND chips and it was almost impossible to take a photo where it was properly readable. The rear of the module isn’t used at all, which is what I referred to in the beginning. It’s all done with just two NAND chips.
This is the best I could do on the Micron NAND chips used on this drive. It isn’t the world’s best photo, but it appears to read 51C22 NW659 and the Micron logo is clearly visible.
The controller used is the Marvell 88SS9189-BLD2, a great choice for its features. You get AES 256-bit hardware encryption, it is TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667 compliant, and compatible with Microsoft’s eDrive. Other features include Power Loss and Adaptive Thermal Protection, Active Garbage Collection and TRIM support, ECC error checking code and SMART monitoring technology as well as Exclusive Data Defense.
Crucial backs the MX200 series with a 3-year limited warranty and the drive has a life expectancy of 1.5 million hours mean time before failure. The drive also comes bundled with Acronis True Image HD backup and cloning software.
• AES 256-bit encryption
• TCG Opal 2.0-compliant
• Compatible with Microsoft eDrive
Data Transfer Software – Includes Acronis True Image HD software for free data transfer
Redundant Array of Independent NAND (RAIN)
Exclusive Data Defense: Adaptive Thermal Protection, Power Loss Protection, and Data Path Protection
Self-Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART), Error Correction Code (ECC), TRIM Support, and Active Garbage Collection
An M.2 2280 module doesn’t require much of a packaging at all and it comes in the same type blister package that we know from memory modules; and even that is large for this module. The front carries a sticker with the drive type and capacity while the rear displays the included Acronis True Image HD Software.
Inside the tiny box you’ll find the above-mentioned leaflet with the Acronis True Image HD Software Activation key, which can be downloaded from the internet, two screws in case you misplaced the ones from your motherboard or PCIe adapter card and naturally the M.2 Type 2280 500GB Crucial MX200 SSD.
Transcend has a very long list of peripherals and parts designed for the different MacBook series, allowing you to seamlessly expand your storage and at times don’t even see that you did. The JetDrive Lite series of Expansions cards is now available up to 256GB to instantly expands the storage capacity of your MacBook Pro with Retina display and MacBook Air series.
Transcend’s new JetDrive Lite cards are tailor-made to have a flush profile with each specific Mac notebook model and are optimized for the compatibility as well. The low-profile JetDrive Lite will not stick out like an SD card and can be left in place for on-the-go storage. A 256GB model could for example store over 120,000 high-resolution photos or 64,000 MP3 files.
The Transcend JetDrive Lite expansion cards are made with top-tier MLC NAND and can deliver a transfer speed of up to 95MB/s reading and 60MB/s writing. This might not be world-record speeds, but it sure beats the Class10 SD cards that you can plug into most notebooks. Built-in error correction code helps to keep your files safe and the cards also feature sophisticated wear-leveling algorithm for a long lifetime. The cards themselves are also built to be completely resistant to both dust and water.
The JetDrive Lite 130/350/360 expansion cards are available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB while JetDrive Lite 330 cards are offered in 64GB and 128GB capacities. All Transcend memory cards come backed with a limited lifetime warranty.
When you look around for a server motherboard with multiple onboard LAN connections and support for Intel’s E3-Xeon V3 CPUs, you won’t find anything that could be considered cheap. That is up until now, as Gigabyte’s GA-6LASL is just that; a lot of server board for a tiny price tag.
The mATX form-factor motherboard comes with an LGA1150 socket and Intel C222 chipset, supporting the Xeon E3-1200 V3 and the 4th generation Intel Core i3 processor families. The four DIMM slots support up to 32GB ECC memory with a speed of up to 1600MHz and the board comes with two SATA3 ports and four SATA2 ports for storage. DOM storage is of course also supported.
As previously mentioned, the GA-6LASL has dual onboard LAN controlled by an Intel I210-AT chip and an integrated Aspeed AST1300 2D graphics card for up a resolution of up to 1920×1200 at 60Hz. Being an intel board, the SATA ports support Intel RST with RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10. It comes with one PCIe x16 Gen3, one PCIe x8 Gen2 x4, and one PCIe x4 Gen2 x1 slot.
There are no direct USB 3.0 ports, but it does have a header for two front-panel ports. There are plenty of USB 2.0 options with four onboard ports and two headers for four more ports. Being a server board, it comes with support for Windows Server 2008 and 2012 as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.x and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11.3.
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.
Silicon Power has been in the storage business for a long time and I’m glad to finally be able to put one of their drives on the bench and take it for a test run. Today I’m taking a closer look at the SP Slim S80 solid state drive that comes with promises impressive performance and is available with capacities up to 960GB. It is however, the 240GB model that I’m taking a look at today.
The Slim S80 is equipped with a Phison PS3108-S8 SATA-to-Flash micro-controller to deliver sequential transfer rates up to 550MB/s reads 500MB/s writes while offering impressive 4K random speeds of up to 80,000 IOPS. With such a performances, the Slim S80 can significantly reduce both boot times and quickly load applications as well as provide a higher reliability than traditional hard disk drives and provide higher reliability over traditional hard drive.
Silicon Power’s Slim S80 is carrying its name thanks to the 7mm height for use in ultrabooks, ultra slim notebooks, and similar narrow spaced usage areas; on top of that it only weighs 63 grams. Solid state drives are perfect to use in mobile devices thanks to the lack of mechanical parts so they aren’t affected by shocks and vibrations in the same way.
Built with both S.M.A.R.T., Wear Leveling techniques, and Error Correction Code, the Slim S80 should guarantee data safety on top of the great performance and a long lifespan. The used Phison controller also supports AES encryption to keep your data safe and DevSleep for a low power consumption in mobile devices.
Dimensions: 100mm x 69.85mm x 7mm
Vibration Resistance Test: 20G
Shock Resistance Test: 1500G Max
Read up to 550MB/s、Write up to 500MB/s
7mm slim design suitable for Ultrabooks and Ultra-slim notebooks
SATA III 6Gbps backward compatible with SATA II 3Gbps
Supports TRIM command and Garbage Collection technology
NCQ and RAID ready
Implemented with ECC technology to guarantee data transmission reliability
Built-in with SMART monitoring system
Besides the Phison controller, the S80 has 16 of Toshiba’s 19nm flash chips and a 256MB Nanya RAM chip.
The first single-stick 32GB DDR4 server memory modules have started selling and it is Kingston who is behind the new large-capacity memory modules. Currently 4GB modules are the norm for DDR3 users with some 8GB modules for the more performance-hungry users, so 32GB is quite a lot.
The new Kingston DDR4-2133 32GB LRDIMM (model KVR21L15Q4/32) memory specifications are quite ordinary with an operating frequency of 2133, 15-15-15 timings and the low 1.2V operating voltage (1.14 ~ 1.26V), but as server memory they also come with Error Correction Code (ECC).
You might already have guessed that a rare sized module like this won’t be cheap, and you guessed right. It is priced at 86.280 yen which equals to about £486.77.
Thanks to Akiba for providing us with this information.
Angelbird is a highly popular brand among artists and creators of all kings of art. It is also still a fact that many of those artists use Mac systems for their ease-of-use and the functionality they provide for music and image creations. So it’s no surprise that Angelbird is working hard on products to give those people the best experience they can get. As such they’ve just released the new SSD wrk for Mac. This is the first and only third-party drive that offers TRIM support for Mac out of the box, without the need of extra tools and utilities.
The SSD wrk for Mac is built upon the same quality components as the regular model that did very well in our review. It’s packed with custom NAND from Micron and powered by the SMI 2246EN controller. It connects via the SATA 3.1 interface and is fully backwards compatible to older Mac models. It can perform 72K IOPS and achieve speeds of up to 563 MB/s when reading and 450 MB/s when writing. The average access times are below 0.1 milliseconds.
The quality work is backed by a 5-year warranty and the drive has a MTBF of at least 2 million hours. Please note how Angelbird use the words “at least” instead of the term “up to” that we usually see here. Angelbird knows that they’ve built a quality product here. The durability is further improved by the integrated EDC and ECC error correction capabilities. Besides being a fast drive it’s also a power saving drive. The 128GB model only requires 0.25 watts in idle mode and 1.97 watts under load. The largest 512 GB model uses a maximum of 2.98 watts under full load, a perfect drive for a Mac Book. On top of the drive, customers also get access to the Personal Support Portal where they can register their product and view warranty periods as well as download free and full versions of software. A place worth checking out for any one who owns an Angelbird product.
The SSD wrk for Mac can be purchased in capacities of 128 GB (99.99 USD / 59,99 GBP), 256 GB (159.99 USD / 99,99 GBP) and 512 GB (299.99 USD / 191,99 GBP). All prices ex. VAT.
Thank you Angelbird for providing us with these information
A small new motherboard from Supermicro has been spotted on the shop-shelves, the Supermicro A1SA7-2750F. This tiny board is feature packed with a total of 17 SATA3 6GB/s ports and is a totally passive cooled System on a Chip (SoC) supporting up to 64GB memory. Sparked your interest? Here are the rest of the details.
The A1SA7-2750F has an Intel Atom C2750 at it’s heart with 8 cores/8 threads. It is a compact and fanless motherboard operating at 2.4GHz, or 2.6GHz with Turbo. With 4 RAM slots and support for 16GB modules, this board supports up to 64GB ECC/non-ECC DDR3 with a speed of up to 1600MHz.
The 16 blue SATA ports are powered by a LSI 2116 SW 6Gbps SATA/SAS controller and it has an additional yellow SATA port at the top that is controlled by the SoC itself. That is an amazing amount of on-board SATA ports for such a small form factor. The motherboard also has a direct on-board USB port and a SATA DOM power connector. At the bottom we see the single PCI-Express 2.0 x4 connector (in x8 slot).
The rear IO panel has two USB 2.0 ports and two normal Gigabit Ethernet RJ 45 ports, but it also features a dedicated port for the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) and a VGA D-SUB port.
Not only does this Supermicro motherboard have 16 SATA ports, it also comes bundled with cables for them all. That is a big bunch of cables in the box, but other then that and the manual it doesn’t look like many accessors are supplied.
The Supermicro A1SA7-2750F was priced at 66,980 yen including tax, that’s roughly £390. It isn’t the ordinary form factor motherboard (21.08cm x 17.02cm) and won’t fit in cases with ATX mounting. It’s designed for 1U 19″ rack systems, but one could of course just mod the case to fit. The board gets power from a 12V 8-pin and 5V 4-pin connector.
Crucial, a leading global brand of memory and storage upgrades, released a new lineup of high-performance memory solutions specifically designed for the new Mac Pro systems. This new memory is engineered to meet the component densities, speeds, and Serial Presence Detect (SPD) programming specifications of the new Mac Pro workstations, and is now available in kits of up to 16 GB.
“Mac Pro computer users frequently handle large datasets across a very broad range of applications, and often they need to do this simultaneously which can slow down their systems. This is when having an abundance of DRAM available is most beneficial, since it will help drive productivity to new levels,” said Michael Moreland, worldwide DRAM product marketing manager, Crucial. “Our modules are extensively tested at both the component and module level to guarantee a premium quality product specifically designed for the new Mac Pro workstations. This enables Crucial to deliver memory with the highest densities and fastest speeds, all guaranteed to work at optimum levels in their Mac Pro system.”
The new modules designed for Mac Pro workstations operate at 1866 MHz, which is the fastest mainstream DDR3 ECC UDIMM and RDIMM speed currently available, allowing users to leverage all the capabilities of the new Mac Pro systems. For further performance gains, modules are available in densities up to 16 GB. These high-speed, high-density memory modules provide users with increased system responsiveness, faster application load times, and an increased ability to multitask with ease when using data-intensive programs such as Apple FinalCut Pro or Adobe Photoshop software.
AMD have just announced some brand new APU additions to their G-Series of SOCs. AMD’s new GX-210JA APU features a wattage of just 6W with an average power consumption of 3W. With such a low TDP AMD expects to be able to power a variety of fanless and passive systems for applications such as industrial controls and automation, digital gaming, communications infrastructure and visual embedded products including thin client, digital signage and medical imaging.
The AMD G-Series APUs, including the newly announced GX-210JA, are capable of supporting industrial ECC (Error Correction Code) memory and temperature ranges of -40 degrees to +85 degrees. They also come packed with two to four fully fledged CPU cores, discrete-class Radeon graphics and an integrated I/O controller.
AMD’s current G-Series APU line up contains the following:
GX-420CA SOC with AMD Radeon HD 8400E Graphics, Quad-core, 25 W TDP, CPU freq. 2.0 GHz, GPU freq. 600 MHz
GX-415GA SOC with AMD Radeon HD 8330E Graphics, Quad-core, 15 W TDP, CPU freq. 1.50 GHz, GPU freq. 500 MHz
GX-217GA SOC with AMD Radeon HD 8280E Graphics, Dual-core, 15 W TDP, CPU freq. 1.65 GHz, GPU freq. 450 MHz
GX-210HA SOC with AMD Radeon HD 8210E Graphics, Dual-core, 9 W TDP, CPU freq. 1.0 GHz, GPU freq. 300 MHz
GX-416RA SOC, Quad-Core, 15 W, CPU Freq. 1.6 GHz, No GPU
GX-210JA SOC with AMD Radeon HD 8180 Graphics, Dual-core, 6 W TDP, CPU freq. 1.0 GHz, GPU freq. 225 MHz