Transcend Introduces Full SLC SSD Lineup

Transcend revealed their SSD570 almost three months ago and now they’re ready with the full lineup surrounding the SSD570 SLC SSD and with most current form factors. SLC NAND has quite a few advantages over MLC and TLC NAND, but it also comes at a higher price and with less capacity. MLC NAND is used in mainstream and enthusiast drives while TLC NAND is used in the newer budget oriented drives for three times the capacity per chip used over SLC.

But Transcend’s new lineup is full of SLC drives that have the superior performance and reliability. There are normal 2.5-inch slim SSD drives and half sized case-less drives as well as mSATA and M.2 of various sizes. The 2.5-inch, half-slim, and mSATA versions come as both SATA3 and SATA2 drives while the M.2 come in two different lengths, 42 and 80 mm, but both SATA3 models and the default 22mm wide.

SLC NAND has a higher durability than MLC that is found in most consumer products and SLC can withstand up to 50,000 program and erase cycles at the same time as it can perform with up to three times the speed of MLC flash. On top of that comes a lower power consumption and error rates, making these perfect for mission critical applications.

The drives feature all the normal features such as S.M.A.R.T. function to monitor the drives health status, but they also feature more advanced features such as DevSleep. DevSleep is the newest power saving feature that sets the drive into the lowest possible power state. Transcend also added error correction code (ECC) and wear-leveling algorithms to these SLC SSDs. The final feature is necessary when we’re talking mission critical data, and that is the Power Shield function that ensures data integrity in the event of a sudden power loss.

The new line contains the SATA3 SSD570K and SATA2 SSD520 2.5-inch drives, the HSD570 SATA3 and SSD25H-S SATA2 half-slim SSDs. The SATA 2 and SATA3 mSATA SSDs are called MSA520 and MSA570 respectively while the M.2 drives are called MTS870 and MTS470.

Transcend Develops SuperMLC NAND Technology

Here I sat thinking that I knew all the terms for the different NAND technologies and then Transcend comes along with a new one that they have called SuperMLC. SuperMLC was developed as a more cost effective solution to SLC NAND with a performance that comes very close. In fact, the write performance is up to four times better than traditional MLC-based products.

Okay, I have to be honest right away and say that this technically isn’t a new form of NAND, we’re still dealing with Multi-Level Cell NAND chips. The difference comes down to how this NAND is handled by the SSD controller and its firmware. By using high-quality NAND chips and reprogramming the firmware, Transcend essentially created a cell-based RAID setup where the same data is stored in both bits in the same cell instead of having different data stored in the two. This naturally decreases the available capacity per NAND chip by half, but it also allows the drives to deliver a much better performance. In fact, the new SuperMLC has up to four times the sequential write performance when compared with traditional MLC NAND. It also brings better lifetime expectancy with up to 30,000 P/E cycles.

Transcend will release new drives based on this technology in early 2016 and they are all aimed at the enterprise sector where both initial costs and total costs of ownership really matters. That doesn’t mean that you can’t purchase these drives and use them in your personal setup, if that is something you are considering. Among the upcoming products with this brand new SuperMLC technology are a 2.5-inch SSD (SSD510K), an mSATA SSD (MSA510), a half-slim SSD (HSD510), and two M.2 SSD models. (MTS460 & MTS860).

What do you think of this way to utilize the NAND chips? Would this be an option you would be interested in, or do you prefer the normal MLC NAND for capacity or SLC NAND-based products for their reliability and performance? Let us know in the comments.

Addonics Announces Complete Family of Industrial or Enterprise Grade SSDs

Addonics announced a new family of SSDs that support the CFast, mSATA and M2 form factors in both Industrial or Enterprise class grades. The difference between the two types is the type of NAND used. The Industrial class modules are built with SLC NAND where the Enterprise class modules are made with MLC NAND.

These new storage modules are all rated for operation in industrial temperatures ranging from minus 45 to plus 80 degrees Celcius. They are also some of the most reliable SSDs on the market, a thing that easily can be spotted in the TBW and MTBF ratings. For example, a 64GB SLC mSATA modules comes with a TBW rating of 3448 TB and the same module with MLC NAND has a TBW of 635TB for the 256GB model. All come with an MTBF of over 3 million hours.

Which type you pick is down to the operations they need to perform. MLC is more energy-efficient, has more capacity, and it is faster, but the SLC has more durability and a longer lifetime expectancy. Addonics new Industrial and Enterprise SSDs range from 4GB to 256GB capacity and Addonics also offers a full line of converters, readers, and duplicators for the most common SSD form factors.

Suggested retail prices of the Addonics Industrial grade mSATA Flash SSD is $325 for 32GB. The Enterprise class mSATA SSD starts at $54 for 32G. You can also check out the full details on the official new landing page for Addonics Flash media and SSDs: http://addonics.com/category/fm-ssd.php

ASRock Releases Upgraded BeeBox NUC Mini-PC

ASRock released an upgraded version of their tiny NUC mini PC, the BeeBox. The BeeBox is now available with a quad-core processor, 32GB eMMC SSD and comes bundled with a free copy of Windows 10. The BeeBox is also available in a new silver coloured version now on top of the black, gold, and white versions.

The new quad-core CPU is an Intel N3150 SoC and the NUC comes with 2GB DDR3 1600MHz, upgradeable to 16G. You can add plenty of storage despite the small 0.6l volume of the NUC. You can add both an mSATA SSD and a 2.5-inch drive, allowing you to reach 3TB storage and beyond in the near future with newer and bigger drives.

Beebox is the world’s first mini PC with a Type-C USB port and it is the only one to support triple monitor, H.265 decoding and 4K video playback through two HDMI ports and one DisplayPort. The whole system has low power consumption and is extremely quiet while powered on. It is nearly silent when run in Eco mode where it could be used for light tasks such as torrent downloading. So bedrooms aren’t excluded from the possible locations to place it. Another added bonus is the included IR control so you can control it from the couch or bed.

Have you made the switch to ultra compact systems somewhere in your home or do you still prefer the large systems with endless possibilities everywhere? Let us know in the comments.

Giada Introduces Compact and Fanless F103D Mini PC

Giada unveiled a new compact and completely silent Mini PC dubbed the F103D. The Giada F103D isn’t the average mini-PC, it is packed with the latest Intel Braswell N3150, N3050, or N3000 Processors with a max TDP of 6W as well as other great features.

The F103D is designed for digital signage and harsh environments, but I see completely different possibilities thanks to the features and specifications. Starting with the dual LAN, powered by two Realtek controllers, the F103D opens up for easy built custom routers and firewalls. This functionality is further increased by an optional upgrade with a WiFi module. It already has the antenna.

The system supports 4K video out at 30Hz via the onboard HDMI and it also comes with a D-Sub VGA connector. There are several COM ports as well as USB ports too. The unit also features 5.1 audio via the display out. You can mount one mSATA SSD as well as a 2.5-inch HDD or SSD in this mini PC.

It comes with 2GB memory onboard and that can be expanded with 2GB more with a DDR3L SO-DIMM slot. Further, you get an onboard IR module and IR sensor on the front, but the remote control is optional. The system is compatible with Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 as well as Linux. Android support is planned for 2016.

Kingston SSDnow KC380 1.8-Inch Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


The solid state drive that I’m taking a look at today is one that I’ve actually had around for a while, but couldn’t test up until now. I’m taking the tiny 1.8-inch KC380 SSDnow from Kingston for a spin on my test bench to see how well this tiny SSD can perform. While it isn’t the newest model anymore, I still think it’s a valid drive to test and one that quite a few people will consider for their netbooks and similar devices that only have the option for 1.8-inch drives such as this one.

As a 1.8-inch SATA drive, the KC380 uses a Micro-SATA connector that doesn’t match anything you’ll find in a normal PC. The SATA data connector is the same as you’re used to, but the power connector won’t match anything you’ll find or a default power supply and as such it can’t be used in a normal system. That is also the reason that this review got so much delayed, I had to find a working adapter to convert it to normal SATA connectors. The first I bought was broken and made the drive crash out during load and the second could only deliver SATA2 speeds for some reasons. However, third time is the charm and the third adapter that I got, and that I’m using for this test, works like a charm and as it should: Bridge the pins to a different layout.

The 1.8-inch SATA form factor isn’t the most common and most people will never even have a system that can use these drives. There are however quite a few hard disk based netbooks on the market, and around the world in different homes, that could benefit hugely from an upgrade with an SSD like the Kingston SSDnow KC380.

We shouldn’t expect a blasting performance as such, simply due to the generation of the drive and its small capacity. Those are both things that will have an effect among others, but it still a drive that promises a good performance. The drive is rated for a sequential performance up to 550MB/s while reading and 520MB/s while writing. The maximum random performance rating for this 120GB model is set to 86K IOPS reading and 48K IOPS writing.

The Kingston SSDnow KC380 consumes less power and generates less heat than a traditional HDD at a fraction of the cost of a new system. It offers advanced data integrity protection and a second-generation SandForce SSD controller with DuraClass technology. DuraClass features include DuraWrite and advanced wear-leveling to extend the life of the drive and garbage collection and over-provisioning for consistent performance and a longer life for your SSD and your data.

Opening up the drive and we reveal that it actually is an mSATA drive that is hiding inside the drive and that it uses an mSATA to MicroSATA adapter board to become what it is. A natural choice for Kingston that already had the mSATA in the lineup. This saves costs and broadens the market opportunities.

The top of the actual SSD contains a Kingston sticker with all the relevant information about the drive. It also covers two of the four Toshiba NAND chips used on the drive. The last two NAND chips are found on the rear where we also find the SandForce SF-2241 solid state drive controller. Overall, a simple design that gives a lot of options.

Kingston backs the KC380 SSD with its well-known warranty and in this case it’s for three years. That also includes free technical support for the duration.

Specifications

  • Fast — dramatic performance increase for any system upgrade
  • Endurance — Data Integrity Protection featuring DuraClass technology
  • Durable — DuraWrite optimizes writes to extend endurance
  • Multiple capacities the right capacity to meet your storage needs
  • Supports SMART — monitors the status of your drive
  • Supports TRIM — maintains maximum performance on compatible operating systems
  • Guaranteed — three-year warranty, free technical support

Packaging and Accessoires

The Kingston SSDnow KC380 comes in a blister packaging that displays both the drive itself and the basic information about it right on the front. We can see the capacity, the name, and brand as well as the performance rating.

The rear of the drive contains all the fine-print that isn’t really relevant. Basically, it tells you that you’ll notice a huge improvement over traditional mechanical drives.

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.

Gigabyte BRIX GB-BXi5H-5200 Review

Introduction


Today we are taking a look at Gigabyte’s Intel i5 5200U powered BRIX. Gigabyte has an impressive array of BRIX models that come in at all different performance levels with many CPU options and even options with discrete GPUs. The small form factor computer business has been exploding the last few years due in part with parts shrinking and their abilities skyrocketing. Many people have been buying small form factor units deciding to use them as business or daily workstations due to the low power consumption, helping to lower costs. Others love these small boxes for use as home theater PCs (HTPCs) since they can be tucked out of the way and will generally not be heard over ambient sound in the home theater. The specs for this BRIX look promising for use in both situations so let’s take a closer look and see just how well it would perform in these tasks.

Specifications
  • Name: Gigabyte BRIX GB-BXi5H-5200
  • CPU: Intel i5 5200U (2C/4T, 2.2 GHz w/ 2.7 GHz Max Turbo, 14nm, 15W)
  • RAM: User Supplied – We tested with Crucial Ballistix 2x4GB DDR3-1600 9-9-9-24 1T 1.35v 
  • SSD: User Supplied – Crucial MX200 SSD 250GB
  • GPU: Integrated – Intel® HD Graphics 5500
  • LAN: Realtek RTL8111G 10/100/1000/Gigabit Base T
  • WLAN: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
  • I/O: 4x USB3.0, 1x HDMI, 1x Mini isplayPort, Headphone-out, Microphone in, RJ-45/GbE LAN
  • OS: Supplied Barebones, Windows 10 preview used in this review
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Price: $364.99

Retail Packaging

Printed materials and hardware that the BRIX comes with. You will get a power adapter and power cord to hook up the BRIX as well as all the screws that you will need to mount your SSD or HDD and use the VESA mount if you wish. The DVD and printed materials are toss away materials in my opinion since the most up to date drivers and materials can be downloaded from the support website.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

Plextor Presents mSATA and M.2 Drives at Computex

Computex 2015 – When it comes to picking an SSD, mSATA isn’t the first connection type that comes to mind. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t relevant. Small form factor systems and notebooks often utilize this form factor and it is great to see more drives made for it.

Plextor brought along their M6MV mSATA SSD that is built around the SMI 2246 controller and with capacities of either 128GB or 256GB. The cache equals the capacity, just in MB and it helps to boost the speed up to 535 MB/s read and 335MB/s write. Random performance isn’t bad either with up to 83K IOPS.

The M6GV-2280 is the gum-stick shaped version and it is available all the way up to 512GB storage. The performance is similar to the mSATA with sequential performance up to 535MB/s and random IOPS up to 83K.

Last but not least we have the brand new M7e as an M.2 form factor drive. The M7e is a PCIe Gen 2 x4 drive with great performance up to 1400MB/s reading and 1000MB/s writing just like the PCIe HHHL version.

SanDisk Announces Z400s SATA SSD

SanDisk latest SSD, the new Z400s, is aimed more at the replacement of mechanical hard drives in embedded systems than home systems, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it.

The new SanDisk Z400s is available in multiple form factors and capacities. Whether you need a 7mm high 2.5-inch drive, an M.2 2242 and 2280, or an mSATA form factor, SanDisk has it covered. Capacity wise it starts at 32GB and tops out at 256GB.

The sequential performance is rated at 549MB/s reading and 330MB/s writing while the random performance is rated to 33K read and 62K write.

The Z400s strength lies in power consumption where it only draws 50 mW during active power, 20mW in slumber mode and less than 5mW with DEVSLP.

The endurance is rated to 20TB total bytes written for the 32GB, 40TB for the 64GB, and 72TB for the 128GB and 256GB models and all models are backed by a three-year warranty.

There are many areas where this drive could come in handy, from Digital Signage over POS to Security-Surveillance. Effectively anywhere you need fast storage that doesn’t draw a lot of power nor generates much heat. An SSD beats a traditional HDD on every of those aspects and also in reliability.

The new SanDisk Z400s is sampling with customers immediately in all form factors and all capacities.

ZOTAC Announced New ZBOX R-Series Mini-PCs

ZOTAC has no shortage of available mini-PCs and the amount available has just grown two new models in the R-Series. The new ZBOX RI323 and ZBOX RI531 barebones are packed with more extension abilities than ever and come with both a serial port and RAID abilities.

“This is certainly a breakthrough for both the mini PC and personal computing,” explains Tony Wong, CEO, ZOTAC International. “We are adding more functions to elevate the mini PC to a whole new plane while keeping our signature space saving design and power efficiency. This new addition to the mini PC family will open new doors to even more functionalities.”

One of the main features is the ability to combine two storage devices into a RAID 0 or RAID 1 configuration. With these new mini-PCs, users will be able to fully utilize their storage devices and create a logical drive that either improves the performance or one that provides redundancy.

The R-Series isn’t just well suited for the office and home, the serial port allows it to be used for commercial and industrial purposes. You can connect a vast array of machinery and control it from these systems or use it for digital signage, entertainment, and kiosk controllers.

You can connect both DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4 displays to the units and add two DDR3 1600MHz SO-DIMM modules. Processor wise they differentiate a bit between a Core i3 with 2.1GHz and a Celeron 2961Y with 1.1GHz, but both are dual-cores. 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 are also present.

Silicon Power Unveiled new M10 M.2 and mSATA SSDs

SP Silicon Power’s newest SSD comes in two compact form factors and allows you to speed up the performance of your ultrabook and similar devices. The new drive is dubbed the M10 and will be available as both NGFF M.2 2280 module and full-sized mSATA module for compatibility with as many systems as possible.

The M10 solid state drive is built with MLC NAND flash chips and an unspecified “high-quality controller”. It can achieve sequential transfer rates up to 520MB/s reading and 330MB/s writing. The random 4K performance is rated to 40,000 IOPS at both reading and writing.

The M10 is built with support for Intel’s Smart Response Technology (IRST) that enables you to use the SSD as a cache for your mechanical HDD and effectively create a high-performance SSHD out of the new M10 and your old drive.

Feature wise all the basics are covered with TRIM, NCQ, and S.M.A.R.T. commands to keep the performance at optimal levels throughout its lifetime and operation. It also supports ECC technology and Bad Block Management to guarantee data transmission reliability.

Available in tree capacities, 120GB, 240GB, and up to 480GB, the M10 shows that great performance doesn’t need to take up a lot of space. The M10 is backed by a 3-year warranty and has an MTBF of 2 million hours.

Super Talent Announced New mSATA SJ2 SSD

Super Talent Technology announces its newest and third mSATA SSD, the new JS2 solid state drive designed for industrial and embedded applications. The mSATA drives might not be the fastest on the block, but they have the big advantage of a tiny form factor and wide compatibility. There aren’t many compact or embedded systems that don’t come with at least one mSATA slot.

The mSATA SJ2 is an updated version of the SJ1 solid state drive and it provides fast speeds of up to 480 MB/sec reads and 160 MB/sec writes with access times down to 0.2ms. The drives are available with 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB capacity so you can pick just the right one for your system, why get more space than the system needs. The drives are based on the Mini PCIe and architecture and utilize the SATA-III interface. From the provided image it looks to use a SandForce SF-2141 SSD Controller and Micron NAND packages.

Thanks to SuperTalent for providing us with this information

Gigabyte Announces its Lates Brix mini-PC Lineup Featuring Broadwell CPUs and NFC

Gigabyte has announced its new generation of Brix barebones PCs that offer a range of Broadwell CPUs and storage options to customers wanting a small office PC solution.

The new Brixes are said to be available in two sizes, one with room for a 2.5″ storage and another without the latter option. Both solutions are said to come with Intel’s Core i5-5200U or Core i3-5010U CPUs, having a higher model upgradeable to a Core i7-5500U and coming with an additional NFC upgrade.

All new Brix models come with the Intel HD Graphics 5500 and can connect through a HDMI and mini DisplayPort output. The miniaturised PCs also come with Intel wireless-AC cards, allowing them to connect to any wireless source with ease. A small downside to Gigabyte’s Brix lineup is the lack of M.2 storage, having them rely on the mSATA technology.

Up until now, only the Brix BHi3H-5010 model has been spotted on the market with a price tag of $290. The Brix BXi5H-5200, BXi3-5010, BXi5-5200 and BXi7-5500 models are yet to hit the market, but anyone wanting to buy one of them should expect a price tag of between $250 and $500 for the latter models.

Thank you TechReport for providing us with this information

Latest Lian-Li Accessories at CeBIT 2015

Here at CeBIT 2015, we caught up with LIAN LI; the Bugatti of the chassis world. Today’s line-up presents some of the lesser known products of LIAN LI, all of the accessories from HDD raid racks to 5.25″ drive bay control panels. LIAN LI don’t do half measures, everything is in high-quality aluminium, keeping in look with their chassis range, but also aids their durability.

One device that caught our eye was the external MSATA enclosure with USB 3.1 optional connectivity. It’s great to see how quickly manufacturers have adopted this new standard, but also give the option of previous generation support for those using slightly out-dated tech.

We look forward to seeing more of LIAN LI’s products in the future. Any news of events from LIAN LI, we will keep you updated.

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.

ECS Launches LIVA-X Mini PC

ECS has launched their new LIVA-X mini PCs featuring Intel Bay Trail-M / Bay Trail-I SoC processors that boost 64-bit dual-core performance up to 2.25GHz. The LIVA-X comes with Windows 8.1 pre-loaded (optional) but also supports Windows 7 (via mSATA SSD). Linux and Ubuntu OS’ support are subject to version.

The LIVA-X comes with 2GB or 4GB DDR3L DRAM and 32GB or 64GB eMMC soldered onto the board. Expansions are covered internally by the mSATA slot for an SSD and externally with two USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port. It also supports dual monitors through the HDMI and VGA ports and comes with Realtek ALC283 Audio and RTL8111G Gigabit Ethernet as well as b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.

The palm-sized miniPC isn’t much bigger than a cellphone and support VESA mounting for complete hideaway. It also features a no noise thermal design, providing a complete silent PC.

Availability is still sparse, but Amazon is carrying starting from $250. Price depends on model choice.

Thanks to ECS for providing us with this information

SanDisk Introduces New Affordable SSDs

Sandisk launched the SSD Ultra Plus late last year and now they’ve added to the series with the entry level SanDisk SSD Plus 2.5-inch drive. SSD drives do not only significantly improve the data rates compared to traditional hard disks, they also consume less power, are less prone to shock damage and create no noise. A perfect upgrade for any laptop.

The new Sandisk SSD Plus comes in two capacities, 120GB for $69.99 and 240GB for $109.99 MSRP. Both models have sequential reads up to 550MB/s while writing is limited to 350MB/s on the 240GB model and 180MB/s on the 120GB sized drive. The SanDisk SSD Plus comes with a 3-year warranty and will be available in Q1 2015.

Adding to the existing line of Ultra II, Sandisk is introducing the mSATA form factor to the series. The new mSATA SSD will be available in three capacities: 128GB ($73.99), 256GB ($115.99) and 512GB ($220.99). This line of drives can achieve up to 550MB/s sequential reads and 500MB/s writes. Random performance is rated up to 97K IOPS for the largest model. The SanDisk Ultra II mSATA SSD also includes a 3-year warranty and will be available in Q1 2015.

Thanks to SanDisk for providing us with this information

Crucial Introduces Next Generation Solid State Drives

Crucial announced two new solid state drives, the Crucial MX200 for speed and performance and the Crucial BX100 budget drive.

“We designed the MX200 and BX100 to meet the varied needs of the market, making it easier for anyone to move to an SSD, whether they are a seasoned computer enthusiast or an absolute beginner, all while keeping value top of mind,” said Jonathan Weech, senior worldwide product manager, Crucial. “These drives leverage Micron’s years of heritage in storage technology to deliver advanced features and performance, resulting in an unparalleled SSD experience for our consumers.”

The new Crucial MX200 delivers sequential reads and write up to 555MB/s and 500MB/s, along with random reads and writes up to 100k and 87k IOPS on all file types. It will be available in 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB capacities with respective MSRPs of $139.99, $249.99, and $469.99. The 1TB model also features an impressive endurance rating that is up to 5 times higher than typical SSDs.

The MX200 also features the new Dynamic Write Acceleration, a unique technology that enables faster saves and file transfers. Other features include AES 256-bit encryption, data defence against file corruption, added thermal protection and power-loss protection that safely flushes the data to the flash.

The new budget BX100 SSD can still deliver sequential reads and writes up to 535MB/s and 450MB/s on all file types and is the first Crucial drive to use the Silicon Motion SM2246EN controller. It will be available in 120GB, 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB capacities with respective MSRPs of $69.99, $109.99, $199.99, and $399.99.

All models of both drives, the Crucial MX200 and the BX100, will be available in Q1 2015 and are backed by a three-year warranty.

Thanks to Crucial for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Crucial

Apacer Announces Two New SSDs with Improved ECC

Apacer Technology has launched two new ultra slim industrial SATA3.0 SSDs. The SFD18SH-M that complying with the JEDEC MO-297 standard and the mSATA H1-M that is compliant with the MO-300 standard. Both models are made under 1ynm process and are said to be extremely price competitive for their ultra slim appearance, high speed, and high stability

Both new drives are built with industrial grade flash chips, they are based upon the SATA 3 standard and come in capacities ranging from 16Gb to 256GB. The performance is rated to 515 MB/s for linear reads and 180MB/s for the writes, without any more specifications.

To enhance data security, Apacer improved on the ECC (error correcting code) capability and raised it to 72bit/1K bytes for both the SFD18SH-M and mSATA H1-M. This is quite a bit better than what we’ve seen up until now. The new DEVSLP power saving function has also been added to both models.

While these most likely aren’t SSDs that we ordinary users get to see, the important part here is the improvements on the ECC and that is something I hope will make its way from here and into the consumer and prosumer market.

Thanks to Apacer for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Apacer

Shuttle Released XH97V Barebone Mini-PC with 4k Support

The European subsidiary of Shuttle has released their latest and most powerful Mini-PC Barebone system, the Shuttle XH97V. Powered by the Intel H97 chipset and the LGA1150 socket for fourth and fifth generation Intel Core processors and having a volume of just 3.5 liters, make these new Barebones great for a multitude of scenarios.

Just because something is small, doesn’t mean that it can’t pack a punch. Shuttle is a master in this area and they’ve packed this tiny 240 x 200 x 72 mm slim X-type chassis with basic features and expansion options to meet both 4K media presentations, as well as office productivity. This is also the first Shuttle mini-PC barebone to support simultaneous use of up to three displays out of the box.

The front ports are hidden behind moveable panels to offer a better dust protection as well as giving the unit a cleaner look. Opening up the panels expose the two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, and there’s also two 3.5mm audio jacks for headphones and microphone. It has room for an optical disk drive (ODD) with a max height of 12.7mm, seen at the top of the photo.

Users who don’t need an optical drive can use the bay for an additional 2.5-inch drive. Speaking of 2.5-inch drives, the Shuttle XH97V can hold a 12.7 mm  and a 9.5mm drive beside the optional one in the ODD tray allowing you to install up to three SATA3 2.5-inch drives in this tiny unit.

The rear of the Barebone offers just as much connectivity as the front with two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports. Shuttle also added an eSATA2 and an RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port. The Ethernet is powered by the Realtek 8111G Ethernet controller. The three 3.5mm jacks for the 5.1 surround sound are run by the Realtek ALC 662 HD Audio Codec.

There are two DisplayPort 1.2 and one HDMI 1.4 ports for up to three simultaneous display connections. The DisplayPorts can display 4k content in 60Hz while the HDMI port does it at half the refresh rate; 30Hz.

There is also a COM port, clear CMOS button and a DC IN for the power brick. The Kensington-style lock is cleverly placed to pass through both parts of the chassis, allowing Shuttle to use thumbscrews for the chassis and still being intrusion safe.

The motherboard inside is a standard mITX form-factor and it can handle up to 16GB memory over the two SO-DIMM slots. The maximum memory speed will depend on what CPU you use. The H97 chipset and LGA1150 (H3) socket gives you a wide variety of options from Core i3 / i5 / i7 processors as well as Pentium and Celeron models with a max TDP of 65W.

The XH97V doesn’t stop there and offers another two mini PCI Express expansion slots, one half-sized and one full-sized. The half-sized supports PCIe 2.0 and USB 2.0 and is intended for use with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth cards. The full-sized also supports SATA3 and can be used for mSATA drives as well.

Shuttle only used solid capacitors in this system and the processor cooling uses an integrated heat-pipe system with two 60mm fans. It also has an Always-On jumper that when set will make the system automatically boot after power loss.

The new Shuttle Barebone XH97V is available at retailers across Europe now or very soon and it has an MSRP €193,00 exclusive VAT. At some retailers, it’s already down to €186.47 inclusive VAT before it even has arrived in their storage.

Thanks to Shuttle for providing us with this information

Images and video courtesy of Shuttle

 

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

Plextor M6M 128GB mSATA Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


A few months ago I took a look at a drive that has managed to slingshot Plextor right back into the enthusiast market with a drive that took the limitations of the SATA III interface and threw it out of the window, using the supreme bandwidth of a PCIe interface to allow it to stretch its legs out and give us some proper next generation performance. Now if you’ve not guessed which drive I’m on about here, I’m referring their M6e PCIe SSD – which uses the latest M.2 NGFF interface to deliver levels of performance that may have dreamed of for quite some time.

Whilst the M6e is a great product to behold, it is not for everybody. Firstly we have to look at the cost and with a 512GB drive fetching over £500 / $800, it is a heavy investment to made and secondly its compatibility list is somewhat limited, knocking many mATX builds and portable systems out of the question. Fortunately though Plextor were not naive enough to force users on to the M.2 platform to enjoy the performance that is on offer from the components of the M6e. Alongside the next generation drive, Plextor have brought two more drive to market that follow are more traditional approach to storage, using the most commonly used interface, SATA, and its compact alternative mSATA. Whilst both the mSATA and SATA drives are not able to offer the break neck speeds that can be achieved through a native M.2 or PCIe interface, they still play home to the same controller and NAND packages, just with a lower headlining above them.

The drive we’ve got to play around with today come in the mSATA form factor and with the M6M product name (the second M representing mSATA) we can easily point out its association with the highly popular M6e. Built around the same Marvell 88SS9188 controller and custom firmware, the M6M comes in capacities ranging from 64GB right up to 512GB, all within the same 50.8 x 29.8 container, allowing them to fit into virtually any device that houses a mSATA port. Offering sequential read and write speeds of up to 520MB/s and 440MB/s with IOPs ratings of up to 94K read and 80K write, the M6M is by no means a basic solution for mSATA devices – it is a workhorse that delivers just as much of a punch as its bigger brothers which are part of the SATA and M.2 groups.

Where most drives come in a sleek box with a colourful presentation on the front, the M6M uses packaging the like it’s from a value RAM production line. The only indication of which drive is enclosed is found on a single sticker attached to the front of the pack. At the bottom of the sticker we do get a short list of performance ratings so we at least know what type of performance we should be expecting once plugged in.

Intel Roadmap Shows New Line of SSDs Due For Launch Around Q4

During a tech conference over in Italy, where Intel have been displaying their upcoming roadmap for the CPU market, they have also touched on what the SSD side of their business will look like over the next few months. Although Intel does cover both the consumer and enterprise sides of the market as reflected in the roadmap, what is particularly interesting is the consumer trail towards the end of this year.

Not only does the map show that the will be expecting to see the successor to the 730 Series SSD around Q4, known as ‘August Ridge’  at this moment in time, but it also gives us an indication that there will be mSATA and M.2 variants of the 750 series coming to market around the same sort of time – a key move for any SSD manufacturer who wants to stay at the forefront of the market.

Based on our knowledge of their competitors and where the market is targeted, we may expect to see drives ranging from 64GB in a mSATA format and 128GB in M.2 and 2.5″ formats, growing up to around 960GB on the upper end of the scale. Although we do not have detailed information on the drives specifications, we have word that they will be built on Intel’s 20nm NAND although the controller has not ben detailed at this moment, nor pricing for that matter.

Source and image courtesy of TechPowerUp

Latest Plextor Memory Products at Computex 2014

Next up on our tour of Computex 2014 we’re taking some time out to have a look at Plextor’s storage products to hit the consumer market. As we know from our look at the SSD market over the last few months, there has been a massive revelation in the performance of solid state storage with the new M.2 or NGFF (Next Gen Form Factor) drives that have the capacity to push past the limitations of traditional SATA based drives.

The first drive that we come across is one that we’ve already had a closer look at. Built to run on a PCIe interface the M6e is on of only a few PCIe drives that are available on the consumer market, delivering speeds that are far greater than that of any SATA interface and not requiring any more than a basic amount of knowledge to get them up and running.

Although the M6e, as we saw it in our review, is mainly built on to a PCIe platform, the drive itself is actually a separate component with the card itself simply acting as an interface adaptor. As the latest breed of Z97 motherboards rolls out across the land, users are able to take hold of the M.2 generation of drives, building systems that perform better and faster than before.

In a display cabinet to the side of the running samples shows each of the capacities that the drive is available in as well at the performance figures in both a PCIe format and a native M.2 format.

Further along from the M6e variant of Plextor’s M.2 drives we find three pure M.2 drives on offer, the key difference between each of them being the length and thus the maximum capacity that each drive can hold.

Moving along from the M.2 drives and over to native SATA, the M6Pro, bar a lower set of read and write speeds, is inherently the same drive. Using the same controller and NAND packages, the M6Pro comes in capacities ranging from  128GB right up to 1TB, but what is particularly interesting with these drives is the addition of Plextor’s own PlexTurbo technology. Acting in a similar fashion to that of Intel’s Smart Response, PlexTurbo uses the host systems memory along with the NAND in the drive to create a drive cache that loads at the start of each system boot, giving a stronger level of performance that a standard SSD. The M6Pro is dubbed for release later this year and we’ll be sure to check this drive out when it arrives.

The last drive that we find on display comes in an mSATA format. Known as the M6M, the mSATA drive come in capacities starting at 64GB and rising up to 512GB whilst offering read and write speeds that are as strong as the full fat M6Pro. To show that the M6M is just as strong as the Pro, Plextor have taken two drives and put them together in a dual-mSATA to SATA adaptor and set them up in RAID0 – ideal for blistering gaming performance in a compact system where an M6e is not an option.

Kingston 1TB Prototype SSD, mSATA & NGFF SSDs On Show At Post-CES Event

Whilst I was at an event in London Last night to see the new DataTraveler Locker+ G3 the Kingston have just released on to the market, there was one or two little extras to see aside flash drives. The more interesting one of these items was a solid state drive that has the word Prototype written across the front of it. Working out what it is that makes this drive worthy of being put on show doesn’t take a lot to work out as we can see that this drive is packing a massive 1TB of storage capacity (960GB after formatting). At this moment in time there is not a lot of information on this drive as it is still in its prototype stages and Kingston have not decided whether not to push it to market under the V-series of drives as the label may suggest. All we know is that we could be looking at the later part of this year in the middle to the end of Q3 before we see this drive being released.

All I can say for now is that I’ll be keeping an eye on this drive as, after CES where we saw ADATA demonstrating their own 1TB drive, the number of 1TB drives that we are now seeing in development is becoming more and more interesting. With the number of drives that we now know to be in development growing, passing the 1TB barrier on a regular basis may not be as far away as we think.

Whilst the capacities of 2.5″ drives are pushing the barrier further and further out, the capacities of the smaller and more compact mSATA drives are also starting to blossom. Since the introduction of Intel’s NUC and the likes of Gigabyte’s BRIX as seen at the top, the way we think about modern computing has been undergoing a rapid alteration. The popularity of these units has resulted in a boom in the sales of mSATA drives and where the sales start to flow, the demand for drives with greater capacities is only a short step away. Whilst we are seeing traditional SSDs typically pack 240GB+ into a slim 7mm frame, mSATA drives are even more compact as seen above with a standard size PCB playing home to a whopping 480GB of storage.

Built around a SandForce SF3700 controller and NAND courtesy of Micron, this new league of drives is set to arrive on our doorstep in the next quarter with rumours that a 1TB drive may be on the horizon in the latter part of this year.

Rounding off the SSD mini line-up for this event we have one of Kingston’s new M.2 SSD’s that falls under the NGFF (Next Generation Form Factor) class of drives. Like the mSATA drive above, the M.2 features a SandForce SF3700 controller, although here we find Toshiba 19nm NAND packages in place. The M.2 is set to be available in a range of physical form factors with units coming to market in 42mm, 60mm and 80mm lengths with capacities starting at 16GB and pushing all the way up to 1TB. There isn’t a lot else that we know about these drives currently. but like the mSATA drives above, I’m keen to take a deeper look into the world of NGFF drives and will hopefully be lining up a review on one of these in the not too distant future.

Images courtesy of eTeknix.com

Samsung 840 EVO SSD Featuring Enhanced Security Solution Announced

Samsung Electronics America has announced a new advanced security solution for the 840 EVO SSD, Samsung’s SSD Self-Encrypting Drive (SED), compatible with professional security software. The new data security enhancements are now shipping on the recently announced Samsung 840 EVO mSATA drive and can be enabled through a firmware update for the 840 EVO SSD SATA drive, launched last August.

The new features are designed to meet security requirements for enterprise applications and are compliant with TCG Opal and IEEE 1667 standards. The Samsung SSD SED solution is enabled via the newly released Samsung Magician 4.3 software, providing the enhanced security features required in enterprise user environments, such as government offices, finance institutions and other businesses.

Samsung’s 840 EVO line now offers three security types: Class 0, TCG Opal, and Encrypted Drive (eDrive). While all Samsung’s SSD solutions have Class 0 encryption, enabled with a BIOS password, the new update for the 840 EVO line allows 3rd party ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) to enhance the security management of the drives, for example, allowing for centralized management and deployment. The update also adds compatibility with Microsoft eDrive security on Windows 8 and above. By adding compatibility with professional encryption software, enterprise customers can utilize the new upgrades without further verification and achieve optimized security features, contributing to work and overall IT system efficiencies, resulting in better return on investment.

Utilizing crypto erase through Physical Security ID (PSID), encryption keys for large data can be adjusted in just seconds, protecting data from being accessed without authentication and immediately reset for authorized use, cutting operation costs and raising efficiencies.

“With the growing adoption of Samsung’s SSDs in enterprise environments, it’s critical we provide advanced data security to match the high performance of the drives. Samsung continues to partner closely with professional software entities and to reduce software verification time and costs to offer more efficiency to our customers,” said Jennifer Langan, director of mobility product marketing at Samsung’s Enterprise Business Division.

The new data security upgrade was enabled through collaboration with Wave System’s (NASDAQ:WAVX) Wave Cloud and EMBASSY Remote Administration Server (ERAS).

Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Guru3D