Innodisk Introduces M.2 Module Network Adapters

You might know Innodisk as a storage and memory manufacturer, but that isn’t the only thing that this company creates. They also produce a lot of embedded solutions and modules and the newest in this range is also a world’s first: A new M.2 form factor Single and Dual Gigabit Ethernet Module that doesn’t require extra drivers.

The single port module is called the EGUL-G101 and the dual port module that supports port trunking and link aggregation is called the EGUL-G201. The modules are built-in a 22×60 (60mm long) form factor which could be an issue with some boards that only take 2280 modules, however, newer boards take 40, 60, and 80mm modules.

The EGUL modules use the USB 3.0 standard that provides up to 5Gb/s throughput, plenty for even the dual EGUL-201 that only needs 2Gb/s. Unlike PCI-express based network cards, the EGUL modules can be used on both Windows and Linux platforms without the need for extra drivers and provide flexible network expansion for all kinds of embedded systems.

The modules use an industrial grade design, suitable for use in commercial systems. The EGUL-G101 and EGUL-G201 are built with strong electrical isolation and 30 micro-inch gold interface connectors for a robust connection. The ethernet modules feature 15kV ESD, 2kV HiPot and 2kV surge protection, preventing electrical damage to the system and connected components from potential differences or dirty electrical conditions while also maintaining signal integrity.

There are multiple daughterboards available, allowing you to set the actual RJ45 ports where you need them and where your case or rack allows you to mount them.

The new EGUL-G101 and EGUL-G201 modules should be available now, meaning they will arrive at resellers very shortly. It is really nice to see some available options in the M.2 form factor that previously was known as the next-generation form factor (NGFF). For a next generation, there have been way too few options for too long.

Features

  • Single/Dual isolated GbE LAN ports
  • Complies with EN61000-4-5 2kV Surge protection
  • Complies with IEC 60950-1:2005 + A1: 2009 + A2:2013 2kV HiPOT protection
  • Complies with EN61000-4-2 (ESD) Air-15kV, Contact-8kV
  • Flexible daughter board with cable to fit into different system
  • Optional terminal mounting hole or bracket for daughter board
  • Support native CDC-ECM driver in Linux
  • Support driver auto-install mode in Windows
  • 30µ ” golden finger, 3 years warranty
  • Industrial design, manufactured in Innodisk Taiwan

Mushkin Launches New ATLAS VITAL Family of Solid-State Drives

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

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

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

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

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.

Patriot Announces Ignite Series M2 SATA Solid-State Drive

Patriot Memory has launched a new version of their Ignite solid state drive, the Patriot Ignite M2 SSD with up to 480GB capacity. The M.2  form factor makes this drive perfect for ultrabooks, notebooks and ultra-compact PC’s, but they’re also great for high-end gaming PCs with onboard connector. The M.2 slot has at least 10Gb/s at its disposal allowing for impeccable start up times and instant access to data and installed programs.

The Patriot Ignite M2 is a standard gum stick shaped NGFF 2280 casefree module, making it compact and universally usable with almost any M2 capable device. The Ignite M2 can achieve sequential speeds up to 560MB/s while reading and 320MB/s writing and the 4KB random read and write ratings go up to 90 and 70K IOPS.

“We are happy to announce the Ignite M2 addition to our family of SSD products,” Said Les Henry, VP of Engineering at Patriot. “With the Ignite M2, Patriot now offers a full range of SSDs, from 2.5″ SATA 3, to mSATA and now M.2. The Ignite M2 drives are the perfect storage solution for those looking to build/upgrade their small form factor PCs.”

The drive is using MLC NAND, 256MB DRAM Cache per 240GB capacity, and it is powered by a Phison S10 controller. It’s using the SATA interface over the PCIe, but it makes the drive compatible with more devices. Windows Vista and newer as well as Linux are mentioned as supported operating systems. Feature wise it brings end-to-end data protection (ETEP), advanced wear-leveling, advanced Garbage collection, TRIM, NCQ, smartECC, and Smart Refresh.

Patriot is backing the drive with a three-year warranty and it’s also available as a 240GB model next to the 480GB. The MTBF is rated at 2 million hours.

The Ignite M2 SSD will be available at the beginning of May at select online and in-store retailers such as Fry’s Electronics, Amazon and Newegg for a starting MSRP of $109.99 for the 240GB model and $209.99 for the 480GB model.

Kingston SSDnow M2 SATA 120GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Kingston has a long line of storage options for about every usage you could have. Today I’m taking a look at the SSDnow M.2 SATA Solid State Drive with a capacity of 120GB.

The M.2 modules are also known as the Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF) and these thin and compact modules save space in small and embedded systems, ultra-thin devices, or it will just fit snuggly into your motherboards M.2 slot in your desktop system. The caseless design allows easier integration as well as keeping the weight as low as possible; a big factor when used in Ultrabooks and similar devices.

The 2280 module (22mm width, 80mm length) supports advanced garbage collection, wear-levelling and TRIM to keep up the performance over the entire lifetime of the drive; so we should see very stable performance in our tests on the following pages. S.M.A.R.T. is also supported for peace of mind and health monitoring.

At the heart of the drive, we have the Phison PS3108-S8 controller and Kingston equipped this module with a 2GB Nanya NT5CB128M16HP-CG buffer. The NAND chips used are 32 GB Kingston FA32B08UCT1-BC and there are two located on each side of the module.

A drive designed for integrated and portable systems has to be energy-efficient as well. The Kingston M.2 SATA drive also features the DevSleep function that we see more and more drives incorporate. It is relative new to the SATA specifications and is an efficient power management option to minimise power consumption and extend battery life.

For the event that you’d ever run out of battery and your device shuts down unexpectedly, or maybe it just crashes, it features firmware-based power loss protection to maintain the data integrity. This allows the drive to recover in the event of an unsafe shutdown.

The Kingston M.2 SATA drive doesn’t stop there and also supports Intel’s SRT that can combine the capacity advantage of HDD with performance improvements of SSD in dual-storage configuration. Increased peace of mind is added by the free technical support and three-year warranty.

M.2 SATA3 SSD High Compatible Interface Released by KINGMAX

The memory manufacturer KINGMAX has officially announced the release of the new M.2 SATA3 SSD High Compatibility Interface to manufacturers.

The common M.2 SSD interface has been around for a while now and is also known as the NGFF. Originally they evolved from the Mini PCI Express interface and have now become the future storage for many small devices.

Like it was to be expected, the KINGMAX M.2 SSDs use high speed MLC flash memory that can perform up to 540 MB/s on reading and 300MB/s on writing. They also support both BCH and ECC for error checking as well as S.M.A.R.T. to monitor the health and state of the drives.

KINGMAX is providing a length specification of 42 and 80. These are more commonly known as 2242 and 2280 specifications an and the drives have a full-capacity design.

The small 2242 drives will be available in 32, 64 and 128GB models and the 2280 specifications will also sport a 256GB drive

“The KINGMAX M.2 SSD passed international certifications including CE, FCC, BSMI and RoHS etc.; the products have passed rigorous reliability tests to ensure the reliability and long-term use of the data. All products have passed advanced and precise compatibility tests before being shipped, ensuring consistent product qualities. Thoughtful and complete after-sale warranty services are also provided for all memory products.”

Thank you TechPowerup for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TechPowerup.

Plextor M6e 512GB PCI Express Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


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

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

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

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

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

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

ASRock Just Announced The Full Fatal1ty Killer Gaming Motherboard Series

ASRock just unveiled the mew Killer Series motherboards, having exactly as the name states, killer design and performance. The series is made up of the Z87, B85, 990FX and FM2A88X+, all Killer!

Apart from the ludicrously fast Killer LAN that speeds up networking performances up to 5 times faster, this time ASRock has also added more surprising elements into the game, 990FX Killer is the world’s first motherboard to have a PCIe Gen2 x2/SATA M.2 socket.

The onboard M.2 socket is a new interface for connecting Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF) solid state drives or other devices. ASRock’s 990FX Killer supports M.2 SATA3 6.0Gb/s modules and M.2 PCI Express modules up to Gen2 x2 10Gb/s , which is 2X faster compared to other M.2 Gen2 x1 solutions that are limited to 5 Gb/s. It increases the NGFF SSDs performance while reducing the load time and boosting overall performance.

Other features that are included in the Killer gaming motherboard series include Premium Gold Capacitors, Digi Power, Purity Sound 115dB SNR, Gaming Armor, Key Master, F-Stream and XSplit 3 month premium license which is worth $24.95.


Motherboard full specs:

1 – ASRock Fatal1ty Z87 Killer!

  • A-Style : Purity Sound, HDMI-In
  • Gaming Armor
  • » CPU Power – Hi-Density Power Connector
  • » VGA Card – 15μ Gold Finger, SLI/CrossFireX Power Connector
  • » Internet – Qualcomm Atheros Killer LAN
  • » Audio – Purity Sound
  • Supports 4th Gen Intel® Core i7 / i5 / i3 / Xeon® / Pentium® / Celeron® in LGA1150 Package
  • Premium Gold Capacitor Design, Digi Power, 8 Power Phase Design
  • Supports Dual Channel DDR3 3050+(OC)
  • 3 PCIe 3.0 x16, 4 PCIe 2.0 x1
  • Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX, NVIDIA® Quad SLI
  • VGA Output/Input Options : D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI-Out, HDMI-In
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC1150 Audio Codec), Supports DTS Connect
  • Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 Series Gigabit LAN
  • Supports A-Style, F-Stream, Key Master, Easy Driver Installer, FAN-Tastic Tuning, USB Key
  • 6 SATA3, 6 USB 3.0 (2 Front, 4 Rear), 8 USB 2.0 (4 Front, 3 Rear, 1 Fatal1ty Mouse Port)
  • Free Bundle : XSplit 3 Months Premium License

2 – ASRock Fatal1ty B85 Killer!

  • A-Style : Purity Sound
  • Gaming Armor
  • » CPU Power – Hi-Density Power Connector
  • » VGA Card – 15μ Gold Finger
  • » Internet – Qualcomm Atheros Killer LAN
  • » Audio – Purity Sound
  • Supports 4th Gen Intel® Core i7 / i5 / i3 / Xeon® / Pentium® / Celeron® in LGA1150 Package
  • Premium Gold Capacitor Design, Digi Power
  • Supports Dual Channel DDR3 1600
  • 1 PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 PCIe 2.0 x16, 2 PCIe 2.0 x1, 3 PCI
  • Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX, CrossFireX
  • VGA Output Options : D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC1150 Audio Codec), Supports DTS Connect
  • Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 Series Gigabit LAN
  • Supports A-Style, F-Stream, Key Master, Easy Driver Installer, FAN-Tastic Tuning, USB Key
  • 4 SATA3, 2 SATA2, 4 USB 3.0 (2 Front, 2 Rear), 8 USB 2.0 (4 Front, 3 Rear, 1 Fatal1ty Mouse Port)
  • Free Bundle : XSplit 3 Months Premium License

3 – ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer!

  • A-Style : Purity Sound
  • Gaming Armor
  • » CPU Power – Hi-Density Power Connector
  • » VGA Card – 15μ Gold Finger, SLI/CrossFireX Power Connector
  • » Internet – Qualcomm Atheros Killer LAN
  • » Audio – Purity Sound
  • Supports Socket AM3+ / AM3 processors
  • Supports 8-Core CPUs
  • Premium Gold Capacitor Design, Digi Power, 8 + 2 Power Phase Design
  • Supports Dual Channel DDR3 2450(OC)
  • 3 PCIe 3.0 x16, 2 PCIe 2.0 x1
  • Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX, NVIDIA® Quad SLI
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC1150 Audio Codec), Supports DTS Connect
  • Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 Series Gigabit LAN
  • Supports A-Style, F-Stream, Key Master, X-Boost, XFast RAM, Easy Driver Installer
  • 5 SATA3, 1 M.2 (NGFF) Socket, 1 eSATA3
  • 7 USB 3.0 (2 Front, 4 Rear, 1 Vertical Type A), 10 USB 2.0 (4 Front, 5 Rear, 1 Fatal1ty Mouse Port)
  • Free Bundle : XSplit 3 Months Premium License

4 – ASRock Fatal1ty FM2A88X+ Killer!

  • A-Style : Purity Sound
  • Gaming Armor
  • » CPU Power – Hi-Density Power Connector
  • » VGA Card – 15μ Gold Finger, SLI/CrossFireX Power Connector
  • » Internet – Qualcomm Atheros Killer LAN
  • » Audio – Purity Sound
  • Supports Socket FM2+ 95W / FM2 100W processors
  • Premium Gold Capacitor Design, Digi Power
  • Supports Dual Channel DDR3 2600+(OC)
  • 1 PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 PCIe 2.0 x16, 2 PCIe 2.0 x1, 3 PCI
  • Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX, CrossFireX and Dual Graphics
  • Graphics Output Options : D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio with Content Protection (Realtek ALC1150 Audio Codec), Supports DTS Connect
  • Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200 Series Gigabit LAN
  • Supports A-Style, Key Master, F-Stream, X-Boost, XFast RAM, Easy Driver Installer, USB Key
  • 8 SATA3, 6 USB 3.0 (2 Front, 4 Rear), 10 USB 2.0 (6 Front, 3 Rear, 1 Fatal1ty Mouse Port)
  • Free Bundle : XSplit 3 Months Premium License

For more information please refer to the ASRock Fatal1ty website.

Thank you ASRock for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of ASRock

Intel Unveils SSD Pro 1500 Series Of Solid State Drives

Intel have just unveiled their newest series of SSD – the SSD Pro 1500 Series. These new SSDs from Intel are designed to be business class so the focus is more on reliability, power efficiency and security features as opposed to all out performance. The main selling points with Intel’s SSD Pro 1500 series are on the feature-set side. Intel has equipped hardware level 256bit AES encryption and the devices support remote management and drive diagnostics to monitor the drive’s health. Intel will provide these SSDs in 2.5 inch and M.2 (NGFF) form facors. Intel claims 90% less power consumption than a typical mechanical hard drive.

In terms of reliability Intel claims an industry-leading sub 1% annualised failure rate (AFR) which is less than some competitors. Intel claims that competing SSDs and HDDs may have AFRs of as much as 5+%. Intel’s Stable Image Platform Program also ensures that key drivers are in place and makes transitioning to the Intel SSD Pro 1500 series SSD quick and simple. The main aim of these Pro 1500 series of SSDs is reliability, strong management features and security but the devices are also powerful with up to 540MB/s throughput – the standard for SATA III designed NAND Flash these days.

Image courtesy of HotHardware

Plextor Reveal M6 SSD And M.2 Form Factor Drives At IFA 2013

At IFA 2013 Plextor just unveiled some new storage options. Up first was the M6 SSD. This prototype drive uses a 5mm thin 2.5 inch form factor and a Marvell 88SS9187 controller. It uses Plextor’s propietary TrueSpeed technology and has Toshiba A19 Toggle NAND which is the smallest and fastest MLC currently available. Full specifications are not provided as the drive is being finalised but any one should be able to guess performance of 5XXMB/s read and write as the device will be limited by the SATA III interface.

Next up is a variety of M.2 form factor drives available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities. These M.2 drives, otherwise known as NGFF, use a PCIe interface to overcome SATA limitations. The devices measure in at 60mm for the smaller capacity one and 80mm for the larger capacity one. All of the capacities sport read speeds of 740MB/s but the write speeds and IOPS vary between capacities as shown below. These drives also use the same Marvell 88SS9183 controller and Toshiba 19nm MLC toggle NAND.Images courtesy of Plextor