FreshTech Solutions Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

FreshTech Solutions is one of the leading system integrators in the UK and forged an impressive reputation for their huge range of pre-configured PCs. Whether you’re on a tight budget looking to try out PC gaming for the first time, or a content creator seeking the absolute best performance, there’s something to suit your requirements. Each PC is backed by generous warranty period and it’s even possible to purchase additional cover for further peace-of-mind. For example, on systems costing £1000 and above, you can increase the warranty length from 3 years to 5 years for £25. If you’re opting for a cheaper rig under the £1000 mark, then it’s possible to select three years cover for £25 and five years support at a cost of £50. This level of flexibility allows you to protect your investment for a period which you expect to use the system for.

When selecting a custom PC, the number of configurations and pricing variation means it’s extraordinarily difficult for novices to judge which model to go for. It’s not always a sensible approach to spend more if you’re unlikely to reap the benefits. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of custom PCs from FreshTech Solutions that we are happy to recommend at various price points. Hopefully, our readers will find this useful and those without technical knowledge can make an informed decision about which unit suits their usage scenario.


£529.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6400
  • 8gb Crucial DDR4 2133MHz
  • 120gb Kingston V300 SSD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • EVGA 500w 80Plus White PSU
  • Nvidia GTX 950 2GB
  • Gigabyte H110M-S2H
  • Falcon Blue Case With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 1 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 1 Year Parts, 1 Year Labour)

The first machine we’re taking a look at targets consumers on a very tight budget who want to enter into the Intel ecosystem. While you could compile a cheaper build using an AMD CPU and AM3+ motherboard, it doesn’t offer much headroom in the future if you suddenly demand additional horsepower. The majority of games are GPU bound but there’s some examples including ARMA III and more recently, Black Desert Online which rely heavily on a system’s CPU performance. This particular build features a large enough capacity boot SSD to install the operating system and enjoy a snappier feel in Windows.

Also, the GTX 950 2GB graphics card is a great choice for 1080P gaming providing you turn down a few settings. On another note, the lack of overclocking isn’t an issue at this price and won’t impact on the user experience during graphically intensive games. Ideally, I’d recommend paying extra for the next tier, but this is a great choice for beginners moving away from consoles for the very first time.


£699.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6600K
  • 8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • EVGA 500w 80Plus White PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 960 2GB
  • Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3
  • Titan Blue Case with Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 1 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 1 Year Parts, 1 Year Labour )

The next system which retails for £699.00 offers overclocking functionality due to the unlocked K processor and Z170 chipset. Furthermore, the Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3 contains an illuminated LED strip on the PCB to create a more ostentatious appearance. This higher end model includes the GTX 960 2GB GPU to maintain improved frame-rates at higher settings. It’s a significant boost over the GTX 950 and worth considering given the constant influx of modern titles requiring additional graphical grunt. Of course, it’ s still a budget option and pales in comparison to higher end graphics cards, but it should provide an enjoyable user-experience with a 1920×1080 display. Also, the boot SSD’s higher capacity allows you to store your favourites games and benefit from faster load times.


£899.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6600K
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
  • WD 1TB WD10EZEX HDD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair CX600 80Plus Bronze PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 970 4GB
  • Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3
  • Titan Red Case with Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 1 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 1 Year Parts, 1 Year Labour )

The next tier’s system costs £899.99 and has a number of key improvements including a secondary mechanical hard disk, 16GB RAM and GTX 970 graphics card. When discussing the previous systems it’s important to remember that I’d recommend adding a mechanical drive to store large sums of data. This allows you to easily install various games while ensuring the boot SSD doesn’t fill up rather quickly. Thankfully, this doesn’t increase the asking price by an exponential amount. On another note, the 16GB memory is useful when working with video, photo editing and other complex workloads. It’s not really necessary in games just yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if 16GB becomes the standard in the next few years.

NVIDIA’s GTX 970 offers absolutely stunning performance even with a 2560×1440 monitor and can exceed 60 frames-per-second in various titles including the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot. It’s unquestionably one of the best price to performance GPUs on the market and a suitable choice for a powerful gaming system.


£1049.00

 

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6600K Tested Overclock to 4.6GHz
  • Corsair H80I V2 Water Cooler
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
  • Seagate 1TB HDD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair RM750x 80Plus Gold PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 970 4GB
  • Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3
  • Falcon Gaming Case With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 3 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 2 Years Parts, 3 Years Labour )

Moving towards the higher end market is a system which retails for £1049.00. This model contains a higher wattage power supply and Corsair water cooling unit to attain better temperatures. Furthermore, FreshTech Solutions guarantees the system will reach 4.6GHz and tests each overclock extremely carefully. This will be incredibly useful to consumers who feel apprehensive about overclocking their CPU and haven’t got any experience in this field. They really shouldn’t be concerned because the process is ridiculous simple. However, whenever anything goes awry, it’s important to have an excellent level of after-care support.


£1599.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i7 6700K Tested Overclock to 4.5GHz
  • Corsair H80I V2 Water Cooler
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 500GB SSD
  • Seagate 2TB HDD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair RM750x 80Plus Gold PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 980TI 6GB
  • Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 5
  • Fractal Design R5 With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 3 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 2 Years Parts, 3 Years Labour )

The £1599.00 system swaps out the i5 6600K for Intel’s enthusiast flagship i7-6700K on the LGA1151 chipset. Once again, FreshTech Solutions guarantees an impressive minimum overclock to reach significant gains compared to stock values. Also, the 500GB SSD is a great addition which allows you to install various applications without constantly checking on the remaining capacity. The system is housed in the highly regard Fractal Design R5 chassis which creates a more premium feel. Clearly, the main improvement revolves around the GTX 980Ti and is a major step up when compared to the GTX 970.

Even though the GPU isn’t capable of running games at maximum details on a 4K display, it’s able to really reach high figures on a 2560×1440 or 3440×1440 monitor. If you want to improve the performance even further, it’s possible to add a second GTX 980Ti due to the power supply’s 750 watts rating. The Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 5 motherboard supports USB 3.1, SATA Express, multi-GPU configurations and opts for a superb audio solution. Once combined, this offers an absolutely staggering user-experience.


£1938.00

Specification:

  • Intel Core i7 5930K 3.50GHz
  • Corsair H80I V2 Water Cooler
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3000MHz
  • 512GB Samsung 950 Pro M.2 Solid State Drive
  • Seagate 2TB Hard Drive
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair RM750x 80Plus Gold PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 980TI 6GB
  • Gigabyte X99-SLI
  • Fractal Design R5 With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 3 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 2 Years Parts, 3 Years Labour )

Up to this point, we’ve focussed on the consumer LGA1151 chipset which offers great value for typical desktop tasks. Unfortunately, the platform only supports up to a 4-core 8-thread CPU. This severely limits the computational power during multi-threaded workloads. As a result, many professionals opt for 2011-v3 powered systems because they can leverage extra performance using 6-core or even 8-core processors. The next system totalling £1938.00 utilises a hex core processor with 40 PCI-E lanes and a 2TB hard disk.

Not only that, the Samsung 950 Pro NVMe boot drive is capable of an astounding maximum read of 2500MB/s and maximum write reaching 1500MB/s. This allows games to load faster and helps to process huge 4K video projects in a more efficient manner. Of course, this elite-grade PC opts for the best possible hardware including the GTX 980Ti and Gigabyte X99-SLI motherboard. This means you can have a powerful workstation and play demanding games in your leisure time.

If you’d like us to review any of the systems mentioned above, please let us know in the comments section below.

OCZ Z-Drive 6000 NVMe U.2 SSDs Get Dual Port Functionality

Enterprises need a whole different level of redundancy than the average consumer and there are many solutions in that regard, may it be RAID setups to prevent data loss and downtime during a drive fail or redundant power supplies, but what to do when you need redundant access to one modern storage drive? You pick one of OCZ’s Z-Drive 6000 or Z-Drive 6300 drives that now are available with dual-port functionality.

The Z-Drive 6000’s addition of dual port connection enables two host systems to concurrently access data from the same storage device or the more likely scenario which is to provides a redundant access path to the drive. The new feature will give the drives SAS-like features such as High Availability (HA) that storage architects have come to rely on.

“OCZ is excited to offer our customers this robust new firmware that enables the Z-Drive 6000 series to be a compelling solution, not only for low latency, high performance compute applications, but now also for storage-class applications where the additional enterprise-class features are required to compliment latency and performance,” said Daryl Lang, Vice President, SSD Product Enablement, Toshiba America Electronic Components.

The now dual-ported Z-Drive 6000 series is an overall amazing storage solution that supports the real-time I/O needs of business-critical enterprise applications and virtual infrastructures which require high bandwidth and low latency performance, but also need redundancy. The redundant data access now also eliminates another single point of failure in systems. Dual-port isn’t the only new addition to the Z-Drive 6000 series that now also features enhancements such as multiple namespaces, non-binary sector sizes, and self-encrypting drive (SED) with Crypto Erase.

 

NVMe drives have taken storage to a whole new level and the Z-Drive 6000 series in a prime example of such a solution. The drives can perform with a sustained I/O performance over 700,000 IOPS for 4K random read and a consistent low latency of just 30 µs. The U.2-based Z-Drive 6000 SSDs are hot-swappable and designed for a wide range of storage infrastructures with capacities available from 800GB to 6.4TB and come as both read-intensive and mixed workload models.

Customers who have deployed final hardware and firmware Z-Drive 6000 SSDs and wish to upgrade to dual port firmware should contact OCZ Product Management for more details. More details on the drives themselves can be found on the official product page.

Seagate Reveals 10GBps NVMe SSD

Even though they are one of the Big 2 HDD manufacturers, Seagate has not neglected the growing importance of NAND and flash storage. Starting off with their Seagate 600 series of SSDs, the company has focused on bringing their brand to the enterprise flash storage segment. In line with that, Seagate has just revealed what is most likely the fastest SSD made yet. With up to 10GBps of throughput, the new Nytro SSDs will be fastest yet.

Using the NVMe storage protocol, the top model uses PCIe 3.0 x16 for peak performance. This gives the drive 15.75GBps of bandwidth though peak performance is limited to 10Gbps. This is well beyond what other NVMe SSDs, even those utilizing PCIe 3.0 use. In fact, the Nytro will likely be twice as fast as it’s competitors, most of whom can’t even saturate PCIe 3.0 x4, let alone PCIe 3.0 x8.

For the more power and price sensitive customers, Seagate will be introducing a toned down version using PCIe 3.0 x8, with 7.88GBps of bandwidth and 6.7Gbps of peak sequential throughput. Despite being the second tier of performance, this model should still give most of Seagate’s competitors a run for their money, with few drives being capable of even theoretically matching it.

For now, there is no word on pricing but given the performance and enterprise segment, expect a hefty price tag. There is no word yet on the controller or NAND used nor random performance, a more important metric for SSDs than sequential performance.

GALAX Teases Upcoming HOF PCI-E SSD

GALAX, formerly known as GALAXY, is well-known for their amazing graphics cards that push the hardware to the limits of what’s possible and we have also seen them create the same great things with memory modules. The next logical step for the company is to branch out and enter the SSD market.

During our visit to CES in January, we had a first look at the HOF PCI-E SSD although the details were sparse at the time and we didn’t find out when it was to be released either.

What we do know is that it is a PCIe Gen3 x4 interface and the drive is using NVMe rather than AHCI for its connection. This in return results in a much better performance and the officially given ratings will allow the drive to read with up to 2600 MB/s and write with up to 1300MB/s. The random performance is equally impressive with 300K IOPS at 4K read operations and 200K at write operations.

The PCB itself was hidden from us at the time and we could only see the beautiful casing with signature HOF engravings. That changed today as GALAX published more photos, renderings, and real benchmark results on their Facebook page. While the information still is sparse, we get some more information from just looking at these newly shared pictures.

While the finished product is a full-sized card, the PCB itself seems to fit the HHHL standard (half-height, half-length) which should make it compatible with low-profile brackets. Whether such a solution will be released is another matter, but it does open up the options for modders.

Below are the officially released benchmark results which look pretty good to me, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be tweaked a little more with firmware optimizations. There’s still a little work to be done by GALAX and the HOF PCI-E SSD is now officially classified as “near completion”.

Are you looking forward to this storage drive or do you prefer something less extravagant and smaller such as the newer M.2 type drives? Let us know in the comments.

ZOTAC Announces the Sonix PCIe NVMe SSD

During our visit to CES last month, we had a first look at Zotac’s first PCI-Express based solid state drive and we already liked what we saw there. Now Zotac officially announced the new drive and gave it the Sonix branding. The Sonix PCI-Express SSD will initially be released as a 480GB drive, but we can be pretty sure that more options will become available down the line.

Zotac displayed their specifications on the low-end when they first showcased the drive during CES 2016 and the final version got a 100MB/s bump on both the sequential read and write speed specifications. The Sonix 480GB PCIe SSD has a rating of up to 2600 MB/s reading and 1300 MB/s writing. Weirdly enough, Zotac didn’t specify any kind of random read and write performance so far, so we’ll have to wait for independent reviews to learn about those.

The Zotac Sonix is built with a 512MB DDR3 RAM buffer, Toshiba MLC flash memory, and a Phison E7 controller which then is coupled to your system via an NVMe 1.2 PCIE Gen3 interface with x4 lanes. The card in itself is a low-profile card and it also comes bundled with a low-profile bracket for use in SFF systems. Feature wise the drive comes with advanced technologies such as End-to-end Data Path Protection and Dynamic Wear Leveling.

The Sonix isn’t just a great performing drive, it also looks great with its full metal chassis. This is also a feature that will help the drive staying cool by acting as a giant heatsink. Drives of this kind can get quite warm depending on the airflow in your system and it’s a great extra safety to have.

Zotac didn’t reveal any pricing nor official availability date at this time, but I’m sure that we don’t have to wait long for either. Let’s just hope that it will be a competitive price as we definitely need more PCIe NVMe drives on the market.

Futuremark Releases Major Update for PCMark 8

Futuremark released a new major update to the popular benchmarking application PCMark 8 that accommodates the latest changes in Adobe After Effects and provides better support for NVMe SSDs. This is a major update that will affect scores, which also means that results from this version shouldn’t be compared to older versions of the software. The new version is PCMark 8 v2.6.512 and it is ready now.

While the changes to Adobe After Effects and NVMe support provides better scores thanks to optimizations, the Home, Creative, and Work benchmark scores are not affected and can be compared to previous versions without trouble. Changing the scores dramatically, like it happened in this case, is never something good. But it is something that can be necessary to do at times, seeing how our technology evolves.

“Whenever possible, we avoid making workload changes that affect scores. But occasionally there are post-launch changes in 3rd party applications that affect our tests. Or new technologies appear that we could not have predicted when developing the benchmark.”

The latest version of Adobe After Effects CC no longer supports output to compressed Windows Media Video, which was the format that previously was used for the tests. As a result, Futuremark had to change the test to output to uncompressed AVI format instead. The better NVMe support will provide better scores on those drives in most cases, but the change won’t affect other types of drives.

Change Log

Adobe Applications benchmark

  • Adobe Applications benchmark has been updated to version 2.0. Scores should not be compared with earlier versions.
  • The After Effects test output has been changed to uncompressed AVI format as the latest version of Adobe After Effects CC no longer supports output to compressed Windows Media Video format.
  • Use Compatibility mode to compare scores with historical result data. This also requires an older version of After Effects that supports Windows Media Video.

Storage benchmark

  • The Storage and Expanded Storage benchmarks have been updated to version 2.0. Scores should not be compared with earlier versions.
  • The tests now provide better support for NVMe drives. Scores from NVMe drives will improve in some cases. The faster the drive, the bigger the difference. Other types of drive are unaffected.

Improved

  • General stability and error handling have been improved.
  • SystemInfo module updated to 4.41 for improved hardware compatibility.

Fixed

  • Video Chat test now works even when there is no audio device in the system.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause PCMark 8 to crash when the SystemInfo module failed.
  • Fixed several issues found on non-English language Windows installations.

Professional Edition only

  • Command line now offers temp path selection.
  • XML output now shows battery life in minutes not seconds for more intuitive results.

As always you can find the full information about the entire benchmark application on the official website or download your own version. If you already have the app installed, then it should prompt you with an update notification next time that you run it.

GIGABYTE Launches Two AMD Socket AM3+ Motherboards With A Twist

It came as quite a surprise when GIGABYTE first mentioned their new AMD socket AM3+ based motherboards about a month ago and quite a few people were shocked by this news. But there can be a lot of benefits in these two new AM3+ based GIGABYTE motherboards, benefits that some people might not have considered.

The most likely scenario for these new motherboards is probably one where the old motherboard has died or generally just starts to bug around. It is time for a replacement despite that the user might originally have intended to wait for one of the new CPU architectures such as Intel’s upcoming Extreme series or AMD’s own Zen-based series. You could buy an up to six years old motherboard and gain nothing, or you could get one of GIGABYTE’s new ones and get a lot of benefits from modern technology and advancements that have been made since the AM3+ socket was introduced in 2009.

The two new motherboards are the GA-990FX-Gaming and GA-970-Gaming that both got the GIGABYTE G1 Gaming treatment. They come with an M.2 connectors that can transfer with up to 10Gb/s on the 970-based board and 20Gb/s on the 990FX-based.

Both can utilize NVMe and SATA drives, but you naturally you won’t reap the full benefits of an NVMe drive with 10Gb/s speeds. It would still be great and the board is able to use these modern drives with the result being a much faster systems and one that takes less CPU usage than an equivalent SATA version.

GIGABYTE also added USB 3.1 and USB Type-C connectors to these motherboards, allowing you to use the newest peripherals too. This again allows you to move forward with all other aspects of your system while you wait for one of the new hot platforms to be released.

The bigger of the two boards comes with three PCI-Express x16 slots and the smaller only has two, but both support dual-graphics solutions and you can add up to 32GB DDR3 memory to both. Another nice touch on the PCI-Express slots is the use of the exclusive ultra durable metal shielding that will give the slots more durability.

Being boards in the G1 Gaming series, these boards also come with great network and audio solutions. The Audio is taken care of by an 115dBB SNR HD Audio system with built-in rear audio amplifier and high-quality audio capacitors as well as the Audio Noise Guard with Ambient LED Trace Path Lighting to prevent interference. The network connection is provided by a KillerNIC E2200 network controller.

GIGABYTE didn’t reveal any pricing or availability, but considering that they are launched now they should be available soon and the pricing should be close to the predecessors.

OCZ Demonstrate Latest Storage Devices @ CES 2016

OCZ continue to expand their product range at CES 2016, this year showing off their new Trion 100 Series and the Trion 150 Series SSD hard drives.

Equipped with Toshiba controllers and the latest Toshiba 15nm TLC NAND, the drives promise competitive performance for desktop users, but also great capacity, with options available up to 960GB, more than enough for most desktop system builds.

Need more performance? Not a problem! The new RevoDrive 400 Series, comes equipped with PCI Express Gen. 3 x4 SSD drives, which combined deliver a staggering 24000 MB/s read and 1500 MB/s write, not only is this great for desktop users, but will also deliver the performance needed for high-end rendering workstations, gaming systems and more.

Moving further up the range, their latest enterprise drives are also on display. The Z-Drive 6300 U.2 and the AIC Series offer up groundbreaking performance, perfect for professional deployment, servers, workstations and more.

The AIC model is of particular interest, as it comes with up to 6.4TB of storage, great for large scale operations, server deployments and more.

Another great demonstration, their latest drive putting up a good fight and delivering exception read and write performance, hopefully it will prove strong competition for the current crop of Samsung NVME drives that are creating a monopoly on the market.

MSI GT72S 6QE Dominator Pro Gaming Laptop Review

Introduction


MSI is an established player in the gaming laptop scene and produces a huge range of products to suit various usage scenarios. Whether you’re prioritizing portability or simply require raw horsepower, MSI has a laptop to suit your specific needs. The company’s quintessential styling and robust construction beautifully balances performance with unique features and includes a comprehensive software package. This magical combination has proved to be incredibly popular among the gaming audience. Previously, we reviewed the budget-orientated MSI GE62 6QD Apache Pro which performed remarkably well in 3D benchmarks despite its relatively affordable price point.

While the gaming prowess of laptops around the £1000 mark are good, some users have higher demands to reach 60 frames-per-second at extreme graphical presets. The type of laptop which caters to this demographic is the GT72S 6QE Dominator Pro and comes in a number of top-tier configurations. The review unit we’re looking at today features an Intel i7-6820HK, 16GB DDR4 2133MHz RAM, GTX 980M and 128GB NVMe PCIe SSD boot drive. Furthermore, the system opts for a 17.3″ 1920×1080 display, 9-cell battery, and 1TB data drive. As you can see, this is a stunning specification and more than capable of competing with high-powered desktops. On another note, the pioneering MXM graphics module offers an upgrade path for the future and makes the investment seem more worthwhile. Overall, I expect the system to shine in gaming tests at extreme graphical settings.

Specifications

  • Name: MSI GT72S 6QE Dominator Pro
  • Case: Brushed Aluminum Laptop Chassis
  • Processor: 6th Gen. Intel Core Skylake i7-6820HK @ 3.6GHz
  • System Memory: 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 2133MHz
  • Main Boot Drive: Toshiba 128GB NVMe PCIe SSD
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): HGST 1TB 7200RPM  
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 980M 8GB GDDR5
  • Battery: 9 Cell Li-Polymer
  • Optical DriveBlu-ray Writer
  • Wireless: 802.11 b/g/n/ac Killer Double Shot Pro AC
  • OS: Windows 10 64 Bit
  • Display: 17.3″ 1920 x 1080 FHD Anti Glare Wide View Angle with NVIDIA G-SYNC
  • Weight: 3.78Kg (With Battery)
  • Dimensions: 428(W) x 294(D) x 48(H)mm
  • Warranty: 2-Year Collect and Return (1 year global)
  • Price: £1962.20 as configured delivered.

Packing and Accessories

Given the laptop’s hefty construction, MSI decided to employ a thick cardboard box to adequately protect the sample during transit and reduce the impact of any small knocks.

The inner packaging adopts MSI’s iconic gaming dragon logo and outlines the system’s key specification.

Once opened, we can see the laptop’s accessories are divided into segments which makes the unboxing process a more pleasant experience. Furthermore, MSI opted for a durable plastic cover, and luxurious protective cloth which reduces the likelihood of damage occurring during shipping.

In terms of accessories, the laptop is bundled with a soft cleaning cloth, documentation, driver disk and power supply. The felt cloth feels beautiful in the hand and evokes a sense of luxury. While the power supply is on the larger side, this is expected given the laptop’s immense specification.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

Gigabyte Presents High-Performance NVMe Servers

NVMe storage is nothing new in the enterprise sector, it is where it started before it became almost affordable for us normal human beings. We get more and more NVMe drives on the market, so the step onto making servers with hot-swappable NVMe drive bays. Gigabyte presented two new servers in this category during the Supercomputing 2015 show in Austin, Texas. The above pictured is the H27N-H70 High-Density NVMe Server and the one picture below is the R18N-F2A 1U 10-bay NVMe server.

The two new server are part of a larger line-up with more systems to come. Compared to SATA III and SAS3 interfaces, NVMe drives bring significantly higher IOPS as well as lower latency and power consumption. The H27N-H70 is a 2U 4-node system with support for Intel’s E5-2600 V3 CPUs and C612 chipset. They support up to 64 RDIMM or LRDIMM modules and you can add up to 8 hot-swappable NVMe drives and eight more SAS/SATA 6Gbps drives. All that is connected through eight Intel I350 controlled Gigabit Ethernet ports and the system is naturally also IPMI 2.0 remote controllable. It features dual 1600W 80 Plus platinum power supplies and has root for four half-length half-height expansion cards as well as 4 mezzanine card slots.

The R18N-F2A  is only a 1U server, but it still features 10 drive bays. It is however only two of those that are NVMe bays and the last eight are SAS/SATA 6Gbps bays. The server also works on a Xeon E5-2600 V3 base and can support up to 24 RDIMM or LRDIMMs. You can expand the system with two half-length full-height and one half-length low-profile expansion card or a mezzanine card instead. This server also features dual 80 Plus Platinum rated PSUs, but only 800W models. It has two Gigabit Ethernet ports controlled by Intel’s I350 and also feature IPMI 2.0 remote management and iKVM.

H27N-H70 – High-Density NVMe Server

  • 2U 4 nodes high-density system
  • Supports the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 V3 product family
  • 64 x RDIMM/LRDIMM ECC DIMM slots
  • 8 x 2.5″ hot-swappable NVMe bays
  • 8 x 2.5″ hot-swappable SAS/SATA 6Gb/s bays
  • 4 x Half-length low-profile + 4 mezzanine card slots for expansion cards
  • 8 x GbE LAN ports (Intel I350)
  • 2 x 1600W 80 PLUS Platinum 100~220V AC redundant PSUs
  • Complete remote management functions via IPMI 2.0 web interface and iKVM

R18N-F2A – 1U 10 Bays NVMe Server

  • Supports the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 V3 product family
  • 24 x RDIMM/LRDIMM ECC DIMM slots
  • 2 x 2.5″ hot-swappable NVMe bays
  • 8 x 2.5″ hot-swappable SAS/SATA 6Gb/s bays
  • 2 x Half-length full-height slots + 1 x Half-length low-profile or 1 x mezzanine card slots for expansion cards
  • 2 x GbE LAN ports (Intel I350-BT2)
  • 2 x 800W 80 PLUS Platinum 100~220V AC redundant PSUs
  • Complete remote management functions via IPMI 2.0 web interface and iKVM

HP Reveals 9GB/s Capable Z Turbo Drive Quad Pro PCIe Storage Solution

HP’s Z Turbo Drive G2 was an impressive storage solution in itself thanks to the use of a proper NVMe drive, but it is no match for the recently revealed HP Z Turbo Drive Quad Pro. The Z Turbo Drive Quad Pro is a PCIe storage solution with up to 2TB total storage and transfer speeds of up to 9GB/s. To put that speed into perspective, it is 16 times the speed of an SATA SSD and that on a single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot.

HP’s Z Turbo Drive Quad Pro is essentially a hardware RAID controller for M.2 NVMe SSDs and supports up to four of these drives, but is shipped with only two 256GB or two 512GB modules. The specifications and details are limited, but we can see that the M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs on their own have a performance rating of 2150 MB/s reading and 1260 MB/s writing for the 256GB model while the 512GB model can perform up to 1550MB/s writing. The random IOPS performance is rated to 300K read and 100K write. Going from there, we can use normal RAID speed calculation depending on whether we set the card to RAID 0, 1, 5, or 10. Each NVMe SSD is rated for a 292TB total bytes written endurance.

The HP Z Turbo Drive Quad Pro is planned for availability in November with a price starting at $779 for a card with two 256GB modules. A fully loaded card with 256GB modules will cost $1376 while individual modules start at $299.

Intel 750 Series SSD Firmware Update Improves Boot Times

Intel’s 750 series SSD incorporates astonishingly high read/write speeds but encountered slow boot times compared to traditional SATA storage devices. Thankfully, Intel has released a firmware update today which addresses the prolonged boot problems. To upgrade your SSD to the latest version, all you have to is download the Intel Solid-State Drive Data Center Tool. Once downloaded, launch the installer and you should encounter much more consistent boot speeds.

However, PCIe drives require a longer period to initialize and it’s highly doubtful if the boot speeds will match SATA SSDs. Despite this, the drive’s extra few seconds on boot isn’t going to be a major issue as NVME SSDs are mainly used for professional situations and these machines are on for days at a time. I’m also pleased to see Intel addressing this and PCIe SSDs offer such an enormous performance boost that they could replace SATA drives in the future. Although, the average end-user isn’t going to notice a distinct difference in consumer tasks like games.

If you’re interested in a 750 series SSD, feel free to check out our comprehensive review here

What size of SSD do you currently have and is it M.2, SATA or PCIe?

Thank you The Tech Report for providing us with this information.

Samsung Launches 950 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD

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

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

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

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

 

Thank You TomsHardware for providing us with this information

MSI Unveils Turbo U.2 Adapter Card

MSI has unveiled a new U.2 host card for use with SATA-Express SSDs such as the 2.5-inch Intel 750 that can deliver up to 2400MB/s transfer speeds. While we have seen such adapters bundled with a few selected top motherboards before, MSI’s stands out a bit.

The SATA-Express connector stands a bit out in this world where all technology keeps getting smaller and smaller. It’s quite a large one. This is where the U.2 connector comes in, as it’s basically a cabled version of the M.2. It allows the same great bandwidth up to 32 GB/s on a PCIe x4 connection.

MSI added a little twist to their version that I don’t think that we have seen before. They added what they call the U.2 redriver and it is a kind of amplifier that helps maintain the best transfer signal strength possible, and thereby the best possible transfer speeds.

MSI also made sure that the U.2 Host adapter supports PCIe RAID, allowing you to use two of these on motherboards that support it. In return, you can RAID your brand new NVMe SSDs for impressive speeds up to 3500MB/s read and 2000MB/s write.

MSI will without a doubt bundle this adapter with some of their flagship motherboards, but the packaging also suggests that it will be sold as separate add-on.

Features

  • Supports U.2 interface SSD with NVMe driver
  • U.2 redriver: The signal amplifier for better performance
  • The best compatibility: Compatible for all M.2 slot in PCI-E mode
  • Maximum Bandwidth: PCI-E 3.0 x4 (up to 32 Gb/s)
  • Input Interface: M.2 (Key M)
  • Output Interface: U.2 Host Connector up to 32 Gb/s
  • Compatible OS: Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10
  • Compatible for M.2 2280 slot

OCZ RevoDrive 400 Revealed: NVMe Speeds for M.2

While we’ve long had M.2 SSDs, those drives have often been limited to either SATA speeds or suffered from the legacy AHCI protocol. In order to get around the legacy standard, consumer SSDs are starting to pick up NVMe, a new storage protocol designed for flash. OCZ is set to bring their own contender to the M.2 market by offering the OCZ RevoDrive 400, the first NVMe M.2 SSD.

We’ve seen what NVMe is capable of with the PCIe version of Intel’s 750. Now with 4 lanes of PCIe 3.0 through the M.2 connector, the RevoDrive can finally make use of those M.2 slots on many motherboards, giving much-needed speed without having to use up a PCIe slot. Read speeds are set to hit  2000MB/s and write speeds around 1600MB/s – 2000MB/s, pretty close to the Intel 750.

Given that OCZ is now owned by Toshiba, it’s interesting that this comes so soon after Toshiba announced their own M2. NVMe SSD from the BG1 family. Those drives however, were targetted more for OEMs and enterprise rather than consumers. At this point, all we know about the RevoDrive 400 is that it uses a Toshiba controller and 15nm MLC NAND.

No word is available on pricing but we can expect prices to probably fall near the Intel 750 so don’t expect this to be a budget drive. Intel does have one important advantage as the RevoDrive 400 maxes out at 1TB while the 750 goes a bit higher; it’s not quite fair to compare the two different form factors, though. No launch date has been revealed at this time.

Thank you TechReport for providing us with this information 

Intel Projects 100TB+ SSDs by 2019

Intel IDF 2015 is the gift that just keeps on giving. We’re still going through all the information Intel released during the event and now we have a prediction on the future of SSDs. As many of you know, Intel is quite active in the SSD market, with their enterprise and consumer drives. Intel also has a stake in IMFT, a joint venture with Micron to produce NAND. Given this, Intel is projecting that SSDs will be over 30TB by 2018 and surpass 100TB in 2019. Compared to Toshiba’s expectations, these are pretty conservative.

In order to drive demand for such huge drives, Intel is expecting datacentres and the enterprise segment to adopt more and more flash storage. Right now, SSDs are generally only used to cache “hot” data, with the majority of storage still being hard drives. As workloads change, Intel is expecting SSDs to be used more and more as speed and latency become more important and replace hard drives for data storage. Another aspect is that as NVMe gains traction, the reduced overhead and better speeds/latency will further exaggerate the differences between SSDs and HDDs.

With the arrival of 3D Xpoint and faster 3D NAND technologies, it looks like Intel is planning on moving SSDs to both replace some of what DRAM does while also replacing hard drives. With SSDs taking the consumer and enterprise segments by storm, hard disk drive manufacturers should probably hurry with their HAMR developments. Even if SSDs are wildly successful, I don’t see hard drives disappearing just yet as long as they can compete on price. You can find Intel’s full presentation here.

Toshiba Unveils M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drives

Toshiba announced three new families of solid state drives that are fitted with high.speed PCIe interfaces that provide high.bandwidth point-to-point links with the processor and reduce system bottlenecks. That is thanks to the use of the NVMe protocol and they come for various systems. All versions are built with Toshiba’s own MLC NAND flash memory.

We’ve previously seen the PX4P family that is designed for server applications in its 2.5-inch form factor, but the M.2 drives are new. Most newer motherboards feature an M.2 connector and the drives are also used in netbooks and ultrabooks thanks to the small form factor.

The XG3 family is the one aimed at the broader audience and it is an impressive drive. It is an M.2 Type 2280 drive and comes with the industries highest capacity of up to 1TB. It supports up to four PCIe 3.1 lanes and a maximum bandwidth that is six times that of the SATA3 interface. There will also be a 2.5-inch SATA-Express version of this drive. The XG3 series is equipped with Toshiba’s QSBC (Quadruple Swing-By Code) error-correction technology and also features lower power state modes. It is also the first Toshiba product to support the Trusted Computing Group security specification, Pyrite (TCG Pyrite).

The second M.2 type drive that Toshiba Announced, is the BG1 SSD family, the world’s smallest NVMe SSD. It measures just 16 by 20 mm thanks to the M.2 Type 1620 form factor and will also be available as a Type 2230 removable module with up to 256GB capacity. This drive is designed for thin notebooks and 2-in1 systems that are naturally limited in physical space. The BG1 series also supports the TCG Pyrite and features the low power state modes that the larger XG3 family has.

Along with these information, we also learned that the PX04P series, with its incredible low 18 watts max power draw, also will be available as HHHL (half-height half-length) add-in card next to the SFF-8639 12Gbps connector. Samples of the new drives are expected in Q4 2015, so expect the actual drives sometime during the start of 2016.

Silicon Motions Presents New NVMe and SATA Turnkey Controllers

This has surely been an exciting year in storage with a lot of new breakthroughs being made available for the consumers and enterprises alike. We’ve seen a rise in triple-cell and 3D NAND that in short makes larger capacity SSDs more affordable, some amazing M.2 and PCIe SATA SSDs, mechanical helium-filled HDDs with 10TB capacity and Intel’s amazing 750 NVMe PCIe SSD – and the year isn’t even over yet. We shouldn’t forget the theoretical breakthroughs either that haven’t resulted in any actual products such as Intel and Micron’s new initiative.

The Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara is starting today the 11th and will go on until the 13th, but we’ve already heard some amazing things ahead of it. Silicon Motion will also be present with a booth where they’ll be showcasing the new SSD controllers that they just introduced. There is the new SM2256 controller that is a world’s first turnkey SSD controller supporting TLC NAND as well as the new SM2260 PCIe 3.0 NVMe controller.

You can’t create a Solid State Drive without the proper controller and the SM2260 fills a gap. It is the first turnkey merchant PCIe 3.0 NVMe 1.2 SSD controller solution that supports MLC, TLC, and 3D NAND. The controller can deliver four 8 Gbps lanes of simultaneous data flow coupled with eight NAND channels. It is designed with fourth-generation NANDXtend technology, enabling the SM2260 to support 1y/1z nm TLC NAND as well as the upcoming 3D NAND technologies from all major NAND suppliers.

For the more traditional SATA3 6Gbps interface, Silicon Motion has the new SM2256 controller that is the world’s first and only turnkey merchant SATA 6Gbps SSD controller supporting 1y/1z nm TLC NAND and the upcoming 3D NAND from all major NAND suppliers. It also features SM’s proprietary NANDXtend ECC technology that triples the P/E cycles for TLC NAND to deliver unparalleled performance, endurance and reliability for cost-effective, TLC-based SSDs.

We have the NAND and now we have the controllers, all that is missing is for companies to put the two together and release the products. I’d expect the majority of those to be presented around next year’s CES in January.

Lite-On Announces New NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD

Lite-On announced the EP1 Series M.2 PCIEe Gen2 x4 solid state drive roughly nine months ago and it has become a popular drive for cloud operators due to its great performance, small footprint, and low power consumption. Not resting on that, Lite-On is ready with the brand new EP2 M.2 solid state drive with NVMe protocol and it will be presented at the Flash Memory Summit 2015 in Santa Clara next week.

The NVMe protocol is amazing and we’ve seen what great performance it can bring when we reviewed the Intel 750 SSD and that is thanks to the way it works and with Lite-On’s customized firmware, commands are bypassed and subsequently result in improvement for multiple queues and higher queue depths while the CPU is used to its full potential instead of bottlenecking the IOPS with single core limitations.

The new EP2 series delivers a great performance with up to 250K IOPS at reading operations and 25K IOPS at writing. The ultra-low latencies of 35/35 μs ensure the fastest response times for the commands. Feature wise, the drive comes with all the basics as well as power loss protection (PLP) and end-to-end data protection. That is sadly about the only information that we get so far, but that will change next week.

“Lite-On storage takes pride in quality, innovation, and performance for all of our storage products. I’m happy to announce our next generation EP series SSD. The EP series utilizes the latest NVMe protocol, which is combined with our proprietary firmware. This removes the bottleneck on SATA hardware and creates at least 1.4x throughput improvements for all workloads. We are committed in continuing to bring innovative products to meet today’s storage demands and stay competitive in the growing market,” said Darlo Perez, Managing Director of Lite-On Americas region.

Lite-On will also bring its new ER1 and EM1 SATA SSDs along to the Flash summit. These drives are designed to address the capacity and performance needs of hyper scale computing and virtualized data centers that require rigorous I/O operations. Both the ER1 and EM1 double the maximum capacity and will be presented with up to 4TB capacity. The ER1 and EM1 come in two form factors, 1.8-inch and the more default 2.5-inch size.

OCZ Shows off Their Storage Drives at Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – A company like OCZ can’t be missed and we did of course stop by their booth to check out the latest storage drives out of their house.

The Trion 100 series is a new and value oriented series for entry-level users, but that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice performance. The Trion 100 series will be available in capacities ranging from 120GB to 960GB and a performance up to 550MB/s on sequential performance and 91K IOPS on random operations. T

Those performance figures come from read operations, but it’s equally impressive on the write performance where it steal breaks the 500MB/s barrier. The drive comes backed by OCZ’s amazing ShieldPlus warranty and is built around Toshiba’s proprietary Alishan controller and A19 TLC NAND flash.

OCZ also brought along their Radeon R7 branded SSD, one that we’ve already reviewed and that scored great. The drive comes with great endurance ratings and is built around the Barefoot 3 M00 controller that I personally am a big fan of.

On the other side of things we have the enterprise-class storage – drives for people that don’t want anything but the best for their critical systems.

There is no doubt that NVMe is the new king in the market and OCZ has ready with the OCZ Z-Drive 6000 series that takes full advantage of the relative new interface.

OCZ is running live demonstrations to show just how great these drives are. One can say a lot, but OCZ also shows how it’s done.

Reaching 345K IOPS on 4K random read performance with 8 workers isn’t something that we see often and that is quite impressive.

OCZ’s Z-Drive 6300 series is built around the NVM Express 1.1b Gen 3. x4 PCI Express connection and comes as both HHHL add-in card and 2.5-inch form factor with SATA Express interface.

Features include Power Loss protection, endurance ratings for 3 full drive writes per day for 5 years and capacities up to 6.4TB. Performance can go all the way up to 2900MB/s at sequential operations and 700K IOPS at random operations.

The XD-JX series is an M.2 sized NVMe based storage drive that boasts almost the same specs as the Z-Drive 6300. We see an endurance rating of 2 DWPD over a 5-year period, 1600MB/s and 300K IOPS performance at just 12W. Capacity is equally impressive with modules that go all the way up to 960GB.

We shouldn’t forget the Intrepid 3000 series either, a standard SATA 3 based 2.5-inch drive designed for Enterprise Applications. The drive is built around the latest generation Toshiba eMLC NAND flash and comes in sizes all the way up to 2TB. Impressive capacity and performance thanks to the use of eMLC NAND.

Last but not least is the Saber 1000 series. This is another drive that is utilizing the OCZ Barefoot 3 controller and the latest Toshiba MLC NAND. The drive features Power Failure management Plus as well as great performance and capacities for Hyperscale Data Centers and other situations where high-IOPS are needed.

 

OCZ Introduces Z-Drive 6000-Series NVMe SSDs

OCZ presented their newest storage drive, and it is one that isn’t without. The newly announced Z-Drive 6000 SSD Series combines the power of the third-generation PCI Express and Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) technologies to create a blazing fast drive in multiple form factors and capacities.

 

“The NVMe SSD market is poised to take off, now that it provides an efficient storage interface between flash and the processor,” said Jim Handy, of Objective Analysis. “By joining the NVMe SSD market early with a compelling product, OCZ has won itself an opportunity to become a leader.”

The Z-Drive Series will initially be available with a capacity between 800GB and 3.2TB, but a 6.4TB version is planned for a release later this year. When it comes to speed, the Z-Drive doesn’t need to hide from anyone and has some impressive figures attached. Sustained transfer speeds are rated up to 2.9GB/s and the series can perform up to 700K IOPS on random read operations.

 

The Z-Drive 6000 Series also comes with dual port capabilities that enable two host systems to concurrently access the same device or allows for redundancy inside the host. In the event of a system failure, if one of the data paths becomes compromised, the available data path continues operation as if no failure had occurred through the second port. The Z-Drive 6000 Series also supports hot swapping of 2.5-inch drives, pre-set power thresholds and temperature throttling to support many types of enterprise ecosystems.

The Z-Drive 6000 and 6300 SFF series are expected to be available in Q2 2015 in 800GB, 1600GB and 3200GB capacities. The 6300 PCIe card will be available at the same time in the same capacities, but a 6.4TB model is also planned for a release later this year.

While the SATA standard isn’t dead and still has its merits, NVMe is definitely the new King in the market.

Intel SSD 750 PCIe 1.2TB NVMe Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Once in a while we see a new generation of products being released that completely change how we view the area and make what we used to think was good into something rather mediocre. Such a time is upon us right now thanks to Intel and their brand new consumer drives, the Intel SSD 750 Series. I’ll be taking a closer look at the 1.2TB PCIe Half-Height Half-Length (HH-HL) add-in card today, but the drive is also available as a smaller version with 400GB capacity and both capacities are also available as 2.5″ inch form factor with an SFF8639 connector.

The Intel SSD 750 series is an NVMe based drive which both is a wonderful thing and has a hitch at the same time. Your motherboard has to support it and you need the proper drivers to get the full potential. But assuming we have this, and major manufacturer are all upgrading their Intel 9 series motherboards to support this, then you have the next generation of storage drives.

What started out as something available only for enterprises and at a price that no normal person could afford has now moved into the consumer range. In a way, this storage drive can be seen as a consumer version of the Enterprise DC series and now that the processes have matured and a lot of R&D costs have been paid by enterprises utilizing the DC drives, we end users rake the benefits.

NVMe is the next generation of storage connectivity and it will replace the AHCI standard the same way that replaced the IDE. AHCI and SATA3 were created for with mechanical drives in mind and it’s far from the perfect platform to build flash storage upon. NVMe on the other hand is designed from the ground up for this use and performs a lot better thanks to this. NVMe lowers overall CPU overhead because NVMe has a simplified command set which minimizes the number of CPU clocks per I/O in comparison to AHCI.

I’ve talked a lot about how great this new drive performs, but I haven’t mentioned any numbers yet and that has to change. The drive is rated for impressive 2400MB/s read and 1200MB/s write performance at sequential operations and has even more impressive 440K IOPS read and 290K IOPS random 4K write performance.

The drive is rated for 70GB writes per day that equals to 219TB total bytes written over a five-year period. It comes with a mean time before failure of 1.2 million hours and is backed by a five-year warranty. SMART, TRIM, and ECC are also part of the package.

Diving further into the card and having a look at the PCB on the bottom of the card and we find 14-BFA packages with 20nm Intel Multi-Level Cell NAND and two Micron DDR3 DRAM packages.

Removing the giant heatsink isn’t an easy task, and it is one that I failed at. It is mounted so solid that I couldn’t make it move the tiniest bit despite having removed all screws. I wasn’t using more than a sensible amount of force on a product like this, and I had to give up as I didn’t want to destroy the card.

Inside the large heatsink that covers the entire card, we find a smaller one that can be removed and below we find the SSD controller.

Intel is using their own proprietary controller named the CH29AE41AB0 and I really like how Intel used proper thermal paste rather than pads. Overall the cooler design is impressive for a storage drive and it should keep the drive running perfectly in even the most demanding setups.

HGST Ships NVMe Ultrastar SN100 Series SSDs

HGST, that is a part of Western Digital, announced that they’re now shipping their newest and the industry’s highest-performing NVMe compliant SSDs, the Ultrastar SN100 Series. The PCIe SSD drives come as both HH-HL standard PCIe cards, but also packed in the SFF 2.5-inch form factor for easy deployment from the front of a system rather than having to open it up for maintenance, just to replace or add a drive.

The new SN100 series comes with some serious figures and will be available with up to 3.2TB capacity and a performance of over 700K IOPS. Wow. The 700K IOPS are for random read (4KB), but the rest of the figures are equally impressive. The random mixed read/write IOPS (70/30, 4KB) come in at 310K and the random 4K write IOPS are specified to 160K. The SN100 series sequential throughput is rated at 3000MB/s read and 1600MB/s write.

There is also an 800GB and a 1.6TB version of the drive beside the 3.2TB version. Features include flash-aware RAID, end-to-end data-path protection, advanced ECC, secure erase and power fail protection. The drives are rated for three complete drive writes per day, have an 2 million hour MTBF and come backed by a 5-year warranty.

The Ultrastar SN150 HH-HL add-in card is shipping now, but the 2.5-inch SFF Ultrastar SN100 SSDs won’t be available until May. The drives can also be experienced live at the Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo at booth #202.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPFR4CNCxO4

Intel Introduced Impressive 750 Series SSD

Last week we saw that Intel was building up to reveal the newest SSD that should “shake up the market“. Based on the information provided, I guessed on a cheaper and consumer variant of the enterprise-class P3700 drive, and I was right. The new series of drives from Intel is dubbed the SSD 750 series and brings along impressive transfer speeds thanks to the use of NVMe over SATA.

Most previous released PCIe SSDs for the consumer were only running on two PCIe lanes and SATA-based drives have their natural speed limitation. The new Intel SSD 750 drive is using 4 PCIe lanes and can hit 2.4GB/sec for sequential reads and 1.2GB/sec for sequential write throughput. You’ll need to have enough PCIe lanes at your disposal for the full speed and here the X99 platform is especially suited with enough PCIe lanes for multiple GPUs next to the SSD without bottlenecking the CPU. The 4K random read and write IOPS are listed as 440K and 290K respectively, which blows anything we’ve ever tested completely away; impressive.

The Intel SSD 750 series comes with a 5 year limited warranty, an endurance rating of 70GB writes per day and a total of 219TB written, and a 1.2 million hour mean time between failures. Amazon lists the drives with stock arriving on May 2, 2015. The 400GB is listed for $488.00 and the 1.2TB for $1243.00; not cheap, not expensive either considering the performance.

Source: Intel

Intel Teases a Revolution in SSDs with New NVMe Drive

Intel is getting ready with their newest SSD and they’ve started to tease us with it. We don’t have much information yet, but a little can be glanced from the mini site and teaser video. The video starts out with the message “Get ready for a revolution in Solid-State Drives”, a bold statement.

But those big words might very well be backed by some serious performance, actually up to four times that of SATA. We’re of course talking about the ‘new’ NVMe drives that can utilize the CPU a lot better by working with multiple cores instead of just a single one.

There is less than a week until Intel reveals the new drive, and I can hardly wait and you can follow the countdown on Intel’s mini site, if you wish to do so.

There is a hint at the end of the video towards the Intel P3700 as a base for the performance figures, but those are somewhat older cards by now. Will this be a new consumer version at a more ‘reasonable’ price? We’ll find out in about a week.

Thanks to Intel for providing us with this information

Marvell Reveal Their Next-Gen SSD Controllers

Marvell has created the World’s First DRAM-less NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) SSD controller for mobile computing solutions. The new controller only measures 8x8mm and by that allows for SSDs as small as M.2 2230 (22 x 30 mm). On top of that they come with industry-leading NANDEdge low-density parity-check (LDPC) technology and support for triple-level cell (TLC) and 3D NAND. Marvell’s 88NV1140 and 88NV1120 enable small form factor SSD solutions with unparalleled performance for integration into low-z-height tablets, Chrome devices and the upcoming wave of new 2-in-1 hybrid and detachable mobile PC platforms.

The controller works with both SATA and PCIe SSDs with the same firmware, allowing for easier integration and maintenance. It’s also best-in-class on active power consumption and supports the newest PCIe L1.2 and DevSleep functions. In addition, Marvell’s NANDEdge LDPC technology can support 15/16nm TLC and 3D NAND, resulting in low enabling cost of TLC and 3D NAND. The NVMe design has passed in-house SSD validation and third-party operating system and platform compatibility testing.

Key features of Marvell’s new 88NV1140 and 88NV1120 include:

88NV1140 and 88NV1120 both share:

  • Powerful Dual core Cortex R5 CPU’s
  • Embedded SRAM with hardware accelerators to optimize IOPS performance
  • ONFI3 and Toggle2 NAND support
  • NANDEdge error-correction: 15nm TLC and 3D NAND support using LDPC technology to boost endurance and reliability
  • BGA SSD and M.2/2.5 slim form factor support with thermal optimization and small package size
  • 28nm low power CMOS process

88NV1140:

  • AHCI and NVMe support over PCIe Gen3x1
  • Fully hardware automated NVMe 1.1b support
  • Low power management (L1.2) design

88NV1120:

  • SATA 6Gb/s support
  • SATA DevSlp support

Thanks to Marvell for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of BusinessCheatSheet