Intel has had a set of super-fast high-speed SSDs based on the cutting edge 3D NAND flash storage chips in the works for some time now, with the first of these drives having been announced on Thursday. This lineup of SSDs combine both amazing speed and capacities of up to 2TB, which may seem impressive, but some customers have been left disappointed, expecting the drives to be capable of up to 10TB.
The drives announced by Intel that make use of 3D NAND include the SD DC P3320, SSD DC 3520, SSD DC D3700 and D3600, which are all targeted at data centers, workstations, storage arrays and other heavyweight business uses. The drives were designed with the needs of enterprises in mind, developing them with a focus on speed, durability and reliability over sheer capacity, which leaves them a long way behind Samsung’s 15.36TB PM1633a SSD.
Intel’s drives make use of Micron’s 3D NAND chips, which only started being shipped last month. These 3D NAND flash storage chips offer improvements in both speed and density compared to typical flash storage as the storage cells are layered on top of one another, instead of side-by-side. That closeness also allows for far higher transfer speeds. In order to capitalize on these speeds, these SSDs connect to PCI Express 3.0 slots, which allows for higher data rates than typical SATA. This has been shown as the drives are capable of data rates of 365,000 input-output per second for read operations and 22,000 IOPS for writes. Sequentially, the read speed is 1600 megabytes per second, and the write 1400 megabytes per second, making it significantly faster than Intel’s previous SSD, the DC S3510. The DC D3700 and D3600 are even able to make use of multiple PCI-E slots in order to boost the speeds even further, offering as much as a 25% speed increase for some operations.
Unfortunately, both the price and the release date for the drives are yet to be revealed, with the only clue being that they would hit the market sometime in the second quarter of 2016.
ASRock has just announced its latest socket LGA2011v3 motherboard addition, the X99M-Killer USB 3.1, tailored specifically for Intel’s Core i7 Haswell-E processors. It comes in a micro-ATX form factor, featuring two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports and a nice feature set.
The motherboard is said to have a 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS and an optional 4-pin Molex for powering it and all the components coupled to it. The X99M-Killer also has a 12-phase VRM for the CPU, having it wired to the four DDR4 DIMM slots in quad-channel support.
In terms of expansion slots, the motherboard comes with two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 and one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 (x4 electrical). Storage connectivity is provided via the 10 SATA-Express 10 Gb/s ports, one eSata 6 Gb/s and one Ultra M.2.
The X99M-Killer comes with the ASRock Purity Sound 2 onboard audio solution featuring a 115 dBA SNR Codec, audio-grade capacitors, a headphones amplifier and ground-layer isolation. Internet connectivity is provided via two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one driven by the Killer E2205 and one by the Intel i218-V controllers.
Aside from the two USB 3.1 prots, there are also six USB 3.0 connectors available (four in the rear and two by header) and two USB 2.0 ports, designed to connect a user’s keyboard and mouse. The motherboard also features a dual-BIOS with manual switching between two physical EEPROMs.
ASRock did not offer any details on the X99M-Killer USB 3.1 motherboard in terms of pricing or availability just yet.
Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
MSI has just launched its MS-98G5 industrial motherboard with an embedded processing and graphics solution. The motherboard is based on the mini-ITX form factor and Intel 4th Gen QM87/HM86 architecture that comes with a BGA-type Haswell/Broadwell Mobile Core i7, i5, i3 or Celeron CPU, various displays, 1 PCIe x16, 8 USB 2.0 and 4 USB 3.0 ports, 5 COM ports, a SATA 3.0 connector, and 2 mini-PCIe slots.
The MS-98G5 is flexible in terms of system integrators, having the auto-switch DC 12/19V power inputs bring more possibilities of display deployment, I/O connection and extra expansion. The motherboard features HDMI, DP, DVI-I, and LVDS in terms of outputs and the HD Graphics as a graphical solution, giving it the high-performance Intel 4th Gen kernel the industrial sector needs for various industrial applications.
Here is a brief spec of the MSI MS-98G5:
Haswell/Broadwell Mobile Core i7/i5/i3/Celeron Processor
3 independent displays (HDMI/DP/DVI-I/LVDS)
Dual GbE LAN with iAMT (EIA+QM87)
2 x DDR3L 1333/1600 MHz up to 16GB memory
1 x PCIe(x16) w/ riser card to x8+x8 or x8+x4+x4
8 x USB 2.0; 4 x USB 3.0; 5 x COM; SATA 3.0
2 x mini-PCIe slots
Auto-switch DC power 12/19V
MSI has yet to give out a release date for the product at hand or a recommended retail price, but customers can go to its web page here for more information on the product.
Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information
ASRock has announced one of the very few AMD 9-series chipset based socket AM3+ motherboards in the micro-ATX form-factor, the 970M Pro3.
The motherboard is said to be based on the AMD 970 chip and supports the AMD FX processors with TDP of up to 125W, meaning it excludes support for the FX-9000 series which requires more TDP. The motherboard also offers a 5-phase CPU VRM thanks to the 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS.
In terms of specs, the 970M Pro3 comes with one PCIe 2.0 x16, one PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4) wired to the southbridge, one PCIe 2,0 x1 and a PCI. The board also offers six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, a 6-channel HD audio with ELNA capacitors, Gigabit Ethernet port and four USB 3.0, all of which are driven by a UEFI BIOS.
The ASRock 970M Pro3 is currently available at select retailers and comes with a price tag of under $99.
Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
Gigabyte has announced that it has recently added a new socket AM3+ motherboard to its lineup. The motherboard is set to support all AMD AM3+ FX processors and AM3 Athlon/Phenom II CPUs, while also supporting 2-way SLI or Crossfire.
The company has based the motherboard on the AMD 990X chipset, featuring a SB950 southbridge chip. Realtek takes the center stage in High Definition Audio Codecs for the 990XA-UD3 R5, coming with a Realtek ALC1150 codec chip, which is said to deliver exceptional audio listening experience with up to 115dB SNR. Also, Realtek has added an isolated audio circuit to its chip in order to provide the best possible audio quality.
The 990XA-UD3 R5 is said to provide 2x Copper PCBs in order to deliver enough power trace paths between components to handle higher than normal power loads and remove heat from critical CPU power delivery area. The motherboard also comes with two PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slots (8x / 8x), one PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 and towed to the southbridge), one PCIe 2.0 x1 slot and two legacy PCI slots.
Gigabyte is said to have made the motherboard available at a recommended price of $125.
Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information
Las Vegas is a busy place this time of year with the CES event. But there also are a lot of smaller events in the city surrounding CES and one of them is the Storage Visions Conference. Western Digital is presenting their new 4TB Hybrid Drive that utilises the SATA Express PCI-e interface to make the world’s fastest hybrid drive and bring down the costs per GB.
The demonstrated models are using 64GB SSD cache sizes, but WD said that the final models will be made available with up to 128GB cache. Having such a cache increases the data access rate for hot data significantly and improves the overall performance. The WD SATA Express 4 TB drive with 64 GB cache achieved a PCMark8 benchmark score of 4459 and these drives perform close to 10Gbit/s in striped RAID setups.
“WD is committed to working with the industry to push the boundaries of what you might expect from a traditional hard drive,” said Matt Rutledge, senior vice president, Storage Technology, WD. “By moving to PCI Express, the industry marries the world’s most popular storage bus with the world’s most popular computer bus. This union provides a solid growth path to innovate new capability, while preserving the ability to plug legacy SATA drives into new SATA Express based computers.”
I can not wait for these prototype drives to become a reality, bringing down the overall costs for fast storage – for everyone.
Thanks to WD for providing us with this information
Companies are busy updating their sites to be ready for CES and enthusiasts are just as busy scouting those pages for possible hints on future products. So were our friends from TweakTown and they found what could hint a new PCI-Express based SSD from Plextor.
Digging on Plextor’s homepage, they found the hint seen below, an M6e BK in the Half-Height Half-Length category. This could very well be a Black Edition of the Plextor M6e PCIe SSD that we took a look at almost a year ago, just better optimized and tuned for that extra bit of power.
The image seen at the top is one dug up after the initial hint on Plextor’s own page and might not represent the actual product. It does however fit the description very well, just as it wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Plextor might have an ace or two up their sleeves. I’m sure we’ll know a lot more when CES starts.
Thanks to TweakTown for providing us with this information
When two giants come together to form something new, you just know it’s going to be amazing. Memblaze will be using PMC’s Flashtec NVM Express controllers in its next-generation PCI Express flash accelerators. The Flashtec-based Memblaze PBlaze4 products might be targeted at hyperscaling and Open Compute Project deployments, but I’d sure like to have one of these.
They provide ultra-low latency and the lowest CPU load in the industry and read and write capabilities of up to 850,000 IOPS for random read and 265,000 IOPS for random write. Transfer speeds go up to 3.2GB/s sequential read and 2.5GB/s sequential write performance. Memblaze products also enable customers to define and alter key settings to ensure optimum performance in specific applications and platforms.
The flash memory controller family includes 16-channel and 32-channel devices to enable SSDs with up to 8TB of storage and performance up to 850,000 IOPS, two times greater capacity and performance than other controllers. Dual port functionality delivers high availability for enterprise-class application support, redundancy and sustained uptime reliability.
Now that’s some juicy numbers. The new drives will be showcased at Wenjin Hotel in Beijing today and the event can be followed on twitter with the #PMCFlashtec hashtag.
A small new motherboard from Supermicro has been spotted on the shop-shelves, the Supermicro A1SA7-2750F. This tiny board is feature packed with a total of 17 SATA3 6GB/s ports and is a totally passive cooled System on a Chip (SoC) supporting up to 64GB memory. Sparked your interest? Here are the rest of the details.
The A1SA7-2750F has an Intel Atom C2750 at it’s heart with 8 cores/8 threads. It is a compact and fanless motherboard operating at 2.4GHz, or 2.6GHz with Turbo. With 4 RAM slots and support for 16GB modules, this board supports up to 64GB ECC/non-ECC DDR3 with a speed of up to 1600MHz.
The 16 blue SATA ports are powered by a LSI 2116 SW 6Gbps SATA/SAS controller and it has an additional yellow SATA port at the top that is controlled by the SoC itself. That is an amazing amount of on-board SATA ports for such a small form factor. The motherboard also has a direct on-board USB port and a SATA DOM power connector. At the bottom we see the single PCI-Express 2.0 x4 connector (in x8 slot).
The rear IO panel has two USB 2.0 ports and two normal Gigabit Ethernet RJ 45 ports, but it also features a dedicated port for the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) and a VGA D-SUB port.
Not only does this Supermicro motherboard have 16 SATA ports, it also comes bundled with cables for them all. That is a big bunch of cables in the box, but other then that and the manual it doesn’t look like many accessors are supplied.
The Supermicro A1SA7-2750F was priced at 66,980 yen including tax, that’s roughly £390. It isn’t the ordinary form factor motherboard (21.08cm x 17.02cm) and won’t fit in cases with ATX mounting. It’s designed for 1U 19″ rack systems, but one could of course just mod the case to fit. The board gets power from a 12V 8-pin and 5V 4-pin connector.
HGST has announced a new PCI Express SSD with 3 million IOPS in queued environments and a random read access latency of 1.5 ms in non-queued settings. HGST demonstrated this new technology at the Flash Memory Summit 2014.
“The PCM SSD demonstration is a great example for how HGST sets the pace of the rapidly evolving storage industry,” said Steve Campbell, chief technology officer, HGST. “This technology is the result of several years of research and advanced development aimed at delivering new levels of acceleration for enterprise applications. The combination of HGST’s low-latency interface protocol and next-generation non-volatile memories delivers unprecedented performance, and creates exciting opportunities for new software and system architectures that HGST is exploring with our customers and industry partners.”
The memory used in this SSD consists of Phase Change Memory (PCM) components with a capacity of 1Gb. PCM is one of several new classes of high-density, non-volatile memories that exhibit dramatically faster read access times when compared to NAND Flash memory.
In order to fully expose the capabilities of these new memory technologies to the server system and its software applications, HGST has also developed a low-latency interface architecture that is fully optimized for performance and is agnostic to the specific underlying memory technology. HGST used its controller expertise to integrate the 45 nm 1Gb PCM chips to build a prototype full height, full length PCIe Gen 2×4 SSD card.
To achieve latencies close to 1us, HGST devised, in conjunction with researchers at the University of California, San Diego, a new communication protocol. This new interface protocol was introduced earlier this year at the 2014 Usenix conference on File and Storage Technologies (FAST).
“Three million IOPs is exceptional, but that is not the most exciting part of the demonstration,” said Dr. Zvonimir Bandic, manager of Storage Architecture at HGST Research. “What is really exciting is to be able to deliver latencies close to 1us for small block random reads. This is something that just cannot be done with NAND Flash and current controller and interface technologies.”
The HGST PCM SSD will be demonstrated in the HGST booth #316 at the 2014 Flash Memory Summit in the Santa Clara Convention Center on Wednesday and Thursday.
Thank you HGST for providing us with this information
A new enterprise SSD line has been announced by Intel, using PCIe and NVM Express (or NVMe) in favour of the traditional SATA in order to gain significant performance boost.
The Intel SSD Data Center lineup contains three of the company’s series, the Intel SSD DC P3700 dedicated to write-intensive applications, the Intel SSD DC P3600 solution for mixed workloads and the Intel SSD DC P3500 with support for read-intensive operations. All series previously mention are said to be dedicated towards data centre operations.
In terms of specifications, the Intel SSD Data Center lineup boasts the latest PCIe 3.0 specification, having a high-performance PCIe interface controller architecture with NVMe and an average time between failures of 2,000,000 hours. The PCIe technology is also said to drastically reduce latency currently seen in HDD-based interfaces. More details on the SSD lineup can be viewed below.
Intel is said to deliver its Enterprise SSD lineup in two form factors, having one based on a hot-swappable 2.5-inch front panel architecture and the second based as an widely compatible add-in card, dedicated towards PCIe systems.
The company also guarantees 10 drive writes/day over the lifetime of the drive for the P3700 Series, 3 drive writes/day for the less-demanding P3600 Series and 0.3 drive writes/day for the read-intensive dedicated P3500 Series.
The Enterprise SSD lineup is said to be offered in 400 GB, 800 GB, 1.2 TB, 1.6 TB and 2 TB forms, having the lineup start at a price tag of $599.
ASUS has released the Xonar D-KARAX Sound Card. It is based on PCI-Express interface and offers 96KHz/24-bit playback, real-time audio processing, 7.1 audio and a 106dB SNR. You can also apply and hear audio effects in real-time with no playback lag, a sophisticated feature previously used only by professional recording studios.
The ASUS Xonar D-KARAX has a lot of features, such as studio-grade vocal effects that help aspiring singers immerse themselves in a professional performance environment. The clear and simple user interface lets users set up and start singing in just three simple steps, while studio-grade sound effects help singers sound like stars. Vocal effects such as high- and low-pass filters, voice equalization, dynamic boost, reverb and compression can be applied with a single mouse click, along with ready-made master profiles tuned by music engineers to suit different music genres.
A hardware-based Cirrus Logic CS47028C DSP means Xonar D-KARAX has extremely low microphone latency, so the voice stays in perfect time with the backing track. By comparison, sound cards that lack a hardware DSP can introduce input lag of up to 500ms.
Xonar D-KARAX also benefits from exclusive ASUS Hyper Grounding technology with a multi-layer PCB that eliminates noise by separating the power supply and digital signals from sensitive analog signals.
Earlier this week PCI-SIG revealed the specifications for PCI Express 3.1 and 4.0 according to Tom’s Hardware. The PCIe 3.1 specification consolidates numerous protocol extensions into three areas of power, performance and functionality. In terms of power the PCIe 3.1 specification combines the M-PCIe and L1 power management substrates with a CLKREQ# signal. In terms of performance enhanced downstream port containment and lightweight notification protocol extensions are grouped together. In terms of functionality PCIe 3.1 bundles together precision time measurement a separate refclk with independent SSC architecture, and the process address space ID. According to PCI-SIG this specification will be released later this year, although expect some lag before we see it in new PCIe devices and system boards.Finally PCI-SIG revealed that PCIe 4.0 will have 16GT/s of transfer speed which is double that of PCIe 3.0 which has 8GT/s of transfer speed. This standard is going to come primarily for servers, workstations and high-performance computing markets and naturally retains backwards compatibility. PCIe 4.0 also provides an increase in clock rates, enabling narrower link width implementations and reduced costs through pin production. PCIe 4.0 revision 0.5 is expected in Q1 of 2014 while revision 0.9 is expected in Q1 of 2015 – so still quite some way to go yet.
Image #1 courtesy of PCI-SIG and Image #2 courtesy of RTC Magazine
Ultrabooks have almost made exclusive use of SSDs since their release because they are quieter, thinner, faster and more power efficient than mechanical hard drives whilst the extra price premium they have is more acceptable given the target market of Ultrabooks. Samsung have just announced that they have made quite an innovation in moving the Ultrabook SSD market forward with their new PCI express SSDs for ultrabooks.
These are made in the M.2 form factor, that is measuring in at 80mm x 22mm / 3.14 x 0.86 inches, and weigh a tiny 6 grams! That compares to the 54 grams of a SATA 2.5″ SSD. Brilliantly there is absolutely no performance hit as these Samsung XP941 drives can read at 1400 MB/s aka 1.4GB/s which is about 2.75 times as fast as current desktop class SATA III drives. If anything, these drives are “limited”, and we use that term very loosely, by the PCI Express Gen 2 interface they use.
“With the Samsung XP941, we have become the first to provide the highest performance PCIe SSD to global PC makers so that they can launch leading-edge ultra-slim notebook PCs this year” said Young-Hyun Jun, executive vice president, memory sales & marketing, Samsung Electronics.
Samsung has been shipping the XP941 PCIe SSDs to ultrabook vendors since early in the second quarter and they are available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities using 10nm NAND flash. Expect products using these SSDs to be available later on this year in Q4.
If the 1600GB ADATA SSD we covered at Computex 2013 was your thing then this new Scorpion Deluxe SSD from Mushkin will definitely interest you too. Unlike the ADATA SSD which used a 2.5″ form factor but a PCI Express 4X cable to a PCI Express add-in-card, the Mushkin Scorpion deluxe skips that and goes straight in with a PCI Express interface that us 8X in terms of length. This allows for transfer speeds of up to a staggering 2100MB/s or 2.1GB/s and up to 100K random write IOPS.
Mushkin will be making the Scorpion Deluxe PCI Express SSDs available in 240GB, 480GB, 960GB and 1920GB capacities. Mushkin are using a Sandforce driven SSD controller (SF-2281) and are offering a 3 year warranty. If you’ve got a lot of cash to spend then Mushkin claim these PCI Express SSDs are scalable in up to 4 way configurations.
While these devices certainly aren’t for everyone, the wide variety of sizes does mean the lower capacity drives will be accessible at a consumer level, much like OCZ’s Revo drives. You can get more information here. Mushkin expect these drives to become available from mid-June onwards and pricing has yet to be disclosed but you can expect them to be significantly more expensive than equivalent capacity SATA III SSDs as they are mainly aimed at the content professionals market.
ASUS Republic Of Gamers (ROG) is bringing us their new RAIDR Express SSD, giving us some of the fastest in desktop storage. The new RAIDR Express is extremely fast, capable of speeds upwards of 830 MB/s. If you are interested in having some of the fastest desktop storage around, this might be the way for you to go! Keeping up with what is coming out within the coming months allows us to be ready to have the most current and up to date hardware available. The RAIDR Express is set to release in Mid-May and available in two sizes, 120 and 240 GB of storage. The 240GB is faster of the two giving us read and write speeds of up to 830 and 810 MB/s with the 120GB giving us slightly slower speeds of 765 and 775 MB/s, do you think you will really notice a difference though?
ASUS took a leap of faith and decided to get their feet wet designing their new PCIe Solid-State Storage device, giving gamers an all new edge for when “When SATA isn’t fast enough”. We have all experienced slow load times and ROG is coming to the rescue. This new device will be a bootable drive, so you will be able to accelerate your performance. The RAIDR Express will be fully compatible with all of the major chipsets and operating systems, making it just amazing! With the new RAIDR we will be able to have even faster load times for our operating systems, launching games, running our applications and even our installs will be faster.
Though ROG is mainly designed for gamers, I feel that all of the ROG products would work well for anyone who is in a high functioning high productivity environment. Not only giving gamers the ultimate edge in performance, but anyone who is looking for that better edge. Giving you significantly faster load times and data transfer speeds, everyone is able to benefit from this new cutting edge technology.
In a recent presentation by AMD’s PR and Marketing department it showed off the technology behinds its new Steamroller core design. The new AMD micro-architecture is on track to be released this year in the form of AMD Opteron server class processors. This is a hugely surprising development as Q3-Q4 2014 was cited as the most likely release frame for the new AMD CPU architecture. The updated Opteron roadmap, which you can see above, states 2013 as the release year for Steamroller Opterons but nothing much has been said about the consumer side of things.
Reports suggest AMD has pushed forward its plans for Steamroller by nearly a year, probably because it feels it is being left behind by Intel unless it does things a lot faster. The new range of Steamroller CPUs are expected to be compatible with the current selection of sockets and will support native PCI Express generation 3 support. Backwards socket compatibility is one of the AMD trademarks so we are glad to see they are retaining this.
Consumers should probably expect to see Steamroller arrive in 2014 at some point with Q2 seeming the most likely period. But what to expect in terms of performance? Well reports are quoting 5-10% more single core performance and a 30% improvement in operations per cycle for the CPU as a whole compared to the Bulldozer architecture. In essence the cores will work drastically better together than they did in Bulldozer/Piledriver but single core improvements will only be typical of generational improvements.
What are your thoughts on AMD bringing the launch forward? Is it a good idea for them to remain competitive? Do they risk releasing a half-finished product?
You can see more details from the slide presentation below and read more detail on Steamroller at the source link.
Today we see Asus unveiling the world’s first AMD-based motherboard with PCI-Express 3.0 functionality. Usually this feature would be reserved for Intel-based boards, but Asus have paved the way for boards with AMD chipsets to offer the same.
The Sabertooth 990Fx/Gen3 R2.0 board features the ability to use up to three next generation high performance DirectX 11 graphics cards through use of Nvidia’s SLI or AMD’s CrossFireX technology. This could be the start of AMD getting back in the game, by offering features that Intel counterparts have already done for quite some time.
The board still features the much loved TUF features that the Sabertooth brands lives up to with dual-heatpipe heatsinks and CeraM!X coating for improved heat dissipation but now includes this new technology to take on the opposition with.
Availability will see the boards appearing in retail stores from today and no word on exact pricing yet