CES 2016: Patriot unveiled a huge array of new storage products during CES this year which really caught my attention. Firstly, the Gauntlet 4 SSD enclosure is constructed from an aluminium unibody case, and lightweight ABS tray. This makes it feel incredibly solid while being light enough to carry around in a backpack. Furthermore, the device supports USB 3.1 Type-C technology to deliver speeds 16% faster in read times and 22% enhanced write times compared to its predecessor. Obviously, this depends on the storage device used, but it’s a great indication of the advancements in performance. The Gauntlet 4 will be available towards the end of Q1 this year with a retail price of $39.99.
The Supersonic Mega USB employs a robust, zinc alloy casing to protect your data even if the most extreme circumstances. Additionally, the high-end Magnum provides read speeds up to 380MB/s and 70MB/s writes while coming in at an affordable price. As expected, the drives are USB 3.1 Gen 1 compliant and include a 5 year warranty. You can choose from a 128GB model which retails for $49.99, 256GB SKU costing $89.99 and finally, a 512GB capacity with a retail price of $229.99.
If you require more performance, the Supersonic Magnum 2 is a better solution due to the up to 400MB/s read speed and 300MB/s write. This makes it one of the fastest flash drives on the market and a suitable choice for performance users.The Viper range offers large capacities with USB 3.1 connectivity at highly competitive prices. More specifically, the 64GB model will only cost $34.99, while the 128GB drive retails for $54.99 and the 256GB size comes in at $94.99.
Patriot also announced the company’s first PCIe M.2 solid state drive based on the Phison 5007 with MLC NAND. The Hellfire SSD is capable of sequential read speeds up to 3000MB/s and astonishing write rates up to 2200MB/s. This range of NVMe 1.2 compliant drives is very exciting and bound to please users wanting the ultimate in performance. Les Henry, VP of Engineering at Patriot said:
“We are very excited to get into the PCIe storage space,”
“With the launch of Intel’s latest Skylake Processor, we are seeing more motherboards available in the consumer market that support PCIe devices. Along with the launch of Microsoft Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, which supports PCIe storage devices without the need for additional drivers, we feel this will be the future trend and will allow users to take full advantage of the PCIe storage speeds.“
The Hellfire will be available in 240GB, 480GB and 960GB capacities to suit a wide range of storage demands. Please note, pricing has not yet been revealed, but the product line is scheluled for a Q1 launch.
There are few things more exciting than reviewing a gaming laptop that you know has a reputation to live up to. Naturally, when the courier dropped off the GT80 Titan I couldn’t wait to get my claws into it. It has a specification list that puts most desktops to shame and has been paraded by MSI for a couple of months now as their latest and greatest flagship gaming laptop, promising nothing but the best for followers of MSIs “Dragon Army”. In preparation for meeting this monster in person, I had a brief look around the MSI website and was impressed to see just how much has been crammed into this machine. There were the usual claims of speed, “ultimate performance” and the likes, but below this was a tech spec list long enough to possibly justify these claims and had me wide-eyed with interest from the off.
I decided to leave to the official blurb behind and just dive in, as to not be influenced by big claims or rose-tinted glasses, so let the unboxing begin!
Name: MSI GT80 Titan
CPU: Intel Core i7-4980HQ @ 2.8GHz (up to 4.0GHz Turboboost)
RAM: 32GB 1600MHz DDR3 (8GB*4)
SSD: 4 x 256GB PCIE SSD
HDD: 1TB 7200RPM
GPU: 2 xNVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M 8GB in SLI
LAN:10/100/1000/Gigabits Base T (Killer)
WLAN: Killer 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
Monitor: 18.4″1920 x 1080 Anti-glare LED backlit
Keyboard: SteelSeries Red backlit mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown Switches
With every incarnation of Next-Gen mobile GPU releases there is always a high-end selection from each major manufacturer vying for the title of “World’s Fastest Laptop”, “Ultimate Portable Gaming Notebook” or similar, and Asus is no stranger for aiming for this accolade. Their Republic Of Gamers (or “ROG” as more commonly known) series is specifically designed towards this area, and has put out regular revisions of its G-Series laptops since the launch of the G70 in 2008. Fast forward to 2014 and we have the G751 series, aimed the highest point in the market in terms of price and performance, using the latest Intel Haswell CPU and the Nvidia GTX 980m GPU based on the new Maxwell architecture.
There was a point in time where most manufacturers could get away with purchasing the latest Clevo OEM motherboard and cramming it with the latest hardware and then shipping it out – though Asus was one of the few at the time to take thermals into account and actually create a custom cooling solution that helped gamers get the most out of their the high-end hardware. Add some aggressive looking “Stealth Fighter” design choices and you have the ROG series in a nutshell.
As an owner of gaming laptops over the years including the Asus G73 back in the day, I have high hopes going into this review that Asus have delivered a monster of a machine capable of gaming till my eyes go square. After briefly looking over the hardware specifications I am looking forward to pushing the G751 to its limits, while hopefully being met with a tremendous gaming experience that will keep me glued to my seat over the New Year. As a laptop pushing the £2000 boundary, this represents a significant investment and therefore we have high expectations going into this review.
Name: Asus G751JY-T7051H
CPU: Intel Core i7-4860HQ @ 2.4GHz (up to 3.4GHz Turboboost)
RAM: 32GB 1600MHz DDR3 1.35w (8GB*4)
SSD: 512GB PCIE SSD
HDD: 1TB 7200RPM
GPU:NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M 4GB
LAN:10/100/1000/Gigabits Base T
WLAN: Integrated 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
Warranty: 2 year Global Warranty, can be extended to 3 for an extra £65
Price: £1999.99 Inc VAT
Packaging & Accessories
The notebook box provides a decent amount of protection to the laptop inside, and both the machine itself and accessories have an extra layer of protection in that they are inside in thin foam bags. Having said that though for a laptop of this value, it would have been nice if it had been shipped inside a padded box for extra protection, in the same way the PC Specialist Cosmos 2 was packed.
The box is well designed, with carry handle and angled sides reminiscent of the laptop’s aggressively edged design. Upon lifting the lid of the box you are greeted with the line “In Search of Incredible” on the inner lid, and the system itself wrapped inside its afore-mentioned sleeve. The power supply is located in a compartment to the right of the system, and the accessories are stored in a compartment that is revealed under the laptop once it has been lifted from the box.
Included is a power supply, UK 3 pin plug with kettle connection to the power supply, an Asus branded cable tidy wrap, manual, quick start guide, warranty card and cleaning cloth.
The guys over at The SSD Review have managed to get their hands on a pretty nifty 1TB SSD worth around $2000-3000. The SSD is made by KingSpec and uses the very unexciting product name “MC2J677M1T”. The device is basically comprised of eight mSATA 120GB SSDs sandwiched onto a single PCB with a beefy controller to coordinate them all to run simultaneously in RAID.
As you can see their are four mSATA SSDs on either side of the PCB. The controller used is produced by LSI and requires an active fan for cooling, it can deliver around 84K IOPS. The storage NAND uses NANYA cache with JMicron controllers, capacities of 1TB and 2TB are available.
The SSD Review gave the drive a quick bench in ATTO and as you can see above it managed a staggering 2.56GB/s over the PCI Express 8X bus.
Mach Xtreme (MX) Technology have recently unveiled their latest PCIe SSD simply called the Express series. This PCI Express based SSD uses a PCIe 2.0 X2 interface to provide read speeds of up to 850MB/s and writes up to 800MB/s with up to 100K IOPS. MX Tech are marketing this as a fully “plug and play” solution due to the full AHCI certification of the product.
This PCIe SSD comes available in 128, 256, 512 and 1024GB varieties. MX Tech are claiming superior durability of 2.5 million hours MTBF and a 2 year warranty. The device is capable of low profile PCI though the pre-fitted bracket is full sized PCI.
We feel that this is going to be a direct competitor to ASUS’ ROG RAIDR PCIe SSD. In fact this device is arguably boasting more impressive specifications as the ROG RAIDR has 830 MB/s read and 810 MB/s write, 100K IOPS and a 0.62 million hours MTBF. Of course pricing here will be crucial so lets see what MX Technology can offer up.
We’ve seen the ASUS RAIDR Express SSD as long ago as CES 2013 but it is now finally ready for a consumer release. ASUS’ RAIDR Express has taken so long to get to market because ASUS have had to work really hard on trying to develop a PCIe SSD that is compatible with the widest variety of motherboards. The ASUS RAIDR Express comes with “DuoMode” which allows it to work with both a legacy BIOS and a modern UEFI BIOS. The DuoMode is changed by a hardware level switch.
The RAIDR Express has a 240GB capacity with sequential reads of 830 MB/s and writes of 810 MB/s. IOPS are up to 100K for 4K read/write performance. The flash used is 19nm Toshiba MLC sync-NAND chips. Additionally ASUS have also bundled a RAMDisk utility with the RAIDR Express to allow up to 12,000 MB/s and reduce the number of write cycles on the RAIDR Express SSD thus extending its life span.
ASUS have developed ROG HybriDisk technology which allows the RAIDR Express to be an SSD Cache for a traditional hard drive up to 4TB in capacity. The ASUS RAIDR Express has TRIM support and a MTBF of 620,000 hours.
PCI Express 2.0 x2
240 GB capacity
Dual LSI SandForce SF-2281 controllers
Toshiba 19 nm 16K page size MLC Sync-NAND Flash
Sequential read/write speed: 830/810 MB/s
Up to 100,000 4K read/write IOPS (Input/Output operations Per Second)
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.
At Computex ADATA revealed an SSD that’d make most PC enthusiasts pretty darn jealous. Their new SX2000 SSD series revealed an absolute gem with a 1600GB model – yes that is 1600GB of SSD storage. This device is certainly no slouch on speeds either as ADATA have opted for a PCI Express Generation 2 4X interface that supports a mammoth 1800-2000 MB per second, meaning you can essentially read or write your entire capacity in 800 seconds – not bad at all. The controller that supports this is the Sandforce SFF-8639 and that is capable of 200,000 random read IOPS.
ADATA also showed off the rest of the series which included 800, 400, 200 and 100GB capacities. These all use the same specifications and have TRIM support, DEVSLP support and SMART support. The PCI express interface works by running a cable to a PCI Express riser card from the SSD drive itself. ADATA didn’t announce pricing or availability but expect these to cost a small fortune, though being aimed at the enterprise market this is hardly unexpected.
ADATA also displayed the SX1000 series alongside the SX2000 series but these are slightly more “normal” with a SATA III 6Gbps interface, a Sandforce SF-2500 or SF-2600 controller and read/write speeds of 550/500MB/s. 75,000 random read IOPS are delivered and the drive is available in 100, 200 and 400GB capacities. ADATA didn’t specify the NAND used in either drives but high-endurance MLC is likely give then 5 year warranties.
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.