QNAP Launches TDS-16489U Dual Xeon E5 Double Server

QNAP’s newest server, the TDS-16489U, is an amazing one that sets itself apart from the rest in so many ways. I want one so badly even though I have absolutely no need for this kind of power. This must be how a normal person feels when they see a Bugatti Veyron. But let us get back to the new QNAP dual server.

The TDS-16489U is a powerful dual server that’s both an application server and storage server baked into on chassis for simplicity and effectiveness. It is powered by two Intel Xeon E5 processors with 4, 6, or 8 cores each while supporting up to 1TB DDR4 2133 MHz memory with its 16 DIMM slots. These are already some impressive specs, but this is just where the fun begins.

The dual server has 16 front-accessible drive bays for 3.5-inch storage drives as well four rear-facing 2.5-inch drive bays for SSD cache. Should this not be enough, then you can expand that further by use of NVMe based PCI-Express SSDs too. The system has three SAS 12 Gb/s controllers built-in to couple it all together.

There are just as many connection options as there are storage options in the TDS-16489U. It comes with two normal Gigabit Ethernet ports as well as four SFP+ 10Gbps ports powered by an Intel XL710. Should that not be enough, then you can use the PCI-Express slots to expand with further NICs of your choice. The system supports the use of 40 Gbps cards too. It also comes with a dedicated IPMI connection besides the normal networking. The PCI-Express x16 Gen.3 slots can also be used with AMD R7 or R9 graphics cards for GPU passthrough to virtualization applications. A true one-device solution for applications, storage, and virtualization.

The TDS-16489U combines outstanding virtualization and storage technologies as an all-around dual server. With Virtualization Station and Container Station, computation and data from the guest OS and apps can be directly stored on the TDS-16489U through the internal 12Gb/s SAS interface. Coupled with Double-Take Availability to provide comprehensive high availability and disaster recovery, backup virtual machines can support failover for the primary systems on the TDS-16489U whenever needed to enable data protection and continuous services. QNAP Virtualization Station is a virtualization platform based on KVM (Kernel Virtual Machine) infrastructure. By sharing the Linux kernel, GPU passthrough, virtual switches, VM import/export, snapshot, backup & restoration, SSD cache acceleration and tiered storage.

“Software frameworks for Big Data management and analysis like Apache Hadoop or Apache Spark can be easily operated on the TDS-16489U using virtual machines or containerized apps, and with Qtier Technology for Auto Tiering the TDS-16489U empowers Big Data computing and provides efficient storage in one box to help businesses gain further insights, opportunities and values,” said David Tsao, Product Manager of QNAP.

With all the above, we shouldn’t forget that it still also runs QNAP’s QTS 4.2 operating system that provides everything you know and love from that. Included is the comprehensive virtualization applications that we’ve also seen on our consumer models, but this is where you truly can take advantage of what QNAP created and run multiple Windows, Linux, Unix, and Android-based virtual machines on your NAS. All the backup solutions and failover, from local to other NAS or the cloud. You can do it all. Share files to basically any device anywhere is made as easy as possible.

Should you still not have enough storage in this impressive unit, then you can expand with up to 8 of the QNAP enclosures and reach a seriously impressive 1152 TB raw storage capacity controlled by this single 3U server unit. The CPU power, dual system capabilities, virtualization options and impressive storage option will let you deploy an impressive system with a very tiny size and total cost of ownership compared to traditional setups.

Key Specifications

  • 16-bay, 3U rackmount unit
  • 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 Family processor (with 4-core, 6-core and 8-core configurations)
  • 64GB~1TB DDR4 2133MHz RDIMM/LRDIMM RAM (16 DIMM)
  • 4 x SFP+ 10GbE ports
  • hot-swappable 16 x 3.5″ SAS (12Gbps/6Gbps)/SATA (6Gbps/3Gbps) HDD or 2.5″ SAS/SATA SSD, and 4 x
  • 2.5″ SAS (12Gbps) SSD or SAS/SATA (6Gbps/3Gbps) SSD;
  • 4 x PCle slots;
  • 4 x USB 3.0 port

The new QNAP TDS-16489U dual-server is now available.

Sharkoon Releases USB 3.1 Docking Station and Add-In Card

There can be many reasons why you would want to add some external storage to your system and there are about as many different possibilities as there are reasons. One of the easiest ways to connect storage to your system is via a USB docking stations. Whether you have a notebook or stationary system, this allows you to connect any normal internal drive to your system externally.

Sharkoon just released a new docking station that can do this with ease and it is one that also sports the newest type of USB connection: USB 3.1 Type-C. The new docking station is literarily called what it is as it is called Sharkoon QuickPort USB 3.1 Type C. While the docking station itself features the tiny and reversible Type-C connector, it connect to any normal sized Type-A USB port on your system by the included cable.

Whether you want to use 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch SATA drives in this docking station, it’s covered and it will work just as well as you can connect the docking station or older USB ports such as normal 3.0 or 2.0. Both SATA and USB are backward compatible which allows you to connect this modern enclosure no matter what hardware you have – but you naturally won’t get the impressive 10Gbps speeds possible from the USB 3.1 or the 6Gbps from the SATA3 when you connect slower drives or use an older connection standard. But it is great to have the option.

Should you not have a system with USB 3.1 yet, then Sharkoon fittingly also introduced a new add-in card to give you just this. The new host controller features both a Type-A and a Type-C USB 3.1 connector on the rear and plugs into your normal PCI-Express x4 or bigger slots.

Both new Sharkoon items are built around ASMedia’s controllers and that is a company with a lot of experience in the field. The docking station is powered by an ASMedia ASM1351 bridge controller while the add-in card is powered by an ASMedia ASM1142 USB host controller.

Both new Sharkoon USB 3.1 devices are available now. The docking station has a suggested retail price of €39.99 while the host card is a little cheaper with a suggested retail price of €29.99.

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.

ZOTAC Unveils Company’s First PCIe SSD @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Performance storage devices now have the capability to reach unbelievable read and write speeds due to PCIe bandwidth. NVMe SSDs in particular can often report speeds in excess of 2500MB/s which makes traditional SATA3 6Gb/s products seem quite outdated as the interface tops out around 550MB/s. Currently, Samsung and Intel are dominating the high-end storage market. However, companies like GALAX and now, ZOTAC have started to create their own performance PCIe SSDs.

ZOTAC’s first PCIe comes in a 480GB capacity and features a very impressive read speed of 2500MB/s. Furthermore, the drive has a reported sequential write rate of 1200MB/s and utilizes a Toshiba NAND. Aesthetically, the SSD looks fantastic and should work pretty well across a wide range of system designs. ZOTAC is planning to launch the drive next month and we should have a price point for you very soon.

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

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.

Elgato Demonstrates HD60 Pro Game Capture Card

The times where online streaming was reserved for a few selected people is long gone and there are millions of gamers out there that stream their gameplay every day. Today, Elgato Gaming took live streaming of gameplay to the next level with the announcement of the new Game Capture HD60 Pro.

The HD60 Pro is built around a high-speed PCIe interface and it enables live streaming in flawless quality with near zero latency. It also comes with a powerful encoder chip directly on the card that allows the HD60 Pro to save a full resolution 1080p video with 60fps. There is no need to choose whether you want to use your power to stream or record, the HD60 Pro does both without breaking into a sweat.

The Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro can stream and record your Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii U gameplay just as well as any other HDMI signal. The new Instant Gameview feature delivers video directly to your preview screen with superior low latency technology, ensuring that in game video is perfectly in sync with your webcam reactions and audio commentary. Thanks to Master Copy, you can stream and record at the same time without compromising on the quality of your broadcast or recorded footage. Even while streaming live in 720p60 quality you can save a full resolution 1080p60 recording, with separate tracks of your webcam and live commentary.

With the purchase, you get a 2 meter long HDMI cable as well as a low profile bracket for those who wish to use it in an SFF chassis. The card does require a fair system with Windows 7 SP1 (or later), a 2nd generation Intel Core i5 CPU (i5-2xxx or comparable), a PCIe x1/x4/x8/x16 slot, 4GB RAM, and an internet connection. Stream Command requires a 2nd generation Intel Core i7 CPU (i7-2xxx or comparable).

Game Capture HD60 Pro is available online from Elgato and Amazon now for $199.95. The UK price is set to £159.95.

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 

SilverStone Release Mini PCIe to PCIe Adapter with Antennas

New wireless add-in cards usually get released for notebooks and other portable units first, as that’s where they’re likely to be used most over stationary cabled systems. When that happens, the adapters are usually released as Mini PCI Express cards and SilverStone just release a new PCIe add-in card adapter for those to be using in normal desktop systems, allowing them to take advantage of the same new technologies.

The new add-in card is the ECWA1 that also comes in a slimmed down version called the ECWA1-Lite. The difference between the two is the accessory package, allowing you to choose the one with what you need. The Silverstone ECWA1-Lite Mini PCIe to PCIe adapter comes with two dual-band MIMO antennas for operation on the 2.4GHz band with 2dBi and on the 5GHz band with 3dBi. The non-lite version comes with 5dBi antennas that operated at 3dBi on the 2.4GHz band.

The card supports both 1.5V and 3V cards, allowing you to choose from a wider variety of options. SilverStone has their ECW02 which is an 802.11ac specced mPCIe card that would go great with this adapter. The add-in card is only a PCIe x1 card, but that should allow for more than enough throughput with its possible 2000Mbps (250MB/s) each way.

As previously mentioned, there are two versions of the card. The Lite version and the normal one. The non-Lite version also comes with a pair of circular magnetic bases with gold plated SMA plug RP and 1.5m cable for remote placement of the antennas. This could for example come in useful if the system is placed under your desk. Moving the antennas up higher will give a better connection as there will be less interference.

As for the price, the ECWA1-LITE has an MSRP of €20,30 and the ECWA1 has an MSRP of €33,10. We will also bring you a review on this card as well as SilverStone’s ECW02 802.11ac Mini PCIe WiFi card.

SilverStone Announces ECM20 Dual M.2 PCIe Card

SilverStone released a new PCIe add-in card that brings a duality of M.2 support to your system, the ECM20. It can connect a PCIe based M.2 SSD via the PCIe x4 connector and at the same time it can connect a SATA based M.2 via the 6Gbps SATA connector on the rear of the board.

No need to worry if the adapter supports your M.2 SSD here, as it supports both kinds. The only difference is where you plug it in and connect it. You can also use both at the same time, so there is no trade-off either. The board is clearly labeled as to where what goes and the M-Key is used for the PCie based M.2 while the B-Key is used for the SATA based M.2 drive. There isn’t any need for extra power cables either, as the PCIe port can provide plenty of power for such two small NGFF drives.

The card is fully plug-and-play and doesn’t require any drivers to be installed. That simplifies the installation a lot and the Silverstone ECM20 also comes with a low-profile bracket for mounting it in smaller chassis types.

There shouldn’t be any compatibility issues due to module length either; We all know that M.2 drives come in a lot of different lengths. The 2280-type is probably the most common supported form factor, but the adapter also supports 2230, 2242, and 2260 modules.

 

Plextor Sadly Cancels the Altaplus M7e SSD

It hasn’t been going that well for Plextor’s solid state series even though the M6e Black Edition was an amazing drive. Although it wasn’t a top-performer, the looks and software made up for it in my opinion. At Computex 2015 we saw Plextor announce the follow-up to that drive, the M7e, a drive built on Marvell’s Altaplus controller. It looked great in itself and I for one was really looking forward to this new PCIe solid state drive.

Now the sad news is that it looks like we won’t get this drive at all. Plextor was supposed to bring the M7e products to the Flash Memory Summit, but the product was a no-show. It looks like the drive just couldn’t compete with what the competition put on the market, mainly Samsung’s SM951 SSD, and there simply isn’t any point in bringing a product to the market that can’t compete. Instead, Plextor chose to go back to the drawing board and work on the Eldora based M8e drive. I for one wish Plextor the best of luck with this new drive and hope that they can land another success with it.

While one SSD less on the market probably won’t create the big ripples in users, it will be missed for a while because it was scalable up to 1TB capacity on the M.2 22110 form factor (22mm wide, 110mm length).

Thank You Tom’s Hardware for providing us with this information

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.

Skylake May Bring Back BCLK Overclocking

According to a Chinese source, Intel may be bringing back BCLK overclocking for non-K series processors. The suggestion is that Z170 motherboards will allow the BCLK setting to be changed on non-K Skylake CPUs, allowing them to be overclocked. Another interesting tidbit is that Skylake may allow BCLK straps to be applied, meaning the BCLK can run independently of the PCIE, allowing for much great BCLK overclocking. As you can see in the image below, an i5 6400T is taken up to 2.8 Ghz (Stock 2.2 Ghz) via a BCLK boost to 133Mhz.

Older overclockers may remember the glory days of simply turning up the FSB to overclock budget chips to match much more expensive ones. There was no need for unlocked multipliers to let my lowly E5200 or E3300 gain a 1Ghz or so. That all changed eventually with the adoption of the QPI/DMI and when the PCIE bus became linked to the BCLK. If one pushed the BCLK too high, the system would become unstable as the PCIE bus could not be taken more than a little over 105Mhz over the base 100Mhz.

For both Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge, users were able to use Z68/Z77 motherboards to overclock their non-K CPUs a bit by turning up the turbo boost up 4 bins (400Mhz). Some motherboards were also able to overclock K series chips despite not being a Z series though Intel quickly clamped down on that. This change though might be here to stay as delinking the BCLK from the PCIE bus is more of an architectural change.

Given how BCLK straps have worked in the past, there likely only is an option for 133 and maybe a 166 Mhz. This in practice will mean an OC of 33-66%, with lower OCs being possible by lowering the multiplier while increasing the BCLK. Given how temperamental BCLK OC can be, it’ll be hard to judge how well this will work in the real world. Given that we only have a little more than a week left, Skylake may once again allow cheaper overclocking, with a Z170 board of course.

Thank you BenchLife for providing us with this information

SanDisk Flash Drives and SSDs at Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – SanDisk also brought along all their other storage devices such as the impressive 128GB Ultra Fit USB 3.0 drive. This is the world’s smallest high-capacity USB 3.0 drive and it can hold up to 16 hours of Full HD video while not being much bigger than the nail on your thumb. The drive still transfers files at up to 130MB/s, allowing you to transfer a full movie in less than 40 seconds.

The new Z400s SSD was also on display, a perfect balance between performance, capacity, and reliability for replacing your PC’s HDD. It’s build as a cost effective alternative to mechanical HDDs.

If the 128GB capacity from the tiny Ultra Fit drive isn’t enough, then SanDisk also has the 256GB Ultra USB 3.0 drive with up to 256GB capacity.

The SanDisk Extreme 500 is a portable SSD with a capacity up to 480GB that fits right into your pocket while being four times faster than an external HDD. It has a rugged and durable design and it is shock resistant, a perfect combination for when you’re on the go.


SanDisk also had their other drives such as the X300 and X110 in 2.5-inch and small form factor drives with them.

Enterprise users also had their part to look at with the CloudSpeed ECO Gen2 SATA3, Lighting Ultra Gen2 12Gb/s SAS, Optimus MAX 4TB SAS and Fusion ioMemory SX300 PCIe Application Accelerator.

Plextor M7e HHHL PCIe Solid State Drive at Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – Plextor had more than just value drives in the bags for Computex and also presented a new PCIe-based SSD. On the first view it might look like the M6e Black Edition, but it is in fact the brand new M7e drive.

The new Plextor M7e also surpasses the M6e on transfer speeds as it utilizes the full PCIe x4 bandwidth for transfer speeds up to 1400 MB/s reading and 1000MB/s writing. Random 4K performance is equally impressive with ratings up to 140K writing and 125K reading.

Available in capacities ranging from 256GB to 1TB, capacity isn’t an issue either and you can store all your favourite files on this fast storage drive.

The card is built around the Marvell 88SS9293 controller, a superb choice in my opinion.

Stay tuned for more news directly from Computex in Taipei.

SilverStone Presents a Range of Add-in Cards @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – When passing through exhibitor booths, it’s a pleasant change to see a different line of products from what the company is famous for. SilverStone, for example, is widely known for its cases; mainly the HTPC line up.

Today we take a look at some of the add-in cards and accessories that SilverStone offer. First off is the WiFi PCIe cards, two for integration with a motherboard using a mini-PCIe slot and one conventional PCIe WiFi card.

Along with those, we have the usual assortment of M.2 to PCIe adapter cards, USB 3.1/3.0 and RAID cards. A product that really caught my eye was the external starter card and remote switch. Owners of some HTPC cases would already have a remote control connectivity, but this could become more useful when trying to integrate a larger case into a home theatre environment.

We look forward to seeing more accessories like this from SilverStone in the future. We will keep you updated with any news and events from the rest of Computex 2015.

OCZ Will Unveil New TLC-Based Trion 100 SATA Client SSD at Computex

We’ve seen a lot of amazing things from OCZ since they became part of Toshiba, the last being the impressive new Z-Drive 6300 NVMe add-in card. The Z-Drive is mostly aimed at businesses and data centers, but that doesn’t mean that OCZ has forgotten their consumer-class fans.

During this year’s Computex in Taipei, OCZ will demonstrate their new value-oriented option, the Trion 100 SSDs. These drives are built to provide an easy and affordable way for entry-level users to optimize their mobile or desktop systems.

The Trion 100 series is based on Triple Cell (TLC) NAND made by Toshiba in their A19 TLC flash technology. The drives will also utilize Toshiba’s own Alishan SSD controller, making it another complete in-house designed drive.

The Trion 100’s preliminary performance ratings don’t sound bad at all after we’ve heard the terms budget and affordable. Sequential transfer speeds are measured up to 550MB/s and random 4K performance clocks up to 91,000 read IOPS.

“Computex is the ideal venue for us to unveil our upcoming TLC NAND-based Trion 100 SSDs,” said Alex Mei, CMO and GM of the Client Business at OCZ Storage Solutions. “By leveraging controller and TLC NAND technology from Toshiba, we are pleased to be able to bring to market the exciting new Trion 100 SSD Series which will offer end-users an optimal mix of performance, features, and value, making it easier than ever for value-conscious consumers to leverage the benefits of a high quality yet affordable SSD that delivers improved desktop and mobile computing experiences.”

OCZ will be demonstrating the new Trion 100 series, but also the NVMe Z-Drive 6000 series and probably a few more surprises. We’ll make sure to check it all out for you in our event coverage.

 

OWC Announced Accelsior S PCIe Card for 2.5-Inch Drives

Other World Computing, or OWC for short, has specialized itself in SSD and memory upgrades of both Apple and PC devices over the last 25-years and as such their latest product doesn’t come as a big surprise. The new Accelsior S PCIe card brings 6GB/s speeds to any system with a PCIe slot.

It isn’t a normal SATA controller, but you are rather meant to mount the drive directly onto the expansion card. This has ups and downs as it doesn’t require you to have a free drive slot but in return mostly is suited for SSDs that have a lighter weight and no vibrations.

“The Accelsior S provides legacy Mac Pro, PC tower, and Thunderbolt interface expansion chassis users with storage expansion and a speed bump,” said Larry O’Connor, Founder and CEO, Other World Computing. “This is a fantastic upgrade for the legacy Mac Pro, which is speed limited by its native SATA 3Gb/s architecture. The Accelsior S is fully equipped to support the flexibility and full speed of a cutting edge 6Gb/s OWC SSD.”

In return, you get another high-speed SATA 6Gb/s port for your system that might lack this natively. Many people, and especially the last generation intel users, are limited to two SATA3 ports and for those this could be a great way of adding a third high-speed drive to the system.

No extra drivers are needed and the drive attached to the card can also be used as the boot drive in your system.

It isn’t the cheapest add-on on the market and will set you back $57.75. You do on the other hand get a great products that is backed by a three-year warranty and US-based 24/7 technical support.

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.

Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


HyperX is Kingston’s high-performance product division and it is logical that they released their new M.2 based SSD under this label. Today I’m taking the Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB Solid State Drive for a test ride on my test bench to find out just how great this new M.2 SATA-based drive can perform.

The Predator SSD offers a large capacity up to 480GB, but it is also available as a 240GB model for those that need less storage or just don’t want to spend as much on a storage drive as others. The drive is rated for speeds up to 1400MB/s reading and 1000MB/s writing and it is a perfect drive for ultra-responsive multitasking as well as just an overall faster system.

The drive is built around the PCIe Gen 2.0 x4 interface and comes as either just the M.2 drive or coupled with a half-height, half-length (HHHL) PCIe adapter like the one I’m having a look at today. The drive is a lot faster than the traditional SATA SSDs thanks to the increased bandwidth that the PCIe connection offers over the relative old SATA standard.

The drive is powered by a Marvell 88SS9293 controller and coupled with Toshiba A19 Toggle NAND to achieve this great performance. The drive further has 1GB of 1600MHz DDR3 memory in two 512MB packages for caching purposes and general operation. All in all, that is a lot of hardware packed onto this small 2280 gum stick shaped solid state drive.

Kingston’s HyperX Predator PCIe SSD has a mean time before failure of 1 million hours and this 480GB version is rated for 882TB total bytes written (TBW) which equals to 1.7 full drive writes per day (DWPD). The smaller 240GB model has an almost identical rating with 1.6 DWPD which equals to 415TB TBW over the drive’s lifetime.

Kingston opted for a fully black device and I like this. The black PCB is a nice touch and one that is followed through from M.2 SSD to PCIe adapter board. There is also an extra foam pad mounted next to the connector to stabilize the inserted M.2 drive and prevent accidental damage.

Kingston backs this drive with their great customer service and a three-year warranty. The package with the PCIe adapter also included a low-profile replacement bracket for mounting abilities in SSF chassis, a key for Acronis True Image disk cloning software, and a cool HyperX sticker for your case.

Time to dive into the tests and see how this drive performs, it sure sounds like an awesome one.

Noctua Presents Two Asymmetrical 140mm CPU Coolers

Noctua announced two new CPU coolers for people who would like the improved airflow and decrease noise production that a 140mm fan has to offer, but at the same time worry about clearance space for RAM and PCI-Express slots. The two new fans are the NH-D15S that is a single fan version of the elite-class dual tower model NH-D15 and the second being the NH-C14S that replaces the proven top-flow cooler NH-C14.

“140mm coolers have become the default choice for enthusiasts who seek superior cooling performance for overclocking or near-silent operation, but these tend to block the top PCIe slot on many current motherboards,” says Mag. Roland Mossig, Noctua CEO. “With the NH-D15S and NH-C14S, we’ve updated our successful 140mm dual tower and top flow coolers with asymmetrical layouts that ensure the best PCIe compatibility.”

The NH-C14S is the successor to the award-winning NH-C14 an it is an elite-class top-flow CPU cooler. Thanks to its deeper fin stack and the renowned NF-A14 PWM fan, the single fan NH-C14S provides similar quiet cooling performance to its dual fan predecessor while being even more versatile.

You have the choice whether you want RAM clearance or an extreme low profile cooler. With the fan installed on top of the fins, the cooler is compatible with RAM modules of up to 70mm height and with the fan installed underneath the fins, the total height of the cooler is only 115mm.

 

The ND-D15S is tailored for both RAM and PCIe compatibility thanks to the clearance gained from the asymmetrical single fan design.

The recessed lower fins guarantee 100% RAM compatibility with memory modules of up to 65mm height and users who have sufficient room can also upgrade the cooler with either a 120mm or round 140mm fan on the front fin stack for even more performance in dual fan mode.

 

Both of the new CPU coolers come with Noctua’s trusted, pro-grade SecuFirm2 multi-socket mounting system, the proven NT-H1 thermal compound, and a Low-Noise Adaptors.

The NH-C14S is currently shipping and will be available shortly whereas the NH-D15S will ship sometime in June. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices are €74.90 for the top flow NH-C14S and €79.90 for the tower NH-D15S cooler. Both come backed by a full 6 years manufacturer warranty.

Addonics Announced M2 Hybrid Controller and M2 SSD Adapter

Addonics is one of those companies that creates gadgets and tools that you didn’t know you need until you see them, then you don’t know how you ever lived without. They have just released two new PCIe x4 controllers for M.2 PCIe and SATA drives, allowing you to utilize your system in a whole different way.

The Addonics Dual Hyper HDD M2 Hybrid Controller (model AD4SAHM2) is a two-port SATA III PCI-e 4-lane host controller combined with two M2 (NGFF) SSD slots. In standard mode, the connected two M2 SSDs and the two SATA hard drives can be set up to operate as four individual drives or combined to form a RAID 0, RAID 1 or RAID 10 group .

The two SATA ports support Port Multiplier and when used with M2 SSDs, the controller can use turn your HDDs into SSHDs by using the SSD for hot data and the HDD for the lesser-used data.

The second new add-on card is the M2 PCIe SSD Adapter (model AD2M2S-PX4) that allows you to install three M.2 SSDs. You can combine of one M2 PCI SSD and two M2 SATA SSDs in size ranging from 32 mm to 110 mm in length. The adapter requires no drivers and will present all three drives individually to your operating system.

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

MSI GS60 2QD (Ghost) 470UK Gaming Notebook Review

Introduction


MSI have been busy lately, dishing out their latest range of MSI Gaming notebooks and they’re keen to show that they have a gaming notebook offering for virtually every budget range. Today we are looking at their mid-to-high range offering, the GS60 2QD (Ghost), and MSI kindly offered us a chance to review a red limited edition version instead of the usual black. A 15″ full HD 1080p screen, high-end i7 processor, PCIE storage and the brand new Nvidia GTX765 under the hood, we should be in for an interesting review!

Specifications
  • Name: GS60 2QD(Ghost)-470UK-
  • CPU: Sharkbay Core i7-4720HQ (2.6GHz – 3.6GHz)
  • RAM: 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 1.35w (8GB*2)
  • SSD: 128GB PCIE M.2 SSD
  • HDD: 1TB 7200RPM
  • GPU:NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M 2GB
  • LAN:10/100/1000/Gigabits Base T
  • WLAN: Killer DoubleShot Pro 11ac Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
  • Monitor:  15.6″ FHD, Anti-Glare (1920*1080) eDP Wide View Angle
  • Keyboard: SteelSeries FULL back lit keyboard with SteelSeries Engine
  • I/O: 3x USB3.0, 1x HDMI,1x Mini Display Port, SD Reader, Mic-in, Headphone-out, line-in, line-out, 1x 1Gb LAN, FHD Webcam
  • ODD: None
  • Battery: 6-Cell Li-Polymer(4840mAh 52Wh)
  • OS: Windows 8.1
  • Dimensions: 390 x 266 x 19.9mm
  • Weight: 1.9kg(w/ battery)
  • Warranty: 2 YR’s Collect & Return (1 YR Global)
  • Price:£1,299 Inc VAT

Packaging & Accessories

It arrived well packed and undamaged I’m pleased to report; nothing more to say, so lets open it up!

On opening the outer box we can see it has been divided into 2 sections

The smaller section contains a protective case, featuring the MSI shield logo.

Close Up, it wont protect the GS60 from drops much, though it should keep all normal wear and tear to a minimum.

The notebook box itself is very nice…

With the lid lifting straight off to reveal the sheathed notebook.

Putting the notebook to one side for the minute and exploring the rest of the box, there are 2 wide compartments under the notebook and a long compartment running alongside the notebook.

The left wide compartment contains various Warranty and documentation information, the right wide compartment contains the power brick, and the long compartment contained the 3pin to clover power connector.

Power brick close up

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

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

MSI Rolls out the MS-98G5 IPC Featuring an Embedded Broadwell Processor

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