VAIO, Fujitsu and Toshiba PC Division Merger Stalls

With the PC market being increasingly commoditized, those firms without economies of scale are seeing their PC divisions are more of a liability than an asset. After being spun off from Sony nearly 3 years ago, VAIO entered talks with Fujitsu and Toshiba to merge their PC divisions together. Combined, the 3 would have challenged current Japanese market leader NEC Lenovo. Unfortunately, it appears that the talks have broken down for now.

The main breakdown in the negotiations was due to disagreements on how to merge assets. Japan Industrial Partners, the majority owner of VAIO, wanted to cut as much fat as possible during the merger. Fujitec on the other hand, wanted to keep as many of their current assets as possible and wanted to minimize restructuring. Toshiba seemed to be in no rush to close a deal even as their finances plunged even more into the red.

As the situation continues to deteriorate for the 3 firms, they may soon be back at the table to hammer out a deal. Combined, they would have over 30% of the domestic and just over 3% of the global market. That just might be enough to save them from disappearing. On their own though, they are unlikely to stand a chance of lasting any sustained period of time.

Toshiba Doubles Layoffs to Over 14000 Positions

The past few years haven’t been good for Japanese conglomerates and the it appears things are getting even worse at Toshiba. After a massive accounting scandal popped up last year, the Japanese firm ended up losing a massive $4.5 billion USD for the 2015 fiscal year. That led to planned cuts of 7,800 positions worldwide as an effort to cut costs. Things appear to have gotten worse though as Toshiba is now reported to cut over 14,000 positions in this round of layoffs.

At 14,000, this is double the initial estimates for cuts. 7,610 positions or around half are to come from the consumer electronics and PC business segments. Another 4,590 jobs were trimmed from the semiconductor business as well. Finally, 3,449 workers were offered early retirement packages. In total, this is about 7% of Toshiba global workforce of 198,741 people worldwide.

With the PC division set to be sold off eventually, the cuts there probably won’t mean much. The much bigger concern comes from the semiconductor business. Toshiba and partner SanDisk are one of the few NAND manufacturers, along with IMFT, SK Hynix and Samsung. Both companies have faced serve financial trouble and SanDisk recently sold itself to Western Digital. If WD is unable to revive SanDisk and Toshiba continues its downwards trend, we may lose a NAND producer, something no consumer wants.

ASRock E3V5 WS (Intel C232) Super Alloy Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


Today’s motherboard review lands right in the middle of everything. Not because it’s all over the place, but because it has a lot of usage scenarios and support for pretty much any setup. You could use ASRock’s E5V5 WS motherboard in a gaming system as well as in a server setup as both of those setups are fully supported, but its real area of operation is to act as the base for a powerful workstation.

The ASRock E5V5 WS uses an LGA 1151 socket and the board is compatible with both E3-1200 v5 processors such as the one I’ll be using later on in this review, but it also supports normal 6th Generation Intel Core processors – so basically the entire Skylake and Skylake-S line-up. As backbone behind the CPU that you end up using is the Intel C232 chipset that is perfectly tuned for workstation environments and a motherboard like this. Memory wise you can use normal DDR4 DIMMs as well as ECC UDIMM memory modules with a speed of up to 2133 MHz in the four DIMM slots with 15μ gold contacts for a total of up to 64GB RAM.

The gold contacts in the memory slots aren’t the only quality feature in this motherboard. The E3V5 WS motherboard is part of ASRock’s Super Alloy series and comes with premium 50A power chokes and is made of a high-density glass fabric PCB. It also features ASRock’s full spike protection that protects from sudden surges, lightning, and electrostatic discharges (ESD).

The network connection isn’t controlled by the average low-performance controller either and we find an Intel PHY i219LM controller on this motherboard. The Gigabit Ethernet controller supports Wake-On-LAN, supports 802.3az energy efficient ethernet and PXE. The Ethernet controller is one of the parts that is protected by the Full Spike Protection. The second part with protection is the USB. The ASRock E35 WS features two USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel and you can connect another four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports via headers. All of these are protected by the ASRock Full Spike Protection. The audio is also protected by this and we find a 7.1 channel HD Audio controller, the Realtek ALC892. It features Blu-ray audio support and uses ELNA solid audio capacitors. Last but not least, you also find legacy PS2 connectors for both your mouse and keyboard.

 

Internally we find good expansion options too. Since we are dealing with an Intel-based motherboard, we also get IRST for RAID setups across the six SATA3 6 Gb/s connectors. Supported modes include the normal RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 modes.

There are two PCIe Gen3 x16 slots that support both Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro workstation graphics cards as well as consumer graphics cards. There is also full support for the use of AMD’s CrossfireX technology for multiple graphics card usage. As I mentioned earlier, you can make a great workstation with this motherboard. There are three more PCIe Gen3 x1 slots available for further expansion and neither of them will be blocked by the use of two-slot graphics cards. Even with a CrossfireX setup, you’ll still have access to the three x1 slots.

Quality hardware and components are just one side of the story, we also need a good BIOS and proper software to have the best experinece. The E3V5 WS comes with both of those features too. The UEFI BIOS has the easy EZ mode dashboard besides the advanced setup pages, which contains multiple readings of the system’s current status. You can check the most crucial information of your system, such as CPU speed, DRAM frequency, SATA information, fan speed, etc.

Even better, you can reach the tech support purely from the systems BIOS, as long as the system has an internet connection. You can also install LAN drivers onto your windows installation directly from the BIOS.

The ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard) technology allows you to establish an internet curfew or restrict internet access at specified times for your kids. Stay in control of their surfing times without yelling. This probably isn’t the most used function in a workstation system, but it could be used to shut down any connection attempts outside of office hours. Another useful feature is the USB Key function that can replace the password question when you log into windows. Do it by plugging a USB drive in instead.

The well-known ASRock XFast RAM and XFast LAN are also built into this motherboard. The XFast RAM feature allows you to fully utilize the memory space that otherwise can’t be accessed in 32-bit systems, among others. XFast LAN is a quality of service protocol that prioritizes the important traffic so you don’t have to wait for loading times. ASRock Live Update and APP Shop also help to make the maintenance easier.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers product page and can as such be subject to changes in future revisions of the product.

Key Features:

  • ASRock Super Alloy
  • Server-Grade LAN chip support
  • Supports the Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 Processor & 6th Generation Intel Core Processors (Socket 1151)
  • Supports DDR4 2133 & ECC UDIMM memory modules
  • 2 PCIe 3.0 x16 and 3 PCIe 3.0 x1
  • Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec), ELNA Audio Caps
  • 6 SATA3 and 6 USB 3.0 (2 Front, 4 Rear)
  • Supports Full Spike Protection, ASRock Live Update & APP Shop
  • Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit, 8.1 64-bit, 7 32-bit, 7 64-bit, Server 2012 R2 64-bit, Server 2012 64-bit, and Server 2008 R2 64-bit support

Packaging and Accessories

A quality motherboard also deserves a great look package, and the E3V5 WS got that. The front makes no secret about the boards power.

On the rear of the box, you will find a detailed photo of the motherboard itself as well as feature highlights and specifications.

Inside the box is a user manual, a driver disk, two SATA cables, and an IO shield besides the motherboard itself.

PNY CS2211 XLR8 240GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Today’s review is a special one for me as it is the first time I get to review a PNY SSD. I got the XLR8 CS2211 2.5-inch gaming branded SSD on the test bench today and it will be interesting to see how well it does. The PNY CS2211 SSD is available in three capacities from 240GB over 480GB to 960GB from which I’ll be testing the 240GB model today.

PNY is no stranger in the SSD market and they created some great drives in the past for all sectors of the market, but they’re probably most known for their graphics cards. But we aren’t here to talk about graphics cards, it is about storage today. PNY has taken what they have learned from their previous drives and created the XLR8 branded CS2211 drive, and it shows in the performance ratings.

The drive is rated for a sequential performance of up to 565 MB/s reading and 540MB/s writing, which is about as good as it gets on the SATA3 interface. The random input-output performance is equally impressive with 95K IOPS ratings for both reading and writing. Those are at least the ratings for the larger models and the small 240GB version can’t keep fully up with that. It still comes with impressive ratings despite being a little slower ,with an 87K IOPS rating and a drop in sequential writes to 470MB/s.

It is no surprise that the drive has such good ratings as it is built with only the best components. It utilizes 15nm Toshiba MLC NAND and a Phison PS3110-S10 controller aided by 256MB DDR3 cache package

PNY gave the CS2211 the XLR8 styling as a gaming product, but the design has been toned down a bit in comparison to the previous XLR8 drive design. It is a beautiful design that makes the drive stand out and also makes in an optimal candidate for systems that proudly shows what components they are made off.

There are a lot of products that get a ‘gaming’ label in order to appeal to that market segment, but the CS2211 does deserve this label. It is a perfect gaming drive thanks to its high IOPS performance on top of the high sequential performance. You’ll copy fast, load fast, and should experience even less loading times in-game.

Feature wise we find the basic Trim and SMART capabilities, but the CS2211 also comes with background garbage collection, end-to-end data protection, and error correction code for up to 120 bits per 2K sector. Overall, we see a drive that presents itself very well and PNY agrees with a 2 million hours mean time before failure rating and a full 4-year warranty.

The 7mm slim drive is perfect for usage in both desktop and notebook systems where it also will fit well in 9.5mm drive bays thanks to the included adapter bracket. The SSD doesn’t feature the DevSleep function that I really like to see in drives, but that isn’t a deal breaker and most gamers don’t want power saving features, they want pure and raw performance which the CS2211 delivers.

Aside from the beautiful brand sticker on the top, the drive is built with a standard 2-piece snap-together enclosure that holds the PCB and doesn’t require any screws that could loosen themselves over time in high-vibration environments.

The PCB itself is a two-thirds length one with a total of eight NAND chips distributed over the front and back. The Phison PS3110 S10C controller sits firmly in the middle of the PCB. Next to it we also see the Nanya DDR3 cache chip that helps the drive to achieve the great speeds that it can.

Specifications

  • Capacity: 240GB
  • Part Number: SSD7CS2211-240-RB
  • Form Factor: 2.5 inch
  • Height: 7mm
  • Interface: SATA-III 6Gb/s; backward compatible with SATA-II 3Gb/s
  • Max Sequential Read Speed: 560 MB/s
  • Max Sequential Write Speed: 470 MB/s
  • Max Random Read Speed: 87,000 IOPS
  • Max Random Write Speed: 95,000 IOPS
  • NAND Type: MLC
  • Ideal For: Gaming, Hard disk drive replacement, photo and video storage, and boot drives

Packaging and Accessories

The PNY XLR8 CS2211 solid state drive came packed in a simple black box with the PNY logo on the side.

Inside the box is the SSD itself as well as a 9.5mm adapter for usage in notebooks and laptops designed for the 9.5mm thick drives. By adding the adapter to the drive, you make sure that it’s firmly seated in the system and doesn’t rattle around.

Normally you’d get the drive in a more colourful wrapping and with an included registration key for the Acronis True Image cloning software. Review samples like this one sometimes come with a few things missing because the company is in a hurry to get the drives to us so we can test them for you – and they know that we don’t need the extras.

Toshiba Recalls Batteries Amongst Fears of Melting

Toshiba is a company known for their laptops and SSD’s, offering hardware to hundreds of people. If you are one of those people it may be best to double-check your laptop as Toshiba recalls batteries amongst fears of the batteries overheating and melting.

That’s right, the batteries can actually melt. Affecting nearly 40 different including popular Satellite models, the recall is expected to affect over 100,000 devices in the US and Canada alone.

In order to check if your battery, be it an original or one you’ve ordered as a replacement, you can go to Toshiba’s website and download a utility that will check if your battery is one of those affected by the recall. You can check the battery manually by comparing its battery part and accessory party number to the list provided here. As part of the recall, anyone who is found to have an affected battery will receive a replacement battery, with reassurances it won’t be one known for overheating and melt.

With large companies like Microsoft and Amazon having recalled equipment, all amongst heating and safety risks, the risk that a bad battery or charger is far too great to ignore. People have reported mobile phones exploding due to charging and most recently a mobile phones was found to have burst into flames on a plane, both examples of why we as purchasers and users of technology should be careful and check their devices when recalls such as these are announced.

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.

Supermicro X11SAE Workstation (Intel C236) Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


Intel recently released their Greenlow based Skylake series Xeon CPUs and it’s a pleasure to take a look at the first enterprise-grade motherboard built for these processors today. I have Supermicro’s X11SAE motherboard on the test bench which is a standard ATX-sized single CPU board, but one with all the trimmings.

“Supermicro’s new X11 UP workstations, long-life embedded systems and motherboards integrate the latest technologies such as USB 3.1 and M.2 as well as step up performance, density and efficiency to provide a new generation of Green Computing solutions,” said Charles Liang, President and CEO of Supermicro. “Indeed, with Supermicro’s first-to-market integration, advanced engineering and architecture expertise, we deliver the widest range of Skylake-S platforms available to the industry, enabling our customers with exactly the best competitive advantage on the market.”

Supermicro’s X11SAE doesn’t just support the new Greenlow Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 family CPUs, you can also use 6th Gen Core i7, i5, i3, Pentium, and Celeron series processors. The brain behind the motherboard is the new C236 chipset which comes with a lot of enhancements over the predecessors and Supermicro generally added the newest technologies to this motherboard. Additionally, the motherboard supports up to 64GB DDR4 2133MHz ECC UDIMMs in its 4 sockets. While this motherboard does support ECC and non-ECC modules, it doesn’t support RDIMMS, so make sure you get the right ones.

There are plenty of storage features on this motherboard with the eight native SATA3 6 Gbps ports provided directly by the chipset. The ports support RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 for that extra spice in your storage setup and the motherboard also has two SuperDOM ports with built-in power. You’ll also find a next-gen PCIe M.2 slot beside the default SATA3 ports, allowing you to get that extra speed. The M.2 slot doesn’t support AHCI modules, but 2242, 2260, and 2280 PCIe modules will run at a great speed thanks to the x4 slot.

Further expansion can be added through the two PCI-E 3.0 x16 and three PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots. The Supermicro X11SAE also features two legacy 5V PCI 32-bit slots for use with older hardware despite the upgrade to the newest platform.

Externally the X11SAE has two Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 LAN ports where one is powered by an Intel i210-AT and the other is powered by an Intel i219LM chip. There’s also a DVI, a DisplayPort, and an HDMI out for use when processors with iGPU are inserted into the motherboard. Further, you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.1 ports on the rear IO area. The USB 3.1 ports sport the increased bandwidth and power which allows it to run with up to 10Gbps.

Internally you can connect an additionally four USB 3.0 and size USB 2.0 ports. The motherboard also features two COM port headers, an ALC 888S 7.1 HD Audio chip, a TPM 1.2 header, and much more.

A workstation motherboard also needs a good set of monitoring abilities. You can connect up to five PWM fans with status monitor for speed control, on/off settings, and tachometer. The temperature monitoring includes the CPU and chassis environment as well as CPU thermal trip support and I2C temperature sensing logic and Thermal Monitor 2 (TM2) support.

As a Supermicro motherboard, we also have the benefits of their SuperDoctor 5 software that monitors system health of hardware and operating system services from the target nodes in real-time and provides alerts to administrators on the availability of systems in data centers.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers product page and can as such be subject to changes in future revisions of the product.

Key Features:

  • Single socket H4 (LGA 1151) supports: Intel Xeon processor E3-1200 v5, Intel 6th Gen. Core i7/i5/i3 series, Intel Celeron and Intel Pentium
  • Intel C236 chipset
  • Up to 64GB Unbuffered ECC/non-ECC, UDIMM DDR4 2133MHz; 4x DIMM slots
  • 2 PCI-E 3.0 x16 (run at 16/NA or 8/8), 3 PCI-E 3.0 x1 (in x4), and 2 5V PCI 32-bit slots
  • Single GbE LAN with Intel i210-AT, Single GbE LAN with Intel i219LM
  • 8x SATA3 (6Gbps) via C236; RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 + 1 PCIe M.2 (support PCIe x4 only, 2242/2260/2280)
  • I/O: 2x COM, TPM 1.2 header
  • 2x SuperDOM with built-in power
  • 6x USB 3.0 (2 rear + 4 via header), 8x USB 2.0 (2 rear + 6 via headers), 2x USB 3.1 (10Gbps, rear)

Packaging and Accessories

The Supermicro X11SAE comes in a neutral package and that’s all that’s needed for a board like this. It isn’t one you’ll find on a shelve in the local store while browsing around, it’s one your order because you know it’s the one you want. There’s still a sticker on the side that will tell you what’s inside and what the base specifications are.

The rear of the box explains a little bit about the series of motherboards which this one is part off. You get basic information about the series as well as a quick view of optimized chassis and systems.

Inside the box we find four SATA3 cables and the IO shield next to the motherboard itself.

VAIO Wants Merger With Toshiba and Fujitec PC Divisions

After being spun off from Sony two years ago, it looks like VAIO is planning to expand its PC operations. Despite the doom and gloom in the PC market, VAIO is reportedly planning a merger with the PC divisions of Toshiba and Fujitec, two other major Japanese PC OEMs. In fact, Japan Industrial Partners Inc, the owners of VAIO, are expected to hold the largest stake in the new firm and expects the consolidation will streamline the operation. The new company would rival NEC Lenovo in the Japanese market with a third of marketshare.

For Toshiba and Fujitec, this presents a good opportunity for them to get out of a market which has not much for them in the last while. Toshiba, in particular, is already trying to get rid of their less profitable divisions already and focus on NAND. By merging, the new as yet to be named firm has a will be able to leverage it’s now stronger domestic presence and make a bid for the international market as a whole, something VAIO has been trying to do.

In the current race to the bottom, there are only a few major players left like ASUS, HP, Dell, Lenovo, Samsung and Acer have any significant presence and some of them aren’t doing quite well right now. Windows 10 has largely failed to help spur new growth and there seems to be little relief in sight. If the continued survival of a Japanese PC maker means a merger, it will happen sooner or later.

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.

Toshiba Launches HK4 Series SSDs

Toshiba America Electronic Components has just announced the availability of a new enterprise 6Gbit/s SATA solid state drive series named HK4, which was designed with high-performance, high-capacity and reliability in mind. These products represent the company’s very first enterprise SSDs to incorporate 15 nm MLC NAND flash memory with low latency that can ensure high quality of service. Those of you who are looking for read-intensive SSDs should definitely have a look at the HK4R Series, as it comes in capacities up to 1.92 TB and basically sips on power. This series is designed for applications such as video-on-demand, media streaming, search engines, web servers and file servers, but it can also be used for warm data storage as well.

As for the Toshiba HK4E, they represent the brand’s value-endurance offering, as they boast an endurance level of DWPD3 and can offer as much as 1.6 TB in terms of capacity. This makes the HK4E ideal for mixed workload applications or data centers. Both variants of the  HK4 Series incorporate Toshiba’s QSBC (Quadruple Swing-By Code) error-correction technology, which helps keep your data safe from NAND flash memory media wear. Regarding these new products, Toshiba America Electronic Components’ vice president of SSD and storage solutions marketing, Jeremy Werner, had a few words to say:

“The HK4 Series joins our family of SATA SSDs and is designed to meet the needs of our customers who are looking for a SATA SSD with low operating power, excellent quality of service, high capacity and with encryption. Knowing that security and encryption is a priority for our customers, we are thrilled to release a SATA SSD that meets those needs.”

As far as availability is concerned, these new Toshiba SSDs will launch in April 2016, and they will benefit from a five-year limited warranty.

Toshiba Unveils SSDs with 15nm TLC NAND Flash Memory

Just in case you were looking for a brand new high-performance SSD, you should know that Toshiba has just revealed the launch of its “SG5 series.” What makes these SSDs special when compared to other similar products is the fact that they integrate NAND chips created using 15nm TLC process technology. The products will become available in two different form factors, namely 2.5-types and M.2 2280 (single- and double-sided). It’s also worth noting that the SG5 series will include large capacity models of up to 1024GB, which should definitely appeal to those of you who are looking for incredibly fast read speeds without sacrificing on storage space. Other available capacities include 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. Performance-wise, we’re talking about sequential write speeds of 388 MB/s and sequential read speeds of 545 MB/s.

The SG5 also incorporates the company’s proprietary QSBC (Quadruple Swing-By Code) error-correction technology, which makes sure to protect your precious data from corruption thus guaranteeing a high degree of reliability. Obviously, this is a very nice feature to have, especially for your own peace of mind. Below you will find a complete list of specifications for this new Toshiba SSD series. Make sure to let us know what you think about these products so far. Would you install one in your own rig?

OCZ Introduces Trion 150 SSD Series

OCZ already showcased their Trion 150 series SSD during CES 2016 in Vegas and now it has been officially introduced. The new Trion 150 series replaces the current Trion 100 series and it is built with Toshiba’s 15nm Triple-Level-Cell NAND technology for even better performance on a budget.

Making the move from traditional mechanical hard disk drives to the faster solid state drives is simply something everyone has to experience. The difference is like day and night, but not everyone has the budget to get the flagship SSDs on the market. That is where these drives come into play as they still offer a great performance but don’t come with the heavy price.

The Trion 150 with its Toshiba controller and 15nm TLC NAND can bring you speeds of up to 550 MB/s reading and 530MB/s writing while the random performance still provides up to 91K IOPS reading and 64K IOPS writing. These specifications will decrease your boot time as well as any data access significantly and an SSD is an upgrade that every system should get. The OCZ Trion 150 will be available in capacities of 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB which should cover most people’s needs.

One of the downsides to TLC NAND is that it doesn’t have the same endurance as MLC and SLC NAND, but that isn’t something that should scare you away as a normal user. Despite the lower endurance, these drives will easily outlive their time of operation in most systems and it shouldn’t be something you need to worry about. The Trion 150 has an endurance rating of up to 240TB total bytes written which should be plenty.

The new 15nm Toshiba TLC NAND is quite a bit better than the previous 19nm thanks to the optimized manufacturing processes and it shows in this drive. Ordinary flagship drives can easily handle write loads of 50GB at once, but that’s a problem for TLC drives. They are just as fast with small area writes as the bigger brothers, but when they have to write more than a few GB in one instance, they suffer some performance loss. To combat this, a part of the NAND is being run in SLC mode as a kind of burst area. You can easily copy large amounts of data to the drive at once, but once the SLC cache has been exceeded, the performance will drop a little bit. The good news here is that the new series offers almost twice the write speed that the Trion 100 was able to offer during these scenarios.

Despite being a budget drive, the OCZ Trion 150 is still backed by a 3-year warranty and it isn’t just a normal warranty either. OCZ gave the Trion 150 the ShieldPlus Warranty for the entire time and it’s pretty much the best drive warranty you can get anywhere, especially for free and included. In the unlikely event that a drive needs to be replaced, you got a worry-free customer service experience which eliminates all the hassle and cost surrounding traditional support and warranty claims consumers often have to deal with. OCZ has you covered.

“Our Trion 100 series solid state drives quickly became a top seller for us and are popular among end users seeking a performance boost over hard drives at a very reasonable price,” said Steve Fingerhut, Sr. Vice President and GM of SSD BU, at Toshiba America Electronics Corporation. “We are continually looking for ways to improve both SSD real world performance and value to end users and are pleased to introduce the new Trion 150 series which leverages the latest Toshiba 15nm Triple-Level Cell NAND flash to deliver an even better storage solution for value-oriented mobile and desktop users.”

The Trion 150 is expected to be on par if not below the Trion 100 pricing, so that is great news for consumers. I also really like the new drive design, a little fresher than the previous. We will naturally have full reviews of this series ready for you shortly.

Toshiba Drops Chip Production in Favour of NAND

Even with the accounting scandal 6 months behind it, Toshiba is still finding its actions limited by the fallout. As a result of discovering that profits from many divisions had been exaggerated, the Japanese conglomerate has been cutting out parts that it once thought were profitable but actually weren’t. The latest cut comes as the LSI (Large Scale Integration) segment of chip production is being sold off and funds diverted to support more NAND investment.

Part of the LSI division was already pawned off last year when Toshiba sold their imaging sensor business to rival Sony. The company is facing financial troubles after posting a massive loss last year and sees NAND as the best bet going forward. The Development Bank of Japan has reportedly shown interest in purchasing the LSI business. This means Toshiba will no longer manufacture controllers for things cars, fridges, home appliances and industrial machinery.

Placing their bet in the NAND industry does make a lot of sense along with partner SanDisk, they among the elite 4 in NAND production. Their LSI business has just been costing them tons of money and marketshare isn’t that great. With purchases like OCZ, Toshiba stands a much better chance with NAND as the flash storage continues to grow in volume. It is unknown at this time if Toshiba will retain control of their chip production for their SSD controllers.

Toshiba’s Read-intensive 2TB and 4TB PX04SL SSDs Now Shipping

Enterprises need a whole different set of hardware than we consumers do and Toshiba has a lot to offer in this area and among the available enterprise products is a whole list of solid state drives optimized for different kind of workloads. The newest in this category is the very read-intensive enterprise SAS SSD called the PX04SL that just began shipping as samples today. The Toshiba PX04SL series is optimized for read-intensive application workloads such as data warehousing, web servers, media streaming, and video on demand (VOD) services.

There are two main factors for enterprises when they pick the hardware to use. It has to work as good as possible in the intended usage scenario and it has to have a total cost of ownership that is as low as possible without compromising the needed performance. Toshiba’s PX04SL generation SAS SSDs offer both and come in both 2TB and 4TB capacity versions.

Thanks to the 12Gbps dual-port SAS interface and the used components, these PX04SL drives are able to deliver a sustained 4K random read performance of 270,000 IOPS and a sustained 64K sequential read performance up to 1900MB/s. This helps read-intensive application workloads achieve superior results and should prevent bottlenecks.

The Toshiba PX04SL is a 2.5-inch form factor drive, but it is 15mm high to make room for all the hardware inside. It is rated for up to 25 complete disk writes per day for a period of 5 years with 100% random workload, therefore be reliable for a long time. The series features a full power-loss-protection and end-to-end data protection that both help to keep every bit of your data correct, even in the case of power failures and other unforeseen circumstances.

The PX04SL SSDs also allow for customer-tunable power and performance optimization as well as self-encrypting and FIPS options. Everything an enterprise with respect for itself will want.

Feature Highlights

  • Impressive Read/Write Bandwidth and Random IOPS
  • Up to 4 TB Storage Capacity
  • Dual-Port 12.0 Gbit/s SAS Interface
  • 2.5-Inch Form-Factor, 15mm Z-Height
  • Up to 25 complete DWPD for 5 years with 100% Random Workload
  • Full Power-Loss-Protection and End-to-End Data Protection
  • Customer-Tunable Power and Performance Optimization
  • Self-Encrypting and FIPS Options

Fixstars Launches World’s First 13TB SSD

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Fixstars has unveiled the world’s first 13TB 2.5-inch solid state drive, more than doubling the capacity of the next largest SSD of 6TB. There is a catch, however, and it’s a pretty big one: the Fixstars SSD-13000M will be priced at approximately $1-per-gigabyte, putting the cost of the 13TB drive at around $13,000, according to spokesperson Shien Zhu (via PC World).

The drive uses a SATA 6Gbps interface and is based around 15nm MLC NAND flash technology from Toshiba – a minority shareholder in Fixstars – but with a proprietary Fixstars controller that boasts faster sequential read and write speeds of up to 580/520 MB/s. The random read/write speeds are yet to be revealed.

The SSD-13000M will be sold directly via the Fixstars website, and not through other retailers. While Fixstars sees the drive as appealing to enterprise and business customers, anyone with $13k to burn can get their hands on one.

Competitors in the SSD market have indicated that they don’t plan to release a drive to compete with Fixstars’ 13TB drive in the immediate future, with SanDisk launching 6TB and 8TB SSDs this year, and Samsung releasing a 4TB SSD.

Fixstars has also revealed a 10TB iteration, the SSD-10000M, which is also expected to be priced at around $1-per-gigabyte. The release date for both SSDs is yet to be confirmed.

OCZ Significantly Broadens ShieldPlus SSD Warranty Program

With more and more of our purchases being online these days, it is ever more important to have a good RMA and warranty policy in case something goes bad. In a major but not unsurprising move, OCZ Storage Solutions has expanded their ShieldPlus warranty program for their SSDs. Tripling the number of countries by going from 33 to 99, it means more OCZ customers will be able to benefit from the advanced warranty program.

ShieldPlus is one of the better warranty programs for SSDs out there right now. When a drive becomes defective, owners merely have to provide the details of the issue as well the serial number. Once technical support confirms the defect is with the drive, OCZ will give the customer a prepaid shipping label and cross-ship a replacement drive within 24 hours for no charge. This is generally better than most policies that require the customer to send the defective product on their own dime.

A few years back OCZ suffered from a high failure rate for their SSDs and the company ended up being acquired by Toshiba. Since then OCZ has fixed their drives up and have made a strong comeback. With the extension of this warranty to more countries, there is all the more reason for users to consider OCZ these days. The ShieldPlus program currently covers the Vertex 460A, Vector 180, AMD R7, ARC 100 and Trion 100.

Toshiba Records $4.5 Billion Annual Loss

Toshiba CEO was forced to resign after revelations came to fruition about the company’s management exaggerating operating profits by as much as $1.2 billion. Clearly, this has made a profound impact on their reputation among partners and consumers. According to The Wall Street Journal, The company is set to make a $4.5 billion annual loss with 7,800 jobs being cut as part of a large restructuring programme. Toshiba is having to make difficult decisions to try to restore faith in the company and rebuild once again. However, given their tarnished reputation, it’s impossible to know if they have a long-term future.

Out out the job losses, 6,800 are going from Toshiba’s customer electronics and applications department. Toshiba President Masashi Muromachi said about the upcoming financial period:

“We admit our steps toward restructuring were behind the curve,”

“The damage wouldn’t be this large if we had been able to implement overhaul plans much sooner.”

He also suggested that the company would “focus on businesses that can generate profits” and “consider withdrawals from unprofitable ones if a turnaround is difficult.”  This is an interesting statement to make and exemplifies how challenging Toshiba’s future is. It seems even the company’s CEO isn’t optimistic about the profitability of certain markets. This means is perfectly feasible for them to exit the consumer electronic sector to stay afloat.

Toshiba is Apparently Selling Their Camera Business to Sony

There have been rumors circulating from Bloomberg, the Japan Times and Reuters regarding the sale of Toshiba’s sensor business to Sony. Apparently, the deal is worth $165 million and part of Toshiba’s large restructuring programme. The image sensors are paramount to Toshiba’s LSI semiconductor business and provides the technology for smartphones and traditional cameras. However, Toshiba’s position in the smartphone market is extremely weak and only used in a couple of handsets; the most luxurious model is the HTC One M9.

In contrast to this, Sony controlled about 40 percent of the $8.7 billion image sensor market last year, compared with about 16 percent for its next biggest competitor, according to Techno System Research. Compared to their other business ventures, the sensor market is extremely promising and a profitable endeavor. As a result, this particular sale makes sense given Sony’s financial success and Toshiba’s fragile position. Additionally, Toshiba needs to try to restore faith in their company given the recent executive profits scandal.

Sony even provides the sensor technology to a large quantity of Chinese handsets, while keeping their flagship technology for the Xperia series. It’s an interesting course of events, as Sony’s mobile sales were quite poor and it looked for some time they could exit this particular market.

Tsinghua Group Look to Acquire SanDisk and Toshiba

China is looking to expand heavily into the storage industry with the latest acquisition rumour. According to the report, Tsinghua Group, a Chinese government-controlled investment group is looking into acquiring either SanDisk or Toshiba to get access to their NAND technology. Both Toshiba and SanDisk currently work together in a joint venture to research, develop and produce NAND memory. Other notable NAND firms are Intel and Micron (IMFT), Samsung and SK Hynix.

Tsinghua Group had earlier been looking to buy up Micron Technologies, another major NAND player. Those talks over a $23 billion deal fell apart after the US government stepped in over national security concerns. This time around, the United States won’t be able to intervene as neither firms are American. SanDisk a South Korean firm while Toshiba is Japanese. Still both of those countries may still have some issues about national security.

Of the two, it is most likely for a South Korean SanDisk deal to go through. Those two nations are on friendlier terms relatively speaking and South Korea still has Samsung and SK Hynix to rely on for national security procurement. Whether or not South Korea will want to see on their tech firms go foreign is an entirely different matter.

Thank you DigiTimes for providing us with this information 

Kingston SSDnow KC380 1.8-Inch Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


The solid state drive that I’m taking a look at today is one that I’ve actually had around for a while, but couldn’t test up until now. I’m taking the tiny 1.8-inch KC380 SSDnow from Kingston for a spin on my test bench to see how well this tiny SSD can perform. While it isn’t the newest model anymore, I still think it’s a valid drive to test and one that quite a few people will consider for their netbooks and similar devices that only have the option for 1.8-inch drives such as this one.

As a 1.8-inch SATA drive, the KC380 uses a Micro-SATA connector that doesn’t match anything you’ll find in a normal PC. The SATA data connector is the same as you’re used to, but the power connector won’t match anything you’ll find or a default power supply and as such it can’t be used in a normal system. That is also the reason that this review got so much delayed, I had to find a working adapter to convert it to normal SATA connectors. The first I bought was broken and made the drive crash out during load and the second could only deliver SATA2 speeds for some reasons. However, third time is the charm and the third adapter that I got, and that I’m using for this test, works like a charm and as it should: Bridge the pins to a different layout.

The 1.8-inch SATA form factor isn’t the most common and most people will never even have a system that can use these drives. There are however quite a few hard disk based netbooks on the market, and around the world in different homes, that could benefit hugely from an upgrade with an SSD like the Kingston SSDnow KC380.

We shouldn’t expect a blasting performance as such, simply due to the generation of the drive and its small capacity. Those are both things that will have an effect among others, but it still a drive that promises a good performance. The drive is rated for a sequential performance up to 550MB/s while reading and 520MB/s while writing. The maximum random performance rating for this 120GB model is set to 86K IOPS reading and 48K IOPS writing.

The Kingston SSDnow KC380 consumes less power and generates less heat than a traditional HDD at a fraction of the cost of a new system. It offers advanced data integrity protection and a second-generation SandForce SSD controller with DuraClass technology. DuraClass features include DuraWrite and advanced wear-leveling to extend the life of the drive and garbage collection and over-provisioning for consistent performance and a longer life for your SSD and your data.

Opening up the drive and we reveal that it actually is an mSATA drive that is hiding inside the drive and that it uses an mSATA to MicroSATA adapter board to become what it is. A natural choice for Kingston that already had the mSATA in the lineup. This saves costs and broadens the market opportunities.

The top of the actual SSD contains a Kingston sticker with all the relevant information about the drive. It also covers two of the four Toshiba NAND chips used on the drive. The last two NAND chips are found on the rear where we also find the SandForce SF-2241 solid state drive controller. Overall, a simple design that gives a lot of options.

Kingston backs the KC380 SSD with its well-known warranty and in this case it’s for three years. That also includes free technical support for the duration.

Specifications

  • Fast — dramatic performance increase for any system upgrade
  • Endurance — Data Integrity Protection featuring DuraClass technology
  • Durable — DuraWrite optimizes writes to extend endurance
  • Multiple capacities the right capacity to meet your storage needs
  • Supports SMART — monitors the status of your drive
  • Supports TRIM — maintains maximum performance on compatible operating systems
  • Guaranteed — three-year warranty, free technical support

Packaging and Accessoires

The Kingston SSDnow KC380 comes in a blister packaging that displays both the drive itself and the basic information about it right on the front. We can see the capacity, the name, and brand as well as the performance rating.

The rear of the drive contains all the fine-print that isn’t really relevant. Basically, it tells you that you’ll notice a huge improvement over traditional mechanical drives.

Gigabyte MW70-3S0 (Intel C612) Dual CPU Workstation Motherboard Review

Introduction


Gigabyte’s motherboard series based on the Intel C612 chipset is quite an impressive one and I’ve already had the pleasure to test the MU70-SU0 server motherboard. Today I’m taking a look at its bigger brother, the dual socket Gigabyte MW70-3S0 workstation motherboard.

The Gigabyte MW70-3S0 workstation motherboard is based around Intel’s C612 chipset and offers you two LGA 2011-3 sockets with support for Intel’s Xeon E5-2600 V3 processors as well as 16 DDR4 modules for a total of up to 768GB RAM. The MW70-3S0 is a workstation board and as such it offers some other features than server boards, such as Multi-GPU configuration. With support for up to three graphics cards in CrossfireX or SLI via the three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and coupled with the CPU and memory support will make sure that we don’t run out of performance anytime soon.

One of the really great things about this board’s memory support is that it supports the full speed of 2133MHz, even when all 12 memory banks are populated. In the past, you had to make the choice, whether you wanted capacity or speed. Gigabyte made sure that you’ll have a maximum speed on all memory banks at all times.

We also get plenty of storage abilities on Gigabyte’s MW70-3S0. Not only does it provide 10 SATA3 ports via the Intel C612 chipset where two of them support SATA DOMs, we also get an LSI SAS 3008 onboard controller with two Mini-SAS ports for eight SAS 12GB/s drives. The SATA ports support RAID 0/1/5/10 while the SAS ports support RAID 0/1/1E/10. The connectivity is secured by two Intel i210 Gigabit Ethernet ports that allow for easy trunking and link aggregation.

Overall, this board is built with quality components that should make sure that everything runs stable and for a long time. It is equipped with IR Digital PWM and IR PowIRstage IC controllers to guarantee a stable operating environment and OS-CON capacitors with a minimum service life of 50.000 hours. The installed chokes are high-end ferrite core chokes that again should help deliver a stable power to both CPU and memory.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers homepage and are as such subject to change in possible future revisions.

Key Features

  • Intel Xeon processor E5-1600 V3 & E5-2600 V3 product families
  • 16 x RDIMM/LRDIMM ECC DDR4 DIMM slots
  • Supports 3-Way NVIDIA SLI / AMD CrossFireX
  • 2 x GbE LAN port (Intel I210)
  • 2 x Mini-SAS (for 8 x SAS 12Gb/s ports)
  • 10 x SATA III 6Gb/s
  • 7.1+2 HD Audio
  • 2 x USB 3.0 + 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 x USB 3.0 header + 1 x USB 2.0 header

Packaging and Accessories

The box follows a very simple design and is perfect for the market it’s aimed at. There is no need for fancy artwork like we’re used to on consumer motherboards.

The rear of the box gives a little detail about 3 key points that are important to a board of this caliber including reliability, availability, and serviceability. These are all major factors for any IT admin needing a reliable product with quality components that is easy to set up and maintain.

Inside the box, we find anything we need to get started, but nothing unnecessary that would drive up the overall price on the product. We get two SATA3 cables where one of them has an angled connector at one end, two CrossFireX bridges, as well as two NVIDIA SLI bridges for 2-way and 3-way SLI and CrossFireX support. There’s also the obligatory IO shield and a driver disk

Toshiba Unveils Budget-Friendly ‘Click’ Laptop

The tablet and laptop hybrid design, made famous by the Microsoft Surface, is becoming more widely adopted as shown by the iPad Pro. Usually, these devices incur a rather hefty cost and out of the reach of most consumers. However, the Toshiba Satellite Click 10 is solely focused on the lower-end segment and retails for $349.99. In terms of its specification, the Click 10 features an Intel Atom x5 Z8300 processor, 2GB RAM, 10.1-inch 1920×1200 multi-touch display and choice between 32GB or 64GB of SSD storage. Furthermore, the maximum storage can be increased via an integrated MicroSD slot.

Toshiba also managed to include a Micro HDMI port, Dolby Digital Plus stereo speakers, front 8-megapixel camera and rear 2-megapixel rear cameras. While it’s not the most powerful device out there, the Click 10 is beautifully designed due to a 2.2 pound weight with the clip-on keyboard. Once removed, the weight reduces to 1.2 pounds and has a 9mm thick frame. This makes it extremely portable and more than capable of performing basic tasks on-the-move.

There are a number of other solid features such as Bluetooth 4.1, 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi, and an optional external DVD drive. Overall, the lower price point allows more consumers to give the form factor a try to upgrade to flagship models in the near future.

Toshiba Reports $318m Net Loss

Toshiba’s fiscal performance from the year start to March has finally been revealed and recorded a net loss of $318 million. The delayed result was caused by the sale of its investment in Finnish firm, Kone to try to recoup financial confidence after senior management figures overstated profits by an estimated $1.22 billion. Despite the rather worrying financials, Toshiba is bullish about the future and released a statement which said:

“While the US economy had lost some momentum in the second half of FY2014, the UK had witnessed a strong performance and the Eurozone had sustained a gradual recovery”.

Despite a slowdown in China, the emerging economies as a whole saw a continued gradual recovery, reflecting solid growth in South-east Asia and India”.

Consumer confidence in Toshiba is quite low after the profits scandal and the company looks to the long-term to restore faith in their management and product line. It’s too early to say what the future holds, but there’s no reason to begin writing Toshiba off just yet. It’s extremely possible that this downturn could be reversed but then again, investors are always concerned about losses or mismanagement. Hopefully, the company can work towards a prosperous future through innovation and products which offer customers real value-for-money.

Do you own a Toshiba product?

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.

Toshiba Introduces Q300 and Q300 Pro SSDs

Toshiba announced two new internal solid state drive series with large capacity and great performance. The two new drives are the Q300 series built for a balance of performance and value and the Q300 Pro series aimed at the enthusiasts and gamers. Both drives are built with Toshiba’s own controllers and NAND, and they use Adaptive Sized SLC cache technology to increase the performance.

The Toshiba Q300 series is built with Triple-Level-Cell (TLC) NAND and it uses the TC358790 controller. The Q300 comes with capacity options up to 960GB, making it an ideal upgrade from that old, slow, and loud mechanical hard drive. This SSD delivers quiet operation, low power consumption, and tough shock resistance for greater long-term durability. All in a 7mm 2.5-inch design and backed by a 3-year warranty.

The Toshiba Q300 Pro series is built for those that need that extra bit of performance. It has a Toshiba TC58NC1000 controller and Toshiba’s own 2-bit MLC NAND on the insides. That brings greater performance over the TLC NAND, but also a capacity reduction and the Q300 Pro is only available up to a size of 512GB.

The sequential performance is almost equal between the two drives. The Q300 can read with 550MB/s and write with 530MB/s while the Q300 Pro reads and writes with 550MB/s and 520MB/s. When we look at the random performance, we see that the drives aren’t so equal anymore. The Q300 has a random performance rating up to 87K/83K IOPS read/write where the Q300 Pro does 92K/63K IOPS.

The endurance rating is another place where the two differentiate. The 512GB Pro model has an endurance of 320TB total bytes written while the Q300 480GB drive only has a rating of 120TB total bytes written. That is a difference. The Pro model also consumes less power, making it a more optimal choice for notebook users. The last difference between the two is the warranty and the Q300 Pro offers an additional 2-years, making it 5-years in total for the Q300 Pro versus the 3-years for the Q300.

The new Toshiba Q300 and Q300 Pro series SSDs are available now. The MSRP for the Q300 Pro Series is $124.99 for 128GB, $199.99 for 256GB, and $389.99 for 512GB. The Q300 Series has an MSRP of $99.99 for 120GB, $159.99 for 240GB, $309.99 for 480GB, and $449.99 for 960GB.

World’s First 12.5-Inch 4K Ultra HD Convertible Laptop Unveiled by Toshiba

The Digital Products Division of Toshiba has just revealed the world’s first 12.5-inch convertible laptop featuring 4K Ultra HD. The product in question is named Satellite Radius 12 and was designed to offer an irreproachable user experience. It was built using high-quality materials and was equipped with state-of-the-art hardware, including Intel’s 6th Gen Core processors, a top-of-the-line screen and premium speakers.

The senior director of product marketing over at Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division stated the following:

“Through our deep relationships with our partners at Microsoft, Intel and Technicolor we have designed a top-of-line compact PC that delivers the new gold standard in screen, sound and performance for an unmatched computing experience on Windows 10. The Satellite Radius 12 expertly blends the latest technology into an extremely powerful, yet compact and easy-to-carry PC that is not only versatile, but durable enough to handle a highly mobile lifestyle.”

Speaking of Windows 10, the Satellite Radius 12 is one of the very first laptops to boast facial authentication using Windows Hello, a feature powered by an onboard infrared camera. As you might suspect, Windows Hello, allows users to log into the laptop easily using their face.

When it comes to the display, this new Toshiba product can be equipped with a superb 12.5-inch IPS touchscreen that flaunts native 4K Ultra HD resolution. The wide gamut RGB display is 100% compatible with Adobe RGB color space reproduction, which is always a nice addition for mobile content makers. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass NBT, which provides improved shock and scratch resistance when compared to regular glass solutions.

As far as power and performance are concerned, Intel’s new 6th Gen Core processors ensure outstanding power efficiency without sacrificing computing power. This results in a longer battery life and more power for daily tasks such as video streaming. The Satellite Radius 12 has a durable aluminium case and weighs just 2.9 pounds. Its 0.6-inch profile also deserves a mention, as does its 360-degree precision hinge that allows it to shift between five viewing modes named Laptop, Tablet, Tabletop, Presentation and Audience.

The Satellite Radius 12 by Toshiba is expected to become available in the US starting this year’s fourth quarter.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

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 

Toshiba Wants 128TB SSDs with QLC and BiCS by 2018

 

Remember those 6TB and 8TB SSDs some vendors have planned for next year? You can ignore those, because pretty soon, we’re going to get drives that are going 16x as large. At least that is what Toshiba is planning on releasing in 2018. With capacities like those, hard drives will lose both the capacity and speed wars, relying solely on their price to compete. With enterprise 128TB drives being the norm then, maybe consumer grade drives will also benefit from a price drop as well.

In order to get to those unprecedented sizes, Toshiba is banking on two “new” developments, quad-level cell (QLC) and  BiCS (bit cost scalable) 3D NAND, to drop the price of flash enough to make these drives both possible technically and financially. It looks like price parity will be coming pretty close to on time if Toshiba and other NAND producers manage to master both QLC and BiCS .

QLC as the name implies allows NAND cells to store 4 bits per cell, doubling capacity over current MLC and adding 33% more over TLC. BiCS (bit cost scalable) 3D NAND is Toshiba and SanDisk’s 3D NAND offering with the stacking of layers to improve density without raising the cost too much. With 3D NAND, older processes can be used and more bits stuffed into each die. Combined with QLC, this can create pretty high density per die. The decreased performance and durability of QLC compared to MLC and TLC can also be partially offset by the use of 3D NAND.

Besides having to develop all new controllers to address all that capacity, Toshiba will probably have to make improvements throughout their SSDs. Datacenters will also have to figure out new ways to utilize such large SSDs and it’s possible a new connection protocol will have to be developed as well, though PCIe 4 might suffice. Even if there are some delays and technical difficulties, HDDs are going to have a hard time competing with these SSDs. Seagate and WD will have to hope HAMR does pan out or their business may soon end.

Thank you Nordic Hardware for providing us with this information