Preface to Pulsar: Why Seagate Needs This

To say that the SSD revolution caught the HDD makers off guard would be an understatement. With the exception of Samsung, none of the players in the HDD business have an even remotely competitive SSD.

Sitting this one out isn’t an option. In the enterprise market, a handful of SSDs can easily outperform dozens of 15,000 RPM hard drives. And when I say outperform, I mean by an order of magnitude.

It’s not just about performance, there’s a tremendous power advantage as well. The best SSDs use less than 3W per drive under full load. The fastest 15K RPM SAS drives gobble up a good 7W per drive. In a datacenter with thousands of servers, the power savings alone are enough to make the switch.

I use servers as my first example because the cost isn’t as touchy of a subject there, but the advantages in desktop and notebook PCs are more than tangible. Again, the key words are order of magnitude: SSDs are worth their weight in gold if performance matters to you.


The Fresh Test, Why You Absolutely Need an SSD - The SSD Relapse

Two years ago the argument was that the technology wasn’t mature enough. Intel changed all of that with the X25-M and X25-E. Even today companies like OCZ are using Indilinx’s Barefoot controller to compete everywhere from mainstream PCs to high end servers.

PCIe cards based on SSD controllers with tons of NAND flash are the next frontier for the technology. Why deal with the current SATA bottlenecks when you can push close to a Gigabyte per second of data over some PCIe lanes?

Performance and power data aside, Gartner expects SSD sales to hit $1 billion in 2010. Like I said, sitting this one out isn’t an option.

Earlier this year Western Digital acquired SiliconSystems for $65 million and rebranded their drives. Western Digital’s true attempt at a competitive SSD won’t come until sometime next year as even the latest WD Silicon Power III isn't very competitive.

Seagate has been the quiet one, until today that is. Today Seagate is announcing that it is shipping its first SSD to OEMs. The drive is called Pulsar and this is a render of what it looks like (if it appeared in front of a star apparently):

Seagate Goes Light on the Details
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  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - link

    I just found out there is a utility that dramatically improves the performance of low end flash devices. It is called Flashfire. I have it running on an atom netbook with WinXP running on a 4GB compactflash card. (!) And you would not believe how well this thing performs! You'd have to see it to believe it. I am hoping you guys will review this utility and benchmark how well it improves the performance of JMicron controlled SSDs, and other low end solutions.

    I am looking for the absolute lowest possible price solid state storage solution for running a minimal XP installation. After seeing how well my 4GB CF solution works, I am convinced that it can be had for less than $20. But I dont want to waste my own money on a bunch of questionable CF cards and IDE/CF adapters that may or may not be bootable, etc.
    Reply
  • nofumble62 - Saturday, December 12, 2009 - link

    Seagate don't have fab and never make flash. Does it mean they must buy a NAND flash house eventually? Reply
  • skroh - Friday, December 11, 2009 - link

    I could be misinterpreting, but I don't think there's any secret sauce in the way the life expectancy increases with drive size. If you notice, it's a perfectly linear relationship. 50 GB = 1.5 petabytes of data written, 200 GB = 6 petabytes. Four times the capacity equals four times the data that can be written. Same amount of writes, just more locations that those writes can be spread across, and therefore more total data.

    The article seemed to take the stance that the larger drives were "better" somehow in this regard, and I don't think that's true. You don't get more life out of them unless you write the same amount of data to the 200 that you would have to the 50 (or 100).
    Reply
  • leexgx - Sunday, December 13, 2009 - link

    sure somewhere it was constantly Writing data, Bigger SSDs norm do last longer then smaller SSDs due to more Blocks that can be erased and be reused that is know to happen and does happen (time it takes to Write data would be 5 years guessing there due to not reading it to check it)

    i have now, at no point does it say more then 5 years from the 50 gb to the 200gb drive what you posted is correct more data can be Written in the same time with the 200gb drive (Write speed goes up with the bigger the drive so 6 petabytes can be Writen to the 200gb in the same time that it takes to Write 1.5 petabytes to the 50gb one)
    Reply
  • leexgx - Sunday, December 13, 2009 - link

    sure somewhere it was constantly Writing data, Bigger SSDs norm do last longer then smaller SSDs due to more Blocks that can be erased and be reused that is know to happen and does happen (time it takes to Write data would be 5 years guessing there due to not reading it to check it)

    i have now, at no point does it say more then 5 years from the 50 gb to the 200gb drive what you posted is correct more data can be Written in the same time with the 200gb drive (Write speed goes up with the bigger the drive so 6 petabytes can be Writen to the 200gb in the same time that it takes to Write 1.5 petabytes to the 50gb one)
    Reply
  • leexgx - Sunday, December 13, 2009 - link

    so it take 5 years to fail 50gb drive as it would the 200gb drive at constant Write Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Thursday, December 10, 2009 - link

    Anand,

    Why do you keep saying SSDs outperform by an order of magnitude when none of your numbers indicate this??

    System Boot: 48s vs 70s
    CS4 launch: 4.5s vs 5s
    Pinnacle launch: 12.3s vs 13.3s
    WoW load: 4.85s vs 12.5s
    "Fresh Test": 6.6s vs 31s
    Power: 3W vs 7W

    Everything is between 1.1-4.7x and the average is 2.2x. This is nowhere near 10x.
    Reply
  • leexgx - Sunday, December 13, 2009 - link

    if you never used an SSD before your you do not understand the it, when going from HDD to SSD or back

    i could not see my self using an HDD for my system dive {OS,programs and games}, in todays SSD standards i have an Slow SSD , corsair S128 its read and writs is 90MB/s and 80MB/s, yes samsung F1 or F3 Hdds are faster then mine in data Rate speeds but its the instant access times or high random access speeds (or high IOPS) no HDD can match it, that makes sdds open most things right away
    Reply
  • LTG - Saturday, December 12, 2009 - link

    >>Why do you keep saying SSDs outperform by an order
    >>of magnitude?

    Maybe because the single most important spec on any drive, random access time, IS an order of magnitude better for SSDs.

    Or I did I miss where he said, "it's 10x better for any benchmark I ever mention on AnandTech"?

    You are commenting from one viewpoint, he is commenting from another.

    If you were a mechanical hard drive yourself you'd have no legal case for defamation here.
    Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Monday, December 14, 2009 - link

    "it's 10x better for any benchmark I ever mention on AnandTech"? That's a ridiculous attempt at a point; not a single benchmark broke 4.7x.

    Your argument using access time is also flawed. When someone says "This system outperforms this other system", that's talking about real world performance, not some specific internal parameter.
    Reply

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