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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
  • semo - Friday, December 11, 2009 - link

    try doing the above simultaneously. HDDs are not good at multitasking. Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Friday, December 11, 2009 - link

    That's what the "Fresh Test" is. 4.7x. Reply
  • DukeN - Wednesday, December 09, 2009 - link

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9141627/Mic...">http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/...unces_it...

    This could be good
    Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Thursday, December 10, 2009 - link

    I thought they had a joint Flash venture with Intel, so now they will be competitors? Reply
  • Genx87 - Wednesday, December 09, 2009 - link

    Once WD and Seagate enter the markets we may see these things start approaching Raptor like pricing. Which is good enough for enthusiasts. And eventually filter these things closer to mechanical drives. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, December 09, 2009 - link

    They already provide a much greater boost for the additional cost over standard HDDs than the Raptors do. Reply
  • ClagMaster - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    I am not sure it is wise to write an article about SSD performance when the author does not have the actual article in his hands that he can personally test. Then, he can precisely tell us the make of the controller, its efficiency, and the true performance of the Pulsar SSD. Until that happens, I respectfully submit that most of this article is conjecture. I wish more concrete facts about this SSD were published.

    I think its great that Seagate is advancing the capacities of the Enterprise SSD over that of the Intel X25 products with the Pulsar. Even though its OEM, this drive will soon make its way to Newegg (which sells plenty of OEM products) to the hands of consumers. We need information ASAP on this product.

    However, I think Seagates behavior with the Pulsar Enterprise SSD says a lot about its confidence with this product. Surely Mr Shimpi certainly pulls enough weight as a credible hardware reviewer to be entrusted with an Engineering Sample prototypical of the actual OEM product to perform performance testing.

    After Mr Shimpi's dealings with OCZ last March with the Vertex(leading to his most excellent article on SSD performance), perhaps Seagate is afraid of what Mr Shimpi might uncover with the Pulsar.
    Reply
  • Casper42 - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    So it seems to me that they are simply using the same size NAND modules and then amping things up using parallel channels.

    2 channel / 50GB
    4 channel / 100GB
    8 channel / 200GB

    I am wondering if there is a reason why they didn't make a 6 channel / 150GB model as this would be a direct competitor (based on size only) to the standard 146GB SAS drive that are found in MANY Enterprise servers.
    Reply
  • notty22 - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    I'm curious that if after 5 years, performance had degradaed enough to warant retiring s 50 gb drive. If you wrote data say precious pictures and stored the drive, would they be there 5 years later, say 10-20 ? Reply
  • mcnabney - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    From the article:

    "...but perhaps Seagate has input into the firmware design."

    Ah hah hah hah hah



    Reply
  • araczynski - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    SSD revolution?? someone forgot to wake me up...

    good to see seagate putting in some rebranded hardware into the mix, should help the prices drop a little faster, to the levels of mass market acceptance....

    was just throwing out some old purchase order records....couldn't believe i (well, the company) paid $178 for a dvd+-rw drive back in the day... so maybe in 5 years the HD's will be the floppy disks.
    Reply
  • Kougar - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    Bright Side of News is indicating the Pulsar drives will utilize "up to" 16 channels per drive, more than Intel's 10.

    http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news/2009/12/8/sea...">http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news/20...aunches-...
    Reply
  • Casper42 - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    Being that the 200GB (256GB) model here uses 8 channels, that would imply the 16 channel model would be 512GB (or 400GB according to Seagate). Reply
  • PandaBear - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    that Seagate and Micron has worked together in a secret JV (joint venture) with a small team of engineers since about 1 to 1.5 years ago.

    The focus of the JV is to put a programmable analog amplifier (the one called read channel in the hard drive industry) inside the flash to improve its voltage sensing performance. HD has these sort of analog components like pre-amp (the amplifier on the actuator, because head signal is too weak to reach the controller by itself) and read channel (programmable A2D converter and decoder) for quite some time, and flash is starting to see problems that can only be fixed by analog mean.

    So it seems like Seagate's flash may have a special way of adjusting the memory's parameter via vendor unique commands that aren't available to others (except Micron), and they use that to their advantage in their own designed controller (with 3rd party IP, but everyone has 3rd party IP for their SATA interface, ARM processor, embedded memory controller, etc, so it is not saying much.
    Reply
  • Roland00 - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    It appears there is a new controller on the block with the Phison Controller found in the Patriot PS-100.

    Specs on the box make the drive look like it is Indilinx comparable and I have seen this drive priced at 2 dollars per gigabyte after rebate.
    Reply
  • SleepyGreg - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    $11 per GB! Is that a typo? That would make the 200GB model over $2000! Reply
  • crimson117 - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    Remember, assumption makes an ass out of u and mption. Reply
  • arnavvdesai - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    At a cost of 11$/GB & a reduction to 3W from 7W, are these drives cost effective. Yes I understand you are speed restricted but is the difference in cost recovered by the difference in speed & power consumption. Also, I am curious whether the higher speeds help reduce the number of servers we might need especially larger data centers considering that we can match capacities. Would having higher drive speeds cause a unit of 'work' be executed fast enough that we would need less machines than using standard mangetic drives. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    It would depend on everyone's individual case, I'd think.

    First you'd need to know how many drives you have in each of your servers and then multiply that by 5 watts(assuming your drives are 7 watt, andthe SSDs you buy are 3 watt). Then you'd have to take that per-server power savings and multiply it by how many servers you had. At that point you'd know how many fewer watts you'd be pulling off of the PSUs, but you'd still have to figure how many fewer watts those PSUs will pull form the wall(are they 75% efficient? 80%? 85%?). When you get the drop in power from the wall, you could multiply it out by whatever your local power utility is charging you per KWH. Of course you'd also want to figure out how much money you'd save by not having to cool all of that extra power dissipation too.

    Quick, to the beancounterarium! :D

    Reply
  • Kibbles - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    "Such low write speeds are either artificial or the result of the same sort of issue that continues to plague Intel’s X25-M."

    Is that supposed to be Seagate? Since it says the 50GB, and Intel only sells one size.
    Reply
  • juzz86 - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    I just picked up on something the author said which I've never seen before but often wondered. If I were to format my 80GB X25-M G2 with a 70GB partition, would I see better performance having that extra 4.5GB set aside as spare area? Is this just a relatively simple way of getting even better speeds? Or am I barking up the wrong tree? Reply
  • GullLars - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    If you have TRIM firmware and use the standard W7 drivers so the command actually hits the drive, you will see no difference as long as the ammount of used area is the same. With trim any free area is effectivly spare area. If you however run a RAID or use controllers or drivers that don't forward trim, you will see better _sustained_ write numbers with a smaller partition. In order for the drive to make use of this unpartitioned space, you either have to partition the drive when brand new, or directly after a Secure Erase.


    In reply to the article. It seems to me from the performance numbers that Segate might have fused its own IP with Intels and made it's own 8-channel controller. It would make perfect sense, and explain why the performance numbers of x25-E 64GB and Pulsar 50GB are so simelar.

    It makes me a bit sad that Samsung didn't go for a 16-channel design on the higher capasity drives that will use 16 NAND chips or more, since this basically limits the random read IOPS and peak write IOPS. These 8-channel drives will have to go head to head with SandForce's SF1500, wich are 16-channel SLC drives targeting the same market.

    BTW, i think all new high-performance SSD released in 2010 should start using SATA or SAS 6Gbps as standard to help accelerate adoption rates and remove an unnecessary botleneck (seq read).
    Reply
  • jimhsu - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    The distinction between peak and sustained performance is highly interesting. Performance profiles for today's SSDs (post JMicron) are highly complex, and depend on free space, recent writes, TRIM/GC availability, and any concurrent operations. For example, a recurring issue seems to be IO stalling when a large sequential write operation is taking place (i.e. copying a huge file to the SSD while trying to use the drive normally).

    Might Seagate have found a workaround to this? All things considered though, I would much rather see a max IO latency figure.
    Reply
  • Proteusza - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    Avoid the Streissand Effect (and its related effects) at all costs. Whenever a company withholds information or seems like it is withholding information, it makes them look bad.

    I'm not saying Seagate has anything to hide, but if it were more upfront with its technology and what forms part of the Pulsar, it would be in a stronger marketing position. Hiding information just doesnt do it for me, but I suppose I've been spoilt by Intel and AMD lately, which generally reveal almost everything about their new hardware.
    Reply
  • Jovec - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    This site is big enough now to demand a minimum set of specs and information if the product company wants to be reviewed. Reply
  • chen4119 - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    What about STEC Mach8 SSD drive? They've qualified for EMC, IBM, and SUN enterprise storage systems and they did really well this year. How do they compare to Intel SSD drives or Indinix controller drives? Just wondering how come there are no mentions of STEC in this blog. Reply
  • mckirkus - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    They're super high end enterprise drives. It's the same reason you don't see RAMSANs in WD Raptor reviews. Reply
  • yuhong - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    Yea, back when Bill Watkins was CEO of Seagate, he promised that Seagate would sue SSD makers, and later indeed Seagate tried to sue STEC. That lawsuit was dropped in Feb 2009. Reply
  • gfody - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    +1, I found out about STEC while evaluating an EMC SAN. Apparently they have their own controller and use MLC. Where's Anand with the scoop? Reply
  • pcfxer - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    ugh EMC. A company that brags about firmware updates that don't require rebooting then release a CRITICAL firmware update that requires some....REBOOTING. As it turned out, that firmware (applied days before christmas) decided to choke and puke on MY CHRISTMAS DAY! EMC, never again.

    Let me save you the pain my friend, look else where. Thecus...iron storage, ixSystems, ANYONE but EMC.
    Reply
  • semo - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    aren't they also the only SAS SSD maker. If not the only then maybe one of a few. I remember IBM was very sceptical about SSDs but if STEC have convinced them otherwise then they must have a winner on their hands Reply
  • Penti - Wednesday, December 09, 2009 - link

    I think Hitachi and Intel is coming with SAS SSDs soon. There are other FC vendors though. Reply
  • StormyParis - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    you did manage to stretch over 3 page views with ... not much to say... Reply
  • pkoi - Wednesday, December 09, 2009 - link

    Agreed, Reply
  • reinkarnation16 - Thursday, December 10, 2009 - link

    Oh cmon! The guy loves to write! So just let him! :D
    & I am sure there are a handful of our species who would crib about the preview being just one page short!
    Reply
  • vol7ron - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    Yes, thanks for the heads up, but a one page article of things to come would have been a little better.... especially since all of this will be repeated in what I'm sure will be a 10 page review. Reply
  • spaz mk will - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    I'm still on the Intel bandwagon because of the 1.8 inch SSD's, but boy do I wish they would get around to releasing the X-18m G2. Reply
  • Pandamonium - Friday, December 11, 2009 - link

    I'm in the same boat as you. I wish the my Latitude XT2 used standard 2.5" disks, but it looks like they had to go with 1.8" disks because of how small the chassis is. One of the guys on the AT forums has a contact with Intel distribution and word is that the X18-M G2 is due in early January. Reply
  • Zok - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    50 GB? That's not very much porn... Bill Watkins would be ashamed. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    Haha! I actually have that quote printed out and stuck on my wall Reply
  • archcommus - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    Glad to see Seagate finally entering the SSD game. I find it odd however that on the page discussing details of Seagate's SSD, there are three images of Intel SSDs. Reply
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  • fyleow - Tuesday, December 08, 2009 - link

    Anand probably wasn't supplied with any other pictures of the Seagate driver other than the rendered one with horrible lens flare used on the first page. Reply

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