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SanDisk may get some help in its efforts to improve performance in Vista with SSDs thanks to Samsung and Microsoft

Last month, SanDisk took a lot of flak when its CEO complained that its poor solid state drive (SSD) performance was attributed to poor support in Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system. The comments came as a shock to many considering that SanDisk last year proclaimed that its SSDs were "suited to a variety of Microsoft Windows Vista applications" and that the "Windows Vista operating system will run optimally when installed on the SanDisk SSD".

Despite these claims, many brushed aside SanDisk's comments since numerous other manufacturers have introduced thoroughly modern SSDs with significantly higher reads/writes than SanDisk's offerings.

It appears that SanDisk may now be getting some help in its quest to improve SSD performance in Windows Vista. ComputerWorld reports that Samsung is working together with Microsoft to improve the performance of SSDs within the operating system.

"We have been so used to hard drives for so many years, Windows is optimized for that obviously," said Sun Microsystems flash marketing manager Michael Wang.

Forward Insights analyst Gregory Wong went on to add that the sector size of SSDs is generally larger than those of hard drives. As a result, performance can suffer at times.

"My guess is that [Samsung and Microsoft] are maybe working on the OS recognizing an SSD with a 4KB sector size instead of a hard disk drive with a 512-byte sector size," Wong added.

Samsung would provide no details on what exactly will be changed in Microsoft's operating system to better support SSDs, or when a possible "fix" would be made available to customers. Whatever the fix is, it will be beneficial not only to Samsung SSDs, but to all SSDs.

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Not necessarly the same as SanDisk's complaint
By tmouse on 8/8/2008 11:17:47 AM , Rating: 5
Optimizing an operating systems performance for SSD's is not the same thing as SanDisk’s complaint. They were implying Vista was inferior to XP which was something other were not really seeing. Using the same OS the others were outpacing SanDisk. This will improve all SSD's performance which is great for all of us, and if SanDisk does not fix its own problems it will still probably be an under performer. I do not see this move supporting SanDisk’s claims. I still feel they deserved 99.9% of the flack they got.

By Master Kenobi on 8/8/2008 11:22:16 AM , Rating: 2
Yea, Sandisk was saying its Vista's fault their drives are slow. Samsung, OCZ, and others operate much faster so thats a moot point. All this news blip proves is that SSD's performance could improve somewhat during read/write operations by expanding how large the blocks are (4KB over 512B). This would (theoretically) improve performance across all SSD's though leaving Sandisk still in last place compared to other SSD offerings.

By highlandsun on 8/8/2008 8:07:07 PM , Rating: 2
As a historical footnote, Linux doesn't have this same restriction. I patched the SCSI disk driver back in 1995 to allow 2048 byte sectors, to work with my MDH-1 SCSI MiniDisc Data drive and since then the block device drivers have worked with a variety of sector sizes.

By Brandon Hill on 8/8/2008 11:23:35 AM , Rating: 3
SanDisk's CEO made no mention of XP in any of his comments. The blame was placed solely on Vista:

In fact, SanDisk's CEO said that Vista was not optimized for SSDs:

"As soon as you get into Vista applications in notebook and desktop, you start running into very demanding applications because Vista is not optimized for flash memory solid-state disk,"

RE: Not necessarly the same as SanDisk's complaint
By TomZ on 8/8/2008 11:43:33 AM , Rating: 6
Sandisk, however, did some testing and found that the performance of their SSDs was much better in Microsoft's next OS "Mojave." They were surprised by the results. :o)

By therealnickdanger on 8/8/2008 11:47:04 AM , Rating: 2
LOL, very well done.

By Radnor on 8/8/2008 12:45:12 PM , Rating: 2
I would give ya a 6 for that :=) But bah, cant be bumped more

By chaos7 on 8/8/2008 12:45:14 PM , Rating: 2
I think that had to be the funniest post I have read on Dailytech, and I read a lot of posts.

By fibreoptik on 8/8/2008 12:48:36 PM , Rating: 2
Hey! Don't be poking fun @ Mojave, we are BFF!!

RE: Not necessarly the same as SanDisk's complaint
By tmouse on 8/8/2008 12:03:37 PM , Rating: 3
Your right he did not specifically say XP. However you are still dead wrong in any implication that this provides any justification of SanDisk’s complaints. They basically laid all of the blame on Vista. After the quote you sited he said "This is due to Vista's design.”The next generation controllers need to basically compensate for Vista shortfalls". The work being pursued by Samsung would affect SSD performance in ANY Microsoft OS if the drivers were re written to use them. The facts that others did so well without this new line of optimizations is proof his statement us 99.9% FUD.

By Brandon Hill on 8/8/2008 12:46:15 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying that it justifies SanDisk's complaints -- just that any progress made at the OS level by Samsung and Microsoft will translate to SanDisk as well if we're talking about a generic SSD system driver.

SanDisk complains that Vista isn't optimized for SSDs -- they won't be able to make the same complaint if this optimization is provided

even better!
By vapore0n on 8/8/2008 11:07:58 AM , Rating: 2
If these changes actually boost Sandisk's offering, imagine what it will do to the good SSD's like OCZs and Mitron.

RE: even better!
By fibreoptik on 8/8/2008 11:15:55 AM , Rating: 2
Which SSD would you say is the best for the money right now?

RE: even better!
By Brandon Hill on 8/8/2008 11:18:59 AM , Rating: 4
For the money, most likely the OCZ Core 64GB:

$240 after $40 MIR

RE: even better!
By 306maxi on 8/8/2008 11:37:27 AM , Rating: 1
n00b question. How much of an advantage in terms of boot time would you get from a normal drive when compared to an SSD?

RE: even better!
By therealnickdanger on 8/8/2008 11:43:39 AM , Rating: 1
Define "normal drive". 5400RPM notebook drive? 7200RPM desktop drive? 10KRPM performance drive? 8MB cache? 32MB cache? Your mileage may vary, but from what I've seen in reviews across multiple sites (Anandtech, PCPER, etc.) boot times don't seem to be all that much improved because motherboard controllers can also play a factor. As SSD matures, there will be no doubt that it will be faster. The poster above claims his SSD RAID boots windows in 3 seconds (I'd love to see a youtube video of that!).

RE: even better!
By 306maxi on 8/8/2008 11:55:02 AM , Rating: 2
In my case it's a 36gb 10k raptor on a Asus P35 board.

RE: even better!
By Master Kenobi on 8/8/2008 1:15:47 PM , Rating: 2
SSD won't offer you much then.

RE: even better!
By 306maxi on 8/8/2008 2:04:35 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't think so. It's a little frustrating that in the 4 and a half years since I bought my raptor the speed of hard drives hasn't moved on all that much.

I think if Western Digital came out with a 15k raptor I'd consider buying as long as it was a big jump up in performance from my current drive.

RE: even better!
By therealnickdanger on 8/8/2008 2:34:22 PM , Rating: 4
What do you do with your computer? Is it a "jack of all trades" scenario where you game, surf, compress a couple vids, etc.?

Keeping in mind that your 36GB Raptor (I used to have two in RAID-0) isn't as fast as the new VelociRaptor in the link above, if you have have the budget you will find the OCZ Core 64GB worth your while. The burst rates, sustained rates, AND seek times are significantly faster with the new SSD. See this review from 2003 for the 36GB Raptor and compare it with the numbers the OCZ SSD is throwing up:

The question that you have to answer for yourself is based upon what you use your PC for, would the OCZ Core 64GB SSD be worth your $240 or would the WD 300GB VelociRaptor be worth your $290? (newegg pricing)

Do you need quicker access to apps and photos, reduced heat and noise (Core SSD) or do you need more storage and the fastest possible write times (VelociRaptor)?

RE: even better!
By 306maxi on 8/8/2008 4:04:21 PM , Rating: 2
Storage isn't an issue. I've got a 750gb drive for that. Value is though. The only thing I do that taxes my PC is gaming and I'd want a new HDD to make a big difference in loading levels and starting games or a big difference with boot times for windows. I wouldn't want it to be like the difference between me throwing my E8400 in the bin and buying an E8500.

RE: even better!
By therealnickdanger on 8/8/2008 5:39:25 PM , Rating: 3
I would highly recommend you see this review of the Core 64GB SSD. It does a direct comparison of it to the 150GB Raptor - which is a direct descendant of your 36GB Raptor (well, if you have the first 36GB Raptor, then you would have the 8MB buffer instead of the 16MB, so your performance will be even worse). Performance of the 150GB, 74GB, and 36GB Raptors are very similar across the board. This is probably the closest quantifiable proof that you will notice a healthy improvement in your computer's performance:

Really the only task the SSD will not be as good at is video editing. After you look through the benchmarks and witness the spanking the SSD drive gives to the Raptor, be sure to read the authors more subjective comments:

To take the test a little bit further, away from synthetic testing, I decided to make a clean install of Windows Vista on the SSD drive. For two full days I have been working on that system, playing some games .. work a little on it, just basic normal PC usage. And I just have to admit .. I love it . Really fast access times versus good speed and no noise. What's not to like ?

Also what was noticeable is system bootup-time, Windows Vista boots up in 21 seconds , which is roughly a minute on my primary test system with a WD Raptor. In all fairness, the SSD Vista installation was fresh and clean.

For you as a gamer I did a subjective test as well. Call of Duty 4 . Starting up the game and load times feel just so much faster.

On the Raptor is takes 22 seconds to startup the Ghilly suit level
On the OCZ SSD is takes 12 seconds to startup the Ghilly suit level
So compared to a raptor we can say that the SSD from OCZ results on a 40%-50% faster load time. Again, that's compared to a fast & expensive WD Raptor.

Impressive to say at the least.

In fact... after reading this review... I think I'm going to buy one! I'm not sure I can wait! LOL

RE: even better!
By therealnickdanger on 8/8/2008 6:15:45 PM , Rating: 3
Geez... I'm a nerd, I went on Youtube and started watching SSD videos for about an hour! LMAO

First, for the XP crowd, here's a OCZ Core 128GB drive booting Windows XP to the desktop in about 3 seconds. I can only read portions of the BIOS, but it looks like a 3GHz Core 2 Duo CPU system. No details are given regarding the status of the XP install (nlite? clean install?):

Here's what appears to be a daily-use Thinkpad loading Vista in ~15 seconds. No other hardware specs are given, but it's obvious that it loads quick!

Here is a side-by-side of two presumeably identical laptops, but one has an SSD vs the other which has HDD. The SSD laptop also has an advantage of being a daily use machine, so Superfetch has likely optimized the system's caching... but the difference is pretty amazing - even if anecdotal:

And last, here's a video comparing boot times between the same computer booting on 1) SSD, 2) i-RAM, and 3) Raptor. The results are fairly clear.

I'm sure y'all can find lots of other videos and benchmarks.

RE: even better!
By therealnickdanger on 8/8/2008 11:45:28 AM , Rating: 2
Second that! If I were going to buy today, that would be the best option.

How many people here have these drives?
By fibreoptik on 8/8/2008 11:05:36 AM , Rating: 2
Are these mostly still used in server applications or are they becoming more main stream right now?

I heard the Sony Vaio and Macbook Air have them available as options but they're still not very commonplace at this point right?

RE: How many people here have these drives?
By Natfly on 8/8/2008 11:18:00 AM , Rating: 2
The quite popular Asus eee PC uses an SSD, although with a much smaller capacity than these drives.

RE: How many people here have these drives?
By 306maxi on 8/8/2008 11:30:27 AM , Rating: 4
The Asus eee's use cheap flash memory in their SSD's so they're not really up there with the the class of drives that we're talking about here.

By Natfly on 8/8/2008 12:57:36 PM , Rating: 2
Regardless, the eee has an SSD that is widely used. It may be cheap but thats because the eee is cheap. It isn't a performance machine.

The faster SSDs won't be used in the mainstream until their price/performance reaches traditional hard drives levels.

RE: How many people here have these drives?
By murphyslabrat on 8/8/08, Rating: -1
RE: How many people here have these drives?
By 306maxi on 8/8/2008 11:35:29 AM , Rating: 2
So how much power does your RAID array use? Is it a matter of plug and play? Could the average user build a RAID 0? How much did it cost? How tolerant is it to a drive failure? Would it fit in a laptop? and so on...

Good reasons why most people just won't do a RAID 0 and why SSD's are very much the future.

By 306maxi on 8/8/2008 11:52:47 AM , Rating: 2
Stupid me for some reason didn't read the Mtron bit and thought he was talking about magnetic storage...

By therealnickdanger on 8/8/2008 11:44:22 AM , Rating: 2
Can you make a video and put it on youtube? I'd really like to see that!

By Alpha4 on 8/8/2008 11:46:15 AM , Rating: 2
Thats Mtron, and are you sure it's not waking from Hibernation or sleep mode? Or could you be counting how many seconds the loading bar itself is displayed?

By DeepBlue1975 on 8/8/2008 12:53:12 PM , Rating: 3
And you must live inside your computer case after paying for all those drives :P

By TreeDude62 on 8/11/2008 10:05:41 AM , Rating: 1
I can't imagine the money you spent on that 2 years ago, if your telling the truth. So your either an idiot for lying, or an idiot for wasting a ton of money so you could boot up a little faster.

By murphyslabrat on 8/25/2008 1:39:39 PM , Rating: 1
Argh, are you people actually serious? I didn't think I needed to add that annoying little </sarcasm> thing people like to put, but the Mtron disks haven't even been out for two years!

Besides, you are pretty much CPU limited after 30 MB/s random read/write on bootup...coming back from hibernate is another thing, though.

By therealnickdanger on 8/8/2008 11:37:31 AM , Rating: 2
These SSDs are no good for servers. RAM-based SSDs are what you're thinking of, I believe.

SSDs are still much more expensive per gigabyte than a conventional hard disk drive (HDD), however, as I pointed out once before, it was only 3 years ago that I paid roughly the same price for a 36GB Raptor HDD as the new 64GB OCZ Core SSD, making the SSD is 2X the storage with faster access and throughput speeds.

So right now it's still a fringe/enthusiast market, but I think SSDs will be quite widespread by this time next year. They are getting faster and larger and cheaper at a faster pace than HDDs ever did. Competition is getting fierce, too! Now that Microsoft is addressing SSD optimization, perhaps there will be even greater value in using them.

HDDs have kind of gone as far as we can take them. Aside from expanding in capacity, the moving parts can only move so fast and it's not likely that we'll see a mainstream push to 10K and 15K drives, especially not in notebook/netbook/PMP applications. The possibilities for SSD are much more promising assuming actual problems with write-life and FUD can be resolved.

I think I'll strike when a 128GB SSD with >200MB/sec R/W can be had for $100...

RE: How many people here have these drives?
By A Mad Pole on 8/8/2008 12:10:43 PM , Rating: 2
"These SSDs are no good for servers. RAM-based SSDs are what you're thinking of, I believe"

No good for servers???? Check the link below. EMC uses those, enough said

By therealnickdanger on 8/8/2008 2:11:11 PM , Rating: 2
... and how much are the ZeusIOPS drives and how do they perform compared to the SSDs in this article?

I guess your qualification for "good" will vary according to your view. Flash-based SSDs are nowhere near as fast as RAM-based SSDs - which are used in the fastest of servers.

Sector size
By thebrown13 on 8/8/2008 11:19:32 AM , Rating: 2
Doesn't windows already support variable sector size? Wouldn't it just be a matter of changing the default in the driver (for formatting)?

RE: Sector size
By Master Kenobi on 8/8/2008 11:24:11 AM , Rating: 2
Don't want to screw over regular hard disks in the process. Likely will involve Windows distinguishing between an SSD and a traditional Magnetic HDD. That way it can use the best method for either.

RE: Sector size
By JustTom on 8/8/2008 11:50:16 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, indeed it does. In fact all my HDs are formatted to 4096 bytes/sector and that number is user selectable. I admit I am not quite sure what Wong is talking about...

RE: Sector size
By sheh on 8/8/2008 9:12:28 PM , Rating: 2
You're talking about cluster size. So far in standard HDDs a sector is always 512 bytes. (I'm not sure how SSDs are.)

By bhieb on 8/8/2008 11:52:00 AM , Rating: 2
Ok the whole first half of the article talks about Sandisk having issues with Vista, only to do a 180 and say Samsung is working with Microsoft. I guess I see the possible connection that maybe Sandisk problems are related to Samsung, but the Samsung drives perform well.

IDK just a little bet of a stretch to tie them together, so just to clarify Samsung is working with MS to increase the performance of their already good drives. Is Sandisk being mentioned just pure conjecture and no one knows if block size has anything to do with their complaints? If so why mention it at all. The fact that their is a fundamental problem with SSD's that Samsung is working with MS on would be a good enough article on its own merit.

Oh well you got me to post on it so I guess fabing up some relation to Sandisk worked to increase traffi. Unless Samsung makes the chips used by Sandisk, but if that is the case it should be mentioned.

RE: Confused
By amanojaku on 8/8/2008 12:24:01 PM , Rating: 2
The linked article doesn't mention SanDisk at all, strangely enough. It looks like Brandon Hill is trying to make a connection between SanDisk's woes and Samsung's efforts to improve OS performance with SSDs. The comments from Michael Wang at Sun and Gregory Wong at Forward Insights are used to further the notion that SanDisk's performance issues are not entirely its fault. There doesn't seem to be any cooperation between companies other than Microsoft and Samsung.

RE: Confused
By Spectator on 8/9/2008 2:50:40 AM , Rating: 2
Your missing the point.

The whole reason MS will help is so they can release more Bloated inefficient software; and we wont notice as our drives are fast enough to cope with it. lmao

im getting a cpu dejavu moment :P

and yes im just messing.

By Raidin on 8/8/2008 4:57:13 PM , Rating: 2
I remember when I read the initial article about SanDisk's claim that they were talking about Vista not being optimized for the way their SSD's controller software worked.

If so, wouldn't it be possible that SanDisk designed their controller software in an optimal way that Vista currently hampers or doesn't support? And that they are being stubborn and claiming Microsoft isn't optimizing Vista for SSDs, while other manufacturers chose not to implement a similar controller method knowing that Vista would cause the drives to be slower?

Or did I miss something and am way off base?

RE: Hmmm...
By Brandon Hill on 8/8/2008 5:10:42 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that SanDisk's NAND memory is just slow in reads/writes compared to the competition.

I think that the whole controller/Vista argument was just a ploy to take the heat off their poor performance in relation to competitors using newer, faster memory.

However, changing the default sector size to accommodate SSDs (as mentioned in today's article) would likely offer a speed benefit not only to Samsung's SSDs, but also to SanDisks.

The speed boost would give SanDisk's the performance they have been "robbed of" in Vista, but it would also give competing SSDs higher performance at well -- and this puts them right back at square one, which is their hardware problem.

RE: Hmmm...
By Fnoob on 8/8/2008 9:19:35 PM , Rating: 2
..."the whole controller/Vista argument was just a ploy to take the heat off their poor performance"

Well that worked well.

When you find yourself covered in sh*t, you call attention to yourself?

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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