Print 60 comment(s) - last by TreeDude62.. on May 28 at 9:19 AM

Samsung throws down the gauntlet when it comes to SSD performance

The solid state disk (SSD) market is really starting to heat up as more player enter the market and NAND flash memory/controller technology improves. A few weeks ago, Super Talent dazzled consumers with a new "budget" line of SSDs which offered surprisingly large storage capacities at relatively affordable levels.

Samsung today is taking tackling the opposite end of the pricing spectrum with its new 256GB SSDs which it plans to introduce later this year. Samsung's new SATA II SSD should obliterate the competition with read speeds of 200MB/sec and write speeds of an amazing 160MB/sec. This compares to 120MB/sec and 40MB/sec respectively for Super Talents latest SSDs. Even Mtron falls far behind Samsung's new 256GB SSD with read speeds of 120MB/sec and write speeds of 100MB/sec.

Most would take a guess that Samsung is using single-level cell (SLC) NAND chips to achieve these unheard of performance figures, however, the company instead settled on cheaper multi-level cell (MLC) NAND chips.

"With development of the 256GB SSD, the notebook PC is on the brink of a second stage of evolution," said Samsung Memory Marketing VP Jim Elliott. "This change is comparable to the evolution from the Sony Walkman to NAND memory-based MP3 players, representing an initial step in the shift to thinner, smaller SSD-based notebooks with significantly improved performance and more than ample storage."

Given the wide performance delta between Samsung's new 256GB SSD and lesser rivals, the drive will likely come to the market with a price tag that pushing into the multi-thousand dollar range. With a price tag that high, the SSD will likely be relegated to high-end business use and for consumer with plenty of money to burn.

However, as the technology matures, we can expect to see prices drop as we have seen with the offerings from Super Talent. And if Intel has anything to say about it, it will offer SSD performance that will rival all contenders and likely will use its girth to push pricing further down to “mere mortal” levels.

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Nice job, Sammy!
By therealnickdanger on 5/26/2008 5:32:17 PM , Rating: 4
Naturally, I'll never be able to afford this, but I'm glad none of these guys are backing down pushing the SSD market forward! Keep it up! The HDD is the last bottleneck to conquer...

RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By codeThug on 5/26/2008 8:56:46 PM , Rating: 1
The HDD is the last bottleneck to conquer...

Not so fast there...

The next bottleneck will be system RAM which is still pretty slow. That's why Intel and AMD strive to cram as much cache into their respective CPU's. All that Cache takes up die space and generates heat.

After that, I'd say non multi-core optimized code will be the bottleneck.

It never ends.

RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By Alexstarfire on 5/26/2008 9:55:27 PM , Rating: 3
True, but physical limitations like the HDD and optical drives are the last BIG bottlenecks. Even the slowest RAM probably has an access time 10x faster than any HDD, save SSDs perhaps.

RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By Zoomer on 5/26/2008 10:30:48 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, more like >1000 times faster. I seem to recall PC-100 or PC-133 ram having access times of ~8ns.

It's also interesting to see that this thing is about as speedy as EDO ram. :p

RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By MrPoletski on 5/26/2008 10:34:33 PM , Rating: 5
RAM access times are measured in nano seconds, HDD access times in milliseconds. thats 1,000,000 x faster. WE also have the technology for much faster system ram, but it is prohibitively expensive and you'd need much more expensive motherbaords (extra layers for better signal traces) as well as RAM chips.

RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By tastyratz on 5/27/2008 12:13:34 AM , Rating: 3
system ram isn't the bottleneck at all on modern systems. it USED to be, but not for awhile if you ask me.
People like to make it look like going for that ddr2 1200 overclock is going to net you better performance but many benchmarks have shown over ddr2 800 is near useless.

Right now dropping the front side bus is the SECOND largest bottleneck on its way out, the external storage like hard drives/optical drives are the main slow points.

All these ssd articles make my mouth water, I would love to have one for just my windows drive - How about samsung releases a 16 or 32gb entry level model with the same read/write speeds for affordable pricing... hey I can hope right?

RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By codeThug on 5/27/08, Rating: 0
RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By Spoelie on 5/27/2008 6:41:29 AM , Rating: 3
try 150$, you can get 4gb at 75$ easily

RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By TreeDude62 on 5/27/2008 9:43:51 AM , Rating: 2
Are you kidding? As tastyratz said, anything above DDR2 800 gives little to no performance increase. So how is the RAM the bottleneck? I think you don't understand what bottleneck means.

If you have 8gb of DDR2 800 and are playing CoD4 and not getting a good framerate. I don't think getting 8gb of DDR3 1333 is going to help you much. Generally a new processor or graphics card is the way to go.

RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By teldar on 5/27/2008 6:59:36 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, what he's saying is that if you get enough ram to lose the pagefile, GENERAL performance will improve dramatically as Windows will be able to pull everything it needs for second to second running from RAM rather than the PAGE FILE. It would make a significant difference in the multi-tasking daily use arena.

RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By TreeDude62 on 5/28/2008 9:19:23 AM , Rating: 2
No he said RAM in general is a bottleneck. That means that even if you have the latest and greatest in RAM that it is still holding your system back (like a HD). That is simply not true.

Also, no matter how much RAM you have it is generally a good idea to keep a small pagefile. There are some applications out there (not games generally) which require a pagefile regardless of the amount of RAM you have.

RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By faiakes on 5/27/2008 9:02:59 AM , Rating: 3
I'm with you there. The first thing that came to my mind: a 16GB version would make an excellent OS drive.

Otherwise, HDD speeds are good enough for most uses.

RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By teldar on 5/27/2008 7:02:15 PM , Rating: 2
Spot on.

I LOVE having small OS drives and huge amounts of local storage for anime/music/movies/tv shows. My ideal system drive would either be one of these new Raptors in a 30 GB size or a super fast SSD in a 32 GB size. Big enough for Vista and standard programs, fast enough to start up nearly instantly and load programs almost as fast.


RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By codeThug on 5/27/2008 12:15:41 AM , Rating: 2
Actually the biggest bottleneck I'd like to see get wasted would be boot time. Near instant on, say <2 seconds coupled with this kind of SSD would keep me happy for a while.

RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By rudy on 5/27/2008 3:23:34 AM , Rating: 4
this would be a good thing for the fact that people would save more power by just setting their computer to hibernate if inactive for more then say 5 minutes. If shutdown and start up were really fast we could use it more like flipping off the light when you leave the room.

RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By FITCamaro on 5/27/2008 8:31:30 AM , Rating: 2
AMD is still using the same amount of L2 cache(512KB per core) as it was when the Athlon XP was in use. It used more L2 in some of the early Athlon64s and X2s(1MB per core) than it does now.

Intel crams as much cache onto its CPUs as possible because it still uses a FSB which makes it slower for it to access system memory. AMD doesn't have this problem because of Hypertransport.

RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By PlaceNRoute on 5/27/2008 2:45:57 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, the cache runs much cooler than the core. The cache is just a massive chunk of SRAM operating at a significantly lower speed than the core. A major reason CPU designers love cache so much is because you can get good performance gains for low power/temp cost.

RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By elgueroloco on 5/27/2008 10:16:43 PM , Rating: 2
Acutally, RAM and HDD's will both be conquered when they are rendered useless by the memristor.
In the future all memory functions will be handled by the memristor and nothing will ever have to be taken from a HDD or loaded into RAM again. No more booting, no more load screens.

RE: Nice job, Sammy!
By Rike on 5/27/2008 3:06:08 AM , Rating: 3
Naturally, I'll never be able to afford this, . . .

Well not this one. In about 5 years you'll be able to get one that has 4 times the capacity, that's 2 times faster and uses half the juice for about $150.

And it won't even be top of the line.

By shabby on 5/26/2008 5:25:39 PM , Rating: 5
How many kidneys do i need to gather to afford this thing?

RE: ...
By StevoLincolnite on 5/26/2008 5:29:13 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure, but if you don't have enough kidneys, you can give them to me, I have half a dozen saved up for this piece of tech already.

RE: ...
By Borkil on 5/26/2008 7:21:14 PM , Rating: 1
if you have to ask, you probably can't afford it lol

RE: ...
By BruceLeet on 5/26/2008 10:32:14 PM , Rating: 2
Brandon wont include it for the time being for fear of his blog being ridiculed [jk]. If I had the information on hand I wouldnt post it either. A 64GB SSD is just above $900. $3 - 3.5k is my generous guess.

RE: ...
By rs2 on 5/27/2008 12:29:43 AM , Rating: 1

RE: ...
By lemonadesoda on 5/27/2008 5:17:01 PM , Rating: 2
I think "2" is more than enough to make it deadly, or criminal.

RE: ...
By PhoenixKnight on 5/27/2008 12:44:49 AM , Rating: 2
While you're at it, I could use a heart -- a human heart. I need to pump a lot of blood out of my basement.

RE: ...
By FITCamaro on 5/27/2008 8:32:53 AM , Rating: 3
Stop killing hookers. They may be dead inside but they're still people too.

RE: ...
By martinrichards23 on 5/27/2008 9:50:28 AM , Rating: 2
It's surprisingly common to have 3 kidneys, so you may be in luck...

Nice for notebooks..
By Reclaimer77 on 5/26/2008 7:25:03 PM , Rating: 3
But I care about my desktop, where I spend %90 of my computer time on.

Given that the PC hard drive form factor is much larger, could a full HD size SDD drive be made cheaper ?

RE: Nice for notebooks..
By Gul Westfale on 5/26/08, Rating: 0
RE: Nice for notebooks..
By Mr Perfect on 5/26/2008 9:18:16 PM , Rating: 5
I'm actually kind of hoping that 2.5 inch sized drives become the norm and 3.5 inch ones disappear. If everyone uses the same form factor, then maybe volume can push prices down faster.

RE: Nice for notebooks..
By afkrotch on 5/27/2008 12:16:06 AM , Rating: 3
320 gb 2.5" hdd at 5400 rpm for $140 or 750 gb 3.5" hdd at 7200 rpm for $120.

Seeing as my desktop has plenty of room, plenty of power, and more than adequate cooling, I'll stick with 3.5" hdds.

What about Intel?
By retrospooty on 5/26/2008 6:06:13 PM , Rating: 2
Intel is supposed to be releasing their own brand of flash drives this summer with far higher speeds than anything else on the market.

I cant wait to see how fast they are... and hopefully more affordable. All I need is a 32gb for Windows and a few apps.

RE: What about Intel?
By gevorg on 5/26/2008 7:45:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, even 32GB is more than enough if all you got is Windows, Office, some apps and games. The rest of non "IO heavy" apps and games can be stored on a regular hard drive. I'm sold once the 32GB version at those speeds goes under $400.

RE: What about Intel?
By FITCamaro on 5/27/2008 8:36:40 AM , Rating: 2
Vista is 15GB. Office 2007 is about 4GB. Gonna be running that 32GB pretty thing just from those.

RE: What about Intel?
By paydirt on 5/27/2008 9:23:37 AM , Rating: 2
What is mystifying to me about Intel is didn't they just get rid of a NAND factory in Israel (and weren't they in it together with Samsung?)? Whose NAND are they gonna use to make their drives?

By Visual on 5/27/2008 5:51:51 AM , Rating: 2
Even with old-fashioned magnetic hard-drives in RAID we already are able to saturate the SATA II 300MB/s bandwidth - as far as I understand, that limit is for the combined bandwidth over all drives on the same controller.
We desperately need the next version of SATA now.

I wonder if there are add-on RAID cards that aren't limited like that. Makes sense that there are, but they'd need to be something like PCI-express 2x or even 4x, as a 1x connection only has 250MB/s in one direction.
I guess using several add-on controllers is a way to work around that total bandwidth limit, but mainstream motherboards don't usually have multiple PCI-express ports above 1x.
So we need next version of PCI-express too... It's a good thing that v.2 is already rolling out, but we still need motherboard manufacturers to start putting more, and faster, slots than they are currently.

By misbfa1 on 5/27/2008 11:27:14 AM , Rating: 2
Not true, there was an article where a review website took 9 SSDs and put them in RAID 0. They were able to get near 100% scaling in read and write. I can't remember which site it was. I am going to look around for it and post the link.

They did run into limitations of one boards SATA controller, so they switched to another board and got full transfer rates.

By misbfa1 on 5/27/2008 11:34:17 AM , Rating: 2
Here is the link.

As you can see, even with all those high transfer rates, it didn't help Vista boot times. It helped a lot on shutdown times. However 9x was not any faster than 2x.

By Visual on 5/28/2008 4:43:46 AM , Rating: 2
thanks for the link, it was an interesting read.
good to know there are raid controllers that are indeed able to reach such high transfer rates, too.
but apparently even those controllers will not be enough if they were using these new and faster ssd drives...

about it not helping boot/shutdown times, it's really curious... it is possible that memory or cpu operations are the bottleneck at those rates, but i think it's more likely that the i/o layer software itself is not properly written and optimized with such high rates and low access times in mind. maybe we'll see more difference in the next windows version, or in a properly configured linux.

By DanoruX on 5/26/2008 6:06:06 PM , Rating: 2
I-RAM/RAMDISK is now obsolete!

...for those with 6+ figure salaries. :(

RE: Hurray!
By Doormat on 5/26/2008 7:59:16 PM , Rating: 2
Not even for some of us with 6 figure salaries!! I'll be holding off on any SSD tech until the price comes down from the stratosphere. I can see paying $300 for an 64GB drive if it smokes regular drives in real-world performance (how quick windows boots, swap file, etc etc). Though I figure I have a ways to wait.

Plus I'm beginning to wonder if OSes and other apps will need to be patched to deal with SSD's near zero access times (compared to HDDs). The Samsung/OCZ SSDs so far show great theoretical performance but don't otherwise beat the fastest HDDs in a normal scenario.

RE: Hurray!
By Shining Arcanine on 5/26/2008 10:31:00 PM , Rating: 2
I have one in my laptop (1.86GHz Core Duo, GeForce 7900 GS, 2GB of RAM, 64GB Samsung/OCZ SSD) and it runs faster than my desktop (1.86 Core 2 Duo, GeForce 7950 GT, 4GB of RAM, 750GB WD hard drive) which has much better specifications.

Before I'd consider SSDs
By Totally on 5/26/2008 6:23:53 PM , Rating: 2
Two of the following conditions need to be met:

1. capacities exceed 250GB
2. I come across more money than I have brains
3. prices =< $2/GB

RE: Before I'd consider SSDs
By rippleyaliens on 5/26/2008 7:21:47 PM , Rating: 1
Well, if your Operating system takes over 36GB to install, you have a much bigger problem than breaking the 250gb barrier.
With that drive performance, i will be happy with 72GB...
SSD's are about Speed.. Not space.
SSD use less power, which is cool, but the enterprise interest is in the Extremely high I/O.
If this drive cost $8 Grand, this is a bargain. 1 Year ago, i got a quote from Texas Memmory systems, for a 92gb SSD array. Price=$120,000.. So SSD to me , in the enterprise= Speed/Performance. SPACe can be added much cheaper with $200 1TB hard drives..

RE: Before I'd consider SSDs
By rippleyaliens on 5/26/2008 7:28:12 PM , Rating: 1
1- 15k Cheetah drive provides around 140-160 I/O per second.
a Typical SSD shoots beyond 8k I/O per second..
Now the Tera-Ramsan, which onlyy 2 years ago, 128gb was max, now scales to beyond TB sixe.. THIS IS POWER.
3.8 Billion Random I/O's Per second. This is insane I/O.
I just did a ESX install, with 150 Drive Hitachi Array. Lots of space, 20tb, Insane speed, but I/O's to me were horrible. I/O's= Sql speed, Email speed, Web server Speed..
I cant wait till i have SSD's in my machine.. Ram DRIVE would be better, but baby steps..

RE: Before I'd consider SSDs
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2008 3:02:35 PM , Rating: 2
Six meg, yes MEGABYTE, hard drives used to cost as much as SSD's. So honestly the current prices is no big deal for a new tech.

By AggressorPrime on 5/27/2008 7:57:54 AM , Rating: 2
You also have to think about the stability boost SSD's supply. With my Inspiron 1720, my built in speakers generate enough vibrations to stall the hard drive when running at 50%. This can get very annoying because it happens during the loudest moments in games like an explosion, eaving that explosion to render in my audio processor multiple times until I plug in headphones or external speakers. SSD's don't care about vibrations like hard drives and not even heat that much, so they can operate in rougher conditions.

RE: Stability
By FITCamaro on 5/27/2008 8:39:36 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you should turn your sound down. I played games on my old Sager 5680 laptop and never had an issue with this.

RE: Stability
By gramboh on 5/27/2008 12:44:04 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like a pretty bad design flaw from Dell, if that is a gaming laptop.

By nismotigerwvu on 5/26/2008 5:29:34 PM , Rating: 2
Shouldn't that read 256GB not 256MB?

RE: Typo
By Lonyo on 5/26/2008 5:41:58 PM , Rating: 2
And not once, but twice.

RE: Typo
By nismotigerwvu on 5/26/2008 6:32:01 PM , Rating: 2
Keen eye soldier :)

RE: Typo
By BruceLeet on 5/26/08, Rating: -1
RE: Typo
By codeThug on 5/27/08, Rating: -1
RE: Typo
By BruceLeet on 5/27/2008 10:01:33 AM , Rating: 1
~ok Genius

RAID 5 Review Now!
By Baked on 5/26/2008 11:22:01 PM , Rating: 5
I demand Anand get a bunch of these uber drives and do a RAID 5 review!

I don't know about the model...
By IronReda on 5/26/2008 10:19:05 PM , Rating: 1
maybe if i was drunk...

By codeThug on 5/27/2008 12:39:25 AM , Rating: 2
don't base that decision on a neck-up review solely.

By DeepBlue1975 on 5/27/2008 4:53:04 PM , Rating: 2
200mb/s read, 160mb/s write...

Yet this is only the beginning!

I couldn't get more excited about SSDs :D

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