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BiTMICRO promises super-capacity solid-state disk for Q3 2008

No, you didn't just misread the title to this article. BiTMICRO Networks is moving forward with plans to announce an 832GB SATA 2.5" solid-state disk (SSD) at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

The new 832GB SSD is a part of BiTMICRO's E-Disk Altima family and uses multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory to increase storage densities. BiTMICRO claims that the drive will "deliver sustained rates of up to 100 MB per second and up to 20,000 I/O operations per second."

"This latest product pre-announcement seeks to establish BiTMICRO’s commitment to deliver solid state storage in all market applications," said Rudy Bruce, BiTMICRO's Executive VP for Marketing and Sales. "We are excited to offer E-Disk Altima SATA flash solid state drive as a PC and enterprise storage alternative offering the best-in-class capacity, performance and reliability."

The 416GB counterpart to BiTMICRO's newest SSD entry was announced in early September 2007. At that time, BiTMICRO said that samples of its E-Disk Altima family would ship in Q1 2008 with production availability coming in March 2008.

BiTMICRO has since revised that forecast and projects that samples of the E-Disk Altima will be available during Q2 2008 with production models ranging from 32GB to 832GB coming in Q3 2008.

Pricing hasn't been announced for the massive 832GB drive, but expect to pay a pretty penny. Considering that 128GB SSDs can hover around the $4,000 USD mark, it's not too far-fetched to project that an 832GB SSD could be had for the price of a BMW 1-Series.

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RE: One question
By amanojaku on 1/4/2008 3:25:09 PM , Rating: 2
There are at least two areas that can use a drive like this.

The first is the server world, which has been transitioning from 3.5" drives to 2.5" drives for the past few years. The SSD would compete with the vaunted SAS drives, which are default storage devices in some HP and Dell servers. SAS drives offer significant performance improvements when compared to SCSI and have a smaller footprint. As a result, you find SAS drives in standard servers and blade servers. Hell, HP even has a 6-drive SAS blade!

The second area is the extremely small bleeding edge crowd looking for desktop or server performance in a laptop. When you consider the use of virtualization (for instance, VMware) it's not uncommon to see storage needs increase. With 832GB sales people could demo a multi-tiered application on many virtual machines, and the performance of an SSD would make that system perform as well as a desktop.

But let's not forget those with money to burn and the need to be the first one on the block with a shiny new SSD! I just wish I was one of the lucky bastards... :-(

RE: One question
By 16nm on 1/4/2008 5:27:47 PM , Rating: 2
SAS drives offer significant performance improvements when compared to SCSI and have a smaller footprint.

FYI, SAS is SCSI. SAS == Serial Attached SCSI . 2.5" drives have a smaller foot print than 3.5" ones because they are an inch less. It has nothing to do with SAS.

RE: One question
By amanojaku on 1/4/2008 8:30:58 PM , Rating: 2
You're right, I should have clarified that SAS performance is largely due to the serial design rather than the old SCSI shared bus design. They're both SCSI, but SAS has a dedicated bus, yielding a minimum theoretical disk-to-host transfer of 150Gbits/sec per drive.

The 2.5" drive design was used by SAS and (to my knowledge) never by SCSI. As a result of the smaller form factor you do see performance gains compared to 3.5" drives. But you are correct in that SCSI drives would also see performance improvements if they were switched to 2.5" form factors. A smaller drive size = less power used and less heat generated, both of which increase the performance of a drive.

The final two improvements of SAS over SCSI are elimination of clock skew and terminators. All electrical devices communicate via timed signals. If both ends of the communications path are clock synced they can communicate at their greatest rate. If they are not synced (they are skewed) they must compensate for the lost signal clock, which introduces delay.

The lack of terminators means there is no signal reflection in the SAS communications patch. Signal reflection also lowers the speed of a link by forcing both ends to determine if signals were duplicated. No duplication means simpler logic at each end and faster processing overall.

With the use of the SAS interface any drive will see performance improvements as long as data can be sent and received from the internal storage medium to the transfer interface fast enough. SSDs should see the use of SAS in the future.

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