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Print 20 comment(s) - last by Shining Arcani.. on Nov 25 at 3:53 PM

Not your typical flash drive

When most people think of USB flash drives, the image that comes to mind is a small, compact device with a USB connector sticking out.

OCZ is about to change that.

The company is announcing a new partnership with Symwave, a silicon supplier for SuperSpeed USB 3.0 devices, and the first prototype isn't what you'd expect. OCZ has created a large, flat, external Solid State Drive with a USB 3.0 slot. It will connect through a cable to computers with a USB 3.0 interface.

SSDs have hit a wall, as they are currently limited by the SATA 3.0 Gbps interface. This has led several SSD manufacturers to focus on PCIe-based SSDs to boost performance.

“Thanks to Symwave’s industry leading USB 3.0 storage controller, our external SSD device delivers 10x the transfer rate of USB 2.0 at 5Gb/s, as well as several ‘green’ improvements including superior power management and lower CPU utilization,” said Eugene Chang, Vice President of Product Management at the OCZ Technology Group. “We are determined to be at the forefront of the market by offering products with unparalleled performance, reliability, and design to unleash the potential of flash-based storage."

This is likely to be just the first of several new products that will be announced by OCZ using the USB 3.0 interface. Super Talent previously announced a very fast USB 3.0 flash drive in a more traditional form factor.

“OCZ’s products are synonymous with high performance. Combining our USB 3.0 controller with their SSD technology, both architected for performance without compromise, is a perfect match,” said John O’Neill, Vice President of Marketing at Symwave. “CES will be a showcase for new and innovative products that provide consumers with a dramatically improved user experience. Symwave is committed to delivering silicon and software solutions that will transform the way consumers view and use USB storage devices.”



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Hit a wall?
By ChrisHF on 11/24/2009 12:17:45 PM , Rating: 3
To say SSDs have hit a wall is a bit misleading. Perhaps they have hit a wall when reading from their cache.




RE: Hit a wall?
By tastyratz on 11/24/2009 12:24:37 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed.
Commercially sold drives are mostly just recentlly cresting to the 250megabyte limit of sata revision2. They are certainly not grossly held back right now. If the single interface capacity was the limit we would see all newer drives produced with multiple sata interface ports and the drive required to operate on a raid controller (Hardly a far fetched operating requirement given the target market)

The reality is while it might hold them back in a lab, commercially available products right now are not truly suffering. 6gb sata is arriving at the perfect time.


RE: Hit a wall?
By Natfly on 11/24/2009 3:21:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Commercially sold drives are mostly just recentlly cresting to the 250megabyte limit of sata revision2.


Intel has been sitting at that crest for over a year now (since the introduction of the X25-M.) Most of the upper end ssd drives have been sitting at ~250MB/s sequential read for a while now.

quote:
If the single interface capacity was the limit we would see all newer drives produced with multiple sata interface ports and the drive required to operate on a raid controller


Why do that when most motherboards support raid and the users can do that themselves?

quote:
The reality is while it might hold them back in a lab, commercially available products right now are not truly suffering. 6gb sata is arriving at the perfect time.


I'll agree with you there but for a different reason. Random reads/writes are where the most felt performance increase lies, and those aren't close to the 3Gb limit. High sequential reads can be had simply by raiding a couple mechanical drives together, but the slow access times are still going to be the primary limiting factor in everyday usage.


RE: Hit a wall?
By Jansen (blog) on 11/24/2009 3:26:28 PM , Rating: 2
300 MB/s is the theoretical maximum for SATA, but SSDs are hitting the wall at 270 MB/s (90%).

How many USB 2.0 devices actually reach 40 MB/s?


RE: Hit a wall?
By Shining Arcanine on 11/25/2009 3:53:54 PM , Rating: 2
You are ignoring protocol overhead. From what I understand, 1/3 of the bandwidth of USB is wasted on such overhead, so 40MBps is the best you can get out of it.

270MBps is likely the best you can get out of SATA, although to be honest, my Intel SSD is only capable of 260MBps, so I think the wall is really around there.


RE: Hit a wall?
By Shining Arcanine on 11/25/2009 3:53:56 PM , Rating: 2
You are ignoring protocol overhead. From what I understand, 1/3 of the bandwidth of USB is wasted on such overhead, so 40MBps is the best you can get out of it.

270MBps is likely the best you can get out of SATA, although to be honest, my Intel SSD is only capable of 260MBps, so I think the wall is really around there.


RE: Hit a wall?
By jonmcc33 on 11/24/09, Rating: -1
RE: Hit a wall?
By Reclaimer77 on 11/24/2009 12:48:59 PM , Rating: 6
quote:
Another wall is their pricing. I can get a 1.5TB drive for $89 right now. Why would I waste money on a SSD?


Don't compare SSD's to hard drives. SSD's are for performance, not storage size. If you have ever used an SSD, you would never have asked such a stupid question.

Enjoy your slow ass 1.5 TB drive.


RE: Hit a wall?
By Lonyo on 11/24/2009 12:49:49 PM , Rating: 2
Pricing will come down over time "naturally", but you can't really do much to accelerate the drops.
Speeds on the other hand can continue to increase, but they are currently hitting a wall and need to find ways around it.

The only way around the pricing "wall" is to reduce the price of flash, which can't really happen any way other than the way it always has.


RE: Hit a wall?
By Reclaimer77 on 11/24/2009 1:05:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Speeds on the other hand can continue to increase, but they are currently hitting a wall and need to find ways around it.


Last I checked the benchmarks, SSD's are already blowing away Raptors in random reads/writes. And some SSD's are up there in sequential writes, which isn't really a big deal performance wise anyway.

I think what SSD's really need is an entirely optimized file system specifically written to take advantage of them. NTFS is optimized for hard drives with things like TRIM working as a bandaid workaround. It works quite well, but not as good as it could.


RE: Hit a wall?
By tastyratz on 11/24/2009 12:57:14 PM , Rating: 3
lame
doesn't this reply to ssd articles get old after awhile?
We get it- you don't understand computers...

The advancements in the ssd market has been so unbelievably staggering that it is what has kept me off the bandwagon so far.
Seems to be every 18 months the capacity doubles, pricing halves, and speed doubles.


RE: Hit a wall?
By semo on 11/24/2009 12:59:33 PM , Rating: 3
SSDs are not for storing stuff (yet) but for improving performance. HDDs are for storing stuff.

If you are buying a desktop, get the SSD and the cheapest TB 5400rpm drive you can find for storage.

Once again:
SSD --> performance
HDD --> mass storage

You can't use price/GB to compare those 2 parts. price/GB only makes sense when comparing storage devices. It’s like saying that a top of the range GPU card has a horrible price/GB of memory compared to DDR3 modules. It’s irrelevant. You use FLOPS (or FPS or whatever) count to justify buying an expensive graphics card and you should use IOPS to justify the price for SSD and when you put IOPS results of SSDs and HDDs on a graph, the HDD can’t even be seen on the graph. Same goes for the latency


RE: Hit a wall?
By ClownPuncher on 11/24/2009 1:38:29 PM , Rating: 2
OCZ Colossus 1TB.


RE: Hit a wall?
By semo on 11/24/2009 2:03:10 PM , Rating: 2
expensive, slow and doesn't support TRIM, NCQ and who knows what else


RE: Hit a wall?
By ClownPuncher on 11/24/2009 2:15:51 PM , Rating: 2
And expensive, a little pricey too!


RE: Hit a wall?
By MamiyaOtaru on 11/25/2009 3:58:21 AM , Rating: 2
it's also expensive


RE: Hit a wall?
By XZerg on 11/24/2009 3:21:55 PM , Rating: 2
The better way of putting it would be you don't compare the memory GB/price to HDD GB/price.

SSD definitely have their performance edge in most cases and also have their niche where they would really apply over HDD. For example buying a laptop with slower CPU and with SSD would go a long way than a larger HDD would go when concerned with performance and reliability. I myself have been looking for a cheap on-the-go-work laptop with some future-proof CPU capabilities (virtual tech, 64bit, ...) but towards the lower end of performance (above Atom-grade for sure) and add a SSD to it. Light and fast responsive for quick work. For storage I would rely on 16/32GB USB storage in most cases.


RE: Hit a wall?
By semo on 11/24/2009 5:37:02 PM , Rating: 2
right now there are only 3 types of SSDs on the market,indilinx controller ones, intel controller or mediocrity that isn't worth the price premium...

i'm looking for a similar laptop myself. if you find anything please share. thanks!
http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=20270...


RE: Hit a wall?
By Gungel on 11/24/2009 1:00:28 PM , Rating: 2
SSD's are certainly not a waist of money. It all depends on what they are used for. It can reduce application and system load times by a significant amount. Our company figured that we can save several hours every month of waiting on computers to load Apps and boot up. My system for example boots up in just under 15 seconds compared to a conventional hard disk which took over 1 1/2 minutes.
Of course for large files magnetic platters are still the most efficient way to store them.


RE: Hit a wall?
By semo on 11/24/2009 1:14:14 PM , Rating: 3
do you have proof of that?

In the link below you can see that most high end SSDs are bottlenecked by the SATA II interface and I doubt that it is cache reads either because the test run was 3 minutes
quote:
Using the latest build of Iometer I ran a 3 minute long 2MB sequential write test over the entire span of the drive.

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=36...

Also, Anand hasn't ever mentioned anything that suggests that these results are skewed due to cache.


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