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Image courtesy Akihabara News
PQI brings out the big guns with its new 256GB solid-state disk

As if Adtron's 160GB solid-state disk (SSD) wasn't enough in the mobile storage wars, PQI is dishing out a bit of one-upmanship with its new SATA-based SSD.

The company's new Turbo+ 2.5" SATA SSD features a storage capacity of a whopping 256GB -- that's more than even the most capacious 2.5" HDDs that have been recently announced by Fujitsu and Western Digital.

PQI's latest offering has transfer speeds of 60MB/sec -- this comes in on the low side of performance compared to Adtron (70MB/sec), SanDisk (67MB/sec) and Samsung (65MB/sec). However, 60MB/sec is still nothing to scoff at in the area of SSD performance.

According to Akihabara News, pricing and availability hasn't been announced by PQI for the new drive. However, given current pricing trends, the 256GB Turbo+ SSD will likely retail for well over $1,000 USD.

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God knows...
By gradoman on 5/30/2007 2:06:26 PM , Rating: 2 badly I want a couple of those!! I absolutely can't wait for the prices to come down to a reasonable level.

RE: God knows...
By FITCamaro on 5/30/2007 3:32:44 PM , Rating: 2
My concern with them still is longevity. Sure they're getting bigger with decent speed. But how long will they last. If they're only good for a year of heavy use, that's not worth anything. Unless of course you don't mind buying a new hard drive every year.

Most flash memory is only good for 10,000 writes. Even if its 100,000, thats still not much. A regular hard drive is good for 100,000 hours at least. Even with continuous use 24/7 thats over 10 years of operation. Until SSDs can at least come close to matching this, I won't be buying one. A bare minimum of 5 years is the least I'll accept in a laptop.

RE: God knows...
By therealnickdanger on 5/30/2007 3:59:35 PM , Rating: 3
If you are referring to the MTBF (mean time between failure) rating of a hard drive, you do not understand the MTBF rating system. A drive with a 100,000 hour rating is a rating based upon the aggregate hours that an undisclosed number of drives will operate without a single drive failing, not how long a single drive will last. There are also several different methods used to arrive at MTBF ratings... so take them with a grain.

I thought we had also covered the flash-write debacle before and found that SSD could withstand over a million write cycles per sector, and that the longevity of the SSD could be extended via on-board wear-leveling methods. To me, the sheer shock resistance of SSD has already made HDDs obsolete in mobile applications.

RE: God knows...
By TomZ on 5/30/2007 4:01:38 PM , Rating: 1
Although I can't find detailed specs on pqi's web site on this particular model, other similar SSDs on their web site are rated for 5,000,000 R/W cycles, and 5,000,000-hour MTBF. I'd say that compares pretty favorably relative to magnetic HDDs with typical MTBF of 1/10 that figure, or less.

I think these drives are mostly using single-level cell flash, which is good for at least 100,000 write cycles. Combined with wear leveling...

RE: God knows...
By Dactyl on 5/30/2007 4:02:43 PM , Rating: 3
These SSDs will outlive new notebook HDDs.

First, they will never die from mechanical failure and being dropped shouldn't be a problem (you'll break something else in your laptop before you break this part).

Second, 100,000 writes is plenty. There is load-balancing control software that deactivates areas with errors and spreads the writes as evenly as possible across the disk to maximize its lifetime.

By the time these drives start dropping dead, you will be ready for a whole new notebook with a next-generation mobile processor that's faster, has more cores, and has hours and hours more battery life.

RE: God knows...
By zsouthboy on 5/30/2007 4:20:13 PM , Rating: 4


Every single time Dailytech has covered an SSDD, someone ALWAYS says it.

It's not an issue. Your data on your hard drive is exponentially less safe than it would be on one of these. Period.

I wish this bit of misinformation would go away already!
Same deal with people going "OMG HYBRID REPLACE MOTOR IN 2 YRS LOL"


RE: God knows...
By TomZ on 5/30/2007 4:21:49 PM , Rating: 1
What, you have to replace hybrid motors after two years? I didn't know that. Sheesh, I'm not buying one of them.

(just kidding)

RE: God knows...
By thebrown13 on 5/31/07, Rating: 0
RE: God knows...
By spluurfg on 5/30/2007 6:21:22 PM , Rating: 2
Note that when when the sectors expire, your hard drive does not suddenly become useless. This is true for both solid state and magnetic storage. As the sectors become unusable, your effective storage capacity drops, and the drive simply does not write to the bad sectors.

In my experience, the most common reason why hard drives (cough IBM 60GXP) have died on me is because their mechanical parts ceased to function. As this puppy has zero mechanical parts (right?) that fixes the principle cause of hard drive failure.

RE: God knows...
By afkrotch on 5/30/2007 9:59:56 PM , Rating: 2
Why would you even want a hdd that lasts 5 years?

In 2003, 80 gig drives were at a reasonable prices. Around $100. 2007, 500 gig drives are at reasonable prices. Around $100.

I don't know about you, but I got rid of any drives I had from 2003, a couple of years ago. In another year, 750 gig drives will probably be at the $100 mark.

I find that it's cheaper that I replace all my hdds (I use RAID 0 and RAID 5, so all my drives have to be the same size) instead of adding more of the same drive. Sure, it's an expensive investment, but it's cheaper than buying additional RAID controllers, more hdds, figuring out where to put all the hard drives, additional power supplies, and additional power costs.

Shoot, the costs between a 500 gig drive and 80 gig drive are pretty minimal, when you consider all the additional crap I'd have to get to support the 80 gig drives. Also cost savings in the long run and the failure rate stays down, instead of increasing with each new drive added.

For single drives in a laptop, who would bother. I have a laptop that I bought in 2001. That's only 6 years old. It sported a 600 mhz Pentium 3, 512 megs of PC100, 20 gig hdd, 8 meg vidcard, and 14.1" TFT LCD. When and if, I decide to buy a new laptop, do you really think I plan on moving the 20 gig hdd to the new laptop, when new laptops nowadays come with up to 200 gig drives. Also 20 gigs. I can use 2 dvds to back that up. Bare minimum of 5 years. Screw that. The laptop itself has a bare maximum life of 5 years in my book.

RE: God knows...
By BigLan on 5/31/2007 10:15:01 AM , Rating: 2
About the longivity, I know others have commented already but lets do some hard math.
It's a 256GB drive, so has 2.5x10^11 bytes
Lets assume each byte can be written to 10,000 times before wearing out (this is a very low figure)
That means that you can do 2.5x10^11 x 10,000 = 2.5x10^15 writes before the drive dies.
Transfer speed is 60MByte/sec, so at a constant sustained write, the drive will last 42666667 seconds, which is 1.35 years.

That's constant, 24/7 writing at maximum speed. I guess you'll be lucky to actually write to the drive for an hour a day (most HD activity is reads which doesn't wear out flash memory), so you've got ~30 years lifespan.

Now figure that the 10,000 write number is off by a factor or 10 or 100 and you've got a drive that will work long after it's interface is obsolete.

Sure, the 10,000 writes is an average, so will go early and others later, but the logic in the drive will just not use them when that happens.

One of the few products I would pay $1,000 for
By shaw on 5/30/2007 7:42:06 PM , Rating: 2
There aren't many products that I would pay a $1,000 for but this would be one of them.

Now when somebody makes a SSD that can transfer at 125MB/sec to fully make use of gigabit ethernet that would be sweet as well.

RE: One of the few products I would pay $1,000 for
By tephra on 5/30/2007 10:42:52 PM , Rating: 2
raid 0?

RE: One of the few products I would pay $1,000 for
By myhipsi on 5/31/2007 1:15:50 PM , Rating: 2
Realistically you would pretty much saturate a gigabit connection with 60MB/s due to Networking/cpu/pci bus overhead plus a dozen other factors. Real world, I'd say 400Mbps (50MB/s) is pushing it, and that would be optimum gigabit speeds.

By tephra on 6/1/2007 5:27:03 AM , Rating: 2
mmmm i've done a FTP over GigE and achieved 98Mbytes/Sec

linux to linux (not overly fast CPU's)
RAMdisk to RAMdisk

By highlandsun on 5/31/2007 9:59:03 PM , Rating: 2
All they need to do is add 8-16MB of DRAM cache, same as for an HDD, that will allow them to buffer data at full interface speed. The technology for that is already available off-the-shelf. It's a no-brainer to add it in. Then you can write small bursts at full speed and free the interface up to talk to another drive. That's really the only way to get top performance out of a RAID setup anyway...

Compare favourably..
By GreenEnvt on 5/30/2007 2:10:59 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't really support your statement that it compares well with the competition when it is 5-15% slower the all the competition.

RE: Compare favourably..
By Verran on 5/30/2007 2:29:29 PM , Rating: 4
15% speed sacrificed for 60% storage increase. How is that not a favorable comparison?

RE: Compare favourably..
By GreenEnvt on 5/30/2007 4:24:41 PM , Rating: 2
unlike a traditional HDD where size can affect performance (different speeds at different spots on the spinning disk), a solid state drive should not be affected by increased capacity.

Small Typo
By gtrinku on 5/30/2007 2:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
The company's new Turbo+ 2.5" SATA SSD features a storage capacity of a whopping 256MB

Should say 256 GB

RE: Small Typo
By TheShniz on 5/30/07, Rating: -1
RE: Small Typo
By Zirconium on 5/30/2007 2:10:49 PM , Rating: 5
How can it compare favorably to the competition if it's slower?!?
First of all, what did that have to do with the MB vs GB comment? You did reply to it after all.

Secondly, while it is slower, it isn't by much (i.e. it isn't like the transfer speeds are only 20 MB/s). It is still within the same ballpark (60 MB/s vs 65, 67 and 70 MB/s). I'd venture that the performance difference between the drives would not be noticeable. What will be noticeable is the extra almost 100 GB of storage.

RE: Small Typo
By TheShniz on 5/30/07, Rating: -1
RE: Small Typo
By TomZ on 5/30/07, Rating: -1
RE: Small Typo
By Brandon Hill on 5/30/2007 2:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
Got it, thanks :)

Megabits or Megabytes a second?
By Azsen on 5/30/2007 7:44:21 PM , Rating: 2
Is the transfer of these drives measured in Megabits or Megabytes a second?

E.g. 60 Megabits/s or 60 Megabytes/s?

If it is indeed Megabytes/s does this mean I could theoretically copy a 180MB file to the same drive in 3 seconds?

RE: Megabits or Megabytes a second?
By TomZ on 5/30/07, Rating: 0
RE: Megabits or Megabytes a second?
By myhipsi on 5/31/2007 1:00:52 PM , Rating: 3
the SATA link speed is very high (gigabytes/second)

Actually, SATA speeds are in the gigaBITS/second. The SATA bus can theoretically transfer 1.5gb/s and the SATAII bus can theoretically transfer 3.0gb/s. Due to an 80% efficient encoding used with digital differential signaling, the effective maximum throughput is 150Mbytes/sec for SATA and 300Mbytes/sec with SATAII.

RE: Megabits or Megabytes a second?
By TomZ on 5/31/2007 3:09:13 PM , Rating: 1
True, that was a typo on my part, but 300 > 60, so the point is still valid, I think.

By Quiksel on 5/30/2007 2:05:04 PM , Rating: 3
Can't wait to see this tech get cheap. Hooray for more space on an SSD!!

RE: *drool*
By AlexSpy on 5/31/2007 12:30:33 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, a cheap one would breathe life back into my old Pentium M based PC :)

Would this need to be defraged?
By knipfty on 5/30/2007 4:48:23 PM , Rating: 2
Would it matter how fragmented these "drives" become? I defrag my drives often and would hate to ware out of these puppies.

RE: Would this need to be defraged?
By TomZ on 5/30/2007 5:05:55 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think it would make much sense to try to defrag a SSD, since there is no "seek" time like HDDs have.

By spec74 on 5/30/07, Rating: 0
RE: hmmmm.
By AraH on 5/30/2007 2:49:57 PM , Rating: 1
i have a hard disk around somewhere that's 212 .6 MB, okay, i know there are smaller ones, but i just find the .6 funny

RE: hmmmm.
By OxBow on 5/30/2007 4:13:18 PM , Rating: 2
I remember reading about 15 years ago about SSDs and a two new models coming on the market. One was a 20 meg designed to hold an OS & applications, the other was a jaw dropping 400 megs for a cool $20k.

By the same token, I do want one of these. I wonder how fast the prices are going to drop until their in my budget range?

By semo on 5/30/2007 2:15:06 PM , Rating: 3
PQI is dishing out a bit of one-upmanship with its new SATA-based SSD
boooo! i'm getting tired of flash based product paper launche/pipe dream/where-do-i-buy-this-thing-from stories.

i would be much more excited now to see a mediocre but mainstream flash ssd than a 1tb slc prototype held by a bunny suit in a clean room.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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