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Samsung 2.5" SATA II Solid State Drive sample  (Source: Samsung)
Samsung cranks up the speeds of its solid-state drives

Solid-state disks (SSDs) are seen as the next plateau for mobile computing. Companies like Alienware and Dell offer the high-performance drives in their notebook computers and end-users can add SSDs to their own notebooks thanks to online retailers like Newegg.

Samsung first starting making waves in the SSD arena with its 32GB drive in March 2006 and followed up with a faster 64GB unit in June of 2007. Today, Samsung is once again stepping up its efforts in the SSD arena.

The company has announced a new generation of 64GB SSDs which use 8Gb, 50nm single-level-cell (SLC) flash memory chips. The drives, which will be available in 1.8" and 2.5" form-factors, also feature a new SATA II interface for faster performance.

The faster chips and SATA II interface gives the new SSDs sequential write speeds of 100MB/sec and sequential reads of 120MB/sec. These numbers completely obliterate the previous Samsung 64GB offering which is rated at 45MB/sec write and 65MB/sec read. Samsung's first-generation 32GB SSD is rated for 30MB/sec writes and 53MB/sec reads.

"The 64GB SATA II SSD is based on Samsung’s cutting-edge NAND technology with dramatically improved performance specs that are taking system performance to a whole new level of efficiency," stated Samsung director of NAND flash marketing Jim Elliott.

Samsung's new SSDs also now compare favorably with Mtron's family of SSDs which are available in 2.5" and 3.5" form-factors. Those drives feature write speeds of 90MB/sec and read speeds of 120MB/sec.

Samsung is currently sampling the new SATA II SSDs and production examples should follow in early 2008.

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Where are we with...
By Tim Thorpe on 11/5/07, Rating: 0
RE: Where are we with...
By TomZ on 11/5/2007 12:32:05 PM , Rating: 2
I think we got past that 10-20 years ago, with today's NAND memories that are good for 1-10M cycles, plus wear leveling algorithms built into all these drives. SSDs should be much more reliable than magnetic HDDs.

RE: Where are we with...
By Pauli on 11/5/2007 4:36:48 PM , Rating: 1
Huh? 10-20 years ago? Maybe I've been in a coma, but last time I checked, flash memory was not even available 10 years ago, much less 20. Ok, maybe 1997 or 1998 it became available to the general computing public, but we certainly did not "get past" the lifecycle limitations. Don't know where you came up with this.

RE: Where are we with...
By MGSsancho on 11/5/2007 5:38:30 PM , Rating: 2
voyager 1 and 2 had flash based mem =) i dunno about sputnik
HDD do not like space.

RE: Where are we with...
By TomZ on 11/5/2007 5:54:05 PM , Rating: 2
Huh? 10-20 years ago? Maybe I've been in a coma, but last time I checked, flash memory was not even available 10 years ago, much less 20.

Flash memory came out in the late 1980's, and using flash for a file system was one of the early applications of flash, since file systems had been implemented on top of RAM and EEPROM prior to flash.

RE: Where are we with...
By Pauli on 11/5/2007 6:39:23 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe it had been invented in the late 80's, but it certainly was not widely available to consumers until the late 90's, with the popularity of digital cameras.

And even then, the write/rewrite cycles were pretty limited, at least for affordable memory modules.

RE: Where are we with...
By GTMan on 11/5/2007 7:15:25 PM , Rating: 4
Nice try, you are just digging yourself deeper trying to defend your original statement.

Have you ever heard of people throwing away flash memory because it ran out of read/write cycles. No, it usually becomes obsolete well before that time.

As the read/write requirements have increased, the technologies that have been developed over last 2 decades have been successful in keeping up.

Jut because the read/write cycles were more limited 10-20 years ago doesn't mean they didn't develop strategies to maximize the cycles required in the day . And whether they were available to the general public also has no bearing on whether they were able to develop said strategies. Give up the fight buddy.

RE: Where are we with...
By Pauli on 11/5/2007 9:32:25 PM , Rating: 3
Digging myself deeper? There's a HUGE difference between using your 1999-technology Compact Flash card on a digicam and using it as operating system drive. In a digicam, or even a USB thumb drive in a PC, we're talking about dozens, hundreds, or maybe just low-thousands of read/write cycles. Try using it as an OS drive, with the friggin' page file performing thousands of writes per minute and it's a totally different story.

The post I was responding to stated that this problem was "solved" 10-20 years ago. I'm not saying that the write cycle problem is not a problem with flash memory today -- I'm only arguing that it was not "solved" 10-20 years ago as the poster who I was responding to stated. Stay out of this thread if you're not going to even read what I wrote.

RE: Where are we with...
By AvidDailyTechie on 11/6/2007 2:20:11 PM , Rating: 1

RE: Where are we with...
By Chris Peredun on 11/5/2007 2:18:19 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, it's "100,000 erase" - and as TomZ pointed out, even the weakest NAND flash these days is being rated rather well. With wear-leveling implemented at the hardware level, it will only erase cells when it needs to.

Even assuming the rather abysmal (by today's standards) 10,000 erase cycle limit, that means you'll have to write and subsequently erase 10,000 times the drive's capacity - in the case of the 32GB SSD, you're talking about 320 terabytes of data.

A million erase cycles before failure means you're looking at 320 petabytes .

RE: Where are we with...
By lennylim on 11/5/2007 4:54:23 PM , Rating: 1
Some areas are more prone to change, for example the file index. Even accessing it will modify the "last accessed date" (at least under NTFS).

RE: Where are we with...
By MGSsancho on 11/5/2007 5:40:32 PM , Rating: 2
USB thumb drives uses FAT or FAT32 file system so they work great on all OSes. now SSDs, your correct.

RE: Where are we with...
By TomZ on 11/5/2007 5:57:32 PM , Rating: 2
Some areas are more prone to change, for example the file index. Even accessing it will modify the "last accessed date" (at least under NTFS).

The wear leveling algorithm will transparently re-map these sectors to different locations on the physical chips. This is kind of similar to how IDE HDDs remap sectors when a bad sector is detected by the drive.

RE: Where are we with...
By Pauli on 11/5/2007 6:45:56 PM , Rating: 2
So, if I have the drive filled up with say, 25GBs of video files that I keep on there without deleting, and run the OS (along with its associated page file) and apps on the remaining space, the wear-leveling algorithm would automatically move the video file data as it needs to? Sounds like a big performance hit with all of these additional writes that would need to be performed.

RE: Where are we with...
By GreenEnvt on 11/6/2007 9:36:23 AM , Rating: 2
Why would it move the video files?
If the pc is updating the last accessed time of a file like the page file, it would write that to free space if available, not move existing files around, which would cause even more writes.

RE: Where are we with...
By Pauli on 11/6/2007 12:39:31 PM , Rating: 2
That's what I'm asking. Would this situation cause the page file to overwrite the same space on the flash memory or would the wear-leveling algorithms spread the writes around to other areas of the memory that already contain files (thus, having to move them around)?

Is it just me or has SSD development seemed slow?
By Hulk on 11/5/2007 11:44:14 AM , Rating: 2
The memory technology has been around for a long time. The memory itself been relatively inexpensive for a year or so. But we still don't have reasonably price and fast solid state drives. It looks like this could be the opening of the floodgates if the price it right (or close to right).

RE: Is it just me or has SSD development seemed slow?
By MFK on 11/5/2007 12:05:30 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, it could perhaps be said that the SSD development is moving slow.
I think its because the demand is just not there for a drive that is so robust. Okay so maybe the people who have alot of extra cash lying around might spend it to get this uber robust drive, but I, the average techie, will probably not be buying an SSD for a couple of years to come.
Make no mistake, I've lost enough data as a result of hard drive failures and yes I too on occasion happen to fumble with and drop my laptop. But, as I'm sure many people would agree, the price just isn't right, especially when compared to the per gigabyte cost of the average platter based hard drives.

By Gul Westfale on 11/5/2007 12:36:36 PM , Rating: 2
jesus those are some fast write speeds.. i hope those are the actual speeds though, not what is theoretically possible through the interface using a small on-board buffer.

by the time they become affordable they will be much faster though :)

By ninjit on 11/5/2007 2:17:47 PM , Rating: 2
Can anyone comment on the differences between flash memory used in SSDs and those used in flash drives?

The current prices on NewEgg for SSDs come out to around $30/GB.

Where as other kinds of fast flash memory (like Sandisk Extreme III types) run around $10 to $15 per GB (depending on form-factor: SD, CompactFlash, Thumb drive)

By semo on 11/5/2007 2:35:03 PM , Rating: 2
if you want a fast flash drive you go with single-level cell (slc) nand flash technology. most cheap memory cards and usb drives use mlc nand flash and it can be hard to distinguish between slc and mlc variants (apart from the price diff). i can tell you that corsair's blue usb drives use mlc (slow, cheap) but their red variants use slc.

Can anyone comment on the differences between flash memory used in SSDs and those used in other flash drives?
that makes more sense

By mindless1 on 11/5/2007 5:58:40 PM , Rating: 2
Price is not a good indicator, for example Sandisk's Extreme III is SLC. Write speed is a better indicator, then read speed. TYpically you won't see any products up near the 40MB/s read mark unless SLC, but the difference in Samsung's product has to be the controller chip's access strategy unless they suddenly made a giant breakthrough in flash chips' performance which seems unlikely.

SSD market will take time to become cost effective
By mWMA on 11/5/2007 11:55:29 AM , Rating: 2
Considering that there are plenty of other uses of SSD in the market besides being a replaced for HDD it will take quite a while before it becomes even a common choice among notebook users to have SSD option for the same price as 160GB HDD. Even if SSD becomes cheaper due to mass production, company like apple, nokia, creative will eat the supply up for their products in MP3 and phone market.

By murphyslabrat on 11/5/2007 12:03:37 PM , Rating: 3
If memory being cheaper equals higher sales volume to the big OEM's, then that results in more profit being made. This, in turn, makes this a more profitable market, worthy of more attention. More development is made to reduce cost or increase performance, which results in a better product.

My point is that "compan[ies] like apple, nokia, creative will eat the supply up for their products in MP3 and phone market" is the best thing that can happen for the consumer.

That's nice and all....
By murphyslabrat on 11/5/2007 11:59:29 AM , Rating: 1
What I am waiting for is announcements to the tune of "<insert company here> breaks the $1/GB mark with their SSD's!"

Raptors are nice and fast, but they are priced prohibitively. SSD's are nice and fast (now faster than Raptors across the board), but that means nothing if the disk is 25% of the cost of the PC. High performing media is excellent, but that money would be better spent on upgrading "my CPU, Heatsink (VGA or CPU), video card (I guess there is little reason to spend more than $250 right now...), RAM, or motherboard. Those things give a much more real benefit.

Sure, they may be work excellently in UMPC's, they may be more resistant to fall damage (not a consideration if you're playing Portal), they may suck less juice; but at the end of the day (or fiscal year) it's $400 for a component that gives a relatively marginal boost.

For battery-life, just spend only $50-$200 on a better/bigger battery; for fall damage, it's likely that you're gonna buy a new computer anyway. This cost renders SSD's unattainable for all but those with the capital to spare for every margin possible. There is simply no "productivity justifies the cost" argument here, unless the cost is no object.

Heck, my preferred price is "free," but maybe I can just wait till I can get a 32 or 64 GB drive for under $60.

RE: That's nice and all....
By kileil on 11/5/2007 1:18:27 PM , Rating: 1
Well if Samsung ditched the brushed aluminum case, laser etched logo, and genuine unicorn horn carrying case they could probably shave $20 off the drive pictured above.

RE: That's nice and all....
By snipermav on 11/5/2007 1:39:31 PM , Rating: 2
they may be more resistant to fall damage (not a consideration if you're playing Portal


By Mudvillager on 11/5/2007 3:41:52 PM , Rating: 2
When will it be available in stores?

I cannot wait much longer >_<

RE: When?
By codeThug on 11/5/2007 6:23:30 PM , Rating: 2
right after the HAL 9000 ships...

By DeepBlue1975 on 11/5/2007 2:54:19 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, Samsung got me drooling over this one.

The big question is: how f!#$!%g much?
As I read more about newer and faster SSDs I get more willing to pay big bucks for one of those and slowly start to get rid of those hideous, noisy and hot dinosaur age things with spinning platters in it and intricate mechanical gizmos to keep it from breaking apart while giving dismal performance.

No matter how fast an HDD is, it's always the slowest thing inside a PC by at least 2 orders of magnitude, unless you're using a 386 SX with 100ns memory simms. :D

Following Moore's law
By sonoran on 11/5/2007 3:28:57 PM , Rating: 2
The great thing about SSD is that it's based on silicon, so as long as we can keep scaling to smaller processes, they follow Moore's law - about twice the capacity or half the cost with each new generation.

One to two process generations from now they should have adequate capacity, and be getting quite affordable.

Once that happens, I'd like to see some SSD's that are internally RAIDed for even faster performance.

By GTMan on 11/5/2007 7:25:25 PM , Rating: 2
The obvious holdup is current high prices. But if you read the reviews, the other holdup is random write speeds where current SSD drives are far slower than a typical hard drive.

My 2GB USB stick takes an hour to fill up if I use tiny files but takes just a tiny fraction of that time if I combine into a zip (even without compression).

By metafm on 11/6/2007 4:37:54 AM , Rating: 2
At $30 or $40 per GB the iodrive would definitely be my pick. I also prefer the PCI ex. configuration. If it was available I would immediately buy one ;-).

By MVR on 11/27/2007 4:02:47 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, the IO drive is the only way to go (when it comes out). I feel it is pitiful that they get all excited when these SSD's near the 100MB/sec mark. woopidee-doo.. I'm not spending extra cash so I can have the same or less performance and less storage. Call me when these are in the 250-500MB/sec mark.. I'm saving my cash for the IO drive.

Also, I do have a couple ideas for huge cheap ram based cache on PCIe and MB solutions.

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