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Samsung 256GB SSD is World's Fastest

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the i-write-faster-with-a-pencil dept.

190

i4u submitted one of many holiday weekend slow news day stories which starts "Samsung Electronics announced today the world's fastest, 2.5", 256GB multi-level cell (MLC) based solid state drive (SSD) using a SATA II interface. Performance data of the new Samsung 256GB SSD features a sequential read speed of 200 megabytes per second (MB/s) and sequential write speed of 160MB/s. The Samsung MLC-based 2.5-inch 256GB SSD is about 2.4 times faster than a typical HDD. Furthermore, the new 256 GB SSD is only 9.5 millimeters (mm) thick, and measures 100.3x69.85 mm. Samsung is expected to begin mass producing the 2.5-inch, 256GB SSD by year end, with customer samples available in September. A 256GB capacity is getting large enough to replace hard-drives for good — now just the prices just need to come down further for large capacity SSDs."

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Random write ops? (0, Troll)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543615)

So, can this one push more than 20 random writes per second?

Re:Random write ops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23543843)

yeah... right.

Re:Random write ops? (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543859)

Uh, the last SSD review I saw that had considerably worse specs than this just barely came behind the VelociRaptor in the random write tests. Unless you've got a special disk trashing benchmark to make SSDs look bad, I'm fairly sure this wins on all counts. In fact, 20 random writes/sec sounds more like trolling than insigthful to me...

Re:Random write ops? (5, Interesting)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544135)

Every benchmark I've seen on SSD's have shown random IOPS of between 20 and 120/sec, ranging between cheaper consumer drives and more expensive enterprisey models; writing single blocks to random locations completely demolish their performance because such small writes often require the drive to erase huge blocks.

New techniques try to avoid this by basically turning random writes into sequential ones; once you've erased a 4+MB block, you put all new writes into that block (you can turn a 0 into a 1 without an expensive erase cycle) and remap it similarly to how it's done with wear leveling. I'm not aware of anyone actually doing this yet, though.

What kind of filesystem? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544979)

That type of functionality can be put into a filesystem.

Is this raw access, or over a filesystem? If it's the former, you have a benchmark which doesn't mean much in the real world. If the latter, which filesystem was used?

Choosing the wrong filesystem type will indeed get you non-optimal performance.

The Power of 1000 Hard Drives (4, Interesting)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543881)

This pales in comparison to the ioFusion drive [tgdaily.com] . The videos show tests being run where they are doing 8 operations at the same time, at blazing speeds, copying multiple DVDs in 5 seconds, and simulating swapping a blizzard of 4kb blocks as fast as RAM. Instead of 2 channels, their cards use 160 channels at the same time. This gives a single card the parallel random access bandwidth of a 1000 disk drive SAN.

http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/34065/135/ [tgdaily.com]

At $30 per gigabyte, it would be great to have a 10-gig for OS and your current favorite MMO game.

Re:The Power of 1000 Hard Drives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544047)

"At $30 per gigabyte, it would be great to have a 10-gig for OS and your current favorite MMO game." Why? Running Vista with 4GB ram my HD isn't accessed after it's been booted. Can raid all night long without my HD being any kind of bottleneck.

Re:The Power of 1000 Hard Drives (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544213)

Eve Online had big problems with random-access hard-drive use with the local cache. I haven't played in awhile, so I don't know if this is still the case.

Re:Random write ops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23543969)

What? Random access has never been an issue with SSDs - it's where they shine and HDDs look like shit. Sequential access is where HDDs have remained king until now.

Re:Random write ops? (2, Informative)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544559)

No, SSD's have always shined at random *reads*. Small random writes have traditionally been where they're very weak; you might manage 160MB/s writing large chunks, but if you're droping 16k blocks all over the place (as, e.g, databases are apt to do) you'll be lucky to manage 1MB/s because of the overhead each write incurrs, certainly on cheaper drives aimed at portable use.

Hence, it's a perfectly reasonable question; depending on how they've implemented it, they could be anywhere from 20-20,000 random writes/sec.

Re:Random write ops? (2, Informative)

GreyWolf3000 (468618) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544727)

No, SSD's have always shined at random *reads*. Small random writes have traditionally been where they're very weak; you might manage 160MB/s writing large chunks, but if you're droping 16k blocks all over the place (as, e.g, databases are apt to do) you'll be lucky to manage 1MB/s because of the overhead each write incurrs, certainly on cheaper drives aimed at portable use. Hence, it's a perfectly reasonable question; depending on how they've implemented it, they could be anywhere from 20-20,000 random writes/sec.
To expound, NAND flash chips are broken up into 128KB 'blocks' which in turn comprise 64 2KB 'pages.' You can read any page you want on the entire chip in the same amount of time (no moving parts), but to *write* any particular page, you need to perform an erase on the *entire* block. Let me repeat, to write one page to NAND flash (2 KB), you have to erase a 128 KB block. The reset operation will transition all bits on that block to a 1, and you have to go back and tell it which bits to set to zero.

Re:Random write ops? (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544807)

Unless flash has changed a lot since I last looked at it, this isn't quite true. To write a 2KB page, you first need to erase a 128KB block, but you can then write into the remaining 126KB without needing an erase first. If you're using something like LFS or ZFS on your disk, this translates to very fast writes. If you're using a filesystem that doesn't have copy-on-write semantics, then this will still be quite slow because you will rarely encounter this kind of access pattern (you will be more likely to read 128KB, modify 2KB in a buffer and then re-write 128KB, which, as you explained, is very slow since it requires a 128KB read followed by a 128KB write just to write 2KB - the same reason that RAID-5 is slow for writes).

Re:Random write ops? (3, Informative)

GreyWolf3000 (468618) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544853)

What you said doesn't contradict what I said at all. You can definitely achieve much better performance by not scattering your writes; sequential access is very fast. For random writes, you're going to have to seriously buffer to avoid wasting erase cycles. Fortunately, the same algorithm that avoids erase cycles for performance is also the same algorithm that does wear leveling. I don't know too much about ZFS or how copy-on-write would help except on a purely abstract level.

Summary (5, Insightful)

Mark Trade (172948) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543625)

Don't buy any other similar products. Ours will come out Really Soon (TM). At least we hope so.

Re:Summary (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544833)

And since it's using MLCs, expect to buy another one quite soon after. While SLC flash is up to the 100,000 to 1,000,000 rewrites level, MLC is still closer to 10,000. This, combined with the larger cell sizes on most MLC products means that it is likely to wear out much faster. This is why most flash manufacturers are only pushing MLC technology for consumer electronics type applications (e.g. MP3 players), where you want high density and low cost but don't perform many writes.

Seems like the complexity is lower (4, Interesting)

Eccles (932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543641)

Looking at a hard drive, it's got lots of moving parts, the need for sealing, etc. One would think that in the long run a solid state drive that is just a few chips and connecting logic would be cheaper to produce once you have the facilities.

Re:Seems like the complexity is lower (2, Insightful)

berwiki (989827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543931)

you're probably right.

but just like CD's are cheaper to produce than cassettes, that doesn't mean the cost will ever come down.

Re:Seems like the complexity is lower (2, Insightful)

kipman725 (1248126) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544273)

they have come down a blank cd can be had for less than a pence if you buy in large enough quantities. It's just not viable to sell CD's at less than the cost of transportation in individual quantities.

Re:Seems like the complexity is lower (0, Troll)

berwiki (989827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544677)

Then explain how cassettes were selling less than CD's when they were first introduced?

Over time and with current gas prices, I can comprehend 17 dollar CD's, but I'm talking about before the MP3 era and before any type of internet radio. They took advantage of the excited market to keep music prices inflated and rip us off. (when we didn't have a choice)

Please quit your job at the RIAA.

Apples to Celery (4, Insightful)

benhattman (1258918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544715)

You can't just compare different markets. As another poster said, you can buy CD-R for less than a penny each. What you are referring to is how record companies have used the lower medium price to make an even larger profit off of the content.

However, how does an oligopoly selling copyrighted content compare to a commodity market? Basic economics tells you they don't, and you can count on one of two things happening. A) SSD prices fall in line with hard drives. Or B) hard drive capacity moves beyond the needs of most consumers and SSD takes up that niche while being only marginally more expensive per GB than hard drives.

Re:Seems like the complexity is lower (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543973)

Easier to miniaturize, certainly. Right now they're doing massive RAID0 to get performance, I wonder what it'd be like if they could do RAID1/5/6 for example - forget hard disk crashes more or less, just replace some flash plug-in modules in your SSD. Ok the electronics could still fry, it could get lost or stolen but mechanical failure seems to be the typical killer.

42 zillion dollars? (4, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543657)

I like the idea of the SSD, but I think they need to concentrate on lowering costs down to earth before flaunting their capacity achievements. Hell, any monkey can build a 500-TB mega-RAID stripe with a large enough budget.

When this SSD is cheap enough that I can buy 3-4 of them and stripe that into a bus-raping powerhouse, for less than a mortgage payment, then we'll talk.

Re:42 zillion dollars? (5, Insightful)

Sascha J. (803853) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543699)

If the SSD's price only increases very slightly with greatly increasing capacity, they already lowered the cost.

Also, it doesn't help to have cheap 32GB SSDs when nobody buys them and you can't really launch into mass production because you are stuck with a niche market. To drive down the price you need to be able to produce them en mass and in order to do that you need to catch up (or outstrip) existing technology.

Re:42 zillion dollars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23543815)

When this SSD is cheap enough that I can buy 3-4 of them and stripe that into a bus-raping powerhouse, for less than a mortgage payment, then we'll talk.

If you live in London, UK, the average house price is around 800k USD. For less the mortgage payment (~6k) on that, I can get you a raid of SSDs (OK, not quite 256GB) and an extremelywilling bus.

Did we not already have? (1)

nnxion (964168) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544093)

Large and very expensive SSDs?
http://www.gadgettastic.com/2007/10/05/fusion-io-launches-the-iodrive-640gb-pcie-hard-drive/ [gadgettastic.com]

$19,200 for a 640 GB Hard Drive...is there even a market for such things now? Consumers are already used to having hard drives those sizes, hopefully it won't be too long until they find a good way of pushing those prices down and making them more accessible to the general public.

Re:Did we not already have? (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544395)

$19,200 for a 640 GB Hard Drive
We all know that's more expensive than computer storage has ever been before.

Right?

And if hard disk storage had ever been that expensive, it would have meant the abandonment of the hard disk technology forever.

Right?

This is good news... (2, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543665)

...if it can cope with high definition capture it'll be handy for me and my shutterbug family who're always out with various still and video cameras. Nothing worse than shortdropping a notebook and killing the hard disk.

Re:This is good news... (-1, Troll)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543751)

Nothing worse than shortdropping a notebook and killing the hard disk.
.. yeah there is .. when the notebook bursts into flames unexpectedly and gives you scars to rival two-face... true story, I read it on teh interwebs, somewhere...

How Much ? (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543677)

For the price they currently want for these wizzbang solid state devides, I could buy a small data warehouse in Springfield, MA.

The price: (1)

amazeofdeath (1102843) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543681)

An arm and a leg, unofficial sources suggest.

Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23543687)

Finally the speeds we are waiting for!

Large enough? No way. (0)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543707)

A 256GB capacity is getting large enough to replace hard-drives for good.
Hard drives have entered terabytes territory, and you think 256GB SSD drives are "large enough"?

Until SSD drives cost only around 10-25% more than a regular drive of the same capacity, they're not replacing them at all. For most consumers, capacity is king, not speed.

Re:Large enough? No way. (5, Insightful)

Aenoxi (946506) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543763)

I fully agree with your conclusion that capacity is king for moist consumers, but... ...this is a 2.5 inch drive.

I'd like to subscribe to your reality if it has Terabyte-sized 2.5 inch drives. Where do I sign up?

Re:Large enough? No way. (5, Funny)

Bobby Onions (735795) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543841)

Don't be so wet; there's no need to puch a dampener on things.

Re:Large enough? No way. (5, Funny)

mfnickster (182520) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544735)

Agreed, GP needs a lesson in humidity.

Re:Large enough? No way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23545009)

I tell moist consumers that it's not the capacity that counts, but how you use it...

Re:Large enough? No way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23545175)

It's a well known fact that capacity is king for moist consumers.

Re:Large enough? No way. (5, Insightful)

wamatt (782485) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543769)

Remember the intended target market is the laptop crowd. 256GB is big enough to compete nicely. When it comes with those sort of performance figures, it's a no brainer if you have the money.

The current largest widely available 7200rpm is only 200GB. The majority of notebooks ship with 200GB of HD space.

Re:Large enough? No way. (1)

wamatt (782485) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543777)

"Ship with LESS than 200GB space" I mean. slashdot removed my less-than-sign.

Re:Large enough? No way. (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543943)

Try &lt; - it <hubris>works for me</hubris> :o)

Re:Large enough? No way. (0, Flamebait)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543779)

Let the warez kiddies have their 1TB disks then, this thing would be a perfect upgrade for my eee701.

Re:Large enough? No way. (1)

FromellaSlob (813394) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544271)

Let the warez kiddies have their 1TB disks then, this thing would be a perfect upgrade for my eee701.
Have fun trying to put a 2.5" drive into an eee701.

Re:Large enough? No way. (5, Insightful)

jht (5006) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543795)

I dunno - I think once you hit that kind of capacity you can pretty much own the notebook market. Right now, mainstream notebook disk sizes are in the 160-250GB size range, with 320 generally available and I believe 500 GB drives are just starting to arrive. Most notebooks aren't at the high end of capacity, though.

I don't think SSD will make an impact in desktops anytime soon, but if I can put an SSD in my notebook and gain a little speed, some battery life, and better shock resistance without giving up any serious capacity (heck, my 2-month-old MacBook Pro has a 250GB HDD in it right now), depending on the price differential I'll probably be all over it.

Also worth thinking about (though it's not in the submitter's link) - I read a couple of releases on this drive yesterday, and though they aren't giving production prices yet they claim that multi-level cells will make it cheaper than the older models. Between that and the natural speed of price cuts, this drive may be at competitive HD pricing levels sooner than we expect. If I can get a 256GB SSD at a 25% price premium to a HDD of the same size (like you suggest), I think it would be pretty much a no-brainer. That 250GB HDD is only about $150 or so - maybe even less.

Re:Large enough? No way. (3, Insightful)

amorsen (7485) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543833)

For most consumers, capacity is king, not speed.
For most consumers, price is king. Not price per gigabyte, just price. The only thing most consumers might need more than 32GB for is video -- and flash is almost as cheap as hard disks in the 32GB 2 1/2" segment.

Re:Large enough? No way. (5, Insightful)

benhattman (1258918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544809)

Mod parent up.

We are far past the point where the average consumer cares very much about capacity. What do you think they are going to do with 2 terabytes? Unless you are talking about someone who is frequently downloading movies and the like, I don't see how they would use that content. OK, there are probably a handful of people who are doing their own hi-def video editing or processing the output of large sensor arrays, but in what would do you define these guys as "most consumers?"

The reality is SSD doesn't have to come anywhere near the price of hard drives. It just needs to provide enough capacity (256-512 GB today) at a reasonable price. If you tell a consumer they can get a regular old hard drive, or pay 10% more for a SSD that doesn't fail when dropped and runs way faster, a lot of regular consumers will pony up for that.

Re:Large enough? No way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23545159)

More than 32GB? Crysis is a 20GB game... 8 megapixel cameras with 2GB cards are becoming pretty standard... and Vista takes up over 10GB, throw office into that and your left with hardly anything to work with...

Re:Large enough? No way. (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543845)

2.5" HDDs are only in 500GB territory, that's only halfway there. If only prices would come down, they could easily stack a TB in 3.5" already. Prices aren't quite there yet but right now at newegg you got 80$/500GB = 0.63$/GB for regular HDDs and SUPER TALENT FTM20GK25H SSD 669$/120GB = 5.57$/GB so they're within one order of magnitude now. There's an incredible price development on SSD now and I figure they'll come close in a year or two.

A little off (1)

tab_b (1279858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544869)

Actually $80/500GB = $0.16/GB, so the gap is even wider between [diskcompare.com] the Super Talent's $5.57/GB and say a Seagate 7200.10. Right now the price per gigabyte of SSD vs traditional is almost 35x higher, but it'll certainly come down drastically in the next few years. When it gets down to under 5x higher, I think it'll really take off.

Re:Large enough? No way. (2, Insightful)

ozamosi (615254) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543873)

I bought a new 120GB 2.5" disc last week - 256GB is "large enough" for now - if only the price was low enough...

*Easily* large enough. (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543907)

Hard drives have entered terabytes territory, and you think 256GB SSD drives are "large enough"?

Yup, even 64GB is easily large enough for my primary hdd on my laptop - I'd pay a premium far larger than 30% if the price/performance relationship was linear.

Until SSD drives cost only around 10-25% more than a regular drive of the same capacity, they're not replacing them at all. For most consumers, capacity is king, not speed.

But, the bulk of my content resides on network servers (same holds true for my less geeky friends - but for them, substitute 'usb drive' for 'network servers').

Re:Large enough? No way. (1)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543911)

You can put your capacity in 50c blue ray disks (coming soon)there you go, you get your capacity and your speed

How long does it take you to fill 1 terabyte ?

(cue 740KB is enough for anybody meme)

So you have your 1/4Gig of super fast, super quiet, super low power consumption.
And every week or so you can burn a couple of blue ray disks for all your ... am ... storage needs

Re:Large enough? No way. (1)

DeusExCalamus (1146781) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545107)

You can put your capacity in 50c blue ray disks (coming soon)there you go, you get your capacity and your speed How long does it take you to fill 1 terabyte ? (cue 740KB is enough for anybody meme) So you have your 1/4Gig of super fast, super quiet, super low power consumption. And every week or so you can burn a couple of blue ray disks for all your ... am ... storage needs
It's 640KB, actually....

Re:Large enough? No way. (1)

Idaho (12907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544029)

Hard drives have entered terabytes territory, and you think 256GB SSD drives are "large enough"?

For notebooks? Absolutely. Even most new notebooks are not shipped with 250 GB HD's by default yet (although it is usually an option for a couple dozen extra bucks).

However, if it takes 2 years until this technology becomes mainstream, you may by that time well be right.

On the other hand, hard disk prices are really really low. By the time SSD is only about 2x more expensive I'd most definitely start considering it, since that would still mean paying "only" some $150. That should well be worth the performance increase as compared to, say, spending double the amount of $$'s on a faster CPU or what-have-you. Currently it's more like 15x as expensive though, so for now I'll stick with regular harddisks.

Re:Large enough? No way. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545163)

My current laptop has a 160GB drive. May last one had an 80GB one, and that was only slightly too small. For portable use, I'd take a reliable 160GB SSD over a mechanical 500GB hard drive. At home I can always throw a few 750GB mechanical disks in RAID-Z for longer-term storage and not care if one of them fails.

Re:Large enough? No way. (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544159)

I don't think the average person has terabytes of data. As long as this takes off for the lowest common denominator and they buy it up, then the prices will come down.

Re:Large enough? No way. (4, Insightful)

cecil_turtle (820519) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544197)

For most consumers, capacity is king, not speed.
I don't know how you qualify "most consumers", but "sufficient capacity" is all most consumers need, after which price and speed absolutely do come into play. For most people 40GB is still sufficient capacity. Only people who download or rip very large amounts of music or movies need more than that, and that is pretty far from "most consumers" - your 14 year old son who tries to download every movie he's never heard of isn't "most consumers". Not to mention that IO speed is the performance limiting factor on pretty much every consumer PC nowadays, CPUs have been fast enough for a couple of years now.

SSDs and spinning disks can still co-exist - in a year or two you will be able to run your OS and programs on a 100GB-200GB SSD and go buy a 2TB disk or 5TB array to store your data on that is less performance critical.

Re:Large enough? No way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544693)

in a year or two you will be able to run your OS and programs on a 100GB-200GB SSD and go buy a 2TB disk or 5TB array to store your data on that is less performance critical.
This solution is ideal, since the real space-hogging files tend to be music or (especially) video, for which seek time is utterly unimportant ... once you've positioned the drive heads at the start of the content stream you just let the platters spin ... SSDs would be a waste in this scenario.

Re:Large enough? No way. (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544267)

Replying to myself here, about the comments made so far.

First, I didn't see it was for a 2.5" drive. As most of you pointed out, 256GB of high-speed, low-power storage in a laptop is a very good thing indeed.

To the few who say that most people don't have terabytes of data, you may be right. However a quick trip to your local Costco will show that external drives are now at 1TB and 2TB. If you want something smaller you will have to buy a 2.5" external drive which is around 250GB for nearly the price of the external 1TB 3.5" drive.

Re:Large enough? No way. (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544353)

My OS partition is 25gb and that's me being extremely generous, I used to work with 7gb but thanks to XnView's thumbnail database and Picasa being a complete moron application without the ability to re-direct the cache database there too - I'm keeping 25gb to be sure.

256 is more than enough.

That being said, you wouldn't want to use Vista on this drive, what with the read / write constant disk thrashing it does because it's well ... stupid - it'll wear this sucker out in no time.

(It's sad that I'm old enough to remember a time where the drive light did not flash, EVER unless you did something, you could actually sometimes spot a machine with a virus just with un-authorised disk access back in the 6.22 days...)

256GB is more than enough! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544397)

I'm thinking of time critical operations where the HDD's access times create a bottleneck such as running an operating system or programs with many simultaneous file accesses. Storing huge chunks of data (music/movies) will still be the domain for (probably external) HDDs for some time, but the primary boot disk with the applications (which one most systems amount to ar less than 256GB) will shift towards SSDs once the prices come down. It's just the logical step to maximize performance.

Re:Large enough? No way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544575)

I disagree. My parents lived off a 15GB hard drive until a year or two ago when it gave up the ghost. They ran Windows XP Professional and had tons of space left over with no idea how little they really had. And from experience with other family members and friends, I suspect THAT is the norm.

I doubt the average user would spend a small fortune on a 256GB SSD, but they certainly would not fill it very fast if they had one.

For power users, gamers, and others who would use more than that, many will end up buying such SSDs anyways for the performance, reliability, and "coolness factor". That will certainly bring prices down to earth for the average user in time.

Am I the only one who is fine with 80gb??? (1)

distantbody (852269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544621)

...and you think 256GB SSD drives are "large enough"?
For me, 80GB leaves plenty of room after apps,data, docs and games. Am I using my internet wrong?

Re:Am I the only one who is fine with 80gb??? (1)

SelrahCharleS (1126871) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545067)

I must be using it wrong too. I dual boot XP and Ubuntu on a 60GB hard drive. I've started filling it up, but that could be remedied by deleting the different Linux ISOs I left sitting on my documents partition.

Re:Large enough? No way. (1)

tab_b (1279858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544937)

Not every machine needs to be storing lots of audio or video. If you can fit a Knoppix installation into a CD holding what, 640mb? 256gb is way overkill. If anything having desirable but smaller storage might discourage software bloat, leaving Linux and the *BSDs looking pretty good and leaving Vista in the dust.

Re:Large enough? No way. (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544995)

Capacity? Sure, 256 GB drives are down to $100 thee days, but do you know a lot of consumers that can fill a 256 GB drive? I've got my entire music collection from over 25 years of collecting music in FLAC format, and it's just now filling a 320 GB drive.

MLC, not SLC. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23543727)

But it's a Multi-Level Cell based Flash drive, not a Single-Level Cell based Flash drive. The cells hold 4 states, not 2.

High capacity, yes, and apparently high speed as well. Excellent... but also lower reliability. SLC Flash is extremely durable these days, but MLC Flash is not, last I checked, even one tenth as long-lasting.

How much lower? Well... ...frankly, we don't really know yet. We won't really know, as such, until they start to die - which could well be 5-10 years, and if so, that's really not bad - and you might not see the same type of can't-write-blocks failure, but rather a more conventional can't-read-blocks failure. Which would be about as bad as a hard disk crash (and we might have to develop whole new data recovery techniques).

Maybe it might last years longer than a hard drive owing to fewer moving parts. Perhaps it will slowly die, but good write levelling will largely mitigate the issue and overall it'll come out better, or about the same. Or perhaps we're looking at a flaky brick with lower reliability than a Quantum Fireball.

Early adopters, start your engines, because someone's gotta find out.

For enterprise use, it might be wiser to stick to more conservative SLC flash. Past that, all bets are off.

But we're seeing the beginning, here. Hard drives are, slowly, on the way out. It'll be a long phase-out where they are much more cost-effective for a long time... but it is coming. And I, for one, welcome our new nanosecond-seek-time overlords.

Re:MLC, not SLC. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23543935)

Normal SSD drives die in a matter of months on a typical developer's machine so it shouldn't be that hard to test.

I have first hand experience with this so I laugh when people say flash drives will last longer than their mechanical counterparts. The rewrite cycle count needs to be way, way higher than it currently is. Wear leveling can only do so much and it just gets worse as the drive gets full.

Re:MLC, not SLC. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544237)

Post your on a site somewhere and submit to Slashdot then if you've uncovered this evil conspiracy of flash drive-life. Otherwise I'll just go ahead assuming that you're full of shit.

Re:MLC, not SLC. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544341)

Normal SSD drives die in a matter of months on a typical developer's machine [---]
Care to back that up with statistics?

And I remind you that "I've seen it with my own eyes! And all my friends agree with me. And Random Dude on Some Forum agrees with me!" has zero statistical significance.

I have first hand experience with this so I laugh when people say flash drives will last longer than their mechanical counterparts.
Anyone with a hint of common sense will ignore you because of the broad generalizations you're making, without providing any actual proof. I'm not saying that you're lying, just that you are probably confusing a broken unit with general behavior of SSD.

I have two SSD (SLC) drives. I don't trust them, because I simply don't know how reliable they are yet. So they are backed up slightly more regularly than my old mechanical drives. But until there arereliable numbers (Not "First hand experiences" from "Random Dude") I simply don't know.

Re:MLC, not SLC. (1)

kipman725 (1248126) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544313)

Quantum Fireball.. still got a 60mB one of those with loads of DOS games on that I think still works. Then agian it may be the exception that proves the rule.

Re:MLC, not SLC. (1)

flnca (1022891) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544347)

That's what RAID is for. Mirroring and/or striping with multiple drives and automatic error correction can make them more reliable. Bad areas of the SDD drive can automatically be excluded from storage by the filing system. That's basically the same thing with hard drives. A hard drive also accumulates bad sectors during its lifetime, and some day, fails completely. SSDs have a higher ruggedness when it comes to environment conditions.

Re:Early adopters, start your engines (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544389)

Early adopters, start your engines, because someone's gotta find out.

I was rather expecting a "iWantOne" tag on this article, because I DO.

I've been an early adopter on hard drives more than once. Back in '98 my laptop had a 23gb (yes, 23) HDD in it, and that was awesome to have that kind of portable storage. It made that nasty "I'm about to die" click about ten times a day, for every day of the two years I owned it too, when I sold it in working condition.

If it's not too painful I may bite. My laptop syncs with the backup every night so I'm not too worried if it tanks. In fact I hope it does. That means they'll give me a new, better one a couple months later. Maybe more than once. That can be one advantage of early adopter. By the time things settle down, you have the same thing that everyone else did, but you've just had it a lot longer. (at a price of course)

Too bad TFA didn't give a guesstimate on MSRP. One thread I found suggests $8k which is a little steep even for me.

One person tested a MBP booting off a 64GB SDD [ryanblock.com] . OMG. The gear didn't even have a chance to spin. A good chunk of the boot time was taken waiting for hardware to come ready.

Re:MLC, not SLC. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23545141)

We won't really know, as such, until they start to die - which could well be 5-10 years, and if so, that's really not bad - and you might not see the same type of can't-write-blocks failure, but rather a more conventional can't-read-blocks failure. Which would be about as bad as a hard disk crash (and we might have to develop whole new data recovery techniques).
Don't worry; by then Macs will have taken over the world, and will be using ZFS as the native filesystem.

What? Why are you laughing?

Technology: Still new! Still Improving! Surprised? (3, Insightful)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543739)

Well, since the technology isn't developed, is it really that surprising that we read a story about 'Worlds Fastest' every couple weeks?

Solid State Drives for computers? They aren't really out of beta!

Re:Technology: Still new! Still Improving! Surpris (5, Insightful)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543793)

Solid State Drives for computers? They aren't really out of beta!
400,000 eee PCs say you're wrong.

Re:Technology: Still new! Still Improving! Surpris (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544565)

I guess you're right ... if we're talking about 8 gig SSDs in tiny, underpowered but portable netbooks. SSDs have been in use in cellphones for awhile .... as flash memory. The EEE is only slightly more functional than a full featured palm device or blackberry, and both use flash memory as well.

I was talking about home computers, work computers, computers that do more than just check email and the occasional word processing... I've got a solid state 'drive' as a flash drive right now bigger than the 'hard drive' on some of the entry level EEEs ... I certainly don't think it would be sufficient for a full function computer...

Re:Technology: Still new! Still Improving! Surpris (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544683)

Just because a specific technology is being sold to the public is NO indicator that technology is out of beta. See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_vista

and please try to keep up. Thanks.

Re:Technology: Still new! Still Improving! Surpris (1)

benhattman (1258918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544847)

Solid State Drives for computers? They aren't really out of beta!
What would you call an iPhone or iPod Touch? 10 years ago, these are top of the line computers in your pocket. Of course, they are a little crippled by Apple, but the point is SSD is in all sorts of real computers. Unless you only count it as a computer if it has a keyboard attached.

Re:Technology: Still new! Still Improving! Surpris (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544955)

you should try reading the comment thread (similar to reading the article) before posting. Really, it would help you avoid looking stupid.

A 128GB SATA drive costs $3,000 (1)

Poisonous Drool (526798) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543741)

This drive could cost $5,000 based on a 128GB drive for $3,050 and 64GB drives from $900 to $1,150.

NewEgg search for Solid State SATA disks [newegg.com]

Re:A 128GB SATA drive costs $3,000 (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23543831)

You are comparing to the wrong technology. SLC drives are extremely expensive, but this is a MLC drive. You should look at these items instead to extrapolate cost:

Super Talent MLC Solid State Disks on Newegg [newegg.com]

The Samsung drive is much higher performance than these, but the fabrication costs should not be too far off. I'd guess $1500 for the 256 GB model when it comes out.

256gigs is a lot (4, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543805)

I don't requires that much disk storage space, I could get by on 40 gigs and 80 would never run out of disk space for my purposes, make an 80 gig SSD that would sell for less than 200 USD and I will use my disk platters for target practice...

Re:256gigs is a lot (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543971)

I am getting by just fine on my Eee PC with a 4GB SSD and a 8GB SD card, for a total of 12GB.

The trick is to have a server somewhere with enough disk space to keep the bulk of the crap online.

Re:256gigs is a lot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544013)

I'd be happy with an 8 or 16GB Sata300 drive to put my OS on. Everything else can be on the platters.

I don't need 32GB or even 64GB, I need enough space for an OS, no more no less. Everything over that is pointless. (until the Terabyte flash drives come out).

Re:256gigs is a lot (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544811)

just thinking about it, although having a fast reboot time is surely nice, it's not something you should have to benefit from often? I beat my system to death here and reboot about every other week. I know some people that haven't restarted their machine more than a dozen times since they bought it a year ago.

Re:256gigs is a lot (1)

Idaho (12907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544115)

I don't requires that much disk storage space, I could get by on 40 gigs and 80 would never run out of disk space for my purposes, make an 80 gig SSD that would sell for less than 200 USD and I will use my disk platters for target practice...


Exactly, my current notebook (3 years old) only has a 60 GB disk, and even then I have split it into 2x30 GB so I can run both Linux and Windows XP. I've never had a problem related to lack of space. OK, you can't keep huge movie or music collections on it, but seeing as how laptop sound quality is typically rock bottom anyway (the soundcard as well as built-in speakers), I don't normally use it to play music.

30 GB is apparently plenty to store whatever software I need for work (which is quite a range of applications) as well as some games and movies in case I'm traveling for a couple of days.

Clearly I'm not using it as my "only" computer though. In that case 60 GB definitely would not suffice, by far.

Primary SSD + Storage HDD = Gold (2, Interesting)

SD-Arcadia (1146999) | more than 6 years ago | (#23543933)

Once the prices come down and the tech matures a little more, a nice small 32-64GB SSD for the apps and a 1TB+ for storage should be a great overall solution. This could even happen in form of an elegant hybrid unit.

In practice SSDs are still slow as hell (0)

Britz (170620) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544103)

Except the ones that cost more than four figures. So don't try affordable SSDs just yet. You would be very disappointed.

Time to redesign the personal computer? (1)

yancey (136972) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544149)

With high capacity non-volatile memory, is it now time to redesign "personal computer" hardware and the operating systems?

Re:Time to redesign the personal computer? (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544505)

Definitely. How much faster could life be if every program were permanently resident in memory? Buh bye pagefile, hello performance.

Re:Time to redesign the personal computer? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545039)

T minus 8 Days.

Re:Time to redesign the personal computer? (2, Interesting)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#23545105)

A most interesting and pertinent question! I think that if such a memory reached the speed of RAM with the capacity of a HDD then we could merge the two concepts into a central memory that would be used for anything. The first real gain with that type of design is that instead of loading (uncompressed) files (from the HDD to the RAM) you could simply point to them, and directly access them. Virtual machines could benefit greatly from that by pausing and resuming their execution instantly, for all their virtualised RAM would be written in a file that would simply pointed to. The same could happen for regular programs. They could have all their memory space in a file (the OS would take care of it), and if the program was to be prematurely killed you could resume its execution state.

Likewise, it would remove the concept for RAM space, as well as for virtual memory, that is, the OS wouldn't use a single file to put everything in, but rather as many files as it needs for each program (for example). With such a concept the execution for everything I mentioned (programs, OS, virtual machines) could be paused and resumed instantly.

As for the actual booting of the machine, I'm sure a clever use of it by say copying read-only pieces of memory that are hardware/configuration-independent to another space in memory where they could be modified (or not, maybe you could have a partially read-only OS) would greatly speed up things.

Somehow I can see that happening in embedded devices, not so soon with desktop machines, but we'd have yet to wait for SSD memory to be fast enough.

DBAs: Index tablespaces? Logfiles? (2, Interesting)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544185)

How would this perform for index tablespaces and logfiles? I imagine lifetime/health will have to be monitored, but that's already being done with regular platterspinners.

Re:DBAs: Index tablespaces? Logfiles? (1)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544589)

If you look at the lifespan of an SSD just using the limited write-cycle aspect is a function of how many physical blocks you have * number of write-cycles (if you have a proper wearlevelling algorithm that swaps writes from most used block to the least used ones).

From what I've read physical block size usually are in the range 16 kbyte - 256 kbyte. Let's assume a low 100000 cycles, a highish 256 kilobyte blocksize on a 256 GB drive giving you 1 million physical blocks. If you use that to estimate the number of writes/second you can use 24/7 over a 10 year period you get 10^10 writes per year which gives somewhat over 300 writes/second. Sounds acceptable to me and I'm guessing my estimate is on the conservative side.

Re:DBAs: Index tablespaces? Logfiles? (1)

sshir (623215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544777)

You don't really need it for logfiles - sequential writing is fast enough on non-SSD drives.

but ... (1)

jsnipy (913480) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544251)

But does it blend?

Is there a good reason why.... (2, Insightful)

oztemprom (953519) | more than 6 years ago | (#23544463)

this flash type memory is not being incorporated into existing platter based HDDs? It would seem to me that a few (read 8 - 64) GBs of flash memory coupled to a .5 to 1 TB standard HDD would be a great easy to use product.

Re:Is there a good reason why.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544793)

you would be increasing complexity of the whole thing, making it more prone to failure and having the flash mem quasi as a cache for the hdd would help you with the speed for writing, but not so much with reading. also you forego the advantages of a pure SSD that are: no moving mechanical parts, less energyuse and heat and noiselessness.

Gamers will love it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544615)

This will be great for gamers to use as a primiary drive and then use more safer HDD's as storage. Can't wait to see the prices

Why so much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23544763)

Maybe this has a use for enterprise, but I have a theory that if you gave a normal home user 25 GB of solid state and used it as a cache for 250 GB of traditional HD, you'd get nearly the same performance as 250 GB of cache--think about what volume of data you access on a given day, how rapidly that "working set" changes (I estimate 2GB a day for myself), and note that that change is all the disk IO that would be necessary.
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