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Intel's First SSD Blows Doors Off Competition

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the bigger-smaller-deal dept.

Data Storage 282

theraindog writes "Intel is entering the storage market with an ambitious X25-M solid-state drive capable of 250MB/s sustained reads and 70MB/s writes. The drive is so fast that it employs Native Command Queuing (originally designed to hide mechanical hard drive latency) to compensate for latency the SSD encounters in host systems. But how fast is the drive in the real world? The Tech Report has an in-depth review comparing the X25-M's performance and power consumption with that of the fastest desktop, mobile, and solid-state drives on the market."

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282 comments

Your SSDs (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923241)

Mother blew the dicks off of the competition.

Re:Your SSDs (5, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923293)

Those're STDs.

Re:Your SSDs (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923741)

give him a break, he's probably had too much THC

Re:Your SSDs (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24924527)

Those're STDs.

It burns when I read/write

World's (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923253)

Second!

Oh Yeah? (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923257)

My SBDs will blow THEIR doors off.

Re:Oh Yeah? (1)

xpuppykickerx (1290760) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923319)

Dude!!! You have more than one!?!

Re:Oh Yeah? (3, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923449)

That's the beauty of it. You will never know!

Re:Oh Yeah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923565)

Your Serious Behavioral Disabilities will blow their doors off?
What's that supposed to mean?

Re:Oh Yeah? (1)

Myrddin Wyllt (1188671) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924179)

Don't be obtuse - he obviously means his Ship-Bourne Dive-Bombers [acronymfinder.com] .

Re:Oh Yeah? (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924343)

Do you mean GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs?

Re:Oh Yeah? (1)

insllvn (994053) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924549)

SBD? [wikipedia.org]

Several interesting possibilities...

where is the (1)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923291)

"slahsdvertisement" tag

Re:where is the (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24924067)

Probably right next to the dlsyexia tag.

Well, a step in the right direction (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923301)

A step in the right direction, but at $600 per 1000 I am gonna wait a bit longer before jumping on the SSD bandwagon.

Re:Well, a step in the right direction (5, Funny)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923337)

Why? They're almost free at 60 cents each :-P

Re:Well, a step in the right direction (-1, Redundant)

tempest69 (572798) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923425)

A step in the right direction, but at $600 per 1000 I am gonna wait a bit longer before jumping on the SSD bandwagon.

By my reconning thats $0.60 per drive.. heck a few buddies and I could pitch in, and all go to raid heaven, with enough ssd's to spare to use as high tech nick-nacks..

How damn low does it have to go for you?

Storm

Re:Well, a step in the right direction (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923621)

Replying to you, since you seem serious, as opposed to sibling.

That's $600 per 80GB drive, with a minimum order of 1000.
You can't buy a single drive for $600. Or at least, not from Intel.

Re:Well, a step in the right direction (1)

adisakp (705706) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923915)

Yup - which means the cost of a single SSD drive will be about 25-30% higher or $900-$1000.

I'm happy my WD Velociraptor for right now. The Velociraptor is $300 for 300GB which is still steep but it beat or matched the tested SSD's in quite a few tests.

The Velociraptor even beat the Intel SSD in several tests such as Windows Boot time (and it creamed it on anything that involved large amounts of writing / content creation since the Velociraptor gets 107MB/s write compared to 80MB/s).

Re:Well, a step in the right direction (5, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924109)

A step in the right direction, but at $600 per 1000 I am gonna wait a bit longer before jumping on the SSD bandwagon.

I'd place an order for one this instant if I could. My company uses a relatively small database, on the order of 40GB of online data. It's running on 4 SCSI-320 Cheetah 32GB, 15K RPM drives in RAID 0. By all accounts, this single SSD would out-seek the Cheetahs, meaning that our website can serve more customers and more quickly. This is a total no-brainer for a lot of applications, even at the current price.

Re:Well, a step in the right direction (4, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924407)

Before rushing to buy these for database use, I would want a good look at MTBF values. Especially MTBF values for really heavy use, which may be completely different from estimated desktop use.

Are you sure? (2, Insightful)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924545)

Quote
  4 SCSI-320 Cheetah 32GB, 15K RPM drives in RAID 0.
End Quote

What company would really want to run their DB on a Raid 0 (Striped) Disk setup? Does this not put it at risk from a single spindle failure?

but is it fast enough (2, Funny)

kesuki (321456) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923313)

to run vista, or do you need a RAID array of these drives.

Re:but is it fast enough (-1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923389)

RAID doesn't improve speed, at least not by a large amount. RAID will save you time if a drive died and you can get your data back quicker. As for normal performance speed you are just as good with 1 drive.

Re:but is it fast enough (1)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923439)

Funny it improves the speed on my DS4400's DSs4500's and DS4800's....

Re:but is it fast enough (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923479)

RAID doesn't improve speed, at least not by a large amount. RAID will save you time if a drive died and you can get your data back quicker. As for normal performance speed you are just as good with 1 drive.

Uh.... What ?

Re:but is it fast enough (4, Informative)

GreyWolf3000 (468618) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923699)

Yeah, but the reason it speeds up mechanical hard drives is because your kernel can schedule I/O on multiple spindles, effectively parallelizing your I/O. Flash chips don't have to batch up a lot of transactions in memory and then block the process for long periods of time. Flash does not typically operate synchronous to the bus speed it's connected to, so you could get some speed benefits by accessing multiple banks in tandem, but probably not as much.

Re:but is it fast enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923523)

You'd better stop giving advice on the things that you don't know.

Re:but is it fast enough (4, Informative)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923543)

That depends entirely on what kind of RAID [wikipedia.org] we're talking about...

Re:but is it fast enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923547)

You're an idiot. Look up Raid 0.

Re:but is it fast enough (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923685)

RAID is an acronym for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. There is no Redundant part in aid 0. You can ofcourse have multiple aid 0s in mirrored configuration so you have raid instead of aids.

Re:but is it fast enough (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923925)

RAID is an acronym for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. There is no Redundant part in aid 0.

Yes, and "hacker" means "enthusiastic computer explorer". Really, give up. RAID 0 is still recognized as RAID, regardless of what the "R" should mean, by everyone.

Re:but is it fast enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24924037)

use
[Redundant]*

not

[Redundant]+

Re:but is it fast enough (1)

riceboy50 (631755) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923935)

Well, AJAX stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (which is itself an acronym!), but everyone uses it generically to refer to all asynchronous server communication between page loads using JavaScript, regardless of whether any XML is involved.

The point is, most people don't know or care what an acronym means anymore and it just becomes a term unto itself such as RADAR and PATRIOT Act.

Re:but is it fast enough (1)

Myrddin Wyllt (1188671) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924369)

Not being American, I didn't realise PATRIOT (as in Act) was an acronym - yuck, forced or what?

I had to resort to AcronymFinder, and one of the alternatives (presumably referring to the SAM) was 'Phased Array Tracking Radar Intercept On Target', which kind of re-enforces your point.

Re:but is it fast enough (2, Funny)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923429)

to run vista, or do you need a RAID array of these drives.

Vista does a lot better with slow hard drives than XP or most other operating systems, thanks to superfetch or whatever silly name they give to the precache of apps.

Re:but is it fast enough (2, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923465)

SSD doesn't have a seek delay or rotational delay.

Re:but is it fast enough (1)

smitty97 (995791) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923613)

Im sure they have properly optimiz^H^H^H^H^H^H crippled versions to use with Vista.

More Details and Benchmarks Here (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923327)

This article at HotHardware, has a few additional tests that show real-world usage models as well as synthetic benchmarks: http://www.hothardware.com/Articles/Intel-X25M-80GB-SATA-Solid-State-Drive-Intel-Ups-The-Ante/ [hothardware.com]

The PCMark Vantage tests are especially impressive: http://www.hothardware.com/Articles/Intel-X25M-80GB-SATA-Solid-State-Drive-Intel-Ups-The-Ante/?page=7 [hothardware.com]

Re:More Details and Benchmarks Here (1)

Tracking System (1358633) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924175)

Thanks! This is more informative with all the specs.

Re:More Details and Benchmarks Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24924347)

holy jebus!

That thing can read the ENTIRE drive in under 7 mins 30 sec!

7.4 = 80GB/(180MB/s)/60

Damn it intel (5, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923361)

You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!

Re:Damn it intel (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923511)

Do you think I overreacted, Hal?

It's not the speed, it's the storage (4, Insightful)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923375)

This is great and all, but if I had to choose, give me more SSD storage. It's got plenty of speed right now, I'll be impressed when SSDs can be an actual alternative to disks.

Re:It's not the speed, it's the storage (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923499)

Yeah, i have 3TB of HDD's on my desktop. Someone let me know when they make 3TB SSD's that i can afford. :)
-Taylor

Re:It's not the speed, it's the storage (3, Interesting)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924215)

At current improvement rates, I think that you're looking at 7-10 years before SSD becomes cheaper than 3.5" form factor drives for sheer storage. We seem to have been lagging at around a terabyte for a while. Meanwhile it seems that SSD is doubling in capacity per $ at it's 'sweet spot' each year at the moment.

Going by performance improvements, it'll only be a 2-4 years before companies start replacing their platters with solid state for intensive database operations, especially those biased towards reads. Those 10k-15k RPM drives are significantly more expensive and store less than 7200/5400 RPM drives.

The article mentions $595. Looking up, a 300GB 15k HD is $400 for an OEM. That's 5 times the size of the 80GB SSD mentioned in the article. Figure on a doubling each year, that'd be 3 years before the SSD exceeds current models. Figure in the lower power requirements and such, and I can see SSDs selling well before reaching parity based purely on size - their improved seek time, lower power demands, etc...

Re:It's not the speed, it's the storage (4, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923595)

Or you split up your expectations.

Honestly, how much space do you need for the OS and programs? Have an SSD for these functions, and a traditional HDD for pure space requirements. That'd be more economical too, at least in the short term.

Nice, now maybe Vista will be snappy (1)

einer (459199) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923387)

These things cut latency by 2 orders of magnitude. Defrags are no longer necessary. 250MB/s damn near saturates the newest SATA gear.

Write/Read speed parity would be nice.

More details and Benchmarks here (3, Informative)

MojoKid (1002251) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923405)

This review at HotHardware shows some additional data including a few additional real-world usage models, like PCMark Vantage tests: http://www.hothardware.com/Articles/Intel-X25M-80GB-SATA-Solid-State-Drive-Intel-Ups-The-Ante/ [hothardware.com]

Benchmarks start here: http://www.hothardware.com/Articles/Intel-X25M-80GB-SATA-Solid-State-Drive-Intel-Ups-The-Ante/?page=4 [hothardware.com]

Re:More details and Benchmarks here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923805)

pcmark/3dmark != real world. ever.
sisoft alu/fpu benchmarks either, for that matter..

Blows doors off? I call bullshit. (2, Interesting)

azav (469988) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923433)

If anyone's seen the results, it's in first place in speed but not in a "door blowing manner". It's just slightly faster than the next guy. "Blows doors off" reads like marketing spooge trying to overhype something that has a small or no advantage over the next contender. Misleading title.

Re:Blows doors off? I call bullshit. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923533)

To be fair, in a web-serving or database read-only type operation it does in fact blow the doors off everything else. I have never seen IO graphs even close to that good on a single drive (SSD or not).

Re:Blows doors off? I call bullshit. (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923567)

If anyone's seen the results, it's in first place in speed but not in a "door blowing manner". It's just slightly faster than the next guy.

Pardon me, but it is "blowing down the doors" (and the house too) in some tests, like this one [techreport.com] . More than 3x the number of transactions of the second fastest flash drive? 7x faster than the slowest SSD drive? And the traditional HDDs are so crushed at the bottom I can't make out a ratio, but 30x or more? That is just ownage of the highest level. Yes, the write speeds aren't exactly compelling but for IO and read-heavy uses it's completely mindblowing.

Re:Blows doors off? I call bullshit. (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923873)

Note to self: Tell Netflix to store all their watch it now content on these drives.

Re:Blows doors off? I call bullshit. (4, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923877)

Pardon me, but it is "blowing down the doors" (and the house too)

Yes, the write speeds aren't exactly compelling but for IO and read-heavy uses it's completely mindblowing

Great, first the doors, then the house and now your mind...

I guess if there's anything we've learned is this drive really blows.

Re:Blows doors off? I call bullshit. (1)

beaviz (314065) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923881)

Pardon me, but it is "blowing down the doors" (and the house too) in some tests, like this one [techreport.com] .

If you're an enterprise that can turn IOPS into profits, you can do much better than these Intel SSD's.

IODrive for example:
100.000 IOPS, 700MB/s read, 600MB/s write: http://www.fusionio.com/Products.aspx [fusionio.com] - you get a 80GB disk for about $4.500.

- another option is to run your database/whatever entirely in ram.

Re:Blows doors off? I call bullshit. (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924187)

These Intel drives are $595. Your $4,500 would buy 7 of these, for 560GB of storage, and 1750MB/s read / 490MB/s write in aggregate. Slice the speeds in half because you'll never balance loads that well, and you still get 875MB/s / 245MB/s. Slower writes but faster reads and 7 times the capacity.

Another option is to run your database/whatever entirely in ram.

I haven't priced machines with 64GB of RAM this month, but it was a little spendy last time I looked.

Re:Blows doors off? I call bullshit. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924391)

but for IO and read-heavy uses it's completely mindblowing

I'm being anal but ... you realize IO implies reading AND writing, right?

Re:Blows doors off? I call bullshit. (0, Flamebait)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923905)

The read times are impressive - how impressive? I suspect almost nobody finds room for one of these in a machine that isn't just reading from disc. The metrics for write performance simply don't match the price tag. Also

According to Intel, its SSDs are so fast that NCQ helps to compensate for latency encountered in the host PC

NCQ? Really? Because the Host PC is too slow? I really don't buy that.

Re:Blows doors off? I call bullshit. (4, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924263)

If you read the article, NCQ actually makes sense. The Intel drive actually finishes requests before the CPU gets around to asking "are you done yet?". That time between the drive finishing and the drive being told what to do next is spent idle. By supporting NCQ, the drive can convince the CPU to send large batches of commands and get rid of that latency.

It's faster for the same reason that FTP is faster than IRC DCC. FTP just keep sending bytes as long as the other end doesn't close the connection. IRC DCC sends a packet, waits for a reply, sends the next packet, and so on.

Re:Blows doors off? I call bullshit. (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924117)

"door blowing manner" Sir, I am intrigued by your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Blows doors off? I call bullshit. (1)

tknd (979052) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924191)

They did blow the doors off the competition because they actually have engineers that get it. They were able to make an MLC based flash disk that is not only faster in every manner but has an amazing MTBF. This brings cheaper SSDs within reach. Look at how thorough the assessment of their MTBF calculations are and it really shows they paid attention to every detail.

One test they never run - FRAGMENTATION (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923435)

Since SSD don't really have "sectors", do they fragment files the same way as HDD?

Also, what would the defrag speeds be?

Re:One test they never run - FRAGMENTATION (4, Informative)

bunratty (545641) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923557)

The reason you defrag a hard disk is because the time to read a file is much less if the drive doesn't have to a random-access seek while reading the file. SSDs have fast performance whether they need to seek randomly or not, so why would there be a need to defrag an SSD disk? I would think it would only wear out the drive faster.

Re:One test they never run - FRAGMENTATION (5, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923723)

Yes, it would wear the disk out faster, but your original premise is flawed.

Clustering locations would allow for accessing large chunks of data with one fetch, instead of lots of little fetches. If you're old enough, think back to the Blitter on the Amiga and moving contiguous chunks of memory as opposed fragmented blocks.

Remember, RAM can get fragmented just as badly as a hard drive.

Commercial uses don't fragment (3, Interesting)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924131)

You store the database on these, so fragmentation questions are moot. Provided you've set the (database) block size correctly, the only time you'd have to modify (as opposed to write new) a block is to update a VARCHAR field that won't fit in the original size.

What would be interesting would be to put an Oracle database block interface on these puppies, instead of the normal filesystem interface. then you'd just have the database say to the storage "get me block X" and it appears. No filesystem overheads - which given the speed of these things could turn out to be significant.

Looks like we'll be back on RAW "disks" for databases. Plus ca change!

Re:One test they never run - FRAGMENTATION (4, Informative)

adisakp (705706) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924243)

You never want to defrag SSD's. It just wears out the disk.

A good SSD has wear-leveling and write-combining techniques that keep the SSD "defragmented" automatically.

And it doesn't matter if the FS clusters are far apart as long as they are close to the SSD's hardware cluster sizes or the SSD intelligently combines them (which is what I believe Intel is doing since they claim a write amplification of only 1.1).

It's possible that the Samsung SLC chip stores data for the wear-leveling and write-combining operations which would remap the MLC in a non-fragmented way.

BTW, let me give you a naive wear-leveling / write-combining algorithm. I'm sure Intel has a better one because they've invested millions of dollars of research and the one I'm about to present to you could be done by a CS101 student:

1) You have a bit more than 80GB free for an 80GB drive (extra memory to take care of bad sectors just like a normal hard drive plus a small amount of required for the wear-leveling / writecombining)

2) You treat most of the storage as a ring buffer that consists of blocks on two levels: the native block size and a subblock size. The remaining storage (or alternate storage which may be the Samsung SLC chip on the MLC drives) is used to journal your writes and wear-leveling.

3) You combine all writes aligned to the subblock size into a native block and write them out to the next free native block in the ring buffer and keep a counter for the write to the block. If you run into a used block, and increment a counter (for wear levelling) and if the counter is below a certain value, you skip it to the next free block, otherwise you move the used block (which has been stagnent) to a more frequently writtento free block (which will now take less of a burden since it's had a stagnant block moved into it).

4) Anytime you make a write, the new sectors are updated in the memory area used for journaling / wear-level / sector remapping.

Assuming your reads can be done fairly quickly at the subblock level, it never matters if you have to "seek" for the reads and the drive won't fragment on writes because they are combined into native block sizes.

Re:One test they never run - FRAGMENTATION (1)

adisakp (705706) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924319)

BTW, the Blitter analogy isn't so good because today's hardware often has scatter/gather technology for fetching reads where it can combine many smaller blocks into a what appears to be a larger single virtual block for the read.

Even tech without this will usually allow lists or queued fetching to hide the overhead of many little fetches.

The important thing is to have the subblock size to be at least large enough that the time penalty for switching native blocks is minimal compared to the actual time of reading the subblock.

Re:One test they never run - FRAGMENTATION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24924397)

Note that the hardware already does wear leveling so you can use normal filesystems, so this blitting (or anti-blitting - caching and coalescing) is already done for you. "Defragmenting" the filesystem to create contiguous blocks won't help physical access time much.

Where it might still help you is with command overhead, which is apparently significant when dealing with storage of this speed. But of course, most modern FSes do everything they can to avoid fragmentation anyway, until the disk fills up.

Re:One test they never run - FRAGMENTATION (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924417)

So do those RAM defraggers even work? Or do they not help?

Re:One test they never run - FRAGMENTATION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24924489)

Fragmentation is based on how far apart on the disk the blocks of a file are from each other. Each block is by definition one continuous stream on the disk. When reading a file if the head has to move to another part of the disk to get the next block the file is fragmented which is what adds latency.
However the OS only retrieves one block at a time from the disk drive and it may require multiple requests to the drive to pull one block if the block size is large enough.

As long as the block size is larger than the word size (or maximum chunk request size) of data stored in the flash drive fragmentation is irrelevant. You can almost be guaranteed that the design of an SSD is such that the minimum access size is the same as the typical OS minimum block size (512 bytes).

Memory fragmentation is relevant when accessing data in RAM in an order such that between accesses you have a cache miss. This is most obvious when accessing an array out of order. These are two completely different issues.

Re:One test they never run - FRAGMENTATION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923767)

Fragmentation is an issue for SSDs too, because Flash writes in much bigger chunks than the usual file system block sizes. Depending on the wear leveling algorithm and caching of consecutive accesses, a non-fragmented SSD needs fewer physical write accesses than a heavily fragmented disk. Fragmentation on a SSD causes both lower performance and lower life expectancy. Unlike spinning disk drives, a SSD can work around that problem internally, because there is no seek latency, so reordering blocks internally is "free".

Re:One test they never run - FRAGMENTATION (1)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923585)

Since SSD don't really have "sectors", do they fragment files the same way as HDD?

Also, what would the defrag speeds be?

SSD don't have seek times so all blocks have the same access times which means that fragmentation isn't an issue.

Re:One test they never run - FRAGMENTATION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923635)

Although NAND based flash does not provide random-access like NOR flash drives, with that low of an access time, the need for defragmantation probably won't be there. They have wear-leveling algorithms that distribute data. I am no expert, but a file that filesystem thinks is not fragmented, might actually be fragmented already due to wear-leveling algorithm inside the SSD.

Re:One test they never run - FRAGMENTATION (1)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923689)

Flash File Systems (FFSs) use a wear-balancing algorithm to spread write-cycles out over the entire available drive, thus minimizing failure of individual blocks that would otherwise turn the drive as a whole into a brick. You specifically do not defragment flash drives because of this; all the defrag process accomplishes is to use up write cycles, because there is no seek delay and no rotational delay, which is what makes a fragmented filesystem slower than one where all the files in it are contiguous.

Re:One test they never run - FRAGMENTATION (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923705)

Who says SSD don't have sectors? Erase blocks are around 128K or larger. Pages to write are 2K typical.

Re:One test they never run - FRAGMENTATION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923763)

Uh-oh

Another muppet that defragments his ipod Nano and USB memory stick, then tells everyone how much faster they are now...

Re:One test they never run - FRAGMENTATION (0)

sam0737 (648914) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924129)

Yes. Imagine the files are tightly packed, and if you try to growth the files in the middle...the file will get fragmented.

I am pretty sure that The SSD is not read byte by byte, but chunk by chunk, like 4KB per read request, instead of reading one by one. So if files get fragmented, and needs extra read to get the file read, there are always overhead and waste.

In short, we still need to defrag SSD-

Re:One test they never run - FRAGMENTATION (3, Informative)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924177)

You can't grow a file in the middle. There don't exists any filesystem call that can do that.

Fragmentation only happens if you append to a file, but that kind of fragmentation should not be a problem for ssd, because all blocks(Except the last) will be full, and ssd don't read the 'next' block, any faster then any other black.

Gonna Take a Little While Yet (2, Insightful)

segedunum (883035) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923513)

SSDs are *very* compelling. The lack of mechanical moving parts, better seek time, better read and write rates, better random access (goodbye defragmentation?), less noise, lees heat, better power consumption and the ability for us to finally use a lot of the bandwidth of those interfaces we've had for ages - what's not to like?

However, they're going to need to get a lot cheaper, and we're going to need to see capacities in the hundreds of gigabytes before they start to take off, but take off they will.

Re:Gonna Take a Little While Yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923803)

That's the least insightful comment I've seen moderated "insightful," ever.

Re:Gonna Take a Little While Yet (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923891)

They need to get cheaper, and they need to be easy as pie to recycle, because people who write intensively to them are going to go through them faster than consumers.

Re:Gonna Take a Little While Yet (2, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924427)

Write rates aren't THAT impressive, good but meh.

Less heat depends on the device, I've seen plenty of HOT SSDs, presumably due to the density of silicon in them and being first generation devices

Better power consumption ... where? Every SSD I've seen doesn't have a power saving mode, in power saving mode, as a general rule, mechanical drives are less hungry than SSDs.

They are really only compelling if you need fast seek times or for use in a laptop where shock (head strikes) is a potential issue at this point in time.

Re:Gonna Take a Little While Yet (0)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924511)

IMHO, we also need a couple of orders of magnitude more write cycles. I'm not entirely comfortable even with devices that claim a million write-erase cycles, much less multi-level devices like this one that only go for probably 10,000 write-erase cycles.

If they used a poor wear leveling algorithm, for example (e.g. one that relies solely on a pool of a few percent of spare blocks), you could make a 10k-cycle SSD unwritable in just a couple of hours. Somehow I am very uncomfortable knowing that the only thing between me and a complete drive failure is a proprietary algorithm that I have to blindly trust without the ability to inspect it and without any real peer review from other companies in the field. Short of either open sourcing these algorithms or creating open industry standards for how they work, the thought of relying on a SSD with such a short maximum cycle count is way, way outside my comfort zone.

Increase the capacity and lower the price (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923629)

Other than that, we can already say that the days of magnetic media are numbered. The technology is here, we now only need to wait a bit. I give it three to four years at most.

Re:Increase the capacity and lower the price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24924331)

I think that depends on the use you are considering the drives for. Consumers interested in bargan basement prices will go for computer with traditional hard drives due to the cost savings. Servers, renderfarms, developers, etc will probably make the switch in the time you give, but my grandmother will probably never purchase a computer with a solid state drive unless it's used.

NAND versus Memristor? (1)

Easy2RememberNick (179395) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923647)

How different is NAND flash memory compared to Memristor technology and would Memristors make a better SSD?

Re:NAND versus Memristor? (1)

memristance (1285036) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924159)

Fundamentally [wikipedia.org] , and potentially yes [wikipedia.org] .
Details provided in the links.

Re:NAND versus Memristor? (2, Insightful)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924227)

Well, NAND has the whole "already exists" thing going for it.

Real use for SSD (2, Insightful)

jcdick1 (254644) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923703)

Western Digital blah blah, 2.5" mobile blah blah. How do they compare to the mainline Hitachi and Seagate 15k Fibre Channel? EMC's SSD offerings? I want to know what I can expect for data warehousing on Oracle RAC.

Who needs.. (1)

ypctx (1324269) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923739)

..flash memory, when you can have 300 GB of L1 cache? Oh wait, still not there..

What does volatile memory have to do with SSD? (1)

Layth (1090489) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924139)

Ram goes away as soon as your computer reboots or loses power.
I think you're entirely missing the point.

System boot time goes from 43 secs to 37 seconds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24923755)

I'm not impressed. A 10 percent reduction in boot time does not blow my doors off.

Re:System boot time goes from 43 secs to 37 second (2, Informative)

Gloy (1151691) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923843)

System boot time is a function of many different factors, of which storage read and write speeds are only two.

SSD on PS3? (4, Interesting)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 5 years ago | (#24923863)

With more PS3 games offering an "install-to-HD" option, I wonder how SSD would affect performance. My theory is that playing a console game is a read-heavy experience, so an SSD should do quite well, right? Any rich gamers out there that have tried this out yet?

Re:SSD on PS3? (1)

68030 (215387) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924267)

Storing the game on a flash chip sounds conspicuously like games based on cartridge technology.

Starting to come full circle, eh?

Thinking about using SSD for external backup (2, Insightful)

Layth (1090489) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924183)

Anyone know about the general longevity of these devices?
The shelf life of a hard drive isn't incredibly impressive.

Price is over-rated (4, Interesting)

sampson7 (536545) | more than 5 years ago | (#24924189)

I get a little tired of hearing about how the price has to drop orders of magnitude before SSD is viable. Shop around a little people!

I ended up buying a refurb Dell laptop for around $1000 with a 64 gig SSD. Was it the latest and greatest? Nope. But it was about $150/200 more than a similarly priced computer with a traditional drive (which of course, was larger). Since the only significant problems I've ever had with my two prior Dell laptops (admittedly a small sample) involved the hard drive, going with the SSD (especially when you include the "cool" factors -- both temperature and nerd-ism) was an easy decision.

But the point is that as SSDs become more prevalent, they become available at cheaper prices. I'm sure that as the Intel drives are rolled out, the "obsolete" drives currently on the market will continue to fall in price and become available to bottom-dwelling cheap-o-s like me who may not be able to justify $1000, but can rationalize $200 without a whole lot of difficulty.

Caveat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24924249)

It's fast..Until it starts wearing out.

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