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Toshiba Developing High-Density 1TB SSD

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the valentine's-day-is-over dept.

Data Storage 149

MojoKid writes "A new partnership between Toshiba and Tokyo's Keio University has led to the creation of a new technology that could allow SSDs up to 1TB in size to be made 'with a footprint no larger than a postage stamp.' The report states that the two have been able to integrate 128GB NAND Flash chips and a single controller into a stamp-sized form factor. They've even made it operational with a transfer rates of 2Gbps (or about 250MB/sec) with data transfer that relies on radio communication."

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Gaming? (2, Funny)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31138926)

I really hope all these high-density storage systems will be used for gaming, HDDs are unreliable and large SSDs would allow for fast load times, better non-DRM copy protection and the ability to save games without paying extra.

Re:Gaming? (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#31138982)

better non-DRM copy protection

Really you think? Er, I mean how so?

Re:Gaming? (0, Offtopic)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139062)

Look at non-CD based systems like the Nintendo DS. The main reason why you couldn't easily boot homebrew software was because of the game cart being hard to make at home. Yes, there were a few checksum based things that needed to be avoided but those were trivial to avoid. Compare that to running your own software on a PS3 (with full hardware based access, not the crappy stripped down version you get when your run Linux on it) its -a lot- harder because they expect everyone and their brother to have Blu-Ray disks.

Re:Gaming? (3, Insightful)

EdZ (755139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139432)

It's more that they were on a ROM, i.e. Read Only. This uses re-writeable NAND flash, so would be hacked in a heartbeat. Never mind that cartridges dies out from being sodamned expensive to produce compared to pressing a disc.
OK, maybe for consoles where for some reason you don't want to just pre-load content from a BD to an internal NAND-based SSD as you play, but it seems far less cost effective to distribute everything on it's own SSD. Hot-swappable SATA HDDs are faster than current optical media, and the per-GB cost is far lower than NAND flash. But I've never heard of see anyone suggesting distributing console games on individual HDDs.

Re:Gaming? (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139010)

Bring back the cartridge.

Re:Gaming? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139414)

I was thinking the exact same thing. What better way to enforce DRM than with the cartridge. Besides, it has a few things going for that format in that it's robust, no moving parts, and provides fast I/O. Also, you can add in future co-processor technology like Nintendo did with the FX chip (SNES console).

Re:Gaming? (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139550)

I strongly suspect that cartridges would no longer be all that useful for DRM purposes. Doing a ROM dump from a cartridge takes some technical know-how and a bit of motivation; but downloading one from bittorrent doesn't and blank cartridges, fillable with those ROMs via USB, will likely be popping up on DealExtreme and the usual grey-market importers at about the same time the console comes out.

You could always produce cartridges with embedded contactless smart cards, or some similar authentication measure, to try to raise the difficulty of cloning; but there'd be nothing stopping you from producing Blu-ray disks with a couple of contactless smart-card chips moulded right into the inner polycarbonate ring and getting exactly the same degree of protection with much cheaper storage.

Re:Gaming? (4, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140086)

With regards to DRM; fair enough.

However, Blu-Ray disks only support up to 25GB per layer. In theory, an octo-layer disk would make that 200GB total. Toshiba though is talking about 1TB of space on something the size of postage stamp. That's quite game changer if I ever saw one. Having fast I/O is also a nice bonus.

Perhaps consoles will never make it back to cartridge format because disks are so much cheaper to mass produce. But if someone can put this technology into an SSD drive at a reasonable price point, I'll be dropping one in my PS3, laptop, and desktop workstation. While were at it, maybe a few servers too.

It always amazes me how Star Trek is so prophetic in regards to trends in technology. This new SSD revolution is equivalent to their isolinear chips. Wow, just wow!

Re:Gaming? (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139100)

I really hope all these high-density storage systems will be used for gaming, HDDs are unreliable and large SSDs would allow for fast load times, better non-DRM copy protection and the ability to save games without paying extra.

Yeah, because God forbid the game manufacturers(or anyone else for that matter) take advantage of the 1GB or more of DDR5-speed memory on video cards, or the fact that you can slam 16GB of ultra-fast DDR3 memory onto your average mobos these days for a fraction of what you would spend on this kind of hardware. I mean damn, DDR3 only pokes along at a "measly" 1600MBps...

I really fail to see the setback in this arena. Seriously.

Re:Gaming? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139752)

Um, because we all know that the PS3, 360 and Wii all read data from 16 GB of DDR3 memory and have 1 gig of DDR5 on video cards...

Re:Gaming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31139254)

Wait, HDDs are unreliable? What exactly are you talking about and/or referring to? I have yet to see one of my drives unexpectedly fail.

Re:Gaming? (1)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140888)

HDDs are extremely unreliable. Moving parts equals higher likelihood of failure. I'm not sure I'd say you're lucky to never have experienced unexpected drive failure, but I'm not sure I wouldn't either.

Re:Gaming? (3, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31142090)

The latest bleeding-edge SSDs aren't that reliable either. Intel has had pretty bad bugs with their SSDs.

Most SSD manufacturers do a fair number of tricks to maintain high performance while doing wear-leveling.

The technology hasn't got to the "boring ho-hum" stage yet.

Re:Gaming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31139390)

"HDDs are unreliable?" - How so? The reliability rates aren't the same HD's are way better. Also, if your HD goes dead, your data is still physically there... all you have to do is take it in to a recovery center and drop 1000$ and you can get it recovered, on a flash disk your data is gone... forever. Have you ever tried to recover data from a dead flash usb drive with a dead controller? On a hard drive you can buy a simmilar controller and still get your data off, I've done it numerous times. Flash stinks.

Re:Gaming? (4, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139472)

Apparently a company called Data Recovery Services claim the ability to recover lost data in SSD format. Not sure how they do it exactly, but I imagine it involving some de-soldering of chips and replacement of new parts on the PCB.

They've managed to provide a writeup of their claims here.
http://www.datarecovery.net/solid-state-drive-recovery.html [datarecovery.net]

Re:Gaming? (1)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139660)

Apparently a company called Data Recovery Services claim the ability to recover lost data in SSD format. Not sure how they do it exactly, but I imagine it involving some de-soldering of chips and replacement of new parts on the PCB.

They've managed to provide a writeup of their claims here. http://www.datarecovery.net/solid-state-drive-recovery.html [datarecovery.net]

Flash drives use write leveling and other algorithms to extend the life of the chips, which have a limited number of write cycles. As a result, even if you *overwrite* data it still logically exists on the chips, it just doesn't show up in the filesystem. They must have a technique to stitch the data of a working drive back together.

so you want to pay neogeo cart prices for games? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139600)

so you want to pay neogeo cart prices for games?
neogeo games used to cost alot as the price of the rom chips where high back then and while you can get 1tb HDD for under $100 what will a SSD one cost $500+?

Re:so you want to pay neogeo cart prices for games (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139850)

Would I pay a couple hundred dollars for a game with no load times, an excellent storyline, excellent play control, excellent graphics, no lag, no annoying paid DLC, near infinite customization, that required no hardware upgrade? Yes. Something along the lines of Fable II only -a lot- longer, no lag, no loading times, more weapons, etc. I would pay $200 easily for. Especially if they don't charge for DLC. Sound unreasonable? Look at World of Warcraft, with a $15 monthly fee, someone paying from 2004-2010 would have paid $1080! And that is assuming the game itself is free along with the expansion packs. So if a game held my interest for 2 years, I would be saving more money than someone who played WoW for 2 years. The problem is, most game developers want to make a quick buck so they create a game, then charge extra for DLC, then create expansion packs, and in the end the $60 becomes more like $150 while still maintaining long load times, imperfect game mechanics and generally sub-par voice actors.

Re:so you want to pay neogeo cart prices for games (2, Insightful)

wernercd (837757) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140074)

People complain about $60 games... you seriously think $200 games would fly? It also seems you are comparing a single purchase game to an online game. WoW on a fast chip would still require a game server. So the comparison of MadeUpGame with a one time purchase vs WoW is far from valid. You should compare it to CoD, HL2, etc... a game that you buy once and play for years, $60 vs $200 simply to get faster load times? I'd pay $60 and load from an ISO if I really wanted faster load times.

Re:so you want to pay neogeo cart prices for games (0, Offtopic)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140254)

People complain about $60 games... you seriously think $200 games would fly?

People complain about $60 games that are short, crappy, buggy and laggy. Look at for example the Halo series, you pay $60 for a campaign mode you can easily finish in a night.

It also seems you are comparing a single purchase game to an online game.

While they are two different models they both have one thing in common: new content that isn't pay-DLC. While, yes you are paying for it, you don't have to pay $15 to get the latest weapon, you pay $15 to play the game.

WoW on a fast chip would still require a game server.

As would almost any simi-multiplayer game out today.

So the comparison of MadeUpGame with a one time purchase vs WoW is far from valid.

Its only invalid because no one has so far made a game like the one I am describing.

The comparason between WoW and the hypothetical game was to prove that people would pay large amounts for a game that was A) constantly updating B) didn't increase hardware requirements much between years and C) was effectively "boundless"

you should compare it to CoD, HL2, etc... a game that you buy once and play for years,

But the problem is, those games are static. Yes, they are fun games but there is really nothing there beyond the game itself. There is very little player customization, the games are very linear, etc. Gordon Freeman is well, Gordon Freeman. He isn't the player, while the player can make Gordon Freeman shoot when they want him to, or throw grenades, or drive recklessly while mowing down antlions the player has no real choices. Such a game can easily be contained in 4 GB of data or so. It really doesn't -need- any updating. But what large capacity SSDs can do is they can make -you- be a citizen of City 17. You -can- make decisions, you can choose what to do, etc.

Also, on the point of Half Life 2, Valve decided rather than update HL2, they released "episodes" where you pay a large sum of money for just a little bit more content even though the engine pretty much remained unchanged and even most if not all the weapons are identical copies.

Linear games are more or less fine with the current system, but for "sandbox" games having a lot of fast, reliable, rewritable space is essential. A prime example is Fable II, the game seems boundless, don't like a citizen? You can kill them. Aside from a few exceptions, you can kill, threaten, help, love or do anything to any person in the game. The main flaws are that it is too short, loading times are -very- evident and there needs to be more content and customization. It is hard to fit that in less than 9 GB, it is even harder with optical media which has very long loading times. Even when put on the 360 HDD loading times still exist. Every second of loading time is a second where you aren't your character and it completely ruins the immersion factor.

$60 vs $200 simply to get faster load times? I'd pay $60 and load from an ISO if I really wanted faster load times.

$60 vs $200 to get faster load times, more content, the ability for complex saves, etc. Plus, the durability of a cartridge compared to fragile optical media? I highly doubt that your DVD will still be readable in 30 years of terrible storage, yet 2600 cartridges play fine after 30 years of being stored in less than ideal conditions.

Re:so you want to pay neogeo cart prices for games (1)

my $anity 0 (917519) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139974)

and DS games cost $100?

Re:Gaming? (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140464)

"Hi, I just received a postcard from blizzard-rewards.com with a realm on it. Is it safe to load?"

Re:Gaming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31141268)

Wow, To me , your comment reeks of stupidity. It basically says " I cannot do anything at all to put this new technology to use myself, I hope someone else smarter than me can do that in such a way that my hobby is improved ". Get an education, or at least an imagination.

First (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31138932)

First postage

Thank god. (4, Funny)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 4 years ago | (#31138958)

I don't understand metres, they're too complicated. Thank god they used the postage stamp method of measuring.

Re:Thank god. (4, Funny)

rockNme2349 (1414329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139008)

Research shows that by 2012, Toshiba will be delivering Solid State Drives with an information density of 0.1 LoC/(ps^3).

Re:Thank god. (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139040)

That's all well and good, but what fraction of a car is that?

Re:Thank god. (1)

ian_from_brisbane (596121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140050)

That's all well and good, but what fraction of a car is that?

Car / [0.1 LoC/(ps^3)]

Re:Thank god. (1)

carlmenezes (204187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31141682)

Well, its like getting 50 teenagers into a mini.

Re:Thank god. (1)

Rosy At Random (820255) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139132)

2012? Oh, you mean MMXII! Sorry, I mean the Year of the Dragon.

Re:Thank god. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31139478)

Postage stamp is a unit of area. :(

Re:Thank god. (1)

ian_from_brisbane (596121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140024)

Postage stamp is a unit of area. :(

Yep in this case, area not volume. I doubt these SSDs will be as thin as a postage stamp.

Re:Thank god. (2, Funny)

ijakings (982830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139210)

Thats all well and good, but I dont understand the significance of this until its delivered in standard Libraries of Congress units.

Re:Thank god. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31141460)

So what's that in Metric inches or the even more usable nanoacres?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unusual_units_of_measurement

Re:Thank god. (1)

Khenke (710763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31142298)

Is it just me that think 1TB at the size of 55,7 x 45,8 centimetres is nothing to brag about? Worlds largest postage stamp [joh-enschede.com]
But then again if it is the smallest stamp with 1x1 cm it is something to brag about.

DO WANT. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31138988)

For my databases.

mod 0P (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31139024)

insisted that Usenet. In 1995, GNAA on slashdot, Are -a pathetic Took precedeNce the same operation

Re:mod 0P (3, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139068)

*sigh*

That's what happens when the GNAA outsources their trolling to India :(

Re:mod 0P (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31139284)

How is that ethanol working for you?

Good. (1)

anthonyclark (17109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139124)

Now get back to me when you've built 24+2 of them into a 1x10x10 cm 12 core blade with water cooling.

Or 256 of them into a 1U half-depth fanless storage array.

I loathe seeing racks upon racks of heat spewing, power sucking, storage arrays.

Re:Good. (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139342)

256 TB of flash... The storage device will be delivered in a standard fedex mailer, the payment will have to go by pallet....

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31140928)

In a standard FedEx mailer? It'll be AFFIXED to the mailer...

Re:Good. (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#31141036)

Hmmmm. That standard FedEx mailer wouldn't happened to be surrounded by an armed guard, would it?

Radio? (4, Interesting)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139134)

"...with data transfer that relies on radio communication."

Well that sounds like an eavesdropping invitation if I ever heard one.

Re:Radio? (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139278)

Probably more than the naive observer would expect; but less than you would think.

My understanding, from TFA, is that the radio communication being used is very short range, a substitute for the usual maze of tiny and hard to fabricate gold wire interconnects that go between stacked dice. Die stacking itself isn't new; but the real-world manufacturability drops off unpleasantly as you stack higher, because of all the little wires. If you can use very short range RF instead, your life becomes rather less painful.

Assuming a suitable faraday cage layer isn't baked in, somebody with a nice antenna and some serious DSP could probably capture some of the traffic from the chip if they could get within a few cm of it. I'd hesitate to base the next generation of smart cards on such a thing; but it isn't as though it would necessarily be a radical advance over what you can do today with a few needles and a logic probe.

Re:Radio? (5, Interesting)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140512)

Radio communication does not say it has to be over the air, it means that there is a carrier wave (in the wire) that has the signals put on top of just like radio.

Re:Radio? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31141152)

> just like radio

which is over the air ...

Re:Radio? (1)

DaTrueDave (992134) | more than 4 years ago | (#31142334)

"Radio" communication indicates that the communication is done with 'radiated' transmission of data. Modulated transmission not involving the radiation of a signal would not be called "radio" communication.

So, yes, radio communication has to be over the air.

Who cares about size... (4, Insightful)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139330)

... it's reliability that's the real issue. SSDs are a great idea in theory, but in practice the only time I tried to build a server around one, taking great care to ensure that as little as possible would ever be ever written to it (e.g. turned off atime, while /var, /temp, /home etc. were located on hard disks), it ended up lasting only about a month.

I would love to replace my hard disks, arguably the most critical and vulnerable components of my computers, with SSDs, but only if they are more reliable in the first place, and can thereafter be regarded generally as an improvement.

Re:Who cares about size... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31139394)

, it ended up lasting only about a month

Either you bought way to early or you need better data profiling. Did you remember to turn on write caching? I've had USB sticks last longer than that under constant writing.

Re:Who cares about size... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31139396)

Get a better disk. Mine has been lasting for a lot longer than that.

Re:Who cares about size... (5, Informative)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139410)

Whereas mine ran for 3 years until I replaced the whole device.

Aren't anecdotes great!

Re:Who cares about size... (5, Funny)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139576)

Not really. I heard an anecdote once and it was really lousy.

Re:Who cares about size... (3, Funny)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139666)

Not really. I heard an anecdote once and it was really lousy.

Colour me surprised. I remember hearing once that 95% of all anecdotes are shite.

Re:Who cares about size... (4, Funny)

leetrout (855221) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140144)

That's because 83% of statistics are made up on the spot.

Re:Who cares about size... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31140440)

I would like to nominate this whole thread of responses for the most banal and retarded in Slashdot's history.

Re:Who cares about size... (1)

omfgnosis (963606) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140970)

So's your face!

Re:Who cares about size... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140824)

Not that I doubt you, but what make/model were you using?

Re:Who cares about size... (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139444)

Was your SSD from the cheap seats, or one of the decent ones? People were doing substantially better than that, in terms of lifespan, back when "SSD" meant "CF card in an IDE adapter"... With an N of 1, I suspect that you might have just gotten a dud. Mechanical drives that are dead when you open the box aren't exactly unknown in the field(on the other hand, though, intel has had a couple of really embarrasing firmware issues, and anything that JMicron has cursed with their misbegotten controllers is utter junk, so the field does have some maturing to do).

More broadly, though, size and reliability are actually closely linked with Flash SSDs. It is inherent in the nature of Flash that it will only survive a limited number of writes before a given block of cells becomes unwriteable at best and unreliable at worst. SSD controllers deal with this by trying to spread writes as evenly as possible over the available Flash space, and by having some amount of reserve space that can silently be substituted for failed blocks. The trouble, of course, is that since Flash is expensive, there is a strong commercial imperative to make as much as possible of the Flash you include visible storage space, so you can put a big shiny number on the box, and as little as possible reserve space, since that is hard to brag about. As a consequence, you'll note that cheap consumer SSDs ship with substantially less reserve flash than do the expensive; but reliability focused, enterprise ones(some of which will even let the customer adjust the allocation between storage and reserve).

If you can make Flash denser and cheaper, you'll make it more likely that, for all but the crappiest fly-by-night shops soldering together stuff stolen from nearby dumpsters, adding more reserve Flash is cheaper than processing RMAs and dealing with angry customers. Improvements in the intrinsic reliability of Flash cells would be nice as well, of course; but we are already using vaguely RAID-like techniques to turn quantity into reliability, so improvements in density and cost are almost as good.

Re:Who cares about size... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31139498)

I heard they have this thing called a warranty.From what I've read - Intel has a three year warranty on their SSD's. You *do* backup your data on a regular basis, right? Yeah-- me neither!

Which make/model of SSD drive? (2, Interesting)

darekana (205478) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139580)

Would you care to provide the model number of the SSD you used for reference?

Thanks!

Lots of crap SSDs out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31139636)

it ended up lasting only about a month.

You get what you pay for; if you're buying the equivalent of a few USB sticks taped together with an SSD sticker slapped on it then expect some unreliability.

Get a decent SLC-based [wikipedia.org] drive and it'll outlive any HDD on the market.

Re:Who cares about size... (4, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139662)

I, for one, will not buy a 1TB SSD until it's small enough that I'm guaranteed to lose it within the first day of getting it.

Re:Who cares about size... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31141296)

I had the same problem with small mobile phones, well I never lost one, but it was non the less a problem.

Re:Who cares about size... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31139728)

It would be nice to know which ones you used, because usually, the more you pay for it, the more reliable it will be.

Re:Who cares about size... (1)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140180)

Sorry, but I neglected to mention that the SSD in question was indeed both an early and a cheap model. I believe the manufacturer was OCZ, but I forget which model it was. This may subtract some weight from my original assertion, but I don't think all of it.

By the end of 2008 the Intel X25-M was supposed to be the best thing around, but even that model suffered from a form of low-level fragmentation that was the result of using both wear leveling and write combining. These are workarounds for problems that are inherent to SSDs that use NAND flash chips -- especially of the MLC variety -- and a lot of the competition involves trying to develop controller chips that are better at keeping that inevitable fragmentation under control. Only, I don't think any of them will ever find a practical way to really solve the issue once and for all. So, I'm getting tired of hearing about the "latest storage breakthroughs" that are based on NAND flash technology.

Okay, then why don't the chip manufacturers just ditch NAND all together and switch to a different technology with better prospects? Well, first because there's no demand for anything else (um, they don't want to invest the money that will create the demand), and second for the same reason the hard disk manufacturers don't want to quit: they first want to get as much money as they can out of their current investments (that largely involve MLC NAND). There's nothing to do about it; we're just going to have to be patient and wait for "business to run its course."

In the mean time, I've now been waiting 15 years for some form of MRAM [wikipedia.org] to finally come of age: a type of universal memory that will blow away all the existing forms of memory, both volatile and non-volatile. Unfortunately, I suspect that for many more years this type of memory will exist only in my dreams.

Re:Who cares about size... (2, Insightful)

bertok (226922) | more than 4 years ago | (#31142074)

... it's reliability that's the real issue. SSDs are a great idea in theory, but in practice the only time I tried to build a server around one, taking great care to ensure that as little as possible would ever be ever written to it (e.g. turned off atime, while /var, /temp, /home etc. were located on hard disks), it ended up lasting only about a month.

I would love to replace my hard disks, arguably the most critical and vulnerable components of my computers, with SSDs, but only if they are more reliable in the first place, and can thereafter be regarded generally as an improvement.

You either used a really cheap drive meant for netbooks, or you simply got a broken drive and didn't do a burn-in period. It's not like mechanical drives never fail, so just because you had a bad experience, once, that doesn't mean you should give out bad advice based on an anecdote.

Even a decent desktop drive can be overwritten at least a thousand times, and most 'enterprise grade' drives are rated for 100,000 or more. At the high-end, look at the products made by FusionIO or EMC, you'll get drives that might go to a million rewrites, and will actively report degradation so you can replace them before they die.

Also keep in mind that smaller drives are both slower and wear out faster. It's worth getting larger drives or striping several smaller ones to spread the write wear.

Re:Who cares about size... (2, Insightful)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 4 years ago | (#31142164)

... it's reliability that's the real issue. SSDs are a great idea in theory, but in practice the only time I tried to build a server around one, taking great care to ensure that as little as possible would ever be ever written to it (e.g. turned off atime, while /var, /temp, /home etc. were located on hard disks), it ended up lasting only about a month.

You had a broken/faulty unit, this can happen with any kind of disk. Even cheap USB flash sticks easily last over a year of the kind of use you describe. Intel X25-M SSDs for example, are specced for 24/7 use with 100gb of data being written to disk EVERY DAY and this is a consumer MLC SSD. Enterprise SLC disks are much more resilient then that (albeit a lot more expensive).

Re:Who cares about size... (1)

hahn (101816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31142188)

... it's reliability that's the real issue. SSDs are a great idea in theory, but in practice the only time I tried to build a server around one, taking great care to ensure that as little as possible would ever be ever written to it (e.g. turned off atime, while /var, /temp, /home etc. were located on hard disks), it ended up lasting only about a month. I would love to replace my hard disks, arguably the most critical and vulnerable components of my computers, with SSDs, but only if they are more reliable in the first place, and can thereafter be regarded generally as an improvement.

Um, those of us who would like a much smaller desktop or a smaller (and lighter) notebook computer care about size. If you can have 1 TB postage sized hard drive, engineers would have a MUCH easier time creating smaller form factors. Furthermore, besides the smaller size, you also have far fewer concerns about heat AND moving parts (a factor for notebook computers which are dropped fairly frequently). With non-server usage levels, SSD's in my experience have been quite reliable.

Makes me think of Arthur Clarke. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139506)

In Imperial Earth, he mentions a device called a "minisec", which has enough storage to retain anything someone cares to store in their whole lifetime. I wonder what it would mean to have something like an iPad with couple petabytes of capacity?

-jcr

Re:Makes me think of Arthur Clarke. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139610)

Yeah but the minisec recorded audio, not video and handled email and encryption. I don't think Clarke thought that device would store more than a few gigs of data.

Re:Makes me think of Arthur Clarke. (4, Interesting)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140054)

It would take about 200TB to record a lifetime of audio at CD quality.

Re:Makes me think of Arthur Clarke. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140080)

It would take about 200TB to record a lifetime of audio at CD quality.

Yeah but this was just a note taker, and it could offload storage to bigger machines anyway.

Re:Makes me think of Arthur Clarke. (2, Interesting)

ZosX (517789) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140274)

You sure about that? 75 years is 657,000 hours. At FLAC sized files (350mb/hr) it would require 229,950,000 megabytes. I guess you are pretty close there!

Re:Makes me think of Arthur Clarke. (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31141454)

My number was using raw CD quality (16 bit 44.1KHz) PCM recorded in mono and a life expectancy of 81 years.

Re:Makes me think of Arthur Clarke. (2, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140876)

And with a few PetaBytes, video as well. It wont be long before bluetooth ear pieces capture video as well. You too could be walking talking 24/7 YouTuber in all of its annoying glory. At least this would have value for Policemen.

Re:Makes me think of Arthur Clarke. (4, Funny)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 4 years ago | (#31141308)

It would take about 200TB to record a lifetime of audio at CD quality.

Sure, but would you want to record your *life* with the empty soundstage and lack of warmth inherent to mere "CD quality" ?

Re:Makes me think of Arthur Clarke. (2, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 4 years ago | (#31141540)

... or about 35 TB to record a lifetime at 128k MP3, stereo, "near CD quality".

Really - do you need your entire life recorded in CD quality? Mostly, you'll worry about proving crimes you didn't commit, so anything better than 32 Kbps MP3 is probably a waste. And while there will be those precious moments, most of your life will consist of you sitting and consuming media that's already recorded elsewhere anyway. Really, do you want hi-def audio copies of the Dresden and Star Trek reruns that you watched?

A TB now costs about $90. If trends of the last 20 years continue, in about 10 years, a lifetime of audio at 128k MP3 will cost about $90, inflation adjusted.

Re:Makes me think of Arthur Clarke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31141912)

VBR has to produce an extreme benefit here - at least as long as you don't talk to yourself 24/7!

Mostly, you'll worry about proving crimes you didn't commit, so anything better than 32 Kbps MP3 is probably a waste.

You can't prove anything with it because you could have changed the records. Alibi archives would either have to be DRM (and we know how well that works) or be stored by a third party (with very strict anti-big-brother laws).

Re:Makes me think of Arthur Clarke. (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139624)

It would still be an iPad, so everyone would mock it.

What's that? I'm missing the point? Hmmm...

Re:Makes me think of Arthur Clarke. (2, Insightful)

KillShill (877105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139644)

I wonder what a useful device like the "minisec" would be without it being straddled to a crippled-by-design product like the iXXXX.

End of the hard drive soon (1)

physburn (1095481) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139538)

Hard drive development just hasn't been keeping place with flash memory. And either portable/netbook owner would rather have flash memory, of course i bet these terabyte flash drives are expensive right now, But could we have terabyte+ flash in average computers within 5 years seems likely now, and my laptop will be that mush faster for it.

---

Storage Feed [feeddistiller.com] @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Re:End of the hard drive soon (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31139784)

Hard drive development just hasn't been keeping place with flash memory.

I think you're confused. I happen to have a hard drive in a system that creates and deletes thousands of gigabytes of files a month. It's been doing that for seven years straight. Show me any SSD that can achieve the same. Hard drives and flash memory have different properties and that necessarily makes them more or less applicable to different usage scenarios.

Re:End of the hard drive soon (5, Insightful)

izomiac (815208) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140656)

7 years * 12 months/year * 10,000 GB/month = 840 TB of data written/deleted
10,000 Erases * 128 GB = 1280 TB of data written/deleted

It seems like any SSD of appropriate capacity will do that. 10,000 erases is actually extremely conservative, most SSDs advertise 2-3 orders of magnitude more than that. It'd take continuous writing at maximum speed for more than a decade* to kill most modern SSDs. Or at least that's the theory, I'm sure someone has gotten a defective one that died in a month or something.

* 5,000,000 Erases * (256 GB / 100 MB/sec) = 405 years

Flash is also way too expensive (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31141068)

It has to come down in price a lot to compete with magnetic storage. Right now, I'd say you'd have to get it to 10% of the current price to be competitive at the high end. Currently, it is about $1500 or so for a 500GB SSD. It is currently about $50 for a 500GB magnetic drive. Now if you could get flash down to about 10%, well then you'd be talking 3x the price of magnetic storage. Still expensive, but due to the high speed it would be feasible in high performance desktops. As it stands, 300GB of 10k magnetic drive runs you about $200 so it'd compete with that fairly well.

I'm sure we'll get there some day, but we are still a ways out. Even if flash halves in price, it is still too expensive for a general harddrive replacement.

Bah... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31139556)

Let me know when they make communication between chips using quantum entanglement.

The future is here (2, Informative)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31139816)

Stamp-sized chips storing the contents of multiple libraries, fully downloadable over short-range radio transfer in roughly an hour.

Listen to us complaining that we don't have flying cars yet. :P

Re:The future is here (2, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140256)

Listen to us complaining that we don't have flying cars yet. :P

It's because we're afraid of being diddled [imdb.com] by a german scientist with a foot fetish.

And we've reached a point where.... (2, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140208)

The total weight of the money that you spend on end-user storage exceeds the weight of the storage device itself.

Re:And we've reached a point where.... (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#31141066)

Actually, the same can be said for a CDR disc, if you pay in pennies. 1 penny = 3 g, 1 CD = 15 g, CD costs $0.17. :-)

Re:And we've reached a point where.... (0, Redundant)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31141484)

If you pay in pennies, the weight of the money can almost always exceed whatever you are buying anyways... I was, of course, referring to bills, which is what most people I know carry around with them when they carry cash, rather than large quantities of small currency units such as pennies.

Re:And we've reached a point where.... (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31142570)

The total weight of the money that you spend on end-user storage exceeds the weight of the storage device itself.

I pay for my tech stuff online, using a debit card. What's the weight of the bits needed to carry out that transaction?

Impressive,but what is this phrase "postage stamp" (3, Funny)

viking80 (697716) | more than 4 years ago | (#31140502)

Seems very impressive, but what is this phrase "postage stamp". Is this also part of some newfangled technology we may never see? I for on will probably be fine with good old email for a long time to come.

Make them affordable instead of larger (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31140944)

We always hear about SSD flash technology and how cool it is but we never seem to get it. SSDs are now more expensive than last year...So, what's the point of 1TB SSD when I can't even afford a 30GB one?

Re:Make them affordable instead of larger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31141360)

...Other people can. Right now for that size of SSD storage we are paying ~ $300,000 US. But size isn't that big of an issue for the current drives, unless there is also a huge performance boos for some reason. I mean, if performance wasn't an issue, we'd just buy a $100 sata.

SSDs and Cost (2, Insightful)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31141396)

I really like the idea of a device that does not need to be constantly de-fragmented. To me, above the moving parts issue/noise/heat issues, it is paramount. However I need my data storage to be reliable and right now SSDs still don't have the track record.

I understand that there are those people who are running 2-4x SSD drives in a RAID0 that are fully happy. But mostly they are gamers who don't care if they have to do a reinstall if that array fails. And or don't really have any sort of long term data that they mind wiping at the drop of a hat.

I personally deal with end users who care a lot about their digital pictures, email, and other assorted crap. As it stands right now those ol' spinning platters still offer us all the best reliability at the lowest cost point.

Re:SSDs and Cost (1)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31141492)

Sorry to reply to my own post but I wanted to just also say that SSDs as a rule are not unreliable. Rather that at the space/cost ratio that matters for current end users.

Most of us need these days a lot of space for all the digital media we have and SSDs don't offer that at a price point that is even near what HDs offer. (And as I said HDs, even with their own failure rates, are still preferred.)

Re:SSDs and Cost (1)

Tromad (1741656) | more than 4 years ago | (#31141964)

A hard drive failure should rarely be a big deal. Use the SSD for the main OS and your main programs, all important data on a regular hard drive, and do (at least) weekly external backups for both. In that case if your SSD dies you're out a couple of hours and a warranty return. I just tried to repair my bosses hard drive (irrecoverable; OS won't boot with it attached, tools report hardware failure) and he lost about 5 years of important documents with no backups.

Still takes over an hour to fill. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31141660)

The number one thing that I want, is the ability to read/write really fast.

And the other number one thing is: Don’t ever die (or become significantly slower) after less then ten years of usage!

Keio University? That's where I work! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31142050)

Hey! I work at Keio University! I wonder if we'll be getting these as party favors at our next holiday soiree, along with the bottom-of-the-barrel beer and convenience-store sandwiches!

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