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Western Digital Launches First SSD

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the more-competition-means-price-cuts-right dept.

Data Storage 163

Vigile writes "The solid state disk market keeps getting more crowded, but the Western Digital SiliconEdge Blue SSD marks the first offering from a player that currently dominates the market of traditional spindle-based hard drives. It was a year ago this month that WD purchased SiliconSystems for $65m, a small, enterprise-level SSD vendor that developed its own storage controller. Western Digital obviously made the move to prepare the company for the inevitable situation it finds itself in today: solid state has surpassed traditional media in performance and will likely soon become the mainstream storage choice for computers. PC Perspective has put the first consumer-level SSD option from one of the kings of HDDs through the wringer and found the drive to be a solid first offering, with performance on par with the some of the better solutions in the market while not quite fast enough to take away the top seatings from Intel and others. Western Digital has seen the writing on the wall; the only question is when the other players in the hard drive market will as well." Hot Hardware ran their own series of tests, coming to a similar conclusion: "There is no question the SiliconEdge Blue doesn't light up the benchmarks like some of the more recent SSDs we've tested, but it's a solid product from a well-respected brand name storage company."

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163 comments

Gah (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346460)

I really wish prices dropped on these things. I know they have come a long way since they were first released, but still... my Dell Mini 9 hungers for a storage upgrade, but the price per GB is still insane.

Re:Gah (2, Interesting)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346504)

I really want a SSD for my netbook - I worry about how much abuse the little thing takes in a day at school - but I can't really justify spending more on a hard drive than I spent on the entire computer!

*Sigh* Maybe for my next one.

Re:Gah (2)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346600)

but I can't really justify spending more on a hard drive than I spent on the entire computer!

That too is a problem. A 32 gig SSD for my Mini 9 would run me right around $100 or so...considering I only paid $250 for it, that's an ass of a deal. I may end up going with a 16 gig, which can be had for around $50...the only problem is that I only want the bigger hard drive for gaming (the Mini 9 is AWESOME if you plan on playing anything pre-2002), but most of the games from a ways back are fairly small, especially the older ones like Wasteland (which is somewhere around 700k).

Meh, I don't know...all I know is that SSDs are still way too expensive for how much space you get.

Re:Gah (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346952)

I paid $115 for a 64G for my netbook in January. But prices have gone up since then. SSDs have been fluctuation pretty wildly lately. the same model SSD is $189 now. Also the performance of the one I bought only get 150MB/s reads and 90MB/s writes, but that is good enough and plenty for my little Core2 netbook.

As for space. I have half of it dedicated to OpenSolaris and half for Linux. And I never actually run OpenSolaris so it is essentially going to waste. I'd have to say the amount of space I get is plenty in this particular case, even if it couldn't hold all of my MP3s.

Re:Gah (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348008)

I must have gotten a deal. My mini 9 has a 32 GB SSD installed in it. It cost me $25 more to get it.

I keep on looking at the 64GB ones.

Re:Gah (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346744)

I really wish prices dropped on these things. I know they have come a long way since they were first released, but still... my Dell Mini 9 hungers for a storage upgrade, but the price per GB is still insane.

Blame Moore's Law, really. After all, SSDs grow in space in accordance with Moore's Law (since doubling transistors doubles storage capacity - SLC or MLC flash). Spinning disk technology however has been growing at a far faster rate. And controller technology is improving, but there's still room for improvement. Especially since each new technology node requires new billion-dollar investments in new equipment, while I'm sure with the classical spinning disk a lot of parts get reused.

Re:Gah (2, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346756)

My problem with SSDs isn't even the price per GB (which is bad enough). It's the amount of space, period. Currently, on Newegg, their Intel SSDs (I singled out Intel as they reportedly make the best) come in a maximum of 160 GB. That is honestly a pathetic amount of storage. When the drives come in at least 500 GB sizes, then I'll consider them. Not a moment before.

Buy three. What are you afRAID of? (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346892)

Currently, on Newegg, their Intel SSDs (I singled out Intel as they reportedly make the best) come in a maximum of 160 GB. That is honestly a pathetic amount of storage. When the drives come in at least 500 GB sizes, then I'll consider them.

Either you have a laptop, or you're afRAID to put more than one drive in a desktop PC. Maybe you need to RAID NewEgg and buy three SSDs. Or you can take a step back, realize that a half terabyte is a step toward some goal [catb.org] , and describe this goal. What do you plan to put on this 500 GB drive?

Re:Buy three. What are you afRAID of? (1, Interesting)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347084)

I need 500 GB drives because I currently run a 1 TB RAID 5 array. I don't need to get 500 GB total space (I have more crap than that anyway), it'd just be very impractical to build a 1 TB array using 160 GB drives. Granted, I probably wouldn't use RAID 5 because the drives aren't prone to random death like magnetic drives, but it would still be 6 drives to get the kind of capacity I want. That's a bit more than I'm willing to go along with.

As to goal... I tend to have a lot of software/game disc images, movies, and TV shows sitting around on my PC (both "very legit" and actually legit), and while I don't strictly need to have them all on the disk at once, I'm in love with the convenience of being able to pull anything up at a moment's notice. Like I said, I have a 1 TB array, and I'm using at least 600 GB of it right now.

Re:Buy three. What are you afRAID of? (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347278)

Granted, I probably wouldn't use RAID 5 because the drives aren't prone to random death like magnetic drives

You must be pretty new to SSDs. My experience with old ones is they work great, until one random day they never work again, at all, with 100% data loss. Some people experience they "merely" fail to write but can still be read. It seems pretty random.

Hard drives at least some of the time fail gradually and sometimes making horrible noises or taking a long time to spin up.

SSDs, so far in my experience, pretty much define random death, although they're overall pretty reliable.

Re:Buy three. What are you afRAID of? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347538)

I had a hard time understanding this until I could translate it into a car analogy. So it's like the new car batteries of today. No sign of failing just one day your car won't start. But the old batteries of yesteryear use to fail slowly, the car would barely crank over giving you plenty of notice and replace it before you have to call your wife to come pick you up at the strip club when you told her you were working late that night. Got it!

Re:Buy three. What are you afRAID of? (3, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348644)

You know, you could have solved that problem.

Not the battery dying in the cold dark at 2 AM in the parking lot of the "gentleman's club". That battery is gonna die; there's no helping that.

But that awkward call to the missus... doesn't have to happen. Just make sure she works at the club. If she has her car, problem utterly solved. If not, at least you get to hang out with a stripper who is already predisposed to talk to you. Even if only to nag you about not having had that battery changed earlier. And the cat litter.

Re:Buy three. What are you afRAID of? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347356)

IMO the way to go for desktops at the moment is to keep the bulk stuff on hard drive(s) and reserve the SSD for stuff which is relatively small but subject to frequent random access (primerally your OS and applications).

Re:Buy three. What are you afRAID of? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347482)

You don't need high performance for that stuff.

Step down the performance requirement a notch and the price goes down rapidly.

You're doing it wrong... (5, Informative)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347574)

As to goal... I tend to have a lot of software/game disc images, movies, and TV shows sitting around on my PC

Use your SSD for the stuff that needs lightning fast access: your OS and a small subset of your applications that you use frequently.

If you are keeping software/game disc images to mount and use, just copy the source for a few of the ones you use most often to your SSD and leave the rest on regular storage. If you are keeping them as an archive to burn another disk if your master gets screwed up, don't even think of putting it on an SSD. The price per GB is way to high to use it as a warehouse.

You really don't need to keep media on an SSD. Just how fast to you plan to watch that movie or television show, anyway? Traditional media WAY more than suffices to stash your terabytes of audio and/or video. You can put the media application (e.g. Windows Media Player, VLC, whatever) on your SSD so that it launches and responds quickly, but putting the media itself on your SSD is a colossal waste. (With one possible exception: if you are editing media files, it might be worth having a workspace on your SSD.)

My suggestion is to buy one SSD and install your OS and essential applications on it. The contents on this drive should remain relatively stable. Also install a pair of large traditional media drives in a redundant configuration (RAID 1) and store all of your data (including SSD backups!) on it. Whenever you upgrade your OS or install new software on the SSD, create an image of it using something like Acronis [acronis.com] or PING [windowsdream.com] . If you're paranoid, keep an extra SSD on-hand in case the one you installed fails, so that you can get back up and running quickly.

You get the best of all worlds. Speed, redundancy, and not spending as much as your car costs to have a terabyte of storage. A few hundred bucks should be plenty.

Re:You're doing it wrong... (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348802)

your OS and a small subset of your applications that you use frequently.

Do people reboot that often or have so little RAM? I mean, personally I have enough RAM that most of the OS and any applications I use with any frequency will be cached anyway. I can see the use for portable and constrained devices, but is there a significant benefit compared to simply adding more memory?

Personal media archive (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347888)

I tend to have a lot of software/game disc images, movies, and TV shows sitting around on my PC (both "very legit" and actually legit), and while I don't strictly need to have them all on the disk at once, I'm in love with the convenience of being able to pull anything up at a moment's notice.

If you are keeping a personal archive of a terabyte of video and software installers, I'd recommend keeping the works that you're not currently using on an external RAID. Put your media on that and use an SSD for your operating system, installed applications, and frequently used documents. Just don't use RAID 5 if you aren't prepared to suffer the consequences of one drive failing and then another failing during recovery.

Re:Personal media archive (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348542)

That doesn't scare me so much, but I do run backups because of one time where my partition table mysteriously disappeared. I had an epiphany that drive failure isn't the only thing that can make you lose data, and now I backup to another computer I built. It's not as good as burning discs, I suppose, but a lot more feasible. I might try online backup in the future, though, that seems pretty decent.

Re:Buy three. What are you afRAID of? (2, Informative)

UnrefinedLayman (185512) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347246)

I'm afRAID to tell you that the TRIM command is unavailable in RAID sets, thereby putting you in the same situation you have with Gen1 Intel SSDs, where performance degrades over time.

I bought an Intel SSD in March 09. Fast forward to February 2010 and WEI showed a 5.9 score--the same as a spindle drive. I did a secure erase using hdderase 3.3 and performance shot up to 7.4. HDTune also showed massive improvements (don't have the numbers for that handy, though).

TRIM makes a HUUUUGE difference.

Re:Buy three. What are you afRAID of? (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347810)

I'm afRAID to tell you that the TRIM command is unavailable in RAID sets

Why is this the case? Why can't the RAID controller split up a TRIM on the array into TRIMs on each drive?

Re:Buy three. What are you afRAID of? (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348374)

A software RAID implementation could do this easily. A hardware RAID implementation will need to be TRIM-aware, and most cheap (and some not-so-cheap) RAID controllers aren't firmware-upgradable (or aren't supported anymore) so won't get this. This is one reason why the ZFS approach is better than the make-the-volumes-all-look-like-a-single-block-device approach. With ZFS, the TRIM commands will be issued by the bottom layer of the stack because it knows exactly which blocks are in use and which aren't.

Re:Gah (2, Informative)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347116)

You can get 500GB+ drives, but not from Intel.

On newegg, OCZ has a PCI-E SSD that has 500GB or (either 750GB or 1TB) of storage, and data transfer rates of 700MB/s +/- 100MB/s depending on read/write.

Of course, the $1k-$2k price tags might scare off most customers.

Re:Gah (1)

Trifthen (40989) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348942)

Back when 1GB drives started becoming available at less than $1 per MB, it was a huge deal. Seriously, Computer Shopper and other magazines practically had orgasms, based on all the "NOW UNDER $1/MB" ads I saw. Yet, people still bought 1GB drives. My 60GB OCZ Vertex cost about $180, which puts it around $0.33 per GB. That alone is over three orders of magnitude cheaper than 1995 tech.

In a few years, 1TB SSDs will be as commonplace and cheap as 8GB USB sticks. Remember when those were over $100 for 64MB? What was that, six or seven years ago?

Re:Gah (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347182)

My problem with SSDs isn't even the price per GB (which is bad enough). It's the amount of space, period. (...) When the drives come in at least 500 GB sizes, then I'll consider them.

Unlike mechanical drives which have a very clear sweet spot the SSD prices scale almost linearly with size. Actually I have no problems finding a 512GB SSD [prisguide.no] in stock here in Norway. The downside is that it costs 1800$ with or 1450$ without VAT, exactly double what the 256GB version costs.

Re:Gah (2, Informative)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347270)

Get the OCZ Colossus.
120, 250, and 500 GB* versions.
And the best part is that it's in the good ol' 3.5" format. No more bullshit converters. No more having the casing take up almost as much volume as the innards.

And the performance is great. 260 MB/sec / 260 MB/sec.

*GB here refers to 1,000,000,000 bytes of wrongness.

Re:Gah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347532)

Use multiple drives. SSD for OS and applications. HDD for bulk data storage.

Re:Gah (3, Informative)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348420)

My problem with SSDs isn't even the price per GB (which is bad enough). It's the amount of space, period. Currently, on Newegg, their Intel SSDs (I singled out Intel as they reportedly make the best) come in a maximum of 160 GB. That is honestly a pathetic amount of storage. When the drives come in at least 500 GB sizes, then I'll consider them. Not a moment before.

You're doing it wrong. You don't get an SSD for document storage. That's what spinning disks and RAID are for. No, you get an SSD for your root partition including /etc /bin /lib /usr and /var (or C:\windows and C:\program files). You don't really need /home to be fast (although velociraptor drives and RAID are nice), but putting your binaries, config files, and shared program files on SSD is the thing that will give you the biggest performance jump you've had in years (disk access being the bottleneck that it is). Most people can fit their root partition on a cheap 30GB SSD with plenty of room to spare; I'm personally at 13.22GB/29.35GB on an OCZ Vertex 30GB and loving the 10s boots and instant OpenOffice coldstarts. Of course it's better than just fast application launching--programs which load a lot of data (i.e. from /usr/share) are also much quicker.

Some of us get by fine on 20 GB hard drives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31348534)

Some of us get by fine on 20 GB hard drives. Hard drives were that size ~10 years ago.

Prices have to go down (1)

oycob (1742138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346468)

I want lower prices on good SSD units. How long do I have to wait?

Re:Prices have to go down (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346488)

For great value for money on a SSD I'd recommend the 128GB version of these babies [kingston.com] . I have 2 and no problems so far.

Re:Prices have to go down (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346636)

At £211.49 for 128GB ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kingston-Technology-128GB-SSDNow-Desktop/dp/B002BH3UDY/ [amazon.co.uk] ), vs £34.32 for a 160GB HD ( http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/160GB-Seagate-ST9160314AS-Momentus-25-HDD-SATA-3Gb-s-5400rpm-8Mb-Cache [scan.co.uk] ), I don't think I'll quite be making the jump yet. Maybe when prices aren't almost an order of magnitude different...

Re:Prices have to go down (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348772)

What does the price of a 160GB HD have to do with anything? Seriously..

Right now if you are getting less than 10GB per USD (0.74 euro) then you arent even close to optimal on the cost per gigabyte metric. That 160GB drive you just priced.. yeah.. thats a horrible value.

That kingston SSD is probably a reasonable choice for many people. Thats 160GB drive you priced isnt a reasonable choice for anybody.

The question is, why do you think that the cost/gigabyte is the important metric such that you wont be "making the jump" until the "prices arent almost an order of magnitude different?"

Did you buy your CPU based only on performance per dollar? Did you buy your computers memory based only on capacity per dollar? Was that LCD of yours purchased based on pixels per dollar?

Re:Prices have to go down (4, Informative)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346570)

Intel is going to release products based on their 25nm manufacturing process in 4Q. Toshiba just doubled their flash density as well and products will start shipping soon. Next few years expect to see a huge explosion in SSD. Just like the late 1990's for hard drives

Re:Prices have to go down (3, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346884)

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like prices will go down much until Q4 when Intel get their next generation flash chips going. What is happening though is that many of the high-end controllers are massively increasing performance for a relatively small increase in price. For example my Vertex has about 10MB/s random 4k write on an unaligned partition, the Vertex LE is now doing 50MB/s. Random reads have gone from 35MB/s on my Vertex to almost 80MB/s on the latest Crucial C300s. So you may have to wait a bit longer, but the difference will be even more amazing when you switch.

always going to be 20x magnetic (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348226)

When its 50 cents a gig, magnetic will be 3 cents a gig. Both are dropping like a rock.

Re:always going to be 20x magnetic (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348616)

That's true, but eventually magnetic will get priced out of the market, because they won't be able to manufacture them for less than they have to sell them for. VHS is cheaper than DVD, too, but that didn't keep VHS from dying.

Decent performance, strong sequential writes (0, Troll)

MojoKid (1002251) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346470)

The drive shows pretty decent write performance actually, seen here: http://hothardware.com/Articles/WD-SiliconEdge-Blue-256GB-SSD-Review/?page=6 [hothardware.com] but it falls down a little bit on small transfer sizes and high queue depths. Still it's pretty much a decent offering for a client PC application so long as WD gets their price down a bit.

Re:Decent performance, strong sequential writes (0, Troll)

MojoKid (1002251) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346508)

And the HD Tach plots here: http://hothardware.com/Articles/WD-SiliconEdge-Blue-256GB-SSD-Review/?page=7 [hothardware.com] show how far behind Intel is with writes and how strong Micron's drive is looking.

Core competency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31346520)

but it's a solid product from a well-respected brand name storage company."

Even when the two technologies are completely different?

Re:Core competency (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347406)

well, WD knows a thing or two about micro-controllers, and since they do not actually produce the flash memory, it's Samsung's, the actual controller chip is probably JMicron's with WD firmware inside that was created by or for WD specifically. I expect WD to get their shit together and actually to apply some of that knowledge they are harboring of various controller optimization and massive storage techniques that they have learned over the years and come out with something that actually kicks ass in SSD space. Maybe they are working on it now, who knows?

meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31346548)

yet another meh performer from WD, But I am sure it going to cost about the same

Any word about the write cycles limit? (1, Insightful)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346586)

That's one thing everyone seems to be forgetting.

Re:Any word about the write cycles limit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31346630)

They have built-in wear leveling.

Re:Any word about the write cycles limit? (4, Informative)

daid303 (843777) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347118)

Wear leveling isn't some magical pixie dust that suddenly solves the write cycle limit. It just spreads the writes so that it takes longer wear it out.

But for some numbers they give (if I read it right) they say you can write 42.1GB each day on the largest (256GB) for 5 years. Which is about 76832GB before it goes 'poof'.

And some more info, the 256GB SSD contains 16x K9MDG08U5M-PCB00 chips. Which are 128Gbit each. Which comes to 256GB, which is odd, as you need spare space for wear leveling. But, specs save us again. 256GB SSD contains: 500118192 user sectors. Which is 238GB in flash. So that leaves 18GB for wear leveling.
(See: http://www.samsung.com/global/system/business/semiconductor/family/2010/1/1/Nand_Flash.pdf [samsung.com] for info about the chip size)

Uh, where was I going with this? 42.1GB each day, or a max of 76832TB writing. On 238GB, which is 322 full write cycles.

Re:Any word about the write cycles limit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31346858)

RTFA
5 year service life writing 10.5GB per day for 64GB drive, 21GB per day for 128GB or 42.1GB per day for 256GB model.

Re:Any word about the write cycles limit? (4, Insightful)

trickyD1ck (1313117) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346906)

My Intel M25 G2 is supposed to last 5 years assuming 20GB are written to it daily, which is pretty conservative. I doubt that in 5 years I am going to use any piece of electronics I own now, so the problem of write cycle limit can be considered solved for all practical purposes.

Re:Any word about the write cycles limit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31348274)

> I doubt that in 5 years I am going to use any piece of electronics I own now, so the problem of write cycle limit can be considered solved for *my* purposes.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Any word about the write cycles limit? (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347012)

They've been giving high MTBFs on these SSDs for a while, and have discussed how they achieve it (wear leveling) ad nauseam. I don't think anyone has forgotten -- it's just not an important question any more for most people, because they've already got an answer that is good for them.

Re:Any word about the write cycles limit? (3, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347338)

Any word about the write cycles limit?
That's one thing everyone seems to be forgetting.

I don't think anybody is forgetting anything. With wear leveling and whatnot the MTBF is pretty comparable to that of a traditional HDD. Especially given how quickly capacities are growing and how often drives get upgraded or replaced.

The odds of you burning out an SSD by hitting the write cycle limit before you want to replace it anyway are fairly slim.

Re:Any word about the write cycles limit? (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348348)

People have forgotten because with wear leveling its a fixed issue with most SSDs. Its MTBF is on par with mechanical disks.

The new hotness is to make sure your OS and disk support TRIM so you dont have performance issues down the line. I bought a 60gig OCZ drive a month or two ago and run Win7 on it (both support TRIM). 200+/mbs reads with no latency. Its pretty nice for gaming load times. I still have 2 500gig drives for storage. Works great. When the 120gig model goes on sale I'll switch to it and put the 60 in my laptop.

Re:Any word about the write cycles limit? (1)

m.dillon (147925) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348972)

I've been running tests with the little Intel 40G MLCs. So far I am getting a durability run-rate of around 110TB (the drive is rated for ~40TB). That is, I'll be able to do at least 100TB worth of writes to this particular SSD before it wears out. That's actually quite a lot. Intel's specifications are very conservative.

MLC flash has approximately a 10,000 cycle endurance. It all comes down to two things: (1) How good the drive software is at combining dynamic and static wear leveling algorithms and (2) How friendly the OS is in writing to the drive. DragonFly's swapcache goes to great pains to generate large clustered writes to greatly reduce write amplification and write combining effects, and it seems to work very well.

Clearly the newer SSDs are doing a much, MUCH better job with the wear leveling than older SSDs did. They are plenty good enough now for most applications. Write endurance also scales linearly with drive size. That is, the cells still have a 10,000 cycle endurance but there are more of them available.

-Matt

Mahmoedm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31346606)

Thanx Y the best

Www.arbforce.com

Please don't let this get like LCD monitors (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31346608)

They aren't good replacements for mechanical HDs. They require tons of background work to keep wear leveling working and I don't trust normal day to day use (rather than occasional like you have now with SSDs in netbooks and storage drives) won't wear the things down incredibly quick.

Plus every single one I've ever tried do not have significant overall performance increase. Burst speed seems good but sustained and general use seems to be on par or even worse than standard mechanical drives, and writes are horribly slow.

But of course, since it's new and exciting and tons of attention are being focused on them, they will become standard despite their huge limitations, much like LCDs with their horrible motion tearing, flimsy hardware (barely touch any LCD screen and it's fucked) and overdriven colors that just makes things look "shiny" to make people think they look better when they really don't.

But soon enough I won't be able to even buy a goddamn real HD, just like I can't buy a CRT now thanks to companies convincing people to buy inferior products.

I really wish I could leave off AC on this post, but I know idiot mods are going to treat it as a troll post and mod it down to oblivion. But I truly believe this and am just stunned to the point of near-frustration at the ignorance of the buying public lately who will buy any new pile of garbage as long as it's hyped to hell. I mean, you have something like the worst piece of hardware ever that is KNOWN to fail eventually regardless (the XBox 360) and people are still buying the damn thing. That's incredible consumer ignorance, and makes companies realize they can put any pile of garbage out and people will buy it as long as it's hyped to death, which is horribly wrong.

Get some sense, people.

Re:Please don't let this get like LCD monitors (3, Insightful)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346888)

The LCD thing pisses me off too. While I have a CRT monitor that is quite good, people usually advise me to buy a LCD and their argument is usually that then I could have two monitors. Yes, I could. One behind the other. It wouldn't do me any good though.

Now it will be the same thing with hard drives. In a way, it already is. I don't need the drive to be super fast, no. 30-40MB/s of linear read speed would be enough for most of my drives, but I have to buy 7200RPM drives with a lot of cache that do 100MB/s. How about a huge 5.25" Full Height drive with >10 platters that does 40MB/s and has 50ms full seek. The drive would probably be cheaper or more reliable because of the lower data density or it would have much more capacity than the regular 3.5" drives.

I don't trust flash based storage devices. If the power supply fails and sends +30V where 5V should have been the flash memory will be destroyed with all its contents. If this happens to a hard drive, I could at least bring it to a data recovery company (if the data is very valuable) or try to recover the data myself (if the data is not that valuable). It would probably only need a circuit board replacement. Oh, and flash memory has a limited number of write cycles.

Re:Please don't let this get like LCD monitors (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347158)

get off my lawn?

Re:Please don't let this get like LCD monitors (1)

Christian Smith (3497) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347166)

Now it will be the same thing with hard drives. In a way, it already is. I don't need the drive to be super fast, no. 30-40MB/s of linear read speed would be enough for most of my drives, but I have to buy 7200RPM drives with a lot of cache that do 100MB/s. How about a huge 5.25" Full Height drive with >10 platters that does 40MB/s and has 50ms full seek. The drive would probably be cheaper or more reliable because of the lower data density or it would have much more capacity than the regular 3.5" drives.

There was a drive like that in the 90's. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_Bigfoot_(hard_drive) [wikipedia.org]

Sucked ass performance wise, but good price per MB.

Where SSD score big is random IO, in real world use sequential IO performance is largely moot. Random IO dominates performance. SSD are orders of magnitude better performing on random IO, especially reads.

I don't trust flash based storage devices. If the power supply fails and sends +30V where 5V should have been the flash memory will be destroyed with all its contents. If this happens to a hard drive, I could at least bring it to a data recovery company (if the data is very valuable) or try to recover the data myself (if the data is not that valuable). It would probably only need a circuit board replacement. Oh, and flash memory has a limited number of write cycles.

That's what backups are for. You do make backups, right?

Re:Please don't let this get like LCD monitors (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347452)

There was a drive like that in the 90's. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_Bigfoot_(hard_drive) [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org]

Sucked ass performance wise, but good price per MB.

Where SSD score big is random IO, in real world use sequential IO performance is largely moot. Random IO dominates performance. SSD are orders of magnitude better performing on random IO, especially reads.

And I need a small, but fast drive for system files and programs/files that need high performance and a big but not necessarily fast drive for my movie collection. I said linear read because I would only need 40MB/s speed is if I was moving the files to another drive or writing them to tape. In which case I am reading/writing large files, so the drive does not need to have a lot of cache or RPMs. I also use one drive as external, connected via USB. USB2 can't do more than ~40MB/s anyway.

My small, but fast drive is a 15kRPM 36GB one. The others are regular 7200RPM IDE drives of varying capacity. They are formatted with either FAT32 or NTFS and use 32K (FA32) or 64K (NTFS) clusters.

Oh, and I use one 3.25" FH drive, it has a huge capacity of ~1GB and a fast read speed of ~2MB/s. It spins at 3600RPM and still is suitable for various small files.

That's what backups are for. You do make backups, right?

There's still the possibility of my tape drive failing and the hard drive failing before I get another tape drive. Also, if I use another hard drive for the backups, the bad PSU or motherboard can fry both of them at once, even if I only connect the backup drive during a backup.

Re:Please don't let this get like LCD monitors (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31346922)

I like this post. Too bad it *won't* get the credit it deserves in the mod system (haha, right now it's at -1: Troll), but I'll weigh in (as AC of course) and say that I do agree, by and large, that the quality of electronic consumer goods is definitely sucking lately.

Other examples include:

- PC keyboards (I still have 80s-era IBM keyboards that work flawlessly)
- Audio equipment (can anyone say "iPod earbuds?" or "bad mp3 bitrates")
- Overreliance on lame fly-by-wire technologies (Toyota, etc)

Not to sound like a luddite, of course, but, c'mon people...

Oh, and if I'm gonna be -1 anyway:

- A monoculture computing milleu dominated by a monopoly where a single OS dominates the public's conception of what a computer should be able to do.

Re:Please don't let this get like LCD monitors (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347076)

I really wish I could leave off AC on this post, but I know idiot mods are going to treat it as a troll post and mod it down to oblivion.

Is your karma really that important to you?

I don't agree with you, but I do recognize that you have reasons for choosing the hardware you do. So does everyone.

The only reason I can see you get modded down is not your opinion on the hardware, its that you call everyone an idiot that doesn't agree with you.

Re:Please don't let this get like LCD monitors (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347422)

When you can't post on /. with your viewpoints without being modded down to hell unless you know your views are "popular", yeah, the mods are idiots.

When I am given mod points, I can tell the difference in a real troll and someone that just speaks their mind. Apparently, no one else can. Thus, idiots.

Truth hurts, I know. So change your ways, don't get mad at the truth.

Re:Please don't let this get like LCD monitors (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347740)

Hard to tell if you are the original AC from above or a different AC.

Its not that you called the mods idiots, you called EVERYONE an idiot who does not agree with you.

If it is everyone else then its not them, its you.

Re:Please don't let this get like LCD monitors (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348832)

The majority is not always right.

The lone voice in the wilderness is not always crazy.

FWIW, that's the fatal flaw of popular moderation systems like this. Lucky metamoderation can help, but usually doesn't it seems.

That said, I think the original commenter ranting about how SSDs will drive his beloved rotary magnetic media out of existence is right in that respect but SOL.

Horse-and-buggy required cute adorable fuzzy horses, but that didn't keep cars off the roads.

Re:Please don't let this get like LCD monitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31348442)

In this case an idiot is someone who believes their thoughts are the de-facto way of thinking and everyone else is inferior, or... an idiot.

Truth hurts, I know, So change yiour ways, don't get mad at the truth.

Re:Please don't let this get like LCD monitors (1)

ElSupreme (1217088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347080)

I feel your pain with the CRTs. I had a 19" monitor with 1600x1200 resolution in the 90s. It took about 10 years to get LCDs with 1920x1200. But they are 24". Sure my desk is a bit thinner but the 3 years between my 19" CRT gonig tits up, and me being able to drop $500 on a decent 24" 1920x1200 monitor was PURE HELL.

Althought I still think spinning metal discs will last. Only due to the total storage density of traditional HDD. It will take a long time for SSDs to fit 1.5TB into a drive bay, and not cost absurd amounts.

Re:Please don't let this get like LCD monitors (1)

ElSupreme (1217088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347204)

Oh and I have a 27" HD widscreen CRT TV that will not be replaced by a LCD even at 2x the size.

I don't have to worry about 1080 vs 720 native resolution problems. I can show 1080i just as nicely as 720p.

Re:Please don't let this get like LCD monitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31348660)

Same here. I have a 30" HD widescreen 1080i/720p CRT TV and it's awesome. No, I have no use for 1080p on my TV.

My computer's Viewsonic 19" CRT went south the other day. I borrowed a 19" LCD from work to try it out for a couple of days and I hated it. *Way* too damn bright even on the lowest brightness setting. Went to RE-PC and they happened to have the same exact Viewsonic 19" CRT in stock as the one that just crapped out on me. Picked it up for $35. Hope it lasts a long time. And I'm going to pay to have the dead CRT repaired and keep as backup before I'd spend any money on an LCD. Who decided the whole damn world was going to switch to LCD, like it or not? Bastard.

Re:Please don't let this get like LCD monitors (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348732)

Yes, and we'll get off your lawn too ;)

The LCD/CRT thing had me pretty mad last year when one of my twin 19" NEC CRTs finally bit the dust. Finding a CRT proved impossible, so I finally ended up replacing them with twin Samsung Touch of Colors screens. I was very surprised at the image quality. It's a lot better now than it was when LCD started to take over. My monitors' refresh rates are actually better than the NECs' were. I don't see any ghosting even on very fast-moving games and videos. And with dynamic contrast, the washed out black issues don't exist for me either.

What I'm getting at is that, compared to HDD technology right now, SSD still pretty much sucks. But it will get better and eventually will outstrip HDD tech. And until then, we need the "ignorant public" who will "buy any new pile of garbage as long as it's hyped to hell" in order to provide the funding for the research that will make SSD something you and I want to buy as well. Consider it a moron tax on the early adopters ;)

HDDs have been around for 30 years. They've had a hell of a run, and it's not quite over yet, but the next generation is gearing up to replace them.

Price / Perfomance Question (3, Informative)

quo_vadis (889902) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346622)

Here is a link to the review of the disk over at anandtech [anandtech.com] . Interestingly, it seems this drive will not be using one of the higher performance SSD controllers (Sandforce / Indilinx), so the performance should be worse than other competitors. If the price is as predicted (128 GB @ $529), then this drive wont make much sense compared to faster drives from OCZ etc

Re:Price / Perfomance Question (2, Interesting)

adisakp (705706) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347770)

Price / GB compared to performance == not so good.

I just bought a drive from Newegg.com. They were selling the Dane-Elec repackaged Intel 80 GB drive (with a USB upgrade kit) for $150 -- under $2/GB.

It's a G1 Intel drive but it can do 35,000 read IOPS per second (only 3,300 write IOPS though). Still much better random performance than anything other than the G2 Intel.

The linear performance of the Intel drives isn't so great (movie ripping / etc) but if you know you're doing linear work, storing the linear data files on a Velociraptor (or even a fast 7200 RPM drive) turns out to be way more effective $$$/GB for your budget than any SSD.

Flat panel monitors all over again (4, Insightful)

gelfling (6534) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346644)

Just when large CRT monitors became affordable albeit heavy, the companies rolled out smaller flat panels. Not only where they cheaper for them to make, they were cheaper to ship and had much lower field defect rates. So of course they charged more for them.

Similarly right when magnetic drives are near-free, the companies roll out smaller, and in some cases slower SSD's which are less expensive to make, cheaper to ship and over the long run (probably) have lower field defect rates born of their no moving parts. So of course they will charge more for them.

Everything old is new again. Wait and see companies that offer Netbooks with NO storage as an 'option' and then charge up the wazoo for a crappy sized SSD touted as 'premium'.

Re:Flat panel monitors all over again (2, Interesting)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346938)

So are you trying to say that people are moving to SSDs for no reason?

and in some cases slower SSD's which are less expensive to make

Really? Are you sure about this statement? Or are you pulling numbers out of your ass? What makes you think they're cheaper? What if they actually are more expensive and not so big conspiracy?

Just when large CRT monitors became affordable albeit heavy, the companies rolled out smaller flat panels. Not only where they cheaper for them to make, they were cheaper to ship and had much lower field defect rates. So of course they charged more for them.

Except, LCDs are much cheaper than CRTs now?

Flat panel != LCD (1)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346946)

LCD displays are flat panel, but flat panel displays are not necessarily LCD. I've had several very nice flat panel CRTs both at home and at work. I have to say that for most activities, the LCD still causes less eyestrain.

Not only where they cheaper for them to make, they were cheaper to ship and had much lower field defect rates. So of course they charged more for them.

Same with most anything else during the last twenty years. I once investigated a 2.50 increase in a 16.00 phone bill due to a 'tax'. It turned out the tax was 0.03 and that 2.47 was the maximum sum the phone company was allowed to charge for 'handling' the tax. They do that because too many let them get away with it. It's even easier now that feedback mechanisms have been removed from most activities whether airport security theater or a simple, but broken, web shop.

Re:Flat panel monitors all over again (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347400)

Just when large CRT monitors became affordable albeit heavy, the companies rolled out smaller flat panels. Not only where they cheaper for them to make, they were cheaper to ship and had much lower field defect rates. So of course they charged more for them.

And people happily paid the premium for large displays that didn't crush their desks.

And after a few years the prices came down, and now it's virtually unheard-of to buy a big ol' CRT unless you're doing some fancy graphics work.

Similarly right when magnetic drives are near-free, the companies roll out smaller, and in some cases slower SSD's which are less expensive to make, cheaper to ship and over the long run (probably) have lower field defect rates born of their no moving parts. So of course they will charge more for them.

Similarly, people are happily paying the premium for faster drives that use less power and have fewer moving parts to break.

And after a few years the prices will come down and it'll be virtually unheard-of to buy a traditional HDD.

Re:Flat panel monitors all over again (4, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347682)

And in a few years, LCDs came down in price so quickly. In 2002, I bought a *cheap* but decent quality 17" LCD monitor for $400. In 2010 I can buy a comparble quality 24" monitor for around $225. You can now buy a 46" HDTV for well under $1000 today. You could NEVER buy a CRT of that size for so little. And it was a rarity to see a CRT TV larger than 37" anywhere but in the wealthiest homes.

Once manufacturers recoup their R&D costs and achieve economies of scale, the prices on SSD will come down too. Once are close enough in cost compared spinning magnetic media that their additional benefits outweight any cost advantage of spinning disks, HDDs will become obsolete, and the entire market will switch to SSD, and then they'll get even cheaper.

Re:Flat panel monitors all over again (1)

jabelli (1144769) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348422)

And no one will remember why it's called a "disk" drive.

Re:Flat panel monitors all over again (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348908)

Why was it called a "floppy" drive? Or a Stanley "Steamer?"

Legacy technology is the province of technological historians. And old guys telling you young punks to take your electric cars and get off my driveway.

Besides, we'll always have Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Re:Flat panel monitors all over again (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348446)

The thing is it seems SSDs and HDDs will never be close in cost, at least if you consider $/GB to be important. HDD manufacturers keep increasing the data density as fast, or faster, than the SDD manufacturers can.

The question is when will SSDs get cheap enough, or good enough, for most people. Honestly I have a bigger problem getting cheap (and large) enough backup storage. DVD-Rs are laughable and Bluray is still too expensive. Considering buying a backup HDD, but HDDs are not exactly small and portable.

Re:Flat panel monitors all over again (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348680)

That's probably true in the mid term. As soon as it does though some new marginally better and far more expensive technology will be touted as the next breakthrough. For LCD screens though there was really only one period of time where the prices dropped rapidly. It was about 2.5 years ago. Since then prices have been flat or nearly flat.

Have you ever considered why Netbooks are what they are? Why is it that 'regular' laptops of less than stellar performance can't cost $300 new? Because there's no point in them selling a unit at that price when they can give you half of that unit for the same price and you're happy to own one.

SSD's will be like that. 10 years ago we were looking into SSDs to handle extremely large DNS zone transfers. SSD's barely had the performance we needed. We wound up not getting them because of the absurd cost. Today SSDs are at the performance level of the highest performance SSA disk drives, of a few years ago. And clearly the performance ceiling for current technology is just about as high as it can go. Oh I guess someone will make 20,000rpm drives or 50,000 rpm drives or something like that but they won't be reliable and someone will have to reinvent persistent memory at bus I/O speeds. And THAT will be the 'new' gadget.

Re:Flat panel monitors all over again (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348588)

Disclaimer: I'm an SSD evangelist, I think they're great and probably the most important thing to happen to storage in at least the last decade.

I was also one of those people who held on to their CRT's for an age because, for me at the time, TFT's provided zero benefit to me. However, a few years later I've found some displays that didn't cost much more than their good quality CRT counterparts used to, as well as being much smaller, sharper and providing almost-as-good colour fidelity.

SSD's, on the other hand, provided immediate benefits to me as soon as I got my hands on one. Not having to wait for rotational disc latency and avoiding disc thrashing are both worth their weight in gold to me, and this goes double for enterprise stuff. Sure, it's great to have a laptop without a slow-ass drive, but with SSD's you can create a storage solution that'll outperform your 24U of short-stroked FC drives at, beleive it or not, a fraction of the cost. You even spend less time having to wrangle oracle and friends to get the most our of your hardware as you now have IOPS coming out of your ears, and more often than not you're limited by the interface rather than the array itself.

Spinning platters aren't going to disappear for a long time yet, especially where storage space is king, and for purely sequential reads/writes where hard discs give you much more storage for your money. But anything where random IO and low latency is important, SSD has been delivering immediate benefits that I think are worth the money - especially in the enterprise where random IO becomes very important. YMMV of course, but I've met alot of people who dismiss SSD out of hand despite never actually having used it.

Anandtech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31346674)

Anandtech pulls apart its random write performance in 3..2..1...

Price & Performance (2, Insightful)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346676)

Honestly, I wouldn't worry about Price & Performance yet. For all the talk we're still in the early adopter phase and it's only a matter of time before these things hit critical mass. Like the summary said: Western Digital has seen the writing on the wall; the only question is when the other players in the hard drive market will as well

Not for sale yet. (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346708)

Or, if it is, no one id talking about the cost, which is therefore presumably somewhat high.

Disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31346782)

I first read that as "Western Digital Launches First BSD"

I was wondering if was based on Free, Open or Net.

A solid product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31346814)

Tell me more, Captain Obvious!

SSD + HHD is where it's at - esp for portables... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31346870)

What's most exciting to me is to have a hybrid system with some small SSD on my system, say a 16GB or 32GB one for loading the OS and maintaining any paging info and maybe a few key apps like MS Office or Firefox. Then store my hundreds of gigs of movies and photos and music and what ever else on a 500GB platter.

Cost should be marginally more (maybe $50?) to implement but performance would rock, platter use would decrease, boot times would increase, etc.

Seems obvious....and I know a few homebrew and OEM options are out there for doing this but I'd like to see it standard on your average Macbook Pro or Dell laptop!!

Re:SSD + HHD is where it's at - esp for portables. (1)

maraist (68387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348072)

Wow - you still page to disk? Today? On a new machine? Seriously? Mem's like 10% of the machine cost. How much is an extra high perf writing SSD stick?

Re:SSD + HHD is where it's at - esp for portables. (1)

m.dillon (147925) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348826)

Already exists. DragonFly + swapcache, with SSD configured swap (32G nominal on 32bit and 512G nominal on 64bit). It works very nicely with a 40G Intel MLC drive.

Of course, you'd have to run DragonFly :-). heheh. But that said I think most OSs have solutions. There's ZIL for ZFS (Solaris, FreeBSD), I'm sure Linux has something, and Windows 7 has something. The DragonFly solution is quite general purpose though and not tied to any particular filesystem. We use it primarily for meta-data caching for the millions of inodes on our servers.

-Matt

fail (1)

CSFFlame (761318) | more than 4 years ago | (#31346976)

Possibly a Jmicron, and worse performance than ALL Intel/Indilinx/Samsung/Sandforce controllers and DOUBLE the price? hahahaha, no

Bummer! (1)

spammeister (586331) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347652)

I was hoping to see if WD is coming out with a new line of raptors, 300GB or so, running at 15k using SATA3 interface. It's been 2 years since the velo refresh and my 74GB rappy is getting long in the tooth, but it still works!

Keep on truckin' guys!
Sidenote, I have 4OCZ SSD's in raid0 on an Adaptec card, simply stunning performance.
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