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512GB Solid State Disks on the Way

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the and-eventually-they'll-be-affordable dept.

Data Storage 186

Viper95 writes "Samsung has announced that it has developed the world's first 64Gb(8GB) NAND flash memory chip using a 30nm production process, which opens the door for companies to produce memory cards with upto 128GB capacity"

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Cost? (2, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148403)

Capabilities aren't very important if they aren't affordable. So maybe some government contractors can afford those things now, I don't think it would be that interesting to the consumer until SSDs get to a tenth of the cost.

Re:Cost? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148441)

did you come up with that yourself or did you read it somewhere else? i sucks when morons like you think they have something to say. just shut up and move along.

Re:Cost? (4, Insightful)

NickCatal (865805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148471)

Well, defense department would love these. Store a lot of data in places where there is constant vibrations and heat issues (Iraq) without worrying about damaging the disks.

Re:Cost? (2, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149041)

Store a lot of data in places where there is constant vibrations and heat issues (Iraq)


Yes, you could certainly say that there are some bad vibs in Iraq.

Re:Cost? (1)

MerlinTheWizard (824941) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149123)

I'm not sure that storing this much data in just one device would be that clever to begin with.

Re:Cost? (1)

NickCatal (865805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21150045)

I was thinking more mirrored-copies of high-def satellite images

having a super-high-def view of Baghdad would be very useful I would think

Re:Cost? (3, Funny)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149507)

Not only that, these drives are easy to lose and misplace. Incompetently losing massive amounts of data has never been so easy!

Re:Cost? (5, Insightful)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148539)

News flash! We all know that cutting-edge hardware is in almost all cases too expensive. It takes time to adopt new hardware regardless of how practical it is. Once vendors acknowledge the need for such disks and once Samsung receives a boat load of orders, things will look different, but until then, it's expensive to produce because it's being done in small quantities.

I guess that the next generation of iPods will completely remove the hard drive capable devices from their line-up.

Re:Cost? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149675)

I think even the 64GB SSDs are too expensive and they've been out for a while. The 512s probably aren't made yet with those chips. I think it will become affordable eventually, but I bet that they aren't going to be using these chips, these chips will probably be history by then.

I know iPods will all be flash, but we don't really know if the HDD players will be gone next year. Even if flash has a price of $5/GB next year, the 160GB model would be $800 in flash chips alone. The cost of the memory chips would have be about $1/GB in order for there to be a good drop-in substitute for hard drives in iPods. I think that might be possible two years from now, but the HDDs keep getting larger too.

4GB solid state disks on the way. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148413)

I can also tell you your future for $5.99 a minute.

Four times the memory in three days (5, Funny)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148415)

It's not a dupe. The previous article [slashdot.org] said that 64 Gb chips could be combined into a 128 GB device. Now they can combine 64 Gb chips into a 512 GB device. A huge advance!

Re:Four times the memory in three days (2, Interesting)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148475)

maybe they created a controller that could read and write from then simultanerously so it's double the read/write speed. I hope so cuz it better be able to beat my sata drives in read write speed otherwise I don't really care how fast the seek time is cuz any file over like 100KB would be slower to open on it than a normal hard drive.
oh yeah and I agree with the other posts. Call me when it's on its way to my budget, not just store shelves lol.

Re:Four times the memory in three days (2, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148537)

The seek times of SSDs should make it such that trying to read and write from the storage array at the same time would seem kind of pointless. It also increases the costs. It would probably go the way of FB-DIMM. FB-DIMM is supposed to allow simultaneous reads and writes to different memory cards, but it's too expensive and has other problems limiting its performance. Now, if the controller designer can apply something like that to a hard drive array, then maybe that would be nice. I think it might be possible to do that in software, make it like a software RAID. Maybe JBOD drive concatenation allows this, I don't know.

Re:Four times the memory in three days (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148545)

Well, seeing as how they skipped right over 256GB devices, I'd say it is a major advance!

512GB? (5, Insightful)

loshwomp (468955) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148425)

You could use the same logic to conclude that 512 terabyte solid-state media is on the way.

Re:512GB? (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148561)

You could use the same logic to conclude that 512 terabyte solid-state media is on the way.

Have you considered getting a job as a futurist? At this point I can guarantee that your track record will be better than many of the ones actually out there.

Re:512GB? (1)

loshwomp (468955) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149043)

Have you considered getting a job as a futurist? At this point I can guarantee that your track record will be better than many of the ones actually out there.

Okay, I'll give you one more freebie: 512 petabyte solid-state media is on the way.

Re:512GB? (1)

subnomine (849148) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148863)

512TB?! Sweet!

Now it's just engineering (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149387)

All they need to do is get the cost and MTBF in the right place and the Terrabyte memory will appear.

There are times...... (5, Funny)

aneeshm (862723) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148427)

......when I think that porn, or some equivalent thereof, has been responsible for all human progress throughout history.

Re:There are times...... (4, Funny)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148643)

Maybe human beings are just porn's way of making more porn.

Re:There are times...... (1)

SaDan (81097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148675)

Human beings are a virus that propagates through porn.

Re:There are times...... (1)

G Fab (1142219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148861)

no, porn is a virus that propagates through human beings, like the parent said.

I feel so used.

Re:There are times...... (1)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149779)

Unless ofcourse porn created humanity to serve its purposes.

Re:There are times...... (4, Interesting)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149777)

Maybe human beings are just porn's way of making more porn.
The great thing about slashdot is that there really are some incredibly smart and funny people (two things that usually go together) here. Take the above quote for example, it is both funny and deeply profound. It is an Hall of Fame quote. Thank you, it made my day.

Re:There are times...... (5, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148733)

War also provides a big push. Now imagine how fast progress would be with more military porn.

Hey, sailor...

Re:There are times...... (2, Funny)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148793)

Now imagine how fast progress would be with more military porn.

Porn and War are the two major competing drivers of all progress. It kinda brings new light to the phrase "Make Love not War."

Re:There are times...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148743)

And driving that is the fact that sex is not as abundant and easy to get as many would like, so men(mainly) jump through all sorts of hoops to try to deal with this, including inventing ingenious methods to create virtual sexual encounters - like porn on the internet. "Artificial" scarcity drives all this. And who is driving these technological innovations? Why nerds and geeks, apparently the same ones who are lacking in sexual partners even more than the average man.

Re:There are times...... (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149281)

Mainly it's hard to get because women are either so fucking possessive and jealous it's a pain, or they're total sluts that don't understand my right to exclusive access to their body (which, of course, is a one-way street - my body can do whatever it wants). Damned bra-burning hippies.

Re:There are times...... (1)

torpor (458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148867)

Not porn, exactly, but definitely: sex. Porn is just a socialized form of the substance that drives all human civilization forward.

Re:There are times...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21149885)

Porn is just a socialized form of the substance that drives all human civilization forward.

Alright, you just convinced me that I'm a socialist.

Re:There are times...... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149045)

As most of the exceptionally brilliant people have had serious personality issues and were far too obsessed with their work to do more than average or less when it comes to reproduction, I doubt progress has much to do with porn. When it comes to achievements in general though, why not? Even creationists believe that you inherit traits like eye color, hair color, personality traits and so on - the evidence is too overwhelming to ignore. Now assume you have a trait "sex drive" or "urge to have children" which is positively correlated to more sex and more kids (before contraception and abortion at least...), and those traits will flourish - it's a simple case of numbers. And people with that trait will do a damn lot to attract the opposite sex or otherwise get sexual release = porn. It's not really more complicated than that.

Re:There are times...... (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149133)

Artists have said as much for thousands of years.
But that's because the definition of "porn" most people use is "anything that offends me or has naked people in it or has sex implied in it."

Is it any wonder that porn has done so much?

64Gb (0, Troll)

ccozan (754085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148443)

... should be enough for all dupes.

number of writes still limited? (-1, Redundant)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148477)

I wonder if the number of writes the device can endure has been improved. This is an area that would really help push solid-state flash devices as an alternative to traditional magnetic hard drives.

Re:number of writes still limited? (1, Informative)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148521)

Why won't this meme die already?

Re:number of writes still limited? (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148665)

simple... people keep modding it interesting/informative/etc. instead of Troll. And if they're not trolling, there needs to be a new mod: -1 Clueless/Oblivious.

Re:number of writes still limited? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149307)

there needs to be a new mod: -1 Patentable.

There, I fixed if for you.

Re:number of writes still limited? (5, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148559)

There are ~31.5 million seconds in a year. If you assume that the write speed is 1 GB/s and that you were writing constantly, you would generate ~62 thousand writes to each bit. Roll the write speed back to a still unlikely ~100 MB/s(still writing constantly) and you generate about 6 thousand writes to each bit in a year.

Throw in the fact that the controllers for these chips spread writes around and you can be certain that the endurance is not a problem.

Re:number of writes still limited? (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149355)

I don't follow your math.

8GiB (64gbit) capacity, 1GiB/s write speed, 8 seconds to write every bit on the chip.

31,536,000 / 8 = 3,942,000

So, you would completely rewrite the chip almost 4 million times per year. Scale it back to 100MB/s writing constantly and you'd generate almost 400 thousand writes per year.

Re:number of writes still limited? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149795)

I was using the 512 GB capacity of the drive.

Re:number of writes still limited? (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149483)

Let's imagine a daemon that updates a file every 5 seconds. That's 518400 writes a month. Most flash based storage devices are rated between 100k to 1 million writes.

Your example usage and my example usage are the two corner cases, the endurance problem and it's effect depends on what the drive is used for. Still, I just wanted to illustrate that your scenario is an optimistic one.

Re:number of writes still limited? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149811)

That's where the wear leveling comes in, those 518400 writes don't go to the same spot(and if it works fairly well, the cycle count for the device is basically limited by the write speed).

Re:number of writes still limited? (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149923)

I was a bit vague and this is why I stated it's a corner case. It is entirely plausible that someone uses a reasonably full hard drive and updates some files a lot. Consider the scenario of simple atime updates, databases, logs, package management, emails...

This is what I ment by a corner case. I was actually quite generous since I didn't presuppose utilities that check whether a file has changed every second. The bottom line is, I can see the drive failing under relatively uncommon but normal operating conditions.

Re:number of writes still limited? (4, Insightful)

sholden (12227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148567)

It's already so high as to be meaningless, it will outlast mechanical failure of a traditional hard drive for example.

Debunking SSD life cycle issues (5, Informative)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148605)

This has been discussed before. Modern flash drives use wear leveling to avoid writing to well-worn blocks and to move unchanging files from unworn blocks so they can be used more. Yes, it adds complexity and yes it slightly delays the write process. But it's invisible to the CPU and OS and takes far less time that it would to move the heads of the standard mechanical HD. An SSD is free to organize blocks in any order in the address space because there is virtually no penalty for fragmentation.

I think you will find that even in very heavy use applications (e.g. working with HD video or using the SSD for virtual memory) that the lifespan of these drives be longer than a decade (and longer than mechanical HDs). Moreover, they will fail gracefully as blocks become tags as worn.

Re:Debunking SSD life cycle issues (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148921)

This has been discussed before.
Indeed, it has been discussed before. However, the wear leveling algorithms used in flash media appear to be a trade secret, an it's not documented anywhere (that I could find) how they work. Do they make use of some knowledge of the filesystem (FAT/FAT32 for USB sticks) to determine which sectors are currently unused? Or do they have only a small pool of "spare" sectors to cycle through? What happens if I use a journaling filesystem?

Re:number of writes still limited? (3, Informative)

LoveMuscle (42428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148645)

These devices can already do block relocates.. The MTBF on these drives is on the order of 2 million hours. WAY better than winchester drives and so far out there that I kinda wish people would stop bringing this up.

Re:number of writes still limited? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21149627)

I'll stop bringing it up when my usb flash drives and sd cards stop failing after just a few weeks of intensive use.

Re:number of writes still limited? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148693)

And how many "reads" does someone around here have to soak in before they get it? We've talked about the write limitation every time this comes up at length. SSF is at least an order of magnitude more reliable than the spinning platters.

Re:number of writes still limited? (2, Informative)

WryCoder (18961) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148703)

A few years back, BiTMICRO published an article that arrived at a different conclusion with regard to solid state flash drive endurance in database applications. Although the write endurance rating for BiTMICRO's computations is smaller (1 million cycles), endurance ratings are much higher as a result of wear leveling methods, proprietary RS ECC and other techniques designed to prolong the life of E-Disk solid state drives. Assuming a much smaller endurance rating of 100,000 cycles (typical rating quoted by NAND flash vendors), a bigger volume of writes per day at 3.4TB and no caching nor wear leveling implementations, a 160GB solid state drive is projected to last up to 12.9 years, which is definitely longer than the average replacement cycle of most IT storage devices and equipment.


In a recent article on write endurance published in STORAGEsearch.com, editor Zsolt Kerekes provided theoretical computations on the longevity of solid state flash drives deployed in enterprise server applications. His test solid state drive had the following specifications: total capacity of 64GB, sustained write speed of 80MBps and a write endurance rating of 2 million cycles. By assuming that data is written in big blocks and there is perfect implementation of wear leveling techniques, Kerekes estimates disk endurance at 1.6 billion seconds, which translates to 50.74 years.


Debunking Misconceptions in SSD Longevity [bitmicro.com]

I had to smile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148499)

...when I saw the, today typical in many submissions, "Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7057717.stm [bbc.co.uk] "

Why go to the BBC directly when we might read something more obscure first.

I bet the HD makers are going to be pissed! (5, Interesting)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148505)

It's no so easy to use the 1,000,000=1mb with this system. Unless they do it anyway.

Re:I bet the HD makers are going to be pissed! (1)

alphaseven (540122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148609)

Just wait till marketing decides to call these memory cards 550GB instead of 512GB... then other competing companies others will follow suit and call people who complain whiners and that it's an industry standard way of labeling capacity.

Re:I bet the HD makers are going to be pissed! (5, Insightful)

pslam (97660) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148875)

On that subject, whenever the 2^n or 10^n units thing gets brought up, some smart arse always says "it's so illogical to have binary based sizes like that, it's so confusing and the media doesn't work in binary anyway."

This is just history re-writing bullshit that someone spouts to get mod points and continue another meme.

There was a time when hard disks were all based on megabytes, and megabytes were always 2^20 = 1048576 bytes. NOBODY EVER GOT CONFUSED. History re-writers say otherwise, obviously. Where did it all change? Well, for hard disk manufacturers, it was a blatantly cheap trick to save 5-10% costs, and whenever anyone complained they could just to that viral history re-write meme about how binary based units were always confusing. Hell, they even convinced SI. SI have absolutely no authority or experience with determining computer units, and the "solution" they came up with is even more confusing and ugly. How do you tell if MeB or MiB is 2^20 or 10^6? Muppets.

Then came flash cards. Here's a thing a lot of people don't know: flash actually DOES come in binary sizes. That's how it's manufactured. Another thing a lot of people don't know: flash actually gets WORSE for write endurance as its density goes up. It's actually got much worse over time. To begin with, low density flash cards did not suffer much from write endurance problems - to the extent that when you got an 8MB flash card it was basically just writing straight through.

Densities went up, and you started to need a lot of spares, more error correction, and wear leveling. The result was that after formatting, you ended up with about 5-10% of your flash used up. Quite handily close to the decimal-based size. So manufacturers (and I believe SanDisk were the first to do this) silently started selling 64MB cards as 64,000,000 bytes of data instead of 67,108,864. No asterisks, no notes on the bottom of the packaging - nothing. It's fair enough, but done in a fucking deceptive manner.

I remember getting bug reports about our MP3 players (years back now) misreporting SanDisk flash cards as 61MB instead of 64MB. In the end (sigh) we put in a hack to spot deceptive cards and switch units to powers of 10.

So before anyone else spouts how the units are confusing - they weren't until manufacturers tried their damned hardest to make sure they were.

Next, people will complain about how SDRAM, caches and even registers are in silly powers of 2...

Re:I bet the HD makers are going to be pissed! (4, Interesting)

norton_I (64015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149061)

The IBM winchester line of drives from the 70s were always labels in units of 1 MB = 10^6. It is just completely false that hard drives have always been labeled using binary prefixes. Digging around, it appears that early PC/workstation drives in the early 80s were mixed. Some used 2^20, some used 10^6. In the late 80s, consumer hard drives made by Seagate, WD, etc. all converged on 2^N for a few years, before switching to 10^6 in the early 90s.

Bandwidth is always measured in 1 MB/s = 10^6 bytes/s, or 1 Mb/s = 10^6 bits/s. Should 1 MB take 1.04 seconds to transfer of 1 MB/s data link? This includes all forms of Ethernet, SCSI, ATA, PCI, and any other protocol I have looked up. If 1 MB/s does not equal 1 MB per 1 s, someone should be shot, that is just not OK.

mega = 10^6 in all other fields. Including other computer terms -- 1 MHz, 1 MFLOP, 1 megapixel, etc.

computer RAM is the only thing that has consistently been labeled using binary approximations to the SI units. And as long as I can remember (computing magazines in the 80s) people have acknowledged that 1 MB = 2^20 is an *approximation* and that mega=10^6.

Mega=10^6 is right. mega=2^20 is wrong. End of story. It happens that it is technically convenient to manufacture and use RAM in powers of 2. No such constraint applies for hard drives, so there is no reason to use the base-2 prefixes. Stupid OSs should be changed to use the SI prefixes when reporting file sizes. RAM should be labeled using the "base-2" prefixes, but they are admittedly somewhat annoying due to lack of familiarity, and since nobody uses base-10 ram, it isn't a big deal.

Re:I bet the HD makers are going to be pissed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21149543)

You know, I've got this image of you at a party, in the kitchen, bringing out your favourite topic of conversation, "the history of terminology of the megabyte", causing people to think up excuses to leave, or go and dance or just GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN; meanwhile your wife is upstairs, having sex with your best friend.

Re:I bet the HD makers are going to be pissed! (4, Interesting)

HiThere (15173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149721)

Sorry, but for certain algorithms it's important that you are working in powers of 2, and that was always called Mega (Bits, Bytes, Words, whatever) or, more commonly Kilo-whatever was 2^10 whatevers.

IO has always been a mixture and compromise. Punched cards could hold 12 * 72 bits (7094 row binary) or 12 * 80 bits (column binary, but don't try to read it with the main card reader). Try to fit THAT into your "powers of 10" scenario!

For the current set of IO devices, capacity measurement was defined by marketing. I saw arguments about it in the trade journals when it was being fought out over hard disks. AFAIK, companies decided independently the choice that was, to them, most advantageous. It was powers of 10. This was not appreciated by any single customer that I was aware of. Some despised it, some didn't care, nobody was in favor. (Yeah, it was a small sample, but it's one that I was aware of. Most didn't care, and many of those weren't interested in understanding.)

But block allocations of RAM are done in powers of two, and these are frequently mapped directly to IO devices. So having a mis-match creates problems. Disk files were (possibly) created as an answer to this problem. (7094 drum storage didn't have files. Things were addressed by drum address. If a piece went bad, you had to patch your program to avoid it. UGH! Tape was for persistent data, drum storage was transient...just slightly more persistent than RAM.) Drum addresses were tricky. I never did it myself, but some people improved performance by timing the instructions so that they would have the drum head right before the data they wanted to read or write to limit lagging. (Naturally this was all done in assembler, so you could count out exactly how many miliseconds of execution time you were committing, and if you know the drum rotation speed, and the latency...
So things tended to be stored in powers of two positions on the drum, unless a piece went bad.

Disks, when they first appeared, were slower than drums, but more capacious. (They were still too expensive and unreliable to use for persistent storage.) But the habit of mapping things out in powers of two transferred from drums storage to disk storage. When files were introduced (not sure about when that was) the habit transferred. This wasn't all blind habit, lots of the I/O techniques that had been developed were dependent upon powers of two. So programmers though of capacity in powers of two. This didn't make any sense to accountants, managers, etc. When computer equipment started being sold by the Megabyte it made sense to the manufacturers to claim powers of 10 Megabytes for stroage, as they could claim larger sizes. (This wasn't as significant for Kilobytes, as 1024 is pretty close to 1000.) It not only made sense to the manufacturers, it also made sense to the accountants who were approving the orders. And when the managers started specifying the equipment...well, everything switched over into being measured by powers of 10.

No conspiracy. Just system dynamics. And programmers still think of storage in powers of 2, because that's what they work in. (This is less true when you work in higher level langauges, but if you don't take advantage of the powers of two that the algorithms are friendly with, it will cost you in performance, even if you don't realize it.)

Re:I bet the HD makers are going to be pissed! (1)

linuxboredom (1054516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149149)

Hey guy, no need for conspiracy theories. If I recall correctly, the whole base 10 issue is just a remnant from analog data storage such as tape drives. Also, the first harddrive 5 million 7-bit characters of storage (the IBM 350). But anyway, yea, the industry just likes to make extra money, so it's never changed.

Re:I bet the HD makers are going to be pissed! (3, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149475)

Hell, they even convinced SI. SI have absolutely no authority or experience with determining computer units, and the "solution" they came up with is even more confusing and ugly. How do you tell if MeB or MiB is 2^20 or 10^6? Muppets.
I think you're doing a bit of revisionist history yourself. SI was there first. The SI units have always been in powers of ten, and have been used in all other branches of science long before there was a "computer science". It was computer scientists that originally redefined them to be powers of two, and in the computer world it was so for several decades. It was confusing but not more so than "if it ends in -bytes, it's a power of 2". Except the floppy drive which is 1.44 "MB" = 1.44*1000*1024 (1987), or the modem speeds which were reported 1 kbps = 1000 bps (1972) because that's what electrical engineers talked, or Ethernet that ran at 10Mbit/s = 10.000.000 bits/s (1980). This lead to a "bytes is powers of two, bits is powers of ten" which made all sorts of fuck-ups possible.

Yes, the HDD manufacturers did it because it was a cheap 5-10% savings, but the excuses were plenty and not all bad. It was confusing every time computer science bumped into one of the other sciences and telecommunications in particular, which inevitably used the SI prefixes. However, instead of actually fixing a problem it became only an even greater mess, invalidating pretty much every rule of thumb because the OS would invariably report something else. That's pretty much proof they didn't want to fix anything, just grab some extra profit.

After that, it was a big mess and with next to no interest in solving it. That's when the people at IEC, not SI, and certainly not pushed by HDD manufacturers, finally said that these units are FUBAR, and the only way to make a long-term solution is to abandon the SI-prefixes and make new and ugly ones, particularly the names. At that point, we're talking 50 years of computer science use against 200 years of other sciences, and with retards messing up the boundary. I think they're ugly as hell, but they're also the only way to go forward from here.

No.. where did you learn this? It's wrong. (1)

Dr. Ion (169741) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149977)

Then came flash cards. Here's a thing a lot of people don't know: flash actually DOES come in binary sizes. That's how it's manufactured.
Uh, no. You can make flash in any size you like. It's just a number of NAND or NOR cells, and there's no reason at all that they have to be in power-of-two sizes. Most of the size limits (SD = 2GB, SDHC = 32GB) are actually power-of-two counts of 512-byte sectors, but the media can be any size up to that.. any number of sectors.

The basic pages and blocks of flash are themselves not powers of two! Most 512-byte page NAND devices have some number (~16) bytes of extra area in each page for bad block management, spare bits, and ECC. It's really arbitrary.

Indeed, most flash cards are odd-sized when you count the sectors, just like disk drives, and for much the same reason -- the ECC logic, bad block reserve, and logical sector tracking take some amount of space. Don't take my word for it, check for yourself! Grab a handful of 4GB cards and see if any two brands have exactly the same number of sectors.

Back when cards were smaller, 12MB, 80MB (Lexar) and 96MB (i2GO) CompactFlash cards were not uncommon.

Re:I bet the HD makers are going to be pissed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148893)

Actually they have to do the GB vs GiB trick anyway for flash drives. That extra is what is used to get the free space for doing wear leveling.

You're fucking kidding me... (2, Funny)

PMBjornerud (947233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149747)

It's no so easy to use the 1,000,000=1mb with this system. Unless they do it anyway.
Are you telling me that 64Gb is not exactly 64.000.000.000 bits?

Ugh. And I though that they had seen the light and decided to go in base 10 and count the actual bits.

What about IOPS? (2, Interesting)

KrackHouse (628313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148531)

Does anybody know how well flash SSDs perform in RAID arrays? 15kRPM SAS drives are horrendously expensive so if I could plug a couple small flash drives into my RAID card (RAID 0) I'd be a happy camper. Can't find benchmarks anywhere and flash drives have horrible write speeds which means they have terrible OLTP performance.

Re:What about IOPS? Up to 400,000 IOPs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148629)

FusionIO.com demo'd a 640Gb flash-based storage product with 160 parallel memory channels. Up to 4 of them can be put into a single server to give 400,000 IOPs. A 10k drive does about 100 IOPs, a really good RAID card with a rack full of drives peaks at 5,000 IOPs, a freakin huge $1M+ SAN does maybe 100,000 IOPs. The cost is estimated to be $30/GB, which is dirt cheap in the enterprise storage market.

Re:What about IOPS? (2, Interesting)

pslam (97660) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148767)

Does anybody know how well flash SSDs perform in RAID arrays? 15kRPM SAS drives are horrendously expensive so if I could plug a couple small flash drives into my RAID card (RAID 0) I'd be a happy camper. Can't find benchmarks anywhere and flash drives have horrible write speeds which means they have terrible OLTP performance.

Individual flash chips have terrible write performance, mostly due to the slow block erase time. However, you always use multiple chips in high capacity storage devices (anything larger than an MP3 player), and you can start doing fancy tricks with interleaving, or just plain have way more buffer memory to hide the erase time. If you really want to crank out even higher performance, then you stick multiple NAND interfaces of the controller chip and drive it all in parallel.

If you stack about 4-8 chips in a device, you start getting stream throughput comparable to a 15k drive. Also bear in mind that the chips we're talking about here are already stacked 4-8 internally anyway! The limiting factor will probably end up being the NAND flash bus (or number of busses) connecting the controller to the flash chips.

Well, the problem with these is (0, Redundant)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148685)

I'm really not going to be convinced until I see apple using these in their product lines.

I've already put up with enough loss of freedom from the Bu$h administration and fucking windows always blue screens!

(is that good for enough karma to post twice a day again?)

Linux!

another reason to hate Vista... (-1, Redundant)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148737)

...if it weren't for Vista's size, we'd see the boutique computer manufacturers like Dell making machines w/ 16 GB flash boot drives for "super-fast" machines as default. As it is, we'll have to wait until at least 64 GB drives are reasonably priced for this to happen.

Re:another reason to hate Vista... (0)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148817)

Does everything in the damn world have to be blamed on Vista? Next on Slashdigg: The fires in California - Vista responsible?

Re:another reason to hate Vista... (1)

rdoger6424 (879843) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149247)

A UAC prompt was holding up the fire alert system for San Diego County

Re:another reason to hate Vista... (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149327)

Does everything in the damn world have to be blamed on Vista? Next on Slashdigg: The fires in California - Vista responsible?

Well, umm. Vista takes up more processor time, runs the computer hotter.

Computer running hotter means more power used.

Power generation contributes to global warming.

Global warming contributes to increased forest fires.

Therefore, it follows:

Vista is responsible for the fires in California.

What could possibly be more logical?

Re:another reason to hate Vista... (4, Informative)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148871)

What the hell are you talking about? It's the media and other content you need storage for. You can run any operating system on 16 GB if you wish, but whining about how big Vista is makes you look stupid.

Today's operating systems (OSX, Vista, etc) are not big because the software is bloated with meaninglessness, but because there is not a living soul out there who is considering XP, Vista or OSX but cannot get it because their hard drives are too small. Is it not obvious that developers want to make full use of the current generation of hardware?

I'm sure Microsoft could strip down Vista to something the size of 300 MB or so if only they wanted to remove drivers, icons and other graphics, sounds, media players, web browsers, etc. On the other hand, that would kind of kill the whole purpose of the operating system.

Re:another reason to hate Vista... (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148897)

I doubt Microsoft would allow Dell etc to pare their Vista install down, or change its component structure to move portions to a separate drive, just so it could boot on a flash drive.

Re:another reason to hate Vista... (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148911)

Unless you count the Asus EEEPC [asus.com] , which (depending on the model) has either 2, 4 or 8 Gig drives that come with Linux. They don't run Vista, but they do come with instructions & drivers [eeeuser.com] for installing XP.

I'm sure Dell & such would follow suit much sooner if M$ would let them load XP instead of Vista, but Dell isn't afraid of Linux [dell.com] and will even be introducing solid state 32G laptops [infoworld.com] (I'm assuming running some sort of Windows) soon.

iPhone (3, Funny)

imputor (841598) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148747)

So when does the 512GB iPhone come out?

Its never enough for less..... (3, Informative)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148761)

SSD, doesn't that stand for Single Sided Disks, as in floppies... ; may as well...

anyways, if we had 1000 terabyte solid drives for $10 then you'd hear wining for the yet to be released Googleplex drive for $5...

Like damn, anyone using up their new 100 gig drives faster than the next size is out for less money?

To back up very large drives today, it near cheaper in time/labor and costs to just use hot swap drives, where the back up is the removed drive, plugged in and run for 15 minutes a few times a year, if even that. Or a rotation system as was done with tape.

Flash Already Close to Discs (1, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148789)

Notebook drives currently cost as little as about $50:80GB, or $6.50:GB, which is a good size for a mobile device, and almost the largest available.

Flash is as little as $64:8GB (USB), $8:GB. Removing the redundant USB connectors and packaging, putting it in a single drive the size of a notebook drive, would give an 80GB Flash drive for somewhere closer to $50 than to $80.

FWIW, a 4GB microdrive is $30, or $7.50:GB.

These numbers show that a Flash drive competing directly with a disc drive is already right around the corner. By the time 2010 comes around, what will mainly be different is the upper capacity around 1TB, with probably Flash cheaper than discs.

Re:Flash Already Close to Discs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148927)

I think you made an error in your math. The Notebood drive is $0.625/GB. The Flash drive is $7.50/GB. That's an order of magnitude difference, I would not call it completive yet.

Mathematics (1)

BradMajors (995624) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148963)

Notebook drives cost around $0.63 per GB. A 80GB flash drive would cost around $64 * 10 = $640.

Re:Flash Already Close to Discs (2, Informative)

pslam (97660) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148987)

Slightly optimistic numbers, there. The USB connectors, packaging and controllers are nowhere near $15 (more like $1-$2). Even so, the $8:GB ratio only holds for small numbers. The biggest problem with flash at the moment is scaling.

Each flash chip needs board space, soldering, and bus routing. So, each chip has 20 or so (depending on bus width) bus lines connecting it. That's just for 8GB. Now for a big drive, we'll need 16 of those. That's 16 chips stuck down on the board, making it a fair large board with a monster amount of bus routing. This is also where electrical engineers stick their hands up and say words like "bus capacitance, surely?" - in other words, it's not going to work for crap without buffers and other stuff stuck in there too.

So no - it simply does not scale well. Flash is very cheap at small sizes simply because it's so easy to interface it and wire it up. Wiring up 16 of them to one controller is not. This is why big SSDs are so damn expensive.

I predict that small form factor PCs (e.g laptops, media centers) may all end up using flash fairly soon, but desktops and servers aren't going that way any time soon. The technology isn't quite there, yet.

Re:Flash Already Close to Discs (1)

pslam (97660) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149011)

That and, as another reply points out, your numbers are in fact off by an order of magnitude anyway :)

Re:Flash Already Close to Discs (1)

fluffykitty1234 (1005053) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148993)

I think you messed up your math. The Notebook drive is about $0.62/GB. Flash is still about an order of magnitude more expensive than conventional hard drives.

Re:Flash Already Close to Discs (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149033)

I think your arithmetic has fallen off it's horse. $50/80GB is not $6.50/GB. It's actually about $.63/GB. Quite a large difference in comparison to $8/GB.

Re:Flash Already Close to Discs (1)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149083)

Notebook drives currently cost as little as about $50:80GB, or $6.50:GB, which is a good size for a mobile device, and almost the largest available.

The 2.5 inch magnetic drives are much more effective on a $/GB basis if you look at the larger 120/160/200 GB drives. And I'm not sure how you came up with $6.50:GB...

80GB for $60 = $0.75/GB
120GB for $70 = $0.58/GB
160GB for $90 = $0.56/GB
200GB for $170 = $0.85/GB

For current solid state drives:

8GB for $155 = $19.37/GB
16GB for $180 = $11.25/GB
32GB for $290 = $9.06/GB

After that it gets really expensive (64GB for $1600-$2000). Although the 32GB drives can be as much as $400-$480.

Re:Flash Already Close to Discs (1)

TheBobJob (1180925) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149577)

Ummm....your maths is broken.

"Notebook drives currently cost as little as about $50:80GB, or $6.50:GB"
Try £0.63 per GB which paints a very different picture to what you are trying to say.

Remember kids....be cool, Stay in school.

Re:Flash Already Close to Discs (1)

SnappyCrunch (583594) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149799)

Notebook drives currently cost as little as about $50:80GB, or $6.50:GB, which is a good size for a mobile device, and almost the largest available.

Your math is off by a factor of ten. $50 for 80GB is a whopping $0.63 per GB. Let's see SSD touch that by 2010.

Re:Flash Already Close to Discs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21149969)

Your calculation of $50:80GB is wrong. Its not $6.50 its $0.65:GB. So no the Flash memory competing directly is not right around the corner. Its obvious it has a long way to go yet. Probably more than a decade actually. Seeing as the funding which we put toward finding new harddrive technologies is much greater than in flash I don't see flash overtaking discs.

Re:Flash Already Close to Discs (1)

Mythmon (893588) | more than 6 years ago | (#21150025)

Or maybe you are off by about an order of magnitude on your hard drive calculation.

$50 / 80GB = ~$0.63 / GB, not $6.50

Makes a bit of difference.

What's up with MRAM? (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148791)

So solid state disks are all about NAND flash memory, right? I thought that SSDs would be all about MRAM, and that MRAM SSDs would be viable by the late 2000's. What's up with that?

Re:What's up with MRAM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21148953)

The largest MRAM part that I know of is still Freescale's 4Mb. MRAM is finding uses in various embedded applications, but still doesn't have the density for mass storage. IBM and TDK have a press release that talks about some new tricks that allow a more compact bit cell; they expect results in 2008.

Longevity (1)

mriker (571666) | more than 6 years ago | (#21148803)

Don't flash chips have a much shorter lifespan than regular hard drives and relatively low number of reads and writes? Or is that just with older flash tech?

Re:Longevity (1)

KrackHouse (628313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149203)

They're getting better plus they use wear leveling, which is like forced fragmentation but there are no moving parts so it doesn't incur a performance penalty. The mean time before failure is a lot longer than your typical spinning platter drive in the newer drives.

Re:Longevity (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149361)

I believe the problem is only with writes, not reads. Which, with a windows machine means that as long as there is a hardware switch to disable writes, it is more secure as well as faster to boot off a flash drive.

I already boot from a 4GB memory card. (4, Interesting)

DamonHD (794830) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149097)

Hi,

I already boot/run my main Internet-facing server (Ubuntu) from a 4GB memory SSD card to minimise power consumption, and I have more than 50% space free, ie it wasn't that hard to do.

http://www.earth.org.uk/low-power-laptop.html [earth.org.uk]

I'm not being that clever about it: using efs3 rather than any wear-leveling SSD-friendly fs, and simply minimising spurious write activity, eg by turning down verbosity on logs. And laptop-mode helps a lot of course.

Now that machine does also have a 160GB HDD for infrequently-accessed bulk data (so the HDD is spun down most of the time and a power-conserving sleep mode), and it would be good to get that data onto SSD too. But a blend, as in many memory/storage systems, gives a good chunk of maximum performance and power savings for reasonable cost.

Rgds

Damon

Re:I already boot from a 4GB memory card. (1)

fireylord (1074571) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149529)

just out of interest, i thought the device itself would have wear levelling built into hardware rather than relying on a software driven filesystem to do it? The overhead of a software solution to maintaining a wear levelling filesystem directly on the hardware would get pretty noticeable imo.

Re:I already boot from a 4GB memory card. (1)

DamonHD (794830) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149653)

I bought an SD card assuming that it would *not* be smart enough to do levelling. But it was fairly cheap...

And there are Linux filesystems that are designed to be wear-levelling, but I wanted one that I could simply dd from the HDD master if the memory card failed. After months of use I see no trouble at all so far. I'm sure that laptop-mode makes any enormous difference by consolidating writes.

Rgds

Damon

Time to buy stock (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149781)

Time to buy some stock in solid state manufacturers, perhaps... I can only foresee one evolutionary change in data storage for common home use, really. The technology is still young, but already showing lots of promise.

Read/Write Limitations? (1)

blacklabelsk8er (839023) | more than 6 years ago | (#21149939)

Are there any limits on the number of rewrites with these type of solid state drives, vs like a typical SD card? Surely, they must be a bit better than the average SD card.
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