If you’re concerned about SSD reliability, Tech Report has good news for you: They attempted to write a petabyte of data to six SSDs, and three of them survived. Considering the drives were rated for a 200 TB life expectancy, that’s impressive. In fact, even the worst drives outlived their 200 TB life expectancy. And all started behaving oddly long before their demise, giving you ample warning to do something in advance–something you can’t say about evil nasty platters of spinning rust–perhaps better known as traditional hard drives.
The first drive to fail, if you’re wondering, was the Samsung 840, which uses cheaper TLC memory. But even the Samsung 840 outlived its projected life expectancy. Since other companies are undercutting the 840’s price even with MLC memory these days, I’m not sure what Samsung’s plans for the 840 are. For the time being, I doubt you’ll be buying one. One of the drives that’s still going after a petabyte of writes is a costlier Samsung MLC drive.
If you’re looking for alternatives to nasty platters of spinning rust for storing your data, I have good news for you: SSDs are getting cheaper, and fast. They aren’t as cheap as rust, but there’s probably a good reason for that if you think about it for a minute.
PNY has been tempting me all year with the PNY XLR8, a 240 GB drive that typically sells for $80-$90 after a rebate. It uses an inexpensive controller to deliver middling performance, but compared to the speed that spinning rust can deliver, it’s still going to be pretty good. Then Micron came along with its Crucial MX100, which delivers 240 GB for $110, or 480 GB for $225, along with enthusiast-grade performance. Read more
Last night I saw reports that OCZ’s main creditor is forcing it to liquidate, and OCZ has an agreement to sell most of its assets to Toshiba. Its manufacturing plants and its Indilinx controller technology make Toshiba a good fit; Toshiba makes some controllers and they make flash memory, so this would allow them to expand their SSD business and/or compete with Sandforce by being able to sell a broader line of controllers and memory chips to companies like Kingston. Tuning Indilinx designs to match their own chips would likely improve both speed and reliability.
OCZ was an early contender and was one of the first companies to market a consumer SSD that had a reasonable mix of performance and affordability. The problem was that many of their designs were buggy and they had a poor reputation for customer service. They didn’t get a lot of repeat customers. I had a couple of 40 GB OCZ Vertex drives and they were OK. The problems with subsequent drives scared me away from buying any more.
It will be interesting to see what Toshiba plans to do with the acquisition.
Lifehacker posted a controversial computer manufacturer ranking this week. I’m not sure how you can rank anything with Apple, HP, and Dell in it and not be controversial–someone’s going to be offended that their favorite isn’t at the top and their least favorite isn’t dead last–and while I agree with it more than I disagree with it, there are at least three problems with it.
So, let’s go. Read more
Ars Technica has a story about SSD news coming out of CES.
Basically, they’re predicting that the big news this year will be consolidation and lower prices. That may be bad news for someone who writes about SSDs for a living (I don’t), but good news for consumers. Read more
If you’re in the market for anything that uses flash memory–USB thumb drives, memory cards, SSDs–this is a good time to buy. Toshiba is cutting its production by 30%, citing oversupply in the market. Read more
I didn’t need much convincing to purchase a Samsung 830 SSD; I was in the market for a bigger SSD, and my short list consisted of Samsung and Intel drives. So when I found a good price on a 128 GB Samsung 830, I bought two.
The laptops I put the drives in aren’t able to fully take advantage of what the 830 brings to the table, but it’s still a worthwhile upgrade. I thought that two months ago when I installed them, and two months of living with them hasn’t changed my mind. Read more
Those of you who’ve been around as long as I have–which is probably most of you–will remember Plextor as the maker of the very best SCSI CD-ROM drives back when there was a market for SCSI CD-ROM drives. I had one, and I haven’t used it in years, but I relied on it, especially when I was doing A/V work. And it never, ever let me down. Read more
I just saw that LSI Corporation bought Sandforce, maker of high-performance SSD controllers, earlier this week for $400 million.
LSI makes a lot of things. I’ve owned a couple of SCSI controllers over the years with their chips on them. I’ve administered servers with their RAID controllers in them. They also make system-on-a-chip solutions.
I spotted a bargain SSD: The Kingston SSDNow V+100 96 GB is available at Amazon for $130. (It’s available other places for about the same price, but with Amazon’s free shipping, it’s probably cheaper there.) It uses a Toshiba controller that (by some accounts) lacks NCQ, but other than that, it’s a modern controller, and it has a good track record, having been the controller Apple used in its Macbook Air.