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Intel's New 520 Series SSD Codenamed "Cherryville"

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September 14, 2011 5:15:40 PM

I wouldn't mind popping that Cherryville in to see how it performs.
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September 14, 2011 5:16:16 PM

I'm still waiting for their 310 series to fall on price.

Lately, I'm getting a little impatient, and I'm very tempted by the prices of the "new" Vertex Plus, does anyone know if the Vertex Plus are any good?

I'm waiting for Tom's or Anandtech to do a review on them.
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September 14, 2011 5:19:22 PM

Newegg reviews on the Vertex Plus have not been encouraging. However, OCZ usually does well with their customer service. The prices are good, but the Kingston V+100 series seem to have similar performance numbers and price, without the reliability issues...
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September 14, 2011 5:20:39 PM

can someone tell my how NCQ is implemented in SSD?

I thought that was for HDD with spinning platter to read data then sequence them in logical order...
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September 14, 2011 5:24:36 PM

Is this an Intel or a Marvell controller? That is the only useful piece of information I was hoping to get from this article :( 
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September 14, 2011 5:25:01 PM

Intel still owes us a 6 Gbps Sata 3 controller!
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September 14, 2011 5:35:51 PM

one day I'll have an SSD when the newegg reviews don't look so dire for the drives that cost ~$1/GB. I don't want to spend $200-300 on a single drive.
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September 14, 2011 5:49:36 PM

"the SSD drives are rated with 1.2 million hours MTBF". Are they serious? Thats like 130+ years before device fails.... yea right.
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September 14, 2011 6:01:47 PM

cakster, the old Raptor Enterprise 150's were rated very high prior to failure. I lost only one of 4 after almost 24/7 gaming. Back in the day they were truly monsters.

Intel is going to have to lighten the load and make these drives faster, other SSD's and similar storage are approaching one gig/second.
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September 14, 2011 6:05:05 PM

cakster"the SSD drives are rated with 1.2 million hours MTBF". Are they serious? Thats like 130+ years before device fails.... yea right.


1200000 / 8 (hours a day) / 365 days = 410 years
Good luck with that.

Nobody is going to live that long to prove it.
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a b å Intel
September 14, 2011 6:09:00 PM

Finally, a little more information about the new 520's!!!
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September 14, 2011 6:11:23 PM

@drwho1 I presumed SSD would work 24/7 and that's about 410/3 = 136 years.
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September 14, 2011 6:28:13 PM

cakster@drwho1 I presumed SSD would work 24/7 and that's about 410/3 = 136 years.



Still nobody is going to live 136 years to tell.
Manufactures seem to make up big numbers that they know that they can't possibly prove.

Is called marketing.
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September 14, 2011 6:31:12 PM

@drwho1 :) )) ....Yea right
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September 14, 2011 6:31:36 PM

it was sarcasm
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Anonymous
September 14, 2011 6:33:23 PM

I belive the MTBF is estimated using the average user disk usage.
If you do a lot a disk writes you can get the drive to fail, and then use the mean average of failure and the average user disk usage to get the MTBF.
They didn't had to wait 136 years to know the MTBF.
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September 14, 2011 7:00:10 PM

1200000 hours probably assumes only reading or very little writing as you can only write a few hundred times on flash memory. Let's see, every 3 years you need a new machine, new OS, new programs. That will rewrite the whole drive.

I guess the math is OK. That would only be 136 rewrites or so. But then again the start-up routine, constant updates to the registry, and to programs? What about the occasional virus that multiplies itself a million times on the drive? Who knows?

Of course, just 30 years in you will appear to be a retro dweeb who uses a camel to get to work, if you are still using this thing.

How about backing up those claims? I am willing to split the difference...how about a 205 year warranty? ;) 
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September 14, 2011 7:44:27 PM

@silver__fenix I believe they get the number by testing a large number of them and assume that the failure rate will form a natural statistical distribution, and just make the projection of how long the average one will last. But the hours counted would have to be in operation rather than sitting around.

Of course that method can be questioned. If things are made very close to identical you may get virtually no failures and then all of them start dieing like flies 5 years later.

If we were stacking straw on camel backs (I had to mention camels again) 30 lb will not break any camel's back but get near 600 lb(or whatever) and backs start snapping.

The distribution is not necessarily normal. It could have a very steep spike.

Or what if for instance there are abundant cosmic rays in a couple years. Cosmic rays can do a lot of damage to computers. Other background radiation can also do damage as can the quantum tunneling effects from heat. We don't really know that much about solar cycles yet and cosmic rays can be from distant sources too. Maybe a nearby supernova or other event may damage computers at a faster rate.
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September 14, 2011 8:17:44 PM

mindbreaker@silver__fenix I believe they get the number by testing a large number of them and assume that the failure rate will form a natural statistical distribution, and just make the projection of how long the average one will last. But the hours counted would have to be in operation rather than sitting around.Of course that method can be questioned. If things are made very close to identical you may get virtually no failures and then all of them start dieing like flies 5 years later.If we were stacking straw on camel backs (I had to mention camels again) 30 lb will not break any camel's back but get near 600 lb(or whatever) and backs start snapping.The distribution is not necessarily normal. It could have a very steep spike.Or what if for instance there are abundant cosmic rays in a couple years. Cosmic rays can do a lot of damage to computers. Other background radiation can also do damage as can the quantum tunneling effects from heat. We don't really know that much about solar cycles yet and cosmic rays can be from distant sources too. Maybe a nearby supernova or other event may damage computers at a faster rate.


You're pretty close here, actually. The MTBF is indeed calculated by large sample sizes, but your misgivings about the techniques are unfounded. That's simply not the way these things work. Statistics doesn't just give you a number, it also tells you the likelihood that the actual number is significantly different from the one you got. Industry standard confidence requirement is 99.99966% sure. Is that 0.00034% chance that Intel was wrong about the MTBF really worth getting worked up over?

It's worth noting that failures are actually independent of how long the drive has been operating. Obviously mechanical drives experience wear, but it's not this wear that causes most failures. The vast majority are effectively random events that just happen out of the blue with no warning.

As far as the potential for a steep spike later in life, those would occur because of unknown defects in the product. You obviously can't account for something you don't know you need to account for, and any product is as likely as any other to have such a defect. If you throw out this MTBF because of such a possibility, you'd logically have to throw out every other one as well.

Really, everyone is getting way too worked up over MTBF. As a consumer, you shouldn't care about that number anyway. MTBF doesn't mean a thing unless you're looking at a large sample size. Unless you're running a data center, you do not have a large sample size.

And a minor nitpick, but we know a lot more about the sun's cycles than you seem to think. Astronomers have been studying it for close to 200 years now (15 full cycles), and we actually know a great deal about it. The myth that it's some mysterious thing operating on massive timescales is commonly perpetuated by global warming skeptics.
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September 14, 2011 8:21:50 PM

This thing ate my reply, so here I go again.

MTBF is not how long the device will last. It is the average amount of time a device will last before something unexpectedly kills it.

So, a MTBF of 1,000,000 hours does NOT mean the device will last a million hours. It means that if you have a million of them, one will fail EVERY hour.

This number is really only important for things like large data centers which might be running 1,000 or more drives. For example, if you have a MTBF of 1,000,000 hours, and you know you've got 1,000 drives, then you can expect that every 1,000 hours (41 days), a drive is going to die.
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September 14, 2011 9:17:29 PM

icepick314can someone tell my how NCQ is implemented in SSD?I thought that was for HDD with spinning platter to read data then sequence them in logical order...

NCQ on a mechanical drive is exactly what you say. The basic ideas is to reduce the time it takes to service some number of pending operations by finding the most efficient path for the drive head to hit all the necessary spots on the platter.

So, the question of what this means to an SSD is a very good one. Whoever rated you down obviously knows less about this than you do. Love the irony.

Anyway, NCQ on an SSD isn't the same as an HDD, but it has the same goal. What it does is allow the SSD to perform concurrent operations by sending them through different pipelines. The more it can keep its different pipelines saturated, the faster it can do what it was told.
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September 14, 2011 10:13:30 PM

nordleadone day I'll have an SSD when the newegg reviews don't look so dire for the drives that cost ~$1/GB. I don't want to spend $200-300 on a single drive.

You should look at the Crucial M4. I had a Corsair Force 3(SF 2281) that was plagued with BSODS. I returned it and got the m4, updated the firmware, and could not happier! It's also 175$ i believe on buy.com or tigerdirect for a 128gb!
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September 15, 2011 2:32:46 PM

They should of kept that name "cherryville" for the pick of the Intel processors instead of a average run of the mill SSD.
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September 16, 2011 4:32:37 AM

scook9Is this an Intel or a Marvell controller? That is the only useful piece of information I was hoping to get from this article

I believe it will be on Intel's own controller. If I remember, there was a leaked slide right after the 510/320 came out that said it.
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November 13, 2011 4:32:05 AM

Hmm, 40,000 random read I/Os. My intel G2 80GB is rated at 35K. Not much difference, looking forward down the line with 60K random read numbers in consumer SSDs!
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Anonymous
January 4, 2012 10:25:51 PM

for me, NCQ is the place where "small scheduler" inside HDD/SSD happen.
what bother me is that.. does buffer management work in similar way(with the same goal)?

I means.. they all do the "reordering of request". do I miss anything ?
thanks a lot.
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