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Memoright SSDs: The End of Hard Drives?

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May 9, 2008 3:32:43 PM

Until these clowns come way down on their prices, there is no end in sight for standard hard drives.

This has about the same marketing hype as ddr3 compared to ddr2.
I could care less about access times.

I am not paying their prices for a 32gig "SSD".
It is just not worth the money.
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May 9, 2008 3:50:30 PM

DDR2 and DDR3 have very little difference in any realistic performance measurement which is not synthetic. SSDs have seriously noticeable differences that come into play with everything you do on the system, from bootup to shutdown. The access times alone make them hugely advantageous, especially for RAID.

The key here is that SSDs are optimum for big retailers & enthusiasts, because of the lower failure rate compared to mechanical drives means less hardware failure and RMA and tech support calls. For us, its performance based. Dell and others will flock to these when the pricepoint hits home, and as soon as they jump on, drives will sell in such volume that new plants will have to be made and we'll need SATA-1000 before long.

Anyone whose been in the industry professionally and watched tech roll out over the years can see the writing on the wall, SSDs will dominate at least the "bootdrive" sector within two years. It might take longer to ramp up capacity for the "data" drives for home users, but its coming, and every process shrink to a smaller fab makes capacity go up exponentially.
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May 9, 2008 3:54:36 PM

Also, these "clowns" cant lower the price yet. They dont have the manufacturing capacity yet to ship 5x the current volume and thus cut the cost. They have to use the higher profit margins in the professional and enthusiast market to make back the R&D used to make these drives and prove viability first, and as soon as that's done and new factories or at least retrofitted ones come online solely for SSD uses, then prices will drop as soon as a competitor finishes their sites and competition sets in.
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May 9, 2008 7:53:45 PM

SSDs have weakness in random writes and reads. Unfortunately this was not tested here.
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May 9, 2008 8:47:21 PM

I think the results will be very interesting as soon as SATAII drives become available its just a matter of time till we have some of thise babies on our rigs :p 
personally i'm still waiting for the o dB (SIL) machines and for the 10 milisecounds to boot up an Operating system =D
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May 9, 2008 10:53:36 PM

SSD's are fast, but they're what, almost $20 per gig?
HDD's are slower, but they can be as low as a quarter per gig. I'll stick with my 160GB seagate.
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May 10, 2008 12:16:27 AM

Let's see now, a velociraptor has 10x storage of a memoright ssd, the memoright ssd costs 10x price of a veliciraptor and the memoright ssd is about twice the speed of the velociraptor. Seriously, is Tom's trying to compare an F16 to a 747??? Give me some of what you guys are smokin.

The ONLY, and I mean only, area where ssd drives will get consumer exposure will be in the laptop sector, simply because of the size/power requirements. For that to happen, ssd prices will need to fall "tenfold" and conventional hard drives will need to die out, which won't happen any time soon.

Desktops will will continue to use conventional hard disks for at least the next 5-10 years as they will go down in price and increase in capacities. Sata III 6gbps and newer pmr technologies will keep the traditional hard drive alive for a long time yet.

Servers may transition into a hybrid environment with both ssd and conventional drives, but with the cost of raid now so affordable (controllers incorporated into chipsets) and the fact that traditional fast (velociraptor) and beefy (terabyte) drives will ALWAYS be cheaper than the ssd variants - it's going to be a hard sell.

I'm not saying ssd is bad, but for those who don't have 5-digit monthly income, it is merely a toy for the rich. Sure, prices will eventually fall, but until you can sell the technology for 25 cents/gig or better, it will remain insignificant.
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May 10, 2008 2:54:45 AM

geraltSSDs have weakness in random writes and reads. Unfortunately this was not tested here.


A mix of SSDs and HDDs will probably be the best solution for a long time. They each have their strengths depending on usage patterns. As soon as SSDs become more economical, mixed setups will quickly become the norm. I would have a couple of SSDs in a RAID 0 config to boot on and load applications off of, but I would have a some HDDs in a RAID setup for mass storage.

I really can't wait to build my next system. Gone is the day where I reuse a harddrive on a new build, and the new computer seems only as fast as the old one due to the HDD bottleneck.
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Anonymous
May 10, 2008 6:45:03 AM

You really need to re-benchmark the Mtron with the Pro Series.
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May 10, 2008 8:48:07 AM

I want to say to the person bitching about price and calling the manufacturers of flash drive "clowns" that unless he knows what he is talking about he should stfu. Those prices are dictated by supply and demand. They have fixed costs involved in producing these drives and thus these are the prices they are able to sell enough drives at yet still make money. As technology advancements go to work on those fixed costs you will see a corresponding price cut in the retail space.
As someone else commented on I am HORRIBLY disappointed that Tom's didn't test random writes and reads. If they actually didn't that is, I haven't finished the article but wanted to respond to the "clown" guy. I've noticed a lot of stuff like that with tech sites and it makes me wonder what kind of enticements these guys have to talk up a given product. Please do a follow up with random read&write tests.
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May 10, 2008 8:50:32 AM

Doomsdaydave, I bought a 750gb conventional hdd for $0.19 per gig not too long ago! That is value you can't argue with but as soon as I can get a flash drive thats at least 64gb for 200 or less it will become my system drive with the mechanical drives as storage.
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Anonymous
May 10, 2008 10:13:38 AM

'Beginning of the End' more like, tbh. :) 
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May 10, 2008 11:22:10 AM

Lower capacities compared to standard harddrives, higher prices compared to standard harddrives.. You know what I mean..
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May 10, 2008 12:41:41 PM

What about the number of write times an a flash, compared to a harddisk? Will the flash be reliable for constant rewrites during many years?
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May 10, 2008 12:42:57 PM

What about the number of write times an a flash, compared to a harddisk? Will the flash be reliable for constant rewrites during many years?
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Anonymous
May 10, 2008 12:59:08 PM

I am curious how this affects the price of those DDR2 Ram drives that have a 2.5" HD as their unpowered storage. Those seemed to be the best "sweet spot" storage for high end users. but AFAIK the cost was $3000 for 32gb.

as fas as the size goes. there is only a small amount of XP/Vista that needs benefits from super fast access. Your application and it's data are usually the best canidates for super fast storage.


/And yes show us the random access tests since you do talk about OS storage.
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May 10, 2008 2:04:34 PM

Pretty graphs... Use of I/O and throughput... cannot resist...no! Must...resist...must...restrain...Index Finger of Bankruptcy...(click)
...Taking Mother's Day present out of Shopping Cart, putting MemoRight in...
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May 11, 2008 12:48:10 AM

The end of hard drives??
Give me a break. Maybe years from now but that's not exactly news. Anyway, when it finally happens this specific model will not be the one to do it. It may end up being an entirely different technology that ends the HDD if SSD's don't drop in price fast enough.

Drop the sensationalism, start labeling both the X and Y axis of your graphs like professionals, and try to regain some journalistic integrity.

Toms is going downhill fast.
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May 11, 2008 1:21:12 AM

"Obviously, Mtron’s Flash SSD still is quicker when it comes to starting Windows XP" I mean I see the graph, but why is it obvious, did I miss something? the only test in the article that can give a hint on real world performance, and the Mtron is almost twice as fast as the Memoright..
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May 11, 2008 2:36:55 PM

Performance differences or not, I would rather set of some RAIDed hard drives with good performance, more storage, and a tiny fraction of the cost than buy 1 tiny, quick drive for over a grand. I could spend that money on a better processor or 2 video cards that would give me more performance where I need it.

In fact, even if the 32gb ssd drive was $300, I would still have a hard time justifying the cost for such little space. 128GB at $300-$500 and I MAY think about buying one or more of these.
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May 11, 2008 5:54:51 PM

Wow! What a lack of vision from some people... this truly is "the beginning of the end of HDD"! Sure, they are a bit pricey, but for the first time a consumer SSD can beat the crap out of the best HDD out there.

This will become mainstream very fast and before long people will remember HDD's in the same way people now remember 3.5" disks!
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May 12, 2008 1:08:26 AM

well at 4000us$ for a 4xraid set I could build a data warehouse 1tb standard drives and we a talking 20tb in raid 0 and 16tb or so in raid5 ... I think some people have more dollars than sense ;-)

to get near the same area we are about 625000 us$ (can anyone say buy a house)
even if you can get 4 for a 1000$ your still talking 156250us$ (nice deposit or telsa roadser all done up and still change for the a data warehouse)

when they can match 3:1 then let start talking.
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May 12, 2008 4:32:57 AM

Boot drives & Virtual Memory (swap file) drives will be the start of SSD's. Also where are the hybrid drives the manufacturers were touting a while back.

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May 12, 2008 5:04:51 AM

Whatever weaknesses SSD's have for random read/write operations, they will likely be resolved more than soon enough; they can't be all that bad compared to HDD's as it is. Perhaps RAM caches built into the SSD's will help :p  (
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May 12, 2008 6:55:21 PM

geraltSSDs have weakness in random writes and reads. Unfortunately this was not tested here.


I was under the impression that tests like the Database I/O did exactly that. If you'll notice, the traditional hard drive beat 2/3 of the SSD's. The nicer (more expensive) SSD's are designed to avoid the same random I/O weakness. IIRC flash memory must be read in blocks, and larger blocks make large storage cheaper. However, your access times plummet when you have to read 4MB+ to get 1k.

As for RAID being really cheap and integrated into the chipset, pretty much all that gives you is the little BIOS program to control the setup and work with the Windows drivers (possibly OS X as well). The drivers do all the RAID in software. Real RAID controllers have come down significantly, but are still $300+ for a new one.

MMC65, what's your markup on RAID systems? I may buy one for data backup if our company growth matches expectations. I can get the 20 1TB drives for $3,732.46(USD) shipped, but the hot-swap data warehouse enclosures (~$2000ish for rackmount 24x SATAII w/backplane), cabling (~$60), power (we connect to 48V, so I won't compare here), cooling, and RAID controller ($1,126.03 shipped) push me well out of your price range. The SSD on the other hand doesn't require much extra hardware, and 4 of them will outrun 20x 1TB drives in most any server situation.

The current idea would be for a hybrid system. You have your system, applications, personal data on the SSD, and maybe your current game, and you put your infrequently used applications, larger data files and media files on a conventional hard drive that offers really cheap storage. I can't imagine many people wishing their computer didn't have such a delay in playing a video file or mp3 after pushing play (aside from overly bloated software like iTunes). However people will jump all over systems that don't have the slow load times for their programs.

At these prices, make sure you pay attention to the virtual memory settings on your SSD though. The system might scream, but you probably will too. Under optimal conditions, these are rated for 100GB/day for 200 years, but with such a full drive and the way virtual memory is managed you'll miss a lot of the wear leveling. Faster IO means it can rewrite the data faster too, and you're less likely to notice you've run out of RAM. Writing to the same spot on in flash memory every minute (instead of every 480) means 200 years. You'd be better off with a 64-bit OS and 8GB of RAM anyway. Even if you have to buy the OS, it'll be about the same price as 1/4 of one of these and a better value. That said, if you're buying one (or more) of these now, you probably already have 4-8GB+ of RAM, and you'll probably upgrade to something cheaper and faster in a couple of years anyway, making a longer life a non-issue.
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May 12, 2008 7:02:06 PM

P.S. There are situations where the constraint isn't storage space, but storage speed (say storing Google's web programs). In these cases, $1000 for 32GB non-volatile memory at this speed is pretty cheap, especially when you factor the Total Cost of Ownership with the ultra-low power and long life with data that rarely gets written.
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May 12, 2008 8:14:35 PM

Number of writes in flash is not a problem for SSD drives since they provide few features: big number of spare sectors which are replaced automatically if failed and wear leveling algorithms (static or dynamic). I have tested flash SSD with specially written program and wrote/read and verified 7.5 million times at the same absolute sector randomly generated data every time and had no single failure. The SSD writes to different part of the flash every time, no matter what the absolute sector request is.
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May 12, 2008 8:44:39 PM

Who has heard of memotron and mron? Are there any write reliability experiments done to date with their drives? Do they properly cycle data through their flash ICs to overcome the 10,000-100,000 write/erase cycle limitation that flash memory has? I wouldn't use one of these without a hard drive mirror of it or until someone verified they know how to make a reliable product.
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May 13, 2008 5:08:48 AM

I wonder if Toms has taken into consideration that SSD are not the be all end all. If these are nothing more than a glorified flash-drive, then that means data recovery would be almost non exsistant if the device fails to power itself. This is a known issue with flash-drives. Sure they are fast, but what about reliability?
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May 13, 2008 2:30:25 PM

This is truly the beginning of The End of Hard Drives. In 1980 a 10 megabyte Hard Drive retailed for $10,000.00 plus. It took ten years before Hard Drives became cheap enough to be standard on the average desk top system.

The ONFi specification flash will drive both performance and price beginning this fall with Intels' 1.8 and 2.5 inch SSDs.

I think that five years from now Hard Drives will primarily be secondary storage used when we need to store very large amounts of information and will therefore accept a large reduction in performance compared to SSDs.
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May 14, 2008 11:59:14 AM

I would like to know the MTBF for these drives. You would probably want to aggresively test them through several months to see if anything exacts a toll.
Also the Raid thing.. If Raid is specific to certain sectors of a hardrive ,that is specifically to the outer sectors of a spinning disk,then how is a Raid test convention at all for these SSD drives.
Is there a comparison between what took place under none raid,and Raid values. Are you absolutely sure there is not simply a Loop in the program type glich there with the data ?
Would like to see some normal systems with this (desktop systems).Then-spin some games to see what the FPS would be using them. You have Server-specific dynamics there,but what about applications sensitive to 'Format signifagant operations. So there are plenty of 'ends'here besides that of simply the many a hardisk has.
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May 15, 2008 5:16:24 AM

I wouldn't worry about reliability. With the improved wear leveling it would take 5-10+ years of typical use to become an issue. Recovery might be an bit of an issue, but that works both ways, it would mean greater security as well and also for archival purposes SSDs are much better than magnetic drives that need to be spun up every so often to ensure reliability.

Personally I'm waiting for the mass production intel MLC drives expected for later this summer/fall with 200MB/s speeds and better pricing. When those hit the market that will be the end of traditional HDDs. This is simply the third salvo in a battle that will be over quicker than it took to develop.

32GB for my laptop with a nice 320GB slow data drive in the second bay is a fine mix of both worlds.
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May 15, 2008 1:38:26 PM

I'm curious what the R&D costs are in developing an SSD. Compact Flash, SD, SDHC, MMC, XD etc cards have been on the market forever and are dirt cheap. As have the SATA interfaces and controllers. What else is there that I am missing? I'm asking seriously as I simply do not know. However it does seem on the face that there is not a lot more to an SSD than the technology that is already available very cheaply in the marketplace. I'd like to see someone literally solder SATA connectors to a device that combines a lot of CF cards - might be a fun project ;) 
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May 18, 2008 1:06:00 PM

castagnolacI'm curious what the R&D costs are in developing an SSD. Compact Flash, SD, SDHC, MMC, XD etc cards have been on the market forever and are dirt cheap. As have the SATA interfaces and controllers. What else is there that I am missing? I'm asking seriously as I simply do not know. However it does seem on the face that there is not a lot more to an SSD than the technology that is already available very cheaply in the marketplace. I'd like to see someone literally solder SATA connectors to a device that combines a lot of CF cards - might be a fun project


Good wuestion - I've been running an 8Gb Compact Flash card in an IDE adaptor as the boot/swap drive in a EPIA M12000-based linux system for a year now with no troubles, performance seems OK, though I haven't benchmarked this (primary condideration was silence) and the total cost was around £20.

Stuart
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Anonymous
May 21, 2008 3:24:01 AM

we buy tho MemoRight 64G GT for testing in our servers.
We use a HP BL465 2 Opteron duacore 16 GB RAM
we stress the hard drive by installing a complete SAP ECC6.
we installed:
windows 2003 sp2 x64
SQL 2005 Enterprise SP2
SAP ECC6
SWAP (40GB)

All of above on 2 SSD 64 GB disk at raid 0 level (no other disk was used internal nor external).
We stress the server by doing:
installing SAP: 2 hour
running local client copy (SCCL sap all form 000): 45 minutes
recompile all SAP programs (SGEN): 3 hour

the test show that that server run better with only tho SSD disk That the same server with a two 15KRPM 72Gb disk only for OS + Storage Disk connected via SAN.

Also the server show that time consumed for IO operation was almost null, and all the time CPU was use on SAP or SQL process.
Also, when the CPU was used at 100%, the administrative operations on the server was really fast


We are now doing stability testings as normal use of the server . after 2 month we will change our standard form 2 15KRPM to 2 SSD disks on raid 1.

Sergio Soccal
ssoccal@gmail.com

Note, the 64 GB SSD disk cost US$ 1600 VS US$ 600 for a 72BG 15KRpm; but you need less RAM because "SWAP in" and "SWAP out" don't matter any more.
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Anonymous
May 22, 2008 2:42:38 AM

I wonder how a SSD will perform on FSX...that would be a great
game test for a SSD; the drive has a non stop job of reading
the terrain data al around while you are flying and would
be nice to know how faster than a normal HDD it performs!



Great info congrats and thanks!
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May 22, 2008 5:01:35 PM

Quote:
SLC chips hence are significantly faster and more energy efficient than their MLC brothers, and they typically sustain more write cycles than what MLC offers, although this should not be an issue for desktop users anymore.


i dont quite understand how this is not an issue for desktop users???

it appears that many of you dont work with flash drives in any sort of high capacity...i wont even hardly purchase a thumb drive larger than 1 gig anymore because of the failure rates...i use my thumb drives probably 200 times a day and i go through about 1 a month (if i am lucky)...

no way in hell am i going to be storing any sensitive data on a flash based drive for any extended period of time...

ssd's will probably become a standard for os installs for quick bootup etc...but they have a lot of maturing to do before they replace the standard mechanical hard drive...

-c
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May 24, 2008 1:51:35 PM

Here is what I see happening:

1) The prices for SSD will continue to plummet until they are very close in price to hard drives. The IT harware market is an excellent example of this. I remember buying a Fireball harddrive several years ago (8 maybe?) for $400 and it was only 6GB! Looking now where SSD is, and given the base advancement in technology, SSD technology will plummet in price. Skeptical? Don't take my word for it: do a little digging around and you will be surprised at the price drops.

2) In 5 to 10 years, there could easily be a new revolution in the PC industry. Here's a thought: another slot on the motherboard where an SSD can be placed that houses the operating system. No more O/S installations! New O/S upgrade? No problem! Just swap out the old O/S SSD and install the new O/S SSD! Would people go for this? Gee...I dunno....spend all day Saturday loading/reloading Windows, OR swapping out an SSD on the motherboard.....hmmm....no brainer, I would think!!!
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May 25, 2008 11:02:49 AM

N19h7M4r3I think the results will be very interesting as soon as SATAII drives become available its just a matter of time till we have some of thise babies on our rigs personally i'm still waiting for the o dB (SIL) machines and for the 10 milisecounds to boot up an Operating system =D


I echo that sentiment but I believe that these SSDs DO come in SATAII format now.
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June 27, 2008 1:30:04 PM

Some of my clients use a main server with many clients remote desktopping in to that server. The server has to be very responsive due to the fact it duplicates as a large database server for patient records. SSD's quite literally doubled the performance of their computers, because the largest restriction was not latency or the quad core cpu (which generally max's at 5% peak) but the hard drive seek and access times. With 10-20 clients all searching client records using RDP at the same time, this was an amazing improvement. I mean absolutely stunning.

And for the price, considering all they have to do is upgrade one server computer, spending a couple of grand is nothing in the big picture.
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November 18, 2008 9:33:19 AM

would love to see an update to this with the velociraptor drives!
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February 27, 2009 3:17:21 PM

This article needs updating with real world tests of current SSD's, and not only different brands but the different performance levels. For example OCZ makes 4 class levels of SSD's ranging in price from $800 down to $100. I bought a 60gb ssd for $109 with rebate and got excellent results and access times of 0.20 milliseconds, windows flies now.
I am buying a second one and doing a RAID 0 to increase my capacity to 120gb, that is enough for my system boot drive and moving the Raptor 150gb to second place adn larger HDD to 3rd tier for storage and backup of ssd drives. Sweet! and very affordable as of Feb 2009!
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