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Conventional Hard Drive Obsoletism? Samsung's 32 GB Flash D

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September 20, 2006 1:04:15 PM

Samsung has provided us with a new 32 GB Flash Solid State Hard Disk. How does performance compare to conventional hard drives and what are the implications for desktop and mobility users?
September 20, 2006 1:50:15 PM

One item I noticed that was not discussed in the article is MTBF. Aren't flash chips limited to a finite number of writes? If so, wouldn't this equate to a low MTBF for the unit?

Jon
September 20, 2006 2:15:02 PM

I never heard about that, I would think that flash could do as many number of reads or writes... what would limit them?

But then again, I should pay more attention in my solid-state classes...

Either way, I think a hybrid HDD is a good idea for now, but what I'm wondering is the maximum capacity of flash... can it reach above 1TB?? Can it surpass PMR?? Will it be cost-efficent?? Any thoughts?
Related resources
September 20, 2006 2:25:21 PM

For the time being the biggest hurdle I see is the cost-efficiency you mention. It is currently very inefficient meaning the cost per GB for solid state is way the heck above HDD cost per GB. That may eventually change if they can sell enough of it to bigger industry but will likely take years.

For now I think its safe to say if you want a good bit or storage or especially mass storage HDD is the only way to go. If you had the bucks and didn't need a lot of space I think an application in moblie PCs or laptops are the best place to start for these new "drives".
September 20, 2006 2:39:35 PM

Yes... I too am wondering about the MTBF on one of these drives. In the past I have worn out both CF cards and USB flash drives by running OS's off them. From my experiences flash memory doesn't give you warning sings of failure as a machanical hard drive does... It just fails along with your data. It's just a matter how many r/w cycles can this drive take compared to its cheaper counterparts. My personal opinion of a device like this is that it would make a perfect OS drive in conjunction with "classic" hard drives for data storage. I've used over 50 Samsung desktop drives in years past and have only seen two fail -- one because I dropped it.

Paul AKA Sintekk
September 20, 2006 2:43:02 PM

Quote:
For the time being the biggest hurdle I see is the cost-efficiency you mention. It is currently very inefficient meaning the cost per GB for solid state is way the heck above HDD cost per GB. That may eventually change if they can sell enough of it to bigger industry but will likely take years.

For now I think its safe to say if you want a good bit or storage or especially mass storage HDD is the only way to go. If you had the bucks and didn't need a lot of space I think an application in moblie PCs or laptops are the best place to start for these new "drives".


Yeah, this is a perfect item to sneak into the mobile market, and hybrid drives, and as costs go down, and capacities increase, it can seep slowly into the mainstream. I think if a 30 gig drive becomes affordable, I would get one for my OS and swap file like they mentioned in the article, and just leave everything else on the hard drives :D 
September 20, 2006 2:53:37 PM

Patrick,

Thank you for this very interesting article. Please tell Samsung to go home and come back with something more definite that is priced around $100 and is SATA. It's taken a long long time to move past PATA. We're trying hard to get rid of those behemoth PATA connectors that dominate mobos and block the air.

If this unknown priced NAND flash is mature enough, maybe it will be usefull for speeding up boot and application loads, reducing access time to the paging file and maybe even lower power draw. All of those attributes are commendable.

Orville
September 20, 2006 3:08:28 PM

Hey, samsung will probably use SATA for products that are comparable to actual HDD drives

I am glad they are making these first attempts.

In a few years we will have SS Disks in our PC's that are connected SATA or sommething else :) 
September 20, 2006 3:18:40 PM

Quote:
Patrick,

Thank you for this very interesting article. Please tell Samsung to go home and come back with something more definite that is priced around $100 and is SATA. It's taken a long long time to move past PATA. We're trying hard to get rid of those behemoth PATA connectors that dominate mobos and block the air.

If this unknown priced NAND flash is mature enough, maybe it will be usefull for speeding up boot and application loads, reducing access time to the paging file and maybe even lower power draw. All of those attributes are commendable.

Orville


Have you seen the price of SSHDDs? 900 for 32 gigs would be pretty good. Check it out...

http://www.dvnation.com/nand-flash-ssd.html

I like the idea of the hybrid drives as well. I'd consider getting one if the price point was there. I guess we'll find out in 2007.

Hopefully in a 3 or 4 years, solid state drives be competatively priced. I'd pay 100 bucks for a 200 gig drive if it had those responce times.

Does anyone know if you flash drives have a finite number of times they can be written to? I didn't think they had a life span in those terms. Can anyone validate this?
September 20, 2006 3:20:02 PM

Would anybody buy a 32 gig flash MP3 player?

I would say that we can probably only except hybrid HDD's, but the mobile market will move solely to flash... no more micro-hdd's, useless and cause enough headaches when they die.
September 20, 2006 3:22:02 PM

Has anyone tried to boot Linux off one of these drives? I've tried to with 16Gb Super Talent Flash drives and wasn't able to though Windows installed and booted fine. The Linux install would freeze trying to partition the flash drive and we tried fc4, fc5, ubuntu, and debian. If any of you have been able to get Linux running off the Samsung 32 Gb Flash drive please let me know.
September 20, 2006 3:31:35 PM

According to wikipedia:

"most commercially available flash products are guaranteed to withstand 1 million programming cycles"
September 20, 2006 3:39:05 PM

Ofcourse, for powers users 32GB isn't much. But i really would like to use that sollid drive for my proffesional useage. Nomore being afraid for a HD crash and loose all my precious data.
Besides from that, imagine placing sollid drives for specific apliances, like routers, firewalls. Perfect.

It's a begin and you could add more pcb's on top of eachother (i guess).
I am for sure there is a market, only i you could go encrypt the data. They could let the drive boot first to it's own system and type your password to continue... My data will always be save.
I am for sure they have already something like this... I want that...!
Secured data protection. If they have not, my idea :) 
September 20, 2006 3:40:59 PM

1 million, thats not that many...
September 20, 2006 3:49:22 PM

Quote:
According to wikipedia:

"most commercially available flash products are guaranteed to withstand 1 million programming cycles"


And "programming cycles" is very ambiguous. Still, if the I/O performance is worth the limited life, companies will buy it. Just back up the flash drive to disk/tape every so often and get some error control on the drives and you're good to go.

Drive die? swap it out and rebuild it from the backup.

I suspect they kept the IDE interface to keep it compatible with current server systems. The only place you really won't find those connectors is a) gaming systems (VERY recent ones) or b) SCSI systems. a is a small market. b is bigger, so you might see these for SCSI in the future as well.
September 20, 2006 3:51:54 PM

SATA 300 would be a minimum for serious adoption. However hats off to Samsung for the attempt. I am sure the uses, especially for critical apps, will be many.

If the read write rates were to be increased to 100MBps or more,( which I guess it will eventually) the potential is huge, even with a big price premium.

One application is that such a drive could replace the Tape media in all but the smallest camcorders.

Panasonic already uses Flash media called the P2 ( 80 MBps) in a few of their cameras and the workflow benifits are reported to be phenomenal.

ftp://ftp.panasonic.com/pub/Panasonic/Drivers/PBTS/pape...
September 20, 2006 3:54:56 PM

Using that 2.5' HDD form factor, i think 2 PCBs worth of flash memory can be fitted into it. So instead of 32Gb they have now, it becomes 64Gb!

But nobody's gonna buy it, because ingnoring those filthy richies out there, it will be very bloody expensive!!!!!

But think about the peformance, especially if they have changed their interface to SATA II 300.... ...., and the noise of nothing that these HDD makes

I will wait for the future when 160GB Flash Disk sells for $100. By then who knows what bizzare new memory technologies would have come... .... MRAM?
September 20, 2006 6:03:05 PM

Can someone explain why the data transfer diagram (the first chart) shows 0 to 100GB? This is a 32GB disk, right? Not that it matters since the chart shows a flat performance level anyway, but I would like to know why the numbers are off. Oh and to the OP, your link is wrong, too many dotcoms :p 
September 20, 2006 6:16:59 PM

I understand SATA is probibly on the way, but i still cannot fathom why they dident start development with it.

Maby they thought they would start with the speed of the majority of notebooks?

Wow, i love the web server demo graph! http://images.tomshardware.com/2006/09/20/conventional_...
It needs its own theme song like "Nand Drives, F**k Yeahhhh!"
September 20, 2006 6:31:23 PM

Quote:
One item I noticed that was not discussed in the article is MTBF. Aren't flash chips limited to a finite number of writes? If so, wouldn't this equate to a low MTBF for the unit?

Jon


Flash has a limited no. of writes, usually a maximum of 100,000 operations in the same location.

You can easily end up doing 100,000 write operations in the same location of an HD very quickly. especially if you're running windows off of that drive, as its paging algorithm is very inefficient to the point of being broken.

The whole idea of using flash with HD's is a terrible idea for this reason. its GREAT for drive manufacturers though, as you'll have to frequently replace your hard drive if you move to this technology.

I'm dissapointed that Tom's didn't even think to mention this fact in the article as its key to this technology.
September 20, 2006 6:33:20 PM

I'd like to see a performance test comparing:

1. the OS & swap on the SSHD with the apps on a conventional drive
2. the OS & app on conventional drive with swap on SSHD
3. OS & swap on a conventional drive with the apps on the SSHD.

I've got a number of friends in the creative fields (graphic design, video editing, etc) who might get a decent boost out of a reasonably cost-effective performance booster. Option 2 probably requires the smallest SSHD with 1 & 3 varying with the applications in question. I figure 2GB of SSHD is pretty cheap and would be a decent swap partition. 8GB may hit that cost/performance ratio of letting you have either the OS+swap or swap+key apps on the SSHD.
September 20, 2006 7:07:05 PM

Quote:

Flash has a limited no. of writes, usually a maximum of 100,000 operations in the same location.

You can easily end up doing 100,000 write operations in the same location of an HD very quickly. especially if you're running windows off of that drive, as its paging algorithm is very inefficient to the point of being broken.


Most flash drives have a built in system that shifts data so that writes do not occur at the same point. So if your memory looked like this:

AAAA..................BBBBBB.....................CCCCCCC..................DDDDDDD

and you rewrote BBBBBB you might get:

AAAA..................---------...bbbbbb........CCCCCCC..................DDDDDDD

With the old data (-----) still being there but marked as "available" in the FAT table (or equivalent) and I believe a counter is included to indicate how many times the cell has been written to, or at least what order the cells were originally written. The available space with the fewest writes/lowest order is used the next time space is needed. If a cell fails during a write cycle it is marked bad, like blocks on a hard drive, and the data located at a different cell.

I also believe that some non-volatile memories will copy data to a new memory cell after so many read operations to ensure the cell gets tested periodically by a write cycle to avoid "invisible" data corruption.

Which means that a 1M write MTBF will require something around 1M writes/total memory cells. If the cells are 8K a 32GB drive would have some 4,000 cells so you'd need to make around 4 billion writes before you reach 1M writes on any given cell.

Assuming a worst case scenario of writing 8.01K/incidence (requiring 2 cells) results in something like 16TB of data writes.

At which point you fail out some number of 8k cells. The exact number you cannot predict without having more than just the Mean Time Between Failures. However the system will likely then continue to function at its new degraded size for another (1M writes x remaining cells).
September 20, 2006 7:28:05 PM

Quote:

Flash has a limited no. of writes, usually a maximum of 100,000 operations in the same location.

You can easily end up doing 100,000 write operations in the same location of an HD very quickly. especially if you're running windows off of that drive, as its paging algorithm is very inefficient to the point of being broken.


Most flash drives have a built in system that shifts data so that writes do not occur at the same point. So if your memory looked like this:

AAAA..................BBBBBB.....................CCCCCCC..................DDDDDDD

and you rewrote BBBBBB you might get:

AAAA..................---------...bbbbbb........CCCCCCC..................DDDDDDD

With the old data (-----) still being there but marked as "available" in the FAT table (or equivalent) and I believe a counter is included to indicate how many times the cell has been written to, or at least what order the cells were originally written. The available space with the fewest writes/lowest order is used the next time space is needed. If a cell fails during a write cycle it is marked bad, like blocks on a hard drive, and the data located at a different cell.

I also believe that some non-volatile memories will copy data to a new memory cell after so many read operations to ensure the cell gets tested periodically by a write cycle to avoid "invisible" data corruption.

Which means that a 1M write MTBF will require something around 1M writes/total memory cells. If the cells are 8K a 32GB drive would have some 4,000 cells so you'd need to make around 4 billion writes before you reach 1M writes on any given cell.

Assuming a worst case scenario of writing 8.01K/incidence (requiring 2 cells) results in something like 16TB of data writes.

At which point you fail out some number of 8k cells. The exact number you cannot predict without having more than just the Mean Time Between Failures. However the system will likely then continue to function at its new degraded size for another (1M writes x remaining cells).

Your logic is skewed.

Firstly, you've assumed a 1 M write MTBF, whereas nearly all flash is actually 100,000.

Secondly the rest of the system won't suddenly be able to do another full-life of writes just because you've marked already-failed cells as bad. They're all about to fail at that point (assuming the writes have been roughly evenly spaced, which is true because flash drivers do that on purpose as you said).
September 20, 2006 7:55:40 PM

Quote:
Samsung has provided us with a new 32 GB Flash Solid State Hard Disk. How does performance compare to conventional hard drives and what are the implications for desktop and mobility users?


These things are called DOM or DiskOnModule. I am very excited with these prospects. Industrial users use them all of the time. The real problem is with NAND Flash is read and write cycles. Typically they have 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 R/W cycle ratings. Some places claim tha they have 1,000,000 hours MTBF for Disk on Modules. At the base of most flash ram is a flip-flop transister segment. They say it should hold for about 10 years.

Below someone asked about Lynux, this is perfect for Lynux applicaiton for discrete purposes.

My vision is having three or four of them with an old time Promise IDE Raid 5. Often the Flash Ram has an ECC or error correcting scema imbeded, but I would like to use Raid 5 for security.

I would like to see ABIT or other manufactures add a slot for two or there flash drives, and with the help of BIOS, they could be USB units, 1, Boot, 2. Disk Cache. and 3. Validated Operating system. Setups to boot from these devises. The Validated Operating system is like Microsoft Update a place for validated dlls etc. Comparison of Valided Operation System Files with Validated Operating system files.

The 1,000,000 read write cycles bothers me, fo Raid 5 is the solution. Raid Controlers should be set up for this to, for example, DOMs should not be defragmented. This would wast read write cycles and gain nothing in accesss times.

I would like Toms Hardware to have a contest on how fast a computer can boot. A RAID 5 Disk on Module solution could be very fast. http://dom.pqimemory.com/ talks a lot about the different Flash Disk replacemnt. You have 40 pin, 44 pin, and USB solutions.

Take a Promise FASTTRAKSX4060 put 4 Flash Devices, stipe or Raid 5 and test performance.

The mechanical nature of hard drives are a big minus and weakness in our computer systems, they are not enegery effecient, and they seek times and limited transfer speeds. This is the future. Now when will it be afordable
September 20, 2006 7:59:38 PM

I have several comments, one has to do with the FAT table which is going to wear out before anything else on a flash drive.

The standard hard drive only uses one head at a time.

Since a platter has two sides, and a head for each side, for a small cost increase there could be electronics for two read/write channels.

Using both heads at the same time would allow double the read/write transfer rate on hard drives.

Next, if Microsoft or someone wrote a program to determine what files are used and what order they are used during the boot process, those files could be moved so they are all sequential on the drive. This would minimize the head movement and would increase the transfer rate many times over the paltry 6 or 7 MBytes/sec windows now achieves.

Of course the fact that the Flash drive only achieves 18 MBytes/sec means Windows isn't properly reading ahead when doing other boot tasks like examining and setting up hardware etc.
September 20, 2006 9:06:06 PM

I'd like to see these things on a RAID0 ... man
September 20, 2006 9:49:05 PM

Its exciting to see new technology that performs this well and I certainly await the prices to come down so its a common part.

The one thing that strikes me with this type of technology is the data recovery potential of it. In a standard hard drive, many things can happen that lead to unmountable boot, or having to recover data through the use of 3rd party applications or 3rd party companies. My question then is this...for a drive of this type, in general could a small failure lead you to a "now you see it, now you dont" situation, leaving almost no chances of ever recovering data from them? A rogue power supply could in theory jolt this drive and you have lost everything on it in literally a flash. Any thoughts on this angle?

-\s
September 20, 2006 9:55:01 PM

Quote:

Flash has a limited no. of writes, usually a maximum of 100,000 operations in the same location.

You can easily end up doing 100,000 write operations in the same location of an HD very quickly. especially if you're running windows off of that drive, as its paging algorithm is very inefficient to the point of being broken.


Most flash drives have a built in system that shifts data so that writes do not occur at the same point. So if your memory looked like this:

AAAA..................BBBBBB.....................CCCCCCC..................DDDDDDD

and you rewrote BBBBBB you might get:

AAAA..................---------...bbbbbb........CCCCCCC..................DDDDDDD

With the old data (-----) still being there but marked as "available" in the FAT table (or equivalent) and I believe a counter is included to indicate how many times the cell has been written to, or at least what order the cells were originally written. The available space with the fewest writes/lowest order is used the next time space is needed. If a cell fails during a write cycle it is marked bad, like blocks on a hard drive, and the data located at a different cell.

I also believe that some non-volatile memories will copy data to a new memory cell after so many read operations to ensure the cell gets tested periodically by a write cycle to avoid "invisible" data corruption.

Which means that a 1M write MTBF will require something around 1M writes/total memory cells. If the cells are 8K a 32GB drive would have some 4,000 cells so you'd need to make around 4 billion writes before you reach 1M writes on any given cell.

Assuming a worst case scenario of writing 8.01K/incidence (requiring 2 cells) results in something like 16TB of data writes.

At which point you fail out some number of 8k cells. The exact number you cannot predict without having more than just the Mean Time Between Failures. However the system will likely then continue to function at its new degraded size for another (1M writes x remaining cells).

Your logic is skewed.

Firstly, you've assumed a 1 M write MTBF, whereas nearly all flash is actually 100,000.

Secondly the rest of the system won't suddenly be able to do another full-life of writes just because you've marked already-failed cells as bad. They're all about to fail at that point (assuming the writes have been roughly evenly spaced, which is true because flash drivers do that on purpose as you said).

kigmatzomat is quite right:
1. Erase cycles in high quality NAND flash are garanteed to be 1 million at the worst conditions, that is minimum rated voltage and maximum rated temperature.
2. At temperatures below 40-45°C and well stabilized voltages (like in a PC case) the number of cycles are on average 4 to 10 times higher.
3. The overwrite logic is exactly like explained: ALL flash devices (SD, USB keys, CF, MMC, etc...) are divided in sectors and have built in controllers that simply mark sectors as erased, but actually erase and rewrite them only when there's no left free space.

Given this logic, if you rewrite 10TB of data every day (I don't think your PC does that!), a 32GB high quality SSD rated at 1 million RW cycles will last at minimum for 8 years, that is 40% more the average endurance of an enterprise class SCSI drive!

Math: 1,000,000 / (10TB / 32GB * 365.25d) = 8.55y
September 20, 2006 9:57:18 PM

I would buy a Solid state hard drive if it improved performance even if it was only 40Gigs or so,I don't know why people would care to to buy a 300Gb hard drive...why would people need that much storage?...besides for porn? :p 
September 20, 2006 10:04:53 PM

Quote:
Using both heads at the same time would allow double the read/write transfer rate on hard drives

It's simply physically impossible: hard drives are out since 50 years, if there was a minimum possibility to do that, do you think NONE would have used it?
The reason is simple: the magnetic field flux generated by the R/W head passes accross the platter, it isn't stopped by the platter like an electrostatic field.
So the field generated by one head would interfere with the opposite one making impossibile to read/write data at the same time.
Studies were done in order to use up to 4 head arms around the platters, but it's not achievable because the drive would be much bigger and the vibrations would create instability.
September 20, 2006 10:57:08 PM

Sorry, but your wrong. The magnetic field from the head only goes a few millionths of an inch into the platter and the platter is thousands of times thicker than that. This may be different for perpendicular recording.
Also the drives nowdays read and write whole tracks at a time, with the data for each track bufferred in ram. This means they wouldn't need to read and write at the same time anyways.
Reading from both track or writing from both tracks has to work or you couldn't ever use both sides of a platter.
September 20, 2006 11:02:20 PM

The absence of fluid bearings will make this perfect for automobile applications.
September 20, 2006 11:05:23 PM

Quote:
I would buy a Solid state hard drive if it improved performance even if it was only 40Gigs or so,I don't know why people would care to to buy a 300Gb hard drive...why would people need that much storage?...besides for porn? :p 


A reasonably sized windows partition with some elbow room for installed apps and desktop folder space is at least 10GB. Movies (direct from DVD can be like 8gb each) games (my UT directory alone is about 6GB ), a few gigs of MP3s, MAME roms (complete set is > about 40GB now). Hard drive images for virtual machines (name your size), photo collection, source code collection etc etc.
It soon goes.
September 20, 2006 11:12:04 PM

Quote:

...
Given this logic, if you rewrite 10TB of data every day (I don't think your PC does that!), a 32GB high quality SSD rated at 1 million RW cycles will last at minimum for 8 years, that is 40% more the average endurance of an enterprise class SCSI drive!

Math: 1,000,000 / (10TB / 32GB * 365.25d) = 8.55y


You don't need to rewrite 10TB of data, just a few bytes over and over again will have the same effect. Windows is always doing stuff to your drive even when your PC is just sitting there. Just watch the Disk LED for a while if you don't believe me. Over time windoze does a LOT of swap-file, registry and other bloatware writes to your HD even if you're not actually copying/saving files yourself.
September 21, 2006 3:56:46 AM

Quote:

...
Given this logic, if you rewrite 10TB of data every day (I don't think your PC does that!), a 32GB high quality SSD rated at 1 million RW cycles will last at minimum for 8 years, that is 40% more the average endurance of an enterprise class SCSI drive!

Math: 1,000,000 / (10TB / 32GB * 365.25d) = 8.55y


You don't need to rewrite 10TB of data, just a few bytes over and over again will have the same effect. Windows is always doing stuff to your drive even when your PC is just sitting there. Just watch the Disk LED for a while if you don't believe me. Over time windoze does a LOT of swap-file, registry and other bloatware writes to your HD even if you're not actually copying/saving files yourself.

You can also make the point that the more High-End users that may be employing these drives are more likely to have more memory and turn off Paging completely (well, as much as you can in windows). I do that, and it cuts down disk accesses quite a bit for me.
September 21, 2006 12:20:53 PM

Imagine a few years down the road ( or perhaps sooner ) when mobo manufacturers will start integrating this on their boards. A mobo with enough
onboard memory to mount your OS and a few of your most frequently used programs. I'd like to see my comp boot in the time it takes to look up from my finger on the On/Standby button, instead of pushing the button then going to the fridge for a Dew and still coming back and waiting. Even if you have to replace the modules every two years or less I'll only have to do it once over the life of my system. This is the longest I've ever gone without upgrading or
building a completely new system (2yrs 1mo ) and I'm still waiting for that game I just have to play that my comp refuses to. Yeah so I'm not an early adopter, but I am an enthusiast and I like to build a comp that will not only be
fast but also have some endurance. That being said I still wouldn't mind popping in a fresh Flash module from time to time, because I also know that because of us enthusiasts that manufactures will continue to increase both speed and endurance of components. How else are they going to get us to plop down our hard-earned greenbacks.
September 21, 2006 4:43:32 PM

Quote:

...
if you rewrite 10TB of data every day a 32GB high quality SSD rated at 1 million RW cycles will last at minimum for 8 years,

Math: 1,000,000 / (10TB / 32GB * 365.25d) = 8.55y


You don't need to rewrite 10TB of data, just a few bytes over and over again will have the same effect. Windows is always doing stuff to your drive even when your PC is just sitting there.

It doesn't matter whether the bytes are "new" data or "rewritten" data as part of swap, the device would have to see 10TB of data writes each day to have an 8-year operating life.

And Maury was being optimistic on the write speed. If you fire the SSHD off at the average tested write speed (29MB/s) 24/hrs a day you get:

24 hrs/day x 60 min/hr x 60 s/min = 86,400 seconds/day
x 29MB/s = 2.5TB/day

So that would mean the SSHD would last about 36 years before reaching MTBF. Again, assuming your computer was continously writing to the drive 100% of the time ofer that 36 year period. Now, odds are it won't really last 36 years. MTBF is an average time to failure and some cells will fail sooner, which increases the load on the other cells as there are fewer of them to split up the writes. However, the device would more than likely last until obsolence made it redundant.

Face it, even if the first cell died at 0.1M writes, it would be at 100% capacity for ~3.6 years of continuous disk writes. After that it would degrade at an ever increasing pace, probably lasting another 20 years or so of writes. I would imagine your drive doesn't operate for more than 10% of the time which means that the useful life is 36 years of full capacity (3.6 write/years /10% write utilization = 36 years).

And the thing to remember is that data-shifting happens local to the drive; the PC itself has no knowlege or intervention. The relocation isn't even perceptible across the IDE/PATA/SATA/SCSI interface. The PC *thinks* it is rewriting the same data blocks but the flash does it's own mojo with translation tables and ignores it.
September 21, 2006 4:52:48 PM

Quote:
Sorry, but your wrong. The magnetic field from the head only goes a few millionths of an inch into the platter and the platter is thousands of times thicker than that. This may be different for perpendicular recording.
Also the drives nowdays read and write whole tracks at a time, with the data for each track bufferred in ram. This means they wouldn't need to read and write at the same time anyways.
Reading from both track or writing from both tracks has to work or you couldn't ever use both sides of a platter.

Review some physics and specification please :-)
An HD magnetic head can be influenced by the fild induced by the opposite one at several millimeters.
And, as I said, if you were right, ALL HD would have used simultaneous heads operation. On the contrary NO HD ever existed being able to do so.
Cache is useful ONLY if the OS requests data from adiacent tracks at slow rates, because when the system request the next track it must not wait for the rotational latency.
But if you could read from simultaneosly from 2 or 4 heads you will actually double or quadruple the transfer rate
September 21, 2006 7:23:48 PM

Quote:
Imagine a few years down the road ( or perhaps sooner ) when mobo manufacturers will start integrating this on their boards. A mobo with enough
onboard memory to mount your OS and a few of your most frequently used programs. I'd like to see my comp boot in the time it takes to look up from my finger on the On/Standby button, instead of pushing the button then going to the fridge for a Dew and still coming back and waiting. Even if you have to replace the modules every two years or less I'll only have to do it once over the life of my system. This is the longest I've ever gone without upgrading or
building a completely new system (2yrs 1mo ) and I'm still waiting for that game I just have to play that my comp refuses to. Yeah so I'm not an early adopter, but I am an enthusiast and I like to build a comp that will not only be
fast but also have some endurance. That being said I still wouldn't mind popping in a fresh Flash module from time to time, because I also know that because of us enthusiasts that manufactures will continue to increase both speed and endurance of components. How else are they going to get us to plop down our hard-earned greenbacks.


Good thoughts, I would like to be able to unplug my solid state disk and put it into a new machine and then have Windows 2000 work, and have a clean upgrade path. You would need to plan the migration by putting on the drive new drivers that were specific to your new motherboard, etc.
September 21, 2006 7:52:32 PM

Quote:
RAID?

SATA?

Why the obsolete 40-pin IDE connector?

At the rate things are changing,
4 years from now what will WD or Seagate use
to replace a failed HDD with 5-year warranty?


Sincerely yours,
/s/ Paul Andrew Mitchell
Webmaster, Supreme Law Library
http://www.supremelaw.org/
All Rights Reserved without Prejudice


They are probably using a ATA 66 interface, becasue these, like all Flash drives offer horrible read / write rates comparred to traditional HDDs. Thier strength however lies in the very fast access times, which is why they boot OSes faster. They also use less power.

We probably wont see these drives being priced for the average consumer for a long time to come yet. Before these, were slower, smaller drives, and thier prices were through the ceiling , and still havent come down yet. Some claim, hybrid drives are the way of the future, and supposedly, a version of windows vista is supposed to make using a hybrid drive a must (laptop installs I think), anyhow, I dont see the need for any of this, until they can make affordable, faster drives for the masses. Solid state drives have been around since the 90's atleast . . .
September 21, 2006 9:49:16 PM

Quote:
My personal opinion of a device like this is that it would make a perfect OS drive in conjunction with "classic" hard drives for data storage. Paul AKA Sintekk


You just identified the target market. Look for other vendors to follow with similar products as Vista gets closer to release.
September 21, 2006 10:28:37 PM

Quote:
If you follow the hard drive market, you are probably familiar with names such as Raptor, Deskstar or Barracuda, which stand for hard drive families from various manufacturers. All of today's mainstream hard drives are based on rotating magnetic platters, allowing for relatively high capacities of up to 750 GB per hard drive. But the technology has limits, as the data transfer speeds did not increase much over time. As a matter of fact, hard drives are the slowest components in modern PCs.

Only if you dont count FDD's and DVD-ROM's which are much slower. I find cloning my FDD disks, CD's, or even DVD's to Hard Drive is less of a hassle than have to find them and getting that no disk in the tray error. My son uses CD clones to the Hard Drive to reduce what he calls lag death due to the CD checks games use.
SSD's are great but in no way does SSD's mean the end of Hard Drives. SSD's IMO is just a new layer to boost large scale more reliable storage we get from Hard Drives. SSD's on the good side do increase Hard Drives life due to greatly reducing the number of hits to the Hard Drive.
Dont get me wrong this is good news but I think something like IRAM using our last generations RAM would be a better solution. With IRAM's advantage of faster memory the offset is were forced to a much smaller size.
The big problem I see for this SSD is using an old soon to be replace controller. ATA/66 is good enough bandwidth for any hard drive or RAID but memory deviced are rated in nanoseconds, unlike hard drive which are rated in milliseconds, and need higher bandwidth and lower latency. SSD's should be PCIE 1X cards to really show how far advanced they are over slower HD's.
September 21, 2006 11:22:05 PM

I seem to recall that IRAM has about a six hour backup. Not good enough for me.

Besides, I wouldn't use this a primary drive, maybe a scratch drive for Photoshop or Pinnacle. That should seriously speed up rendering. And if you use it run games the load times should be almost nothing. I'd just use the hdd for saves.
September 21, 2006 11:42:54 PM

Quote:
The absence of fluid bearings will make this perfect for automobile applications.


The lack of moving parts and low power consumption makes this an ideal technology for mobile computing applications - such as a computer in your local police patrol vehicle or for a 'rugged' laptop.

If it were say 1/3 the cost, I would probably pop for one to boost my system and use the HDDs for primary storage. £416 is too much for a 32GB drive, but I would pay <£120 for what it should do - but yeah, lose the PATA connector.

I wouldn't like to see it integrated into my mobo though - I'd prefer to keep it as a module so I can change either component freely.
September 21, 2006 11:44:50 PM

Quote:
I seem to recall that IRAM has about a six hour backup. Not good enough for me.

Besides, I wouldn't use this a primary drive, maybe a scratch drive for Photoshop or Pinnacle. That should seriously speed up rendering. And if you use it run games the load times should be almost nothing. I'd just use the hdd for saves.

True but I was stating IRAM due mostly to price as it uses our old RAM. I stated we need SSD on a PCIE X1 slot as memory can easly max out the bandwidth of SATA. The backup time would be SATA related but on a PCIE 1X an SSD based on RAM should work almost as well as being right on the system's bus. The IRAM needed better drivers which should backup as things changed when the system isn't being used. The SSD in this article has Microsofts backing with very good drivers. Dont think this is the best you could get.
September 22, 2006 12:15:58 AM

I heard about the death of HDD about 15 or so years ago when flash was first announced. But the HDD guys manage to stay one step ahead of the SS guys. There will be some applications where the SS drives make a lot of sense especially since they are getting higher and higher densities but I think the death of HDD is premature to say the least.

On the subject of flash write/erase cycles. One million was the old standard but I'm not sure that it still is with the newer technologies. The amount of charge to change a 1 to a 0 is decreasing so while a few years ago the loss of one electron meant nothing now that might become a significant %age of the charge. I like the idea of having something like code on a SSD while the file swapping stuff and storage was on a HDD.

At least based on what I know of the technologies
September 22, 2006 3:09:13 AM

I think you misinterpreted my post. Nowhere did I suggest that the Samsung drive would lead to the demise of the HDD. The point I made relating to Vista's release spawning more similar products, is thoroughly explained in the following excerpt from the Vista web site:

Windows ReadyBoost

Windows Vista introduces a new concept in adding memory to a system. Windows ReadyBoost lets users use a removable flash memory device, such as a USB thumb drive, to improve system performance without opening the box. Windows ReadyBoost can improve system performance because it can retrieve data kept on the flash memory more quickly than it can retrieve data kept on the hard disk, decreasing the time you need to wait for your PC to respond. Combined with SuperFetch technology, this can help drive impressive improvements in system responsiveness.

Windows ReadyBoost technology is reliable and provides protection of the data stored on your device. You can remove the memory device at any time without any loss of data or negative impact to the system; however, if you remove the device, your performance returns to the level you experienced without the device. Additionally, data on the removable memory device is encrypted to help prevent inappropriate access to data when the device is removed.

Windows ReadyDrive

Windows ReadyDrive enables Windows Vista PCs equipped with a hybrid hard disk to boot up faster, resume from hibernate in less time, preserve battery power, and improve hard disk reliability. Hybrid hard disks are a new type of hard disk, with integrated non-volatile flash memory.

The hybrid disk is intended for mobile PCs running Windows Vista. Your data is written to the flash memory, which saves work for the mechanical hard disk—saving the battery power. The hybrid disk helps Windows Vista resume faster from Sleep because data can be restored from flash memory faster than from the mechanical hard disk. And since more data is written to the integrated flash memory than to the traditional hard disk, you have less risk of hardware problems with the hard disk when you're on the move. Windows Vista takes advantage of hybrid hard disk to save battery life, resume use faster from hibernation, and improve reliability.

Get it now?
September 22, 2006 5:05:33 AM

The only problem with this technology (hybrid drives), is that the flash portion of the drive is tiny. I honestly dont see WHY they would use a small Flash memory chip in such a situation, unless, as usual, the manufactuers are trying to milk the public for all its worth . . .

I say stick a couple hundred megs of flash on the drives, and mark them up, whatever, but dont stick us with a 128KB flash module on the drive, and expect us to be impressed . . .
September 22, 2006 6:00:07 PM

You should compare the Gigabyte I-ram with the Samsung 32gig SSD to see how they compare. I can see the I-Ram being much faster in throughput.
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