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Ask Me Anything - Official Samsung Representatives

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July 29, 2013 10:51:06 AM

Tom's Hardware Ask Me Anything - Samsung
Ever wanted to ask one of the big hardware or software giants something directly? Why’d they do that? Where’d the idea come from for that last product? What’s in store next? Well, now you have the chance!

Tom’s Hardware is proud to announce the fourth of our brand new community features – ASK ME ANYTHING.

On Wednesday, July 31st, we’ll be hosting the fifth of a series of Tom’s Hardware Ask Me Anythings, and our guests will be official representatives from Samsung!

This thread will be unlocked, open and live for 24 hours starting at 12:00 noon eastern on July 31st, and questions will be moderated and supervised by Tom’s Community Manager, Joe Pishgar, and a full team of Senior Moderators.

Ask Me Anything Rules
• No tech support questions, as these require in-depth personal follow-up and diagnostics.
• All Rules of Conduct apply.
• Keep questions direct and to the point.
• Avoid opinion bias - ie: "Why are all your products awesome/bad/smelly?"
• Be respectful of our guests, no insults, no leading questions.
• Do not post duplicate questions, or repost your question multiple times.
• Not all questions may be answered. Questions may not be answered in the order in which they are received or posted.

Only registered users will be able to ask questions, so if you haven’t yet, be sure to register now for your chance to participate!

The official representatives will reply periodically over the time the AMA is active using a recognized and verified account.

Please join us on this date to throw your questions into the mix and ask Samsung what you've always wanted to ask!

What: Ask Me Anything – Samsung
When: Wednesday, July 31st, 12:00 p.m. Noon EDT
Where: This thread itself!
Who: John Lucas, Senior PR Manager and Ryan Smith, Senior Product Marketing Manager, SSD

Our Guests from Samsung are-

Name: Ryan Smith
Username: samsungssd
Title: Sr. Product Marketing Manager, SSD Marketing at Samsung Semiconductor, Inc..
Bio: Ryan Smith is Sr. Product Marketing Manager, SSD Marketing at Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.. His extensive technical background in data storage system design enables him to provide a highly seasoned perspective on the market for solid state drives (SSDs). Ryan's more than 13 years in data storage includes various customer and technical support positions at Xyratex International Ltd., nStor Technologies Inc., and ANDATACO, including five years as a Software Engineering Manager and three years as a Field Applications Engineer. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Decision Systems from San Diego State University.

Name: John Lucas
Username:
Title: Sr. PR Mgr., Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.
Bio: Bio is forthcoming

This AMA thread is now unlocked for questions!
July 31, 2013 9:12:02 AM

As a reminder, please keep the questions asked pertaining to Storage, and avoid any requests for technical support. Thanks!
July 31, 2013 9:16:33 AM

Question from Facebook as they start to trickle in:

Q. As more and more people are making the jump to SSD's, what does Samsung have in store for the upcoming generation of enthusiasts looking to get more bang for their buck out of their rigs?
Related resources
July 31, 2013 9:28:08 AM

jpishgar said:
Question from Facebook as they start to trickle in:

Q. As more and more people are making the jump to SSD's, what does Samsung have in store for the upcoming generation of enthusiasts looking to get more bang for their buck out of their rigs?


Samsung has announced some exciting things this year: The industry's first consumer based PCIe SSD (XP941) which will allow notebook users to experience even better performance than before. In addition, we announced the first NVMe based SSD (XS1715) that will help bring PCIe to more server/datacenter customers and help it proliferate where it has previously only been leveraged in niche markets. Samsung also announced the second generation of our 3-bit MLC SSD's: 840 EVO on the retail side. The technology inside this 3-bit MLC SSD allows a more affordable price because Samsung is able to store 50% more bits in the same physical space. There was also a wave of other technology advancements coupled with the 840 EVO announcement such as TurboWrite and RAPID which enable incredible speeds to be experienced.
July 31, 2013 9:32:56 AM

loosescrews asks:
"Why do you use a triple core controller in your SSDs? Is it because some competitor used a dual core controller, or is it really the sweet spot in price/performance/power consumption?"
July 31, 2013 9:33:12 AM

Formata asks:
"What ever happened to the Spinpoint series HDDs?"
July 31, 2013 9:40:10 AM

jpishgar said:
loosescrews asks:
"Why do you use a triple core controller in your SSDs? Is it because some competitor used a dual core controller, or is it really the sweet spot in price/performance/power consumption?"


Samsung's controller's are custom made for our SSDs. Because of that we have complete control over the features and functionality offered. There are numerous tasks that need to occur concurrenty in any modern system, including SSDs. Some of the tasks included are handling read commands, write commands, managing Flash, garbage collection, etc. In order to offer the best experience and performance, our team has carefully selected all characteristics that go into our SSD, including the controller. Samsung's SSDs are completely vertically integrated, meaning that we control all key components that go into the SSD; this allows us to optimally design the SSD to offer best-in-class reliability and performance.
July 31, 2013 9:44:35 AM

jpishgar said:
Formata asks:
"What ever happened to the Spinpoint series HDDs?"


Samsung no longer produces HDDs (Hard Disk Drives). Samsung believes that SSDs are the future of storage for PCs and Servers. Phones are all Flash. Tablets are all Flash. As the trend of PCs continues to offer thinner and lighter solutions and demand the responsiveness experienced on tablets/phones, SSDs are the solution going forward.
July 31, 2013 9:59:20 AM

A question from our own justinblue:

"Does Samsung think regular hard drives will ever be completely replaced by SSDs?"
a b Ô Samsung
a c 119 G Storage
July 31, 2013 10:17:40 AM

Hi Samsung and welcome to Tom'sHardware forum, I have several Samsung SSDs in my computer as I don't use a conventional hard drive.

I noticed in an earlier response that Pci-e based SSDs were mentioned for the Laptop and Data center/Server based solutions.

Is anything being planned for the desktop as other manufacturers have done and what kind of added features will there be. One company just released a Pci-e based SSD and one of the included features was the ability to create a ramdisk from up to 80% of available system ram.
July 31, 2013 10:20:31 AM

jpishgar said:
A question from our own justinblue:

"Does Samsung think regular hard drives will ever be completely replaced by SSDs?"


We are definitely seeing aggressive trends towards adopting SSDs into PCs, Servers, and Enterprise Storage. However, HDDs still have a place for slower-accessed large data. What has happened, and will continue to happen, is SSDs will continue to replace HDDs in particular applications. SSDs are definitely here to stay and have made it into virtually every datacenter and enterprise solution. In many of the new thin & light notebooks offered, the only option are SSDs. In other notebook offerings, you often see SSDs as an option or a SSD+HDD option. One thing we have heard time and time again from consumers that have experienced an SSD in their notebook is they would never go back to an HDD-based notebook. Converting to SSDs are a life changing event.
July 31, 2013 10:38:04 AM

inzone said:
Hi Samsung and welcome to Tom'sHardware forum, I have several Samsung SSDs in my computer as I don't use a conventional hard drive.

I noticed in an earlier response that Pci-e based SSDs were mentioned for the Laptop and Data center/Server based solutions.

Is anything being planned for the desktop as other manufacturers have done and what kind of added features will there be. One company just released a Pci-e based SSD and one of the included features was the ability to create a ramdisk from up to 80% of available system ram.


In general, a notebook SSD could be used in a desktop as well. You would need to ensure you have the right form factor and interface type, etc. As you are likely aware, SSDs are based on Flash NAND technology which is a non-volatile memory; when you turn off power to the SSD, the data will still persist. However, with RAM it is volatile in nature, meaning when you power off RAM, the data is lost. However, there could be battery back-up or capacitor-based solutions to mitigate this but this is less commonly seen in the PC space. SSDs and RAM currently tackle two different aspects of a given system. In general, RAM disks would be suited for temporary or scratch files where if they were lost, it would not be a major issue. Employing other technologies such as RAM disks may be something you can take advantage of, but recommend that any interested party be familiar with when and how it should be utilized.
a b Ô Samsung
a c 283 G Storage
July 31, 2013 10:54:50 AM

1. I am glad to hear that Samsung will be offering affordable consumer oriented PCI-e based solid state drives. What is the approximate release date for consumers who want to purchase a PCI-e based ssd's for their desktop computers? This year or next year?

2. The adoption of the new SATA Express standard signals the start of the migration to affordable consumer oriented PCI-e based ssd's. Does Samsung plan to manufacture consumer oriented ssd's based on the new SATA Express standard? New connectors or motherboard headers?
a b G Storage
July 31, 2013 11:08:31 AM

I have two questions:

1. I really like the concept of the Chromebook and it's great to see vendors like Samsung getting on board with the idea, but my main question is will that lead to the Chrome OS becoming more widely used in other devices? And how will Samsung incorporate Intel's new generation of Atom processors in things like set top boxes, Smart TVs, and other devices?

2. The Samsung 840 Evo is a sweet SSD, and with the 1TB configuration of it out, will that lead to lower SSD prices in the long run?
July 31, 2013 11:22:01 AM

JohnnyLucky said:
1. I am glad to hear that Samsung will be offering affordable consumer oriented PCI-e based solid state drives. What is the approximate release date for consumers who want to purchase a PCI-e based ssd's for their desktop computers? This year or next year?


The Samsung XP941 (PCIe SATAe-based SSD) has already started shipping to PC OEMs. We cannot comment on when PC's based on these solutions will hit the market.

More info about the announcment of Samsung's PCIe SSD:
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Samsung-XP941-SSD-Ultr...


JohnnyLucky said:

2. The adoption of the new SATA Express standard signals the start of the migration to affordable consumer oriented PCI-e based ssd's. Does Samsung plan to manufacture consumer oriented ssd's based on the new SATA Express standard? New connectors or motherboard headers?


The Samsung XP941 is a SATA Express (SATAe) based SSD. The form factor we decided to launch SATAe with is the M.2 (80x22mm) to be optimized for thin & light notebook platforms. You can see pictures of this form factor here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Samsung-XP941-SSD-Ultr...

You can also find numerous pictures of the XP941 on Google Images:
https://www.google.com/search?q=xp941&tbm=isch
July 31, 2013 11:30:05 AM

g-unit1111 said:
I have two questions:
1. I really like the concept of the Chromebook and it's great to see vendors like Samsung getting on board with the idea, but my main question is will that lead to the Chrome OS becoming more widely used in other devices? And how will Samsung incorporate Intel's new generation of Atom processors in things like set top boxes, Smart TVs, and other devices?


I cannot really comment on Samsung's other product offerings since SSDs are my specific area of expertise.

g-unit1111 said:

2. The Samsung 840 Evo is a sweet SSD, and with the 1TB configuration of it out, will that lead to lower SSD prices in the long run?


The Samsung 840 EVO is an excellent advancement that was needed to further propel SSDs into more consumer PC's. We are very excited about the sucess thus far and the projected growth due to this technology. The sweet spot for SSDs today is still around the ~250GB capacity point. However, some users were waiting for higher capacities to become available before moving completely over to SSDs. With a 1TB option now being available, this should allow even more to make the switch. Each generation of SSDs that comes out, the more cost effective they become.
July 31, 2013 1:36:06 PM

I really dig Samsung's new 840 Evo in the 1 TB configuration. I plan on building a new PC in September, and will use at least one of these for my data storage. Currently, I'm looking at a 512gb 840 Pro for my boot drive though. I want the longevity and tested track record of 2-bit NAND technology for my OS drive (Windows 8). I know you may be under an NDA to discuss future product releases, but I was hoping you could give me a hint as to when the next generation of top end Samsung consumer SSD's (replacement for 840 Pro) are going to be released. In other words, is it safe for me to buy an 840 Pro in September or should I hold off a bit (new model incoming)?

Thanks,
John
July 31, 2013 3:05:44 PM

Does Samsung intend to branch out into peripherals in addition to their storage products?

Also, with regards to system memory...what are your thoughts on DDR4 vs. HMC? Obviously you probably can't give details, however, are both types of memory being investigated by Samsung?
July 31, 2013 5:22:40 PM

Ive seen several tests done by review sites that mention that there is no fear of longevity issues when it comes to TLC NAND with samsungs great controller/flash technologies, and the 840 EVO looks like a great drive that i want to order. Just wondering what your personal experience is with this newer nand tech and if we will be seeing the 840 EVO in early august?
a b G Storage
July 31, 2013 9:01:18 PM

What happened to Samsung's mechanical hard drive division? I have a Samsung Spinpoint and it's held up very well after four years of owning it.
July 31, 2013 11:13:28 PM

When will the Samsung SSD 840 Evo be released in Asia, and do you have any plan for PCIe SSD for PC in the near future? (I really don't want to wait until August 2014 :D )
August 1, 2013 12:21:31 AM

SSD is the hottest tech right now and the speeds are amazing. I have been reading about MRAM based technologies for over a decade but the capacities have remained rather small and very expensive. The idea of a SSD like device with near infinite erase/write cycles is the holy grail of data storage.

When do you think MRAM or SST-MRAM might finally become mainstream? 5, 10, 15 years?

a b Ô Samsung
a c 99 G Storage
August 1, 2013 12:33:33 AM

I'v got a couple of oddball questions here, I would be surprised if you could answer them all :D .

1. Physical storage mediums have been on the decline in the wake of the Internets increasing presence in peoples lives. Do you see any trends in the future that could potentially revive older forms of physical media, perhaps Optical Discs in some kind of updated form?

2. IBM made waves in the scientific community when they released the "A Boy and His Atom" video, which was an experiment to see how viable it is to use atoms to store information. Does Samsung have any similar experimental technology in the works in regards to data storage?

3. With a product like Google Glass and wearable devices in general when they become more common, physical space will be quite constrained and in form factors we have not seen yet. How does Samsung intend to cater to these devices, considering that they are developing their own storage devices and manufacturing flash for the industry at large?

4. Samsung is a major LCD panel manufacturer, and so must be aware of the potential of OLED displays have in regards to how flexible they are. A logical extension of this would be the completely flexible phone you could basically scrunch into a ball and put in your pocket, or stretch to the proportions you want.
How will data storage work in a device like that, is it possible to create flexible flash memory or will there need to be a compromise solution?

EDIT: Just thought of another.

5. With advances such as non-volatile RAM through the use of in-built capacitors to keep it charged and prices going down through advances in technology and manufacturing processes,is it possible that RAM will become the dominant storage medium in the future? If so, how long would it take or would some other technology (Such as aforementioned MRAM) by then made it obsolete?
August 1, 2013 9:22:10 AM

To provide enough time for the latest answers, we'll be extending the AMA 2 hours per request. :) 
August 1, 2013 9:35:44 AM

ssd's have been out for a while and havent gained speed that much, has solid state technology reached its peak speed? do you plan to make combo drives to tackle this problem or some other technologies?
ssd's arent very spacious how do you plan on making them as cheap as and as spacious as say, a 2tb hdd?
August 1, 2013 11:18:22 AM

8350rocks said:
Does Samsung intend to branch out into peripherals in addition to their storage products?

Also, with regards to system memory...what are your thoughts on DDR4 vs. HMC? Obviously you probably can't give details, however, are both types of memory being investigated by Samsung?


The area where my division focuses on is OEM SSD offerings where our customers take our SSDs and put them into their product offerings which are then sold to end-users. Our division is more focused on enabling our customers to add value on top of our SSD. With that being said, we have not had any announcements around peripherals using SSDs for our division.

Regarding HMC & DDR, my expertise is more focused on SSDs and not on the RAM side.

If you are interested in me forwarding to our retail division, please send me your question to: ssd@ssi.samsung.com and I will forward your question to the retail team.
August 1, 2013 11:30:09 AM

samsungssd said:
8350rocks said:
Does Samsung intend to branch out into peripherals in addition to their storage products?

Also, with regards to system memory...what are your thoughts on DDR4 vs. HMC? Obviously you probably can't give details, however, are both types of memory being investigated by Samsung?


The area where my division focuses on is OEM SSD offerings where our customers take our SSDs and put them into their product offerings which are then sold to end-users. Our division is more focused on enabling our customers to add value on top of our SSD. With that being said, we have not had any announcements around peripherals using SSDs for our division.

Regarding HMC & DDR, my expertise is more focused on SSDs and not on the RAM side.

If you are interested in me forwarding to our retail division, please send me your question to: ssd@ssi.samsung.com and I will forward your question to the retail team.


Thanks for answering my question, I would love for you to pass that along to them...I will email you.
August 1, 2013 11:33:13 AM

rrbronstein said:
Ive seen several tests done by review sites that mention that there is no fear of longevity issues when it comes to TLC NAND with samsungs great controller/flash technologies, and the 840 EVO looks like a great drive that i want to order. Just wondering what your personal experience is with this newer nand tech and if we will be seeing the 840 EVO in early august?


Samsung was first to successfully deploy 3-bit MLC technology into SSDs. There are three main characteristics that go into determining the "longevity" of a SSD: The type of NAND used, the write workload type and amount, and the capacity of the drive. So, as you see, the type of NAND (e.g., 2-bit MLC, 3-bit MLC) is only one piece of the puzzle when determining what the longevity will be.

3-bit MLC has not always been an option for SSDs but the timing is right to make the switch. Two things have made this possible: the capacity points of SSDs have increased to levels that make the longevity a non-issue and the controller/DSP technlogy that reads/writes to the NAND Flash has improved each year. For example, if you have a given amount of writes you can do to the NAND Flash itself, and you go from 64GB to 128GB, you double the amount of overall writes (GB's) you can do over the life of the drive. When you go from 128GB to 256GB, you double it again. If we were still using 64GB drives today, 3-bit MLC would likely not be an optimal solution for a 40GB/day workload. However, because we have moved to higher capacities, we have doubled and quadrupled the amount of writes possible to the SSD that weren't possible at smaller capacity points.

We have done tests using typical PC workloads (PCMark) to simulate 40GB's of writes per day on a 256GB 3-bit MLC SSD and have shown it to reach the specified limits of the NAND in 13.5 years; This is a long time in the life of technology. Hard drives were roughly 20GB thirteen years ago. Furthermore, some reviewers have shown that the 3-bit SSDs they have tested can handle much more writes than this. If you move to 2-bit MLC, you can bump this up to over 47 years. The question is: do you really need more than 13 years of writing 40GB's per day? If the answer is yes, then perhaps 2-bit MLC is for you. But, in reality, most people do not write 40GB's every day to their drive and do that for 13 years. And, it is likely the user would have already replaced their entire computr within that 13 years.
August 1, 2013 11:48:29 AM

g-unit1111 said:
What happened to Samsung's mechanical hard drive division? I have a Samsung Spinpoint and it's held up very well after four years of owning it.


We are happy to hear you are having a good experience with Samsung's technology. Samsung now focuses on SSDs as the long term future of storage.

The fastest Hard drives in the world can give you ~400 IOPS
A consumer-based SSD can provide you up to 90,000 IOPS
Up to 225x faster IOPS than an enerprise-based HDD.

In addition, there are no spinning parts in an SSD so you can sustain more bumps without worrying whether a mechanical part (head) hit the disc that's holding your data. When's the last time you dropped your cell phone thinking that you lost all your photos? Likely you were more concerned about your screen cracking. Now, think about dropping your HDD-based notebook. Chances are you were thinking about whether your data is still there. Switch to SSDs and remove that concern.

Computer seem to get slower after a year of use? Your data gets fragmented on your HDD and most people rarely defragment their drives anymore. Even if you do, it rarely helps much. As your registry gets full, more drivers, more programs need to load, your HDD is getting overloaded with bursts of read and write requests. With typical notebook-based HDDs producing ~100 IOPS, the HDD light on your notebook is likely blinking away when your computer seems unresponsive. This is because your HDD is bottlenecking your computer. If you are experiencing this, switching to a SSD will bring new life to your PC by removing the bottleneck created by your HDD.

Next time your computer is lagging and you notice your HDD-light blinking rapidly or constantly illuminated, think about how a SSD can change your overall experience with your PC. Every person I have bumped into that has an SSD said they would never go back to an HDD.

August 1, 2013 11:56:21 AM

dongbin2696 said:
When will the Samsung SSD 840 Evo be released in Asia, and do you have any plan for PCIe SSD for PC in the near future? (I really don't want to wait until August 2014 :D )


If you send me your question on the Samsung 840 Evo SSD availability in Asia, I will send it to our retail divison to answer: ssd@ssi.samsung.com

We have announced the first PCIe-based PC SSD recently: Samsung XP941. This is a SATAe based SSD. This is already shipping to PC OEMs so that they can ship products based on this technology later this year.

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Samsung-XP941-SSD-Ultr...
August 1, 2013 12:21:26 PM

Cazalan said:
SSD is the hottest tech right now and the speeds are amazing. I have been reading about MRAM based technologies for over a decade but the capacities have remained rather small and very expensive. The idea of a SSD like device with near infinite erase/write cycles is the holy grail of data storage.

When do you think MRAM or SST-MRAM might finally become mainstream? 5, 10, 15 years?


There are many exciting technologies that have extreme endurance characteristics. It is extremely hard to predict future markets based on these new technologies.

With that being said, endurance isn't or shouldn't be really brought up as a major concern for SSD adoption. It is a characteristic that exists on NAND Flash, but wear-out characteristics exist in almost every product that exists:
- Sole's on shoes
- Buttons on your phone
- Battery on your phone
- Even DRAM has a limit of how many writes you can do (a very big one)

The point is that there is a performance/endurance rating for almost everything. The key is to ensure system designers are designing in the right ratings into their product's (e.g., SSDs) that is solving a given problem.

There are many types of SSDs and many types of NAND Flash (3-bit MLC, 2-bit MLC, 2-bit Enterprise MLC, SLC). Original PC-based SSDs were based off of SLC-based Flash which offers much higher endurance ratings than 3-bit MLC. However, it is rare to find a SSD storage device that is based off of SLC. The reason is quite simple: cost; and SLC provided way more endurance than was needed by the majority of consumers.

If the needs of the customer can be met by a more cost-effective solution then it would make sense to explore those alternatives. What has happened in the PC SSD space is it went from SLC to 2-bit MLC, and now to 3-bit MLC. There are even Enterprise solutions that are based off of 2-bit MLC; Think about that for a second. Enterprise-based solutions that need to endure a massive amount of writes are using the same technology that's used in a majority of PC's. 3-bit MLC is a great fit for PC-based solutions and at the capacity points that consumers have moved to, and are moving to, endurance is less and less of a concern no matter which NAND Flash technology is used.

As you pointed out, endurance is something that is there but the vendors making the SSDs must consider the markets they are targeting and pick the right technology that's best for the consumer.

If you are a power user and are writing extreme amounts of data to your drive (e.g., over 40GB's per day, or overwriting the entire contents of your drive every day) then you would likely need to consider endurance a little more. For the 99% of the market that doesn't do that, endurance should be the last thing on their mind.
August 1, 2013 2:01:49 PM

Hey there all!

As it is now been 24 hours (plus a few!), the "official" AMA is concluded!

Epic thanks to the Samsung representatives who took the time out of their schedules to come and answer all the great questions our community had for them. We know this was a lot of work on their end, and we're greatly appreciative of the time taken to engage with the community here at Tom's Hardware. :) 

For answering questions, a big thanks goes out to Ryan Smith of Samsung for being with us during the AMA. Also, last but not least, a mega-thanks to John Lucas at Samsung for helping to put this together on their end!

As a heads-up, stay tuned to news and articles for the announcement of our next AMA, which will be taking place right around the corner.
Thanks again to all for making this a great success!

-JP
!