LSI SAS 9300-8e & HGST Ultrastar SSD800MM: 12 Gb/s SAS, Tested

Inside HGST's Ultrastar SSD800MM

As mentioned, the first think you notice about this drive is its physical size, though most enterprise customers are used to 15 mm drives already. Picking the thing up, you also notice that the SSD800MM weighs a good deal, too. And because this is a prototype, it lacks official labeling.

There's a joke that goes, if you ask Intel why it doesn't offer SAS-based storage products, it'll respond that it does. They just have HGST labels on them. Alright, calling that a joke is a stretch. But prying open the SSD800MM certainly gives it some credence. Everything from the NAND to the PCB's silkscreen is labeled Intel. This partnership goes back to the Intel SSD 910, which used controllers co-developed by the two companies.

This SSD is built like no other I've seen. Once the first four screws and top plate are removed, you see the PCB attached to the bottom plate by four more screws.

On the back of the top plate, there's a large block of aluminum with a thermal gap pad that touches the NAND on the back of the PCB.

Removing the PCB exposes thermal pads for the controller, DRAM, and NAND. Normally, we'd consider this level of thermal management overkill. But remember that this SSD needs to passively dissipate up to 11 W. Even during our testing we had to make sure there was air flowing across the drive.

We don't have a lot of information about the controller, but we of course know it was co-developed by Intel and HGST. Most of the processors we've dealt with up until now were eight- or 10-channel designs; this one employs 12, which makes sense given the high-end specs. Additionally, our 400 GB sample includes two Micron DDR3-1600 memory packages that add up to 1 GB of data cache.

Finally, there are 18 NAND packages (nine on each side). Each one contains 32 GB of 25 nm enterprise-class MLC flash. All told, the SSD800MM hosts 576 GB, which comes out to 44% over-provisioning. That's a ton, even for an enterprise-oriented SSD.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
13 comments
Comment from the forums
    Your comment
  • slomo4sho
    Now only if this technology was viable for home builds. :( Maybe in a couple years?
  • major-error
    The performance and relative maturity of this prototype drive certainly is impressive, but this is what the enterprise space demands.
    At the consumer level though, the article takes on a completely different tone--I would be very surprised if we don't start seeing mention of PCIe4 at/before the top of the next CPU cycle (so, in 24-36 months at most.)
  • raidtarded
    Actually, Adaptec already saturated PCIe 3.0 with 6GB/s. The chart is incorrect, it doesn't take 12Gb/s to saturate the PCIe bus. Well, not for Adaptec.
  • falcompsx
    Remember when mechanical hard drives struggled to saturate their interfaces? Times sure have changed with SSD tech.
  • CaedenV
    Anonymous said:
    The performance and relative maturity of this prototype drive certainly is impressive, but this is what the enterprise space demands.
    At the consumer level though, the article takes on a completely different tone--I would be very surprised if we don't start seeing mention of PCIe4 at/before the top of the next CPU cycle (so, in 24-36 months at most.)


    Ya, my bet is that we will not start to see SATA4 or PCIe4 until Skymont at the earliest. Considering it is looking like Broadwell may be pushed back due to 14nm die shrink issues I would bet that Skymont will have similar issues when moving to 10nm. But at least for home users you can cram 2 SSDs in RAID0 with a proper RAID card and get a little performance boost until then. I guess the only problem is that most people are going to use the onboard Intel RAID for RAID0, which will get you a killer synthetic benchmark, but in practical reality it is really just expanding your volume with very little speed benefit.
  • kj3639
    Go HGST! WOO!!!!
  • bit_user
    * wipes drool off floor *

    That's a quality review of some quality products. I like the insights shared, throughout. I especially appreciated the link to the SATA-Express paper. Thanks!

    MORE REVIEWS LIKE THIS!!
    :)
  • bit_user
    Anonymous said:
    Actually, Adaptec already saturated PCIe 3.0 with 6GB/s. The chart is incorrect, it doesn't take 12Gb/s to saturate the PCIe bus. Well, not for Adaptec.
    How many ports and how many lanes, though? If it's just a 8-port card, the math doesn't support that, as 6x8 = 48 Gbps, which is less than the 8 x 8 = 64 Gbps that a x8 PCIe 3.0 slot should carry.
  • raidtarded
    It is the equivalent of a nuke bomb compared to the LSI products. It has 24 Native ports.
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Actually, Adaptec already saturated PCIe 3.0 with 6GB/s. The chart is incorrect, it doesn't take 12Gb/s to saturate the PCIe bus. Well, not for Adaptec.
    How many ports and how many lanes, though? If it's just a 8-port card, the math doesn't support that, as 6x8 = 48 Gbps, which is less than the 8 x 8 = 64 Gbps that a x8 PCIe 3.0 slot should carry.
  • raidtarded
    It is a 24 port native raid controller. smokes the 4 ports.
  • drewriley
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Actually, Adaptec already saturated PCIe 3.0 with 6GB/s. The chart is incorrect, it doesn't take 12Gb/s to saturate the PCIe bus. Well, not for Adaptec.
    How many ports and how many lanes, though? If it's just a 8-port card, the math doesn't support that, as 6x8 = 48 Gbps, which is less than the 8 x 8 = 64 Gbps that a x8 PCIe 3.0 slot should carry.


    The graph is slightly misleading because it includes some assumptions. I mentioned the x8 assumption, and you found the other major one, which limits it to 8 port cards. Also, they list the SAS throughput with 8b/10b taken into account.
  • drewriley
    Anonymous said:
    It is a 24 port native raid controller. smokes the 4 ports.


    I personally love the Adaptec 72405, it is amazing that they can provide 24 native ports and absolutely amazing sequential performance. But, when you look at external connectivity, there isn't a ton of difference. Adaptec has a version with 16 external ports, or 16x6Gbps, which is 96Gbps. LSI has an 8 port version, which gives you 8x12Gbps, or 96Gbps. While Adaptec allows you to connect more drives without the use of expanders, LSI allows you to get better performance per drive. I really like the fact that we have two companies catering to high-end RAID that offer different solutions, which gives us, the customer, the most flexibility.
  • drewriley
    Anonymous said:
    * wipes drool off floor *

    That's a quality review of some quality products. I like the insights shared, throughout. I especially appreciated the link to the SATA-Express paper. Thanks!

    MORE REVIEWS LIKE THIS!!
    :)


    Thank you, I appreciate the feedback!