Monday, December 26, 2011

Icy Dock Dual Bay RAID Enclosure Review (MB662USEB-2-1)

The Icy Dock MB662USEB-2-1 is a simple two-bay enclosure designed to be used in RAID0/1, JBOD or Concatenation modes with 3.5-inch hard drives. The enclosure offers a quad-interface, allowing users to connect via FireWire 800/400, USB 2.0 and eSATA. In the box Icy Dock includes everything you need to get rolling (except the drives); power adapter and cables for each interface are standard equipment. 
The MB662USEB-2-1 is aimed at users who need either high transfer speeds or data redundancy through use of various RAID modes such as RAID0 and RAID1. By supplying either their own 3.5-inch desktop hard drives, users can customize the RAID array for their individual use. Those wanting a safe way to protect their data with a wide range of connections will enjoy the protection of RAID1 and the quad-interface compatibility. Those looking for high transfer speeds will like the RAID0 capabilities and the eSATA/FW-800 connections for fast data transfers.
Based around the Oxford 946 ARM chipset, the enclosure supports hardware RAID, which gives a big boost in speed or redundancy without impacting CPU usage on the host system. The MB662USEB-2-1 will be available starting December 7th for a suggested retail price of $185. It's worth noting that while many consumer-grade hard drives will work in this enclosure, Icy Dock recommends enterprise-grade drives, or drives that otherwise support TLER, which prevents the drives from falling out of a RAID array when they encounter an error....full review at Storage Reviews

Corsair Performance Pro SSD (256GB) Review

The Corsair Performance Pro SSD is powered by the Marvell 9174 processor, Toshiba 34nm Toggle MLC NAND and a SATA 6Gb/s interface. The Performance Pro adds to Corsair's already excellent line of SDD products that leverage perhaps the most robust set of combinations of NAND and SSD processors available with a SATA interface. In this case the Performance Pro replaces the Performance 3, Corsair's first Marvell 9174-based SSD which was announced about a year ago. A year goes a long way in the SSD world, the Performance Pro picks up a tremendous speed boost over the Performance 3, delivering read speeds of up to 515MB/s and an impressive 440MB/sec in sequential write performance, compared to 480MB/s reads and 320 MB/s writes in the first generation model. 
Corsair offers a simplified capacity lineup with the Performance Pro, it comes in just 128GB (CSSD-P128GBP-BK) and 256GB (CSSD-P256GBP-BK) capacities. Each is ready for notebook duty with the 2.5" form factor, but Corsair also includes a mounting bracket for 3.5" desktop drive bays. The Corsair Performance Pro is competitively priced with a street price of $219 for the 128GB version and $419 for the 256GB capacity.
When comparing similar SSDs, it turns out the Corsair Performance Pro shares a lot with the Plextor M3S; so much in fact that they share the same PCB. As you will see below, we found similar markings on both boards, although each had minor hardware differences (additional capacitors or regulators). Hardware is where the differences stop though as both are running different firmware which is evident in our performance comparison...full review at Storage Reviews

Friday, December 16, 2011

Icy news: Seiko and Singapore's A*Star to Develop 2.5-Inch Hybrid HDD

5mm thick for tablets and mobile devices
With the announcement of its thin hybrid drive initiative, theA*STAR, Data Storage Institute (DSI) has further substantiated its move by sealing a partnership with Seiko Instruments Inc.(SII).
SII and DSI has signed a research collaboration to develop pivot assembly for 2.5-inch, 5mm thickness, hybrid HDD, signaling a step towards manufacturability of the DSI's 5mm thin drive target.
SII, a maker of hard disk drive components with strong expertise in high performance miniature ball bearing and pivot cartridge design, together with DSI will put in significant amount of resources to this collaboration to bring the design of the pivot cartridge towards manufacturing. The pivot assembly is an important component within the HDD which supports the movement of the actuator arm that carries the integrated system of read/write sensors over the media.
DSI's 5mm hybrid HDD architecture is targeted at addressing the current limitations of both flash-based SSDs as well as the conventional HDD, mitigating areas such as portability, data storage reliability, storage capacity, power consumption and cost. The resulting 5mm hybrid HDD is expected to enhance the next generation of media tablets and mobile computing devices, through increased capacity and reliability.
Our partnership with SII is a step towards materializing the 5mm hybrid hard disk drive, but more importantly, is a recognition from the industry on the viability and potential of 5mm hybrid hard disk drive,” said Dr. Pantelis Alexopoulos, Executive Director of DSI. 
The development of pivot assembly for 5mm thickness HDD is very challenging. However, with DSI's expertise and strengths in hard disk drive, I strongly believe that our collaboration with DSI will be a resounding success and therefore make a positive contribution in the growth of HDD industry,” said Mr. Masao Kasuga, Senior Vice President of SII. Source from

ICY games: Resident Evil 3: The number one survival horror series' best game?

For many gamers, the Resident Evil series begins in a rural part of Spain with old-timers croaking at Leon Kennedy while trying to part his hair with a spinning hatchet.

And such is the majesty commanded by Resi 4 that I feel reluctant to criticise this youthful, naive and literally wrong, perspective.
The number 4 in the title though should make it pretty clear that there's impressive legacy of Evil to pick your way through to truly appreciate Capcom's viral soap opera, but out of the 11 (eleven!) Resident Evils that came before number 4 it's Resi 3 that still makes the blood pump a little quicker.
Resi 3 is often overlooked for those looking for authenticity (Resi 1) or aesthetics (Code: Veronica), yet this is the spiritual godfather of the modern series: an athletic action-game compared to the sparse survival horror predecessors.
The game begins with STARS hottie and Spencer Mansion survivor Jill Valentine attempting to escape Raccoon City, which has become overrun with T-Virus victims. Making the situation more complicated are a bunch of sinister Umbrella Mercenaries and a STARS-targetting mac-wearing bio-weapon called Nemesis.

The presentation is classic: fixed cameras, pre-rendered backdrops, door loading screens and the quirky control system. The action is swifter and more intense mainly due to the power shift between you and the zombies as their strength in numbers isn't enough anymore - now they have reason to fear you!
The reasons: Jill is nimbler than before, able to dodge the lunges of the infected with a pump of the shoulder button and perform a 180-degree spin to launch swift counters. Then there's the content of those counters which is often shotgun led thanks to its discovery in the first 10 minutes of the game, aided by explosive scenery and followed-up with Jill's home-made enhanced ammo.
There's also the whittled-to-perfection design of the environment that dispenses with the lung-bursting back tracking of Resi 2 in favour of a labyrinth-like condensing of space.
It's like an Ikea storage solution in the way it uses and re-uses space, allowing to you to approach set-piece situations from a number of directions and discover just how rotten Umbrella's city is.
All the Resi magic you'd expect, from set-piece jumps to pantomime betrayal, is there - just in a more digestible size than before (or since) that rewards replaying the game.

Lastly, there's the presence of Jill Valentine who manages to carry off a boob-tube and shoulder holster and still smoulder. A truly believable and compassionate heroine at the heart of the most toned, lean and fighting fit of the Resi series. Source from

Icy games: Alan Wake finally coming to PC in early 2012

Alan Wake, originally planned as a PC and Xbox 360 game, but later launched as a console exclusive, has finally been announced again for PC.
Featuring the The Signal and The Writer DLC add-ons, it will arrive in early 2012.
A Remedy spokesperson couldn't confirm PC-specific features like DirectX 11 support when quizzed by Shacknews, or the game's distribution channels, but the developer did offer one screenshot (right).
It's good news for PC players, although we can't say we're totally surprised. Earlier this week, ninja PC gamers spotted a listing for Alan Wake in Steam's registry, sparking speculation that the title could finally be released on the platform.
Alan Wake's XBLA follow-up, American Nightmare, was announced this weekend. Source from

PogoPlug Series 4 Introduced; USB3.0 Meets The Cloud

PogoPlug has been making appearances in a number of products for a few years now. The premise is simple: take a low-power ARM computer, give it a NAS optimized Linux build, add storage and network access and you have what's been termed the "personal cloud." Access your files anywhere from your PC, phone or tablet; and never beholden to a data center. PogoPlug's particular hardware has been integrated into branded docks and also to OEM branded storage solutions. PogoPlug recently improved its service to include 5 GB of cloud storage available free to anyone interested. 
Today, PogoPlug introduces their Series 4 device, an update that adds one key addition. Like the original Seagate DeskStar dock, the Series 4 acts as a dock for Seagate GoFlex mobile hard drives and includes an SD card reader, Gigabit ethernet, single USB 2.0 port and two USB 3.0 ports. The USB 3.0 addition is new, and while the added throughput might be wasted to slow broadband and cellular access, the performance should help with local streaming. 
We can expect more personal cloud devices coming our way. While the convenience of storing all your data in a massive redundant data center is great, having to contend with network difficulties and service fees can be less than ideal, particularly the high costs of expanding storage. Personal cloud devices remove the fees and storage barriers, and leave users with the task of optimization and network upkeep. If you're up to the task and interested in expandable cloud storage, this may be one of the best options around.The Series 4 is available now at your favorite e-tailer for $99. source from Anandtech

Seagate 2nd Generation Momentus XT (750GB) Hybrid HDD Review

To say I liked the original Momentus XT would be an understatement. While Seagate had the lofty goal of negating the need for an SSD with its first mass-market hybrid HDD, the reality was the Momentus XT ended up being the best 2.5" hard drive on the market. In many cases, it was fast enough to be better than 3.5" desktop hard drives as well.
Seagate earned this praise by combining a small amount of of SLC NAND (4GB at the time) with a traditional 7200RPM 2.5" hard drive. A separate NAND controller was introduced to handle caching of frequently accessed data to the NAND. By acting solely as a read cache (only read requests to the drive are pulled into the cache), Seagate skirted the complicated issue of effectively building an on-board SSD by only caching reads from the hard drive and not writes to it... Full review at Anandtech

Friday, December 02, 2011

Icy games: Assassin's Creed Revelations: 'Think huge sequences of high adventure '

It's not only Ezio and Altair who are the stars of the Assassin's Creed series, but it's also the atmospheric, evocative city and landscapes that make this one of the most beautiful series in gaming.

For Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Ubisoft Montreal has rebuilt that famous crossroads of the ancient world, Constantinople, as well as several diverse secret locations.
As part of our Unlock the Animus campaign, we sat down with art director Raphael Lacoste, creative director Alexandre Amancio and scriptwriter Darby McDevitt to give you the low down on Revelations' locations...
You'll spend a lot of time in Revelations in Constantinople. That must have been quite a canvas to work with, can you tell us about the process of bringing it to life?
Raphael Lacoste: Our team invested itself heavily into both historical and on-location research to bring 16th century Constantinople to life. Via many trips to modern Istanbul to fully grasp the feel of the city, to hundreds of hours of research into the political and social realities of the period, we hope that we have brought this rich period of history to life in a convincing and believable manner... completed news go to
Icy comment: Assassin's Creed is one of PC games I love so much. Especially I was touched when playing Episode 2 because it fully presents the scene and architectures of  the Renaissance period. Unfortunately I have time to get through Brotherhood due to busy...Just share your feedback about it!

Icy news: Samsung 6Gb mSATA SSDs in Production

64GB to 256GB, eight grams, for ultra-slim notebooks
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. announced volume production of SSDs that support the mSATA interface. 

The drives are designed for use in ultra-slim notebooks such as Ultrabook PCs.

"Samsung's compact mSATA SSDs will provide performance of the highest quality in helping to deliver the advanced ultra-slim PCs that consumers have been wanting," said Myungho Kim, vice president of memory marketing, Device Solutions, Samsung Electronics. "Samsung plans to continue providing timely delivery of advanced SSD solutions, while preserving its leadership position in the SSD market for notebook PCs."

Combining Samsung's mSATA SSDs with the latest multi-core processors will help PC manufacturers to improve performance of their Ultrabook-class portable PCs up to that of notebook PCs.

The new Samsung mSATA SSDs (The mSATA PM830 SSDs are available only to OEMs for installation in new PCs or other devices) will be available in 256, 128 and 64GB densities as main storage devices, and also at 32GB for caching. They measure 50.95 x 30 x 3.8 millimeters and weigh eight grams.

The new SSDs will be part of the Samsung PM830 product family that was introduced earlier this year. They make use of Samsung's 20 nanometer class NAND flash memorycomponents which incorporate the toggle DDR interface.

Utilizing SATA 6Gb/s controllers-based on Samsung's own technology, the new mSATA SSDs can operate at the industry'ssequential read and write speeds of 500MB/s and of 260MB/s respectively, under optimum conditions. This is more than six times the speed of hard disk drives typically offering a data transfer rate of 80MB/s. The Samsung SSDs also enable faster system boot-ups (in the 10-second range) and will transmit five DVD files in about a minute.

In addition, the Samsung mSATA SSDs feature an hardware-based security solution including 256-bit AES protection, which will prevent unauthorized access to data on a lost or stolen notebook PC.

Beginning this year, the market for Ultrabook-class mobile PCs has been growing rapidly and is expected to expand beyond that of tablet PCs as early as next year due to outstanding performance characteristics, more advanced processors and use of the Windows 8 operating system. According to market research firm IHS iSuppli, the Ultrabook share of global notebook shipments will exceed 40 percent in 2015. News from  Storage newsletters

Icy comment: Start from iPad, tablet PC can be said the most popular electronic gadgets in market now, portable, user friendly, slim and light...laptops market seems to face a competitor. Now ultra books start to get the market back now. It is also particular about slim and light body, longer endurance of battery, high storage capacity and performance.Next year will be a battle field of ultra book and tablet PC...which one you support?