Monday, September 30, 2013

ICY News: Hard Drive Makers Will Continue to Limit Output to Sustain Margins – Analyst.

"Shipments of hard disk drives declined considerably in the first half of calendar 2013 due to slow sales of personal computer. While the pressure from underperforming PC market will remain, financial analysts see bright future for top hard drive makers, Seagate and Western Digital. Analysts believe that both companies will benefit from the rise of solid-state drives and growing sales of non-PC HDDs. Moreover, both will sustain margins by limiting output.

“We continue to believe the HDD industry bottomed in first half of 2013, consistent with comments from WD, Seagate, and other suppliers. The PC-related risk has faded in importance for the HDD stocks, since non-PC HDD sales are now eclipsing PC HDD sales led by double-digit unit growth for enterprise and branded drives. Seagate is well-positioned to outgrow the industry in FY14 driven by organic investments in hybrids, enterprise and client SSDs, and services,” said Joe Wittine, an analyst with Longbow Research, in a note to clients, reports Tech Trader Daily.

Traditionally, sales of hard disk drives in the second calendar quarter are up by 3% - 7% sequentially. However, this year the declining market of personal computers significantly affected the markets of PC components and the hard drive market contracted by 2% - 3%, to approximately 132 – 133 million of units in the quarter.

During the second quarter of 2013, Seagate sold around 53.8 million of hard drives, a decline of 1.9 million in the previous quarters. Western Digital managed to sell 59.896 hard drives in calendar Q2 2013, or about 280 thousand lower than in the previous quarter. Toshiba Corp. most likely shipped around 19 million hard disk drives during the quarter, which is around one million units lower than in Q1 2013."

Link to the Entire Article:  xbitslab: Hard Drive Makers Will Continue to Limit Output to Sustain Margins – Analyst.

ICY DOCK Hard Drive Enclosure Selection Guide for Enterprise and Media Professionals

ICY DOCK Hard Drive Enclosure Selection Guide for Enterprise and Media Professionals

Technological advancements have considerably enhanced our generation’s standard of living, and as time progresses the significance of data storage becomes more imperative to both our work related and personal operations. Everyone needs storage space. Your HTPC needs a huge capacity HDD to store all your movies, music and photos collection, your gaming rig needs a SSD to quickly load up your software and games, and your backup/DVR system needs a drive with hot-swap function so you can quickly swap the backup drive with the new drive or access the drive with other systems. If you’re a designer you need an enclosure that keeps your drive cool to extend the drive’s life span and protect your work.

Friday, September 27, 2013

ICY News: Build a custom soild state drive using microSD cards

"Do you have a collection of old microSD cards sitting around collecting dust? Wouldn’t it be cool if you could actually put them to good use instead of giving them away or even worse, tossing them in the trash?  Well now you can thanks to this neat looking microSD SSD Creator Kit.

The kit arrives with what is essentially a solid state drive board without the memory. There are four slots available to plug in microSD memory cards (also available for CF cards). Simply connect the cards to the mainboard (max of 32GB per card, class 10 recommended and all cards need to be the same capacity) then connect the board to your computer."

Would you $80 for the converter kit or spend a little more for a real SSD? 

Entire Article: Build a custom solid state drive using microSD cards

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

ICY News: Understanding SSDs: Why SSDs hate write amplification

"In today’s solid state drives, the NAND flash memory must be erased before it can store new data. In other words, data cannot be overwritten directly as it is in a hard disk drive. Instead, SSDs use a process called garbage collection (GC) to reclaim the space taken by previously stored data. This means that write demands are heavier on SSDs than HDDs when storing the same information."

Read the entire article from TechSpot: Understanding SSDs: Why SSDs hate write amplification

Monday, September 23, 2013

ICY News: SSDs Protected From Data Loss Due to Power Failure by Innodisk Power Secure Technology

"It is an hardware and firmware-based power failure protection system, which helps ensure SSD data integrity after sudden power outages.

SSDs are more robust than traditional HDDs; they are faster, more durable, and have lower operating costs. However, all storage devices are vulnerable to potential data loss caused by a sudden shutdown due to external power failure. Power Secure offers a combined hardware and firmware power-down recovery system that reduces the probability of data loss or corruption.

Power Secure is integrated in the storage device and requires no user intervention. Therefore it is always ready to protect data, no matter what the cause of the unexpected power loss: power outage or brownout, power supply failure, battery exhaustion, and even inadvertent disengagement of a live drive."

StorageNewsletter: SSDs Protected From Data Loss Due to Power Failure by Innodisk Power Secure Technology

Friday, September 20, 2013

ICY News: sTec s260 mSATA SSDs Announced

"sTec, a WD company, has announced their latest SSD, the s260 in mSATA form factor. The sTec s260 will find its way into embedded applications and compute situations where space is at a premium. The s260 uses a SATA 6Gb/s interface and features a modest power draw of 1.5W. sTec not content to just float out "another mSATA SSD" has added power fail protection to protect in-flight data in the event of unplanned power loss. They've also included environmental specs that support extreme altitudes and temperatures; something that ruggedized computing gear often requires given the intended use cases.

The s260 will ship in a variety of configurations using both SLC and eMLC NAND. The SLC drives come in capacities up to 64GB and offer read and write throughput of up to 500MB/s and 250MB/s respectively with endurance of 10x drives writes per day for 5 years. The eMLC drives are available in capacities up to 200GB and offer throughout of up to 500MB/s read and 150MB/s write, with support for 10x drive writes per day for 3 years."

For the more detailed specification, visit StorageReview: sTec s260 mSATA SSDs Announced

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

ICY News: Intel Debuts New Business-Class Solid-State Drive.

Intel SSD Pro 1500 family is based on Intel’s MLC NAND flash memory produced using 20nm process
 technology and LSI SandForce SF-2281 controller. The drives provide up to 540MB/s sequential read 
speed and up to 490MB/s write speed. Intel declares up to 41K read IOPS and up to 80K write IOPS for 
the SSD Pro 1500 family. The new solid-state drives will be available in 2.5”/7mm and M.2 form-factors. 
The Intel SSD Pro 1500 series also protects data from unauthorized access with enterprise-grade security
 features, including hardware-based 256-bit AES encryption2 and industry-standard Opal key management
 protocols. The Intel SSD Pro 1500 series is designed to work with processors with Intel vPro technology. 
Intel SSDs offer industry-leading reliability with annualized failure rates (AFR) well below 1%, according to 
the company." 

Monday, September 16, 2013

ICY News: Western Digital Releases 4 TB WD Green Drive HDD

"Western Digital has expanded its Green series to include a 4 TB option.
Western Digital has finally released the 4 TB iteration of its Green series HDD. The company's Green series is already home to 1 TB, 2 TB, and 3 TB models. WD's plans for a 4 TB model were revealed in a roadmap from late in 2012 which said a 4 TB option would be available in the third quarter. Though the arrival of a new 4 TB drive isn't exactly exciting, it does mean we're getting closer to those 5 TB models."
"We haven't spotted the WD Green 4 TB in stores or online but TechPowerUp reports that it is available and is priced between $170 and $190, depending on what package you choose."

Friday, September 13, 2013

ICY News: Seagate's Shingled Magnetic Recording to bring 5 TB HDDs in 2014

"Seagate has tried its hardest to shrink the read/write heads of hard drives even further, but with the latest 1 TB 3.5-inch platters, the company believes they've hit a physical brick wall: the head simply can't get any smaller. The same goes for the tracks on the platters, which Seagate claims are as close together as physically possible.
Essentially this means that without increasing the amount of platters in a drive, producing drives with capacities above 4 TB (four 1 TB platters) has become rather hard. To get around these physical limits, Seagate has looked into changing the architecture implemented, coming up with Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR)."

Link to the Article: TechSpot: Seagate's Shingled Magnetic Recording to bring 5 TB HDDs in 2014

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

ICY News: USB Implementers to Develop Media Agnostic USB Specification

"The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has announced the development of the media agnostic (MA) USB specification. The specification is designed to allow wireless devices and docking stations to communicate over the USB protocol, without the need for a physical USB connection at the speed of around 1Gb/s.
The WiGig Serial Extension (WSE) v1.2 specification from the Wi-Fi Alliance will provide the initial foundation for the Media Agnostic USB (MA USB) specification. The WSE specification has been formally transferred to the USB-IF from the Wi-Fi Alliance, and the WSE specification already incorporates the USB protocol. An important design goal of the specification is to achieve wireless gigabit transfer rates while leveraging existing USB infrastructure present in the form of:
  • Open application programming interfaces in every major operating system;
  • USB class specifications by USB-IF device working groups;
  • A wealth of open-source/OS specific drivers for USB classes;
  • Vendor-specific device drivers for a multitude of USB vendor-specific devices.
“We are pleased to see the USB-IF use the WiGig Serial Extension in its development of the Media Agnostic USB specification. Advanced wireless usages of serial bus technology have the potential to deliver great benefit to users,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance.
Wireless devices implementing the Media Agnostic USB specification will be compliant with SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) and Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0). The USB-IF has established a Media Agnostic USB Work Group which is currently developing the MA USB specification 1.0." 

Link to the Article: X-bitlabs USB Implementers to Develop Media Agnostic USB Specification

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

ICY News: Seagate Debuts Data Rescue and Hardware Replacement Services

"Seagate today announced its entry into the market for subscription-based consumer data recovery services with Seagate Rescue and Seagate Rescue and Replace. Both plans are available for internal and external HDDs and SSDs regardless of whether Seagate was the manufacturer, and are start at $29.99 for two years. The plans cover data recovery for data lost due to physical damage, corruption or accidental deletion, including a replacement drive for customers enrolled in the Rescue and Replace program.
In the case of a catastrophic failure, the cost of recovering data from a damaged or corrupted drive can reach into the thousands of dollars for technicians and lab expenses. While a data recovery service cannot replace good backup practices for ensuring the safety of critical data, the Seagate services work more like an insurance policy than an extended warranty for important drives and network storage devices." 
Would it be worth it to get the program? 

Monday, September 09, 2013

ICY News: Intel Announces New Business-Oriented SSD Pro 1500 Family, Supports New DevSleep Power Saving Mode

"Intel has announced a new family of SSD hardware aimed at business deployments with support for 256-bit AES encryption, the Trusted Computing Group's Opal management specification, and support for the vPro features inside Haswell. This last is a bit inaccuracy -- while the new drives do apparently support some vPro capabilities for remote management, Haswell didn't actually include any new features for vPro that Ivy Bridge doesn't support. Haswell's vPro implementation is supposed to be faster in certain circumstances, however.

With this new family, Intel is talking up Trusted Computing and remote management capabilities, and emphasizing the fact that these products are designed to hit ultra-low power consumption targets and failure rates below 1% per year. Actual drive performance is typical for SATA 6G products, with sequential read/write speeds up to 540MB/s and 490MB/s for the new hardware. Power consumption in what Intel calls DevSleep is 5 milliwatts, with power consumption in DevSleep mode as low as 200 microwatts (0.2 milliwatts). 

DevSleep, if you haven't heard of it before, is a new power-saving mode that's supported on Haswell chipsets. The goal is to further lowerSSD power consumption while enabling smartphone style instant-on operation. Bringing power consumption down as low as 0.2mW in idle will help prevent the stealth battery drain that kicks in when a system is left in sleep mode for significant periods of time.  "

Link to the Entire Article:  Intel Announces New Business-Oriented SSD Pro 1500 Family, Supports New DevSleep Power Saving Mode

Friday, September 06, 2013

ICY News: Fragging wonderful: The truth about defragging your SSD

"With smarter file systems and faster disks and PCs, file fragmentation isn’t the performance suck it once was. Older computers had a habit of splitting files and spreading the parts all over your hard drives, but modern ones don’t do this as much. Not even close. That said, a bimonthly pass with a capable defragger can help you maintain peak performance on a heavily used hard drive.
However, solid-state drives, which use flash memory instead of a hard-drive platter to store data, are another story: My tests showed little or no benefit from running a number of disk defragmenters on a heavily used SSD.
Conventional logic dictates that you should never defrag an SSD, because the SSD controller writes data in a scattershot-fashion to multiple NAND chips and locations, using algorithms that only the controller understands. The operating system sees it as a hard drive with sectors, but the data is spread all over the drive by the controller. Defragging these “sectors” is like trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle blindfolded: You can feel parts of the pattern, but you can’t see the whole picture. In addition, NAND is good for only a few thousand write cycles, so defragging can reduce the SSD’s lifespan by unnecessarily writing data to it."

Thursday, September 05, 2013

ICY News: Intel Demonstrates Overclocking SSDs At PAX Prime 2013 But Is It Worth It?

"At PAX Prime 2013, Intel hosted a short hands-on workshop showcasing their latest bleeding edge idea: overclocking SSDs. The demonstration was simple: run an Intel 480GB (6Gb/s SATA) SSD at stock speeds, then overclock the onboard controller, and then overclock the NAND bus frequency to demonstrate the performance improvement that can be achieved.
“The real question,” says Intel’s Product Marketing Manager Kei Kobayashi, “is whether or not we can squeeze enough performance out of the drive to justify the risk versus the reward.”

The Demo

We used AS SSD Benchmark v1.6 to first run a test of the SSD at standard speeds.
Intel 480GB SSD AS SSD Benchmark results with no overclocking

For the next test ,we used Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility to increase the NAND bus frequency on the SSD from its default 83Mhz to 100Mhz, and then ran the test again. This yielded a very modest increase of around 20MB/s for sequential reads and 30MB/s for write speeds."

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

ICY News: WD Red 6Gb SATA HDDs for NAS With More Capacity

2.5-inch at 1TB ($99) and 3.5-inch at 4TB ($229) like Seagate offering
WD announced the expansion of its WD Red line of SATA HDDs specifically designed for home and small office NAS systems with one- to five-drive bays. 


WD Red HDDs are now available in a 2.5-inch form factor offering 1TB and 750GB capacities and a new 3.5-inch 4TB capacity. 

Link to the Entire Article: Storagenewsletter: WD Red 6Gb SATA HDDs for NAS With More Capacity