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back to article SuperTalent adds Ram to SSD to boost write speeds

SuperTalent has begun shipping SSDs with 128MB of on-board DRam in a bid to beat the poor random write performance of so many solid-state drives. The 2.5in MasterDrive SX line includes capacities of 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. The latter have the same read and write speeds of 220MB/s and 200MB/s, respectively, SuperTalent said. For …

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Paris Hilton

if the 64GB models cost less than half of the 128GB...

Hmmm, if the 64G models cost less than half of the larger ones, why not raid-0 them and be done with it? I mean, its not like sata ports are scare these days. Add in a 1,5TB HDD for backup[1]/mass-storage/streaming and keep the fast SSDs free to saturate the I/O subsystems whenever needed.

Sounds fine to me.

[1] backup in terms of "weekly copies of the raid-0", offsite copies would still be made on DVD-RAM/Blueray/etc...

Paris, because of ... saturation ;)

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Bronze badge

Write caching

Provided that they have designed in some short term power storage (a super capacitor or small battery?) to allow the data from the ram to be destaged to flash then it should be fine. There is surely space in a standard hard disk form factor for such a thing - it only needs to supply the device and as they are only a couple of watts then providing a few seconds of power is surely possible.

Roll-up write optimisation like this is an obvious way to deal with the poor random write performance of flash, and it should also help with keeping the number of write cycles down to extend the life of the device. Of course roll-up optimisation is likely to cause fragementation, but with random access time so low it hardly matters that much.

I might try one of these out as a system disk which is what gets hammered on my PC.

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Linux

blah

my first thoughts were "what if the power goes mid DRAM write cycle?" the answer is loss of data. not good kids. reliable SSDs with all the benefits and none of the cons are still 12-18 months away but by all means continue to buy this tripe - it will make it cheaper for the rest of us!

tux because i like penguins.

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Not necessarily blah!

They just need a BFC (big friggin capacitor) to hold enough charge to last through a full write cycle after power is cut. And since we're talking pure solid state, it probably doesn't need that much current in the first place.

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Where to buy?

Anyone seen a UK retailer/e-tailer?

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Anonymous Coward

Sucker Bait

Cache needs to be mirrored and battery backed. Manufacturers figured out a long time ago that this is best done at the array controller level rather than on individual disks.

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Bronze badge

@AC

You can indeed put non-volatile write cache into an array (well, technically speaking, battery backed up cache and, if the manufacturer is wise, either a buffer-write out to disk or full destage under batter power for long term power outages - as they found to their costs in Canada a few years back when mains power was lost for many days after an ice storm).

However, the array based approach is hardly cost effective for individual PCs. Even in the case of arrays, then there is a good reason for going this way. If each device has its own NV write cache allowing for full buffer destage (either powered from an internal battery/capacitor, or by a battery in the array), then a hhuge amount of cost could be removed from the array. All the arrays I know are configured with RAID protection. In that case, even if one SSD fails, then the data is still available. It then means that all that expensive mirrored and battery backed up write cache in the array can be junked as the low latency of writes to these new devices means that these can all be synchronous. There might still be a need for some of this mirrored memory - the array will have all sorts of state information to maintain, and you wouldn't want a storage system crash in the event of the failure of a critical component. However, even then it might be possible to do without it. SUN's unified storage appliance does not have an NV mirrored write cache. It has the option for write-optimised SSD for this purpose (in a resilient configuration), although node failure results in a disruptive failover as state information is not mirrored across and ZFS is not a clustered file system. However, that could be dealt with in the future.

If open storage platforms are to take off, then expensive, proprietary hardware like mirrored NR RAM probably need to go too.

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