back to article Samsung fires up 128GB SSD massive attack

Samsung has the factory hamster wheels oiled and has started mass-production of 128GB solid-state hard drives. The company usually says nothing about the price of its new products, and it's sticking to that line today. However, Samsung promises the production ramp will be accompanied by "more attractive pricing" for the latest …

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  1. Jens C. Hansen

    Seek time?

    So what's the latency / seek time? - how long before it starts delivering data when asked to?

    That's supposed to be the real advantage; that SSD's make the PC feel a lot snappier because of the low seek time..

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seek time?

    SSDs don't have a seek time.

    It's basically memory and one location can be read as quickly as any other. The interesting figures are throughput and read and write times.

  3. Steve Hogan
    Paris Hilton

    Math problem

    Someone's math is out, or they are putting a hell of a lot of redundancy in these drives. 64 times 16 gig is 1024g. Is this a terrabyte drive in disguise?

  4. tom carbert-allen
    Thumb Up

    less energy efficient MLC???

    doesn't look that way to me, those figures are low enough to beat any existing unit in laptops. Just have to wait now to find the minimum write length so we know what the small length random write performance hit is...

  5. Neil Bauers
    Thumb Up

    Silence - The Holy Grail

    This is another step towards the totally silent PC with adequate performance playing DVD / TV / Music content and carrying out home-office mail and file serving duties. The Atom processor is another step in this direction. The machine I seek is coming soon.

  6. Sampler
    Thumb Down

    Pah

    I have a MLC SSD from transcend and it's terrible, slow and laggy for runninjg the OS on.

    They need to ramp up production and reduce the cost of the SLC drives.

  7. Andy Worth

    Aye

    Seek time and longevity would be far greater advantages than just straight transfer speed in most cases. Certainly as OS drives anyway because the increased reliability and seek speed would affect the system quite favourably. Of course on drives which are used to store lots of large files, you'd probably still be better off with a normal hard drive.

  8. GottaBeKidding

    Power requirements

    And for those actually not reading the article properly, the entire power consumption for the device is:

    Idle - 12.8w

    Active - Maximum 32w

    Which compares less than favorably with rust based storage.

    This all assumes that the device has no 'true' idle mode.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    maths?

    'Samsung said the 128GB drives consist of 64 MLC NAND flash memory chips of 16Gb each.'

    er, i think your maths has gone tits up, 64 * 16GB != 128GB, its equal to 1tB!

    Also, second the call for seek time / latency of these drives.

  10. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

    @Steve Hogan

    It's 64 x 16 gigabits (Gb) - not gigabytes (GB)

    So divide your 1024 by 8 and you get the required 128GB.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    desktops?

    are they gona make 3.5" drives?

  12. T. O'Hara
    Linux

    A case of mistaken identity

    @Steve Hogan

    Steve, it's all in the casing. Of the letters that is. A lower case b is a bit of data, an upper case B is a Byte of data (8 bits). So there are 64x16Gb=1024Gb or 64x16Gb/8=128GB. It's arithmetic rather than maths.

  13. Steve

    @Gotta

    "They only burn 0.2W in standby mode and 0.5W in active mode."

    Where do your figures come from?

    I had a look around when this story landed the other day, you can pick up a 64GB OCZ SSD for £180 at the moment. If you're trying to build a quiet media centre (or any other quiet machine) then the lack of HD physical noise and the reduction in heat generation has to be a good thing.

    @SteveHogan

    1024Gb is 128GB, so the maths is fine.

  14. Joakim Gabrielsen
    Boffin

    @Math problem

    64*16 GigaBITS / 8 = 128 GigaBYTES

  15. Tristan Hallett
    Boffin

    @ Steve Hogan

    "Samsung said the 128GB drives consist of 64 MLC NAND flash memory chips of 16Gb each." on 16Gb notice the small b, thats means its 16 Gigabits. There are 8 Gigabits in a GigaByte therefore 16Gb = 2GB.

    2GB x 64 = 128GB.

    Call me a geek I don't care.

  16. Steven Jones

    @Steve Hogan

    No the maths isn't out. Look closer and you will see that 16Gb had a small "b" for bits. so that's 64 x 16 / 8 = 128GB. There is redundancy in the flash chips themselves but it is "under the covers". Dud cells are mapped out and spares used. It's one of the features that keeps the price of flash down as it vastly improves yields.

  17. Pete Smith

    Re: Math Problem

    If the 16Gb chips are 16GigaBIT, then 64 of them will make 128GigaBYTE drive.

    This is assuming that the MLC NAND devices they're using are the 50nm ones they announced last year.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Math problem & Seek time

    No math problem, just a reading problem, it's a small B on Gb - so that's Gigabit on Gigabyte - 64 x 16Gbit = 64 x 2GB = 128GB.

    Of course they have a seek time still, it's just that it happens to be a static seek time regardless of where the data is, so the average seek is the same as the min and max seek times.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Re: Math

    64 times 16 gigabit = 1024 gigabit divided by 8 bits per byte = 128 gigabyte

    Boffin icon because I am so smrt... doh!

  20. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    Gb vs GB

    The math is fine. The chips are in giga-bits (Gb) not giga-bytes (GB.) 1024Gb is 128GB. Roughly.

    Paris, roughly.

  21. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    @Maths

    128GB (Byte)

    64x 16Gb (bit)

  22. Steve K Silver badge
    Stop

    @Steve Hogan

    It's bits, not bytes referred to in the article.....

    Steve

  23. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    Happy

    Re: Math problem

    Bits, bytes, whatever.

    But the maths problem is not entirely yours. Can I assume that 2Gb chips contain just 2e9 bits, or are there in fact just 56 of them in the device, not 64, or dare we hope that this 128GB drive actually has a capacity of 128GB? (If it turns out to be the third case, as SSDs become more common how much longer can the HD manufacturers cling to the line that "most folks expect us to lie about capacity"?)

  24. Andy Nugent

    Re: Math problem

    It's 64 x 16Mb (as in megabits) which results in 128MB (as in megabytes)

  25. Martin Saunders
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Math problems

    Their maths is spot on, you've missed the small b in 16Gb which is bits rather than bytes. Divide by 8 and hey presto...

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: GottaBeKidding

    Not sure about that, there's more than a touch of ambiguity about the statement:

    "Samsung said the 128GB drives consist of 64 MLC NAND flash memory chips of 16Gb each. They only burn 0.2W in standby mode and 0.5W in active mode."

    I'm assuming the "They" is the 128Gb drive; you're assuming the "They" is the "64 MLC NAND flash memory chips of 16Gb each". One of us might be right.

  27. radian

    alternative

    Haven't OCZ just released their Core Series SSD's that are faster than the Samsungs and quite reasonably priced?

    Or maybe the OCZ's are crap for some reason. I don't know.

  28. Olof P

    Re: Math problem

    64 x 16 gigabit / (8 bits/byte) = 128 gigabyte

  29. GrahamT
    Boffin

    @Math Problem

    I suspect the chips are 64 Gbit = 8 GByte. So 16 of them makes 128 GByte

  30. GrahamT
    Unhappy

    @Math Problem (again)

    Damn! got it the wrong way around:

    16 Gbit = 2 GByte * 64 = 128GByte

    Same result, wrong working.

  31. Simon
    Thumb Down

    @Steve

    "Where do your figures come from?"

    I believe Gotta's figures come from a proper reading of the text.

    Lets see if you can work it out. :-P

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How long before I can affordably slap one of these in my PS3.

    The prospect of PS3's being SSD based is tempting, it's nice that Sony allows me to fit whatever HDD I want, without affecting the warranty...

  33. alistair millington Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    When can we get one with usb connection

    Would make a very wise choice as a portable external "carry your useful tools around sites" kind of hard drive. I am sick of dropping mine.

    And is a reasonable size to carry everything else you might want, like your MP3 collection, some video's, a TV series perhaps.

    Give it a few months to seep through the market and the price to drop.

  34. T. O'Hara
    Linux

    Re: Re: GottaBeKidding

    The quoted power figure will be for the drive although I suspect that the active mode figure is a little conservative. In stand-by mode, 16Gb MLC NAND flash burns about 3mW per device so the standby figure is fairly accurate. In operating mode 16Gb MLC NAND burns about 45mW per device which would be 2.88W if all devices were active at the same time. Of course Samsung are smart so they probably only activate individual devices as required and can keep the typical power consumtion down to 0.5W for the whole drive. Now that's low power!

  35. Sam
    Coat

    OCZ drives are already out

    OCZ drives can already be found on dabs and aria,

    32Gb versions are around a £100.

    The ones on dabs claim 120MB/s read and 80MB/s write (Mega Bytes) with a seek time of 0.35ms (Milli seconds)

    In Reg standard units thats a read speed of about 32*10^7 Librearian reading bits a second and about 18*10^7 Math teacher writing a second.

    With a seek time of about 1/4 of a welsh woolly blink seek time.

    - Ill get my coat.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why all the fuss?

    For years now, you have been able to do this Compact Flash cards. One of their operating modes imitates an IDE drive. All you need is a passive IDE to CF adapter (available on eBay at very reasonable prices) and you can hook it up to your PC. Many embedded PCs go this route and my home PC happily runs Windows 2K off a 2 gigabyte CF card plugged directly into the motherboard. And very nippy it is too!

  37. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Coat

    @AC 11:30GMT

    the fuss is about speed and longevity, I suppose

  38. Mark Boothroyd
    Gates Horns

    @ Ken Hagan

    Re: '(If it turns out to be the third case, as SSDs become more common how much longer can the HD manufacturers cling to the line that "most folks expect us to lie about capacity"?)'

    HD manufacturers don't lie, they just use the standard metric type version of K, M etc. rather than the base 2 versions used for memory.

    i.e.

    K = 1,000

    M = 1,000,000

    etc.

    Strictly speaking, KB = 1,000 Bytes, if you want to represent 1,024 Bytes it should be written as KiB (although most people, including myself, still tend to write KB anyway!).

    So if this drive is a true 128 Giga Byte drive, it should be labelled as 128GiB rather than 128GB, that way you know it has more storage than a 128GB drive.

    So

    128GB = 128,000,000,000 bytes

    128GiB = 137,438,953,472 bytes

    As an example, if you go out and buy yourself a nice big 1TB HD drive, it's actually 1,000,000,000,000 bytes, which translates as being 931.322575 GiB.

    Hence why Windows only shows it as a 931GB size drive, as Windows is actually talking about GiB (base 2), not GB (base 10).

    Most OS's make the same mistake, treating hard drives which use one standard, the same as memory, which uses a different standard.

    Personally I wish they'd just stick to one standard, the base 2 version, esspecially now with SSD devices, as these are rated the same as memory, so can't be directly compared to HD drives, as SSD's would actually be bigger for the same size rating!

    Gate, just because I can :-)

  39. Adam

    @OCZ and What's all the fuss?

    The fuss is... these SSDs can be used exactly as one would use a traditional rotating glass platter hard-drive. Your CF card or OCZ "SSD", formatted to NTFS and running Windows 2K with swap-file et al would not last a reasonable amount of time.

    Using a CF card as a hard-drive is only a viable option if you plan to customise your system sufficiently that you won't knacker the flash card after a few months useage. I would certainly consider that option for running a more specialised system such as an in-car computer (CF more rugged) or an HTPC that streams media from more traditional hard-drives elsewhere.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    @Neil Bauers Totally silent home center

    Hasn't this been around for years? I used (1998- I'm old, okay?) to have a machine with a heatsunk motherboard, heatsunk graphics card, bloody-great-heatsink-equipped processor and an HDD in a small internal caddy. And a passively cooled hardware MPEG2 decoder.

    Absolutely silent (until you put a DVD drive in, but a DVD drive will never be silent). Low power consumption. Played DVDs beautifully, played music just fine, browsed the 'net as well as could be expected on dial-up and had a full office suite. Loaded pretty quickly as well thanks to some startup-crap-removal.

    Ontopic: 128GB SSD, sounds fantastic! How long till it's in a Super-eeePC?

  41. Nik Simpson

    Disk vs. memory capacity

    While hard drives have always been measured using K=1000 rather than K=1024bits, this will not be true for memory based storage where the building blocks are multiples of 8bits, so 64 x 8 Gbit chips chips is a true 64 GB of storage

  42. Naadir Jeewa
    Heart

    Divide by 8 loop error.

    There's an argument to be made against having a delay on these comments.

    PS: 1024Gb = 128GB.

  43. Eugene Goodrich
    Dead Vulture

    base-2 vs. base-10 kilo/mega/gigabyte chart

    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/kilobyte.png

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Mark Boothroyd

    I was about to gleefully post that my faith in humanity had been restored, since there weren't any pompous, revisionist blowhards trying to trumpet the 'GiB' invention, but you had to go and ruin it.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Holy Grail

    Neil, you do realize the irony of wanting a PC with no moving parts, in order to play... DVD's? Perhaps you just want a DVD player. If you are going that far, why not just sod the disk, and play an divx file from your snazy SSD?

  46. Steve Hogan
    Boffin

    My reading problem

    Thanks to all who corrected me, I will try to read more carefully in the future.

  47. Chris
    Alert

    Temps?

    I see a few comments along the 'silent and cool' line.

    Well, both these, purely relative, terms MAY be incorrect, if extrapolated to more realistic sizes.

    Let's just suppose these things are a lot cooler than mechanical HDs, I can't help wondering how much heat a hypothetical 1TB version would generate?

    Having fallen into the 'Raptor trap' in search of speed (and they are noticeably faster - downside: you do need ear defenders) I also fell foul of temperature issues there.

    Raptors consistently run 39 degrees, other HDs seem to run around 32 degrees - BUT, Raptors being rather low capacity, you also wind up using more of them... see where I'm coming from? More AND hotter?

    The other point being, 'conventional' (non-Raptor) HDs seem to run the same temp regardless of capacity - but it would seem to me that SSDs MUST, because of their technology, generate heat directly proportional to their capacity, so lots of little SSD's probably aren't the answer either.

    Is this really the way we want to go? I've reached the point where I now have to watercool RAM (well, everything else is on the machine in question:-) ) because a couple of 1200 rpm 120mm case fans can't keep RAM temperatures at a reasonable level (reasonable? One where they are stable and don't fail regularly).

    If SSDs become common, and high capacity, will they be sold with attached fans (ooops, there went the 'quiet', or just massive (ooops, there goes the physical size advantage too) heatsinks and a requirement for the sort of case airflow only achievable with a lot of fan noise?

    Conventional HDs may have their limitations and possibly aren't an ideal solution to static storage, but... when you think carefully about it, SSDs at current conventional HD capacities MIGHT prove just as noisy (albeit indirectly and possibly not as bad as Raptors), and/or bulky, and/or hot running as the present generation of HDs...

    Ah, the unending search for the 'silent' high performance PC!

    The issue here really is that using energy generates heat. And everything in a PC uses energy, to a greater or lesser extent.

    Quiet cooling is problematical (my best solution so far is minimal mechanical (fan) cooling and a hybrid liquid cooling system based on a Reserator2 heat exchanger with a decent external pump).

    The question boils down to: Do I really want to deal with the heat generated by a couple of TB of SSD drive?

    Or stick with my Samsung Spinrites (or their equivalent by the time sensible size SSDs are available at something remotely resembling a realistic price point)?

    SSDs may have their place. In laptops and compact media players, or digital cameras (still and movie).

    But, unless I'm completely and utterly incorrect in my reasoning, they almost certainly don't have much application to 'quiet' high performance PCs.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    Seek time

    Seek time refers to the amount of time taken for the read/write heads of a mechanical hard disk to move and the average seek time is usually quoted because the seek time varies depending on how far the head needs to move..

    SSDs don't have read/write heads therefore they don't have seek times. They have a uniform access time. Not the same at all.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Flames, because I am hot :p

    "SSDs don't have a seek time.

    It's basically memory and one location can be read as quickly as any other. The interesting figures are throughput and read and write times."

    True, but wrong.

    The latancy of the drive has an impact on performance, so it may not have a seek time, it will have a latancy which is pritty much the same thing.

    Other than laptop owners I want these beastys in my desktop so I can have a Raid 0 system (striping) with no noise, low heat and low pwr consumption.

    So whilse I might beable to get the same performance from a pair of raptor drives, I do not want to invest in ear plugs, and a massive colling fan for an arry of them.

    NB: did anybody else notice the 1.5Tb article...., that *new* drive is using SATA I ;( how poo.

    Anyway, untill SSD's drop to *only* 50% more than a drive 50% bigger (raptor type price), there is no way this size will see much in the way of domestic sales. IMO

    -ano

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Where I'm going...

    Personally, I have a central server. Doesn't run anything serious but on a 1Gb network hub it services everything, even my modded Xbox runs movies from it and I can FTP my pictures to it while away from home.

    A reliable, low heat storage device that I can leave on all the time ... that's got to be a big plus side from my viewpoint; I live most days pondering when my server is going to throw a wobbly and potentially lose all my data .. investing in new hard drives every few years and then another motherboard because the interface has changed (again!) [not quite, but you know where I'm coming from]

    The desktop can run whatever it likes 'cause it doesn't matter, a single raptor would do me proud; the data bulk isn't on it. Once these things reach a good size at a reasonable price, I'm in the queue ... There's no way I'd spend two days in the face of wind and rain for a Jesus phone, but I'd certainly do it for a storage medium like this.

    If that Cherrypal PC-ish-thingy develops to the degree that it can have one or two of these attached on SATA II, then I'll be there, baby! It'll spell the end for at least one of my giant fan blasting towers with eight fans.

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