Skip to comments.Only way to stop the iPad: Flash-disk mutant SPEED FREAKS
Posted on 02/12/2013 10:46:22 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
With the rise of the iPad and the growing desire among consumers and enterprise for sexy and speedy gadgets, it seemed that flash gits were holding all the cards. The hard drive industry was holding its breath, wondering how to replicate the expensive experience. But what about hybrid disk drives, the ones that have a lump of flash cache inside their casing? Are they just the thing to spread tablets and Ultrabooks into the mass market? It's now increasingly likely that hybrid drives combining flash speed and disk drive capacity and affordability will take a massive mass-market bite out of the computing pie, leaving a reduced wedge for pricy all-flash tablets and notebooks and just a small sliver for lumbering and slow disk-only notebooks and desktops.
When Apple introduced its all-flash MacBook Air notebook a few years ago it prompted a great deal of heartache inside disk drive suppliers and Intel who both feared that ARM-powered, flash-using ultra-thin Air-style notebooks would decimate the Wintel disk-drive notebook business. The result was Intel's massive ultrathin notebook design initiative.
Seagate, seeing which way this wind was blowing, also saw that a flash cache could be used to hold the most sensitive files from a user wait time point of view - the operating system and applications - and provide 90 per cent or so of flash speed at boot, app load and shutdown times, along with with basic disk affordability.
(Excerpt) Read more at theregister.co.uk ...
My response to that has always been: “I sit at a desk and stare at a screen for 8 hours a day for living. I don’t want to come home to continue doing it.”
Since I married last year, I’ve found I spend a lot less time behind the joystick and a lot more time with my wife either outdoors or working around the house.
Since Intel’s announced they’re not making enthusiast-marketed processors after this year, and the market is likely to start moving more toward OEM and consoles, I’ll likely hang up my hobbyist belt to focus more on gunsmithing, gardening, or fishing as I get older.
My son is always turning his nose up at my modest rig....loves his dinky laptop.
Whoever said disk drive technology and supply was settling into boredom? No way, Jose. ®
Indeed, just wait till they figure out how to go a few layers deep with magnetic recording then it could get really crazy.
I have been reading the technicals on the Flash memory and they haave got a problem....
Scaling is not working for them like it is for Logic circuits.
Yes, with regular NAND Flash which has many elements per flash “cell”.... I was hoping they could have figured out the MRAM, Phase CHange RAM, or Memristor tech for solid state storage which promises fewer elements per “bit” and would allow many fold densities over conventional memory tech.
But they seem to be a lot like Nuclear Fusion, always X number of years away....
I’ve had much better luck with spinning discs with most of them lasting longer than their usefullness. Solid state has a limitted number of read/writes and if used frequently can have a significanly shorter lifespan than a spinning disc.
“I have been reading the technicals on the Flash memory and they haave got a problem....
I don’t claim what I just wrote is totally coherent....but it is a nasty issur with the physics.”
Note that I said “solid state”, not “flash”. There are non-volatile memory technologies on the way that make flash look slow, unreliable and low-density.
That said, flash is absolutely there today as a workable improvement over magnetic hard drives. For most users (and by that I mean those not running enterprise databases with large write loads) current SSDs are a fine solution. I recommend the Intel 3/500 series, which include a five year warranty:
Almost no home users will even come close to the write limit. Five years is plenty of lifetime, and there’s nothing to say that they won’t keep on ticking for long after that.
You need backups regardless of the local storage technology you’re using. Both SSDs and magnetic drives can fail, usually at the least convenient time.
Personally, my plan for my next system I’ll get this year is to use Raid 1 (mirroring) with multiple 240 GB SSDs. That also provides a ~2x read throughput performance improvement. There is no write penalty as with spinning disks, since there’s no rotational latency. As with traditional drives, I’ll buy my five SSDs (four for use, one as a hot-swap replacement) from different lots.
Backups will still be needed, but system availability should be 100%.
“Ive had much better luck with spinning discs with most of them lasting longer than their usefullness. Solid state has a limitted number of read/writes and if used frequently can have a significanly shorter lifespan than a spinning disc.”
Flash (not solid state in general) has a limited number of writes, unlimited reads. Since most computers do far more reading than writing, this generally works out well. For me, five years is a long horizon on computer equipment. Most often by then performance has improved so much the old system is moved to some secondary role, or given away. I expect even with my fairly heavy system use that SSDs will easily last five years worth of write cycles.
It’s unfortunate that even the enterprise class SSDs don’t include modular controller electronics. The manufacturers don’t want to spend the extra $1 or so on a connector (and take a very small hit on reliability). If they had it, you could order a $10 replacement card that would very likely restore access to your data.
SSDs don’t have the mechanical failure modes that plague rotating drives, the most common being head crashes, drive motor failure and head servo failure. It’s true that you can spend thousands and sometimes recover some data, but if you’re doing proper backups you can save all that money, time and hassle. Plus, in the case of a head crash, some data will simply not be recoverable. Back up your data! ;-)
I aim at keeping my SSDs 1/3 full, never more than 1/2 full.
Building your own is the cheapest route for high end computing.
Use what you want.
Spinning discs have at least one more generation of advancement left in them which should keep them at a significant price advantage for the next few years. I don’t have a problem switching to solid state, and I will when the price and reliability become competitive.
Combining the two technologies is probably going to be the best solution for most people for quite a while.
“Use what you want.”
I certainly will, thank you! ;-)
“Spinning discs have at least one more generation of advancement left in them which should keep them at a significant price advantage for the next few years. I dont have a problem switching to solid state, and I will when the price and reliability become competitive.”
Right, they have a price advantage and a performance disadvantage. I believe that for the Intel SSDs at least, they also have a reliability disadvantage for most users. It’s not clear when a solid state alternative will beat magnetic storage on price per capacity - I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet. Magnetic drives involve a lot of mechanical complexity and assembly, versus solid state which is basically modified sand... ;-)
I don’t need a ton of storage, so SSDs are fine for me. If I did need a few terabytes of storage, I’d probably do a second RAID of traditional hard drives for that...in the short term.
“Combining the two technologies is probably going to be the best solution for most people for quite a while.”
The concern I have about these drives with flash cache is that the cache is going to see quite a bit of write activity by necessity. I wonder how that will work out...
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