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Old 01-10-2013, 08:33 AM   #1
josephjpeters
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Default 960GB SSD for "under $600"

Who's buying one?

Micron just announced the M500 which uses a newer Marvell controller and 20nm MLC. Doesn't seem like it's going to be a speed king but with the "under $600" comment about a 960GB SSD, it looks like they're going to be pretty aggressive on pricing.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6614/m...d-line-of-ssds
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:35 AM   #2
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Caught this little piece on DRAMexchange this morning too:

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"Storage enthusiasts sitting on the edge of your seats for revolutionary SSD announcements out of this year's CES can rest easy: there's not anything mind-blowing coming up that you need to be worried about. Ars sat down today with both LSI/Sandforce and Samsung, and while both had plenty of neat stuff to talk about with regards to their current product line, neither had anything earthshaking to share. Like the headline says, this isn't necessarily a bad thing: now's an excellent time to buy an SSD if you don't already have one, and the ever-present enthusiast fear of buying something that'll soon be obsolete or out of date isn't one that really applies for solid state disks.

Kent Smith, the senior director of product marketing for the Flash Components Division of LSI (which makes the enthusiast-friendly Sandforce SSD controllers featured in many consumer SSDs) noted that business has been quite brisk, with Sandforce controllers appearing in many, many different OEMs' drives. Kent compared the situation today to the hard disk drive market twenty years ago, with a plethora of manufacturers producing only moderately differentiated disks. But there are only two real HDD OEMs today: Seagate and Western Digital (or three, depending on how one counts Toshiba). Anyone can use Sandforce controllers in their disks, but the sheer number of OEMs making SSDs is unsustainable, and some collapse and consolidation is inevitable.

The reasons why tie in with NAND flash's much-discussed longevity issues. SSD prices themselves are low and will get lower, but the vast majority of SSD makers aren't actually manufacturing their own NAND, but rather sourcing it from one of several manufacturers. NAND's increasing density and complexity brings with it integration issues—as NAND gets smaller and more cantankerous, it can be more difficult for an OEM who sources both NAND and controllers and melds the two together to make drives. The OEMS that can dedicate the most time to it will produce fast and power-efficient devices, while others will be pushed out of the market by decreasing costs and decreasing margins.

The message from Stephen Weinger, Director of Marketing of NAND flash for Samsung, was similar. Samsung is in a different market position from LSI—as a vertically integrated manufacturer, Samsung makes "the whole widget," from controller to NAND, rather than just the controller. However, they see the same outlook for the SSD manufacturer space as LSI: the number of companies in the space is bound to become considerably smaller. Weinger noted that in 2012 OCZ missed its second quarter earnings targets due in part to supply issues with sourced NAND, and he indicated that anticipated SSD business in 2013 will likely cause these constraints to become more widespread among other SSD OEMs.

Samsung is one of the only SSD OEMs to be selling a triple-level cell (TLC) SSD, the Samsung 840. As we discussed in our huge feature set on how SSDs work, TLC SSDs store three bits of data per NAND transistor, requiring the ability to discretely read and write eight different voltage levels. The nature of NAND cells means that as they get smaller and denser, they become more susceptible to wear from repeated erasures and rewrites. A TLC NAND transistor with its eight discrete voltage states has a much-decreased lifecycle than an SLC or MLC transistor, because reading from or writing to it requires much more precision and residual charge damages it more quickly.

The Samsung 840 gets somewhat of a bad rap in comments on Ars when it comes up, but Weinger noted that in Samsung's own internal, their TLC NAND came out with about thirteen years of usable life when tasked with the write equivalent of about 40GB per day. This is possible because of the advanced tricks that modern SSD controllers (like Samsung's and LSI/Sandforce's) do to overcome write amplification. At the high level, this usually includes deduplication (writing repeating data only once) and compression, but both companies we talked to jealously guarded their controllers' "secret sauce." Samsung didn't have any post-TLC tech on sale, and noted that the inevitable transistor shrinking march of Moore's Law will likely continue on relatively unabated in NAND flash, asserting that the company is capable of keeping up the pace.

A fast-moving market and hotly in-demand products means that companies in the SSD space, at least for the next few months, will be focused on polishing and refining—reducing power consumption, handling write amplification, and stepping down to the next NAND process size. We'll see cheaper MLC and TLC SSDs from major OEMS, but it'll be some time yet before anyone's announcing more exotic replacements like consumer-targeted memristor drives or anything like that. If you've been holding off buying an SSD because you were afraid of something newer coming out, now's as good a time as any to pull the trigger.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:09 AM   #3
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I'm not buying but I definitely want one Need to send some emails so I'll know when I can get one.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:12 AM   #4
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I'm not buying but I definitely want one Need to send some emails so I'll know when I can get one.
20nm IMFT is rated for 3k P/E cycles, right?

Seems to me the consumer pricing wars are about to heat up again. Samsung 840 vs. Micron M500. I give the edge to Samsung but I could see these drives dropping in prices that few will be able to match.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:15 AM   #5
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20nm IMFT is rated for 3k P/E cycles, right?
At least Intel's is, can't see how Micron's would be any different since it's physically from the same fab.

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Seems to me the consumer pricing wars are about to heat up again. Samsung 840 vs. Micron M500. I give the edge to Samsung but I could see these drives dropping in prices that few will be able to match.
This round will be all about eliminating the small players.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:19 AM   #6
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Not interested until it hits <= $0.50/GB. Just got a few Samsung 840 500GB drives for ~$270.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:32 AM   #7
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Totally agree. I also think this seals Western Digital and Seagate's fate in the SSD market. They waited too long and don't have the technology to enter (very little controller tech and they don't own a fab).

Samsung, followed by Micron are the 800lb Gorillas. Micron is at a disadvantage because they have to license the Marvell chip they're using but that's not stopping them.

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Old 01-10-2013, 10:29 AM   #8
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http://www.micron.com/products/solid...t-ssd/m500-ssd

I remember paying £600 for a 32 GB X25-E when they first came out. (2008 or maybe 2009 can't remember).

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Old 01-10-2013, 01:32 PM   #9
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In my opinion, in the consumer space as the size of the drive increases the endurance becomes even less of a factor. I'm still wary of TLC NAND for no other reason than my gut feeling, and I'll admit this is kind of silly.. But I'd even go for TLC NAND on a 1TB drive.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:27 PM   #10
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What the hell are Western Digital and Seagate doing? They just seem content to sit around and wait for their product to become obsolete. Within 5 years I expect HDD's will not be standard on OEM shipments. Hell, probably 3 years.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:50 PM   #11
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What the hell are Western Digital and Seagate doing? They just seem content to sit around and wait for their product to become obsolete. Within 5 years I expect HDD's will not be standard on OEM shipments. Hell, probably 3 years.

I've been thinking the same thing. They been working with storage for many, many years and have yet to seriously enter the SSD game. I guess it's the lack of fabs and more importantly it looks as though larger mechanical drives will be with us for a while for backup and large scale storage. Remember an SSD will only only data for a year or so while mechanical disks are good for many, many years.

IMO when we can buy a 3TB SSD for $300 (around 10 cents/GB) then the game is up for mechanical drives.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:51 PM   #12
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Not interested until it hits <= $0.50/GB. Just got a few Samsung 840 500GB drives for ~$270.
Whoa, I must have missed that hot deal. At that price I'd consider TLC NAND.

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What the hell are Western Digital and Seagate doing? They just seem content to sit around and wait for their product to become obsolete. Within 5 years I expect HDD's will not be standard on OEM shipments. Hell, probably 3 years.
WDC just announced 2.5" 7mm 1TB hybrid HDDs with 24GB cache.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:31 PM   #13
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Not interested until it hits <= $0.50/GB. Just got a few Samsung 840 500GB drives for ~$270.
Where was this deal??? I thought I scored w/ the 500gb 840 at $314 from B&H w/ free farcry!
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:32 PM   #14
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What the hell are Western Digital and Seagate doing? They just seem content to sit around and wait for their product to become obsolete. Within 5 years I expect HDD's will not be standard on OEM shipments. Hell, probably 3 years.
I have no idea. Everyone and their mothers have gotten / are getting into the SSD game (most recently Asus showing a SSD at CES)...what the hell is the hold up for the giants???
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:35 PM   #15
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Whoa, I must have missed that hot deal. At that price I'd consider TLC NAND.
It was at B&H Photo for $310 shipped with a copy of FC3 thrown in, which I flipped for ~$30

Ideally, what I wanted was a 384GB drive, but since those don't exist, I got this TLC puppy instead and left the tail ~25GB unused to increase the overprovision.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:39 PM   #16
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It was at B&H Photo for $310 shipped with a copy of FC3 thrown in, which I flipped for ~$30

Ideally, what I wanted was a 384GB drive, but since those don't exist, I got this TLC puppy instead and left the tail ~25GB unused to increase the overprovision.
We got the same deal then...I feel better

I've been more satisfied w/ this upgrade than any other in the past.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:39 PM   #17
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Ideally, what I wanted was a 384GB drive, but since those don't exist, I got this TLC puppy instead and left the tail ~25GB unused to increase the overprovision.
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Series...force+gs+360gb

384GiB of NAND on the board but some is used for OP and RAISE (as with most SF SSDs). However, you got a better deal with the 500GB SSD 840.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:45 PM   #18
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Arh .. I've been waiting for these sizes to pop up, def. interrested.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:07 PM   #19
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Samsung, followed by Micron are the 800lb Gorillas. Micron is at a disadvantage because they have to license the Marvell chip they're using but that's not stopping them.
I wouldn't rule out Intel from that Gorillas list. Now they finally have their own 6Gb/s controller and they own shares in one fab.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:43 PM   #20
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I wouldn't rule out Intel from that Gorillas list. Now they finally have their own 6Gb/s controller and they own shares in one fab.
True. I know they sold some of their stake in IMFT early last year. I'm not too familiar with their current arrangement with Micron. Maybe Kristian can explain?

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5603/i...take-to-micron
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:18 PM   #21
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Totally agree. I also think this seals Western Digital and Seagate's fate in the SSD market. They waited too long and don't have the technology to enter (very little controller tech and they don't own a fab).

Samsung, followed by Micron are the 800lb Gorillas. Micron is at a disadvantage because they have to license the Marvell chip they're using but that's not stopping them.
For CONSUMER drives: I think Micron, SanDisk/Toshiba, Samsung, Hynix, and possibly Kingston will survive in the consumer SSD space. I think Intel COULD retain a foothold in the consumer space, but I also think they have bigger fish to fry (enterprise SSDs, mobile chipsets, servers, etc.). Plextor and Corsair I see as possibly losing interest. I bet OCZ will withdraw if they don't fail completely, and the other minor players like Patriot will lose interest as margins vaporize. I expect Marvell and LSI to stick around. I don't think WD and Seagate are interested, as they seem more interested in high-capacity stuff instead, the hybrid drives excluded.

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True. I know they sold some of their stake in IMFT early last year. I'm not too familiar with their current arrangement with Micron. Maybe Kristian can explain?

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5603/i...take-to-micron
Based on Intel's fab moves, Intel seems to want to get out of large-volume older-tech fabs, i.e., consumer grade SSDs. I can see them focusing on enterprise-only in a couple of years.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:41 PM   #22
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We got the same deal then...I feel better
I've been more satisfied w/ this upgrade than any other in the past.
Haha, didn't mean to alarm anyone
I also lucked out on the 256GB drive - got it for $140 shipped with a free copy of AC3.
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Old 01-11-2013, 02:47 AM   #23
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In my opinion, in the consumer space as the size of the drive increases the endurance becomes even less of a factor. I'm still wary of TLC NAND for no other reason than my gut feeling, and I'll admit this is kind of silly.. But I'd even go for TLC NAND on a 1TB drive.
I agree completely. I think TLC sucks. Just a hunch.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:43 AM   #24
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I agree completely. I think TLC sucks. Just a hunch.
I think you should read a bit more and make informed decisions on facts instead of hunches.
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:04 PM   #25
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With enough TLC it won't matter, I mean if I had a 2TB TLC drive that would probably last me as long as 256GB MLC drive in theory (comparing data written over lifetime) and LONGER in practice (because 256GB is limiting and will be obsolete much sooner than 2TB). Realistically I'd have less than 30 GB/day of wear and tear on both, and the 2TB drive would be mostly empty for most of its life... it's like having the mother of all overprovisionings. Samsung has estimated 13 year lifespan at 40 GB/day of writes but they could be biased, and so I still don't trust TLC for smaller capacities. It's unproven technology to boot. I'll let someone else be the guinea pig.

P.S. And the TLC pricing is absurd, too. If TLC costs almost as much as MLC, why would you go TLC? Only if TLC is much cheaper would it make sense. Imho.
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