Tag: pcie

Toshiba’s OCZ Storage wants to kill off SATA for SSDs

Toshiba’s OCZ Storage is hatching up a cunning plan to kill off SATA for storage by making improvements to PCIe hardware.

PCIe has been around for a while and it offers more bandwidth than SATA. While there are solid-state drives that use PCIe for this purpose, it has not really taken off because of video card requirements.

Toshiba’s OCZ Storage has hatched up some bootable solid state drives which it claims can kill off SATA bottlenecks. It uses a high-speed PCI Express architecture coupled with a sophisticated workstation-grade RAID array that virtualises the SSD controllers.

Toshiba’s OCZ Storage Solutions has come up with a PCIe-based RevoDrive 350. By using PCIe the drive can push 1.8 1.8GB/s in sequential performance transfer speed and 140,000 4K random write IOPS. The drive uses Toshiba’s NAND memory built on the 19nm process node.

Daryl Lang, Senior Vice President of Product Management for OCZ Storage, said that the new RevoDrive 350 is uses Toshiba flash and OCZ’s proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture (VCA) 2.0 and can improve performance while reducing the burden on host resources.

“This next generation PCIe SSD is the ideal solution for performance-minded users looking to maximize both bandwidth and density for the complete gamut of gaming, content creation and workstation applications,” he said.

OCZ claims its RevoDrive 350 can withstand up ot 50GB of host writes per day for 3 years, which is the length of the warranty.

The RevoDrive 350 is available 240GB ($530), 480GB ($830), and 960GB ($1,300) capacities with support for both Linux and Windows. 

Apple adopts native PCIe flash storage

In what might be the kiss of death for a promising new technology, Apple has announced that it will adopt PCIe Flash Storage.

The move appears to follow Sony’s announcement that it will begin selling the VAIO Pro 13 laptop with a high-speed PCIe SSD.

Michael Yang, an analyst at memory and storage research firm IHS iSuppli, pointed out that Apple’s move is more evolutionary than revolutionary because PCIe flash cards for servers have been around for years.

But he told Computerworld that the addition of native PCIe flash in the Mac Pro and MacBook Air “officialises” the technology for the masses.

However Apple has a poor record when it comes to bringing in new technology. Historically Apple has bought in new technology, such as Thunderbolt and Firewire and watched as other standards do better.

PCIe however does show some signs of wider adoption already. example, Intel and Plextor are working on Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF) SSDs that will use a mini-PCIe connector. Plextors NGFF SSD measures just 22mm by 44mm in size and connects to a computers motherboard through a PCIe 2.0 x2 interface.

Chipzilla has gone on record as saying that it sees a future for PCIe especially in desktops and notebooks.  But then it worked with Apple over the largely unseen Thunderbolt technology.

It appears that they will be headed to higher end devices as they will be a little on the pricey side.

PCIe-based flash is solid-state performance on steriods. It uses switch architecture, which has multiple end points to allow the sharing of one endpoint with lots of different devices.

A new Apple’s Mac Pro will boast 1.25GBps reads and 1.0GBps writes. Which is more than double SATA III SSDs today which offer about 550MB/sec speeds. 

Watchdog blocks $330 million component company acquisition deal

US authorities have blocked a proposed $330 million acquisition deal, with the buy out of PLX Technology creating a “near-monopoly” for Integrated Device Technology (IDT).
The Federal Trade Commission has put an end to the deal which it ruled would create an unfair advantage in the production and sale of PCIe switches, components which perform connectivity functions in electronic devices.
According to US authorities, IDT and PLX are the two biggest players in the PCIe market, worth $100 million a year globally.
The FTC said that the two companies are currently each other’s closest and most direct competitors. By joining together in a $330 million merger deal agreed in April 2012, the resultant company would own 85 percent of the PCIe market.
In the past customers have capitalised on the rivalry between the two component firms to drive down prices, but the proposed deal would eliminate this competition, potentially affecting value and quality. The rivalry has also resulted in more innovative features and better customer service.
“PCIe switches are important components in many computing, communications and consumer products,” said Richard Feinstein, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition.
“The combination of IDT and PLX would hurt competition and lead to higher switch prices, lower innovation in the marketplace, and reduced customer service.”

Intel announces 910 Series SSD for datacentres

Intel has continued its push for solid state drives, launching its new 910 Series datacentre drives with PCIe interface.

Intel is attempting to address the needs of growing trends in cloud computing and virtualisation, and is hoping that the benefits of its new SSDs will have datacentre staff ripping out HDDs straight away in favour of the 910.

400GB and 800GB varieties will be available, offering the standard benefits of an SSD such as increases in performance and endurance with 25 nanometre NAND flash memory.  

While consumers may be still be put off by the relatively large price tags of an SSD in mainstream devices, for businesses the cost is likely outweighed by a need for reliability and high performance. Prices are  $1,929 for the 400GB version and $3,859 for the 800GB drive.

Intel maintains the devices can prove cost effective with the ability to allow up to 10 full read writes a day for five years, with a thirty-fold endurance improvement over standard MLC-based flash products.

By replacing multiple 15K rpm HDDs in the datacentre, Intel says that it can save on space and power consumption, but also reduce latencies and improve storage scalability.

ThePCIe enabled 910 SSD Intel will expand on previous SATA-based offerings from Intel in the datacentre, such as the 700 SSDs.

In terms of performance, at the top end the 800GB version will reach up to 2 gigabytes per second sequential reads and 1GB/s writes.  It will also reach 180,000 4K random read IOPS, and 75,000 4K random write IOPS.

The SSDs will be available from “mid-2012” according to Intel.

IBM and Cadence to work together on systems-on-chips

Cadence Design Systems, a major player in EDA360, today inked in a joint development agreement with IBM to create a high-performance integration-optimised IP. This development strategy is expected to help deliver “revolutionary” designs while reducing the risk and time associated with integrating complex SoC Designs.

Under the agreement, the companies will develop DDR PHYs, memory controllers, and protocols such as PCIe and Ethernet under a 32-nanometer silicon-on-insulator. The technology will be used in servers, video games and other devices and will be available through the newly announced Cadence Open Integration Platform.

A core component of its EDA360 vision, the Cadence Open Integration Platform comprises an integration design environment, integration-optimised IP and on-demand integration services, all facilitated by Cadence’s mixed-signal and digital design, verification and implementation technologies.

“Qualifying and integrating complex IP is a costly and growing burden for many of our customers,” said Vishal Kapoor, vice president of Product Management of Cadence. “We look forward to teaming with IBM to relieve some of that burden for engineering teams as they grapple with SoCs and systems that will only continue to grow in size and complexity.”

“The IP we’re working on with Cadence will provide state of the art building blocks that will allow our customers to build more powerful, higher bandwidth networking and communications technology,” said Marie Angelopoulos, director, IBM Microelectronics. “This collaboration with Cadence combines IBM’s expertise in developing and integrating process and IP technology with Cadence’s experience in IP development to supply customers with the tools needed to build a new generation of communications infrastructure.”