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May 9, 2007

WTB 32GB NAND SSD drive

About a year ago, Samsung announced the Samsung Q1 (Q1P SSD 7" Ultra Mobile PC - Intel Pentium M ULV Processor, 1 GB RAM, 32 GB Flash Drive, Windows XP Tablet), an ultra-mobile computing device hosting a 32-Gigabyte (GB) NAND flash-based solid state disk (SSD). Promised: 300 percent faster reads (53 MB/s), 150 perent faster writes (28 MB/s), complete silence (except for the CPU fan...). I just want the SSD. How would it compare to a USB Flash drive of equivalent size? How would it compare to an SDRAM-based SSD?

Wikipedia discusses SSD availability:

  • Super Talent Technology Announced they will ship a 3.5-inch 160 GB Solid State Drive in April 2007.
  • Sandisk released a 32GB 2.5-inch solid state drive on March 13, 2007. The SSD SATA 5000 is being sold to computer manufacturers for $350.
  • Sandisk released a 32GB 1.8-inch solid state drive on January 4, 2007 (where is this?)
  • Taiwanese A-DATA introduced at the Las Vegas CES 2007 SSD drives at capacities of 32GB, 64GB (1.8" model) and 128GB (2.5" model). It is expected to be commercially available by mid-2007.
  • SimpleTech has announced a 64GB SSD that is only 9.5mm thick, half the size of competing SSDs. On April 18, 2007 SimpleTech announced 256GB capacity enterprise level drives available immediately and 512GB capacity drives available late 2007.
  • Adtron announced a 160 GB SATA SSD on February 20, 2007.
  • Samsung has upped the capacity of its Flash-based SSD line to 64GB on March 27, 2007
  • Dell has begun shipping ultra-portable laptops with solid state drives (SSD) on April 26, 2007

Storage benchmarks

Jason Phillips has a three-part series on hard drive benchmarking on the BleedinEdge. It is very thorough. Why does this matter? A poorly maintained hard drive decreases over-all system performance because apps use the drive-based page file when system memory is insufficient. This post summarizes the software reviewed.

  • Disk Bench - "How fast are my disks really. In a real life situation." Copies file from A to B, times it, then deletes file. Small installation file, very simple, few configuration options, .NET affects performance. (free, v2.5.0.3)
  • DiskSpeed32 - Tests drive cylinders, graph difficult to understand, long test (free)
  • Drive Speed Checker - Free trial nags, advertising, one button to start test, tests read/write speed, directory lookup speed (free trial, $4.99, v1.5.5)
  • HD Speed - Destructive write test (achtung!), measures sustained and burst data transfer rates in realtime (free, v1.5.2.61)
  • HDD Speed Test - Basic tests, option to disable system cache and pagefile (free, v1.0.11)
  • HD Tach - low level hardware benchmark, measures sequential read speed, random access speed, interface burst speed and CPU utilization of drive; registered version adds sequential write testing (free trial, v3.0)
  • Iometer - Originally developed by Intel for single and clustered systems, not user friendly, advanced, use to compare with advertised specs, used by manufacturers (free)
  • IOzone - not tested
  • MHDD - not tested (v4.6)
  • PassMark Performance Test - sequential rw, random seek+rw, easy to install and use, includes many other tests (free trial 30 days, $24, v6.1)

Flash RAID array

A trip to Fry's this afternoon and a chance encounter with a Lexar Lightning USB drive reminded me of an idea I had to RAID together USB flash drives. HardForum has a nice discussion and a reminder of throughput. USB is 480 Mbps (60 MB/s) and the fastest Flash is about 30-40 MB/s. Meanwhile, IDE is 133 MB/s. With regards to USB flash speeds, there is a difference. See the Moka5 USB Flash Drive Showdown for ratings. There are substantial differences between products. Pricing also varies substantially by site. The 2GB Lexar Lighting was $54.99 at Frys.

May 15, 2007

How to mount a USB key under Solaris 10 x86

Had to do this today, and it took a few tries. Here's what you need to do (incomplete original):

  1. Insert USB key (ok if machine is alive)
  2. "iostat -En" will tell you where to find your USB device, e.g.,
    c5t0d0 Soft Errors: 2 Hard Errors: 0 Transport Errors: 0 Vendor: USB 2.0 Product: Flash Disk Revision: 1.00 Serial No: Size: 0.13GB <130023424 bytes> Media Error: 0 Device Not Ready: 0 No Device: 0 Recoverable: 0 Illegal Request: 2 Predictive Failure Analysis: 0 --> c5t0d0
  3. "devfsadm -C"
  4. "mount -F pcfs /dev/dsk/c1t0d0p0:c /mnt/" -- Make sure you write "dsk" and not "rdsk". Also, you must have trailing slash on the target directory!!
  5. "umount /mnt" when finished

Amazingly, it actually works. My USB key was formatted FAT32, and I suspect this technique should also work for any other kind of USB storage. If you confirm, let me know.

About Storage

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Tim's Journal in the Storage category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Smartphones is the previous category.

Tablet is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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