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PATRIOT Launches the P300 M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe SSD Series

PATRIOT, a global leader in performance memory, SSDs, gaming peripherals, and flash storage solutions, is pleased to announce the official launch of P300 Gen3 x4 NVMe m.2 SSD with capacities available from 256 GB up to 1 TB. The P300 is designed to deliver the most significant all-around performance for desktop and laptop users. Built with next-generation PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe controller and best-in-class components, the P300 is posed to bring out rapid data transfer speeds and best in class reliability for the user. P300 represents a milestone for the next generation of PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe SSD, which can offer 25% higher transfer speeds better IOPs over standard PCIe 3 x2 solutions and attribute to its low power consumption is the best solution for laptop battery endurance.

ASUS Debuts Latest VivoBook and ZenBook Series Lineup at CES 2020

Today, at CES 2020, ASUS debuted its latest VivoBook and ZenBook laptop refreshes. The first in the lineup is the VivoBook S series, which is consisting out of VivoBook S333, S433 and S533 models. At the heart of these new laptops is the latest 10th generation of processors from Intel that is giving the ultra-portable notebooks power to perform everyday tasks with ease. In some configurations like S433 and S533, there is a choice of Core i7 and Core i5 Comet Lake CPUs, while the S333 model is rocking Ice Lake at its core. For Comet Lake configurations, there is a choice of Intel Core i7-10510U or Core i5-10210U processor, while Ice Lake powered models have a choice between Intel Core i7-1065G7 or Core i5-1035G1 processors. As far as graphics power goes, users can choose to use Intel iGPU, or add NVIDIA MX series GPU for an additional price increase.

AMD Renoir APU Models Spotted in ASUS Notebooks

Following the previous report about AMD's upcoming "Renoir" APU lineup of processors for notebook and desktop, we have new information about the new processor models and their configurations. Supposed to launch in early 2020, the Renoir lineup is supposed to feature up to 8 cores and 16 threads in high-end models. Dubbed Ryzen 4000 series, the new APU lineup will be available in four configurations determined by its TDP: 15 W and 45 W chips for notebooks, and 35 W and 65 W variants meant for desktop.

According to WCCFTech, AMD will launch high-performance Ryzen 9 4900H and Ryzen 7 4800H APUs soon in the first notebooks. Supposed to be part of the "H" series of mobile APUs, these models will feature high core count, that can reach up to 8 cores, SMT support as well, all within TPD of 45 Watts. A power-optimized Ryzen 7 4800HS has also appeared in the listings as a lower clocked alternative to Ryzen 7 4800H, which is supposed to feature lower TDP as well. All of the former processors appear listed as the base of ASUSes upcoming GA401 and GA502 laptops, featuring 16 GB of RAM, Windows 10, and a 14-inch display. While configurations of the laptop will affect its price, Ryzen 7 4800HS powered model is currently listed at 1904 EUR, featuring 16 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage, so we now have a ballpark price estimate to speculate upon.

BIOSTAR Adds 1 TB Option to M700 PCIe NVMe SSD Line

BIOSTAR, a leading manufacturer of motherboards, graphics cards, and storage devices, announces a new addition to its M700 series of NVMe M.2 SSDs with the high capacity 1 TB. Complying with the NVMe 1.3 standard and using PCIe Gen3 x4, gamers and content creators get up to 3 times performance increase from traditional SATA III drives, a clear advantage for improved productivity and uninterrupted gameplay. With its lightweight, small form factor, and high storage capacity, the M700 1 TB might just be the only drive you will need to build the ultimate budget-friendly system.
Update Jan 14th: Our review of the SSD can be found here.

Kingston Announces Shipment of A2000 Series PCIe 3.0 4x NVMe PCIe SSD - $100 for 1 TB

Back at CES 2019 we shared a story on Kingston's then upcoming A2000 series NVMe drives. The company's development strategy for these was to undercut SATA SSDs in pricing while delivering non SATA-bound speeds. The company planned to leverage component cost falls for NVMe controllers, pairing that with the reduced materials cost of NVMe drives (smaller than their SATA counterparts) so as to be able to achieve below-SATA price points. The choice of Toshiba's BiCS4 3D TLC NAND also aimed to keep costs down, whilst delivering performance that's "at least three times as high as SATA-bound drives".

The company is offering a limited 5-year warranty on their A2000 series, which in itself is a sign of the company's confidence in these products - despite their entry-level classification and overall development strategy. The A2000 series will be available in 250 GB, 500 GB and 1 TB capacities, with speeds claimed of up to 2,200/2,000MB/s sequential read/writes; up to 250,000/220,000 IOPS in random 4K read/writes; and 600 TBW rating (all of these values are for the 1 TB solution, with TBW falling to 350 TBW for the 500 GB part and 150 TBW for the 250 GB drive. These drives make use of a PCIe 3.0 4x controller, which means savings weren't at the expense of 2x PCIe channels, as some solutions have done in the past in order to cut costs. Pricing is being quoted at $40 for the 250 GB part, $60 for the 500 GB one, and a mere $100 for the 1 TB part. The true democratization of NVMe SSDs has just caught some heavy favorable winds on its sails.

SK Hynix Starts Mass-Producing World's First 128-Layer 4D NAND

SK Hynix Inc. announced today that it has developed and starts mass-producing the world's first 128-Layer 1 Tb (Terabit) TLC (Triple-Level Cell) 4D NAND Flash, only eight months after the Company announced the 96-Layer 4D NAND Flash last year.

The 128-Layer 1 Tb NAND chip offers the industry's highest vertical stacking with more than 360 billion NAND cells, each of which stores 3 bits, per one chip. To achieve this, SK Hynix applied innovative technologies, such as "ultra-homogeneous vertical etching technology," "high-reliability multi-layer thin-film cell formation technology," and ultra-fast low-power circuit design, to its own 4D NAND technology.

Samsung Launches Industry's First 1TB Embedded Universal Flash Storage

Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology, today announced that it has begun mass producing the industry's first one-terabyte (TB) embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS) 2.1, for use in next-generation mobile applications. Just four years after introducing the first UFS solution, the 128-gigabyte (GB) eUFS, Samsung has passed the much-anticipated terabyte threshold in smartphone storage. Smartphone enthusiasts will soon be able to enjoy storage capacity comparable to a premium notebook PC, without having to pair their phones with additional memory cards.

"The 1 TB eUFS is expected to play a critical role in bringing a more notebook-like user experience to the next generation of mobile devices," said Cheol Choi, executive vice president of Memory Sales & Marketing at Samsung Electronics. "What's more, Samsung is committed to assuring the most reliable supply chain and adequate production quantities to support the timely launches of upcoming flagship smartphones in accelerating growth of the global mobile market."

Seagate Launches the New Barracuda SSD Lineup - 250 GB Through 2TB Capacities

Seagate, who are making strides in both storage density and performance of traditional HDDs with their HAMR and Multi-actuator technologies aren't going to let themselves be left dry in the SSD race. To that effect, the company, via a blog post, has just announced the introduction and availability of their barracuda SSDs, available in capacities up to 2 TB (in 250 GB, 500 GB and 1 TB additional tiers).

Like most recent SATA III SSDs, the Barracuda SSDs max out the data channel with maximum sequential read and write speeds reaching 540 and 520 MB/s respectively. There's a five-year warranty on these SSDs, which is in line with industry standards, and Seagate is asking $74.99 for the 250 GB SSD; $119.99 for the 500 GB one; and $229.99 for the 1 TB capacity. The 2 TB model will be available at a later date.

Samsung's Next-Gen PM981 NVMe SSDs Surface

Samsung is the most well-regarded company when it comes to consumer SSDs. even if their SSD solutions do usually carry a premium versus the competition, that price delta is usually well justified: Samsung's SSDs are frequently the most reliable, fastest option in the market. Samsung's 960 PRO and 960 EVO SSDs have done a good job of clarifying the company's market positioning, and now, the successors for those Samsung SSDs have already surfaced.

The next-gen Samsung NVMe drives carry the PM981 code-name - where "PM" stands for TLC NAND (in this case, based on 64-layer 3-bit per cell V-NAND chips), "9" stands for Samsung's highest performing solutions, and "81" stands for the part number - two tiers ahead of Samsung's 960 series. It's expected that there will be a 970 part, since Samsung seems to be steering away from the "EVO" and "PRO" monikers to differentiate products according to performance - a straight numeral is expected to be the norm going forward. For now, the parts that have surfaced carry 512 GB and 1 TB of memory. These will make use of Samsung's Polaris V2 controller (with a metal heatsink over it to aid in cooling), and deliver 3,000 MB/s and 3,200 MB/s sequential read speeds (for the 512 GB and 1 TB versions respectively) and 1,800 MB/s and 2,400 MB/s sequential write, respectively. The models surfaced from a Vietnamese retailer, which has them going for $233 and $439 - which doesn't mean this will be the final consumer retail price, but seems reasonable for the technology and performance tier of these NVMe SSD solutions.

New Wave of M.2 SSDs With Phison E8 NVMe PCIe x2 Controllers to Hit Next Month

Phison has been working hard towards bringing to market a new, budget SSD controller in the form of its Phison E8 solution. The controller was designed with the purpose to try and dethrone Intel's 600p solutions from the budget, entry-level NVMe options, through offering increased performance at the same affordable prices. To do this, and so as to decrease power consumption, Phison opted for a PCIe 2x support for the E8 - this means the company is trading burst performance for decreased power consumption. E8-based SSDs are expected in capacities of 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB, with prices lower than the current 600p and Phison's own E7-based products like the MyDigitalSSD BPX.

The Phison E8 controller should still offer plenty of increased performance over a typical HDD, and has been designed to work with 3D NAND technology. even with the firmware in its non-final stages, Tom's Hardware is reporting that the Phison E8's performance is already higher than Intel's 600p and WD's Black PCIe solutions. As we all know, though, firmware optimizations are paramount to SSD controllers' performance, so we can only expect these performance numbers to go up. All in all, it seems we'll have yet another low-cost NVMe SSD solution in the market, though desktop users will likely opt for a PCIe 4x solution, since that environment doesn't care about power consumption as much as a mobile solution would.

Western Digital, SanDisk Shipping 3D NAND Blue and Ultra SSDs

Western Digital and SanDisk have updated their Blue and Ultra line of consumer SSDs with the latest 3D BiCS FLASH NAND technology. Capacities will range from 250 GB capacities through 500 GB and up to 1TB at launch, with a 2 TB SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD "coming soon." The hardware powering each drive is exactly the same, save for the difference in available storage: the controller used is a Marvell 88SS1074, protocol is SATA 6Gbps / AHCI, and even warranty stays the same through all WD and SanDisk models, at three-years (limited.)

The WD Blue line of SSDs will be available in both 2.5" and M.2 2280 single-sided models. Sequential read speed starts at 550 MB/s for both WD Blue 250 GB and SanDisk Ultra 3D, with sequential write speeds at a rated 525 MB/s and read/write IOPS being set at 95,000/81,000 respectively. All other (higher) capacities deliver slightly more performance: 560 MB/s sequential read speeds, 530 MB/s sequential writes, 95,000 random read IOPS, and 84,000 random write IOPS. Pricing is as follows: WD Blue 3D 250 GB ($89); Blue 3D 500 GB ($149.99), Blue 3D 1 TB ($279.99); SanDisk Ultra 3D 250 GB ($99.99), Ultra 3D 500 GB ($164.99), Ultra 3D 1TB ($279.99) and Ultra 3D 2TB ($549.99, currently unavailable.)

Plextor Details Release Availability of their M8Se NVMe TLC SSDs

At CES 2017, Plextor announced their next SSD product line. Dubbed the M8Se, these will be restricted to NVMe SSDs with 15nm 3-bit-per-cell TLC of Toshiba manufacture, ranging from 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB and 1TB capacities leveraged by Marvell's Eldora controller.

The new mid-range NVMe SSD uses a new heatsink design (slight cost-reduction when compared with the one the M8Pe carries), that Plextor says will improve cooling by up to 20% - convenient, since throttling does happen with NVMe based SSDs - and particularly with Marvell's Eldora controller - as it did with Plextor's M8Pe line of SSDs. The card also features blue accent lighting. Plextor will also sell a heatsink-less M8PeGN model in the M.2 form factor.

Seagate Introduces the 5th Gen FireCuda SSHDs - Up to 2 TB, 8Gb NAND

Seagate has officially updated their FireCuda line, the solid-state supported, high-capacity hybrid drives. The new, 5th Gen models sport a thinner form-factor (2.5"), rocking the company's multi-tier cache technology as well as 1 TB SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) plates. The SMR plate's difference compared to conventional, perpendicular recording HDD technology allows these hybrid drives to increase storage density by up to 25%, by allowing newly-written magnetic tracks to partly overlap previously-written ones, reducing the amount of platter real-estate occupied.

The caveat with this technology is that the overlapping-tracks architecture may slow down the writing process, since writing to one track overwrites adjacent tracks, and requires them to be rewritten as well. However, according to Seagate, the large, multi-tier cache technology and large NAND caches are enough to offset any performance loss incurred by the SMR technology employed on these drives, and then some.
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