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PNY Quietly Reduces XLR8 CS3030 M.2 NVMe SSD Endurance by Almost 80%

(Update May 6: Added PNY's official word on the endurance changes)

PNY has quietly reduced the endurance rating (TBW - TeraBytes Written) for its XLR8 CS3030 M.2 NVMe SSD by almost 80%. The "quietly" comes from the fact that the company only deemed it necessary to update the product specifications on their website, and didn't announce any such changes via press release or any other means. Hence, prospective buyers who might look to launch reviews of this NVMe SSD so as to make a decision regarding its purchase may be led astray by the (then) quoted TBW ratings, which are actually no longer relevant for samples of this SSD - at the very least for any model manufactured post-specifications change on their website.

There are no other changes to specifications - neither in capacity, nor in Read/Write speeds. However, endurance has taken an almost 80% dive in the worst case scenarios - those of the 2 TB and 500 GB capacities, which saw reductions from their respective 3,115 TBW and 800 TBW down to 660 TBW and 170 TBW - or 78.8%. The 1 TB capacity takes a 78.4% dive in endurance (1665 TBW down to 360 TBW) and the 250 GB model is the least affected one, whilst still losing out 55.3% of its rated endurance (380 TBW down to 170 TBW).

Western Digital Unveils WD Black 750 SE NVMe SSD: Budget PCIe 4.0

Western Digital today introduced another addition to their PCIe 4.0 lineup - which previously consisted only on the WD Black 850, their enthusiast-level offering. Now, the Black 850 gets some entry-level company with the Black 750 SE, which makes use of a 4-channel DRAMless controller to keep the drive fed at some still respectable 3600 MB/s, Sequential Write, and 2830 MB/s Sequential Read speeds (WD isn't quoting the random read/write speeds just yet).

The new WD_Black SN750 SE will start at $49.99 for the 250 GB model. Pricing on the 500 GB and 1 TB capacities hasn't been announced at time of writing, nor is there a mention of a 2 TB model being a part of the current lineup plans. The WD_Black SN750 SE is available for preorder from WD now, and will land on store shelves this summer.

Crucial Launches 500 GB & 4 TB X6 Portable SSDs

Crucial, Micron's global consumer brand of memory and storage, today launched an expansion of its award-winning portable solid-state drive (SSD) portfolio to offer consumers more options for external storage performance, capacity and value at any price point. The new products include the high-capacity 4 TB portable SSD at a RRP of 489.95 USD, and a new 500 GB portable SSD for a wallet-friendly RRP of 69.95 USD. Consumers looking to store large gaming libraries or more movies for long road trips will find an ideal solution in the Crucial X6.

With read speeds up to 800 MB/s, the 4 TB drive performs up to 5.6 times faster than portable hard drives in the market and are drop-proof up to 6.5 feet. Similar to the existing products in the Crucial X6 portable SSD lineup, the 4 TB and 500 GB versions deliver compact portable SSDs in these capacities to consumers for the first time. The entire award-winning Crucial portable SSD product line is compatible with the latest USB-C-enabled devices, such as PCs, Macs, PlayStation 5, Android devices and more. When used with the Crucial USB-C to USB-A adapter, the portable drives also work with PS4, Xbox One, XBOX Series S|X and other USB-A devices.

Samsung Officially Announces 870 EVO SATA SSD Series

Samsung today has officially taken the lid off their latest consumer-oriented SATA SSDs, the 870 EVO. The 870 EVO series from Samsung don't push the maximum storage density ceiling on traditional SATA consumer drives, topping out at a maximum 4 TB, but they do achieve that ceiling whilst making use of Samsung's 128-layer TLC (Triple-Layer-Cell) NAND, which offers increased endurance (and higher theoretical performance than) more widespread QLC-based SSDs (of which Samsung launched the 870 QVO back in July 2020).

Samsung quotes SATA sequential read and write speeds of 560 MB/s and 530 MB/s respectively, with a "variable SLC" cache (which means it decreases in maximum size as the available free drive space decreases). The drives are also quoted at 98K IOPS Random Read, and 88K IOPS Write, and feature the company's Intelligent TurboWrite to maintain the interface's SATA 6 Gbps saturation as long as possible before sustained performance degradation appears. Samsung claims the 870 EVO also delivers a nearly 38% improvement in random read speeds over the previous 860 model, and quotes a (TBW) rating of 2,400 TB (or a 5-year limited warranty, whichever comes first) for its 4 TB model. The 870 EVO is available in either 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB, or 4 TB capacities, with the drives' RAM buffer scaling almost accordingly (512 MB DDR3 for the 256/512 Gb models, 1 GB for the 1 TB, 2 GB for the 2 TB drive, and 4 GB for the 4 TB one. Pricing starts at $49,99 for the 256 GB model; 500 GB for $79.99, 1 TB for $139.99; 2 TB for $269.99; and 4 TB for $529.99.

SK hynix to Expand United States Market Presence with the Launch of the World's First 128-Layer NAND Consumer PCIe NVMe SSD

SK hynix Inc., a global semiconductor supplier based in Korea, announced today the release of its newest PCIe SSD: the SK hynix Gold P31. The latest edition is the world's first 128-layer NAND flash-based consumer SSD and the company's first consumer-facing PCIe SSD launched in the United States under the SK hynix brand.

The Gold P31 is intended for all PC users with a particular focus on gamers, designers, and content creators. The drive supports the PCIe NVMe interface based on 4D NAND flash technology and is now available for purchase in 1 TB and 500 GB capacities on Amazon U.S. The Gold P31 offers best-in-class read speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s and write speeds of up to 3,200 MB/s. The drive is a reliable choice for gamers whose PCs must support long hours of play, as well as professional creators and designers for whom performance and stability is essential. The Gold P31's reliability has been tested and validated through 1,000 hours of high-temperature operating life tests (HTOL) with mean time between failures (MTBF) reaching 1.5 million hours. The SSD also comes with a five-year warranty.

ADATA Launches Ultimate SU720 SSD With Up To 1 TB Capacity

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high-performance DRAM modules and NAND Flash products, today announces the launch of the ADATA Ultimate SU720 SATA 6 Gb/s solid state drive (SSD). An ideal offering for those looking to make the switch to SSDs, the SU720 offers great performance and reliability at an amazing value. Equipped with 3D NAND memory and intelligent SLC caching, the SU720 reaches read/write speeds of up to 520/450 MB per second.

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.

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.

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.)

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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