I wanted to put out this quick note for our regular readers. We're hosting an AMA ("Ask Me Anything" about solid-state drives on the "Build A PC" subreddit right now! Kent Smith of LSI's SandForce division is joining me for this question & answer session; we'll do our best to tackle all of the community's burning solid-state drive, NAND, and controller topics.

You can find the AMA here.

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This weekend's sales round-up features a 256GB SSD for $105, the new i7-4790 for $295, a Z97 board that comes with a free mouse for $110, and a full-size case for only $60. Next weekend is Father's Day, so grab some good discounts now and watch our Twitter and Facebook feeds for additional savings throughout the week.

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SSDs are surrounded by terminology that generally isn't understood beyond a relative level. There's this top-level concept that one type of NAND is superior to another, that synchronous is preferable to asynchronous, that endurance is tied to P/E cycles, but a lot of the knowledge halts there. We've worked closely with several SSD and controller engineers over the past year to educate ourselves on the inner workings of the storage world's biggest recent advancement; now it's time to start organizing that education in article form. Over the next weeks, we'll be releasing several "SSD Architecture" postings (so be sure to like / follow / subscribe) that focus on different aspects of solid-state drives, controllers, and NAND.

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This installment includes a video component. The video showcases a discussion with LSI's Kent Smith and spoils the basics of what we'll cover throughout this series. I highly recommend watching the video, especially for those who benefit from visual aids. We covered SSD questions pertaining to varying voltage levels on evolving NAND types (SLC, MLC, TLC), cell decay when an SSD goes unused, P/E cycles and endurance, and "what's next" after TLC for Flash types. That's a lot of stuff. Each item is complex in its own way -- hence the chronicle-like release of in-depth article components.

Today we're talking about top-level SSD anatomy and architecture, defining what "NAND Flash" actually is, evolving NAND types (MLC vs. TLC, what's after TLC), capacity calculations, and providing an "SSD primer" of other basic elements. This is what will lay the foundation for our more advanced articles.

Intel entered the SSD market in late 2008 with the X25 and has continued to release quality SSDs such as the most recent Intel 530 series. Intel is set to release their newest SSDs at Computex on June 4th. As I mentioned in my Z97 motherboard roundup, SATA III has become a bottleneck for SSDs; due to this bottleneck, interfaces like M.2, SATA express (otherwise called SATAe), and PCI-e are being implemented specifically for high-performance SSDs. Intel’s newest SSDs will be using NVM express (NVMe), a specification for SSDs attached through the PCIe bus. NVMe will allow for much higher queue depth, lower latency, and a host of other improvements that could considerably increase performance.

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Next Wednesday--June 4th at 2AM--Intel has an announcement from its Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group. This is the same time as Intel's Computex keynote, so in my opinion, it’s very likely that this will be Intel’s next big SSD announcement. It has already been spoiled that Intel will bring NVMe-based drives to that field this year, and Computex would be just the event to launch them.

Rumor has it that Crucial is manufacturing an MX100 SSD, likely using Micron's new 16-nm NAND. The MX100 will fall into the spot of the oft-selected M500 in Crucial's SSD lineup, making it the new budget contender in the entry-level arena; the M550 remains as a mid-range option at slightly faster speeds. The MX100 will continue operating on the SATA interface in a 2.5" form factor.

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For those who heard about the recent price drop for AMD cards, we have a deal for you this weekend as a result (and those who were unaware should really read that article). Our weekend sales round-up covers a 1000W PSU for $160, a 3TB HDD under $100, a 240GB SSD at $90, and an R9 280 for only $190. Have no fear, as always, we will post additional deals throughout the week on our Facebook and Twitter accounts as we find them. 

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The weekend sales round-up is here. It features a 24” monitor for $270, a $130 high-end PSU, an R9 280 3GB card for $230, and a 480GB SSD for $230. Our Twitter and Facebook accounts will keep you up to date on other specials as they occur throughout the week, so keep your eyes open; we generally make it a rule to only share sales that our own staff find interest in.

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Time for another weekend hardware sales round-up. First, for those of you building new gaming PCs, check out our latest ultra-budget gaming PC build for some guidance on a $475 computer. Moving on to the sales, this weekend we feature some amazing deals on the NZXT Phantom 820 case, an 80+ Bronze PSU from Cooler Master, WD's Blue 1TB HDD at 7200RPM, and a 480GB PNY SSD.

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After posting a somewhat lengthy analysis of nVidia's interesting market position right now, I figured it was time for content that's a bit easier to digest (and write). In this edition of our weekend-ly hardware sales round-up, we've got CM Storm's QuickFire mechanical keyboard (MX Brown), a 750W Gold PSU, another M500, and NZXT's Source 210.

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As our regularly-scheduled content continues out of GTC & GDC, we turn toward e-tailers for our weekend hardware sales round-up. Noteworthy this weekend are combo discounts on Intel Extreme Series CPUs, Crucial's 480GB M500 for $200, an XFX R9 270, and a 23.6” LED LCD.

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