SSDs have faced numerous challenges since their fairly recent beginnings. Initial SLC (single-level cell) SSDs were out-of-reach for most consumers, and as evolving Flash memory types allowed production of more affordable consumer SSDs (MLC, TLC), we saw serious endurance concerns. Endurance and stability concerns have subsided as controller manufacturers learn to cope with the hurdles, though we now face other obstacles -- like endurance on TLC and brushing up against the SATA bus bandwidth cap. Other features, like data integrity and redundancy, often hold greater value than pure speed.


Speed is now a largely irrelevant metric for comparison when looking at high-end consumer SATA III SSDs; no SATA III-powered SSD can exceed the 6Gbps cap (which translates to about ~550MB/s in real-world use, accounting for overhead). Going forward, SSD controllers (this is true for Samsung, OCZ, SandForce, etc.) are not the limiting factor for speed -- it's the bus. Time to move to PCI-e.

The SandForce 3700 series controllers are now officially announced and are already in the hands of manufacturers. On a top-level, the new controller should:

  • Bring more PCI-e SSDs to the consumer market at better prices.
  • Improve overall I/O performance (especially on PCI-e, where the bandwidth isn't a bottleneck).
  • Improve endurance (lifespan) of the drive.

    With LSI Corporation's (NASDAQ: LSI) new SandForce SF3700 controller impending Q1/Q2 mass production next year, it looks like manufacturers will finally be able to bring PCI-E SSDs to mass consumption and TLC endurance concerns may fade. In this write-up, we'll look at the SF3700 SSD controller's (specifically SF3729/SF3739) specs, SHIELD feature, and PCI-e modularity - specifically as it pertains to Samsung's existing 840 Pro and XP941 controllers.

    With the year fast coming to an end, and Black Friday approaching, sales have been more promising with each passing week. This week I found a cheap 23" monitor, 240GB SSD for $160, a video card on sale, and a case.


    This weekend sees the arrival of several Columbus-day-discounted items from most online retailers. Given the current deals on computer hardware, we were able to find a PSU, motherboard, 650 Ti Boost video card, 128GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD, and Corsair Carbide case on sale.


    If you haven't noticed, we just revamped the website to be a slick, mobile-responsive, fast resource for gaming system builders; it's been our goal for a few years now to guide enthusiasts in PC building endeavors, and with our new revamp, we can do that better than ever. More on that in a separate post.

    Before the weekend closes out, we decided to compile some of the best computer hardware sales available right now for those of you looking to get in a bit of pre-holiday shopping. This weekend sees the highlight of an $80 120GB SSD, $90 H100i CLC, $60 Corsair enclosure, and a $480 ASUS Ivy Bridge non-gaming notebook.


    I will note that if you're looking to build a new rig, we recently revamped our PC build guides to include a new content filtration system -- so go play around with that! The forums are, of course, always open to support your efforts.

    For whatever reason, this weekend sees the arrival of several undeniably solid deals on gaming hardware -- including video card sales, PSU discounts, and misc. system building supplies. If you're working on a new build or need a quick upgrade, it's worth paying attention to some of the items we found this weekend. Let's jump straight into it.

    660 2GB_sm

    PAX generally introduces a couple of decent hardware sales from key on-site vendors. This year, Kingston posted a PAX discount code for memory, ASUS has a laptop up with a $50 MIR, and there's an AMD A10-6800K + board combo for $205.


    hyperx-ssdWe've posted a couple of these "Flash Deal" notifications in the past; whenever there's a legitimately good, "I'd buy that for myself" sale that a member of GN staff spots, we try to throw a quick post online to alert all of our system builders to its presence. This time, TigerDirect has Kingston's 120GB HyperX SSD on sale for $100 - less than $1/GB - which is an excellent deal for anyone building a system right now.

    Behind Samsung's 840 Pro SSD and OCZ's Vector drive, both of which are a bit more expensive, Kingston's HyperX drive has been one of our go-to models for gaming rigs.

    - Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke.

    Welcome to another edition of Mik's Picks! After scouring the interwebs for deals, I've once again found some decent deals out there for anyone looking to build or upgrade their PCs. Intel and NVidia sales aren't as abundant this week -- likely in the face of the next-gen launches for Intel and nVidia products -- but we found some other cool stuff.

    This week I found a controller sale, the Genius Gila mouse, a $90 120GB SSD, a $50 1TB HDD, and a great video card discount.


    Our regular "Mik's Picks" piece sees a break for Michael Mann this weekend -- I'll be filling in for the hardware sales. For this weekend's hardware sales, we've located sound-dampening case mod materials, an SSD, open air case, CPU, and Intel NUC.


    Welcome to another edition of Mik's picks. While most other people are out looking for Easter eggs, I've been out looking for eggs on Tiger Direct and Newegg. For this edition, we found some great discounts on SSDs, monitors, APUs, and GPUs. We'll keep this one short -- the GN team is exhausted coming out of some heavy post-PAX coverage, and we're sure you could all use a bit of a breather this weekend, too.


    Let's get to the good stuff.

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