Where the SSD Market is Headed in 2015 @ [H]

Armenius

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Apparently skylake will have more PCIe lanes than existing haswell/broadwell designs. In addition, there are also PCIe switch chips and I would expect to start to see them put into card format for NVMe 2.5".
If I'm reading correctly Skylake will have 20 PCI-E lanes, with Sunrise Point providing another 6 lanes. So 26 total compared to 20 with Haswell+Lynx Point.

NVMe is a PCIe only solution. And yes, it will require PCIe lanes that could be used for other functionality. For most users, this shouldn't be much of an issue because multi-GPU systems are seldom used and it is unlikely that most users will have more than 1 NVMe device in their system.
It should not be an issue with dual-GPU users given the information above. 3- and 4-way users are just going to have to wait for the 'E' variant, as usual.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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You're right to be concerned about running out of PCIe lanes. Multiplexers address part of that, but it's another finite resource that can be solved by the liberal application of cash- 40 lane CPUs on the X99 are probably the best answer here.

I wonder if - as these new PCIe storage interfaces become more popular - some PCIe lanes can be freed up by forgoing on board SATA.
 

Kaos_Drem

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Zarathustra[H];1041506342 said:
I wonder if - as these new PCIe storage interfaces become more popular - some PCIe lanes can be freed up by forgoing on board SATA.

I know its a ways off, but the chipset improvements to the skylake series will be pretty important here with pcie support in RST. More importantly will be the upgrade to DMI 3.0 which should allow for the cpu lanes to be reserved for graphics.
 

Trimlock

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Zarathustra[H];1041506342 said:
I wonder if - as these new PCIe storage interfaces become more popular - some PCIe lanes can be freed up by forgoing on board SATA.

Unless you are talking about the SATA ports that are attached directly to PCIe, then no.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Unless you are talking about the SATA ports that are attached directly to PCIe, then no.

Well, I'm talking about future chipset redesign. As in the below z97 diagram. If in a future chipset that 6Gb/s dedicated to Sata is no longer needed, it can be repurposed for more PCIe lanes. (granted of the gen 2 variety, as the gen 3 ones come straight off the CPU.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Zarathustra[H];1041506562 said:
Well, I'm talking about future chipset redesign. As in the below z97 diagram. If in a future chipset that 6Gb/s dedicated to Sata is no longer needed, it can be repurposed for more PCIe lanes. (granted of the gen 2 variety, as the gen 3 ones come straight off the CPU.

Whoops, forgot diagram.

 

aaronspink

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I can see it eventually evolving into a cable+connector system like SATA vs. a fixed connector like m.2 will inevitably stay at. One thing that has me worried is the advancement of all these storage drives and we are forcing ourselves to be limited by only a few connectors on a board.

The cable+connector system already exists in the form of 12G SAS. NVMe 2.5" is already using the 4 lane 12G SAS connector and it should have headroom to at least PCIe 4.0.

I am currently looking at future prospects for my storage and how I will expand versus replacing drives with (possibly) larger drives in the future or just rebuilding all together. This is why we still need some type of system where we can store the drives in a mass array like we currently do with spinners and SSD's on SATA3 connectors.

There will likely be a bifercation of storage into two main tiers with one being NVMe and the other being SAS2/SATA3.


Zarathustra[H];1041506342 said:
I wonder if - as these new PCIe storage interfaces become more popular - some PCIe lanes can be freed up by forgoing on board SATA.

Zarathustra[H];1041506562 said:
Well, I'm talking about future chipset redesign. As in the below z97 diagram. If in a future chipset that 6Gb/s dedicated to Sata is no longer needed, it can be repurposed for more PCIe lanes. (granted of the gen 2 variety, as the gen 3 ones come straight off the CPU.

The onboard SATA has nothing to do with the number of PCIe lanes. As it is, the chipset is already over subscribed in most systems: 4x5 Gb/s DMI links vs 6x6Gb/s Sata + 4-8x5 Gb/s PCIe 2.0 links.
 

R3MF

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"Windows 8.1 has built-in support for NVMe- earlier versions will require a driver."

What does that mean?
Are we back to the days of WinXP and needing to load a sata drive via floppy** on initial install before the OS can continue to write onto a sata drive?

** presumably USB stick these days

I have a MSI X99 SLI-Plus with an upgraded bios awaiting the arrival of PCIe 3.0 4x NVME m.2 drives...
 

R3MF

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good article, two thoughts:

SATAe is going to arrive stillborn.
It doesn't really serve a purpose in the consumer market.
M.2 will do system and apps, spinning rust will do storage.

PCIe storage and USB 3.1 are the reason why socket 1150 is a broken platform.
16x PCIe 3.0 from the CPU + ~4x PCIe 2.0 from the PCH is completely inappropriate for a £270 CPU system.
For this reason I have a lot of respect for putting 24x PCIe 3.0 on FM2+, shame we don't have a hex-core APU to make good use of the platform capability.
 

dalantech

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Very well written Chris -although I did skip over the car analogy part :D

I have a motherboard with a PCIE 3.0 4x bus M.2 slot, so hopefully MVMe support will just mean flashing a new BIOS. But it looks like MVMe support is going to be delayed (at least with Samsung's next M.2 SSD offering). Do you think that Intel will get into the consumer market with M.2 SSDs?
 

Trimlock

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The cable+connector system already exists in the form of 12G SAS. NVMe 2.5" is already using the 4 lane 12G SAS connector and it should have headroom to at least PCIe 4.0.

My poor attempt at a ramble, sorry. I know about SAS but my rant was more in line with wanting to split up the m.2 interface as having 4x 3.0 lanes afforded to a single SSD is a waste imo.

My 'want' was to split up the m.2 interface into multiple HDD connections that could be used for whatever storage supported the cable. Not even sure if that is remotely possible to have multiple devices with possibly different ID's being conjoined into one I/O lane like that without having some type of controller like a HW Raid, which would then make the whole thing pointless :D
 

Zarathustra[H]

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good article, two thoughts:

SATAe is going to arrive stillborn.
It doesn't really serve a purpose in the consumer market.
M.2 will do system and apps, spinning rust will do storage.

PCIe storage and USB 3.1 are the reason why socket 1150 is a broken platform.
16x PCIe 3.0 from the CPU + ~4x PCIe 2.0 from the PCH is completely inappropriate for a £270 CPU system.
For this reason I have a lot of respect for putting 24x PCIe 3.0 on FM2+, shame we don't have a hex-core APU to make good use of the platform capability.

I'd take a 4 core with competitive per core speeds over a weak AMD hex core, but yes, I agree.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I'm really looking forward to NVMe and VERY fast m.2 SSD's, but I'm on an x79, and it is still more than fast enough from a CPU perspective, so I don't want to upgrade yet.

I'm wondering if I stick an m.2 SSD on a PCIe adapter card, I'll have any luck booting by using a chain loader (like grub) on a small inexpensive drive

It's really too bad they didn't maintain backwards compatibility by giving PCIe SSD's an option rom for booting, it would have been so easy, but how else are they going to get you to upgrade these days, when the advances in CPU speed don't warrant it? :p
 

Chris_Lonardo

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Very well written Chris -although I did skip over the car analogy part :D

I have a motherboard with a PCIE 3.0 4x bus M.2 slot, so hopefully MVMe support will just mean flashing a new BIOS. But it looks like MVMe support is going to be delayed (at least with Samsung's next M.2 SSD offering). Do you think that Intel will get into the consumer market with M.2 SSDs?

Thanks. They already have an M.2 version of the (admittedly dated) SSD 530, and I don't see a way forward for Intel or any other SSD manufacturer that doesn't include more M.2 products in the lineup.
 
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I always liked Bangle butt cars, guess I was in the minority.

Very well done and fresh write up Chris! Guess I'll know what to look for once I have Win10 in hand for a new build.
 

Chris_Lonardo

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I always liked Bangle butt cars, guess I was in the minority.

Very well done and fresh write up Chris! Guess I'll know what to look for once I have Win10 in hand for a new build.

They're polarizing- certainly got people thinking about design very differently. Earlier iterations (the first few years of the Bangle 6-series) were somewhat over the top, but I think they found elegance later on. The same goes for the E60 5-series. Regardless, the butt is everywhere now- my point was more about the standardization of once-distinctive elements than about their value.

I'm glad that you found the article helpful!
 

aaronspink

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Very well written Chris -although I did skip over the car analogy part :D

I have a motherboard with a PCIE 3.0 4x bus M.2 slot, so hopefully MVMe support will just mean flashing a new BIOS. But it looks like MVMe support is going to be delayed (at least with Samsung's next M.2 SSD offering). Do you think that Intel will get into the consumer market with M.2 SSDs?

Intel is announcing the 750 in ~6 days which will be their consumer NVMe part. Likely a straight clone of one of their P3x00 series drives: ~2.7GB/s Read - 1.8 GB/s write. http://www.intelgamingpromo.com/intel15b/ssd/notice

I would imagine that all the tech sites have already been briefed on it under NDA including this one.
 

Kaos_Drem

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Intel is announcing the 750 in ~6 days which will be their consumer NVMe part. Likely a straight clone of one of their P3x00 series drives: ~2.7GB/s Read - 1.8 GB/s write. http://www.intelgamingpromo.com/intel15b/ssd/notice

I would imagine that all the tech sites have already been briefed on it under NDA including this one.

I somehow doubt that they would put the specs that close to the p3700 which goes for $3/GB, but who knows. The real decider on its success will be how much it goes for versus performance it gives. If it is truly the first NVMe consumer focused drive and they can get it out there at an "affordable" number it should do quite well I would think.
 

aaronspink

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I somehow doubt that they would put the specs that close to the p3700 which goes for $3/GB, but who knows. The real decider on its success will be how much it goes for versus performance it gives. If it is truly the first NVMe consumer focused drive and they can get it out there at an "affordable" number it should do quite well I would think.

It will likely be differentiated by endurance and not performance at least not performance for non-random patterns. All the P3x000 series drives have roughly the same bulk performance, they are differentiated by endurance and random write IO ops.
 

JoseJones

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"Chris Lonardo is HardOCP's new Storage Engineer and Editor. HardOCP has been out of the SSD reviewing game for a couple of years looking for the right person to take the reins and Chris is our man. Today in his inaugural editorial, he shares with us what his thoughts are about in the SSD arena."

Where the SSD Market is Headed in 2015

Big warm welcome to Chris Lonardo.

I've got a thread on the new NVMe interface with some great info in it with images and charts etc., here: M.2 and SSD's 20 to 40 Gbps with NVMe

I've been watching the days count-down at Intel's countdown clock, which will reveal something ... not quite sure exactly what tho, on April 2nd at mid-night so, really the 3rd, which is this coming Friday: Intel's countdown clock for NVMe SSD's

I have loads of questions, beginning with what this first generation of NVMe SSD's will start out at - PCIe 2.0 with 2 or 4 lanes? Or, will they do it right by AT LEAST starting out with todays standard at PCIe 3.0 with 4 or 8 lanes giving us a potential 32 Gbps or 64 Gbps. I could be very happy with that but, at what cost?
 
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Chris_Lonardo

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Big warm welcome to Chris Lonardo.

I've got a thread on the new NVMe interface with some great info in it with images and charts etc., here: M.2 and SSD's 20 to 40 Gbps with NVMe

I've been watching the days count-down at Intel's countdown clock, which will reveal something ... not quite sure exactly what tho, on April 2nd at mid-night so, really the 3rd, which is this coming Friday: Intel's countdown clock for NVMe SSD's

I have loads of questions, beginning with what this first generation of NVMe SSD's will start out at - PCIe 2.0 with 2 or 4 lanes? Or, will they do it right by AT LEAST starting out with todays standard at PCIe 3.0 with 4 or 8 lanes giving us a potential 32 Gbps or 64 Gbps. I could be very happy with that but, at what cost?

Thanks, and appreciate you sharing that thread. Some good discussion.

I think we'll have to wait and see on all counts :D
 

aaronspink

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Big warm welcome to Chris Lonardo.

I've got a thread on the new NVMe interface with some great info in it with images and charts etc., here: M.2 and SSD's 20 to 40 Gbps with NVMe

I've been watching the days count-down at Intel's countdown clock, which will reveal something ... not quite sure exactly what tho, on April 2nd at mid-night so, really the 3rd, which is this coming Friday: Intel's countdown clock for NVMe SSD's

I have loads of questions, beginning with what this first generation of NVMe SSD's will start out at - PCIe 2.0 with 2 or 4 lanes? Or, will they do it right by AT LEAST starting out with todays standard at PCIe 3.0 with 4 or 8 lanes giving us a potential 32 Gbps or 64 Gbps. I could be very happy with that but, at what cost?

Chris is likely under NDA for the Intel announcement, but its not exactly the best kept secret. Intel will be announcing the 750 which will basically be an prosumer analog to the P 3x000 series NVMe drives. This is similar to the 730 being a prosumer analog for the S3x00 series.
 

Kaos_Drem

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Chris is likely under NDA for the Intel announcement, but its not exactly the best kept secret. Intel will be announcing the 750 which will basically be an prosumer analog to the P 3x000 series NVMe drives. This is similar to the 730 being a prosumer analog for the S3x00 series.

And its not exactly a secret that their current data center controller based on the P3700/3600 is pcie 3.0x4.
 

Devistater

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Great article! Very informative.

I'm disappointed I didn't see any nvme testing for boot etc in the latest mobo review posted after this article, the GIGABYTE Z97X Gaming 7 LGA 1150 Motherboard.

Will this be checked going forward?
 

Chris_Lonardo

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Great article! Very informative.

I'm disappointed I didn't see any nvme testing for boot etc in the latest mobo review posted after this article, the GIGABYTE Z97X Gaming 7 LGA 1150 Motherboard.

Will this be checked going forward?

Thanks.

I can't speak for the future, but at this point, the complete lack of available consumer NVMe drives would make testing impossible. When the time comes to test NVMe drives, I'll be doing so on a few different platforms.
 

R3MF

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i'd still like an answer as to exactly how win7 users will go about installing the OS on an NVME drive...
 

Armenius

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They're polarizing- certainly got people thinking about design very differently. Earlier iterations (the first few years of the Bangle 6-series) were somewhat over the top, but I think they found elegance later on. The same goes for the E60 5-series. Regardless, the butt is everywhere now- my point was more about the standardization of once-distinctive elements than about their value.

I'm glad that you found the article helpful!
Not to stay OT, but people seem to forget that the much beloved Z3 was a Chris Bangle design.
 

Elledan

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Purely anecdotal, but it took me over a year to figure out that the MacBook Pro I'm using as a work laptop has an SSD instead of the HDD I thought it had. I only noticed when I looked at the hardware specs.

Maybe SSD vs HDD isn't as noticeable as one might think depending on the type of work one does ;)
 

JoseJones

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Purely anecdotal, but it took me over a year to figure out that the MacBook Pro I'm using as a work laptop has an SSD instead of the HDD I thought it had. I only noticed when I looked at the hardware specs.

Maybe SSD vs HDD isn't as noticeable as one might think depending on the type of work one does ;)

It's quite noticeable but depends on what SSD you have in your laptop so, what it is? Also, keep in mind that all current SSD's (that don't have NVMe) are still limited by the SATA AHCI interface, which is capped at 600 MB/s, same as HD's. So, usually that translates to a slightly quicker boot up and snappier response and program load times, but the full potential of the SSD is cut-off at the knees with the SATA AHCI interface.

When NVMe is at its full potential it will be noticeable but, to the average person it will just seem a lot snappier. We will need plenty of Youtube videos showing the comparisons.

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1843654
 
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Tsumi

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Purely anecdotal, but it took me over a year to figure out that the MacBook Pro I'm using as a work laptop has an SSD instead of the HDD I thought it had. I only noticed when I looked at the hardware specs.

Maybe SSD vs HDD isn't as noticeable as one might think depending on the type of work one does ;)

Swapping from a HDD to an SSD on the same system is definitely noticeable, but upgrading to a new system that has an SSD isn't always noticeable, especially if the person attributes it to other factors, like faster CPU, more RAM, etc.

It's quite noticeable but depends on what SSD you have in your laptop so, what it is? Also, keep in mind that all current SSD's (that don't have NVMe) are still limited by the SATA AHCI interface, which is capped at 600 MB/s, same as HD's. So, usually that translates to a slightly quicker boot up and snappier response and program load times, but the full potential of the SSD is cut-off at the knees with the SATA AHCI interface.

When NVMe is at its full potential it will be noticeable but, to the average person it will just seem a lot snappier. We will need plenty of Youtube videos showing the comparisons.

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1843654

Doubtful that will be the case. OS usage is mostly determined by random low queue depth reads and writes, and most SSDs aren't capable of saturating a SATA 300 interface in those types of workloads, let alone a SATA 600 interface. In fact, I believe only current top tier SSDs are capable of breaking 300 MB/s on random reads and writes, but don't come anywhere close to 600 MB/s. Workstations that do heavy sequential tasks will hugely benefit from NVMe, but the general OS usage population won't.

Even the NVMe Intel P3700 can barely do 300 MB/s at a QD of 8 with 4k data sizes. And most OS usage operate at a QD of 2-6.

Also, who can really notice the latency difference between 100 and 200 microseconds? That's a difference of 0.1 ms.
 

Thug Esquire

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Zarathustra[H];1041508495 said:
I'm really looking forward to NVMe and VERY fast m.2 SSD's, but I'm on an x79, and it is still more than fast enough from a CPU perspective, so I don't want to upgrade yet.

I'm wondering if I stick an m.2 SSD on a PCIe adapter card, I'll have any luck booting by using a chain loader (like grub) on a small inexpensive drive

It's really too bad they didn't maintain backwards compatibility by giving PCIe SSD's an option rom for booting, it would have been so easy, but how else are they going to get you to upgrade these days, when the advances in CPU speed don't warrant it? :p

This, a million times over. What are our options on X79 for running SATA Express and M2 drives? Tbqh the CPU and RAM improvements in X99 just don't justify the cost.
 

Devistater

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Thanks.

I can't speak for the future, but at this point, the complete lack of available consumer NVMe drives would make testing impossible. When the time comes to test NVMe drives, I'll be doing so on a few different platforms.

Thanks! I meant more testing to see if the motherboard booted with nvme kinda thing, but hopefully your answer means that will be looked at too in future motherboard reviews once consumer drives are released?
 

Kaos_Drem

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Speaking from experience, installing windows 7 on a p3700 was pretty painless assuming you have your usb installer setup for uefi. Requires that you use the intel storage driver, no different than installing on a raid card really.
 

Chris_Lonardo

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Thanks! I meant more testing to see if the motherboard booted with nvme kinda thing, but hopefully your answer means that will be looked at too in future motherboard reviews once consumer drives are released?

I can't speak for any other editors or contributors, but this totally makes sense to look at from my end, at least initially. Ultimately, it'll come down to BIOS support, so we'll have to see how it all unfolds.
 

zalazin

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Well I give you credit for your obvious knowledge of ssds and related technology. However since this is an enthusiast hardware site I would like your take on Samsung's 840 Evo debacle and the future of TLC.
 

GoodBoy

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Nice summary on these technologies, and handy to have it all in one place. I hadn't even heard of NVMe yet.

Still running a pcie sata raid card, with 5 drives in raid 5. It's plenty fast (about 4x the mechanicals' native throughput), but if SSD's get big enough capacity wise at a non-enterprise drive price, that's when I will jump to SSD's. Thinking of doing a raid 5 with them again (I like the redundancy).

How are the NVMe drives (or maybe enterprise ssd's) typically implemented? jbod? raid of some kind?
 

Booyaah

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Hi,

I have been talking with a work colleague and this might not be directly related to storage, but I heard some are pushing for USB 3.x to be used to also be used as the standard to deliver power to all devices in the future. With the goal being you can just daisy chain from one device to the next with only needing a single outlet in the wall, once most devices (5 years?) are all using the new USB standard...

Any truth or is that even likely to happen anytime soon?
 
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