Kingston's HyperX Savage 240GB SSD is a great looking drive that offers excellent performance at a reasonable cost.
Patriot is back in the SSD game with the Ignite, offering great performance and generous capacity at a competitive price point.
The new OCZ RevoDrive 350 is a PCIe SSD set to break the SATA bottleneck.
Massive enterprise class storage from Seagate with great performance and reliability.
"Stellar" USB 3.0 performance and OTG functionality in a compact form factor from Patriot.
First came Korea, then cake China, Japan and Taiwan, but now Blade & Soul is finally gearing up for western release. It's the wuxia-inspired martial arts MMO that put the rest to the shame, but somehow it grew lost in localization for the past two and a half years. Currently the in-localization MMO is being worked on in strictly internal testing, but in fall later this year NCsoft will move it into closed beta followed by a full launch in winter. That's for both North America and Europe (English, German and French), with full voice-over as well -- no easy (or fast) task.
John Burns, senior vice president at NCsoft West, offered this prepared statement regarding Blade & Soul's newly planned localization:
"Blade & Soul is one of the most anticipated online games by Western consumers. This is a tremendous opportunity to bring one of the most successful and fun online games in Asia to our Western audience this winter and we can’t wait to deliver this extraordinary and distinct gaming experience to millions of new players across North America and Europe."
And Burns isn't kidding. Blade & Soul, since its launch in 2012, has proven one of the most popular online games in Korea barring certain other NCsoft MMOs like Lineage and Aion. Yet Blade & Soul has proven a growing success in other Asian regions as well. Last year saw the game reach peak concurrency of over 1.5 million users, but that's just with the scant information made available.
Blade & Soul may have been released in 2012, but it's still a unique take on action-based combat that encourages tempered, strategic play over more frantic systems. With its "wuxia" inspired style, Blade & Soul focuses on combo-centric, timing-based attacks mixed with reactive abilities that reward quick reflexes and preparedness. Knowing what attacks are coming when will always give a player an advantage. Add in some great "windwalking" traversal mechanics, a class system that deprioritizes healing and the holy MMO class trinity and Blade & Soul aims to be something different in a 2015 MMO scene where players aren't sure what to expect.
Expect more information on Blade & Soul in the months to come, as we approach a closed beta hopefully this fall. Excited fans don't have to wait too long for new information, however, as NCsoft will be holding a livestream on Thursday, May 21 at 10:00am PDT, or by checking out any of the game's newly reinvigorated social media channels on Twitter or Facebook. In the mean time, rush over to the official site and register for the closed beta test.
While the second generation SandForce controller has mostly been bug free, there have been a few instances where SSDs using the controller would experience a blue screen during standard use. For the most part these issues were random and addressed with the latest 3.3.2 firmware patch. However, the issues users are experiencing with their 64GB Crucial M4 drives isn't directly linked to controller, but rather the time the SSD is active.
The M4 SSD will experience a x00000f4 error after approximately 5,000 hours, at which time the drive will crash and require a restart to regain function. After this point the drive will crash again after each additional hour, and continue on this way in a loop. Crucial has acknowledged the matter and informed us a fix is on the way.
“We are aware of the issue that is currently affecting a small number of users whereby their Crucial m4 SSD causes their system to require a restart," a spokespoerson said. "This issue occurs after approximately 5,000 hours of actual “on time” use. Following the initial reboot, the system then requires subsequent restarts after each additional hour of use. However, the data on the SSD is unaffected and will not be lost due to this condition."
"Through our investigation, we have determined the root cause of the problem and will be releasing a firmware update that rectifies the situation. We are currently running through our validation and compatibility process. Once this process is complete, the firmware will be made available to our customers. We are currently targeting the week of January 16th, 2012 to publicly release the new firmware update.”
As of now we are unsure of exactly how many drives are affected by this issue, or if it is isolated only to 64GB M4 SSDs. We will continue to reach out to both Crucial and SandForce to see if this is an issue that could potentially affect other drives when they hit 5,000 hours of use. Still, at least we know the issue is being worked on and users can take some comfort in the fact stored data is not affected.
Yesterday, LaCie announced the world’s smallest USB 3.0 SSD drive, boasting speeds up to 260 MB/s and up to 120GB in size. The LaCie FastKey can achieve these speeds because it acts more like a small SSD than a regular flash drive. It combines the performance of an SSD, DRAM cache technology, and USB 3.0 to write small files up to 100 times faster than your average USB 2.0 hard drive.
Luc Pierart, Business Unit Manager of Personal Storage at LaCie says, "With the Fastkey, transferring small files is immediate. You can back up or share your music and photo libraries as you head out the door."
With a sturdy metal casing, AES 256-bit encryption and being the smallest drive of its kind, it doesn’t come cheap: the smallest model is 30 GB and comes in at $149.99; 60 GB is $249, and the 120 GB is a wallet crunching $474.99.
Designed for ultra-thin netbooks and tablet PCs
Sandisk has just unveiled a new solid state drive (SSD), designed for use in tablet PCs and ultra-thin notebooks. The new SSD comes in a package smaller than a postage stamp, and is intended to be embedded directly onto a motherboard. This will eliminate the need for a large 2.5” or 1.8” internal storage area, which could make future portable devices even thinner and more lightweight.
The new embedded SSD utilizes the SATA bus type and has reported speeds of 160MB/sec sequential read and 100MB/sec sequential writes. This gives the drive impressive specifications for its size, but it is slower than many currently available SSDs. Also, Sandisk has not released information regarding which controller or type of memory is being used in their new drives.
The ultra compact SSD is available now to OEM partners, and can be purchased in capacities ranging from 4GB to 64GB. The price of the devices is not listed as it is not a consumer product, but Sandisk has stated the price is dependent on the amount of units purchased.
With the small nature of this chip it would be easy to integrate it into devices far beyond just tablet PCs and netbooks. This could mean devices such as smart phones, digital camera and many more could someday utilize a similar storage solution. For now though, the postage stamp sized SSD has just become available, so it will still be sometime before we get a clear picture of where the industry will take this design.
Western Digital Corp today reported impressive financial results for the fiscal year, showing a growth in revenue of 32 percent and an increased operating income of 194 percent year-on-year.
For the quarter, Western Digital’s revenue totaled $2.4 billion from the shipment of 49.7 million hard drives and the company had a net income of $265 million. This puts them up quite a bit over the last year, when the company posted $1.9 billion revenue, shipped 40 million hard drives and reported a net income and earnings of $196 million. An increase in 9.7 million units sold in a year is quite impressive.
For the fiscal year the company has posted revenue of $9.8 billion and net income of 1.4 billion, which is also up substantially over the last fiscal year.
"Despite softer than anticipated June quarter demand, fiscal year 2010 was another year of significant growth and profitability for Western Digital," said John Coyne, president and chief executive officer. "The long-term demand for low-cost, high-volume storage driven by the proliferation of data and content-hungry consumer and commercial devices remains strong. With our focus on customer needs, quality, low cost, and high asset efficiency in the highest growth markets, we believe WD is well positioned to continue to generate growth on a sustained and profitable basis."
Showing such strong earnings during a time when many of the world’s economies are in a recession is no small feat for Western Digital.
Corsair has announced a flaw with their Padlock 2 USB Flash drive, which could compromise any sensitive data stored on the device. The company seems to have addressed the issue rather rapidly, and they now have a step-by-step guide on their website on how to fix the problem.
Instructions for fixing the security issue are listed below, but can also be found at corsair.com/padlockupdate.
- Drive must be in a LOCKED state. If the drive is plugged into a system, remove it.
- Press and hold the KEY button and the 0/1 button down, simultaneously, for five or more seconds.
- Release the KEY and 0/1 buttons. Note that at this stage your password MAY have been erased, but data will still exist on the drive.
- Wait until any LEDs are no longer illuminated or blinking
- Press and hold the KEY button for three seconds. Both red and green LEDs will illuminate
- Enter a new PIN using the PIN keys. A user PIN may be 4 to 10 digits long; for security, Corsair recommends 6 digits or more.
- Press and release the KEY button. Both red and green LEDs will blink in unison.
- Re-enter your PIN to confirm.
- Press and release the Key button. Green LED will flash, indicating your PIN has been accepted.
- Your drive is now secure.
After completing the above steps, the drive will again be fully secure and resistant to hacking, but if any issues occur it is recommended Corsair's tech support be contacted. Also, it would be a good idea to backup the data on the drive, just in case.
We were able to take the Corsair Padlock 2 for a spin just a few months ago, and thanks to the high level or security it offers, the device received an Editor’s Choice award.
Form factor approximately as big as current Pico series
Although Super Talent, a company specialized in memory, already has many USB 3.0 thumb drives available, none of them have that very small size that almost makes them easy to lose. The RAIDDrive and SuperCrypt USB 3.0 are both 95 x 34mm, which is obviously quite large for a thumb drive. Their awesome features, being blazing speed and hardware encryption, respectively, makes up for the increased size, though. The Express Drive USB 3.0 is much smaller at 62 x 27mm, but it is still far from the dimensions of the smaller drives like the Pico series from the same manufacturer.
In what would be the fourth series of USB 3.0 drives, the upcoming products will not be much larger than 38 x 13mm, which is the actual size of the Pico drives:
The read speed for the upcoming drives is going to be up to 60MB/s from the 30MB/s the Pico USB 2.0 series currently offers, whereas the write is coming in at up to 30MB/s. Overall, these should be amazing drives, but we won't know for sure until one enters Neoseeker's labs!
When you think solid state drives, many adjectives might come to mind, but 'large' usually would not be one of them. OCZ is looking to change that bringing in some high capacity new SSD models, bringing 400GB and 480GB capacity drives to both their Vertex 2 and Agility 2 line.
Both the Vertex 2 and Agility 2 drives offer 250MB/s read and 240MB/s write speeds, and are SATA 3Gb/s. They also have TRIM support, and have a 3 year warranty.
With hard disk drives getting (as they always have) cheaper and cheaper for more and more storage, many hardware enthusiasts run critical files on an SSD, while have a larger HDD for raw storage space. With SSD drives increasing capacities to these new levels though, it'll be interesting to see how the landscape changes in the next few years. If you aren't someone who collects a lot of media (videos, musics, etcetera), than a 400GB drive should do you quite nicely.
"Solid State Drives have long delivered on exceptional performance and reliability but capacity has been a barrier to adoption for some clients," said the CEO of the OCZ in a press release. "Building on our popular Agility 2 and Vertex 2 SSD lines our new high capacity models give customers up to 480GB of storage space allowing them to enjoy all the benefits of SSDs with plenty of room for even the largest applications and files, making this the ideal solution for customers that place a premium on speed, reliability and capacity."
OCZ is leading the way into these high-capacity solid state drives, but you'll have to pay to get there: you are probably looking at over $2000 USD for the 400GB drives.
Work-arounds for larger than 2.1TB hard drives
Like a few other hardware OS limits, when the logical block address (LBA) standard was decided upon by hard drive manufacturers, no one conceived that it would ever be insufficient for our computing needs. With the LBA system, hard drive data is identified by 512-byte addresses. The limit to this 512-byte system is 2.1TB -- and this is a size barrier that we are fast approaching. Like the world running out of Internet addresses with IPv4, a few decades back not many folks really expected the same standard to be used so far into the future that we'd be exceeding the capabilities of that system to be effectively used.
Seagate has said that they are working on a 3TB drive, but it'll need a sort of work-around to get it working. The solution is Long LBA, which we imagine will be soon to referred to as LLBA. This is an extended data address system that will only be supported in 64-bit Operating Sytems (yet another reason why we'd recommend switching over to a 64-bit OS if you are planning to upgrade any time from this point forward). Furthermore, without proper motherboard support (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface capable), you will not be able to boot directly from a drive over 2.1TB, as you'll need your advanced OS, such as Windows 7 or Linux, to be able to recognize the drive.
Because of this, we'll probably see a small production plateau at the 2.1TB HDD level. Now a days, 1TB and 1.5TB drives are quite common, and not all that expensive either, so hitting this 2.1TB barrier is just around the corner.
No doubt we'll some day hit the limit of the LLBA standard for our hard drives -- but don't worry, that's in the near-distant future.
It's not all that often that entire new product markets open up in the PC sector; when they do, companies have to jump in fast to get on the boat before it pulls out of the harbour. Mushkin, known primarily for its performance RAM, wants to get on the SSD boat in a big way, similar to OCZ, so they are introducing another line of SSD drives.
Named after another moon of Jupiter, the Callisto series is more the mainstream offering than Mushkin's existing performance Io line. Coming in 60, 120, and 240GB configurations, the Callisto solid state drives feature Sandforce controllers, 3 year warranties, and a MTBF of 2 million hours. Read/write speeds are said to be 285-275MB a second.
They will be hitting hardware stores in a matter of weeks (in North America anyways), and will sell for $240, $407, and $733 USD, depending on which drive capacity you choose.
- Neoseeker's Best of E3 2015 Awards: Game of the Show 
- Skyforge, F2P MMO collaboration between Obsidian and Allods, starts Open Beta on July 16 
- Driveclub PlayStation Plus available June 25, offline only to start with online rolled out 
- Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games hitting the slopes on Wii U, very cool 
- PlayStation Plus in July adds Rocket League on PS4, Geometry Wars 3 on PS Vita 
- May NPD Number Crunch: Witcher III hits first month sales milestone for RPGs on PS4, Xbox One 
- Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 rundown trailer, features Park Creator and multiplayer with up to 20 skaters 
- Tales of Zestiria launches on October 16 on PlayStation 3... as well as on PlayStation 4 and PC!