Monday, September 30, 2013

ICY News: Hard Drive Makers Will Continue to Limit Output to Sustain Margins – Analyst.

"Shipments of hard disk drives declined considerably in the first half of calendar 2013 due to slow sales of personal computer. While the pressure from underperforming PC market will remain, financial analysts see bright future for top hard drive makers, Seagate and Western Digital. Analysts believe that both companies will benefit from the rise of solid-state drives and growing sales of non-PC HDDs. Moreover, both will sustain margins by limiting output.

“We continue to believe the HDD industry bottomed in first half of 2013, consistent with comments from WD, Seagate, and other suppliers. The PC-related risk has faded in importance for the HDD stocks, since non-PC HDD sales are now eclipsing PC HDD sales led by double-digit unit growth for enterprise and branded drives. Seagate is well-positioned to outgrow the industry in FY14 driven by organic investments in hybrids, enterprise and client SSDs, and services,” said Joe Wittine, an analyst with Longbow Research, in a note to clients, reports Tech Trader Daily.

Traditionally, sales of hard disk drives in the second calendar quarter are up by 3% - 7% sequentially. However, this year the declining market of personal computers significantly affected the markets of PC components and the hard drive market contracted by 2% - 3%, to approximately 132 – 133 million of units in the quarter.

During the second quarter of 2013, Seagate sold around 53.8 million of hard drives, a decline of 1.9 million in the previous quarters. Western Digital managed to sell 59.896 hard drives in calendar Q2 2013, or about 280 thousand lower than in the previous quarter. Toshiba Corp. most likely shipped around 19 million hard disk drives during the quarter, which is around one million units lower than in Q1 2013."

Link to the Entire Article:  xbitslab: Hard Drive Makers Will Continue to Limit Output to Sustain Margins – Analyst.

Friday, September 27, 2013

ICY DOCK September ICY TIP Giveaway Contest Winner Announcement!!

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ICY DOCK September ICY TIP Giveaway Contest - 9/6/2013 ~ 9/15/2013

ICY News: Build a custom soild state drive using microSD cards

"Do you have a collection of old microSD cards sitting around collecting dust? Wouldn’t it be cool if you could actually put them to good use instead of giving them away or even worse, tossing them in the trash?  Well now you can thanks to this neat looking microSD SSD Creator Kit.

The kit arrives with what is essentially a solid state drive board without the memory. There are four slots available to plug in microSD memory cards (also available for CF cards). Simply connect the cards to the mainboard (max of 32GB per card, class 10 recommended and all cards need to be the same capacity) then connect the board to your computer."

Would you $80 for the converter kit or spend a little more for a real SSD?

Entire Article: Build a custom solid state drive using microSD cards

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

ICY News: Understanding SSDs: Why SSDs hate write amplification

"In today’s solid state drives, the NAND flash memory must be erased before it can store new data. In other words, data cannot be overwritten directly as it is in a hard disk drive. Instead, SSDs use a process called garbage collection (GC) to reclaim the space taken by previously stored data. This means that write demands are heavier on SSDs than HDDs when storing the same information."

Read the entire article from TechSpot: Understanding SSDs: Why SSDs hate write amplification

Monday, September 23, 2013

ICY News: SSDs Protected From Data Loss Due to Power Failure by Innodisk Power Secure Technology

"It is an hardware and firmware-based power failure protection system, which helps ensure SSD data integrity after sudden power outages.

SSDs are more robust than traditional HDDs; they are faster, more durable, and have lower operating costs. However, all storage devices are vulnerable to potential data loss caused by a sudden shutdown due to external power failure. Power Secure offers a combined hardware and firmware power-down recovery system that reduces the probability of data loss or corruption.

Power Secure is integrated in the storage device and requires no user intervention. Therefore it is always ready to protect data, no matter what the cause of the unexpected power loss: power outage or brownout, power supply failure, battery exhaustion, and even inadvertent disengagement of a live drive."

StorageNewsletter: SSDs Protected From Data Loss Due to Power Failure by Innodisk Power Secure Technology

Friday, September 20, 2013

ICY News: sTec s260 mSATA SSDs Announced

"sTec, a WD company, has announced their latest SSD, the s260 in mSATA form factor. The sTec s260 will find its way into embedded applications and compute situations where space is at a premium. The s260 uses a SATA 6Gb/s interface and features a modest power draw of 1.5W. sTec not content to just float out "another mSATA SSD" has added power fail protection to protect in-flight data in the event of unplanned power loss. They've also included environmental specs that support extreme altitudes and temperatures; something that ruggedized computing gear often requires given the intended use cases.

The s260 will ship in a variety of configurations using both SLC and eMLC NAND. The SLC drives come in capacities up to 64GB and offer read and write throughput of up to 500MB/s and 250MB/s respectively with endurance of 10x drives writes per day for 5 years. The eMLC drives are available in capacities up to 200GB and offer throughout of up to 500MB/s read and 150MB/s write, with support for 10x drive writes per day for 3 years."

For the more detailed specification, visit StorageReview: sTec s260 mSATA SSDs Announced

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

ICY News: Intel Debuts New Business-Class Solid-State Drive.

"Intel SSD Pro 1500 family is based on Intel’s MLC NAND flash memory produced using 20nm process technology and LSI SandForce SF-2281 controller. The drives provide up to 540MB/s sequential read speed and up to 490MB/s write speed. Intel declares up to 41K read IOPS and up to 80K write IOPS for the SSD Pro 1500 family. The new solid-state drives will be available in 2.5”/7mm and M.2 form-factors. The Intel SSD Pro 1500 series also protects data from unauthorized access with enterprise-grade security features, including hardware-based 256-bit AES encryption2 and industry-standard Opal key management protocols. The Intel SSD Pro 1500 series is designed to work with processors with Intel vPro technology. Intel SSDs offer industry-leading reliability with annualized failure rates (AFR) well below 1%, according to the company." 

Link to the Entire Article: Xbitlabs: Intel Debuts New Business-Class Solid-State Drive.

Monday, September 16, 2013

ICY News: Western Digital Releases 4 TB WD Green Drive HDD

"Western Digital has expanded its Green series to include a 4 TB option.
Western Digital has finally released the 4 TB iteration of its Green series HDD. The company's Green series is already home to 1 TB, 2 TB, and 3 TB models. WD's plans for a 4 TB model were revealed in a roadmap from late in 2012 which said a 4 TB option would be available in the third quarter. Though the arrival of a new 4 TB drive isn't exactly exciting, it does mean we're getting closer to those 5 TB models."
"We haven't spotted the WD Green 4 TB in stores or online but TechPowerUp reports that it is available and is priced between $170 and $190, depending on what package you choose."

Friday, September 13, 2013

ICY News: Seagate's Shingled Magnetic Recording to bring 5 TB HDDs in 2014

"Seagate has tried its hardest to shrink the read/write heads of hard drives even further, but with the latest 1 TB 3.5-inch platters, the company believes they've hit a physical brick wall: the head simply can't get any smaller. The same goes for the tracks on the platters, which Seagate claims are as close together as physically possible.
Essentially this means that without increasing the amount of platters in a drive, producing drives with capacities above 4 TB (four 1 TB platters) has become rather hard. To get around these physical limits, Seagate has looked into changing the architecture implemented, coming up with Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR)."

Link to the Article: TechSpot: Seagate's Shingled Magnetic Recording to bring 5 TB HDDs in 2014

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

ICY News: USB Implementers to Develop Media Agnostic USB Specification

"The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has announced the development of the media agnostic (MA) USB specification. The specification is designed to allow wireless devices and docking stations to communicate over the USB protocol, without the need for a physical USB connection at the speed of around 1Gb/s.
The WiGig Serial Extension (WSE) v1.2 specification from the Wi-Fi Alliance will provide the initial foundation for the Media Agnostic USB (MA USB) specification. The WSE specification has been formally transferred to the USB-IF from the Wi-Fi Alliance, and the WSE specification already incorporates the USB protocol. An important design goal of the specification is to achieve wireless gigabit transfer rates while leveraging existing USB infrastructure present in the form of:
  • Open application programming interfaces in every major operating system;
  • USB class specifications by USB-IF device working groups;
  • A wealth of open-source/OS specific drivers for USB classes;
  • Vendor-specific device drivers for a multitude of USB vendor-specific devices.
“We are pleased to see the USB-IF use the WiGig Serial Extension in its development of the Media Agnostic USB specification. Advanced wireless usages of serial bus technology have the potential to deliver great benefit to users,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance.
Wireless devices implementing the Media Agnostic USB specification will be compliant with SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) and Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0). The USB-IF has established a Media Agnostic USB Work Group which is currently developing the MA USB specification 1.0."

Link to the Article: X-bitlabs USB Implementers to Develop Media Agnostic USB Specification

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

ICY News: Seagate Debuts Data Rescue and Hardware Replacement Services

"Seagate today announced its entry into the market for subscription-based consumer data recovery services with Seagate Rescue and Seagate Rescue and Replace. Both plans are available for internal and external HDDs and SSDs regardless of whether Seagate was the manufacturer, and are start at $29.99 for two years. The plans cover data recovery for data lost due to physical damage, corruption or accidental deletion, including a replacement drive for customers enrolled in the Rescue and Replace program.
In the case of a catastrophic failure, the cost of recovering data from a damaged or corrupted drive can reach into the thousands of dollars for technicians and lab expenses. While a data recovery service cannot replace good backup practices for ensuring the safety of critical data, the Seagate services work more like an insurance policy than an extended warranty for important drives and network storage devices." 
Would it be worth it to get the program? 

Monday, September 09, 2013

ICY News: Intel Announces New Business-Oriented SSD Pro 1500 Family, Supports New DevSleep Power Saving Mode

"Intel has announced a new family of SSD hardware aimed at business deployments with support for 256-bit AES encryption, the Trusted Computing Group's Opal management specification, and support for the vPro features inside Haswell. This last is a bit inaccuracy -- while the new drives do apparently support some vPro capabilities for remote management, Haswell didn't actually include any new features for vPro that Ivy Bridge doesn't support. Haswell's vPro implementation is supposed to be faster in certain circumstances, however.

With this new family, Intel is talking up Trusted Computing and remote management capabilities, and emphasizing the fact that these products are designed to hit ultra-low power consumption targets and failure rates below 1% per year. Actual drive performance is typical for SATA 6G products, with sequential read/write speeds up to 540MB/s and 490MB/s for the new hardware. Power consumption in what Intel calls DevSleep is 5 milliwatts, with power consumption in DevSleep mode as low as 200 microwatts (0.2 milliwatts).

DevSleep, if you haven't heard of it before, is a new power-saving mode that's supported on Haswell chipsets. The goal is to further lower SSD power consumption while enabling smartphone style instant-on operation. Bringing power consumption down as low as 0.2mW in idle will help prevent the stealth battery drain that kicks in when a system is left in sleep mode for significant periods of time.  "

Link to the Entire Article:  Intel Announces New Business-Oriented SSD Pro 1500 Family, Supports New DevSleep Power Saving Mode

Friday, September 06, 2013

ICY Tip: ICY DOCK Hard Drive Enclosure Selection Guide for Enterprise and Media Professionals

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ICY DOCK Hard Drive Enclosure Selection Guide for Enterprise and Media Professionals
Technological advancements have considerably enhanced our generation’s standard of living, and as time progresses the significance of data storage becomes more imperative to both our work related and personal operations. Everyone needs storage space. Your HTPC needs a huge capacity HDD to store all your movies, music and photos collection, your gaming rig needs a SSD to quickly load up your software and games, and your backup/DVR system needs a drive with hot-swap function so you can quickly swap the backup drive with the new drive or access the drive with other systems. If you’re a designer you need an enclosure that keeps your drive cool to extend the drive’s life span and protect your work.

ICY DOCK specializes in making stylish hard drive enclosures with unique features that’s specifically designed for different types of applications. Whether you’re an avid video editor, gaming enthusiast, Disc Jockey, or an everyday Joe that needs storage solutions, ICY DOCK has the products you require.
Please select the series that fits your need, click the banner to learn more about the series (or continue to scroll down to learn more about our external line up):
September ICY Tip Giveaway - 9/6/2013 to 9/15/2013
IcyDock will be hosting a giveaway to those that have read this article, with the prizes being the products that you’ve seen on this product selection guide. This free giveaway will be from September 6th 2013 to September 15th 2013, and the winner will be chosen/ announced by end of September on our Facebook page and blog. Head over to our News Page to learn more about the eligibility requirements and to learn more about our products!
ICY DOCK Blizzard Series - Maximize the cooling efficiency of the drive and extend the drive’s lifespan - Ideal for intense applications
Suggested applications: external storage for DVR, surveillance, NAS, graphic & video rendering system. Perfect for 3.5” SATA 10,000 RPM WD Velociraptor HDD
It’s a simple fact heat decreases the lifespan of electronics, and there’s no exceptions for hard drives. Video, photo editing and gaming are typically very resource intensive and can cause hard drives to reach temperatures upwards of 50°C. When these drives are consistently under immense loads and staggering temperatures, hard drive failure is inevitable.

The ICYDOCK Blizzard combats that issue by providing an enclosure with a whopping 80mm fan located on the front panel to dissipate heat. Adjustable LEDs provide visual aid, switching to cautionary red when temperatures exceed 50°C and reverting to default ambient blue when drives are at ideal temperatures. The built in fan controller allows you to select low, high, and auto speeds to adjust the fan speeds according to your needs, with auto mode properly adjusting the fan speed based on your hard drive’s requirements. The tool-less drive installation allows you to quick install or swap the drive in seconds, which is perfect for professional users that consistently switch drives.
ICY DOCK ICYBento Series - Portable elegant design with hot-swap EZ-Tray system – Perfect for data transportation
Suggested applications: external storage for backups, computer repair centers, office & school computers, graphic & video storage, DJ music archives
Over the past few years video, audio, and photo quality have increased tenfold along with their file size. It simply feels as if there’s not enough portable storage to transfer all these media files between locations –until now. ICYDOCK has engineered a blend of elegance, mobility, and functionality and coined it the ICYBento.

The ICYBento was designed with the deliberation of having small form factor for portability, and cross compatibility with many of our other product lines such as the ICYCube, DataCage and FatCage series –simply eject from one Ez-Tray device and insert into another without the need to shut down your system. Simplicity and the ability to hot swap make this the perfect device for anyone requiring quick access and on-the-go storage.
ICY DOCK ICYRaid Series – Dual bay support with hardware RAID built-in (SAFE / FAST) – Designed to protect your data 24/7
Suggested applications: transfers between drives (JBOD), mission critical backup (SAFE mode), advanced graphic & video rendering (FAST mode)
It’s a must-have enclosure that packs every function you could think of in a small form factor, and that’s why the ICYRaid series has become one of our most popular enclosures. It accepts two drives so you can transfer data from one drive to another, it has built-in SAFE mode which mirrors the drives so in the event that one drive fails, you’ll always have another as backup. If you are looking for maximum capacity and performance, simply choose FAST mode and it combines the drives and double the transfer speed. One would think that with such versatility and sleekness, this unit would be complex, but ICY DOCK has engineered the ICYRaid to be simple and easy to use without any technical knowledge. Simply insert the drive with the tool-less drive installation design, switch the RAID mode to the desired settings, plug in the power and cable, and you are ready to go.
Phone Support: 626.956.8800
Email Support:
Live Chat Support – Click HERE

ICY DOCK September ICY TIP Giveaway Contest (09/06/2013 to 09/15/2013)

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ICY DOCK September ICY TIP Giveaway Contest - 9/6/2013 ~ 9/15/2013
ICY DOCK will be giving one lucky contestant a product of his/her choice valued at up to $199. The prize includes our latest USB 3.0 dual bay RAID enclosure! Stay tuned as there will be many upcoming raffles in the future.
The requirements to be eligible for September ICY TIP giveaway are simple:
Like our Facebook page -
Read up on our September ICYTIP "ICY DOCK Hard Drive Enclosure Selection Guide for Enterprise and Media Professionals." Find out which product(s) support screw-less drive installation and message us through Facebook with the answer(s).
ICY DOCK Hard Drive Enclosure Selection Guide for Enterprise and Media Professionals
The giveaway contest is available for USA and Canada only
One entry per person and you must be at least 13 years of age to enter
Winner will be randomly drawn from participants with the correct answer to the question posted
Contest runs from September 6th - September 15th
The Winner will be announced on our Facebook page and on our ICY DOCK blog
Terms and Conditions: Event begins 9/6/13~9/15/13. Each participant is limited to one (1) entry per customer (U.S. and Canadian residents only). Posting on online forums or Facebook must follow the rules & guidelines as listed. All entries must be submitted by 9/15/13 midnight EST with all required information noted above otherwise they will be disqualified. The winner will be chosen / announced by end of September on our Facebook page and blog. Winner is required to contact to submit valid shipping information within 7 days of the winning announcement.

ICY News: Fragging wonderful: The truth about defragging your SSD

"With smarter file systems and faster disks and PCs, file fragmentation isn’t the performance suck it once was. Older computers had a habit of splitting files and spreading the parts all over your hard drives, but modern ones don’t do this as much. Not even close. That said, a bimonthly pass with a capable defragger can help you maintain peak performance on a heavily used hard drive.
However, solid-state drives, which use flash memory instead of a hard-drive platter to store data, are another story: My tests showed little or no benefit from running a number of disk defragmenters on a heavily used SSD.
Conventional logic dictates that you should never defrag an SSD, because the SSD controller writes data in a scattershot-fashion to multiple NAND chips and locations, using algorithms that only the controller understands. The operating system sees it as a hard drive with sectors, but the data is spread all over the drive by the controller. Defragging these “sectors” is like trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle blindfolded: You can feel parts of the pattern, but you can’t see the whole picture. In addition, NAND is good for only a few thousand write cycles, so defragging can reduce the SSD’s lifespan by unnecessarily writing data to it."

Thursday, September 05, 2013

ICY News: Intel Demonstrates Overclocking SSDs At PAX Prime 2013 But Is It Worth It?

Intel Demonstrates Overclocking SSDs At PAX Prime 2013 But Is It Worth It?"At PAX Prime 2013, Intel hosted a short hands-on workshop showcasing their latest bleeding edge idea: overclocking SSDs. The demonstration was simple: run an Intel 480GB (6Gb/s SATA) SSD at stock speeds, then overclock the onboard controller, and then overclock the NAND bus frequency to demonstrate the performance improvement that can be achieved.
“The real question,” says Intel’s Product Marketing Manager Kei Kobayashi, “is whether or not we can squeeze enough performance out of the drive to justify the risk versus the reward.”

The Demo

We used AS SSD Benchmark v1.6 to first run a test of the SSD at standard speeds.

Intel 480GB SSD AS SSD Benchmark results with no overclocking

For the next test ,we used Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility to increase the NAND bus frequency on the SSD from its default 83Mhz to 100Mhz, and then ran the test again. This yielded a very modest increase of around 20MB/s for sequential reads and 30MB/s for write speeds."

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

ICY News: WD Red 6Gb SATA HDDs for NAS With More Capacity

2.5-inch at 1TB ($99) and 3.5-inch at 4TB ($229) like Seagate offering
WD announced the expansion of its WD Red line of SATA HDDs specifically designed for home and small office NAS systems with one- to five-drive bays. 


WD Red HDDs are now available in a 2.5-inch form factor offering 1TB and 750GB capacities and a new 3.5-inch 4TB capacity. 

Link to the Entire Article: Storagenewsletter: WD Red 6Gb SATA HDDs for NAS With More Capacity