Tag Archives: M.2

The 512 GB GIGABYTE M.2 SSD Revealed!

GIGABYTE just revealed their 512 GB GIGABYTE M.2 SSD, an affordable solid state storage solution for the mainstream market. Learn more about GIGABYTE’s latest M.2 solid state drive!

 

The 512 GB GIGABYTE M.2 2280 SSD Revealed!

Based on the NVMe architecture, the 512 GB GIGABYTE M.2 SSD utilises PCIe Gen3 x2 lanes to deliver higher bandwidth and transfer speeds compared to the traditional SATA interface. Like the earlier 128 GB and 256 GB models, the 512 GB GIGABYTE M.2 SSD supports TRIM and S.M.A.R.T technologies.

The 512 GB GIGABYTE M.2 SSD is built around TLC flash memory, with Host Memory Buffer (HMB) to improve performance at a more affordable price point.

 

Why PCIe x2, Not PCIe x4?

With reduced SSD prices in recent years, many users have made the transition from SATA devices to M.2 devices. Despite the upgrade, storage performance from their M.2 SSDs is often bottlenecked by the utilization of SATA 6Gb/s lanes on their storage devices.

The SATA 6Gb/s interface cannot match the read/write speeds of the SSDs, holding back their storage devices. NVMe based storage devices that utilize PCIe Gen3 lanes circumvent this issue but these devices usually come with PCIe Gen3 x4 lanes which makes them significantly more expensive.

While users are looking for better performance, NVMe based PCIe Gen3 x4 solid state drives are expensive. GIGABYTE M.2 SSD is based on NVMe architecture but uses PCIe Gen3 x2 lanes to reduce cost, while using Host Buffer Memory (HMB) to maximise performance.

HMB technology uses system memory to cache and improve the SSD‘s performance. This eliminates the need for dedicated cache memory, allowing GIGABYTE to keep costs low.

 

GIGABYTE M.2 SSD Price + Availability

The GIGABYTE M.2 SSD series comes with a 3 year warranty, and three capacity sizes of 128GB, 256GB and the newly-announced 512GB. Here are some direct purchase links (with prices accurate as of 24 December 2018) :

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United States

United Kingdom

Malaysia

 

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The Plextor M8Se NVMe SSD Series Launched

Plextor just announced the debut of the Plextor M8Se series solid state drives (SSDs) that built around the ultra-high-speed NVMe interfaces. The drives also use the industry’s flagship TLC NAND and control chip components, and specialized heat sinks with streamlined aesthetic design.

 

The Plextor M8Se NVMe SSD Series

The Plextor M8Se series also caters to a variety of user requirements for SSD upgrades or system assembly, with both PCIe and M.2 2280 specifications. The PCIe version adopts lines drawn from fluid mechanics and a professional blue and black high-performance heat sink design. This presents dynamic ultra-fast speed aesthetics, along with more efficient thermal conductivity that can quickly eliminate the heat generated by M8Se’s high speed transmission and help the computer system maintain optimal operating efficiency.

The M8Se series has the most trustworthy service life and stability of any SSD. The Marvell control chip and Toshiba Super-High-Performance TLC NAND flash memory also allow the M8Se series to have outstanding performance, read/write service life, capacity, and stability, even better than the usual TLC SSD.

The M8Se series is powered by the latest generation NVMe PCIe Gen 3x 4 super high-speed transmission interface that delivers high bandwidth and low latency that allows sequential read/write access speeds of up to 2,450/1,000 MB/s and random read/write speeds of up to 210,000/175,000 IOPS. Whether it’s for work, fun, or multimedia applications, the M8Se is the perfect solution to speed up your system and provide the ultimate user experience.

Equipped with Plextor firmware technology and advanced LDCP debugging capability, the M8Se series has greatly enhanced read/write reliability. Its exclusive PlexNitro write cache technology can ensure the most reliable read/write performance, and its extended SSD service life guarantees peace of mind to long-term users.

 

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The Plextor M8Se Series Availability

The Plextor M8Se series is anticipated to officially reach the market in June 2017. In addition to providing the PCle expansion card and M.2 2280 specifications, capacities of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB are also available to satisfy players’ diverse needs for system construction and expansion.

The M8Se series products have passed Plextor’s stringent quality tests, with a 1.5 million hour MTBF (mean time between failures) guarantee in addition to a 3-year warranty period.

 

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The ADATA SU800 M.2 2280 SSD Launched

Taipei, 3 November 2016ADATA Technology today launched the M.2 2280 version of the ADATA SU800 3D NAND SSD. With higher density, faster performance, and longer lifespan than 2D NAND SSDs, the new SU800 SSD fits on a compact card while still available in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB and offered at very attractive price points.

It supports a DRAM Buffer and SLC Caching mode to boost performance up to 560MB/s read and 520MB/s write, with LDPC error correction, Data Shaping, and a RAID Engine to bolster data integrity. For users that want a simple, cable-free, and low energy draw SSD upgrade, the ADATA SU800 M.2 2280 has much to offer.

The ADATA SU800 M.2 2280 SSD

Denser, faster, and longer-lasting SSD with a smaller footprint

The ADATA SU800 M.2 2280 fits on a compact PCB and slots directly into M.2 ports, which are increasingly common on desktop PCs and the standard on notebooks. It uses 3D NAND with an SMI controller and fits up to 1TB. Unlike 2.5” SSDs, it does not require cables and only needs very minimal power, supplied straight from the motherboard.

The direct motherboard link also helps reduce latency and increase performance by roughly 10% compared to 2.5” SATA 6Gb/s drives. The SU800 M.2 2280 reaches 560MB/s read and 520MB/s write. It also lasts longer than 2D NAND drives, with an MTBF (mean time between failures) of 2,000,000 hours versus 1,500,000.

Packed with performance-enhancing and data integrity-ensuring features

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The ADATA SU800 M.2 2280 integrates a DRAM Cache for speed acceleration on demand, complemented by SLC Caching mode (single-level cell performance). For data integrity and safety, LDPC (low density parity check) error correction, RAID Engine, and Data Shaping are deployed, the latter helping even out read/write cycle loads to prolong SSD lifespan.

Extremely power efficient – and easy on batteries

Like all M.2 cards, the ADATA SU800 needs very little power to operate. It helps extend battery life on notebooks and reduces overall system power requirements for users building a desktop PC. The drive uses DEVSLP (Device Sleep) technology to go into a dormant, extra low-power state when idle to reduce energy consumption even further.

An immediately obvious upgrade

For users moving from 3.5” and 2.5” mechanical drives, the ADATA SU800 M.2 2280 offers a striking increase in performance combined with a massive reduction in drive size, noise, heat, and energy draw. Even for SATA 6Gb/s SSD users, it presents a much simpler, neater, and more reliable SSD solution that is well worth considering.

Like other ADATA SSDs, the ADATA SU800 M.2 2280 includes licenses for SSD Toolbox drive management and Migration Utility data migration apps.

 

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ADATA XPG SX8000 Gaming SSD Launched

Taipei, 29 September 2016 – ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high performance DRAM modules and NAND Flash products, today launched the XPG SX8000 SSD, which uses an M.2 form factor loaded with 3D MLC NAND Flash and an SMI 2260controller.

The SX8000 meets NVMe 1.2 specifications and connects directly to motherboards via PCI Express 3.0 x4 (PCIe 3×4) to deliver 2.4GB/s read and 1GB/s write, with 100K/140K IOPS. The SX8000 arrives in diverse capacities (128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB), ensuring a new generation of SSD performance is available to more users.

A slightly faster version fitted with an attractive XPG heatsink will release by the end of October, promising an aesthetic bonus for case modding enthusiasts.

 

ADATA XPG SX8000

Compact M.2 PCI 3×4 shatters speed barriers

The XPG SX8000 connects to desktop and notebook PCs via low profile M.2 2280 and channels data through PCI Express 3.0 x4 (four lane). The low latency and big bandwidth of PCIe enable up to 2.4GB/s read and 1GB/s write – four times the read and twice the write performance of average SATA 6Gb/s SSDs. Random 4K IOPS figures are 100K read and 140K write, also significantly more than SATA-based drives.

The SX8000 features full NVMe 1.2 compatibility, powering a large performance boost that means users notice gains in real world scenarios, especially loading times within games that require heavy asset streaming and in professional applications such as graphics and audio rendering.

Flexible and durable 3D NAND

The XPG SX8000 represents a new era not just in performance, but in its very architecture. It uses reliable 3D MLC NAND Flash, allowing ADATA to produce versions in capacities from 128GB to 1TB. With 3D NAND, reliability, performance, and efficiency all get a boost as more storage is fitted onto a smaller form factor without increasing power demands. The SX8000 features a 2 million hour MTBF (mean time between failures) rating, or 25% longer than 2D NAND SSD (which average 1.5 million hours).

Range of data-enhancing features

ADATA firmware design takes utmost data performance and integrity into consideration with every SSD. Intelligent SLC Caching allows the drive to operate in pseudo single-level cell mode for speed boosts when extreme data loads are encountered. It can also leverage system RAM to increase performance via DRAM Cache Buffer, helping maintain consistent throughput even during the most intense tasks.

LDPC ECC (low density parity check error correction) prevents data corruption and promotes integrity, while Data Shaping evenly distributes task loads across NAND Flash cells. The SX8000 is therefore a pioneer in performance that offers a complete package of reliability-augmenting features. It is backed by a 5-year warranty.

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Apacer Z280 M.2 PCIe Gen 3 x4 SSD Introduced

The Apacer Z280 is Apace’s latest answer to advanced SSDs. It supports PCIe Gen 3 x4 and is compliant with NVMe 1.2 in a M.2 form factor. The blazing speed will boost the game status without getting too costly.

With sustained read/write performance at 2500MB/s and 1350MB/s, the compact M.2-2280 keeps everything efficient at a massive capacity of 480GB. Want to be one step ahead of others? Look no further than Z280, the high-performing SSD that is compatible with mini PCs and laptops.

Apacer Z280 M.2 PCIe SSD

Fast & Large Storage

The cutting-edge Apacer Z280 is compliant with NVMe 1.2 standard and features the latest PCIe Gen 3 x4 interface to provide up to 4 times of bandwidth – up to 2500 MB/s read & 1350MB/s write. Offering a massive memory capacity of 480GB, the Apacer Z280 has a random write of 175,000 IOPs to ensure all actions in each gaming scene is smoothly processed, fluid and sharp, efficiently boosting a gamer’s status.

With only 80mm in length, the Apacer Z280 adopts the ultra slim size of M.2-2280 and fits most of the laptops and mini PCs, easily turning any devices into highly portable gaming tools. With utmost performances and superb qualities, the Apacer Z280 is undoubtedly the most powerful booster you can find for gameplay enhancement.

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Stable & Safe Storage

The Apacer Z280 is equipped with several advanced features to ensure PCIe Gen 3 x4 performs at optimum, including ECC with 120bit/2KB BCH, End-to-End Data Protection, Smart ECC, Global Wear Leveling, for fortified SSD life, SmartRefresh, for maintaining accuracy and safety of data access, and S.M.A.R.T. monitoring system to keep all performances at their smoothest.

Meanwhile, Apacer publishes specially designed Apacer SSDWidget software which allows users to examine the SSD status as well as instant firmware update. In addition, the Apacer Z280 is an efficient power saver, capable of performing at low-power consumption, enabling to the laptop battery to sustain longer and PCs to be eco-friendlier.

 

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Transcend SSD370S Now Available In Malaysia

April 26th 2016, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia – Transcend Information, Inc. (Transcend) is proud to announce the availability of its high-performance solid-state drive for enthusiasts and professionals intended for games and other high-speed storage applications as well faster storage for notebooks.

The Transcend SSD370S 2.5” solid-state drive feature high-quality synchronous MLC NAND flash for superior stability complimented by Transcend’s protective technologies for an extended lifespan.

 

Transcend SSD370S

MORE SPACE, MORE TO STORE
The Transcend SSD370S is rated at up to 560MB/s read and 460MB/s write giving graphic designers and multimedia professionals a more responsive experience from their system while giving gamers faster loading times. With sizes ranging from 32GB all the way to 1TB, Transcend offers a capacity fit for your needs.

PROTECTIVE TECHNOLOGY LEADS TO HIGH PERFORMANCE
The Transcend SSD370S features multiple built-in technologies for maximum reliability including Error Correction Code (ECC) to help detect and correct potential transfer errors, Device Sleep (DevSleep) mode to reduce power consumption and shorten the response time upon wake-up from Sleep or Hibernate, and the S.M.A.R.T. function to efficiently monitor SSD health conditions. More standard mechanisms include Intelligent Block Management and Wear-levelling algorithm to protect data integrity and prolong SSD lifespan.

[adrotate banner=”5″]TAKE CONTROL WITH SSD SCOPE
Monitor and maintain your Transcend SSD and keep it running in top condition with the advanced SSD Scope software application available for free download so you can check on your SSD730S’ status anytime. SSD Scope allows you to check and get informed how your SSD370S solid-state drive is doing by providing health status information via S.M.A.R.T. technology, enable TRIM command to maintain optimal write speeds and update the SSD firmware via a single click. All of these are presented in a user-friendly tool for ease of use.

EASY UPGRADE
The Transcend SSD370S is a quick and easy way to improve productivity in both your desktop and notebook. At only 6.8mm and weighing at 63g, it fits most modern notebook and replaces the heavier traditional hard drive providing faster application loading times and start-up speeds as well as dropping power consumption to help improve battery life. A 3.5mm bracket is included for desktop upgraders with the easy cloning tool making migration easy via SSD Scope. No need to reinstall.

 

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Transcend MTS800 1TB M.2 SSD Now Available

Kuala Lumpur, April 22 2016 – Transcend Information, Inc. (Transcend) is proud to announce the availability of 1 Terabyte M.2 Solid State Drive coming with 2280 form factor for ultra-thin computing devices, such as Ultrabook, tablet computers and laptops.

The Transcend MTS800 M.2 SSD is equipped with high-quality MLC NAND flash to maintain its excellent stability, and is exclusively built with protective technologies, such as Global Wear-levelling, Advanced Garbage Collection, and Device Sleep mode.

 

Trancend MTS800 1TB M.2 Solid State Drive

Spacious Capacity and Super Speed
By utilizing next-generation SATA III 6Gb/s interface, the Transcend MTS800 is capable of delivering sequential read/write performance of up to 560MB/s and 460MB/s respectively. The newly released spacious 1TB supplies the MTS800’s capacity to its full scale ranging from 32GB to 1TB, which is determined to satisfy the needs of various market fields and individual consumer with personal budget plans.

Protective Technology Leads to High Performance
The Transcend MTS800 features multiple built-in technologies for optimum protection, including Error Correction Code (ECC) that helps detect and correct potential transfer errors, Device Sleep mode to reduce power consumption and shorten the response time upon wake-up from Sleep or Hibernate, and the S.M.A.R.T. function to efficiently monitor SSD health conditions. More standard mechanisms include Intelligent Block Management and Wear-levelling algorithm to protect data integrity and prolong SSD lifespan.

Intel Smart Response Technology (ISRT) Supported
Transcend’s MTS series supports Intel Smart Response Technology (ISRT) in which an SSD is used as a cache between the hard disk drive and the computer system to memorize the applications and files that are most frequently accessed. This allows the hard disk more storage capacity to process and store other programs and files so as to improve the overall efficiency.

Apart from Transcend MTS800 available in 32GB~1TB capacities, two other Transcend’s MTS400 and MTS600 M.2 SSD models are also available in 32GB~512GB. All the MTS series are backed by Transcend’s Three-year Limited Warranty.

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HP ENVY 15t (15t-ae100) Laptop Review

The HP ENVY 15t comes in 3 different processor and graphic card configurations :

  • Intel i7-6700HQ quad-core processor with integrated Intel HD Graphics, or
  • Intel i7-6500U dual-core processor with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M 4GB GPU, or
  • Intel i7-6500U dual-core processor with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 940M 2 GB GPU.

This review will cover the top HP ENVY 15t configuration with the quad-core Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor with Intel HD Graphics. Let’s take a look!

 

HP ENVY 15t Specifications

Processor 6th Generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core Processor
Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics 530
Display 15.6″ Full HD WLED-backlit IPS Display (1920×1080)
Memory 8 GB DDR3L – 1 DIMM
Storage 1 TB 5400 RPM Hard Disk Drive
Primary Battery 3-cell 55.5 WHr Lithium-ion Battery
Optical drive SuperMulti DVD burner
Keyboard Backlit Keyboard
Personalization HP TrueVision HD Webcam with Dual Digital Microphone
Fingerprint Reader
Networking Intel 802.11ac WLAN and Bluetooth(R) [1×1]
Audio Bang & Olufsen with 4 speakers and 1 subwoofer

 

HP ENVY 15t Design & Build

The top cover and rear display cover of the HP ENVY 15t laptop is made of aluminium. The display bezel and bottom cover, on the other hand, is made of plastic. The display bezel has some play when I press it on the top left corner. The display doesn’t sit flush against the main chassis either. I’m not sure if this is part of the design, but the gap in the middle actually helps me lift up the display.

To keep the quad-core Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor cool, the HP ENVY 15t laptop has large cooling vents at the bottom, as well as out the back. There are perforations on the underside on both sides near the front – they are the vents for two of the four Bang & Olufsen speakers.

The designers of the HP ENVY 15t designed the display so that it actually elevates the rear end of the laptop away from the table surface. This improves ventilation under the laptop, which is usually a dead space.

On the left side, you will find the power connector, an AC/battery light, the RJ-45 network lights and jack, a HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.0 charging port, a headphone/microphone port, and an SD Card reader.

On the right side of the HP ENVY 15t, you will find the Power and hard disk drive activity lights, a security cable slot, the optical drive and a USB 3.0 port.

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HP ENVY 15t Display

HP offers two WLED-backlit display options with the HP ENVY 15t laptop – a standard display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 display, or an IPS display with a higher resolution of 1920 x 1080. I would recommend the 1920 x 1080 IPS display. This particular laptop used an IPS display made by LG.

 

Touchpad & Keyboard

The HP ENVY 15t‘s touchpad is fairly big which is nice, but it requires too much force to click. I end up using one or two finger taps instead of the hidden TouchPad button. The back-lit keyboard came standard. No real complaints about the keyboard’s performance. The keyboard’s a little chatty, but at least it doesn’t flex.

That can’t be said for their attention to detail. The keys were not centered properly – there is a noticeably larger gap on the left side of the keys. The silver-on-silver colour scheme actually accentuated the misalignment of the keys.

Page 2 > Features, SSD Upgrade & Our Verdict!

 

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WLAN & Bluetooth

The HP ENVY 15t comes with three WLAN options –  a 802.11b/g/n module, or an Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC with either 1×1 or 2×2 stream capability. This particular laptop was equipped with a Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165 module with 1×1 stream.

 

Battery & Power Supply

The HP ENVY 15t comes with a built-in 3-cell lithium-ion battery with a battery capacity of 55.5 WHr. HP rates the ENVY 15t laptop as capable of running for up to 9.5 hours on this small battery. This is probably based on the dual-core configuration. I managed to squeeze out 4.5 hours of battery life playing YouTube videos.

The HP website states that the ENVY 15t configurations with integrated graphics comes with a 45 W power brick. However, it is only true for the dual-core configurations, which are not currently being offered. The sole configuration with integrated graphics was the Intel quad-core configuration – it comes with a larger 90 W power brick.

 

Storage

All HP ENVY 15t configurations allow you to opt for a 5400 RPM hard disk drive with a storage capacity of either 1 TB or 2 TB. If you opt for the 4 GB discrete GPU configuration, you can opt for a dual-storage combination of a 256 GB solid state drive, with a secondary 1 TB 5400 RPM hard disk drive.

M.2 solder points without a socket on the i7-6700HQ quad-core configuration

In case you are wondering, the 256 GB SSD is an M.2 module. However, the lack of an M.2 socket on the motherboard of this quad-core configuration prevents you from adding your own M.2 SSD upgrade.

 

Solid State Drive (SSD) Upgrade

Since HP did not offer the SSD option for their Intel Core i7-6700HQ configuration, I decided to swap in one of my 2.5″ SSDs.

Accessing the internal of the HP ENVY 15t requires the removal of the optical drive (1 screw), and the base enclosure (14 screws). The base enclosure is made of plastic, and is fragile near the optical drive section.

The battery cable has to be removed before you can service any components.

To remove the hard drive drive from its bracket, the battery must first be disconnected and removed (5 screws). A sloppy LED board ribbon cable can be seen after the removal of the hard drive. I had to correct that…

After swapping the SSD into the bracket, I encountered a problem – the speaker cable was caught under the SSD. Attempts to reroute it around the SSD caused it to be too snug. In the end, I had to loosen the cable to reroute it. During reassembly, I manage to bend one of the battery connector pins. That shows how fragile these components can be, so be careful!

 

My Verdict

The HP ENVY 15t laptop laptop offers one of the cheapest quad-core Intel processor configurations in the market, if you do not need discrete graphics.

However, its internal design leaves much to be desired. Upgrading its RAM or swapping its HDD for an SSD will not be an easy task for mainstream users due to the many crucial steps they will need to take.  They also have to be very careful about what they are doing.

Aside from its interior sloppiness, the laptop feels solid.

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What I liked

  • 1920 x 1080 IPS display
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Large touchpad

What I disliked

  • M.2 socket only available with the 4 GB discrete graphic card configuration (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M)
  • Non-easily accessible panel
  • Touchpad requires too much force to click (ended up using tap function, instead of click)
  • Lack of SSD option (not a big deal since it’s cheaper to buy one on your own to replace the HDD)
  • Some sloppiness in assembly

 

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