Checkpoint: New AnandTech Edition

Checkpoint - New AnandTech Edition

It’s the end of an era.

With Anand Lai Shimpi retiring from tech publishing and leaving the website he built nearly 18 years ago, I thought it would be fitting to reflect and show my appreciation for the tech site.

Years ago when I was learning to build my own PCs, sites like AnandTech were common. Tech sites analyzing and critiquing computer hardware were a dime a dozen. AnandTech, The Tech Report, Tom’s Hardware and HardOCP were amongst the most popular. But even back then, AnandTech and The Tech Report were always vying for top spot in my books.

As time wore on and computers became more and more of a commodity, tech sites began to fade away. The appetite for higher end computer hardware became increasingly niche and you had to stand out in order to survive. AnandTech doubled down on their analysis and deep dives into technology and I appreciated it more and more.

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Samsung SSD 850 Pro ushers in 3D NAND

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Samsung LogoThe Samsung SSD 850 Pro a new king of solid state drives for the 6Gbps SATA interface. It will cost ~$130 for the 128GB model which is a ridiculous price compared to the 256GB Crucial MX100 that I picked up for $110. The Crucial MX100 isn’t a complete slouch either.

I didn’t know there was a growing concern over interference with shrinking NAND. I’ll quote the AnandTech review:

The above can be fairly tough to digest, so let’s do a simple analogy that everyone should be able to understand. Imagine that you have a bunch of speakers with each playing a different song. When these speakers are relatively large and far away from each other, it is easy to properly hear the song that the speaker closest to you is playing. Now, what happens if you bring the other speakers closer to the speaker you are listening? The other speakers will interfere and it becomes harder to tell your song apart from the others. If you turn down the volume or switch to smaller speakers with lower output volume, it becomes even harder to distinquish your song from the songs that the other songs that other speakers are playing. If you repeat this enough times, there will be a point when you are hearing your song as unclearly as the other songs.

The effect is essentially the same with NAND scaling. When the cells, or speakers in the analogy, move closer to each other, the amount of interference increases, making it harder to sense the cell or listen to the speaker. At the same time the size of the cell (or speakers) is shrunk, which further complicates the focus on one cell (or speaker).

So instead of trying to place speakers closer and closer together on the X and Y axis, Samsung (and others) have begun stacking NAND along the Z axis as well. Now SSD manufacturers will continue to pack more and more storage in the same space constraints.

This whole 3D NAND thing reminds me of the time when Seagate introduced Perpendicular Recording Technology back in 2006. It gave us more GBs in the same space for a cheaper prices. 3D NAND will yield the same results as soon as other competitors like Crucial get on board.

The Crucial MX100

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Crucial LogoThe Crucial MX100 looks like a real winner at 256GB. I just purchased one for $110 off The price to GB ratio is nice but that’s only half the story.

The performance is comparable to the Samsung 840 EVO but it costs $60 less. AnandTech have given it a thumbs up.

All in all, I have nothing negative to say about the MX100. With the performance and feature set, combined with pricing that basically doubles the amount of storage you get for your dollar, it’s an absolute no-brainer. Unless you are an enthusiast or professional with a heavy IO workload, the MX100 is currently the drive with the best bang for the buck in the market by far.

That’s high praise that shouldn’t be ignored.

PlayStation 4 storage options tested

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Will Smith over at Tested explored the storage options of the PlayStation 4. With large capacity solid state drives being so expensive, it is important to find out if they’re worth their high price tags.

I would never place a solid state hard drive (hybrid drive) in one of my PCs because they can take advantage of the solid state drives. The PlayStation 4? Apparently it doesn’t utilize SSDs very well. Nobody is sure if future firmware revisions will improve SSD utilization but for now it looks like SSHDs are the way to go. They offer both capacity and performance gains.

So what are my SSHD choices? The Seagate 1TB drive with 8GB of NAND (Model: ST1000LM014) can be found for around $115 online. That’s a little pricier than I would like.

So for now, I will wait.

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