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For most of their market life USB flash drives weren't true SSDs. But 10 years ago that changed. And we're now seeing some worthy and reliable products appearing in the humble USB form factor - using modern flash memory and modern flash controller technologies - which have many applications in embedded and industrial markets.
Micron chooses Hyperstone’s USB controller for reliable IoT SSDs

Editor:- March 6, 2017 - Hyperstone’s U9 - USB 3.1 flash Memory controller has been integrated into Micron’s new eU500- a USB SSD aimed at the industrial IoT and telco market.

The eU500 has sequential read/write speed of up to 170/120 MB/s and a steady state 4K random read/write performance of 3,000/1,000 IOPS.

new industrial secure eUSB 3.0 10-pin SSDs from Virtium

usb 3 SSD for industrial secure rolesEditor:- August 22, 2016 - Virtium recently announced new models of eUSB 3.0 10-pin models in its TuffDrive SSD range which offers much faster speed than eUSB 2.0 at about half the power consumption.

Capacities range from 2GB to 256GB, while drawing less than 1W. Size is 36.9mm x 26.6 mm.

See also:- industrial SSDs, M.2 SSDs

Kingston toughens up USB family with IronKey

editor:- February 8, 2016 - Kingston today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation.

dual port GbE joins USB 3 in the same M.2 SSD

Editor:- November 3, 2015 - InnoDisk today announced a product first for the M.2 SSD market in the shape of a dual port isolated GbE compatible model - EGUL-G201 - which also has a USB 3 interface, and fits in a 22x60mm footprint. InnoDisk says the ethernet modules have strong electrical isolation, ESD and surge protection.

enterprise-class write attenuation comes to industrial USB SSDs

Editor:- February 19, 2015 - When I see an assertion about 100x better flash endurance - I smile and think back to an article my SSD care scheme is the best - in May 2012 - which discusses this marketing idea and some of the unerlying technologies. So why mention it again today?

A recent press release from Hyperstone (about their new flash management technology for industrial SSDs) contains this exact phrase.

"hyMap reduces Write Amplification by a factor of more than 100 in fragmented usage pattern and for small file random writes. Thereby, the reduction in effectively used write-erase-cycles results in higher performance, longer life and shorter random access response times. As a result, in many applications hyMap together with Hyperstone controllers and MLC flash enables higher reliability and data retention than other controllers using SLC. hyMap does not require any external DRAM or SRAM."

In the same announcement - Dr. Jan Peter Berns, Managing Director of Hyperstone - acknowledges that while these issues have already been discussed intensively for several years in the enterprise market. Hyperstone's new hyMap controller technology brings this kind of improvement into smaller, low power SSDs such as SD/MMC and USB which don't have the same kind of budgets for DRAM and CPU power as enterprise SSDs.

Who Needs 10Gbps USB?

Editor:- October 29, 2014 - SSDs are at the forefront of the thinking in a new article today - Who Really Needs USB 3.1? by Eric Esteve.

Eric's blog sketches out a 5 years into the future application picture for this new (10Gbps) iteration of the USB connected story.

See also:- storage interface chips, market research

Renice launches native USB 3 SSD with attached SCSI protocol support

Editor:- September 20, 2012 - Renice Technology launched a native USB 3 SSD (no bridge chips) using its own controller IP which supports the UAS (USB Attached SCSI) protocol, has SMART and power interruption data integrity protection and R/W speeds of 400MB/s and 320MB/s respectively.

SSDs and USB 3

Editor:- June 13, 2012 -Does my NAND flash need USB 3.0? - is a good summary of the value that USB 3 can bring to the SSD market - written by Eric Huang, at Synopsys

RunCore's video - phone to purge USB SSD

Editor:- May 22, 2012 - sometimes if I'm watching a movie I realize it's going to be bad - but in a way which is nevertheless all too fascinating to watch. How bad it will get? Look! - see it's getting worse - but still taking itself seriously. So - instead of zapping it like I should - I stay transfixed. Such bad movies are an artform.

What about promotional videos though? - on the subject of SSDs...

Mostly these are just time wasting. But today - in the "so dreadful I kept watching it nearly to the end" category was a new video on YouTube from RunCore about its Xapear SSD.

RunCore was the first company to haul "phone to purge capability" over the cost chasm which divides military SSDs over to the consumer SSD market - which it did 2 years ago - and the new video is simply about their latest model which combines RFID with the phone zap technology in an external USB connected SSD.

As a security concept I was convinced the idea had merit - when I first wrote about it 2 years ago. So I wasn't keen to see another new video about the same topic. But I'm glad I did - because it's an artform. to watch video

NeoMagic demos FPGA simulation of USB MagicVault controller

Editor:- February 27, 2012 - NeoMagic today announced that the company is ready to demonstrate MagicVault, its USB 3.0 based UFD USB Flash Drive Controller solution on an FPGA platform.

NeoMagic says FPGA platform test results for the MagicVault flash drive solution indicate a significant performance improvement over currently available products. In addition to testing, NeoMagic is discussing MagicVault and other new products in development with potential strategic partners and investors.

Patriot launches native USB 3 flash drive

Editor:- December 9, 2010 - Patriot Memory launched a 64GB native USB 3 flash drive - which offers faster performance than other designs which use include a USB bridge chip.

"Patriot is one of the first companies to integrate a native single-chip USB 3.0 flash memory controller. By pairing the controller with our Quad-Channel technology, we're able to maximize performance with the Supersonic series," said Les Henry, Patriot Memory's VP of Engineering.

SSD Data Recovery Concepts

Editor:- December 1, 2010 - today published a new article - Introduction to SSD Data Recovery Concepts and Technologies - written by Jeremy Brock, President, A+ Perfect Computers.

It's hard enough understanding the design of any single SSD. And there are so many different designs in the market.

If you've ever wondered what it looks like at the other end of the SSD supply chain - when a user has a damaged SSD which contains priceless data with no usable backup - this article - written by one of a rare new breed of SSD recovery experts will give you some idea. I've waited more than 3 years to find someone to write an article on this subject for you. And now it's only a click away - read the article

PhotoFast unveils USB 3 SSD for MacBook Air
Editor:- October 26, 2010 -PhotoFast said it will ship a 256GB USB SSD for the MacBook Air at the end of November.

Sustained R/W speeds are 250MB/s. Random R/W speeds are 50MB/s and 30MB/s respectively.

"Creating a whole new form factor SSD in the very limited time was quite a challenge" said PhotoFast's chief engineer Eddie Wang. "Thanks to support from SandForce, we finally made it".

upgrading old PCs with new SSDs

Editor:- July 9, 2010 - Upgrading Old PCs with SSDs is a cautionary tale published on Denali Software's blog.

I've often told readers who asked me about this subject - that they could be wasting their time trying to upgrade old notebooks with PATA or SATA SSDs - because most of the speedup benefits - if any - will be lost by the latency damping effects of cheap and slow bridge chips on the motherboard - and that - unlike in a server - notebooks have precious little CPU headroom.

It's nice to see these views are shared by the author of this article who works for an SSD IP vendor. the article

ioSafe Launches Disaster Proof Backup SSD

Editor:- January 5, 2010 - ioSafe launched the ioSafe Solo SSD - an ultra rugged USB / eSATA external flash SSD with upto 256GB capacity ($1,250) designed to provide data protection against disasters such as fire, flood, and building collapse.

ioSafe offers a "no questions asked" Data Recovery policy to help customers recover from any data disaster including accidental deletion, virus or physical disaster.

"The new ioSafe Solo SSD is the world's most rugged and versatile desktop external hard drive. It can be used alone or in conjunction with any offsite or online backup strategy to add real time, zero data loss, synchronous disaster protection to any data that sits vulnerable," said ioSafe CEO, Robb Moore.

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Targa Series 4 - 2.5 inch SCSI flash disk
USB removable Military SSDs
from Targa Systems

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USB Storage Milestones from Storage History
The original USB (for Universal Serial Bus) was a low cost serial bus which, when shipped in 1996 (USB 1.0), provided upto 12Mb/S.

That was about 100x faster than the RS-232 style serial interfaces used in earlier generations of computers which it replaced.

The USB is now widely used in Macs, PC's and even Linux systems. USB is typically used to connect devices such as printers, scanners, keyboards, digital cameras, MP3 players and external storage devices.

In June 2002, Intel and others started to demonstrate USB 2.0, which increases the speed of the peripheral to PC connection from 12 megabits per second (Mbps) on USB 1.1 to up to 480 Mbps on USB 2.0, or 40 times faster than with the older technology.

USB 3.0 - which at 5Gbps is 10x faster than USB 2.0 started shipping in December 2009. USB 3 offers throughput similar to eSATA 2.0 - upto approx 300MB/s.

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Many Years Ago - from SSD history

World's 1st dual interface USB+SATA SSD
Editor:- September 13, 2005 - STEC today announced the industry's first solid state drive with SATA and USB interfaces on one drive.

The Zeus Dual Interface SSD is the only available Flash drive that allows users to easily remove a single SSD from one system and use it in a 2nd system with different interface requirements. This makes it an optimal solution for applications that require that the SSD have a high-speed SATA interface for digital mission data storage in a combat system and an industry standard USB interface for direct connection to a debriefing station or other PC.

STEC is demonstrating the new Zeus drive this week at the Defence Systems & Equipment International 2005 Exhibition and Conference in London.

Since Zeus Dual Interface SSDs offer both SATA and USB connectivity, customers can work with an SSD design that is extremely flexible and optimized for use as a removable mass memory storage device. The product removes complexity from the design of host applications by eliminating the need to design interface adapters for the SSD.

Zeus Dual Interface SSDs have a 3.5-inch footprint and a 9.5 mm case height.and are available with capacities from 12 to 192 GB with sustained read/write rates of 60MBytes per second. Zeus SSDs are MIL-STD-810F compliant, and offer patented purge features.

...Later:- 2010 - this kind of dual interface technology has since become a popular way for SSD vendors to offer user installable SSD upgrades - in which the user transfers data from a rotating storage notebook onto an external SSD using USB - and then (hoping for the best) replaces the internal HDD with the SSD.
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SSD Pricing - where does all the money go?
SSDs are among the most expensive computer hardware products you will ever buy.

Understanding the factors which determine SSD costs is often a confusing and irritating process...
Clarifying SSD Pricing - where does all the money go? - click to read the article ...not made any easier when market prices for identical capacity SSDs can vary more than 100x to 1! Why is that? the article
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