Samsung Introduces 8 GB LPDDR4-4266 Package for Mobile Devices

Samsung this week announced its first LPDDR4 memory chips made using its 10nm-class DRAM fabrication technology. The new DRAM ICs feature the industry’s highest density of 16 Gb, are rated to run at 4266 MT/s data rate, and open the door to more mobile devices with 8 GB of DRAM.

Earlier this year Samsung started to produce DDR4 memory using its 10nm-class DRAM manufacturing process (which is believed to be 18 nm) and recently the firm began to use it to make LPDDR4 memory devices, just as it planned. The thinner fabrication technology allowed Samsung to increase capacity of a single LPDDR4 DRAM IC to 16 Gb (up from 12 Gb at 20nm introduced in August, 2015) while retaining a 4266 MT/s transfer rate.

The first product to use the 16 Gb ICs is Samsung’s 8 GB LPDDR4-4266 mobile DRAM package for smartphones, tablets, and other applications that can use LPDDR4. The device stacks four memory ICs and provides up to 34 GB/s of bandwidth when connected to an SoC using a 64-bit memory bus. The 8 GB DRAM package comes in a standard 15 mm x 15 mm x 1 mm form-factor, which is compatible with typical mobile devices, but Samsung can also make the package thinner than 1 mm to enable PoP stacking with a mobile application processor or a UFS NAND storage device.

Samsung's 8 GB LPDDR4 DRAM Package
  SEC 634
DRAM IC Capacity 16 Gb
Number of DRAM ICs 4
Data Rate 4266 MT/s
Bus Width x64
Bandwidth 34 GB/s
Package 15 mm x 15 mm x 1 mm
Process Technology 10nm-class (18nm?)

Samsung has not revealed a lot about the cost efficiency or power consumption of the 16 Gb LPDDR4 ICs, nor have they discussed those details for the 8 GB LPDDR4 package either. What little Samsung has said is that the latter consumes approximately the same amount of power as a 4 GB LPDDR4-3200 device (four 8 Gb ICs) made using its 20 nm-class process technology. Taken at face value, one can extrapolate that the switch to the 10nm-class fabrication process allowed Samsung to double the capacity and increase performance by 33% at the same power. Unfortunately, we do not know anything about the geometry scaling of the new ICs relative to Samsung's older ICs, so it's hard to even guess how much Samsung's newest DDR4 costs to fab.

Samsung has not officially commented on when it plans to start commercial shipments of its 8 GB LPDDR4 packages, but it is reasonable to assume that the company will commence sales of such devices in the coming months, with actual products hitting the market in 2017.

from AnandTech
via anandtech

Seagate Launches FireCuda SSHDs: Up to 2 TB, SMR, 8 GB of NAND

Seagate has officially introduced its fifth-generation solid-state hybrid drives (SSHDs) under the FireCuda brand name. They have a thinner form-factor compared to previous-gen solutions. The drives use Seagate’s 1 TB SMR platters as well as the company’s multi-tier cache technology. The FireCuda 2.5” are the first SSHDs to use shingled magnetic recording (SMR).

The Seagate FireCuda 2.5” family will offer 500 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB capacities and will be compatible with both desktops and thin laptops, thanks to its 7 mm z-height (down from 9.5 mm in case of the Laptop SSHD drives). To a large extent, the Seagate FireCuda SSHDs resemble the recently announced BarraCuda 2.5” HDDs: the drives are also based on the 1 TB SMR platters which have an areal density of more than 1.3 Tb/in2 (note that the areal density of the FireCuda products is higher compared to that of BarraCuda devices). They feature 5400 RPM spindle speed and come with 128 MB of DRAM cache buffer. The maximum transfer rate and average latency for the BarraCuda 2.5” and FireCuda 2.5” are the same: 140 MB/s and 5.6 ms.

Seagate FireCuda 2.5" SSHDs
  2 TB 1 TB 500 GB
Platters/Heads 2/4 1/2
Spindle Speed 5400 RPM
Cache 128 MB + multi-tier caching technology
Transfer Rate 140 MB/s
Avg Latency 5.6 ms
Areal Density 1327 Gb/in² avg
Recording Density 2296 Kb/in avg
Track Density 580 Ktracks/inch avg
Idle Power 0.5 W 0.45 W
Read/Write Power 1.7/1.8 W 1.6/1.7 W
Interface SATA 6 Gbps
Form-Factor 2.5"/7 mm
Model Number ST2000LX001 ST1000LX015 ST500LX025

The differentiating aspect of the FireCuda SSHDs is their 8 GB NAND buffer. It caches data from frequently used sectors to enable faster boot times and shorter load times for certain applications. Therefore, when it comes to real-world performance, FireCuda 2.5” SSHDs should provide better performance compared to the BarraCuda 2.5” HDDs. However, it is unknown how the FireCuda 2.5” drive stack up against the Laptop SSHDs based on PMR platters. Seagate has not revealed whether the new FireCuda SSHDs use a new caching algorithm compared to the previous-gen hybrid hard drives, but this is certainly a possibility given the use of SMR platters. As before, the company says that the algorithm is continuously trying to optimize performance of FireCuda SSHDs.

Seagate has started to ship the FireCuda drives to its customers, but has not listed official prices or market availability dates. The latter depends on retailers and/or PC makers. Seagate tells us that the FireCuda 2.5" 2 TB will cost around $100, but the supply/demand situation is bound to affect that pricing. Meanwhile, Amazon offers the FireCuda 2.5" 1 TB for $70. All of the previous-gen Laptop SSHDs ended up in retail, so, it is a question of time before the whole FireCuda 2.5" family will be up for grabs. One of the advantages of Seagate’s hybrid drives is their five-year warranty, which is longer than that of typical HDDs.

from AnandTech
via anandtech

Seagate Introduces BarraCuda 2.5” HDDs with Up to 5 TB Capacity

Seagate has formally introduced a new family of hard drives in the 2.5” form-factor. It is designed for laptops as well as external storage solutions. The new BarraCuda HDDs are based on 1 TB shingled magnetic recording platters and Seagate’s multi-tier caching technology. They enhance the maximum capacity of the company’s 2.5” HDDs to 5 TB - making the BarraCuda ST5000LM000 the world’s highest-capacity 2.5” hard drive.

The new Seagate BarraCuda 2.5” drives resemble the company’s Mobile HDDs introduced earlier this year and use a similar set of technologies: motors with 5400 RPM spindle speed, platters based on shingled magnetic recording technology with over 1300 Gb/in2 areal density, and multi-tier caching. The 3 TB, 4 TB and 5 TB BarraCuda 2.5” HDDs that come with a 15 mm z-height are designed for external storage solutions because virtually no laptop can accommodate drives of that thickness. Meanwhile, the 7 mm z-height drives (500 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB) are aimed at mainstream laptops and SFF desktops that need a lot of storage space.

All the new BarraCuda 2.5” HDDs feature 128 MB of DRAM cache as well as multi-tier caching (MTC) technology, which is designed to hide peculiarities of SMR. Hard drives featuring shingled recording write new magnetic tracks that overlap part of the previously written tracks. This may slow down the writing process since the architecture requires HDDs to rewrite adjacent tracks after any writing operation. To “conceal” such peculiarities, Seagate does a number of tricks. Firstly, it organizes SMR tracks into bands in a bid to limit the amount of overwriting. Secondly, the MTC technology uses several bands of PMR tracks on the platters, around 1 GB of NAND flash cache as well as DRAM cache. When workloads generate relatively small amount of writes, the HDD writes data to NAND and/or to the PMR tracks at a predictable data rate. Then, during light workloads or idle time, the HDD transfers written data from the caches to SMR tracks, as described by Mark Re (CTO of Seagate) earlier this year.

To a large extent, Seagate’s multi-tier cache determines the performance of the company’s BarraCuda 2.5" and Mobile HDD drives. For example, when Seagate announced its Mobile HDD products earlier this year, the company declared maximum sustainable transfer rate of the HDD at 100 MB/s. However, the documentation was altered later in the summer to reflect a maximum transfer rate of 140 MB/s (possibly due to updated firmware, or a change in the performance measurement method). Now, the high-capacity BarraCuda 2.5” (3 TB, 4 TB and 5 TB) drives are rated for 130 MB/s, while the mainstream BarraCuda 2.5” (500 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB) are rated for 140 MB/s. This is still below the 145 – 169 MB/s offered by PMR-based Laptop HDDs from the company.

Seagate BarraCuda 2.5" HDDs
  5 TB 4 TB 3 TB 2 TB 1 TB 500 GB
Platters/Heads 5/10 4/8 | 5/10* 3/6 2/4 1/2
Spindle Speed 5400 RPM
Cache 128 MB + multi-tier caching technology
Transfer Rate 140 MB/s
Avg Latency 5.6 ms
Areal Density 1307 Gb/in² avg 1320 Gb/in² avg
Recording Density 2254 Kb/in avg 2276 Kb/in avg
Track Density 580 Ktracks/inch avg
Idle Power 1.1 W 0.5 W 0.45 W
Read/Write Power 1.9/2.1 W 1.7/1.8 W 1.6/1.7 W
Interface SATA 6 Gbps
Form-Factor 2.5"/15 mm 2.5"/7 mm
Model Number ST5000LM000 ST4000LM024 ST3000LM024 ST2000LM015 ST1000LM048 ST500LM030
*While the vast majority of the Seagate BarraCuda 2.5" 4 TB HDDs will use a four-platter configuration, some Seagate customers have apparently requested a five-platter configuration.

Seagate’s new BarraCuda 2.5”/7 mm HDDs for laptops should hit notebooks in the coming weeks as the company is already shipping them to its customers. Seagate does not currently offer SED and FIPS options for its BarraCuda family (those who need encryption can still get Seagate's Mobile HDDs based on SMR technology). The company plans to add these technologies to the BarraCuda arsenal in the future.

The BarraCuda 2.5”/15 mm drives for external storage solutions will be used inside Seagate’s own DAS devices such as the Backup Plus Portable Drive and the Expansion Portable Hard Drive products. The Seagate Backup Plus Plus Portable Drive 5 TB (STDR5000100) is due in early November and will cost around $150 - $160. This device will be the world's highest-capacity portable DAS and will not immediately have direct rivals in this particular form-factor. At present, the maximum-capacity 2.5” HDD offered by Western Digital is 4 TB with a 12.5 mm z-height. It is used inside a number of My Passport drives.

All the BarraCuda 2.5” drives are backed by a two-year warranty.


from AnandTech
via anandtech

Samsung CFG70: Curved 144Hz Displays with Quantum Dot Backlighting and AMD FreeSync

Samsung was among the first television manufacturers to use quantum dot technology for its products, and this week the company has continued that trend by introducing the industry’s first curved monitors for gamers featuring quantum dots. The new 24” and 27” displays boast a wider color gamut and a very high contrast ratio, in addition to support for AMD’s FreeSync technology and a 144 Hz refresh rate.

Samsung’s CFG70 monitors are based on the company’s curved 8-bit VA panels with 1 ms moving picture response time (MPRT), as well as a 144 Hz refresh rate as well as the static contrast ratio to 3000:1, which is higher compared to many advanced displays on the market. As for brightness, the 24” CFG70 offers 350 nits, which is in line with other contemporary high-end displays. At present, Samsung does not share a lot of details about its CFG70 monitors, but we do know that the screens have 1800R curvature along with 178° viewing angles.

The purpose of using quantum dot technology is to expand color gamut of the display by increasing intensity of red and green wavelengths (you can read more here). Samsung confirms that in the case of the CFG70, quantum dots help to produce more accurate dark reds and greens, which increases the contrast. In addition, Samsung says that the use of quantum dot technology for the backlighting of the CFG70 has allowed the company to expand the color gamut to 125% of the sRGB color space.

However despite the monitors' larger-than-sRGB gamut, at this point Samsung is only confirming that the monitors' firmware supports the sRGB color space, listing nothing about the AdobeRGB or DCI-P3 color spaces. This is an important consideration due to the fact that it potentially limits the usefulness of having a color gamut over 100% of sRGB to begin with. With most monitor designs, manufacturers who offer larger gamuts also support color spaces that can use that gamut, which doesn't appear to be the case for Samsung.

The catch then is that having a gamut that exceeds a particular standard will not produce an accurate result when using that wider gamut. Case in point, sRGB content would end up oversaturated since it's meant for a smaller gamut, and the lack of support for larger color spaces makes it difficult to use the wider gamut with anything else. It is hard to believe that Samsung decided to develop a set of monitors that would produce incorrect colors out-of-the-box, so hopefully Samsung is offering a true 100% sRGB mode as well. This would negate the wider gamut of the monitors, but it would ensure their accuracy.

Moving on, the improved contrast ratio should give you the idea about the advantages that the quantum dot technology brings to the CFG70.

Samsung's CFG70 Gaming Curved Displays with Quantum Dot
Panel 24" VA 27" VA
Native Resolution 1920×1080 unknown
Maximum Refresh Rate 144 Hz
Response Time 1 ms MPRT
Brightness 350 cd/m²
Contrast 3000:1
Viewing Angles 178°/178° horizontal/vertical
Curvature 1800R
Color Gamut 125% sRGB
Dynamic Refresh Rate Tech AMD FreeSync
Inputs 1 × DP 1.2
2 × HDMI 2.0
Audio 3.5 mm input/output
Link C24FG70FQN -

Besides being the first curved gaming monitors with quantum dots, the Samsung CFG70 are also among the first displays to use AMD’s FreeSync over HDMI technology (for maximum compatibility, the devices are also equipped with DisplayPort inputs). While we do not know the exact dynamic refresh ranges supported by the screens, 144 Hz maximum refresh rate implies on relatively wide dynamic ranges, more than enough to allow for AMD's low framerate compensation to work.

The CFG70 displays currently do not have direct rivals: there are not of a lot of monitors that use quantum dots right now, and when it comes to gaming monitors with high refresh rates, Samsung is the first maker to use the tech. Moreover, the CFG70 are the first curved displays to feature quantum dots.

Samsung said that the CFG70 displays will be available worldwide, but did not mention their prices. Given the unique combination of characteristics, it is reasonable to expect Samsung to try to capitalize on it.

from AnandTech
via anandtech

The Cooler Master Master Keys Pro L White Mechanical Keyboard Review

Cooler Master is a very familiar brand name amongst enthusiasts, with a virtually endless lineup of products ranging from PC cases and coolers to peripherals and accessories. In this review we are having a look at one of Cooler Master’s latest and most popular mechanical keyboards, the Master Keys Pro L White. 

from AnandTech
via anandtech

Inateck FE2010 and UA1001 SATA - USB 3.0 Storage Bridges Review

Storage bridges come in many varieties within the internal and external market segments. On the external side, they usually have one or more downstream SATA ports. The most popular uplink port is some sort of USB connection. eSATA as an uplink interface is on the way out. High-end products have Thunderbolt support. Within the USB storage bridge market, device vendors have multiple opportunities to tune their product design for specific use-cases.

Today's review will take a look at two bridges from Inateck, the FE2010 and the UA1001. The common characteristic is that both of them present a SATA port at one end and a USB 3.0 Micro-B at the other. However, the use-cases are completely different. While the FE2010 is an enclosure for a 2.5" drive and can operate only via bus power, the UA1001 is a SATA adaptor meant for use with high-power SATA devices such as 3.5" drives and optical drives. The UA1001 can operate with just the bus power for 2.5" drives. For other use-cases, it utilizes a bundled 24W power adapter. We utilized it in the latter mode in our review of the Seagate BarraCuda Pro 10TB helium drive.

The FE2010 is a tool-less design, allowing part of the rear to slide off in order to insert a 2.5" drive into the enclosure's SATA port. A small foam pad is also included in order to ensure that internal drive is held snugly within the enclosure. The gallery below shows that the FE2010 has an explicitly on/off switch and an activity LED. Internally, the unit uses a JMicron JMS578 bridge chip with UASP support. The firmware is configured to power down the SATA drive after 30 minutes of inactivity. The enclosure itself is made of ABS plastic and looks sturdy. However, because of its lightweight nature, it does feel a bit flimsy in the hand. The UA1001 is meant for use by consumers wishing to swap out SATA drives often. To that end, it advertises hot-plug capability and features an exposed SATA port. The ASMedia ASM1153E bridge chip is used in this product.

Consumers need to keep the following aspects in mind for external storage devices / enclosures with a USB interface:

  • Support for UASP (USB-attached SCSI protocol) for better performance (reduced protocol overhead and support for SATA Native Command Queueing (NCQ))
  • Support for TRIM to ensure SSDs in the external enclosure can operate optimally in the long run
  • Support for S.M.A.R.T passthrough to enable monitoring of the internal SATA device by the host OS

The table below presents the detailed specifications and miscellaneous aspects of the units and how they compare.

Comparative Storage Bridges Configurations
Downstream Port 1x SATA III 1x SATA III
Upstream Port USB 3.0 Micro-B USB 3.0 Micro-B
Bridge Chip JMicron JMS578 ASMedia ASM1153E
Power Bus Powered 24 W (12 V @ 2 A) Wall Wart with 135 cm Cable
Use Case Tool-free 2.5" HDD/SSD Enclosure (up to 9 mm height) Bare USB 3.0 to SATA Adaptor for 2.5" / 3.5" Drives and Optical Drives
Physical Dimensions 130 mm x 82 mm x 14 mm 70 mm x 30 mm x 12 mm
Weight (diskless) 87 grams (with cable) 16 grams (adapter only)
73 grams (with cable)
228 grams (with power adapter & cable)
Cable 30 cm USV 3.0 Micro-B to USB 3.0 Type-A 110 cm USB 3.0 Micro-B to USB 3.0 Type-A
S.M.A.R.T Passthrough Yes Yes
UASP Support Yes No
TRIM Passthrough Yes No
Price USD 15 USD 22
Review Link Inateck FE2010 Review Inateck UA1001 Review

Our evaluation routine for storage bridges borrows heavily from the testing methodology for direct-attached storage devices. The testbed hardware is reused. CrystalDiskMark is used for a quick overview, as it helps determine availability of UASP support and provides some performance numbers under ideal scenarios. Real-world performance testing is done with our custom test suite involving robocopy benchmarks and PCMark 8's storage bench.

Performance Benchmarks

CrystalDiskMark uses four different access traces for reads and writes over a configurable region size. Two of the traces are sequential accesses, while two are 4K rando accesses. Internally, CrystalDiskMark uses the Microsoft DiskSpd storage testing tool. The 'Seq Q32T1' sequential traces use 128K block size with a queue depth of 32 from a single thread, while the '4K Q32T1' ones do random 4K accesses with the same queue and thread configurations. The plain 'Seq' traces use a 1MiB block size. The plain '4K' ones are similar to the '4K Q32T1' except that only a single queue and single thread are used.

Comparing the '4K Q32T1' and '4K' numbers can quickly tell us whether the storage device supports NCQ (native command queuing) / UASP (USB-attached SCSI protocol). If the numbers for the two access traces are in the same ballpark, NCQ / UASP is not supported. This assumes that the host port / drivers on the PC support UASP. We can see that the FE2010 performs way better than the UA1001 while using the same SSD. It also has UASP support (with NCQ). That said, the use-case for UA1001 is more ith 3.5" hard drives and other slower SATA devices. But, it is good to keep this mind while trying to transfer data to/from spare SSDs using the UA1001.

Storage Bridge Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark

Moving on to the real-world benchmarks, we first look at the results from our custom robocopy test. In this test, we transfer three folders with the following characteristics.

  • Photos: 15.6 GB collection of 4320 photos (RAW as well as JPEGs) in 61 sub-folders
  • Videos: 16.1 GB collection of 244 videos (MP4 as well as MOVs) in 6 sub-folders
  • BR: 10.7 GB Blu-ray folder structure of the IDT Benchmark Blu-ray (the same that we use in our robocopy tests for NAS systems)

The test starts off with the Photos folder in a RAM drive in the testbed. robocopy is used with default arguments to mirror it onto the storage drive under test. The content on the RAM drive is then deleted. robocopy is again used to transfer the content, but, from the storage drive under test to the RAM drive. The first segment gives the write speed, while the second one gives the read speed for the storage device. The segments end with the purge of the contents from the storage device. This process is repeated thrice and the average of all the runs is recorded as the performance number. The same procedure is adopted for the Videos and the BR folders. The resuts roughly track what we observed in the CrystalDiskMark benchmark numbers. Readers interested in looking at all the graphs in one shot can choose the 'Expand All' option in the dropdown menu.

Photos Read

High-performance external storage devices can also be used for editing multimedia files directly off the unit. They can also be used as OS-to-go boot drives. Evaluation of this aspect is done using PCMark 8's storage bench. The storage workload involves games as well as multimedia editing applications. The command line version allows us to cherry-pick storage traces to run on a target drive. We chose the following traces.

  • Adobe Photoshop (Light)
  • Adobe Photoshop (Heavy)
  • Adobe After Effects
  • Adobe Illustrator

Usually, PC Mark 8 reports time to complete the trace, but the detailed log report has the read and write bandwidth figures which we present in our performance tables. Note that the bandwidth number reported in the results don't involve idle time compression. Results might appear low, but that is part of the workload characteristic. Note that the same CPU is being used for all configurations. Therefore, comparing the numbers for each trace should be possible across different DAS units. Readers interested in looking at all the graphs in one shot can choose the 'Expand All' option in the dropdown menu.

Adobe Photoshop Light Read

Thermal Aspects and Power Consumption

The thermal design of external storage enclosures has now come into focus, as high-speed SSDs and interfaces such as USB 3.1 Gen 2 can easily drive up temperatures. This aspect is an important one, as the last thing that users want to see when copying over, say, 100 GB of data to the drive inside the enclosure, is the transfer rate going to USB 2.0 speeds. In order to identify the effectiveness with which the enclosure can take away heat from the internal drive, we instrumented our robocopy DAS benchmark suite to record various parameters while the robocopy process took place in the background. Internal temperatures can only be gathered for enclosures that support S.M.A.R.T passthrough. Readers can click on the graphs below to view the full-sized version. The UA1001 is an open-air design and relies just on the thermal design of the drive itself. However, the FE2010 puts the target drive in an enclosed space. In our evaluation, the temperature of the drive inside the FE2010 ended up just a little bit above the UA1001. However, neither bridge has problems with thermal throttling of the installed drive.

Storage Enclosure Thermal Characteristics

It is challenging to isolate the power consumption of the storage bridge alone while treating the unit as a black box. In order to study this aspect in a comparative manner, we use the same SSDs (Curcial MX200 500GB) in the units and process the same workloads on them (CrystalDiskMark 5.1.2's benchmark traces with a region size of 8GB and the number of repetitions set to 5). Plugable's USBC-TKEY power delivery sniffer was placed between the host PC and the storage bridge to record the power consumption. The average power consumption for each access trace was recorded. The pictures below present the numbers in a compact and easy to compare manner.

Power Consumption - CrystalDiskMark

Any difference in power consumption for the same access trace between two different units is down to the storage bridge itself (since the drive used is the same in all cases). The UASP-enabled JMS578 consumes more power during traffic compared to the ASM1153E for most access traces. Only the 4K random accesses seems to stress the UA1001 more.

Miscellaneous Aspects and Concluding Remarks

Storage bridges that support UASP fully can translate the SCSI UNMAP command to TRIM commands for SSDs connected to the downstream port. Checking for TRIM support has been a bit tricky so far. CyberShadow's trimcheck is a quick tool to get the status of TRIM support. However, it presents a couple of challenges: it sometimes returns INDETERMINATE after processing, and, in case TRIM comes back as NOT WORKING or not kicked in yet, it is not clear whether the blame lies with the OS / file system or the storage controller / bridge chip or the SSD itself. In order to get a clear idea, our TRIM check routine adopts the following strategy:

  1. Format the SSD in NTFS
  2. Load the trimcheck program into it and execute
  3. Use the PowerShell command Optimize-Volume -DriveLetter Z -ReTrim -Verbose (assuming that the drive connected to the storage bridge is mounted with the drive letter Z)
  4. Re-execute trimcheck to determine status report

Conclusions can be made based on the results from the last two steps.

The FE2010 with the JMicron JMS578 bridge chip supports TRIM passthrough, as proved above.

On the other hand, the UA1001 with the ASM1153E bridge chip doesn't support TRIM passthrough - Windows reports that the optimization operation is not permitted by the hardware backing the volume.

Coming to the business end of the review, we find that the Inateck FE2010 and UA1001 target different use-cases. The UA1001 is the more versatile of the two (with support for a wide variety of SATA devices), but loses out to the FE2010 when it comes to features targeting SSDs (such as UASP support and TRIM passthrough). Both of them are reasonably priced - the UA1001 is currently $22 on Amazon, while the FE2010 is just $15. The UA1001 is priced higher due to the bundled power adapter.

The FE2010 can be recommended for its performance and features targeting SSDs. However, we did have some trouble with the initial firmware on the unit. While running CrystalDiskMark's access traces at higher queue depths, the unit would just freeze up. This could be reproduced only when the FE2010 was connected to a USB port with the Intel Alpine Ridge controller behind it. Though I was unable to reproduce the issue with any other USB port (even on the same PC), the problem had been reported by at least one other customer with a different board. Inateck's customer support delivered a firmware update after being able to reproduce the issue at their end. The new firmware managed to help the FE2010 complete our full benchmark routine without hanging. However, the unit still had uncomfortably long pauses in certain write segments of our robocopy benchmarks (drive activity pegged at 100%, but no data transfer at all in the Task Manager's Performance tab for the disk). The pause is reflected in the flat lines in the performance consistency graphs presented in the previous sub-section (the zero transfer rate is reflected in the comparison graphs for the average transfer rate, but not in the performance consistency graph itself). We have not had this issue with any other storage bridge using the same drive - so, our recommendation for the FE2010 is not without reservation. We strongly believe that the FE2010 firmware needs further improvement.

On the other hand, we have no hesitation in recommending the UA1001 despite its need for careful handing. The design, size and choice of build material makes it quite fragile. However, its versatility needs appreciation - it is a must-have gadget for all consumers who have to deal with multiple SATA devices and PCs in an efficient manner.

from AnandTech
via anandtech