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It's Game Over for Most Consumer SSD Companies Discussion


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#1 Brian

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 03:36 PM

 

Let's just get it out there so there's no confusion. Consumers should only be buying SSDs from Samsung, Crucial/Micron, OCZ (Toshiba), SanDisk and Intel. Outside of fringe use cases, you're wasting your time (and money) thinking about anyone else. Seagate goes on that list too once the LSI deal closes and they take over the SandForce IP. As an aside, it will be really interesting to see if Seagate decides to hold that to themselves and cut off much of the copycat industry at its knees, or continue to facilitate the masses. Either way, with a controller in-hand and enough capital to buy NAND at scale, they're relevant, even if they haven't made the steps they need to in terms of investing seriously in NAND.

It's Game Over for Most Consumer SSD Companies
 

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#2 mike2h

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 01:09 PM

I pretty much agree with everything you said, just curious about Plextor. why do you consider them irrelevant? if it their lack of market penetration/availability I get that, but you said there were various reasons and Im curious as to what they are.


#3 Brian

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 02:02 PM

Specifically, they have little ability to innovate going forward and I question their ability to build a proper support network. Note that the opinion is largely based on a US-centric slant, some brands have better adoption in Europe or Asia for instance. The decision to rebrand the M550 is a pretty clear case. They had no ability to create a new product with the delays in SandForce, so the best option was to copy Micron and hope to make money by selling a slower version for $10 less? Poor business sense and not something I'd invest my money in as an SSD buyer. 


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#4 unityole

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 08:34 PM

"SSDs with controllers from the likes of performance basement dwellers like Phison and JMicron, the same goes for Corsair's latest release with Silicon Motion"

 

I'd like to correct that both Phison and Silicon Motion are great controller.  Phison has by far the best compressible file read/write performance than even sandforce and silicon motion SSD runs off half the channels as other SSD and still achieve similar performance.  in the end it all dependent on how you use the drive, real world should be more flexible than just which one is fastest.  the companies listed are correct, but I for one wouldn't buy a samsung SSD because are just cheap overclocked controller and flash and using the SLC design from sandisk to gain higher benchmark result in order to bait consumers.


Edited by unityole, 12 June 2014 - 08:36 PM.

#5 Valleyforge

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 04:40 AM


I'd like to correct that both Phison and Silicon Motion are great controller.  Phison has by far the best compressible file read/write performance than even sandforce and silicon motion SSD runs off half the channels as other SSD and still achieve similar performance.  in the end it all dependent on how you use the drive, real world should be more flexible than just which one is fastest.  the companies listed are correct, but I for one wouldn't buy a samsung SSD because are just cheap overclocked controller and flash and using the SLC design from sandisk to gain higher benchmark result in order to bait consumers.

I'd just like to point out that everything you just said is wrong.  Hope that helps. :rolleyes:


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#6 Brian

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 08:54 AM

LOL Valley. 

 

Yes, that is not correct, the SM controllers are value-only, the latest one here proves the point. It looks *okay* in a few spots but compare against the leading products and it's really bad...without offering ANY cost advantage over the much better Crucial MX100 or EVO. And even the EVO is relatively aged. 


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#7 unityole

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 09:59 PM

I'd just like to point out that everything you just said is wrong.  Hope that helps. :rolleyes:

 

i guess people are too lazy to look into things, unfortunately the experts at tweaktown says the opposite :rolleyes:


#8 Kevin OBrien

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 10:45 PM

At the end of the day it really depends on what advice you want to take and what your position in the market is. If a slight edge in performance is demanded with no regard for reliability, then by all means go with one of the brands that leverage those controllers. Do you have a good backup plan in place? The last 2nd tier SSD controller I remember floating out into the OEM space that saw a lot of action ended up resulting in Apple recalling a lot of Macbook Airs (64GB and 128GB Toshiba SSDs with JMicron controllers) in 2012. Even SandForce with LSI backing it had a ton of issues to iron out well into its production phase, mostly with the help of Intel before they launched the SSD 520. It takes huge R/D to make a reliable solution, and unless you are talking in the tens to hundreds of millions in development you don't have a chance competing with the guys at the top of the pack. Many of those also happen to make the NAND in-house.

 

Also not sure what your beef with the Samsung SSDs are. Even the new TLC-based enterprise drive smokes many of the MLC-based competition, and is warrantied for higher endurance than the Intel S3500.

 

Also you can read whatever you want from other sites. Unlike many of the experts you would love to quote though, we don't give frightening advice pushing RAID0 boot environments or push scary products as "enterprise" that have no serious place in the market. The advice we give to our readership pushes reliable products we know and trust and have come to rely on in our enterprise test lab. This ranges in scale from what I would recommend to my parents to purchase for a home desktop up to what we recommend to enterprise buyers that might fork out 50-200k on a new storage array.

 

On that note let me get back to testing our new EMC VNXe 3200... leveraging you guessed it Samsung SSDs!

 

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#9 CrazyElf

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 12:52 AM

Would you add Corsair to the list of companies to buy from?

 

Upsides

+ They do have a solid support line and pretty good tech support

+ Some of their products are unique still (Neutron GTX comes to mind)

+ Still somewhat price competitive despite not owning NAND or production abilities

 

Downsides

- No direct access to NAND, controllers, and other components

- Smaller company, less capital available for this sort of thing

 

They may be in the long run forced to back out, but the others are likely in it for the long term.

 

I suppose there is the possiblity that WD may end up being player number 7? They in theory do have the money to try something bigger in the SSD arena.


Edited by CrazyElf, 15 June 2014 - 10:32 AM.

#10 Brian

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 08:08 AM

Corsair has done a good job to date, but they're fighting a losing battle. Long term they just can't sustain in a market where they have no advantage. So much of their other gear is excellent, the gaming focused accessories, their cases...they have a ton to be proud of. And SSDs weren't really a bad idea for them, in the beginning their brand added a lot of weight. But it's over for them too on the SSD front, they'll be forced out just like Patriot was. 


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#11 CrazyElf

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 10:42 AM

Corsair has done a good job to date, but they're fighting a losing battle. Long term they just can't sustain in a market where they have no advantage. So much of their other gear is excellent, the gaming focused accessories, their cases...they have a ton to be proud of. And SSDs weren't really a bad idea for them, in the beginning their brand added a lot of weight. But it's over for them too on the SSD front, they'll be forced out just like Patriot was. 

 

Yeah I can see that slowly happening. Shame too. I really wish that there were more unique controllers. That Neutron GTX comes to mind. It's still not a bad buy. The 480 Gb Neutron GTX these days sells for ~$290 CAD + tax, or $260 USD, so I am thinking about buying one. I just wish that there was a similar SSD with power loss protection (availability of Seagate 600 Pro for 480 GB version is nil).

 

What I would have loved to see is something like the Revodrive 350, only with something like the LAMD controller - good performance consistency and sustained performance, but also with powerloss protection. NGFF would also be possible, but is it even possible to get capacitors onto that small form factor?

 

From what I understand, Hynix bought out LAMD, and they don't want anyone to use their controllers unless they're willing to use Hynix NAND. I suspect Hynix is aspiring to be a player here. Maybe they should be added to the "maybe" category. They'll probably end up like Sandisk. On that note, if Corsair were to enter into a long-term partnership with say, Hynix or Sandisk, I suppose something could happen. But yeah, their other gear is pretty good. I think their RAM is a bit overpriced, but their cases, and other gear is generally pretty good. That and I've had consistently good results with their support.

 

Looking forward, it looks like SSDs are going to end up like HDDs, a very low margin market where only the big players compete and barely break even.


Edited by CrazyElf, 15 June 2014 - 10:42 AM.

#12 Brian

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 12:26 PM

Hynix also bought the Violin PCIe business, but their problem is a branding and marketing one, plus a limited history of success with bringing final products to market. I think they're going to have a very hard time transitioning into a storage product company. We'll see, we liked the LAMD controller when it first came out, but it always had a very small design and engineering team behind it which hampered its growth.


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#13 Valleyforge

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 03:43 AM

 

i guess people are too lazy to look into things, unfortunately the experts at tweaktown says the opposite :rolleyes:

Who declared these "Tweaktown" people to be experts?  You?

 

Despite what you say, I think I'll stick with the Samsung and Crucial/Micron SSDs that have been giving me sterling service for years. 


Laptop: Dell inspiron E7440, 8GB RAM, 480GB Crucial M500 mSATA, Win7 Pro
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#14 CrazyElf

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 12:19 PM

There are a few others I expect to remain players. Marvell for one, due to their size and being established in this area. Maybe a few of the controller companies here and there could survive as niche players.


#15 Brian

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 01:04 PM

But Marvell does not make their own drives. They've experimented some with end-product storage and decided it was a bad idea.


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#16 unityole

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 05:46 AM

Who declared these "Tweaktown" people to be experts?  You?

 

Despite what you say, I think I'll stick with the Samsung and Crucial/Micron SSDs that have been giving me sterling service for years. 

 

are you dreaming? lol

 

besides, samsung 840 pro and evo are now crap and its proven. im just waiting for samsung 850 pro to see if there are any improvements.


#17 Brian

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 09:58 AM

Samsung is #1 in SSD drive shipments. I'd love to be crap if that's what it looks like, lol. 


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#18 Dimwitted

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 04:42 PM

Brian, excellent article. Only caveat is Hynix. Whether it's that they don't like competing with their client base or just a lousy marketing dept. they are rather quiet. I can see someone like Corsair enter into a codevelopment agreement using Hynix NAND and gaining the legs to keep in the SSD game.

 

It certainly was entertaining to see all those Computex reports of new SSD's at "new, low prices!" and Crucial already cut them off at the knees with the MX100. I think that 2015 is going to be the year of the SSD, with many giving up while the consolidated players gain huge marketshare in the mainstream market on the prebuilt machines.


#19 Valleyforge

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 09:22 AM

 

 samsung 840 pro and evo are now crap and its proven.

 

Proven by whom?  Where can I see this proof? 


Laptop: Dell inspiron E7440, 8GB RAM, 480GB Crucial M500 mSATA, Win7 Pro
Workstation: i5-4690K, Z97I-Plus, H100i, Obsidian 250D, 480GB Crucial M500, 1TB WD Black, Win8.1 Pro, Hyper-V

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HTPC:Intel NUC D54250WYK, 4GB, 64GB Crucial M4 mSATA, Win7 Pro

HTPC 2:Intel NUC DN2820, 4GB, 64GB Crucial M4 mSATA, Win7 Pro


 




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