Serial ATA Stories July 4, 2014

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See that little $190 daughter card up there^? It houses 240GB of Transcend SSD and it could replace the 64GB or 128GB SSD that came in your MacBook Air in as little as 5 minutes. Even better, Transcend just released larger versions in 480GB and 960GB sizes to blow your SATA III MacBook Air or Pro into new worlds of space. Keep in mind these are SATA-based SSDs and Apple’s latest round of MacBook Pro/Airs came with speedier PCIe SSDs so you can’t use these on Apple’s late 2013/2014 models (see bottom of the article for compatibility list).

I got my hands on a demo unit and took it for a test drive…

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Serial ATA Stories April 10, 2014

Next-gen faster Haswells chips out as soon as next month, could find their way into upgraded MacBook and iMacs

Intel’s next generation of its Haswell CPUs could be out as soon as next month, according to sources cited by TechPowerUp (via TonyMacx86).

According to sources in the IT retail, Intel could launch these new chips, led by the Core i7-4790K, on May 10th in most markets […]

 Intel Core “Haswell” Refresh processors offer marginally better performance over current Core “Haswell” chips, at existing price points (i.e., they will displace existing chips from their current price-points).The 9-series chipset offers features such as M.2 SSD support, making you ready for a tidal wave of 1000 MB/s SSDs that will launch around Computex.

Apple now uses PCIe SSD interface  even in its base model MacBook Air so the mSATA improvement will only benefit PC users and Hackintoshers but the mildly improved performance might find its way into updated iMac or MacBooks due ’round WWDC.

Serial ATA Stories November 4, 2013

4chan

Update: It appears this may be a function of the 1TB drives fitted to both 13- and 15-inch models. The reason for this isn’t yet clear: it may be the drives used offer greater bandwidth.

Benchmark tests by French site Mac4Ever show that the latest MacBook Pro 15 is delivering SSD read and write speeds in excess of 1GB per second. The site repeatedly achieved these speeds when Apple claims only “up to 775MB per second.”

The MBP 15 is able to achieve these speeds because it has a 4-channel PCIe connection to the SSD, in contrast to the 2-channel link on the MBP 13 and MacBook Air models, though from some reader reports this may be the case only on models fitted with 1TB drives …

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Serial ATA Stories October 25, 2012

Toys Deal alert: Add 128GB of speedy Kingston SDCard to your Mac or camera for $70 AR, free shipping

From 9to5Toys.com:

Today only, Tiger Direct has the Kingston 128GB Class 10 SDXC Secure Digital Extended-Capacity Card, model no. SDX10V/128GB for $84.99 with a $15 mail in rebate which brings it to $69.99 with free shipping. At $0.55/GB, that’s the best deal we’ve seen for any 128GB Class 10 SDHC card (even without the rebate). 

Serial ATA Stories October 18, 2012

Get same speedy SSDs that Apple uses in MacBooks for over half off today -128GB: $70, 256GB: $155

From 9to5Toys.com:

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The very same Samsung 830 SSDs that Apple uses in its new MacBook Pro/Airs, the Samsung 830s, are on sale today only at Amazon. At $69.99 for 128GB and $154.99 for 256GB with free shipping, these are the lowest prices we’ve seen for these SSDs which feature read speeds of up to 520MB/s and write speeds of up to 400MB/s.

Update: The deal is over but hit up their big SSD sale

Serial ATA Stories October 9, 2012

LaCie issued a press release today announcing an update to its Little Big Disk Thunderbolt series that now includes a pair of 2.5-inch SATA III SSDs. The new Little Big Disk provides read speeds up to 635MB/s, according to the company, approximately a 33 percent increase from the previous generation. It is also capable of daisy chaining up to six devices via its dual Thunderbolt ports:

The product features a pair of 2.5” SATA III SSDs. A RAID array can be configured using the Mac OS Disk Utility for performance (RAID 0) or security (RAID 1). It supports daisy chaining up to six compatible devices such as displays and other peripherals.

An example of just how quick the it is: LaCie said the new Little Big Disk can transfer a 50GB project in under two minutes or edit six uncompressed 422 streams simultaneously… expand full story

Serial ATA Stories September 10, 2012

Serial ATA Stories August 21, 2012

SanDisk SSDs, SD Cards, USB Sticks up to 76% off at Amazon

From 9to5Toys.com:

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Today only, Amazon chops a big chuck off of SanDisk storage products as shown above.  The discount yields the lowest prices we’ve seen on speedy SanDisk product but these usually dry up quick – so hurry! Amazon doesn’t charge shipping if you are a Prime member or the order is over $25 and doesn’t charge tax in most states.

Best bets are the 64GB Cruzer USB stick for $31.99, the Ultra 64SDXC card for $44.99 and the 240GB SSD for $154.99 and not on the page:  $349.99 on SanDisk Extreme 480 GB SSD

Serial ATA Stories July 26, 2012

OWC launches Mercury Helios PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis

OWC is launching a new PCIe Thunderbolt expansion chassis today that provides the ability to take advantage of any professional level performance PCIe adapters (half-length PCIe 2.0 card up to 6.5″) on Thunderbolt Macs:

Mercury Helios is fast and flexible with throughput up to 10Gb/s, and is the perfect solution to massively boost workflow productivity. It’s bootable with AHCI compliant cards and can daisy-chain up to six devices. Types of PCIe cards Helios can use include: Fibre Channel • 10Gb Ethernet • RAID controller • Video capture • Digital audio • Solid State Drive • SAS controllers such as the OWC Jupiter • and FireWire, USB 3.0, eSATA host adapter cards.

The Mercury Helios PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis is available now for $399.95, and it is shipping from OWC in “7-10 days.” A full list of features and specs from OWC is below:

Features and Specifications

  • Use any half-length, single width, full height x1, x4 or x8 Thunderbolt compliant and AHCI compliant PCIe card
  • Expansion slots: One PCIe 2.0 x8 (x4 mode)
  • Connection interfaces: Two Thunderbolt ports
  • Daisy-chain up to six devices
  • Bootable with AHCI compliant cards
  • External case dimensions: 5.7 in (W) x 8.8 in (D) x 2.9 in (H)
  • Weighs 2.4 lbs (without card)
  • Ventilated quiet cooling with a variable speed fan
  • Automatically powers on/off with computer
  • Warranty: 3-year
  • Compatible with any computer that can support Thunderbolt technology

Serial ATA Stories June 21, 2012

Drobo announces 5D and Mini Thunderbolt/USB3 Storage devices with mSATA built-in

I’m not going to lie: I’ve heard enough Drobo horror stories to steer clear of its products for a while now. However, it seems to be doing well with its “Bring your own storage” model, and the products are rated well on Amazon, so the company must be doing something right. Today, Drobo announced a new Thunderbolt product, the 5D, with some serious specs:

Drobo 5D is equipped with dual Thunderbolt ports for daisy chaining. Connect up to six Thunderbolt devices and/or a non-Thunderbolt monitor at the end of the chain. With six Drobo 5D arrays in a chain, you can have up to 96 TB of usable capacity. And, the bi-directional 10 Gbps performance of Thunderbolt allows all devices in the chain to achieve maximum throughput.

Interestingly, the 5D and Mini have a battery backup to safely shutdown the device and an mSATA add-on that purports to increase performance:

Data-Aware Tiering technology, usually reserved for business-class storage solutions, is also available in this desktop Drobo. It intelligently uses the high-performance flash in SSDs to accelerate performance of the storage array, allowing applications such as Adobe Premiere and Apple Aperture fast access to data. To keep capacity of the Drobo at a maximum, the Drobo Accelerator Bay accepts an industry-standard mSATA SSD, leaving all five 3.5” drives bays available for high-capacity HDDs.

If getting the fastest performance possible is your thing, you can also load up every drive bay with SSDs. Drobo gives you the flexibility to choose.

For my money, I much prefer Network Attached Storage, which admittedly moves at a slower 1Gbps. Drobo offers solutions in this area but I am currently using and loving my Synology Diskstation that resides in my closet instead of my desk. It has not been anything but reliable for months (expect a review soon).

Drobo also announced a Drobo Mini Product that holds four 2.5-inch HDDs or SSDs.

Serial ATA Stories June 18, 2012

How to build a Hackintosh with Mac Pro specs for $1,148

We told you about our affection for Hackintoshs before. With the recent Mac Pro spec refresh disappointing many and not taking advantage of modern technology such as Thunderbolt, USB3, SATA3 or just about anything less than three-years-old, maybe it is time to consider building one.

Lifehacker’s Adam Dachis compiled a long list of parts that will allow you to build a Hackintosh that matches or exceeds the new Mac Pro’s specs on the cheap (though we are not sure how a Core i7 3.4GHzis going to do versus a Mac Pro Xeon!). Here are the parts to build the base Mac Pro for only $1,148 instead of $2,499:

Check out Lifehacker’s post for the mid-range and high-range prices.  Or, head over to Tonyx86 and formulate your own Mac PRO.

Serial ATA Stories May 30, 2012

Runcore adds another SSD upgrade option to MacBook Air owners

If you find fault with the OWC’s Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G MacBook Air SSDs, there is now another MacBook Air SSD upgrade option.

RunCore announced this week that it would offer its own SSD upgrade option: the RunCore Rocket Air SSD.

We are hoping to get a test unit and post a review soon.

RunCore also announced something else interesting this week: a SATA SSD so small that it could almost fit within the free space inside a MacBook Pro enclosure. Are you thinking what I am thinking?

 

Serial ATA Stories April 26, 2012

For those of us still with pre-Thunderbolt Mac Pros or Xserves (or Hackintoshes), there are not a lot of inexpensive choices for getting super fast data access onto our machines. Sure, you can buy a SATA 3 hard drive like my favorite Samsung 830 series, but the built in SATA 2 on these old machines is a bottleneck that will “only” yield 250 MB/second read speeds.

Along comes OWC last month with its first-ever Mercury Accelsior Mac-bootable PCI SSD card that is actually a PCI-to-striped RAID SATA array. The two SATA3 cards you see above actually look like (but aren’t – don’t try it) the same super high-speed Sandforce 3 drives that OWC sells as MacBook Air updates.

By the way, the cards are a snap to install and configure. If you have ever added a PCI video card, this is the same thing. Even better, there are no drivers to install, and the drive automatically shows up as a mounted disk that can (and should!) be booted from.

How did they compare to the single MacBook Air SSDs?

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Serial ATA Stories April 17, 2012

We already took a look at Hitachi’s G-Technology’s Thunderbolt solutions at CES in January but today they are finally available to the public. The Thunderbolt version features two Thunderbolt ports, rather than the eSATA, FireWire, and USB ports found on the regular version of the G-RAID. As for the hard drives inside, there are two SATA 3Gb/s Hitachi Deskstar hard drives, which can be configured in a 4TB, 6TB, or 8TB setup, each running at 7200RPM. All three versions of the drive are priced at $700, $850, and $1,000 respectively. You can see more technical specs below, as laid out by AnandTech.

With two Thunderbolt ports, these drives can be daisy-chained together to build-out the ultimate storage solution. Currently, the G-Technology competes against four other companies in the space: LaCie, Promise, Western Digital, and Seagate. The G-Raid is the only drive that features 8TB of storage, however.

We compared the drive during this year’s CES with a few others:

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Serial ATA Stories April 5, 2012

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At the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in January, LaCie announced a new product for Thunderbolt users. The eSATA Hub Thunderbolt™ Series is a $199 Thunderbolt pass-through that allows you to connect 2 eSATA drives to your Mac via the speedy Thunderbolt port.  By Daisy chaining six of the devices, you could add 12 eSATA drives to your Mac setup.

Today, those devices are now available.

eSATA speeds are up to 3Gb/s or equivalent to SATA II, so you will not be making full use of the Thunderbolt bus speed. However, you will still be much faster than either USB2 (480Mbps) or Firewire 800 (800Mbps). Apple’s Thunderbolt cables are sold separately at $50 a pop.

eSATA docking stations start at around $30, so if you have some eSATA or SATA drives laying around and want to get them on Thunderbolt, this might be a good—though slightly expensive–solution.

Seagate makes a $99 Thunderbolt to SATA drive adapter, but it is having trouble keeping stock (and it lacks a Thunderbolt pass-through) and reviewers note erratic results.

The full specs and press release follows:

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Serial ATA Stories February 13, 2012

From 9to5Toys.com:

Today only, Amazon offers the OCZ 90GB Agility 3 2.5″ Serial ATA 6Gb/s Internal SSD, model no. AGT3-25SAT3-90G, for $99.99 with free shipping. That’s the lowest total price we could find by $30. This Sandforce-controlled drive advertises 500MB/s+ read write times when connected to a SATA3 controller.

While OCZ’s drives are certainly fast, we’ve had a better experience with Samsung’s 830 series SATA3 SSDs which should soon be entering production on Apple’s MacBook Air/Pros.  The 128GB is listed at $199 while the 64GB variety is $109.

Update: previously mentioned rebate had expired last week.

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Serial ATA Stories February 6, 2012

Intel’s new 520 Series SSD benchmarked: Easy on the battery, great data protection and compression features

Intel announced today the new 520 Series solid-state storage code-named “Cherryville” and a number of tech websites and blogs already have their reviews up. The Verge has a nice review round up, and MacWorld’s own review provides an extensive overview of the pros and cons of the device. Fabbed on Intel’s 25nm Multi-Level Cell process, […]

Serial ATA Stories January 10, 2012

We love this add-on to the Mac Mini that turns it into more of a pro-device (and a cube!).  The business up front is a DVD-R drive (not sure about BluRay) and an SDXC card reader that complements the one on the back of the mini. On the rear, you get a high power USB source for quick-charging an iPad as well as a few USB 3.0 ports that require separate drivers.  Also on the back is an eSATA port for fast external peripheral support as well as two Firewire 800 ports. Inside, there is room for up to a 4TB 3.5 inch hard drive which you can order with the Mini Stack Max or you can bring your own.

This is interesting because it is moving the Mini more toward a pro-like setup.

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OWC has not put a price on the Mac Mini Stack Max but expects them to be available in March. expand full story

Serial ATA Stories September 15, 2011

If you really want to turn your new MacBook Air out, OWC is offering up a new SSD upgrade option that promise up to 4X read/write performance (>500MB/s) over Apple’s factory installed SSDs. The SSDs, priced at $350 for 120GB and $600 for 240GB use a Sandforce 2200 controller.

• Tier 1/Grade A Toggle Synchronous NAND • SandForce 2200 Series Processor
• Offers nearly 4x factory SSD capacity.** • Compatible with 2011 MacBook Air
• Utilizes 6G SATA bus in 2011 MacBook Air to deliver over 500MB/s data rate performance

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In other OWC news, they mention that yesterday’s MacBook Pro update fixed lingering issues with the 6GB SATA port on the MacBook Pros (not to be confused with the 3GB Optical port.)

See performance benefits, below: expand full story

Serial ATA Stories July 26, 2011

From 9to5Toys.com

Amazon offers the Kingston SSDNow V-Series 256GB Serial ATA 3Gbp/s 2.5″ Internal Solid State Drive (SSD), model no. SV100S2/256GZ, for $299.99. The $20 mail-in rebate cuts it to $279.99. With free shipping, that’s $1.09/GB, and the lowest total price we could find by $128. (It’s also the best price we’ve seen for an SSD of this size since Black Friday) Rebate expires July 31.  Reviews here and here.

AnandTech benchmarks expand full story

Serial ATA Stories June 27, 2011

Lifehacker has posted a nifty guide to building a Hackintosh, Mini style. This Hackintosh is very similar to Apple’s Mac Mini in price but more burly in specs. Hackintoshes offer a great way to learn about the innards of computers and how they work.

The end product ran up a price tag of $599.65, which is a very fair price for what you’re getting.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 Motherboard $104.99
  2. Intel Core i3 Processor i3-540 3.06GHz 4MB LGA1156 CPU $110.00
  3. ZOTAC nVidia GeForce GT240 512 MB DDR3 DVI/HDMI PCI-Express Video Card $84.99
  4. 2x2GB Corsair PC3-10666 1333Mhz Dual Chanel 240-pin DDR3 Desktop RAM $43.99
  5. Western Digital 1TB SATA III 7200 RPM 32MB Cache Desktop Hard Drive $59.99 (2TB: $79)
  6. SilverStone SG05BB-450 ALL Black Plastic/SECC Mini-ITX Computer Case with SFX 450W 80+ Bronze Certified/Single +12V rail Power Supply $119.99
  7. Sony Optiarc 8X SATA DVD+/-RW Slim Drive $34.99
  8. StarTech.com MCSATAADAP Micro SATA to SATA Adapter Cable with Power $11.71
  9. Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard $29.00
  10. OPTIONALOCZ Agility 120GB SSD $199.99 (note: this is optional and not included in the total cost of the machine)

The squad over at Lifehacker used tonymacx86’s CustoMac Mini tool and a good suite of hardware. While this isn’t as small as a Mac Mini, it is very close and is a lot faster. Check out Lifehacker’s video above on how to set this up and visit their post for a list of hardware. We have to warn you, this isn’t for every computer user, because you need to know how to build your own computer and do a little tinkering.

If a Hackintosh Mini isn’t for you, check out tonymacx86’s guide to making a Sandy Bridge Hackintosh. Intel’s Sandy Bridge processor is rumored to be included in many of the new Macs. Why not go ahead and build one on the cheap? Tonymacx86 has all the answers.

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Serial ATA Stories May 14, 2011

We’ve spent the past few weeks using the Seagate GoFlex Slim 320GB portable hard drive and have come away with some mixed feelings on the drive.  On one hand, it is obviously the thinnest external hard drive in the market and it is plenty fast with its internal 7200 RPM internal drive.  In fact, it is about the same depth as an iPhone 4.

On the other hand… expand full story

Serial ATA Stories May 12, 2011

via some Dutch Dude who didn’t have any issues installing an SSD in the Hard drive Bay

According to a blog post at OWC, the new iMacs have a temperature sensor in their hard drives which will restrict replacing with non-Apple hard drives.

For the main 3.5″ SATA hard drive bay in the new 2011 machines, Apple has altered the SATA power connector itself from a standard 4-pin power configuration to a 7-pin configuration. Hard drive temperature control is regulated by a combination of this cable and Apple proprietary firmware on the hard drive itself. From our testing, we’ve found that removing this drive from the system, or even from that bay itself, causes the machine’s hard drive fans to spin at maximum speed and replacing the drive with any non-Apple original drive will result in the iMac failing the Apple Hardware Test (AHT).

Here’s the thing though:  What if you order an iMac without a hard drive?  One iMac option is just the SSD which is mounted on the optical drive?  Perhaps there is a way to disable fans altogether and thats what ships with SSD-only iMacs?

Clearly some more investigative work is necessary.

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