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Saturday, August 06


Five Good Things 2016 Update

A little over a year ago, I wrote an item titled Five Good Things about five promising advances or trends in computer technology.

These were:
  1. 3D chips
  2. USB 3.1 / Type-C
  3. NBASE-T
  4. Retina displays
  5. 2.5D chips
  6. Shingled storage
Where are we a year later?

3D chips are taking over the SSD world.  Samsung, Micron, and Toshiba all have 3D flash memory in production, and it performs significantly better than 2D flash while also lasting ten times longer.  What it is not, yet, is any cheaper than 2D, because it takes a lot of extra steps to manufacture the 3D chips.

USB 3.1 and Type-C - and Thunderbolt 3, which is based on USB 3.1 and the Type-C connector - are also taking over.  The only major company that doesn't have products with Thunderbolt 3 yet is Apple - which is a little odd, since they were the champions of Thunderbolt versions 1 and 2.

NBASE-T on the other hand is nowhere to be found in the consumer market.  This makes me a sad bunny, because Gigabit ethernet is about eleventy billion years old now and 10Base-T still isn't affordable.

2.5D chips - that is, the use of silicon interposers, putting individual silicon chips on a larger piece of silicon rather than directly on a circuit board - are still limited to a few graphics cards, but will likely expand in 2017 when HBM2 memory starts shipping in quantity and AMD's new Zen APUs and Vega GPUs start shipping.

And shingled storage, basically, just works.  I have a backup server with a RAID array of 8TB shingled drives that cost me less than one with the same number of regular 4TB drives.  The firmware does a very good job of hiding the quirks of shingledness, so long as your workload is either mostly reads or mostly sequential.  

Shingled drives are alternately great and terrible and random writes - for the first 20GB or so, they are the fastest spinning drives available, and then they fill up their buffer area and become the slowest.  The difference between buffered performance and sustained performance is two orders of magnitude.  I've only run into this once, while doing a Linux update and a RAID array sync at the same, but when it happened I was getting IOPs in the single digits.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:33 PM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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