AMD Radeon Pro Duo Dual Fiji GPU Now Available, Built For VR

AMD Radeon Pro Duo Dual Fiji GPU Now Available, Built For VR

In March of this year, AMD revealed the Radeon Pro Duo, a dual Fiji GPU graphics card with 8GB of HBM memory and capable of delivering up to 16 teraflops of compute performance. The company had said that the card would be released in Q2 2016, and today it is available for purchase.

AMD said the Radeon Pro Duo is meant for VR content creation of all varieties, including game development, VR journalism and medical research and more. The company said the card was designed for heavy workloads that come with VR content creation and that the Radeon Pro Duo’s compute performance will help “bring tomorrow’s VR content to market in record time.”

“With the Radeon Pro Duo, it’s our objective to solve major problems developers face, by reducing latency and accelerating the VR pipeline through close collaboration with the content development community and with AMD LiquidVR technology,” said AMD in its press materials.

AMD is pushing the Radeon Pro Duo as a solution for VR content creation, but there’s nothing stopping you (except maybe the price) from using it as a top-end graphics solution for gaming. The card features two liquid-cooled Fiji GPUs, each paired with 4GB of HBM memory, and AMD said it has support for DX12. (We would love to show you performance numbers, but we haven’t received a sample to test. An AMD representative told Tom’s Hardware that the company has decided not to send samples to enthusiast sites for independent testing.)

The Radeon Pro Duo will sell for the not-insignificant sum of $1,499. AMD said it is available today worldwide, from select partners. Every Radeon Pro Duo graphics card comes bundled with the Liquid VR SDK to help developers and content creators to coax the most performance out of their creations.


Source: toms hardware,31678.html

A single infected smartphone could cost your business thousands of euros

A single infected smartphone could cost your business thousands of euros

A single infected smartphone could cost your business thousands of euros


A few months ago, Apple devices were the victim of a large-scale cyber-attack, the largest in the company’s history. The company had to withdraw more than 50 iPhone, iPad and Mac apps from the App Store as they installed malicious software that allowed criminals to control users’ devices remotely and steal personal information.

So you see, not even the company with the half eaten apple logo, which boasts about the security measures applied to their technologies, is free from falling into cyber-criminals’ traps.  Smartphone attacks pose a great risk to device security and data privacy, and this is even worse in work environments.

According to a recent report from renowned research institute Ponemon, the number of employees using personal devices to access corporate data has increased 43 percent over the last few years, and 56 percent of corporate data is available for access from a smartphone.

The consequences of this situation can be translated into economic figures. A single infected smartphone can cost a company over€8,0000 on average, and the estimated global figure for all cyber-attacks over an entire year can reach €15 million.


Researchers interviewed 588 IT professionals from companies in the Forbes Global 2000 list (a list of the word’s biggest public companies) to know their opinion about mobile security. 67 percent of respondents believed it was very likely that their company had already suffered data leakage, as employees could access sensitive and confidential corporate data from their smartphones.

However, there are still more reasons for concern.

When asked about what data could be accessed by employees, most of the interviewees showed little knowledge.  Workers could access far more information than IT security heads thought, including workers’ personal data, confidential documents and customer information.

Luckily, there is also good news. According to the report, 16 percent of a company’s budget is invested in mobile security, a percentage that is expected to reach 37 percent.

Additionally, more than half of the companies that took part in the study had some type of system in place to manage the data accessible to employees through their smartphones, as well as security measures such as lists of malicious apps, authentication systems and platforms to manage user access and accounts.

Researches don’t believe that going back to the past or banning the use of personal devices for work purposes are effective measures, as working in the cloud and virtual environments is increasingly common. That’s why they suggest that the solution should be to set clear limits to the information that can be accessed from personal devices, and educating employees about the risk of such practices and the available tools to neutralize them, such as those provided by Panda Security.



Whether it’s a waiting room, red light, church, school, hospital, restaurant, gym or park nearly everyone can be seen on their smartphones, either texting, on social media, listening to music or just browsing the web.

Is this newfound means of connection really keeping people disconnected? Has the advancement of technology removed people from real intimacy?

According to Dr. Ioana Shirley, psychiatrist at Psychiatry Consultants LLC., in Birmingham, “It’s not a matter of technology replacing intimacy it’s just a matter of using technology and adjusting to it instead of allowing it to evolve our lives. In some ways I think the actual intimacy can be better, but it can also be worst . . . there is a fine line because smartphones are also very helpful. There is therapy on the phone and information that people otherwise wouldn’t get.”

Smartphones also have a downside for some business owners, said James Lewis, Owner and Chef at Bettola Restaurant in Birmingham.

“Not only are smartphones replacing intimacy it can also cause problems at work, especially when people are addicted to it, they either keep looking at it, using it or playing on it when they’re not supposed to, so there is a constant struggle of that happening within the business,” Lewis said.

Another problem, he said, is when you text “you could be saying one thing but it can come off completely different and that creates a rift that didn’t need to be in the conversation in the first place.”

Some lawyers point to the impact of phones in the legal arena.

“Smartphones and social media have changed the landscape of the evidence that is available in personal injury and divorce cases,” says attorney Patrice Blankenship of Blankenship and Associates, PC. “What you find is that infidelity and inappropriate relations are more easily proven with the new technology, texting and social media. Phones have a major impact on the infidelity grounds for divorce as far as being able to prove it. But it is very hurtful to the other party because they know exactly what their spouse is doing.”

Blankenship admits that she often communicates with her clients via text or email, because it’s more efficient, but when it comes to personal relationships she feels that technology does remove intimacy.

“Even though people use capital letters when texting it’s still not the same as face to face communication,” she said. “I still had to get myself abreast with a lot of the abbreviations, because I didn’t know what they meant, so I had to get one of my nieces or cousins to help me with that . . . I’m still learning it. But it does impact the way we communicate.”

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 68 percent of U.S adults have a smartphone, up from 35 percent in 2011. Their research shows 86 percent of those 18-29 years of age have a smartphone, along with 83 percent of those ages 30-49 and 87 percent of those living in households earning $75,000 and up annually.

Lebaron Marks, of Marks Media Cinematography LLC., in Birmingham, who is in that 30-49 age range admits that he uses his smartphone for everything, but he can’t deny its negative impact when it comes to real human interaction. “It’s a more convenient way to communicate, but it is making things less personable than they use to be,” he said.

The Tablet Is Dead As We Know It – and That’s Good

Most people — including me — scoffed when former BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins declared in 2013 that the tablet would be dead in five years. Fast forward just two years and his prediction doesn’t seem quite as ridiculous. For the first time ever, tablet sales declined year over year during the fourth quarter, according to IDC. In other words, consumers ignored slates during the critical holiday season in favor of other types of gadgets, like fitness trackers, Chromebooks and drones.

As it turns out, tablets aren’t dying but finding their niche, which is exactly what this category needs to do to survive.

The Big Fall

Here are some sobering numbers. Four of the top five tablet makers posted double-digit declines in Q4, including Apple. Despite the addition of the iPad Air 2 and the warmed-over refresh that was the iPad mini 3 (whoopee, Touch ID!), the company saw negative growth of nearly 18 percent. Samsung posted comparable figures, although Apple still nearly doubles Sammy in market share (28.1 versus 14.5 percent).

While discussing Apple’s otherwise blockbuster quarter — thanks to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus — CEO Tim Cook admitted that the iPad is struggling. “There’s probably some level of cannibalization that’s going on, with the Mac on one side and the phone on the other.” However, Cook remains bullish on the category, especially in regards to the enterprise, where Apple has a strategic partnership in place with IBM.


Speaking of businesses, there may be an iPad Pro on the horizon, which is rumored to offer a larger 12-inch display in addition to better multitasking capabilities in iOS. But according to Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst at IDC, it won’t be able to reverse Apple’s fortunes in this market.

“I think such a device would likely be targeted at the commercial or prosumer space rather than at general consumers,” Ubrani said. “And while the commercial market is expected to grow, it still won’t account for the majority of the whole tablet market, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the iPad Pro were relegated to being a niche market device.”

Longer Upgrade Cycles, Less Innovation

Of all tablet makers, Amazon is feeling the most pain right now. The company saw its growth implode by 70 percent year over year. Part of me wonders whether the bomb that was the Fire phone rubbed off on the rest of the company’s product line, but Ubrani believes it’s much simpler than that. For a while, Amazon had the lower end of the slate market locked up, but then other vendors such as Acer, Asus, E Fun and RCA muscled into its territory.

But there’s a bigger issue at play here other than collapsing prices. The novelty has worn off. Everyone who wanted a tablet now owns one, and there just isn’t enough of a difference from one generation of tablet to the next to compel shoppers to upgrade. For example, my 10-year-old daughter is perfectly content with her first-generation Amazon Kindle for reading books, playing games and binge-watching old episodes of Full House.

It seems most consumers feel the same way. Newer tablets have moderately faster CPUs, sharper screens and better cameras. So what? As a result, an increasing number of people are perfectly content to hold onto their slates longer. After all, most if not all of the apps and games they want to use continue to work just fine.

Some are blaming the tablet crash on the rise of phablets, or big-screen phones, but IDC’s Ubrani doesn’t believe that to be the primary cause. “I would say that longer replacement cycles are likely the larger factor in the slowdown of the tablet market. Phablets are slowly gaining share but we still do not expect them to account for the majority of smartphone shipments.” However, it’s no coincidence that the share of small tablets is decreasing.

‘Nichification’ to the Rescue

The most exciting tablet of all of 2014 was the Shield Tablet, because Nvidia found a way to turn a slate into a bona fide gaming console. The company harnesses the power inside its K1 chip to offer great Android performance but also to stream the most demanding games from your PC.

The “nichification” of tablets will continue in 2015, with productivity being the biggest theme. Despite some early miscues, 2-in-1 hybrid devices are starting to resonate with tablet buyers. You get a tablet and laptop in one device, sometimes for a very reasonable price. The Asus Transformer Book T200, for instance, delivers a full Windows experience, a detachable 11-inch slate and a full-size keyboard for less than the price of an iPad.

“We’ve seen substantial growth in the 2-in-1 space,” Ubrani said. “Two-in-1s have been growing faster [than traditional tablets] but they are also coming off a small base. For what it’s worth, Intel argues that 2-in-1s should be considered its own category.

On the high end of the market, Microsoft’s Surface line recently surpassed 1 billion in revenue for a single quarter. Ubrani said that the company will likely crack the top 10 once IDC is done calculating its quarterly figures. But despite some clever marketing, I refuse to buy Microsoft’s argument that this tablet can replace your laptop. It’s just still too awkward to use as a clamshell in your lap.

Nevertheless, I’m more optimistic about the 2-in-1 category than I’ve ever been, thanks to a wave of better designs (like the Lenovo Yoga Pro and the Asus Transformer Book Chi) and the promise of Windows 10. Microsoft’s upcoming OS will make switching between laptop and tablet modes more seamless, as well as streamline the entire user experience. The revamped Start menu, Action menu and Settings screens are all steps in the right direction.

Parents who don’t want to hand their kids a smartphone — and pay through the nose for yet another data plan — is another growing tablet niche. Fuhu has done the best job catering to this crowd with its devices, which focus on learning, parent-approved content and games, and earning rewards for doing your chores. The company sells two big-screen devices (at 20 and 24 inches) with all sorts of creative tools for junior, and a 65-inch device that doubles as a TV is next.

However, older kids may be better off with a Chromebook, which are cheap and come with a full keyboard.

Bottom Line

It looks like the tablet market is coming full circle. The original Microsoft Tablet PC platform aimed for the masses but ultimately found a niche with professionals and field workers because the devices served that audience best. The iPad’s launch was a rebirth for the entire category, putting the Web, content and apps right at our fingertips, but now big-screen phones do the same thing. That means tablet makers need to get creative to target more specific segments.

From gaming-focused slates and kids tablets that focus on ease of use and parental controls to big-screen devices optimized for productivity, the tablet isn’t dying. It’s being reinvented for narrower audiences and uses. While the overall market will probably never bounce back to previous levels, the devices that emerge from this upheaval will be more innovative, practical and fun.


Source: Toms guide,news-20401.html

Safer selfies on the way as Instagram plans two-step verification

Safer selfies on the way as Instagram plans two-step verification

Safer selfies on the way as Instagram plans two-step verification


More than 400 million selfie lovers can breathe a sigh of relief – Instagram, the social network phenomenon, has revealed that thetwo-step verification process is soon to be unveiled on its platform.

This means that Instagram accounts will now be better protected by a log-in procedure which should make things harder for cyber-attackers trying to access accounts without permission. With the new two-step procedure, an email address and password will no longer be enough to enter; the user will also need to have the smartphone that the account is linked to.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, already offers the new log-in option, and now the photo platform will boast it, too. Every person that has an account on Instagram can now link it to a telephone number, ensuring an extra layer of security.

So, every time that someone (even the account owner) tries to access the account from a new device, the social media platform will send a code to this telephone number. Without this code it will be impossible to access the account.

instagram filters

This new feature will be rolled out progressively, so soon all users that are worried about their security will be able to enter their telephone number and avoid cyber-attackers accessing their accounts and eliminating photos or using the account for malicious means.

Caution on Instagram

This new security measures comes not long after the platform put its own users’ privacy at risk. When it introduced a new feature, the ability to manage various accounts from the same device, there were serious security issues unearthed.

A bug meant that some users could see notifications belonging to other accounts that shared the device. This highlighted that having the same Instagram account synchronized on different devices meant that different users could see messages, notifications, and even like other photos.

instagram message

Despite this flaw being fixed, what is certain is that internet users must always take care when sharing information and should be aware of their privacy online.

Thus, the two-step verification process on Instagram is a step forward in terms of security and should protect users the same way as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google already do. Even though new verification techniques are being worked on (such as the ones created by a group of investigators at the ETH Information Security Institute in Zurich), at the moment the best way is to use our personal telephone numbers.

However, it’s just as important to have a two-step verification as it is have secure passwords: they should be long, contain numbers; different cases; symbols, and should be different for each account. To be able to manage the large number of passwords needed today, it’s best to have a password manager just like the one offered by Panda via its different protection packs, which allows you to be in control of different passwords at the click of a button.

You Can Use Vive And Rift Simultaneously On One PC

You Can Use Vive And Rift Simultaneously On One PC

The long awaited Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR HMDs are finally starting to arrive in customer’s hands (despite some shipping setbacks), and people are starting to experiment with them.

One such experiment came from Reddit user Zimtok5. He demonstrated in a video clip that he was able to set up his HTC Vive and Oculus Rift DK2 on the same PC and run two separate games at the same time.

The PC that he used to test this is an Intel Core i7 4790K paired with two MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G graphics cards, which provide an additional HDMI output. With the extra HDMI output, Zimtok5 was able to plug in his Vive and Rift at the same time, and because the games for the Vive and the Rift launch from different portals (Steam vs Oculus Home, respectively), the games for each can be started without interfering with the other.

SLI? Not So Much

We didn’t want to take Zimtok5’s word for it, so we decided to try running the same test with our Oculus Rift and HTC Vive hardware. We used our standard test system: Intel Core i7-5930K with 16GB of Crucial Balistix DDR4 memory and an MSI X99S Xpower AC motherboard. We first tried to replicate this idea using two GTX 980Ti cards in SLI, a ZOTAC GTX 980Ti AMP! Extreme and a Gigabyte GTX 980Ti Extreme Gaming.

Unfortunately, we were unable to get either HMD to initialize while plugged into the second GPU. The Oculus Home software would not detect the Rift if it was plugged into the second card. Steam VR detected the Vive, but it failed to initialize the compositor unless it was plugged into GPU1.

We were still able to make both HMDs work at the same time, but the second GPU never actually came into play. In order for the Vive and Rift to work at the same time, we had to use the optional Mini-DP port on the Vive’s link box. This allowed us to attach both HMDs to the first graphics card. To be clear: We were running both HMDs off of a single system and a single GPU.

Oculus Home First, Then SteamVR

With the Vive plugged into a DisplayPort output, SteamVR was still detecting the Rift first, and without a toggle switch in SteamVR to select the HMD you want, we had to find a workaround for the problem. The solution is that you must launch Oculus Home before starting SteamVR. When Oculus Home is running, the Rift is already in use, and SteamVR will skip to the Vive HMD when it launches. Curiously, that seems to have solved the problem permanently. We are now able to launch SteamVR first, and it detects the Vive, rather than the Rift.

Once we got passed the HMD initialization problem, everything else just worked. The games both played on their respective HMDs, and the audio for each worked flawlessly.

Frames Per Second – Minimum, Maximum

Average Frames Per Second Over Run

Now that we have this working, we’ll have to go back and do some proper performance analysis to see if this is actually feasible. My gut tells me this won’t work well with most game combinations, but Lucky’s Tale and Vanishing Realms seem to have been working well together. The caveat is that I can operate only one game at a time, so whichever game wasn’t being played was simply sitting idle. I’m eager to determine if you can actually have two people gaming on the same system, and what kind of GPU you need to pull that off.

Update: April 11, 2016, 4:54PM PT: Upon reading some comments we went back and verified that all configurations were tested. We found that the Vive still won’t start on the second GPU, but the Rift actually does. You can plug in the Vive through HDMI, as long as it is plugged into GPU1. The error message about the compositor still appears when the Vive is plugged into GPU2.


10 cybersecurity basics that every business should tell its employees

10 cybersecurity basics that every business should tell its employees

10 cybersecurity basics that every business should tell its employees


As much as a company wants to protect its confidential information, the reality is that it’s usually the employees who shoulder most of the responsibility. The weakest link in the chain is always the human – it looks for shortcuts, is easily tricked, and sometimes doesn’t take the cautions that it should.

This is why it is important that employees know what to do to keep the company’s data and systems safe. Although some may seem like common sense, it’s fundamental that everyone is made aware of the rules and policies – not all members of your team will have the same experience, so you need to start with the most basic.

10 cybersecurity basics that every business should tell its employees

1. Confirm the identity of all that request information

This is especially useful for receptionists, call-center employees or tech support, human resources, and other professionals whose work requires the handling of personal information. Attackers take advantage of the naivety and good faith or these workers to get information in the simplest and most obvious of ways: asking for it. They do this by pretending to be providers, customers, or other members of the company that have a legitimate reason to require the information.

It’s very important that your team knows these tactics and that they make sure that the person on the other end of the phone or email is who they say they are before any information is shared.

2. Always keep passwords safe

If we take care of our own personal passwords that we use daily then we should give even more care to the ones we use to access corporate information. First of all, follow recommended steps to creating a secure passwords: don’t use the same one for different accounts, avoid ones that contain obvious personal information (birthdays, phone numbers, pet’s name, favorite football team, etc.), and ensure that it is made up of numbers and letters, with a combination of upper and lower case letters for good measure.

Also, in a corporate context, it is important that employees avoid keeping the Wi-Fi code written down anywhere (like on a post-it, for example). Finally, and returning to the first point, never reveal your password to anyone that asks for it by phone or email, even if they claim to work in the technical department of your company or the company which provides the relevant service.


3. Your hard drive is foolproof

Saving information related to your business or customers on the computer’s hard drive is, in general, a bad idea. Computers are prone to breaking down and are exposed to attacks that could lead to the loss of valuable information. Laptops are also susceptible to theft or loss. It’s better to ask employees to save files on the company’s servers – if there are any – or on a cloud service.

If they simply must save something on the hard drive, it is essential that they make a security copy every so often to be able to recover the file should anything happen.

4. Security copies don’t mean a thing if they’re lost

It, again, may seem like common sense, but it happens more often than you’d think. If workers are using a laptop and make copies on a USB, it is fundamental that don’t store them together or carry them around at the same time. Just think about it, if you lose your backpack or it is stolen, and both the laptop and USB are inside, well then you’ve lost both copies.

5. Storage and sharing of information via the Internet

As we said, the best solution when a company can’t store internally is to look for a cloud service, be it for storing originals or copies. In general, cloud service providers are better prepared than a small or medium business to face any type of incident, such as cyberattacks.

However, there are some risks associated with the use of online tools which are similar to the ones mentioned above. The security and confidentiality of data that is stored virtually depends on the password used by the employee, so it’s vital that this isn’t shared with anyone who may have malicious intentions. Also, documents should never be uploaded to personal accounts, the cloud service shouldn’t be accessed from unprotected computers or via insecure connections, etc.

6. Email

One of the main tools that cybercriminals use to sneak into an organization and steal information is email. If you employees have a corporate account, the first thing that you need to do is make sure that they don’t use it for personal reasons nor should they use it on public forums or public websites, for example. It’s very easy for the email to end up on a spam list which could mean receiving emails that are not only annoying, but could end up being dangerous.

In general, the best advice that you can give your employees about emails is that they never respond to an email that comes from an unknown or suspicious source. They should also avoid opening or downloading any attachments from these sources as they may contain malware which can affect not only their computer, but possible the company’s entire network.


7. Don’t install programs from unknown sources

Again, they should only trust in what they already know. It’s normal that companies restrict what employees can and can’t install on their computers through the operating system’s permissions. However, if they are able to run new software on their computers, you must ask them to avoid downloading from suspicious webpages. In fact, they shouldn’t even browse them. The web browser is also an access point for some criminals.

8. Be careful with social media

The most recent, and thus unknown, risk is social media. What workers get up to on Facebook or Twitter while at work could be damaging to the company, never mind resulting in lower productivity. Not long ago we warned of the alarming rise in the number of selfies taken in critical infrastructures, which were then found posted on Instagram.

9. A good antivirus

Before using any computer or mobile device, the first thing you should do is install a good antivirus. If this step is important for home users, its importance for corporate users is enormous. A security solution that is especially designed for businesses protects computers and company data in a multitude of circumstances, even when the employees commit an error.

10. The easiest way isn’t always the safest

This point isn’t just for the workers, but rather aimed at the employers: if you make things too difficult for them, they will find a way to work around your security measures. Everything that we’ve explained to you is common sense and very important, but don’t go overboard.

If you ask them to changer their password every week, prepare yourself for the inevitable deluge of post-its stuck to monitors. If accessing a tool that they use for their work becomes too complicated for security reasons, they will use a different one (or, worse yet, one they already have for personal use). If they don’t know how to save files how you’d like, they will find their own way, which might end up being insecure.

So, a middle ground between security and complexity is necessary so that your employees play their part and listen to these tips. They may be your greatest allies or your worst enemies, but only you can choose which.

Locky malware report

Locky malware report

Locky malware report

[Original post:]

Intel Announces New 3D NAND And Dual-Port NVMe SSDs

Intel Announces New 3D NAND And Dual-Port NVMe SSDs

Intel announced four new NVMe SSDs in tandem with its Xeon E5-2600 v4 Broadwell-EP launch, and its DC P3520 and DC P3320 both come packing Intel’s new 32-layer 3D NAND. The industry is moving to 3D NAND due to the seemingly insurmountable economic challenges associated with scaling planar NAND below 10nm. Intel/Micron’s (IMFT) co-developed 3D NAND is a hotly anticipated product because it offers more density, up to 256Gb per MLC die and 384Gb per TLC die, in comparison to Samsung’s 3D V-NAND.

NAND die are stacked together into packages that support up to 16 die, and we can expect up to 512GB of storage for a single MLC NAND package and up to 768GB with TLC NAND. Samsung, and others, utilize Charge-Trap Flash (CTF) while IMFT NAND employs standard floating-gate (FG) technology. IMFT also placed most of the CMOS under the array to increase density.

Samsung was the first NAND fabricator to deliver 3D NAND to the market, but many of its competitors claim their solutions will offer better density and cost-efficiency. We are finally one step closer to finding out if those claims are true as Intel’s first 3D NAND SSDs come to market.

DC P3520 and DC P3320 SSDs

Intel had its new DC P3320 on display at the Broadwell-EP press briefing. The DC P3320 features the same architectural design as its Intel DC P3700 predecessor, and offers the same PCIe 3.0 x4 connection and NVMe interface. Click To View Full SizeThe Intel DC P3320 comes in capacities that range from 450GB to 2TB and is available either as an Add-In Card (AIC) or in the 2.5″ form factor. The DC P3700 architecture constrains the DC P3320’s capacity because Intel’s 18-channel controller can only manage up to 2TB of addressable storage due to DRAM management limitations.

The DC P3520 offers up to 365,000 random read IOPS and 22,000 random write IOPS, which is similar to the Intel DC P3500. The DC P3520 suffers a slight performance reduction due to the loss of parallelism that stems from denser 3D NAND (fewer packages). Intel did not list dedicated specifications for each capacity point, but we expect normal performance scaling based upon capacity, which means that lower-capacity models will likely offer less performance. The DC P3520 also offers up to 1,600 MBps of sequential read throughput and 1,400 MBps of sequential write speed, and a 0.3 DWPD (Drive Writes Per Day) endurance rating.

Intel indicated that it also has higher-capacity 3D TLC NAND models under development with a new architecture, which should also help boost performance.

Intel also announced its DC P3520 SSDs, but did not share any performance data other than to note that it will be the performance-oriented model. We unearthed a document in August of last year that correctly predicted the announcement of Intel’s DC P3608 series, and it also included information on the DC P3520.

The slide is dated; it lists the product availability in Q4 of 2015. The other information in the document proved to be true, so we expect the data to serve as a rough guide to the DC P3520’s performance specifications. The slide indicates a top random read/write speed of 450,000/44,000 IOPS and maximum sequential throughput of 2,800/1,840 MBps.

Intel DC D3700 And DC D3600 Series SSDs

SAS SSDs remain unchallenged in many key market segments, such as all-flash arrays, due to the dual-port interface. Dual port provides important high-availability features, such as multipath and failover, which are key requirements in mission-critical environments.

The original NVMe specification did not include dual-port functionality, but the NVMe consortium added the feature as the specification progressed. The first products with dual-port NVMe functionality are finally filtering down to the market, such as OCZ’s ZD6000, and Intel joins the ranks with its new DC D3700 and DC D3600 SSDs.

Click To View Full Size

Intel’s dual-port NVMe SSDs connect via two PCIe 3.0 x2 connections. This provides the dual port connection, but also reduces performance from the top speed of 470,000/95,000 random read/write IOPS. The SSDs also provide up to 2,100/1,500 MBps of sequential read/write throughput in single port mode.

The DC D3700 and DC D3600 are only available in the 2.5″ form factor and require compatible backplanes, so they are not compatible with most systems. The DC D37600 is available in capacities of 800GB and 1.6TB and it features 10 DWPD of endurance. The low-endurance DC D3600 provides a 2 DWPD endurance rating and comes in 1TB and 2TB capacities.

The new Intel SSDs also employ several key features found in the SAS segment, such as scatter/gather lists, multiple namespaces, reservations and in-controller memory buffers. Intel indicated that its multiple namespace engine is hardware driven, which provides more performance in comparison to the software driven approaches normally used with SAS.

Intel DC S3100 Series

Intel’s 6 GBps SATA S3100 Series SSDs provide a value-centric path to SSDs by employing low-cost 16nm TLC NAND. The DC S3100 is designed specifically to serve as a low-cost HDD replacement, and many of the robust features found with the flagship-class Intel SSDs, such as power loss protection, are discarded in favor of a more palatable price point.

The DC S3100 Series also features lower write performance than other read-centric SSDs. The S3100 offers up to 535 MBps of sequential read performance, but a mere 118 MBps of sequential write throughput. The random performance is also somewhat unbalanced at 59,000/4,700 read/write IOPS, but this is within expectations for the read-centric SSD class. The SSDs come in the familiar 2.5″ form factor in capacities of 120, 240, 480 GB and 1 TB.

The most surprising specification is the 0.1 DWPD endurance rating, which is the lowest in the market. The low endurance threshold requires the DC S3100 to be restricted to the most read-centric workloads possible, and unlike other Intel datacenter SSDs, the DC S3100 only carries a 3 year warranty.

A low price structure will be the key to the DC S3100’s success. Intel’s positioning, and the use of 16nm TLC NAND, ensures that it will be a very cost-competitive entrant, but Intel did not provide specific pricing information or release dates


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