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The world crew of the IBM x86 server business might be prepared beneath Lenovo’s enterprise company group. Adalio Sanchez led the x86 server company at IBM and should proceed in this potential at Lenovo, as senior vice president of commercial enterprise methods, reporting to Gerry Smith. The buy fee is about US$ 2.1 billion. approximately US$ 1.8 billion will be paid in cash at closing after estimated changes and about US$ 280 million might be paid in Lenovo inventory, according to the closing cost of Lenovo’s inventory on September 26, 2014. The transaction convinced regulatory necessities and prerequisites, including clearance by means of the Committee on foreign investment within the united states (CFIUS), the eu fee and the chinese language Ministry of Commerce. The transition will begin Wednesday in countries which are part of the preliminary closing, which includes most primary markets. The transaction is anticipated to shut in most other nations later this yr, with the few last international locations following in early 2015. ABOUT LENOVOLenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a US$39 billion very own know-how company, the greatest computing device enterprise on earth, serving customers in more than 160 nations. dedicated to building mainly engineered PCs and cellular web devices, Lenovo’s company is constructed on product innovation, a highly-productive global deliver chain and robust strategic execution. fashioned by means of Lenovo group’s acquisition of the previous IBM personal Computing Division, the enterprise develops, manufactures and markets respectable, terrific, comfy and simple-to-use know-how items and services. Its product strains consist of legendary believe-branded industrial PCs and idea-branded purchaser PCs, in addition to servers, workstations, and a family of cellular information superhighway contraptions, together with drugs and smartphones. As a global Fortune 500 company, Lenovo has major research centers in Yamato, Japan; Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information see www.lenovo.com. About IBMFor greater assistance about IBM, visit http://www.ibm.com
# # #[i] in keeping with IDC, the whole x86 server market could be $42.1 billion in 2014
See the complete checklist of correct rack server companiesfinal analysis:
The IBM vigour systems S922 server is designed from the ground up for facts intensive workloads like databases or analytics. it can aid a few key business information-intensive scenarios, including mainstream functions, leading-edge HPC workloads and evolving artificial intelligence (AI) projects.
shoppers searching for predominant compute energy should still recognize this key reality: POWER9 options are the basis of the area’s first and third fastest supercomputers, the U.S. department of power’s Summit and Sierra installations.
IBM vigor servers are inclined to have a higher charge of entry than x86 machines. youngsters, in accordance with a analyze with the aid of Quark + Lepton, IBM vigour methods running IBM I software have 60% lessen complete can charge of possession than windows/SQL Server or X86 based mostly Oracle programs. IBM’s pitch is that there are limits to what commodity architectures can do.
although, in case you predict surges well known and don’t have room for downtime, licensing charges, or occasional crashes a stronger enterprise structure could be required.Product description:
The S922 is a 1 or 2 socket server that offers a wide selection of core configurations and up to 4 TB of reminiscence. Chip core speeds on the 4-core are 2.eight to 3.8GHz, on the eight core are three.4 to 3.9 GHz and on the 10 core are 2.9 to 3.eight GHz. the only socket version gives up to 6 PCIe ( 2 x Gen4 and four x Gen3) slots and the two socket version provides as much as 9 slots (3 more Gen4 slots). One slot is used by a mandatory Ethernet adapter. depending on what is attached, up to 3 of these slots could be reserved for other functions. IBM i is barely supported on the 6 cores and 8 core processors and is limited to four cores of IBM i with a utility tier of P10.
power methods are primary for their RAS (resiliency, availability, serviceability) aspects. IBM POWER9-based mostly programs are stated to bring up to 10X sooner bandwidth acceleration and 50% more advantageous reminiscence bandwidth than comparable x86 solutions. They additionally support the latest in statistics transfer applied sciences, including PCIe four.0 and novel NVLink and OpenCAPI interfaces. This new server era comes together with twice the reminiscence footprint than POWER8. alterations in the reminiscence subsystem and using the latest DIMMs boost price/efficiency.points:
number of processors:
up to 2
IBM POWER9 Scale-Out SMT8 processor (12-core, 10-core, 8-core, 4-core offerings)
Cores per processor:
four, 8,10 cores per socket
highest processor frequency/cache:
3.9 GHz/512k L2 and 10 MB L3
I/O growth slots:
the one socket version offers up to 6 PCIe ( 2 x Gen4 and four x Gen3) slots and the two socket version offers as much as 9 slots (three greater Gen4 slots). One slot is used by means of a compulsory Ethernet adapter. counting on what's connected, up to a few of those slots could be reserved for other applications.
One entrance USB 3.0 ports – Two rear USB 3.0 ports – Two HMC 1 GbE RJ45 ports – One device port with RJ45 connector – 1x USB 3.0 entrance, 2x USB three.0 rear, 2x HMC 1 GB Eth RJ45 ports, one system port with RJ45 connector, 2x excessive speed 25 Gb/s ports
maximum reminiscence/# slots/velocity:
up to 4 TB/32 IS RDIMM slots/up to 2666 Mhz
optimum Persistent memory:
S922/S924 has two interior direct attached storage connectors, an NVMe card and a SAS cardaid:
The electronic services web portal is a single cyber web entry point that replaces the assorted entry elements historically used to entry IBM cyber web features and aid. This internet portal allows you to profit more convenient entry to IBM components for assistance in resolving technical issues. The newly stronger My techniques and premium Search features make it even more straightforward for electronic provider Agent-enabled shoppers to song device inventory and discover pertinent fixes.
My methods offers valuable reports of installed hardware and application the usage of suggestions gathered from the programs with the aid of IBM digital provider Agent. stories can be found for any gadget associated with the client's IBMid. top class Search combines the function of search and the value of electronic service Agent advice, presenting superior search of the technical aid knowledgebase.
“it is a clear choice if you have already got a longtime IBM AIX atmosphere and wish to sustain compatibility and retain efficiency. There are related alternatives now which may be able to get you to 3 nines for 1/2 the prices,” observed a Senior supervisor of IT within the manufacturing business.Key markets and use cases:
IBM power techniques S922 server without problems integrates into an organization’s cloud & cognitive approach and supplies superior rate efficiency for mission vital workloads.
POWER9 is designed from the floor up for data intensive workloads like databases or analyticsfee:
20 core, 512 GB, $37,222. The utility is high priced.
“it's a product with excessive efficiency, efficiency and economic indices within the IT market,” stated an purposes Engineering in the education trade. "Deployment is awfully easy, however took more than three months. It proved low-priced ultimately.”
IBM energy S922
Max Processor Frequency
three.9 GHz/512k L2 and 10 MB L3
Max Persistent reminiscence
2 POWER9 Scale-Out SMT8
desirable processing vigor
Canonical's John Dolen reports that IBM introduced on the day of October 8, 2015, that they extended their latitude of Ubuntu-supported techniques with the newly introduced IBM vigor systems LC fashions, which promise to run massive statistics workloads at half the can charge of x86-primarily based servers.
the new single and twin socket server IBM energy methods LC models are now purchasable thanks to the joint collaboration of Canonical, IBM, and the members of the OpenPOWER foundation, including Nvidia, Mellanox, Wistron, and Tyan. IBM's new programs will aid the latest Server edition of the Ubuntu Linux working device and were engineered to aid cognitive workloads and massive facts. Canonical will be certain that Ubuntu could be accessible for the brand new IBM energy methods LC fashions when they are launched later this yr.
"This announcement builds upon the open innovation and merits which their mutual customers are already reaping from OpenPOWER foundation. Collaboration involving POWER8 Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI) is a fine illustration," says John Dolen. "Researchers on the school of Toronto are using Ubuntu with POWER8 CAPI, connected to a box programmable gate array (FPGA), to velocity up scientific simulations, involving huge amounts of statistics, with the purpose of enhancing treatments for melanoma sufferers."Juju Charms and POWER8
in the press liberate (connected on the end of the article for reference), Canonical notes that IBM’s new vigour techniques LC fashions tackle the necessities of high-performance computing and managed service suppliers, and that their continued collaboration with IBM has made certain that Juju Charms at the moment are attainable for the POWER8 family unit of superscalar symmetric multiprocessors, which purchasers can use for their continual changing wants.
Canonical and IBM will also be present on the upcoming IBM Insight2015 experience which will take vicinity later this month, the place they will display the precise vigor of Ubuntu Linux, IBM vigor systems, Juju Charms, and POWER8, and how it's to build and install a construction cluster in line with the Apache Spark applied sciences, so be certain that you simply attend the event if you are curious to study extra about cloud computing and the latest Linux traits.
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Server hardware vendors offer servers of all shapes and sizes, providing a wide range of options for organizations. Most of the major players include rack servers in their inventories, but many also provide blade servers, and some even offer mainframe computers.
Server hardware vendors usually offer other types of systems, as well, such as towers, converged infrastructures, hyper-converged infrastructures (HCIs), high-density systems or supercomputers.Acer
Acer Inc. offers a handful of rack servers that target midsize and enterprise-level organizations. These rack servers include the Altos and AR series, available in 1U and 2U form factors. The Altos series includes four models, all dual-socket. The AR series includes two models, one single socket and one quad socket.
One of the most powerful Altos systems is the AR580, which supports up to four Intel Xeon E5-4600 Processors and up to 48 dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs). The server also provides redundant hot swappable power supplies and a dual-port, 10-gigabit Ethernet controller.
In addition to the rack servers, Acer offers the AW2000h F2 series, which includes two models of high-density servers. Although Acer does not bill these as blade servers, the systems are similar in many ways. For example, the Acer AW2000h w/AW370h F2 system comes in a 2U rack-mountable chassis that can run up to four server nodes, each with up to two Xeon Processors and 16 DIMMs. In addition, Acer offers several tower models and one mini-tower.
For information about pricing and how to purchase servers, buyers should directly contact Acer.Asus
AsusTek Computer Inc. is one of the server hardware vendors that offer a variety of rack servers, as well as two tower and two high-density graphics processing unit (GPU) servers. The rack servers are part of the RS series and the ESC4000 series.
The RS series includes nine models available in 1U or 2U form factors. The servers target a range of operations depending on business size and workloads. For example, the RS720-E9-RS12-E rack server in the RS series supports up to two Intel Xeon Scalable Processors for a total of 56 cores and 112 threads. The server can also support up to 3 TB of memory. Other servers in the RS series are not nearly as robust.
The ESC4000 series includes three models, all 2U form factors and two-socket systems, with support for up to eight DIMMs per CPU. The primary differences between the models are in the processor types and number of drive bays. For example, the ESC4000 G3 supports Intel Xeon E5-2600 Processors and up to eight hot swappable 3.5-inch drives, but the ESC8000 G4 supports Xeon Scalable Processors and up to eight hot swappable 2.5-inch drives.
Buyers can purchase Asus servers online from retailers such as Newegg, Amazon or CDW, but they should keep in mind that prices can vary significantly. For example, list prices for the ESC4000 G3 at these three retailers range from about $1,900 to $3,300, not including processors or memory.Cisco
Cisco offers seven models of rack servers and six models of blade servers to accommodate organizations of all sizes, with prices starting anywhere between $3,000 and $26,000. The rack servers are included in the Unified Computing System (UCS) C-Series and are available in 1U, 2U and 4U form factors. Most models support up to two Xeon Processors, but the C460 M4 and C480 M5 support up to four, with memory varying between 1.5 TB and 6 TB. The maximum amount of supported internal storage can range between 30 TB and 246 TB.
The blade servers are part of the UCS B-Series, with each supporting two or four processors depending on the model. As with the rack servers, total available memory ranges between 1.5 TB and 6 TB, with maximum storage between 6.4 TB and 39 TB.
Cisco also offers its UCS S-Series of storage servers, its UCS E-Series of branch office blade servers and the UCS C-Series of multimode servers.
Buyers interested in purchasing servers can go to the Cisco website to find a nearby retailer.Dell EMC
Dell EMC is another one of the server hardware vendors that offer a wide range of rack and blade servers to accommodate different types of organizations. Most of the rack servers are part of the PowerEdge R-Series, with starting prices ranging from $899 to $10,759.
The R-Series includes four one-socket models, ten two-socket models and five four-socket models available in form factors between 1U and 4U. One of the most powerful of these servers is the PowerEdge R940xa, a 4U system that supports up to four processors, 6 TB of memory and 32 internal 2.5-inch disks.
Dell EMC blade servers are available through the PowerEdge M-Series, which includes two models starting at $1,849. The models differ in terms of the number of sockets, types of processors, amount of memory, and in several other ways.
For example, the PowerEdge M640 blade server supports up to two Xeon Scalable Processors and 16 DIMMs, whereas the PowerEdge M830 supports up to four Xeon E5-4600 Processors and 48 DIMMs.
Dell also offers seven models of tower servers, all part of the PowerEdge family, as well as the PowerEdge MX series and PowerEdge FX series, both billed as modular infrastructures for high-density computing, similar to the PowerEdge M-Series.
Buyers can purchase servers directly on the Dell EMC website.Fujitsu
Fujitsu Ltd. sells an assortment of racks, blades, towers, mainframes and other types of computers to organizations of any size, but buyers must be aware that the available models can vary between countries.
In the U.S., Fujitsu offers eight rack servers that are part of the Primergy RX series. The servers are available with one, two or four sockets and in 1U, 2U and 4U form factors. Fujitsu also offers four rack models in the Primequest series, which tend to be more robust than those in the Primergy RX series. For example, the Primequest 3800E server is an eight-socket system with a 7U form factor, and it supports up to 12 TB of memory.
What sets Fujitsu apart from most other server hardware vendors is its BS2000 series of mainframe computers. The series includes three models. The most performant is the SE700B, which can run several operating systems based on an ESA/390 architecture and Intel x86 technologies. However, buyers should note that this product is only available for purchase in Japan.
In addition to the mainframe computers, Fujitsu offers the Primergy BX400 blade series, which supports two compute blade models, the BX2560 M2 and the BX2580 M2, along with other chassis components. Plus, Fujitsu offers its Primequest mission-critical series, Primergy tower servers, Sparc M-Series and PrimeHPC supercomputers.
For prices and purchasing options, buyers should contact Fujitsu directly or contact a regional Fujitsu sales office.Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) offers a wide range of rack and blade servers for all types of organizations. HPE's rack servers are available in four series: ProLiant DL, ProLiant XL, Apollo and Integrity.
The ProLiant DL series is the most extensive and includes six Gen10 models and four Gen9 models. The models are available in 1U, 2U and 3U form factors and come with one, two or four sockets.
Starting prices can range anywhere from $600 to $25,000. For example, the ProLiant DL560 Gen10 entry server lists for $11,855 and supports up to two Xeon Scalable Processors and 6 TB of memory.
HPE also offers a range of blade servers, with three models in the ProLiant series and two models in the Integrity series. Prices here can also vary, although not to the extreme of rack servers. For instance, ProLiant configurations can range between $3,300 and $14,470.
HPE's products also include towers; converged and hyper-converged infrastructures; and systems such as the HPE Superdome, ProLiant Easy Connect, ProLiant MicroServer, ProLiant Moonshot and ProLiant XL Server.
Buyers can buy servers directly from the HPE website.Huawei
Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.'s FusionServer line includes 13 rack server models and 15 blade server models to accommodate both large and small IT operations. The rack servers come in two-socket, four-socket and eight-socket configurations and are available in form factors from 1U to 8U.
For example, the FusionServer RH8100 V3 server has an 8U form factor and supports up to eight Xeon E7-8800 Processors, 12 TB of memory and 24 internal 2.5-inch drives. Its blade servers are equally varied, providing both half-width and full-width compute nodes, as well as liquid-cooled nodes, with support for one or two processors.
In addition to the rack and blade servers, Huawei offers its FusionServer X high-density servers, FusionServer heterogeneous servers, FusionCube HCI systems and KunLun mission-critical servers.
For information about prices and how to purchase Huawei servers, buyers should contact Huawei or a sales partner directly. Organizations that signed an eDeal agreement with Huawei can use the online eDeal ordering system.IBM
IBM offers a variety of server products, but the company is best known for its Z mainframe computers, available in three configurable models. The most current is the z14, which includes a 10-core z14 processor chip that uses 14 nanometer silicon-on-insulator technology. In addition, the server can support up to 8 TB of memory and run both z/OS and Linux on IBM Z.
IBM also offers a variety of rack servers. The rack servers are part of the Power Systems series and include 13 models, available in 1U, 2U and 4U form factors, with one or two sockets.
IBM no longer offers blade servers. The company sold its division that offered blade systems to Lenovo. The systems that IBM currently sells are generally geared toward enterprise deployments, as well as local, state and federal governments.
In addition to mainframe and rack computers, IBM offers the LinuxOne Emperor II system, Power Systems scale-out servers, Power System S822LC for Big Data, Power System S822LC for Commercial Computing, HCIs and towers.
For information about prices and how to purchase servers, buyers should directly contact an IBM sales rep.Inspur Group
Inspur offers 10 rack server models that can accommodate a variety of workloads. Most of these are part of the NF series, which includes seven two-socket servers and two four-socket servers. The two-socket systems are available in both 1U and 2U form factors and the four-socket systems in the 4U form factor.
Inspur also offers the TS860G3 rack server as part of the TS series. The server comes in an 8U form factor and supports up to eight processors, 12 TB of memory and 16 hot swappable 2.5-inch drives, making it the most robust of the rack servers.
Then there is the NX series of blade servers, which includes four compute node models, along with other types of components typical of a blade system, such as storage expansion nodes, PCIe expansion nodes, switch modules, network mezzanine cards and the chassis. In addition, Inspur offers the i24 high-density rack-mounted server and several rack-scale systems based on SmartRack, a flexible rack structure that contains centralized power, cooling and management at the rack level.
For information about prices and how to purchase servers, buyers should directly contact Inspur.Intel
Intel currently offers two categories of rack servers, grouped in the S1200SP and S2600WF server board series.
The S1200SP series includes three models with single processors and 1U form factors, making them best suited for small businesses. The S2600WF series includes 11 models and is geared more toward larger organizations. These servers are available in 1U and 2U form factors and support dual processors. Buyers might also come across the S2600WT series of rack servers, but these models have been discontinued.
Intel does not sell blade servers, but it does provide other systems. Notable among these is its Data Center Blocks systems, which are purpose-built, fully validated server systems. Intel also offers its Storage System JBOD2000 servers, which support up to 48 TB of storage.
For information about pricing and how to purchase servers, buyers should contact Intel authorized distributors, which are listed on the Intel website. Customers can also use Intel's online Configure to Order system to request quotes and place orders as part of the configuration process.Lenovo
Most of Lenovo Group Ltd.'s rack servers are part of the ThinkSystem line, which includes seven rack servers available in 1U or 2U form factors. A couple of these servers support only one processor, but most support two, with memory varying between 64 GB and 3 TB.
For example, the ThinkServer RS160 is an entry-level 1U server that supports only one processor and 64 GB of memory, whereas the ThinkSystem SR630 is designed for data center workloads, supporting up to two processors and 3 TB of memory. In addition, Lenovo offers the System x series, which includes three rack models that can handle various types of workloads.
As part of its ThinkSystem line, Lenovo also offers two blade compute node models: SN550 and SN850. The first is a two-socket blade that supports up to 3 TB of memory and the second is a four-socket blade that supports up to 6 TB of memory. Both systems use the Xeon Platinum Processor, which can run up to 28 cores. In addition to the rack and blade servers, Lenovo offers tower servers, mission-critical servers and high-density servers.
Buyers can purchase servers directly through the Lenovo website. Rack servers start at $1,499 and blade servers start at $4,099, but prices can run much higher depending on the model and configuration.NEC
NEC Corp. offers nine rack servers that are all part of the Express5800 line. The servers are categorized as basic rack servers -- five models -- fault-tolerant servers -- two models -- and scalable enterprise servers -- two models.
The basic rack servers are available in 1U and 2U form factors. They support one or two processors, between 64 GB and 3 TB of memory, and between 40 TB and 194 TB of internal storage, making them suitable for a wide range of workloads.
The fault-tolerant rack servers are 4U systems that support up to two processors, 512 GB memory and 9.6 TB of storage.
The scalable enterprise servers are also 4U systems, but they support up to four processors, 6 TB of memory and 9.6 TB of storage.
NEC also offers tower servers and modular servers, which are high-density, dual-socket systems that use Xeon Scalable Processors. The servers include over 35 MB of cache and support up to 2 TB of memory and 24 TB of storage. The modular servers are similar to blade servers and are available as either 1U or 2U server modules.
For information about pricing and how to purchase servers, buyers should contact NEC directly. Although NEC servers might be suitable for organizations of any size, the vendor has a more limited selection compared to other vendors.Oracle
Although Oracle does not offer a large number of servers, its inventory includes a surprising amount of variety, most of which target midrange and larger organizations. The systems include x86 servers, Sparc servers, high-end servers, midrange servers and scale-out servers. Oracle even offers servers that conform to the Network Equipment Building System standard. Despite this variety, Oracle does not offer blade servers.
Oracle's rack servers fall primarily in the x86 category and are part of the X7 series. The series includes three models, which all use Xeon Scalable Processors.
The X7-2 model, billed as a compute-optimized system, is a 1U server that supports up to two processors, 1.5 TB of memory and eight 2.5-inch storage drives. The X7-2L model is a storage-optimized 2U system that also supports up to two processors and 1.5 TB of memory, but it can handle up to 12 3.5 inch drives. The final model, X7-8, is a scale-up 5U server that supports up to eight processors, 6 TB of memory and eight 2.5 inch drives.
For information about pricing and how to purchase servers, buyers should directly contact Oracle.Supermicro
Of all these featured server hardware vendors, Supermicro Computer Inc. offers the largest server selection, but its categorization can make it difficult to navigate the options.
In addition to towers, mid-towers and mini-towers, Supermicro offers SuperServer computers, SuperBlade systems, Ultra 1U and 2U platforms, BigTwin 2U four-node systems, FatTwin 4U multi-node systems, SuperStorage servers, GPU platforms with up to eight GPUs, and multiprocessor servers that support up to eight CPUs.
For the most part, however, the rack servers are included in the SuperServer series, with some of the other categories integrated into that category. The blade servers are part of the SuperBlade series.
The SuperServer series includes hundreds of models, with a range that can accommodate just about any workload. The servers come in 1U, 2U, 3U and 4U form factors, and with one, two or four sockets. The SuperBlade series includes about 50 models.
As with rack servers, there is something for everyone. Supermicro recommends that customers purchase servers from authorized local resellers or distributors in order to receive guaranteed local support and services.
Because Supermicro sells so many products, prices can vary greatly depending on the server model and configuration. Buyers must do their homework or work with resellers to pick the best option.
Here at ExtremeTech, we’ve often discussed the difference between different types of NAND structures — vertical NAND versus planar, or multi-level cell (MLC) versus triple-level cells (TLC) and quad-level cells (QLC). Now, let’s talk about the more basic relevant question: How do SSDs work in the first place, and how do they compare with newer technologies, like Intel’s non-volatile storage technology, Optane?
To understand how and why SSDs are different from spinning discs, they need to talk a little bit about hard drives. A hard drive stores data on a series of spinning magnetic disks called platters. There’s an actuator arm with read/write heads attached to it. This arm positions the read-write heads over the correct area of the drive to read or write information.
Because the drive heads must align over an area of the disk in order to read or write data (and the disk is constantly spinning), there’s a non-zero wait time before data can be accessed. The drive may need to read from multiple locations in order to launch a program or load a file, which means it may have to wait for the platters to spin into the proper position multiple times before it can complete the command. If a drive is asleep or in a low-power state, it can take several seconds more for the disk to spin up to full power and begin operating.
From the very beginning, it was clear that hard drives couldn’t possibly match the speeds at which CPUs could operate. Latency in HDDs is measured in milliseconds, compared with nanoseconds for your typical CPU. One millisecond is 1,000,000 nanoseconds, and it typically takes a hard drive 10-15 milliseconds to find data on the drive and begin reading it. The hard drive industry introduced smaller platters, on-disk memory caches, and faster spindle speeds to counteract this trend, but there’s only so fast drives can spin. Western Digital’s 10,000 RPM VelociRaptor family is the fastest set of drives ever built for the consumer market, while some enterprise drives spun up to 15,000 RPM. The problem is, even the fastest spinning drive with the largest caches and smallest platters are still achingly slow as far as your CPU is concerned.How SSDs Are Different
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” — Henry Ford
Solid-state drives are called that specifically because they don’t rely on moving parts or spinning disks. Instead, data is saved to a pool of NAND flash. NAND itself is made up of what are called floating gate transistors. Unlike the transistor designs used in DRAM, which must be refreshed multiple times per second, NAND flash is designed to retain its charge state even when not powered up. This makes NAND a type of non-volatile memory.
The diagram above shows a simple flash cell design. Electrons are stored in the floating gate, which then reads as charged “0” or not-charged “1.” Yes, in NAND flash, a 0 means data is stored in a cell — it’s the opposite of how they typically think of a zero or one. NAND flash is organized in a grid. The entire grid layout is referred to as a block, while the individual rows that make up the grid are called a page. Common page sizes are 2K, 4K, 8K, or 16K, with 128 to 256 pages per block. Block size therefore typically varies between 256KB and 4MB.
One advantage of this system should be immediately obvious. Because SSDs have no moving parts, they can operate at speeds far above those of a typical HDD. The following chart shows the access latency for typical storage mediums given in microseconds.
NAND is nowhere near as fast as main memory, but it’s multiple orders of magnitude faster than a hard drive. While write latencies are significantly slower for NAND flash than read latencies, they still outstrip traditional spinning media.
There are two things to notice in the above chart. First, note how adding more bits per cell of NAND has a significant impact on the memory’s performance. It’s worse for writes as opposed to reads — typical triple-level-cell (TLC) latency is 4x worse compared with single-level cell (SLC) NAND for reads, but 6x worse for writes. Erase latencies are also significantly impacted. The impact isn’t proportional, either — TLC NAND is nearly twice as slow as MLC NAND, despite holding just 50% more data (three bits per cell, instead of two). This is also true for QLC drives, which store even more bits at varying voltage levels within the same cell.
The reason TLC NAND is slower than MLC or SLC has to do with how data moves in and out of the NAND cell. With SLC NAND, the controller only needs to know if the bit is a 0 or a 1. With MLC NAND, the cell may have four values — 00, 01, 10, or 11. With TLC NAND, the cell can have eight values, and QLC has 16. Reading the proper value out of the cell requires the memory controller to use a precise voltage to ascertain whether any particular cell is charged.Reads, Writes, and Erasure
One of the functional limitations of SSDs is while they can read and write data very quickly to an empty drive, overwriting data is much slower. This is because while SSDs read data at the page level (meaning from individual rows within the NAND memory grid) and can write at the page level, assuming surrounding cells are empty, they can only erase data at the block level. This is because the act of erasing NAND flash requires a high amount of voltage. While you can theoretically erase NAND at the page level, the amount of voltage required stresses the individual cells around the cells that are being re-written. Erasing data at the block level helps mitigate this problem.
The only way for an SSD to update an existing page is to copy the contents of the entire block into memory, erase the block, and then write the contents of the old block + the updated page. If the drive is full and there are no empty pages available, the SSD must first scan for blocks that are marked for deletion but that haven’t been deleted yet, erase them, and then write the data to the now-erased page. This is why SSDs can become slower as they age — a mostly-empty drive is full of blocks that can be written immediately, a mostly-full drive is more likely to be forced through the entire program/erase sequence.
If you’ve used SSDs, you’ve likely heard of something called “garbage collection.” Garbage collection is a background process that allows a drive to mitigate the performance impact of the program/erase cycle by performing certain tasks in the background. The following image steps through the garbage collection process.
Note in this example, the drive has taken advantage of the fact that it can write very quickly to empty pages by writing new values for the first four blocks (A’-D’). It’s also written two new blocks, E and H. Blocks A-D are now marked as stale, meaning they contain information the drive has marked as out-of-date. During an idle period, the SSD will move the fresh pages over to a new block, erase the old block, and mark it as free space. This means the next time the SSD needs to perform a write, it can write directly to the now-empty Block X, rather than performing the program/erase cycle.
The next concept I want to discuss is TRIM. When you delete a file from Windows on a typical hard drive, the file isn’t deleted immediately. Instead, the operating system tells the hard drive it can overwrite the physical area of the disk where that data was stored the next time it needs to perform a write. This is why it’s possible to undelete files (and why deleting files in Windows doesn’t typically clear much physical disk space until you empty the recycling bin). With a traditional HDD, the OS doesn’t need to pay attention to where data is being written or what the relative state of the blocks or pages is. With an SSD, this matters.
The TRIM command allows the operating system to tell the SSD it can skip rewriting certain data the next time it performs a block erase. This lowers the total amount of data the drive writes and increases SSD longevity. Both reads and writes damage NAND flash, but writes do far more damage than reads. Fortunately, block-level longevity has not proven to be an issue in modern NAND flash. More data on SSD longevity, courtesy of the Tech Report, can be found here.
The last two concepts they want to talk about are wear leveling and write amplification. Because SSDs write data to pages but erase data in blocks, the amount of data being written to the drive is always larger than the actual update. If you make a change to a 4KB file, for example, the entire block that 4K file sits within must be updated and rewritten. Depending on the number of pages per block and the size of the pages, you might end up writing 4MB worth of data to update a 4KB file. Garbage collection reduces the impact of write amplification, as does the TRIM command. Keeping a significant chunk of the drive free and/or manufacturer over-provisioning can also reduce the impact of write amplification.
Wear leveling refers to the practice of ensuring certain NAND blocks aren’t written and erased more often than others. While wear leveling increases a drive’s life expectancy and endurance by writing to the NAND equally, it can actually increase write amplification. In other to distribute writes evenly across the disk, it’s sometimes necessary to program and erase blocks even though their contents haven’t actually changed. A good wear leveling algorithm seeks to balance these impacts.The SSD Controller
It should be obvious by now SSDs require much more sophisticated control mechanisms than hard drives do. That’s not to diss magnetic media — I actually think HDDs deserve more respect than they are given. The mechanical challenges involved in balancing multiple read-write heads nanometers above platters that spin at 5,400 to 10,000 RPM are nothing to sneeze at. The fact that HDDs perform this challenge while pioneering new methods of recording to magnetic media and eventually wind up selling drives at 3-5 cents per gigabyte is simply incredible.
SSD controllers, however, are in a class by themselves. They often have a DDR3 or DDR4 memory pool to help with managing the NAND itself. Many drives also incorporate single-level cell caches that act as buffers, increasing drive performance by dedicating fast NAND to read/write cycles. Because the NAND flash in an SSD is typically connected to the controller through a series of parallel memory channels, you can think of the drive controller as performing some of the same load balancing work as a high-end storage array — SSDs don’t deploy RAID internally but wear leveling, garbage collection, and SLC cache management all have parallels in the big iron world.
Some drives also use data compression algorithms to reduce the total number of writes and improve the drive’s lifespan. The SSD controller handles error correction, and the algorithms that control for single-bit errors have become increasingly complex as time has passed.
Unfortunately, they can’t go into too much detail on SSD controllers because companies lock down their various secret sauces. Much of NAND flash’s performance is determined by the underlying controller, and companies aren’t willing to lift the lid too far on how they do what they do, lest they hand a competitor an advantage.Interfaces
In the beginning, SSDs used SATA ports, just like hard drives. In recent years, we’ve seen a shift to M.2 drives — very thin drives, several inches long, that slot directly into the motherboard (or, in a few cases, into a mounting bracket on a PCIe riser card. A Samsung 970 EVO Plus drive is shown below.
NVMe drives offer higher performance than traditional SATA drivers because they support a faster interface. Conventional SSDs attached via SATA top out at ~550MB/s in terms of practical read/write speeds. M.2 drives are capable of substantially faster performance into the 3.2GB/s range.The Road Ahead
NAND flash offers an enormous improvement over hard drives, but it isn’t without its own drawbacks and challenges. Drive capacities and price-per-gigabyte are expected to continue to rise and fall respectively, but there’s little chance SSDs will catch hard drives in price-per-gigabyte. Shrinking process nodes are a significant challenge for NAND flash — while most hardware improves as the node shrinks, NAND becomes more fragile. Data retention times and write performance are intrinsically lower for 20nm NAND than 40nm NAND, even if data density and total capacity are vastly improved. Thus far, we’ve seen drives with up to 96 layers in-market, and 128 layers seems plausible at this point. Overall, the shift to 3D NAND has helped improve density without shrinking process nodes or relying on planar scaling.
Thus far, SSD manufacturers have delivered better performance by offering faster data standards, more bandwidth, and more channels per controller — plus the use of SLC caches they mentioned earlier. Nonetheless, in the long run, it’s assumed NAND will be replaced by something else.
What that something else will look like is still open for debate. Both magnetic RAM and phase change memory have presented themselves as candidates, though both technologies are still in early stages and must overcome significant challenges to actually compete as a replacement to NAND. Whether consumers would notice the difference is an open question. If you’ve upgraded from NAND to an SSD and then upgraded to a faster SSD, you’re likely aware the gap between HDDs and SSDs is much larger than the SSD-to-SSD gap, even when upgrading from a relatively modest drive. Improving access times from milliseconds to microseconds matters a great deal, but improving them from microseconds to nanoseconds might fall below what humans can really perceive in most cases.
Intel’s 3D XPoint (marketed as Intel Optane) has emerged as one potential challenger to NAND flash, and the only current alternative technology in mainstream production. Optane SSDs don’t use NAND — they’re built using non-volatile memory believed to be implemented similarly to phase-change RAM — but they offer similar sequential performance to current NAND flash drives, but with vastly better performance at low drive queues. Drive latency is also roughly half of NAND flash (10 microseconds, versus 20) and vastly higher endurance (30 full drive-writes per day, compared with 10 full drive writes per day for a high-end Intel SSD).
The first Optane SSDs have debuted as excellent add-ons for Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake. Optane is also available in standalone drives, and in a variety of server roles for enterprise computing. At the moment, Optane is still too expensive to match NAND flash, which benefits from substantial economies of scale, but this could change in the future. NAND will stay king of the hill for at least the next 3-4 years. But past that point, they could see Optane starting to replace it in volume, depending on how Intel and Micron scale the technology and how well 3D NAND flash continues to expand its cell layers (96-layer NAND is shipping from multiple players), with roadmaps for 128 layers on the horizon.
Check out their ExtremeTech Explains series for more in-depth coverage of today’s hottest tech topics.
There's never been a better time to be a high-end system builder. Intel's Skylake Server core made its way onto uber-desktops back in June as the Skylake-X family of chips, and AMD returned the serve with its Ryzen Threadripper CPUs and the X399 platform. Now it's Intel's turn to raise the stakes again.
On the bench today, they have the 16-core, 32-thread Core i9-7960X and the newest Extreme Edition CPU: the 18-core, 36-thread Core i9-7980XE. The Core i9-7960X is a core-for-core, thread-for-thread match against the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X, while the Core i9-7980XE lays claim to what is perhaps the highest core and thread count available in a "consumer" CPU today.
Of course, neither of these chips come cheap. The Core i9-7980XE lives up to its Extreme Edition lineage with an eye-popping $1999 sticker price, and the Core i9-7960X isn't far behind at $1699. These price tags put the highest-core-count Skylake-X CPUs in a somewhat uncomfortable spot for a couple reasons. For one, that kind of money for a CPU is well within workstation-class territory, but neither of these CPUs do anything to address Threadrippers' higher CPU PCIe lane complement or ECC RAM support. Recall that Threadripper CPUs and the X399 platform have both ECC RAM support and 60 PCIe 3.0 lanes directly connected to the CPU. Those resources are available from every Threadripper, too.
In an apparent response to AMD's aggressive marketing of its platform advantages, Intel has begun aggregating the number of PCIe lanes available from both the chipset and CPU in its marketing materials. That aggregation is a bit disingenuous, though, because it doesn't account for the fact that PCIe lanes from the X299 chipset have to traverse the DMI 3.0 link and its roughly 32 Gbps of bandwidth before reaching the host CPU. Some X399 peripheral controllers do need to travel over a similar link on Threadripper systems, but the jockeying for bandwidth from chipset to CPU should be a lot less rowdy there. Even if Threadripper CPUs don't outperform the Skylake-X competition, the robustness of the X399 platform for workstation-class uses remains a point in its favor.
Although we've already discussed the Skylake Server architecture in detail in their review of the Core i9-7900X, the implementation of that architecture in the Core i9-7960X and i9-7980XE is worth exploring a bit more.
It's no secret that Intel has long repurposed server hardware for its high-end desktop processors. The company has made multiple Xeon dies with varying core counts to fit the needs of the businesses it serves, but until now, the company has never had to repurpose its higher-core-count Xeons for duty on the desktop.
We weren't briefed on the various Xeon Scalable Processor dies for the Skylake Server rollout this time around, but this Tom's Hardware report leads us to conclude that the Core i9-7960X and Core i9-7980XE are bringing Intel's high-core-count (or HCC) Skylake Server die down from the data center. Other Skylake-X Core i7s and Core i9s use the 10-core low-core-count, or LCC, die as their foundation. This may be the first time that Intel has ever had to bring its HCC Xeon die to its high-end desktop platform. Competition is a wonderful thing.
Like all Core i9 CPUs, these high-core-count chips boast two AVX-512 execution units: a dedicated AVX-512 unit per core on port five of the unified scheduler, and another created through the fusion of the two AVX-256 units on ports zero and one of the unified scheduler. Recall that the Core i7-7800X and Core i7-7820X are only equipped with one AVX-512 unit per core: the one created through fusion of the dual AVX-256 units. The dedicated AVX-512 unit on port five is disabled on those chips for market-segmentation reasons. Some users have reported that both AVX-512 execution paths are available even on Core i7 products, but we're reporting the official line until we've had time to do some directed testing.Model Baseclock(GHz) Turboclock(GHz) TurboBoostMax 3.0clock(GHz) Cores/threads L3cache PCIe3.0lanes Memorysupport TDP Socket
Price(1Kunits)i9-7980XE 2.6 4.2 4.4 18/36 24.75 MB 44 Quad-channelDDR4-2666 165W LGA 2066 $1999 i9-7960X 2.8 16/32 22 MB $1699 i9-7940X 3.1 4.3 14/28 19.25 MB $1399 i9-7920X 2.9 12/24 16.5 MB $1199 i9-7900X 3.3 4.5 10/20 13.75MB 140W $999 i7-7820X 3.6 8/16 11MB 28 $599 i7-7800X 3.5 4.0 N/A 6/12 8.25MB Quad-channelDDR4-2400 $389 i7-7740X 4.3 4.5 N/A 4/8 8MB 16 Dual-channelDDR4-2666 112W $339 i5-7640X 4.0 4.2 N/A 4/4 6MB $242
With the release of 12-, 14-, 16-, and 18-core CPUs, the Core i9 lineup is complete. You can see that the highest-end CPUs get a 25W TDP bump over the Core i9-7900X and friends, to 165W. Even with the more generous TDP, some have expressed concern about the clock speeds these higher-core-count Core i9s can hit under load. Happily, my experience with this duo suggests Intel's 2.8 GHz base clock for the i9-7960X and 2.6 GHz base clock for the i9-7980XE are extremely pessimistic for enthusiast desktops with adequate cooling. Intel rates the Core i9-7980XE for 3.4 GHz non-AVX Turbo operation with all cores active, and I can confirm that the chip can hold that speed under a 280-mm liquid cooler. The i9-7960X is rated for an all-core Turbo speed of 3.6 GHz. Here's the full Turbo Boost 2.0 table for each Skylake-X CPU, straight from the horse's mouth:Number ofcoresactive
12 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 i9-7980XE 4.2 4.2 4.0 4.0 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.4 3.4 i9-7960X 4.2 4.2 4.0 4.0 4.0 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.6 3.6 3.6 3.6 X X i9-7940X 4.3 4.3 4.1 4.1 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 3.8 3.8 X X X X i9-7920X 4.3 4.3 4.1 4.1 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 3.8 3.8 3.8 3.8 X X X X X X i9-7900X 4.3 4.3 4.1 4.1 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 X X X X X X X X i7-7820X 4.3 4.3 4.1 4.1 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 X X X X X X X X X X i7-7800X 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 X X X X X X X X X X X X
Typical AVX workloads (albeit not AVX-512) caused the i9-7980XE to fall to just 3.2 GHz per core, but as their performance results will show, that drop hardly matters in the big picture. Regardless, I wouldn't worry about seeing clock speeds under 3 GHz outside of intensive AVX-512 workloads. Given the paucity of programs using those code paths, the average enthusiast shouldn't have any clock-speed worries at stock speeds.
Like most other Skylake-X CPUs, the i9-7960X and i9-7980XE offer an improved Turbo Boost Max 3.0 implementation compared to Broadwell-E. On these high-core-count CPUs, one should see up to 4.4 GHz speeds on two favored cores.
Intel's rebalancing of the cache hierarchy on Skylake Server chips means the i9-7960X and i9-7980XE have massive private L2 caches at their disposal. Each core gets 1MB of L2 to work with, for a total of 16MB on the i9-7960X and 18MB on the i9-7980XE. Recall also that the bandwidth between the L1 and L2 caches on these chips has been increased to 128 bytes per cycle for reads and 64 bytes per cycle for writes. At the same time, the L3 cache per core now serves as a victim cache for the L2 above it, and L3 per core has been cut to 1.375 MB. Contrast that with the 2.5 MB of shared L3 per core on Broadwell Xeons. The new L3 allocation leads to 22MB of L3 across all cores on the i9-7960X and 24.75 MB on the i9-7980XE.
Now that we've revisited the essentials of Skylake-X, it's time to get to testing.
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GAQM [9 Certification Exam(s) ]
Genesys [4 Certification Exam(s) ]
GIAC [15 Certification Exam(s) ]
Google [4 Certification Exam(s) ]
GuidanceSoftware [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
H3C [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
HDI [9 Certification Exam(s) ]
Healthcare [3 Certification Exam(s) ]
HIPAA [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
Hitachi [30 Certification Exam(s) ]
Hortonworks [4 Certification Exam(s) ]
Hospitality [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
HP [750 Certification Exam(s) ]
HR [4 Certification Exam(s) ]
HRCI [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
Huawei [21 Certification Exam(s) ]
Hyperion [10 Certification Exam(s) ]
IAAP [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
IAHCSMM [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
IBM [1532 Certification Exam(s) ]
IBQH [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
ICAI [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
ICDL [6 Certification Exam(s) ]
IEEE [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
IELTS [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
IFPUG [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
IIA [3 Certification Exam(s) ]
IIBA [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
IISFA [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
Intel [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
IQN [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
IRS [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
ISA [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
ISACA [4 Certification Exam(s) ]
ISC2 [6 Certification Exam(s) ]
ISEB [24 Certification Exam(s) ]
Isilon [4 Certification Exam(s) ]
ISM [6 Certification Exam(s) ]
iSQI [7 Certification Exam(s) ]
ITEC [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
Juniper [64 Certification Exam(s) ]
LEED [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
Legato [5 Certification Exam(s) ]
Liferay [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
Logical-Operations [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
Lotus [66 Certification Exam(s) ]
LPI [24 Certification Exam(s) ]
LSI [3 Certification Exam(s) ]
Magento [3 Certification Exam(s) ]
Maintenance [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
McAfee [8 Certification Exam(s) ]
McData [3 Certification Exam(s) ]
Medical [69 Certification Exam(s) ]
Microsoft [374 Certification Exam(s) ]
Mile2 [3 Certification Exam(s) ]
Military [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
Misc [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
Motorola [7 Certification Exam(s) ]
mySQL [4 Certification Exam(s) ]
NBSTSA [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
NCEES [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
NCIDQ [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
NCLEX [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
Network-General [12 Certification Exam(s) ]
NetworkAppliance [39 Certification Exam(s) ]
NI [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
NIELIT [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
Nokia [6 Certification Exam(s) ]
Nortel [130 Certification Exam(s) ]
Novell [37 Certification Exam(s) ]
OMG [10 Certification Exam(s) ]
Oracle [279 Certification Exam(s) ]
P&C [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
Palo-Alto [4 Certification Exam(s) ]
PARCC [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
PayPal [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
Pegasystems [12 Certification Exam(s) ]
PEOPLECERT [4 Certification Exam(s) ]
PMI [15 Certification Exam(s) ]
Polycom [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
PostgreSQL-CE [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
Prince2 [6 Certification Exam(s) ]
PRMIA [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
PsychCorp [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
PTCB [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
QAI [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
QlikView [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
Quality-Assurance [7 Certification Exam(s) ]
RACC [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
Real-Estate [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
RedHat [8 Certification Exam(s) ]
RES [5 Certification Exam(s) ]
Riverbed [8 Certification Exam(s) ]
RSA [15 Certification Exam(s) ]
Sair [8 Certification Exam(s) ]
Salesforce [5 Certification Exam(s) ]
SANS [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
SAP [98 Certification Exam(s) ]
SASInstitute [15 Certification Exam(s) ]
SAT [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
SCO [10 Certification Exam(s) ]
SCP [6 Certification Exam(s) ]
SDI [3 Certification Exam(s) ]
See-Beyond [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
Siemens [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
Snia [7 Certification Exam(s) ]
SOA [15 Certification Exam(s) ]
Social-Work-Board [4 Certification Exam(s) ]
SpringSource [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
SUN [63 Certification Exam(s) ]
SUSE [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
Sybase [17 Certification Exam(s) ]
Symantec [134 Certification Exam(s) ]
Teacher-Certification [4 Certification Exam(s) ]
The-Open-Group [8 Certification Exam(s) ]
TIA [3 Certification Exam(s) ]
Tibco [18 Certification Exam(s) ]
Trainers [3 Certification Exam(s) ]
Trend [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
TruSecure [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
USMLE [1 Certification Exam(s) ]
VCE [6 Certification Exam(s) ]
Veeam [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
Veritas [33 Certification Exam(s) ]
Vmware [58 Certification Exam(s) ]
Wonderlic [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
Worldatwork [2 Certification Exam(s) ]
XML-Master [3 Certification Exam(s) ]
Zend [6 Certification Exam(s) ]
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