24 Samsung SSDs Linked Together for 2GB/Sec

What would you do if Samsung gave you only 24-hours of hands-on time with a stack of solid-state drive (SSD) engineering samples to do some viral marketing with? For you this is surely just an academic question, but for Paul Curry of The Viral Factory in London, it was a very real challenge. And he took the challenge to the limits of where only the truly geekiest would go: he custom-built an 8-core, dual-RAID, Windows Vista system, utilizing 24 256MB MLC SSDs, for a total of 6TB of storage.

Curry’s system used an Intel Skulltrail D5400XS motherboard, with two Intel 3.2GHz QX9775 Quad-Core processors, 4GB of 800MHz FB-DIMM DDR2 SDRAM, two ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 graphics cards, an Adaptec 5 Series RAID card, an Areca 1680ix-24 RAID card, and two Corsair HX1000W power supply units. And, of course, 24 Samsung SSDs. If this sounds like it was a difficult system to build, let’s just say he ran into a few problems along the way…
First of all, getting everything inside the case was such a tight fit, that Curry had to saw off part of the Zalman coolers to squeeze them in. He also managed to fry a motherboard and a 1,000-watt power supply. He replaced the motherboard and soldered the power leads from two 1,000 power supplies together (“connected their power_on line and gave them common ground“) to make sure the rig had enough juice–the motherboard and CPU were powered by one of the power supplies, while the system’s drives and add-in cards were powered by the other. The total output under load before the drives were added was about 1,400-watts, and around 1,500-watts after all 24 SSDs were installed. Curry also had to remove one of the two Radeon HD 4870 X2 graphics cards as he found it was drawing too much power from the PCI-e bus and preventing the Areca RAID card from initializing.

It also took Curry several iterations of setting up the RAID controllers until he had a configuration that didn’t saturate the controllers. He finally settled on a configuration that had 10 of the SSDs connected to the Areca RAID controller in a RAID 0 array, 8 of SSDs connected to the Adaptec 5 Series controller in a separate RAID 0 array, and the remaining 6 SSDs connected directly to the motherboard’s on-board SATA ports as stand-alone drives. The optical drives were disconnected during testing to maximize available throughput for the on-board SATA ports. All testing was done at stock speeds, although Curry did experiment with some overclocking “for the fun of it“–the system remained stable with the CPUs running up 3.6GHz; and he even got it up to 4GHz, but at that speed the system was “wobbly.”

The Samsung SSDs’ specifications state that they support up to a write speed of 200MB/Sec and a read speed of 220MB/Sec. So how did the system perform? Here are some of the test results highlights:

  • 2121.29MB/Sec sequential reading using IOMeter
  • 2000.195MB/Sec sequential writing using IOMeter
  • Loaded all Microsoft Office Apps in 0.5 seconds
  • Opened 53 apps in 18.09 seconds
  • Ripped a 700MB DVD transfer in 0.8 seconds

And all of this was done with “zero sector failures” on any of the drives. With data transfer rates in excess of 2GB/Sec, this puts the throughput of the rig on par with the theoretical limits of Fibre Channel. Curry was even able to get throughput above 1GB/Sec with only 9 drives. As one of the primary uses for SSDs will be in data centers, this exercise shows the potential transfer rates that might be achieved in such an environment.

by Daniel A. Begun

AIG: Congress Passes Tax, Refuses to Demand Recall of Executive Bonuses


It appears that the political subterfuges in the AIG fiasco just keep pouring from the Halls of Congress and Capitol Hill now daily.

The most recent word is that Congress has overwhelming passed a bill which now will tax the bonuses recently handed over to the executives of AIG by the Executive Office’s lackey, Timothy Geithner, last Sunday. It appears maybe this is Mr. Obama’s answer to “pursuing every legal course available” in order to “get back” those bonuses. The tax measure was passed again in haste by Congress, and was reported to involve a 90% return to the U.S. Treasury of the sums afforded those executives, many of which received literally millions in claimed unpaid bonuses.

You do the math. 10% of 20 million dollars (the amount of bonuses paid, after all, were over 165 million) is still 2 million dollars. Add interest since those sums will not be due for another year at the U.S. rate of interest and you have a pretty sizeable bonus (not to mention most of those sums will go to the Caymans). In fact, I wonder if the amounts of those bonuses weren’t inflated to begin with in order to provide such a cushion to those executives for just such a maneuver.

Not to mention the fact that within the terms of that bailout, Congress actually disempowered themselves from any such actions against the Executive branch to whom they acceded all power and control over the distribution. This move now is a corporate tax attorney’s dream, and by the time it winds its way through the courts when those executives challenge such a move, their interest and profits will have quadrupled on those original illegally distributed bonuses.

And Mr. Obama is, after all, a lawyer – although appears to be so far no Constitutional lawyer, so as such well aware that these executives can use such loopholes to eventually avoid repayment fighting through the U.S. Tax Courts if U.S. citizens (then again, since AIG is a global concern and now even “corporate” foreigners have been given “rights” simply intended for the American citizens by the founders, even that little technicality I’m sure at this point would be overlooked).

The spins now are getting to the point where most Americans are not simply outraged anymore, they are nauseous.

By Betsy Ross

Astronauts Set For Second Spacewalk

A pair of spacewalking astronauts will work on the oldest U.S. solar arrays of the International Space Station on Saturday, taking care to safeguard themselves against the remote chance of electric shocks near the orbital power plant.

NASA astronauts Steven Swanson and Joseph Acaba plan to float outside the space station at about 12:43 p.m. EDT (1643 GMT) to work near the batteries for a pair of 8-year-old solar wings on the outpost’s port-most edge. The chore is one of several to prime the station for future construction and comes one day after Discovery shuttle astronauts unfurled a pair of new solar arrays on the outpost’s starboard side, completing its backbone-like main truss.

But before the spacewalkers exit the station today, they will carefully wrap some of the metal connecting rings on their spacesuits with insulating tape to protect against any slight electrical shocks near their portside worksite, which can be prone to arcing from the surrounding plasma environment.

“With the suits as designed, we believe we have sufficient protection,” space station flight engineer Kwatsi Alibaruho told reporters late Friday.”We’ve just applied some additional factor of safety to drive the probability of a problem absolutely as low as we could.”

Alibaruho said the risk an astronaut receiving even a mild electric shock is extremely remote, and the voltage and currents involved are very small. But NASA rules call for an immediate end to any spacewalk if any shock – no matter how small – should one occur, he added.

Spacewalking astronauts rely on their spacesuits functioning properly, including onboard electronics, while working outside a spacecraft.

Busy spacewalk on tap

Today’s spacewalk is the second of three for Discovery’s 13-day mission, but has been revamped after launch delays prompted NASA cut a planned fourth excursion in order to complete the shuttle flight before the arrival of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft ferrying a new station crew next week.

The spacewalk will be the fourth for Swanson and the first for Acaba, a former schoolteacher who is making his first spaceflight. It will send them to various locations across the space station’s metallic backbone, a massive truss that is longer than a football field.

“They’re ready to go,” Discovery skipper Lee Archambault told Mission Control late Friday. “We’re very much looking forward to another day on orbit.”

Swanson and Acaba will loosen bolts on the portside solar wing batteries so future spacewalkers can replace them later this year. They also plan to prepare the station to receive two future cargo carriers, take infrared photographs of a damaged radiator and install a new navigation antenna to help Japan’s first unmanned cargo ship – the H-2 Transfer Vehicle – dock at the orbiting lab later this year.

While the spacewalkers work outside the station, astronauts inside are expected to begin testing repairs to part of the outpost’s urine recycling system. The device, a distillation assembly, is part of a larger system to recycle condensation, astronaut urine and sweat back into pure water for drinking, food preparation, bathing and other uses. It has been broken since December.

Astronaut Sandra Magnus removed the broken distillation gear on Friday and plans to test its replacement in a dry run later today. If successful, the urine recycler will then be used to purify a batch of water late in Discovery’s mission so new samples can be returned to Earth.

“We have a considerable about of urine in storage containers,” Alibaruho said, adding that the urine is usually discarded aboard disposable Russian cargo ships. “We’ll take some of that …and attempt to process into clean water.”

NASA wants to revive the space urine recycler in order to restore the station’s full recycling system and certify that the water it produces is fit for astronaut consumption.

Recycling water aboard the station is key to plans to boost the outpost’s crew size up to six people later this year. It would allow an extra 15,000 pounds (6,803 kg) of cargo and other supplies, weight that was previously reserved for water deliveries, to be launched to the station, NASA has said.

Discovery and its shuttle astronaut crew launched toward the station on Sunday and are due to land on March 28.

Related Post Discovery astronauts perform first spacewalk, install solar array wings

NBA2k9 16ft9 giant Kobe Bryant take on celtics

in this case it’s more efficient to block your opponents by moving your feet than jumping around.

Facebook’s Users Don’t Like Change


When Facebook updated its users’ homepages last week, we already wondered how users would react to these changes. After all, when Facebook introduced the news feed in 2006, its users were anything but happy about this change. Now, a new application is quickly spreading on Facebook that allows users to vote on the new design. This application is not endorsed by Facebook, but the current vote totals are quite interesting: 43,000 users liked the new layout, while almost 700,000 users said that they did not like it.

One of the most common complaints we have seen in the comments on both the officialannouncements from Facebook, as well as in the comments on the voting application, is that it looks too much like Twitter (and, in an apparent act of youthful rebellion, some Facebook usersare now signing up for Twitter as a protest), though some users are also clearly simply unhappy with the change in general, and especially with the new system of filtering the real-time stream

Here are some recent examples:

  • Lisa: If i wanted updates on everyones status while it was happening, I would join Twitter.
  • Judy: It stinks. Why mess with something if it’s already working?
  • Cassy: The new facebook is tooooo confusing and you cant find anything~!!! are you going to change it back???
  • Arie: Everytime I see the new layout a part of me dies on the inside.

We also created a word cloud with keywords from the most recent comments on the voting application, which clearly demonstrates the current sentiment about the real-time homepages among Facebook users.

We also created a word cloud with keywords from the most recent comments on the voting application, which clearly demonstrates the current sentiment about the real-time homepages among Facebook users.

by Frederic Lardinois

Gendai Games Launches GameSalad Beta


Austin-based Gendai Games has been operating mostly under the radar with their innovative iPhone game-creation software GameSalad. According to AustinStartup, the wait is now over and we all can try our hand at creating the next big iPhone game, even if we don’t have elite programming skills. And that’s the strength of GameSalad – you don’t need to know how to code in order to prototype your game idea.

According to the site, GameSalad gives you all the tools you need to develop a fun game without having to write a line of code. In fact drag-and-drop is used extensively in composing the scenes, actors, audio and script actions. Games can be played without having to compile first and also edited while running. Game variables, rules, and other items are all controlled through menu items that can be collapsed and re-ordered. And all of this can be done on an ordinary Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or newer.

Without having made a game ourselves yet, we can only guess that it will still be fairly challenging to make a fun and addictive game, as we have seen plenty of games made the ‘old fashioned way’ that aren’t all that great. But with the rapid development time and greater accessibility that GameSalad offers, we can see it becoming popular for making more niche games, say for example a custom game for a friend’s birthday, or a game that celebrates an event, like a company anniversary.

Sony Ericsson to make fourth consecutive loss


Sony Ericsson, the world’s fourth-biggest manufacturer of mobile phones, has warned that it expects to make a loss of between €340m (£319m) to €390m in its first quarter after cash-strapped consumers stopped buying new mobile phones.

It will be the company’s fourth consecutive quarterly loss and the London-based company said it expects to sell 8m fewer phones in the first three months of this year compared with the same period last year.

It will also make less money on every phone it does sell. It estimates the average selling price of handsets in the period will be €120 – €1 less than in the last three months of last year, despite the rising cost of producing increasingly complex devices.

The company, which has already announced plans to cut 2,000 staff has so far refused to rule out further job losses. A spokeswoman said 1,000 employees have already left the business, with 1,000 more to follow soon in an attempt to achieve €300m in cost savings by the second-half of this year.

However, at the end of January the company announced a further €180m cost-cutting drive, which “will have an additional impact on jobs”. The business employs about 500 staff in the UK. One site in Manchester is already earmarked for closure.

Nicolas von Stackelberg, an analyst at the investment bank Sal Oppenheim said: “Sony Ericsson burned free cash flow of €277m. The way things are going, the first quarter of 2009 could top even that.”

Yesterday’s profit warning, which does not include restructuring charges of €10m to €20m, was the third in less than a year from the joint venture between Japan’s Sony and Sweden’s Ericsson. Both parents have highlighted the business as a key reason for the collapse in their overall profits. Sony is planning to cut 16,000 staff and Ericsson will shed 5,000 jobs this year on top of 4,000 last year.

Sony was yesterday rumoured to considering ending the partnership. Sir Howard Stringer, the chief executive of the Japanese electronics giant, told a German newspaper: “It’s certainly been a difficult year but buying out a partner is never an easy thing.”

Sony Ericsson warned that it expects global mobile phone sales to decline by 10pc this year, double an earlier estimate from its president Dick Komiyama. It expects to sell 14m phones in the three months to the end of March, down from 22.3m in the same period last year.

Carolina Milanesi, research director at mobile phone research house Gartner, said: “The mobile phone market is not a pretty place to be for anybody at the moment. The days of steady 20pc year-on-year growth are over.”

She added that Sony Ericsson is suffering more than some other players because it is mostly makes mid-market devices. “People are still upgrading to high-end devices like the iPhone, but generally they will stay with what they’ve got or downgrade to a cheaper model.”

The news comes just days after Nokia, which makes almost four in 10 of all handset sold worldwide, announced plans to shed a further 1,700 jobs, on top of 1,000 already announced. Motorola, the fifth biggest player, is thought to be on the verge of bankruptcy.

by Rupert Neate