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2010 Gift Guide for Storage Geeks

If that someone special in your life has storage on their mind come the holidays, we may be able to help with gift ideas. With ideas ranging from the very affordable (free) to very expensive (skipping a few mortgage payments), we've combed the world of storage procurement so you don't have to.

Up to $1,000

I created this category to provide a little rest before we climb to the ultimate unlimited summit. I only want to mention a few holiday gift ideas for this category.

Let’s start with a couple of SSD drives that I really like

Table 5 – SSD’s in the $1,000 and under Category

Name Form Factor Capacity SLC or MLC Interface Sequential Read Access Sequential Write Access Price
Intel X25-E Extreme SSDSA2SH032G1 2.5″ 32GB SLC SATA 3.0 Gbps Up to 250MB/s Up to 170MB/s $375.00
Intel X25-E 2.5″ 64GB SLC SATA 3.0 Gbps Up to 250MB/s Up to 170MB/s $529.97
OCZ Z-Drive R2 M84 OCZSSDPX-ZD2M84256G PCIe 256GB MLC PCIe x8 Up to 700MB/s Up to 500MB/s $1,059.00

The first two drives are the fastest Intel SSD drives around. They use SLC chips instead of MLC, giving you better performance and a much longer life. This last SSD is a PCIe SSD from OCZ (go OCZ go!). It’s got 256GB of capacity but it also has write speeds over 500 MB/s (that’s wicked fast). But you have to have a free x8 slot and it costs just a bit north of $1,000.

What Limit?

Like most men, my father and I never shopped for presents until Christmas Eve. My father’s theory is that you get the best bargains on that day since the stores want to sell as much as possible. My theory is that I’m just lazy. Regardless, as time counts down on December 24th, we become more and more panicked about finding a nice gift for the people on our list. As time continues counting down, our spending limit soon becomes something more of what you would call a “guideline.” As more time passes, that limit is no where to be seen and we’re just looking for a nice gift that will keep us out of the dog house for another year (this is how my mother has gotten so much jewelery). This category of gifts corresponds to about the last 5 minutes before the storage close – in other words, the sky is the limit.

Let’s start with the old standby gift idea – simple storage. However, since we have no price limit, let’s go for SSD’s, particularly PCIe SSD’s or really large capacity SSD’s. Table 6 has the run down.

Table 6 – SSD’s in the unlimited Category

Name Form Factor Capacity SLC or MLC Interface Sequential Read Access Sequential Write Access Price
OCZ Colossus LT Series OCZSSD2-1CLSLT1T 3.5″ 1TB MLC SATA 3.0 Gbps Up to 260MB/s Up to 260MB/s $3,150.00
OCZ RevoDrive X2 OCZSSDPX-1RVDX0960 PCIe 960GB MLC PCIe x4 Up to 740MB/s Up to 720MB/s $3,359.00
OCZ Z-Drive R2 P88 OCZSSDPX-ZD2P881T PCIe 1TB MLC PCIe x8 Up to 1.4GB/s Up to 1.4GB/s $4,400.00
OCZ Z-Drive R2 E88 OCZSSDPX-ZD2E88512G PCIe 512GB SLC PCIe x8 Up to 1.4GB/s Up to 1.4GB/s $9,299.00
Super Talent 1TB MLC RAIDDrive GS PCIe 1TB MLC PCIe x8 Up to 1.4GB/s Up to 1.2GB/s $7,179.99
Super Talent 512GB SLC RAIDDrive WS PCIe 512GB SLC PCIe x8 Up to 1.4GB/s Up to 1.2GB/s $9,999.00
Super Talent 512GB SLC RAIDDrive ES PCIe 512GB SLC PCIe x8 Up to 1.4GB/s Up to 1.2GB/s $10,599.99
FusionIO FS1-003-641-CS-0001 640GB Fusion IO-DRIVE MLC PCIe 640GB MLC PCIe x4 Up to 750MB/s Up to 550GB/s $11,831.99
Trustin FS3-202-321-CS-0001 1PK Fusion IODRIVE w/ Two 320GB PCIe 640GB MLC PCIe x8 Up to 1.4GB/s Up to 1.0GB/s $15,430.99

These SSD drives are the cream of the crop. That all have amazing performance with some hitting 1.4 GB/s for both read and write throughput. Several have capacities of 1TB and some are SLC based (better longevity and better overall performance).

Regardless of which drive you select you will get some amazing performance from them. Since this is the unlimited category, I would go for the PCIe drives, perhaps in the 1TB size. Hell, take two or more while you’re at it. If you need a motherboard try this one from EVGA that is a dual-socket Intel Westmere board with (7) x16 slots. Or you can try this one from Gigabyte that has (6) x16 slots for AMD processors. Just be sure you can fit the SSD’s in the slots since they are somewhat close together.

You might also need a case to hold the large motherboards and all of those PCIe based SSD’s. Mountain Mods makes some of the biggest and coolest cases I’ve seen. Once in particular that I like is called Acension and is show in Figure 16 below.

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Figure 16: Mountain Mods Acension case

It is a monster case measuring 24″ x 18″ x 18″. But the really great thing is that it can hold up to 38 hard drives. So you can put a few PCIe SSD’s on the motherboard but leave room for a couple RAID controllers. Then fill up the case with the OCZ Colossus 1TB SSD drives in RAID-0. Nothing like 38TB’s of SSD storage in RAID-0 to make your frown turn upside down.

I hope you have enjoyed my 2010 Christmas gift ideas for the Linux storage inclined loved ones in your life. Just remember that we are good the whole year (not just near the holidays), and we have saved your bacon several times (“Ah! Why won’t Facebook come up? I need to harvest now!”). Hopefully I’ve given you some great gift ideas in some good price ranges. One last thing to remember – if you don’t have a Linux storage loved one, there is always me.

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