24 Samsung SSDs Linked Together for 2GB/Sec

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News Posted: Mon, Mar 9 2009 4:46 PM

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 the blokes in the YouTube video below, it was a very real challenge. And they took the challenge to the limits of where only the truly geekiest would go: they custom-built an 8-core, dual-RAID, Windows Vista system utilizing 24 256MB MLC SSDs, for a total of 6TB of storage.

Their 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 they ran into a few problems along the way...

First of all, getting everything inside the case was such a tight fit, that they had to saw off part of the Zalman coolers to squeeze them in. They also managed to fry a motherboard and a 1,000-watt power supply. They 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. They also had to remove one of the two Radeon HD 4870 X2 graphics cards as they found it was drawing too much power from the PCI-e bus and preventing the Areca RAID card from initializing.

It also took them several iterations of setting up the RAID controllers until they had a configuration that didn't saturate the controllers. They finally settled on a configuration that had 10 of the SSDs conntect to the Areca RAID controller, 8 of SSDs connected to the Adaptec 5 Series controller, and 6 of the SSDs connected directly to the motherboard. This resulted in three separate RAID 0 arrays. 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 they did experiment with some overclocking "for the fun of it"--the system remained stable with the CPUs running up 3.6GHz; and they 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. They were 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.

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All the stuff at the end of the video.

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acarzt replied on Mon, Mar 9 2009 8:27 PM

That's funny... cuz I was just wondering earlier today, how fast you could get some SSDs going in a huge raid 0 config lol now I know.

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Fast enough that you won't have enough channel bandwidth. I'll be happy with my lil 400mb a second read.

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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?

I think someone from HotHardware needs to call Western Digital and explain the situation to them:


   HH: "Samsung is getting a lot of press from this. Send us a sh*tload of VelociRaptors."

   WD: "Holy smokes...how many do you need?!!!"

   HH: "We need 24 for the comparo and an additional 200 to give away in our next Sweepstakes!"


Hey, it could work!Yes



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Drago replied on Tue, Mar 10 2009 11:18 AM

I just wonder how long these SSDs will last, they do have a finite number of read/write cycles.

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shanewu replied on Wed, Mar 11 2009 11:03 AM

That's asinine, but in a good way. :)

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ice91785 replied on Fri, Mar 13 2009 1:26 PM

I like it -- especially cuz the IT guys seems fairly normal/non-nerdy; it would not have been near as entertaining w/o his personality.

HW-wise: nothing to say, these numbers speak for themselves...although he could use a little better cable management; what do you think marco?

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