The TR Podcast 43: Troublesome SSDs, tired rhetoric, and a podcast exclusive

The Tech Report Podcast Date: May 23, 2009

Time: 1:33:19

Hosted by Jordan Drake

Co-Hosts: Scott Wasson, Geoff Gasior, Cyril Kowaliski

Listen now:

Download: MP3 (64.0MB) | M4A (67.4MB)

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Show notes

We’re all stretching our brain muscles as we kick off yet another TR Podcast episode. Wolfram|Alpha, our first point of discussion, is both confusing and brilliant, but we’re not holding our breath to see it become the next big web thing. Moving on to yet another ad-war, we discuss Apple’s response to the Microsoft laptop hunter spots. Does Apple stick with tired rhetoric or truly take the lead?

Soon after our ad discussion and a short iPhone rumor roundup, Scott and Geoff tackle our latest SSD roundup and the controversy surrounding it. The sinking U.S. dollar means Intel is getting fined just a little bit more each day in Europe, and Scott gives us a cool AMD CPU sneak preview.

Send in listener mail, and we’ll answer on the podcast. – jdrake@techreport.com

Tech discussion:

    Saturday science subject: Wolfram|Alpha (0:02:27)- Read more

    Apple tackles Laptop Hunters, I’m a PC ads (0:12:39)- Read more

    Rumor: Next-gen, OLED iPhone coming on July 17 (0:25:41)- Read more

    A six pack of solid-state drives compared (0:32:07)- Read more

    Zotac’s IONITX-A Mini-ITX board (1:14:37)- Read more

    European Commission fines Intel a record $1.44 billion (1:17:38)- Read more

    Scott gives us a sneak preview at some upcoming six-core Opteron processors from AMD (1:29:05)

That’s all, folks! We’ll see you on the next episode.

Comments closed
    • Sebastacat
    • 10 years ago

    Regarding Mac vs. PC, I think they are mispronouncing “malware”. They are saying “mall-ware”, i.e ware you find at your local shopping mall. It should be “mal-ware” with the short a, i.e. “mal” rhymes with “pal”. Merriam-Webster agrees with me:

    §[< http://www.merriam-webster.com/cgi-bin/audio.pl?malwar01.wav=malware<]§

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      like malnutrition and malcontent. I agree.

        • WillBach
        • 10 years ago

        I thought the same thing at first, but maybe they don’t mean “mall” like shopping mall, maybe they mean “maul” like a heavy long-handled hammer, or the verb meaning to injure badly by beating?

    • jstern
    • 10 years ago

    To think that all this socialism talk started with Joe The Plumber. Great episode though. Remember that mac commercial where Apple was making fun of Microsoft spending money on advertisement? Isn’t it ironic that the apple commercials are the ones found all over prime time television? Stuff like that, and the exaggeration of non problems has kind of turned me off to Apple. My next computer wont be an Apple. They really have to calm down with the misleading the uninformed. Aren’t there laws about that?

    • DrDillyBar
    • 10 years ago

    I was missing the Apple discussions. Always entertaining stuff.
    But an Apple commercial without the false reference to Crashing would be like a Matter Antimatter reaction. MAC guy would explode in a burst of pure energy leaving PC guy with a quizzical look on his face.
    Must admit the SSD article kinda flew under my radar.

    • mi1stormilst
    • 10 years ago

    Cheers to the Tech Report team. These guys have been around forever, they have always had the consumers best interest in mind. I have been visiting this site for many years and I think we owe them the benefit of the doubt on this SSD issue. The bottom line is they had poor results with this drive on a particular configuration. This is a fair review and it is exactly why review sites post their hardware configurations per review, it’s known as Your Mileage May Vary. This will likely not be the last SSD round up that we see and I am glad to see that the Tech Report discovered that these products are not perfect under all circumstances. As a result this makes me a more informed consumer and I don’t see how anyone can complain about that.

    On a side note, I utterly hate Vista after attempting to convert no less than three times. I don’t recommend it, I wont use it and nothing anyone will say will convince me that it is any better than my personal experience with it. I have been using Windows 7 now for two weeks and already I am convinced that I will be purchasing and happily using it.

    Keep up the good work boys.

    • Tarx
    • 10 years ago

    I would very much like to see some tests on the Intel SSD (and a sampling of others) to see how much these drives improve when using aligned partitions. This is suppose to very important for MLC type drives and could be why the Intel drives don’t dominate as much as they should versus hard drives. Yes, for some tests it won’t be relevant, but on other tests there is suppose to be a big improvement.
    The other items mentioned, i.e. testing on Vista and testing on recent hardware all would be nice but not sure just how much of a difference it will make.

      • Chloiber
      • 10 years ago

      The difference isn’t as big as you might think (or at least it shouldn’t be). Aligning hasn’t a huge impact on performance – but on lifetime.

      • crazybus
      • 10 years ago

      From what I gather, aligning partitions should only really affect random write performance. I can see it especially benefiting drives that take a huge hit in the “used” state, as it has the potential to reduce the number of writes, due to the write amplification effect. For sequential tests like FC-Test, I wouldn’t expect it too do much.

    • Pax-UX
    • 10 years ago

    Vista is fine, the PC crashing days are in the past as far as IMO. Also been running Windows 7 RC1 now for about and week and really like it. Yeah, they’ve ripped off more stuff from Apple, but what’s new. It’s by far the easiest install for Windows I’ve ever done. Everything worked out of the box which is the way it should be. UAC has all but gone away, but this even bothered me. Very polished compared to Vista.

    Virus Scanning software shouldn’t need exist. I want a system that uses signed software for everything and you can do web lookups to ensure the sig is good, something like MD5 of everything that runs on your system. Also data files can be sig by software so you know what package it is associated with and limited other software with a different sig from accessing it! Then I can also easily find all the file of type X on my HD. Plus if a program is unsigned it can run but have very low to no access to the system, sandboxed.

    Some class comments in this one!

    (24:30) J: “You want them to use midgets?”
    S: “what?!?”

    ROFL

    (40:00) Explicit TAG!!! Did someone say a rude word!!! Someone said a rude word!!! Hehe XD

    I love the lengths you guys go to make sure your stuff is always top quality reviews! I have no interest in SSD yet but awesome stuff. It’s why I keep coming back, Nil illegitimi carborundum!

    • Meadows
    • 10 years ago

    I have a recommendation: perhaps, next time test drives with an intel board with IHC10?
    If I got the essence of the SSD comments properly, then certain issues you may have had are related to a combination of BIOS, firmware and *[

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 10 years ago

      XP is still sold. Such as in a netbook, where a drive like this is very likely to be used.

    • crazybus
    • 10 years ago

    Interesting podcast.

    I appreciate the length you guys are going to address the SSD “issue”. Thanks for all the hard work!

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 10 years ago

    Great podcast guys. I am with Scott in that if anyone has a problem it’s the hard drive maker. TR’s integrity to The Scientific Method has never been compromised.

    Also, I’m extremely bored/tired of the whole “EU = Socialism” rhetoric. Lazy thinking. Also got Scott’s back on that.

      • danny e.
      • 10 years ago

      EU is very much socialistic. The discussion here was whether or not that socialism was the cause of the fine.

        • Meadows
        • 10 years ago

        Probably not, but you’ll be here to counter that with your propaganda anyway.

        • Aphasia
        • 10 years ago

        At the same the the socialists around here are against EU in many cases because its not socialistic enough and promotes the market and free trade instead. 😛

        So it comes down to the POV thing what you consider socialistic.

    • Konstantine
    • 10 years ago

    Not that im a big fan of Vista, but i have to address my experience with the OS, in order to make some Mac fans consider some points regarding their beloved Macs:

    All i see in these Mac ads is the disadvantages of PCs, which get depicted in very silly and exaggerated ways ….And here they are:

    -PCs crash a lot.
    -PCs are less secure
    -PCs are ugly like hell
    -PCs, equipped with windows, don’t come with all the software you need…!!
    -PCs smell terribly.
    -Apples customer support is better than HP’s….!

    Now here are my responses to these “i-claims”:

    -I’ve been a PC user since…windows Millennium.From my personal experience, i can state that PCs have gotten a lot better since then.Windows XP was an excellent OS in my opinion, and Vista is noticeably more stable, secure, and elastic then XP.
    All of my 3 systems that used Vista Ultimate 64 bit:
    Athlon 64 X2 5200 + 8600gt, Phenom 9850 + 3870, and core I7 920 + 4870 Toxic have been conveniently stable….Well the 8600GT gave me some serious problems, esepecially in games, but i got rid of it and put a Radeon instead, and all the problems were solved.
    I haven’t noticed any kind of lag or slowdowns during my whole Vista usage time.Which makes these claims about Vista being much more demanding than XP…..lies

    -Now regarding the safety issue, or Macs being more secure than PCs,
    I have to address that the mothafuckes, who write those nasty viruses, are clever enough to not write them for Macs because the vast majority of people use PCs.
    People who complain about getting a virus on their PC most likely skip the obvious…. Daily system maintenance, which is:
    1- installing an anti-virus….program.
    2-keeping it up up date.
    3- Erasing your browsed data after visiting the “dirty sites”….

    -Regarding Macs vs PCs in terms of appearance, it depends on your PC.
    There are a lot of ugly PCs out there.My PC is a top model, and she’s definitely prettier than any Mac I’ve seen… ever….

    -Now regarding the windows PCs being stuffed with a lot of useless softwares as you can see here: §[< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EbCyibkNB0<]§ I have to disagree about that.Other than the main tools and programs that come implemented in your OS, that are absolutely useful, few in number, and extremely well designed to serve their purpose, PCs contain nothing else...It's up to you then to stuff your PC with all the junk... -PCs don't smell bad, it is Macs that smell slightly better due to Apple using some cheap perfumes on the Macs before sending them to the customers.... -Apple's customer support is better than HP's....? Im not sure of that....

      • Meadows
      • 10 years ago

      Under normal circumstances and considering a reasonably educated user, all three of your “security” points are useless. All you /[

    • GTVic
    • 10 years ago

    The discussion of how much the speakers didn’t know about OLED was very informative. 🙁

      • danny e.
      • 10 years ago

      haha i found that odd also…

    • wingless
    • 10 years ago

    I really appreciate the SSD discussion of this podcast. It looks like Geoff took extra steps to make sure he was testing these SSDs in REAL WORLD usage scenarios and got realistic, end user numbers afterwards. The flaw in the Vertex looks like it may be real.

    TR has never shown any bias or utter failures in product reviews and I trust their methods. This explanation cleared up a lot for me.

    I’m now really looking forward to the Samsung controlled OCZ Summit test!

    • eitje
    • 10 years ago

    Welcome to Tech Report, OCZ people!

    I just wanted to make sure that you felt like you were welcome here, and that your canned response commentary was respected and valued.

    Please let us know if there’s anything we can do to make your stay more comfortable. I look forward to reading your comments on some of TR’s non-SSD reviews.

    • Chloiber
    • 10 years ago

    Well thanks to techreport for reviewing their testing methods.

    I still can’t quite believe the results to be representative, but I don’t think that techreport could do more. They did more than enough and there seems to be a problem with the indilinx drives.

    They said in the end that they eliminated many problems (OS, Firmware, Drivers), which is good, but there still seems to be a problem. And they are right, imho to say, that it is mainly the problem of OCZ/Indilinx, not theirs.

    The test doesn’t show the performance of the Vertex if set up right, that should be clear – but it should be the manufacturer who singles out the problems and tell the consumers to not use xxx or to use xxx, that there is a problem with xxx, not the consumer.

    There is a lack of support for the indilinx drives. Many errors have been detected by users (with the first firmware you DESTROYED your Vertex using FC-Test!). Main Problem is, that you get the firmware from OCZ/ST but the firmware is actually made by indilinx. So you get different informations from ST and OCZ and don’t have direct contact to the actual creators of the firmware. That way it also takes longer until a new firmware is released.

    @New Firmware:

    A new firmware is coming soon for the indilinx-drives in the next few weeks (according to OCZ).

    • jwilliams
    • 10 years ago

    wibeasley:

    He was talking about boot times. While it is slower to write an already written block on a SSD (as compared to a never written block), it obviously make no sense to talk about reading being slower on an already written block. Boot times are almost entirely reads.

    Anyone who has actually used SSD’s knows that the SSD’s boot faster than spinning hard drives — it is quite obvious in most cases. There are even a number of videos out showing the dramatic differences. It is rather amazing the techreport didn’t begin questioning their results when they saw that every single SSD in their test booted slower than a couple of spinning drives. That suggests to me that they have a problem with their test system that causes anomalous results with SSD’s. I’d be embarrassed rather than defensive and insulting, if I were them.

    • Skrying
    • 10 years ago

    Apple’s ads and using stupid ports that cost me money and make no sense (Hello, miniDisplayPort) will forever keep me from owning one of their products. Apple ads are just out right dirty, Microsoft’s are just stupid.

    • The Dark One
    • 10 years ago

    Damned Mallware!

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      Abercrombie? Was it Abercrombie?

        • Convert
        • 10 years ago

        Oh man that was awesome.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 10 years ago

    Podcast was 67MB this time which made things much better for me. Not sure if you changed your bitrate at all or if this is just a shorter podcast. Thanks anyway.

    • GokuSS2
    • 10 years ago

    I am sorry you guys are receiving flak for what you found. But….. Those who are different always receive the short end of the stick. I am not sure about other reviewing sites but I know anandtech did test in the USED state. Granted your testing methods are very good.. but there are still some weird things about the results.

    The boot times are just odd. Both mechanical drives beating the SSDs?
    I went over to a friends and installed his new SSD (OCZ Vertex 120) simply copied his boot drive (VelociRaptor 300gig) and shaved 14 seconds off of his boot time.

    Anand’s boot chart seems to also be in that ballpark.

      • wibeasley
      • 10 years ago

      Until the podcast, I hadn’t really considered that there were meaningfully different ways reviewers (like Anand and Geoff) could define and simulate a used drive.

      l[<...and installed his *[

        • GokuSS2
        • 10 years ago

        Granted it was new but it still fell inline with anand’s used state.

          • eitje
          • 10 years ago

          with what we know about used versus new SSDs, that doesn’t make you ask “why is this new drive performing like anand’s used drive?”

            • BmUs
            • 10 years ago

            No because what we have been saying from the start is that boot time is mostly read operation intensive and so should not be affected by the “used” state of the drive.

            And this is what TechReport seem to NOT be gasping…

            How come this simple boot test (mostly read-only) give an advantage to mechanical harddrive over the *best* available server class Intel SSD.

            • eitje
            • 10 years ago

            You’ve gone sideways from my point.

            Goku: q[

            • GokuSS2
            • 10 years ago

            Its not trying to write its reading. The used condition should only affect writing.

            • eitje
            • 10 years ago

            on boot, it is doing both reading AND writing.

            • BmUs
            • 10 years ago

            On boot it is doing a heck lot more read than write.

            l[

            • DrDillyBar
            • 10 years ago

            Right. Maybe they need another.

    • jwilliams
    • 10 years ago

    I’m surprised you did not address the most glaring problem in your SSD review — why do conventional hard drives boot faster on your test machine than ALL of the SSD’s? I’ve installed a lot of SSD’s and every one booted much faster than the spinning drive that was replaced.

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 10 years ago

      “got damit?”

        • derFunkenstein
        • 10 years ago

        The illiterate are not worth your time.

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