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Angelbird unveils PCIe SSD

Angelbird unveils PCIe SSD

Angelbird's Wings cards offer up to four 120GB SandForce-based SSDs on a single PCIe card.

UK-based hardware vendor Angelbird reckons it has the right stuff to innovate in the increasingly crowded SSD market, although it's putting its ideas into practice in the US at first.

The somewhat oddly-named Angelbird Wings package is a PCIe SSD that offers users an upgradable framework to add more storage to the system easily and without the fuss associated with enterprise-level hardware.

The Angelbird Wings card has been designed to host single drives, dual drives, or a quad-SSD configuration depending on budget and storage requirements. The 'drives' take the form of the company's Crest SSD 'transformable expansion cartridges,' 120GB SSDs based on SandForce controllers.

Unlike traditional enterprise-grade PCIe SSD devices, the Angelbird Wings promises full boot compatibility with Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X systems, and comes with the option of a dedicated partition to store an OS disc image plus drivers to make re-installation easier should something go wrong.

Davide Rutigliano, founder of Angelbird, claimed that 'the bootable Wings card changes the game yet again, by booting on Windows, Linux, and OS X, or allowing peaceful coexistence and integration of all of the above on the same system, whether it is a PC or a Mac Pro.'

The fully-populated four-module Wings card has been measured at 1.02GB/s for reads and 900MB/s for writes - a performance level Angelbird claims 'never previously seen on a bootable PCIe SSD card.'

Sadly, all this performance is going to set you back. Despite being a UK company, Angelbird is launching the Wings cards in the US, with a single-module card costing $540 (around £340), a dual-module card $840 (around £530), and a quad-module card $1400 (around £885).

Do you think that PCIe is the way to go for solid-state storage, or does SATA still hold the edge at the consumer level? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

16 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
TWeaK 19th October 2010, 20:03 Quote
Good product, what I wonder though is if you can open up just any (or any Sandforce) SSD PCB and slap it in the slots - it looks like they use the same standard SATA power and data connections, but my gut tells me it's proprietory.

The speeds are probably comparable to Raid, so given the extra cost it doesn't show value for money right now. One thing that could tip in its favour would be Trim support - any word on whether it has this?
Floyd 19th October 2010, 20:09 Quote
Very nice option. Too bad its still out of the price range of most for a general drive.
digitaldave 19th October 2010, 20:53 Quote
angelbird >> i thought only the Taiwanese used rubbish names?
Flibblebot 19th October 2010, 23:05 Quote
I have to say, Angelbird Wings does sound more like a female sanitary product than a super-fast storage solution.
B1GBUD 20th October 2010, 09:07 Quote
Bird's Angel Delight anyone?
Lance 20th October 2010, 10:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by B1GBUD
Bird's Angel Delight anyone?

LOL!
Fabou 20th October 2010, 10:57 Quote
I don't know what the product is worth but it's nice to see a company talking about compatibility with other OS than windows (especially Linux). BTW how can they talk about mac OS installation while I thought MAc was only meant to be installed on apple computer?
rickysio 20th October 2010, 12:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TWeaK
Good product, what I wonder though is if you can open up just any (or any Sandforce) SSD PCB and slap it in the slots - it looks like they use the same standard SATA power and data connections, but my gut tells me it's proprietory.

Doing that could yield a roving Angry Bird.
l3v1ck 20th October 2010, 12:06 Quote
Quote:
Do you think that PCIe is the way to go for solid-state storage,
Yes. If you can get rid of HDD cages in cases then there'll be better airflow and cooling. Plus you don't need to worry about saturating SATA 6gbps before the next standard comes out. PCIe slots have way more bandwith (x16 PCIe 2 anyone?)
mclean007 20th October 2010, 14:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabou
I don't know what the product is worth but it's nice to see a company talking about compatibility with other OS than windows (especially Linux). BTW how can they talk about mac OS installation while I thought MAc was only meant to be installed on apple computer?
Erm, because this drive can be installed on a Mac (specifically a Mac Pro).
jamesislush 20th October 2010, 21:15 Quote
That's some blisteringly fast quoted speeds... Whether or not it lives up to those claims seems yet to be proved, but if it does, then I think the £885 pricetag is definitely justified. PCIe is definitely the way forward in my opinion; who needs a southbridge!? One concern though could be a possible lack of Trim on RAID setups or am I mistaken on that?
bobwya 20th October 2010, 21:49 Quote
I've got one word for ya : "trim"??!!
Fizzban 25th August 2011, 02:42 Quote
I'm not interested in SSD at all (whatever slot they wanna put it in) until the prices come down massively. I can live with my current boot times/load times quite easily and save myself hundreds of pounds in the process.

1TB for £40

240MB for £350 (ssd)

Hmm...let me think.

No speed boost is worth that price. None.

But I am happy for everyone to buy them and increase demand. Will make them cheaper for me in the end. Keep going suckers!
bigBADbenny 14th September 2011, 15:21 Quote
Re "trim?" - they're using SF SSD's that have built-in trim/GC.
So whatever your OS, you're covered.
Like to see it 4 up with SF2000 :-)
If your choice of SSD doesn't have that built in, running an app like Diglloyd Tools "Recondition SSD" (for OS X) would likely restore your write speeds.
Apparently attached disks can also be individually partitioned...
Thus possibility exists to very afford-ably attain decent R/W speeds with 4x HDD's attached (preferably hybrid), each with short stroked partitons for RAID0 and the rest RAID1.
This product will also be great in a Thunderbolt PCIe box, once they're affordable...
Waiting for more reviews to choose between the models on offer.
mclean007 15th September 2011, 10:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigBADbenny
Re "trim?" - they're using SF SSD's that have built-in trim/GC.
So whatever your OS, you're covered.
Not so. The way a RAID controller works is to break the direct connection between the OS and the disk - the OS addresses blocks on a 'virtual' drive created by the RAID controller (hardware or software), and the controller maps those requests to physical blocks on the relevant disk. TRIM does not work with other RAID controllers which connect to off-the-shelf SATA SSDs, so there is no natural assumption that it will work with Angelbird's setup. I don't know for sure that TRIM doesn't work with Angelbird, but the mere fact that the underlying drive hardware supports TRIM doesn't mean that TRIM will work properly with the Angelbird device as a unit.
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