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Updates to the COD NAS Benchmarking Database

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/updates-cod-nas-benchmarking-database/

Updates to the COD NAS Benchmarking Database

I am proud to announce that Computingondemand.com’s benchmarking databases have been updated.  The new enhancements now allow you to filter the tables in the database to make your benchmarking comparison research easier than ever.

Each benchmark and table can be filtered

dbupdate 1 300x147 Updates to the COD NAS Benchmarking Database dbupdate 2 300x139 Updates to the COD NAS Benchmarking Database

The NAS benchmarking Database now has filters for:

  • Manufacturer
  • Model
  • RAID Level
  • # of Drives

If you would like to compare all 4 bay devices that we have reviewed against each other in a specific benchmark, just select the option from the drop-down at the top of the table.

The SSD Benchmarking Database now has filters for:

  • Manufacturer
  • Model
  • Size of Drive

Enjoy!

A TEXT POST

Delete a PivotTable in Excel

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/delete-pivottable-excel/

Delete a PivotTable in Excel

If you have ever struggled with deleting a PivotTable in Excel, then you have come to the right place.  We use Excel for all kinds of things.  Once in a while, we like to do a bit of house cleaning.  We recently published an article on how to export all of your worksheets within an Excel Workbook to CSV.  Well, in order for that to be useful, you can’t have a bunch of extraneous information running around your worksheets, like PivotTables.

Removing a PivotTable isn’t as straight forward as you would think… it isn’t as simple as highlighting it and hitting delete.  It isn’t difficult either, you just have to do it the way Microsoft wants you to.

To remove a PivotTable:

  1. Click anywhere within the PivotTable to show the PivotTable Tools on the ribbon.
    PivotTable delete 1 Delete a PivotTable in Excel
  2. Click Analyze, Select, and then pick Entire PivotTable.
    PivotTable delete 2 Delete a PivotTable in Excel
  3. Press Delete.

Enjoy!

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A Farewell to Orkut

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/farewell-orkut/

A Farewell to Orkut

Today, Google officially announced its closing of the Orkut service, September 30,2014.

After ten years of sparking conversations and forging connections, we have decided it’s time for us to start saying goodbye to Orkut. Over the past decade, YouTube, Blogger and Google+ have taken off, with communities springing up in every corner of the world. Because the growth of these communities has outpaced Orkut’s growth, we’ve decided to focus our energy and resources on making these other social platforms as amazing as possible for everyone who uses them.

We will shut down Orkut on September 30, 2014. Until then, there will be no impact on you, so you may have time to manage the transition. You can export your profile data, community posts and photos using Google Takeout (available until September 2016). We are preserving an archive of all public communities, which will be available online starting September 30, 2014. If you don’t want your posts or name to be included in the community archive, you can remove Orkut permanently from your Google account. Please visit our Help Center for any further details.

It’s been a great 10 years, and we apologize to those of you still actively using the service. We hope you will find other online communities to spark more conversations and build even more connections for the next decade and beyond.

Ten years ago, Orkut was Google’s first foray into social networking. Built as a “20 percent” project, Orkut communities started conversations, and forged connections, that had never existed before. Orkut helped shape life online before people really knew what “social networking” was. Over the past decade, YouTube, Blogger and Google+ have taken off, with communities springing up in every corner of the world. Because the growth of these communities has outpaced Orkut’s growth, we’ve decided to bid Orkut farewell (or, tchau). We’ll be focusing our energy and resources on making these other social platforms as amazing as possible for everyone who uses them. We will shut down Orkut on September 30, 2014. Until then, there will be no impact on current Orkut users, to give the community time to manage the transition. People can export their profile data, community posts and photos using Google Takeout (available until September 2016). Starting today, it will not be possible to create a new Orkut account. Orkut, the service, may be going away, but all of those incredible communities Orkut users have created will live on. We are preserving an archive of all public communities, which will be available online starting September 30, 2014. If you don’t want your posts or name to be included in the community archive, you can remove Orkut permanently from your Google account. Please visit our Help Center for further details. It’s been a great 10 years, and we apologize to those still actively using the service. We hope people will find other online communities to spark more conversations and build even more connections for the next decade and beyond.
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Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification for July 2014

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/microsoft-security-bulletin-advance-notification-july-2014/

Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification for July 2014

Microsoft is getting ready for their latest round of patches.  Patch Tuesday will see six in total with varying degrees of importance.

The following table summarizes the security bulletins for this month in order of severity.

For details on affected software, see the next section, Affected Software.

Bulletin ID Maximum Severity Rating and Vulnerability Impact Restart Requirement Affected Software
Bulletin 1 Critical
Remote Code Execution
Requires restart Microsoft Windows,
Internet Explorer
Bulletin 2 Critical
Remote Code Execution
May require restart Microsoft Windows
Bulletin 3 Important
Elevation of Privilege
Requires restart Microsoft Windows
Bulletin 4 Important
Elevation of Privilege
Requires restart Microsoft Windows
Bulletin 5 Important
Elevation of Privilege
May require restart Microsoft Windows
Bulletin 6 Moderate
Denial of Service
Does not require restart Microsoft Server Software

The following table details Microsoft’s classification for severity

Rating Definition
Critical A vulnerability whose exploitation could allow code execution without user interaction. These scenarios include self-propagating malware (e.g. network worms), or unavoidable common use scenarios where code execution occurs without warnings or prompts. This could mean browsing to a web page or opening email.

Microsoft recommends that customers apply Critical updates immediately.

Important A vulnerability whose exploitation could result in compromise of the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of user data, or of the integrity or availability of processing resources. These scenarios include common use scenarios where client is compromised with warnings or prompts regardless of the prompt’s provenance, quality, or usability. Sequences of user actions that do not generate prompts or warnings are also covered.

Microsoft recommends that customers apply Important updates at the earliest opportunity.

Moderate Impact of the vulnerability is mitigated to a significant degree by factors such as authentication requirements or applicability only to non-default configurations.

Microsoft recommends that customers consider applying the security update.

Low Impact of the vulnerability is comprehensively mitigated by the characteristics of the affected component. Microsoft recommends that customers evaluate whether to apply the security update to the affected systems.
A TEXT POST

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/104609/

Now that more people are starting to use XBMC 13.0 codename “Gotham,” several issues have popped up which testing hadn’t previously revealed. After releasing two betas and a release candidate, it’s time for a final 13.1 release. The incorporated fixes are the ones already mentioned in the release candidate announcement, nonetheless we will list them again below. Do note that this release contains only fixes, and no new features. This 13.1 release can be safely installed on top of any previous XBMC releases. Please read the important notice at the bottom as well. Should you find any problems, you can find how to report these at the bottom of this announcement. Very likely we will release another bug-fix release after this version, with additional fixes and small improvements. These are however to intrusive to already include in this 13.1 release, as they need careful testing.

This 13.1 release contains the fixes compared to previous 13.0

  • Fix resume point of certain PVR items begin stale on playback.
  • Fix weirdness when certain TVs query XBMC’s UPnP server and it starts running a bunch of add-ons which cause popups on the XBMC machine.
  • Fix crash at exit while airplay is playing
  • Better recovery of VDPAU on errors.
  • Fixes for cropping of interlaced content using VDPAU.
  • Fix for FLAC tracks with large embedded images not playing.
  • Fix for crash if librtmp wasn’t available.
  • Fix for ffmpeg building on linux using later versions of librtmp.
  • Fix for broken m4a, mp4 playback with paplayer.
  • Fix for the hint text not being shown in editcontrols once unfocused.
  • Fix minor memory leak in PlayMedia builtin function.
  • Fix albumartist use in song smartplaylists.
  • Use unique client broadcast UID in the PVR api.

Important notice

Backup your data Before upgrading we would recommend you create a backup of your current userdata folder which contains all your current settings and database files. In the unlikely case that something went wrong during your upgrade, a backup will ensure that you are still able to go back to the previous state. Where the userdata folder is located on your system can be found on our userdata wiki page. Do note that when first upgrading from Frodo 12.x it may take some time until you see the familiar homescreen as several internal upgrades need to be performed.

Add-ons As mentioned in previous blog posts, due to changes related to our add-on system and skin improvement, certain plugins, scripts and skins may become incompatible when upgrading from Frodo to Gotham. Sadly this is part of the continuing process of development and improvement. We hope the impact of these changes will be limited but we feel a warning would be beneficial. If there are any addons you particularly depend on, we advise that you visit the forum thread of that add-on to see if the author has ensured support in XBMC 13.

After you have updated from Frodo or any earlier alpha or beta it may be beneficial to force refresh the XBMC.org repository. This will ensure the most recent repository list is loaded and needed updates become available. Here’s a quick how-to from our wiki: Force refresh

Download

Courtesy of: http://xbmc.org/xbmc-13-1-gotham-returns/

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Contact Us

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/contact-us/

Contact Us

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A Closer Look at Samsung RAPID

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/closer-look-samsung-rapid/

A Closer Look at Samsung RAPID

Have you heard of RAPID? That is the question you need to be asking yourself if you have purchased a Samsung SSD recently. Aside from the speedy little SSD you get in the package, Samsung has a cool trick up their sleeve and it goes by the name of RAPID, or Real-time Accelerated Processing of I/O Data.  What is it? And, does it work?

The idea is simple, accomplishing it is another story.  The idea, in a nutshell, is this; use your system’s resources (CPU and DRAM) to increase read acceleration through caching hot data.  Now even though this sounds like a RAM drive, and it is in some ways… it can increase the performance of your system, in certain scenarios, dramatically…

RAPID mode increases the overall performance of your computer by pairing the industry’s fastest SSD with the most advanced storage management techniques to deliver the fastest and most reliable user experience. RAPID mode analyzes your application and data usage, dynamically optimizes the I/O for Samsung SSDs, and eliminates system performance bottlenecks. RAPID mode is fully automated; no user management is necessary.

When enabled, RAPID mode is inserted as a filter driver in the Windows storage stack. The driver actively monitors and analyzes system traffic and leverages spare system resources (DRAM and CPU) to deliver read acceleration through intelligent caching of hot data and write  optimization through tight coordination with the SSD.

  • Read/Write Cache.  RAPID mode uses system DRAM as a cache of “hot data” based on frequency, recency, file type, etc, such that subsequent requests can be served directly from DRAM, rather than going to the SSD.
  • Write Optimization.  System write requests are processed for optimized performance with Samsung EVO SSD.
  • File Awareness.  RAPID mode may exclude certain files from caching based on a variety of factors, including file type, file size, etc. This prevents unnecessary data from polluting the cache.
  • Persistent Cache.  RAPID mode maintains cache map across system reboot to maintain consistent high-performance operation.
  • Cache Compression.  RAPID mode dynamically compresses and de-compresses cache contents to dramatically improve cache efficiency. Optimized for Samsung EVO. RAPID Mode was co-developed and optimized for the Samsung MEX controller.

RAPID is included in the Samsung Magician software.  I set out to see if it was all fluff, beyond 4K benchmarks, and worked as well in real world computing as it does in benchmarks.

To figure all this out, I installed our recently reviewed Samsung EVO in my less than impressive laptop.  The machine is by no means exceptional and was purchased for less than $500 (M5-583P-6428).

SamsungRAPID 1 580x115 A Closer Look at Samsung RAPID

Operating System Microsoft Windows 8.1
CPU Type Mobile DualCore Intel Core i5-4200U
Motherboard Name Acer Aspire M5-583P
Motherboard Chipset Intel Lynx Point-LP
System Memory 7848 MB (DDR3-1600 DDR3 SDRAM)
3D Accelerator Intel HD Graphics 4400
Monitor AU Optronics B156XTN03.1   [15.6” LCD]
Audio Adapter Realtek ALC282 @ Intel Lynx Point-LP PCH – High Definition Audio Controller
IDE Controller Intel(R) 8 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller

I conducted a series of benchmarks before and after enabling RAPID.  First up is Samsung’s own performance benchmark. The benchmark is within the Samsung Magician Application and measures 4K performance in MB/s and IOPS.

Samsung Sequential Read Sequential Write
RAPID 5512 4265
Normal 424 494
Samsung Random READ IOPS Random Write IOPS
RAPID 89250 51249
Normal 72489 18616

In an attempt to validate the Samsung performance benchmark, I chose CrystalDiskMark to see whether or not the Samsung Performance benchmark was artificially inflated. However, the results seem to be consistent between the two benchmarking applications.  RAPID clearly indicates an increase in performance.

Crystal Sequential Read Sequential Write
RAPID 4596 3139
Normal 409.2 490.1
Crystal 512K Read 512K Write
RAPID 4392 3102
Normal 397.2 342
Crystal 4K Read 4K Write
RAPID 221.7 119.5
Normal 32.74 64.73
Crystal 4K QD32 Read 4K QD32 Write
RAPID 400.9 170.9
Normal 279.3 78.69

With two benchmarks down and RAPID seemingly increasing performance exponentially.  I wanted to see how it may affect various aspects of real world computing.  Although hot data isn’t directly related to Windows boot, I wanted to see how RAPID would affect Windows boot times.  Again, we are using Windows 8.1 and our trusty, less than impressive, laptop.  As this is an “every day use” system, there are a number of items to start at boot.  These range from CrashPlan and Acronis TrueImage to BitDefender, Teamviewer, Chrome, Skype, and much more.

The times below are in seconds…

Boot times Average Boot Time
RAPID 42.54
Normal 41.56

Based on the benchmarking results above, it does not look as though RAPID has any affect on Windows boot time.

For further benchmarking, I loaded PCMark8 to benchmark the system before and after enabling RAPID.  PCMark 8 includes a variety of benchmark tests reflecting the different ways people use their computers. Each benchmark produces a score. Higher is better.

PCMark 8 Home benchmark measures your system’s ability to perform a series of common tasks typical of daily home use. The Home workloads generally have light computational requirements and are ideal for testing low-cost tablets, notebooks and desktop home PCs.

The benchmark test contains the following workloads.

  • Web Browsing
  • Writing
  • Casual Gaming
  • Photo Editing
  • Video Chat
 PCMark 8 Home Benchmarks
RAPID 2537
Normal 2544

Using traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and a selection of popular games, PCMark 8 Storage highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices. The PCMark 8 Storage benchmark test contains the following workload traces:

  • Adobe Photoshop light
  • Adobe Photoshop heavy
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe After Effect
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • World of Warcraft
  • Battlefield 3
 PCMark 8 Storage Score
RAPID 4984
Normal 4951
 PCMark 8 Storage Bandwidth
RAPID 280.20
Normal 236.28
*PCMark® is a registered trademark of Futuremark Corporation.

Although we didn’t go to great lengths testing RAPID as completely as we do with our SSD reviews, the conclusions can be drawn rather quickly.  While RAPID seemingly increases the performance in 4K benchmarks, it really doesn’t do much for anything else.  The idea is sound and the implementation is appreciated… but without any significant “feel” of responsiveness from our system, I can’t really say that I am all that impressed.

Samsung EVO 250 8 A Closer Look at Samsung RAPID

Understanding that trace benchmarking is not indicative of everyone’s usage, it does its job well. It gives us insight into how a particular system or drive can perform in an easily repeatable benchmark.  The benchmarking indicates that scores changed very little with RAPID enabled.

While it is completely understandable that system boot times weren’t affected, it would have been appreciated.  The reason? RAPID is loaded during boot.  It can’t affect something it can’t control.

While RAPID is a great tool for bragging to your buddies, it doesn’t really do much else… right now.  I do hope that the technology continues to evolve and true performance gains can be realized, but as for now… I can live without it.

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Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/samsung-840-evo-250gb-review/

Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review

We love speed… and after reviewing the Samsung 840 Pro, we were chomping at the bit to get the 840 EVO in the lab.  Not only does the newer EVO model use newer 19nm 3-bit Triple-Level Cell vs that of 2-bit MLC found in the 840 Pro, but it also features a much more attractive price-point and an increased IOPS… on paper.

Samsung’s 840 EVO comes in a variety of flavors: 120GB, 250GB, 500GB, 750GB, and 1 wonderful TB.  The 840 Evo measures in at just 7mm thick, conforms to the 2.5 inch form factor, and sports Samsung’s 3-core MEX controller.  Samsung claims that the EVO can reach sequential read speeds of up to 540MB/s and sequential write speeds up to 520MB/s in their specifications.  The drive sports a MTFB of 1.5 million hours and a 3 year warranty. If you do the math, 1.5 million hours is equal to 171 years!

Samsung EVO 250 1 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review

The drive is available in 3 different packages:

  • Basic (Drive only), Laptop Upgrade and Desktop Upgrade kit.
  • The Laptop Upgrade kit comes with a SATA to USB 3.0 connector and a mounting spacer.
  • The Desktop Upgrade kit includes a SATA to USB 2.0 connector, a SATA data cable, screws, a 2.5” to 3.5” adapter bracket.

The EVO comes in rocking the same smooth finish found in the PRO model.  The sleek grey and black exterior exudes confidence.  Unlike our OCZ Vector, this drive is light, tinny, and free from graphics.  I do, however, appreciate the sold feel I get from the Vector; that is if feel means anything to you.  The Samsung EVO looks great, but “feels” cheap.  When handling the drive, it almost seems like the components inside are flopping about.

Samsung EVO 250 6 300x300 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review Samsung EVO 250 5 300x300 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review

Inside the EVO, there is a lot of open space.  The PCB takes up just a fraction of its enclosure.  Samsung outfitted this drive with two 3-BIT MLC (A.K.A. TLC) 128GB (K90KGY8S7M-CCK0) packages, the Samsung MEX controller (S4LN045X01-B030) , and LPDDR2 DRAM for caching (K4P4G324EB-FGC2).  The MEX controller uses  a 3-core ARM Cortex R4 processor at 400 MHz.  The Cortex R4 processor is the first real-time processor based on the ARMv7-R architecture.

Samsung EVO 250 11 300x375 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review Samsung EVO 250 10 300x375 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review

Ok… So what is the deal with TLC? And no, it isn’t a Micheal Jackson reference.  Instead, TLC is what I consider to be a natural evolution in the SSD Market.  First, there was SLC, then MLC, and now TLC.  SLC, or Single-Level Cell can store 1 bit of data per cell.  Because of that, it costs much more per gigabyte but offers the highest performance.  MLC, Multi-Level Cell, is in the middle.  It can store 2 bits of data per cell and offers good performance and a decreased price point.  Drawbacks include a decrease in endurance and a far greater complexity in determining the drives state.  It is much easier to determine if an SLC is occupied.  TLC, Triple-Level Cell, is the most affordable of the lot.  However, it offers the lowest performance and an increased rate at which the NAND cells degrade.  With TLC there are 8 states to distinguish between, with only a few electrons making the difference between one state or another.

Samsung EVO 250 25 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review

So, why would anyone want to buy an SSD with lower performance and an increase in cell degradation?  Well, engineers thought about it… a lot. They came up with complex and clever solutions.  With things like Advanced wear-level coding, new garbage collecting algorithms, improved ECC (Error-Correcting  Code), over-provisioning, and parallelization.

To get speeds up, manufacturers like Samsung, that make every single aspect of this drive, can choose from the highest quality NAND in their manufacturing process.  Also, the decrease in production costs for TLC means Samsung can increase the number of NAND chips in their SSD, which allows for more parallelization and the implementation of something called TurboWrite.

TurboWrite is a technology that simulates faster SLC NAND on a portion of the drive.  During write operations, data is first written to the buffer at accelerated speeds.  Then during the idle periods, the data is moved from the buffer to primary storage.

Samsung EVO 250 26 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review

The buffer size varies with drive sizes and starts with a minimum size of 3GB on the 120GB flavor.

SSD Capacity 120GB 250GB 500GB 750GB 1TB
Buffer Size 3GB 3GB 6GB 9GB 12GB

Now, a buffer is just that… a buffer.  Under consecutive write operations, the buffer will fill. When that happens, the transfer will exit TurboWrite and write data directly to the drive at 3-bit MLC performance.

SSD Capacity 120GB 250GB 500GB 750GB 1TB
TurboWrite 410 MB/s 520 MB/s 520 MB/s 520 MB/s 520 MB/s
Exit TurboWrite 140 MB/s 270 MB/s 420 MB/s 420 MB/s 420 MB/s

Packaged with each drive, no matter the trim level, is Samsung Magician software and Samsung Data Migration Software.  Samsung Magician software is a suite of tools and recommendations that can help you get the most out of your configured system.  Outside of the fancy graphical representation of usage and the easy firmware update process, the drive can help you configure your OS and drive to improve performance, maximize capacity, improve reliability, or customize your own profile.

Samsung EVO 250 13 580x412 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review

Samsung EVO 250 15 300x213 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review Samsung EVO 250 16 300x213 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review Samsung EVO 250 22 300x213 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review Samsung EVO 250 23 300x213 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review

RAPID was unable to be configured on our test system.  Stay tuned for an update when those issues are resolved.

The following is take directly from the Samsung Magician Software White paper:

  • The “Maximum Performance” configuration profile sacrifices a small amount of SSD lifespan (or endurance) in favor of the fastest possible performance. Features like “Hibernation Mode,” “Virtual Memory,” and “indexing,” which require extra writes to the SSD in order to function, are enabled for added speed.
  • The “Maximum Capacity” profile disables features that require a large amount of extra storage space to function, including “Hibernation Mode,” “Virtual Memory,” and “Automatic Backup,” all of which reserve rather large portions of SSD storage. This configuration is particularly useful for those who purchased a low capacity SSD and want to ensure they have as much space available as possible for their own files without the OS claiming precious space for itself.
  • “The Maximum Reliability” configuration profile disables all features that produce extra writes to the SSD in order to maximize potential SSD lifespan. It is a well-known fact that SSDs have a limited number of write/erase cycles. While this limit is far beyond any usage level a regular user might encounter, some still prefer to take extra cautionary measures. Features like “Indexing,” “Hibernation Mode, “Virtual Memory” and “Automatic Backup,” which make frequent writes to the SSD, will all be switched off. While there may be a slight performance decrease when using the “Maximum Capacity” or “Maximum Reliability” profiles, especially when waking from sleep, SSD technology’s incredible read/write speeds ensure users will still enjoy a noticeable performance and usability improvement over traditional hard disk drive (HDD) technology. Of course, there is always the option to choose a custom configuration via the “Advanced” tab. Even power users will find this tab useful, as it provides quick access to all relevant OS features either via simple toggle or via a shortcut to the appropriate Windows dialog box.

Samsung EVO 250 17 300x213 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review Samsung EVO 250 18 300x213 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review Samsung EVO 250 19 300x213 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review Samsung EVO 250 20 300x213 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review

Magician software also has a built-in benchmarking utility so you can easily document how your drive is performing.  The benchmark measures four key areas: Sequential Read, Sequential Write, Random Read (IOPS), and Random Writes (IOPS).

Samsung EVO 250 14 580x412 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review

The software can also set Over Provisioning on your Samsung drive.  Over Provisioning is an easy way to set aside a minimum amount of space that the SSD controller can use as a “swap space”.  As you overwrite data on your drive, the controller has to erase an entire NAND block that may contain some still valid data.  While this is going on, the controller goes through a complex process of moving data around trying to wear cells evenly and prepare free blocks for future data writes.  As you fill your drive, the amount of space the controller has to work with becomes more limited and Over Provisioning solves this by setting the space aside.

Samsung EVO 250 21 580x412 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review

SSD Benchmarking Hardware & Methodology details hardware used & methodology for conducting benchmarks.
To see how this SSD compares to others, please visit our SSD Benchmarking Database

SSD Key Bencharmking Results

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AS SSD is a small but powerful SSD benchmarking utility created specifically for that purpose. The software uses “incompressible” data to benchmark your drive without the benefits of compression that may increase performance under certain circumstances.

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CrystalDiskMark is another benchmarking utility that determines speeds by measuring 512KB, 4KB, and 4KB (Queue Depth 32) sequential and random read and write speeds. Test data can be Random, 0Fill, and 1Fill. For our purposes, we left the test at Random.

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Anvil Storage Benchmark is a software package that I strolled across one day while cruising some reviews. The software is still in BETA and offers it out to you for free during the BETA period. The software has an SSD benchmark that can be configured to test with data from 0Fill to 1Fill. You get read write speeds in MB/s and IOPS. There are other benchmarking options, but we are only concerned with the SSD benchmarking at 0Fill and 100% (1Fill – Incompressible).

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IOMeter has to be one of the most widely used software packages for benchmarking disks. There are an endless number of ways you can build a benchmark, but we chose to limit our benchmarking to 100 percent Sequential Read and Write then 100 percent Random Read and Write. You can emulate our benchmarking by using the following configuration

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[table id=”9” hide_rows=”all” show_rows=”all” use_datatables=”false” hide_columns=”1-3,5-14” /]

The ATTO Disk Benchmark performance measurement tool is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Measure your storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. Several options are available to customize your performance measurement including queue depth, overlapped I/O and even a comparison mode with the option to run continuously. Use ATTO Disk Benchmark to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host adapters, hard drives and SSD drives and notice that ATTO products will consistently provide the highest level of performance to your storage.

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PCMark Vantage is a benchmarking suite designed to stress components in various ways to measure performance. For our purposes, we will be utilizing the HDD Suite to gain an understanding on how this drive will perform under these simulated criteria: Windows Defender, Gaming, Importing Photos, Windows Vista Startup, Video Editing Windows Media Center, Adding Music, and Application Loading.

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Using traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and a selection of popular games, PCMark 8 Storage highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices. You do not need to have these applications installed on your system to run the Storage benchmark. The PCMark 8 Storage benchmark test contains the following workload traces:

  • Adobe Photoshop light
  • Adobe Photoshop heavy
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe After Effect
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • World of Warcraft
  • Battlefield 3
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There really is no question about where SSD’s are going.  TLC NAND and future enhancements is going to keep the price trending downward.  I am interested to see how other manufacturers, that do not have the same level of control that Samsung has, can fare in this new market.  With 4-bit MLC NAND on the horizon in production drives, keeping performance up will be an increasingly difficult road to navigate.

Samsung EVO 250 6 300x300 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review Samsung EVO 250 5 300x300 Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Review

Ok, so what does this mean when you add it all up?  It means that Samsung has put together a drive that leaves others in the dust at a price that everyone can afford.  The Samsung EVO has proven itself to be akin to a cost-effective sports car.  The use of TLC in the EVO keeps the prices down while technology like TurboWrite and parrellization keeps the speeds up.  Clever enhancements and new technology have provided a roadmap for the future. Bottom line, the Samsung EVO will have no issues standing tall among the SSD elite.  The real question boils down to… Is it worth your money?  Well, considering that you don’t have to shell out a ton of it ($147.oo USD) to get a 256GB EVO, I would say yes.

A TEXT POST

Zentyal announces Zentyal Server 3.5

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/zentyal-announces-zentyal-server-3-5/

Zentyal announces Zentyal Server 3.5

Zentyal Development Team today announced Zentyal Server 3.5, a new release of the Zentyal Linux small business server. Zentyal Server aims at offering small and medium businesses (SMBs) a native drop-in replacement for Windows® Small Business Server and Microsoft® Exchange Server, that can be set up in less than 30 minutes and is both easy-to-use and affordable.

Zentyal Server 3.5 release focuses on providing a stable server edition with simplified architecture. Therefore, the release comes with a single LDAP implementation based on Samba4, helping to solve a number of synchronization issues caused by having two LDAP implementations in the earlier editions. In addition, a number of modules have been removed in order to focus on Zentyal Server’s goal: Offer a drop-in replacement for Windows® Small Business Server and Microsoft® Exchange Server.

In this regard, Zentyal Server 3.5 release has also focused on providing improved Microsoft® Exchange Server replacement based on the OpenChange technology. Besides a number of minor improvements, the release features support for Microsoft Outlook® 2010 and automatic Inbox refresh with recent versions of Microsoft Outlook®.

Technical features

Zentyal Server 3.5 comes with improved LDAP integration based solely on Samba4 and improved native interoperability with Microsoft® Exchange Server. It is based on the latest Ubuntu LTS distribution (Ubuntu 14.04) and offers greater stability thanks to the removal of modules that fall out of the focus of a “small business server” or were little-used.

New features and improvements include:

  • Improved LDAP integration based only on Samba4 (synchronization with OpenLDAP was removed)
  • Distribution upgrade from Ubuntu Server 13.10 to Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS
  • Support for Microsoft Outlook® 2010
  • Automatic Inbox refresh with recent versions of Microsoft Outlook®

Removed modules include:

  • L7 filter
  • FTP
  • Zarafa
  • User Corner
  • Captive Portal
  • Bandwidth Monitor

Upgrading

Automatic migration path from Zentyal 3.4 to Zentyal 3.5 will be provided shortly. The migration not only affects Zentyal Server, but also involves a Ubuntu base distribution upgrade (from Ubuntu 13.10 to 14.04). The migration process will be made available in a few weeks in order to consolidate the scenario.

Availability

Zentyal Server 3.5 is released under the GPLv2 license and is freely available for download at: http://www.zentyal.org/download/

The Zentyal Server source code is available at: https://github.com/Zentyal/zentyal/

A TEXT POST

Best XBMC Addons for 2014

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/best-xbmc-addons-2014/

Best XBMC Addons for 2014

XBMC is a powerful HTPC front end, but you never truly realize its potential until you start exploring ways of extending its functionality.  Addons extend XBMC’s functionality bringing you new and incredible ways to enjoy your HTPC.  Given the large number of add-ons out there… here is MY list of the top 5 for 2014 so far.

MashUp

xbmc2014 01 580x326 Best XBMC Add ons for 2014

Website: http://www.mashupxbmc.com/
Repository: http://install.mashupxbmc.com

There is an enormous amount of diversity and a wide array of featured offered in MashUp.  It’s much more than just a simple addon.  MashUp provides you with access to an astounding number of sources (All-In-One) for all your needs.  Be it movies, shows, live channels, live and replayed sporting events, and much more.  MashUp has grown at an incredible pace and will strive to continue growing, and even further, surpass its current standing as of the most popular and innovative addons ever to arrive on the XBMC platform.

Netflixbmc

xbmc2014 02 580x362 Best XBMC Add ons for 2014

Website: http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=178693
Repository: http://code.google.com/p/addonscriptorde-beta-repo/downloads/detail?name=repository.addonscriptorde-beta.zip&can=2&q=

NetfliXBMC is an add-on for browsing Netflix content via XBMC. Video playback is done via a WebBrowser because of Silverlight DRM.  It works under Windows, OSX and Linux. Linux users need to install Pipelight for video playback. Linux/Pipelight/UserAgent instructions… Video playback is provided via Chrome Launcher.

Add to library function:
You can add movies and tv shows (full shows & single seasons) to your library via context menu.

Profiles:
The addon supports Netflix profiles. If you only have one profile configured on Netflix you should activate the appropriate setting.

USTVNow

xbmc2014 04 580x326 Best XBMC Add ons for 2014

Website: https://www.ustvnow.com/
Repository: http://fusion.xbmchub.com

It is interesting that USTVNow isn’t on more people’s list for great addons.  This plugin offers you up some quick TV channels at no cost and provides access to US TV channels no matter you location.  There are free and paid subscriptions.

The NEW SportsDevil

xbmc2014 05 580x325 Best XBMC Add ons for 2014

Website: https://github.com/al101/SportsDevil-Fixes/archive/master.zip
Repository: https://github.com/al101/SportsDevil-Fixes/archive/master.zip

It is no secret that we loved our SportsDevil add-on.  Unfortunately, it had gone neglected and many streams weren’t working.  There was no easy way to find updates, but now… things are different.  It has once again found its way into our list of top addons and has a new home with its own repository!

Movie4k.to

xbmc2014 06 580x326 Best XBMC Add ons for 2014

Website:  http://movie4k.to
Repository: Fusion Repository

The site Movie4k.to has written an add-on for one of the biggest online movie and television streaming sites.  This may end up being one of the most widely used streaming add-ons because it provides a ton of quality sources for pretty much anything you can think of watching.