The evolution of SSD storage

Wednesday, 07 March 2018

Solid state storage has been popular in computer graphics pipelines for several years. With video quality ever-evolving into the realms of 4K, 8K, and HDR the demand for high-speed storage is increasing as studios become more dependent on quick-access drives that allow them to playback uncompressed, high quality footage.

The evolution of SSD storage

In a post production environment data storage needs to be fast enough so that artists can access their work quickly and without interruption. A standard hard disk drive connected to a workstation can transfer data at up to 200MB/s, while an SSD connected to that same machine via the SATA bus operates at speeds of up to 500MB/s. This is all because SSD data is being read from several microchips as the same time, whereas with an HDD the data is being read off a spinning disk that requires motion in order to it, which takes more time.

But as video quality increases and data sets grow in size, studios are starting to look for something even faster than SSDs.

NVMe Storage

NVMe (non-volatile memory express) storage is the next evolution in SSD connectivity for both workstations and centralised storage infrastructure. NVMe uses a PCIe connection to deliver an impressive speed boost over SATA due to its direct link with the CPU. With NVMe users can benefit from an incredible 15GB/s connection, up to ten times faster than SATA. Which is perfect for graphics teams working with high end video output or complex 3D geometry.

This leap forward in storage technology doesn’t, however, completely replace standard SATA SSDs as studios are still heavily reliant on SSD solutions of this nature for their storage infrastructures. SATA SSDs are perfect for use as scratch disks dealing with temporary data, and RAID arrays for backing up files in case of main drive failure. 

NVMe is the next step in high speed storage solutions. As the technology matures and file sizes get bigger, studios will be looking more to NVMe drives to answer their storage challenges.

To learn more about NVMe storage and the best solutions for your workflow contact us below.