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Sabrent Rocket Q4 NVMe 4.0 review: Blazing fast performance for a reasonable price
by Christopher White
Old hard drives, or "spinning rust" as some call it, are good for mass storage, but nobody will ever mistake them for high performance. SATA SSD drives are much faster than the old drives, and were a breakthrough over a decade ago, but pale in comparison to today's NVMe SSD drives.
Today, we take a look at Sabrent's 2TB Rocket Q4 NVMe 4.0 SSD drive.
The Sabrent Rocket Q4 utilizes the M.2 2280 form factor, which is standard for these types of drives, has a Phison PS5016-E16 controller, and Micron 96L QLC NV memory. It's available in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB models. For this review, I'm looking at the 2TB version.
Rocket Q4 1TB Rocket Q4 2TB Rocket Q4 4TB Form Factor M.2 2280 M.2 2280 M.2 2280 Interface PCI 4.0 x4 PCI 4.0 x4 PCI 4.0 x4 Protocol NVMe 1.3 NVMe 1.3 NVMe 1.3 Controller Phison PS5016-E16 Phison PS5016-E16 Phison PS5016-E16 DRAM DDR4 DDR4 DDR4 NV Memory Micron 96L QLC Micron 96L QLC Micron 96L QLC Sequential Read Up to 4,700 MB/s Up to 4,800 MB/s Up to 4,900 MB/s Sequential Write Up to 1,800 MB/s Up to 3,600 MB/s Up to 3,700 MB/s Random Read Up to 180,000 IOPS Up to 350,000 IOPS Up to 350,000 IOPS Random Write Up to 450,000 IOPS Up to 700,000 IOPS Up to 700,000 IOPS Endurance 200 TBW 400 TBW 800 TBW Warranty 5 years (with registration) 5 years (with registration) 5 years (with registration) Performance varies based on the capacity, so the sweet spot appears to be the 2TB model, which roughly doubles the speed of writes. Current Amazon.com pricing as of this writing is $160 for the 1TB model, $320 for the 2TB version, and $750 for the 4TB drive. That equates to roughly $0.16/GB for both the 1TB and 2TB model and $0.19/GB for the 4TB model, making the 2TB version the sweet spot for both price and performance.
Utilizing QLC, the endurance of the drive is rated at 400TB, which shouldn't be a concern for most users. The drive comes with a five year warranty, but requires registration; if you don't register the drive, then the warranty only lasts for one year, which is pretty bad.
The drive requires PCIe 4.0 to run at maximum performance. You can use the Rocket in a PCIe 3.0 motherboard, but will obviously lose some performance by doing so.
It's clear that Sabrent is trying to convey that it is offering a premium product, something that the packaging helps reinforce. While the Samsung and AData NVMe drives I have both came in plastic containers, the Sabrent Rocket Q4 sits inside a copper colored metal clamshell. Inside, the drive itself is nestled in foam padding. While I appreciate the presentation, part of me feels like it's a waste of material. Regardless, it looks pretty nice.
The copper and white coloring is maintained on the drive itself, giving the drive a very elegant and premium look.
Here are the details on the machine that I ran the test on.
Motherboard: Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X Memory: G.Skill Triden Z Neo CL16 2x16GB Video Card: EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER XC GAMING OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Education 64-bit Performance
So we know the Sabrent Rocket Q4 looks good and is reasonably priced, but how does it perform? To test that out, I ran a few benchmarks, including Samsung Magician, CrystalDiskMark, and the Final Fantasy XIV benchmark tool that tests loading times.
Overall, results were very good with a few oddities and some caveats.
The machine I tested on currently has a 1TB Samsung 970 Evo Plus as the boot drive, a 2TB ADATA SX8200PNP for my games, and a 6TB Seagate IronWolf ST6000NE0021 for mass storage of music and photos. Running the Samsung Magician benchmark showed the Rocket with a sizable lead of 60% in sequential reads and 80% in sequential writes versus the Samsung 970 EVO Plus. The read performance was even better compared to the ADATA, but write performance didn't have similar gains - although it was still much better.
After using Samsung Magician, I ran the Sabrent Rocket Q4 through several different CrystalDiskMark benchmarks. In addition to running them on an empty disk, I ran them again when storage was over 70% utilized, to see if there was any performance degradation due to the capacity of the drive.
As you can see from the graphs, performance differences were statistically insignificant regardless of how much storage was being used, which is good. The performance, while not matching the speed shown by Samsung Magician, were still much higher than the other two drives in the test system.
While performance is excellent at 64MiB, read performance drops off considerably at 64GiB. This is especially curious because the ADATA drive performed the SEQ1M Q8T1 test at 3,248MB/s, and the Samsung drive was even better, reading at 3,565MB/s. This means that transferring very large files would have a more noticeable delay on the Sabrent Rocket Q4, although it's still extremely fast.
Comparing the three drives directly, you can see that the Sabrent Rocket Q4 is by far the fastest of the drives at 64MiB when it comes to reading, and is slightly faster than the Samsung Evo Plus at writing. Aside from the aforementioned 64GiB test, the Sabrent Rocket Q4 either tied or beat the other two drives in all of the tests.
In addition to the raw performance tests, I also ran the Final Fantasy XIV loading time benchmark. This gives a real-world idea of how long it takes to load the game from your hard drive. It can also be used to test the overall performance of your system. The loading times for all of the NVMe drives were within a second of each other, while the "spinning rust" drive was more than 3x slower.
During all of the testing, the Sabrent Rocket Q4 maintained a cool temperature, averaging around 47°C. By comparison, the Samsung drive was 54°C and the ADATA was 52°C. Temperature seemed to have little impact on performance, as testing from a cold boot provided similar results as when the machine was running Folding@Home.
Sabrent offers an optional heatsink for the drive as well.
The Sabrent Rocket Q4 offers excellent performance at a great price. However there are three important caveats to keep in mind.
First, the drive utilizes PCIe 4.0. If you have an older system, or a newer system that doesn't support the latest PCI standard, your performance metrics will take a hit. The drive will still run at PCIe 3.0 speeds, but you'd be paying for speed you won't see.
Second, the drive has QLC flash, which means the endurance will suffer, providing only 200 TB of writes per 1 TB drive. For most users, this is probably fine, especially if you use the Rocket Q4 as a gaming drive, but the endurance directly leads to our next consideration.
The warranty requires you to register your drive. If you don't, it's a simple one year warranty which is ridiculously low. This is an easy thing to bypass by simply registering the drive for a robust five year warranty, but make sure you don't overlook that step.
If any of the above three caveats are issues for your particular workloads, then I recommend looking elsewhere. For most people, however, the Sabrent Rocket Q4 is a quality NVMe drive that will provide blazing speeds at competitive pricing, and I can whole-heartedly recommend it.
by Razvan Serea
Basilisk is a free and Open Source XUL-based web browser created by the developers of the Pale Moon browser. It is based on the Goanna layout and rendering engine (a fork of Gecko) and builds on the Unified XUL Platform (UXP), which in turn is a fork of the Mozilla code base without Servo or Rust.
Basilisk as an application is primarily a vessel for development of the XUL platform it builds upon, and additionally a potential replacement for Firefox to retain the use of Firefox Extensions. It aims to retain useful technologies that its sibling Firefox has removed.
Requires Windows 7 or later. Windows XP or Windows Vista are not supported.
Uses Goanna as a layout and rendering engine. Goanna behaves slightly differently than Gecko in certain respects and may result in different display of web pages. e.g.: Goanna renders gradients in a more accurate color space (non-premultiplied). Builds on UXP, our XUL platform in development. As such XUL is alive and well in this browser and will not be deprecated. Has some long-standing known issues with the Mozilla code-base fixed (e.g. CVE-2009-1232). Does not use Rust or the Photon user interface. You can expect a familiar interface as-carried by Firefox between v29 and v56. Does not use Electrolysis (e10s, multi-process browsing). Does not require walled-garden extension signing. Basilisk 2020.11.25 changelog:
Aligned CSS tab-size with the specification and un-prefixed it. Updated Brotli library to 1.0.9. Updated JAR lib code. Cleaned up HPKP leftovers. Disabled the DOM filesystem API by default. Removed Phone Vibrator API. Fixed an issue where the software uninstaller would not remove the program files it should. Fixed a devtools crash related to timeline snapshots. Fixed several data race conditions. Security issues fixed: CVE-2020-26960, CVE-2020-26951, CVE-2020-26956, CVE-2020-15999 and several memory safety hazards. Unified XUL Platform Mozilla Security Patch Summary: 5 fixed, 4 defense-in-depth, 3 rejected, 19 not applicable. Download: Basilisk 2020.11.25 (32-bit) | Portable | ~50.0 MB (Open Source)
Download: Basilisk 2020.11.25 (64-bit) | Portable
View: Basilisk Website
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By Abhay V
Google extends support for Chrome on Windows 7 by six months, to now end in 2022
by Abhay Venkatesh
Google today announced that it is extending support for the Chrome browser on Windows 7 by another six months, with the end-of-support now set for January 15, 2022, moved from the earlier July 15, 2021 timeline. The new date makes it exactly two years since Windows 7 reached its end of life. The company says that the decision was based on the feedback received from its enterprise customers and data about companies’ migration plans to Windows 10.
The search giant adds that many organizations were slated to migrate to Windows 10 this year. However, the challenges brought about by the pandemic resulting in differing priorities for enterprise IT teams have delayed the migration. The firm also cites a Kantar study that it commissioned that notes that 21% of organizations are still in the process of migrating from the legacy OS to the Redmond firm’s latest offering.
Additionally, Windows 7 is still being supported for some users that have opted for Extended Security Updates, the price of which doubles every year. The Mountain View company says that such users can “benefit from Chrome’s security and productivity” features since the browser will not only receive security updates but also new features. It also touts the upcoming enterprise features that Windows 7 users will be able to leverage thanks to the extended support period.
Lastly, Google says that it will “continue to evaluate the conditions [its] enterprise customers are facing” and will communicate any other changes in the future.
Gmail and more Google apps are getting widgets on iOS
by João Carrasqueira
Apple's iOS 14 added support for home screen widgets for the first time, and companies have been working to catch up and add widgets to their own apps. Google is one such company, and after adding a widget for the Search app back in September, the Mountain View giant has now revealed a few more apps getting their own iOS home screen widgets.
Some of the widgets are rolling out in the next few days, and those are for Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Fit. The first two are fairly similar, featuring a search bar at the top and a couple of quick links. In the Gmail widget, you can start composing a new message or get a glimpse at how many unread emails you have. For Drive, you get links to the "files you're most likely to need".
Meanwhile, Google Fit simply shows a summary of your activity in the past week. You can see your daily and weekly goals for heart points and steps and whether you've met them.
Coming a little later, the Calendar widget shows your upcoming events. And next year, Chrome is also getting its own widget, which is similar in design to Gmail and Google Drive widgets. A search/address bar is at the top, along with links to open an incognito tab, use voice, or scan a QR code.
There's also a smaller widget with a "prehistoric surprise", which is likely a reference to the dinosaur game that's displayed when you try to open a webpage in Chrome without an internet connection. These widgets are available now for Chrome Beta users, but the general public will only get them in 2021.
By Abhay V
Microsoft aims to stop Chromium browsers from launching with elevated privileges
by Abhay Venkatesh
Microsoft’s recent Chromium commit suggests that the company is working to add a way to “de-elevate” browsers, meaning that it does not want users to launch the browser with elevated or administrative privileges owing to security concerns. The commit termed “Automatically de-elevate browser when launched as elevated” was submitted to Chromium Gerrit (spotted by WindowsLatest) and has had some interesting responses.
The Redmond firm argues that the browser’s ability to automatically switch out of elevated privileges and re-launch under normal user privileges will help it solve problems such as executables downloaded from elevated browsers running with admin privileges, leading to easy access to system files. The company says that browser elevation is “unnecessary” and can cause problems.
However, the idea was met with skepticism from Google engineers who suggested that the choice must be with users and that a prompt to let users know of the elevated browser could be a better idea. Microsoft says that it experimented with a “bubble dialog” warning in the corner, but noticed that the prompt was displayed “way more often” when the browser was launched from an installed or other elevated programs, which led to many user complaints.
Currently, the discussions between the engineers point towards working on a feature to automatically de-elevate downloads and executables run from a browser with elevated privileges. This will ensure that users will explicitly run installers or other programs with elevated privileges if required, and avoid letting the browser automatically run elevated programs.