Non-Volatile Memory (NVMe) storage, which Wikipedia defines as a type of computer memory that can retain stored information even after power is removed, was developed in 2009. In comparison, volatile memory requires constant power to keep data. NVMe SSDs offer the advantage of running quickly through the PCIe Bus on the Motherboard. The newest version of PCIe (peripheral component interconnect express), version 5.0, is twice as fast as its predecessor PCIe 4.0 with a maximum data transfer rate of 32 GT/s (gigatransfers per second), a maximum unidirectional bandwidth of 64 GB/s (gigabytes per second), and a maximum bidirectional bandwidth of 128 GB/s. Despite this improvement in speed, most NVMe SSDs on the market are still running PCIe 4.0.
In late 2022, Samsung unveiled the Samsung 990 Pro NVMe (see Figure below) with speeds of nearly 7,450 MB/s (Megabytes per second). We were able to acquire a few of these drives after their release, and the results were as expected – we achieved nearly 6500 MB/s in our tests. This is an impressive result considering that these figures are typically higher in ideal conditions. With multiple of these drives installed in a processing engine or forensic workstation, terabytes of data can be quickly and efficiently parsed.
In recent years, the amount of data associated with computer forensics investigations has increased significantly. To keep up with these voluminous cases, a reliable and fast forensic workstation or processing engine system is essential. While it is important to have high-end equipment for an expertly crafted system, this does not necessarily mean spending tens of thousands of dollars on expensive systems.
Our Rocket Box (RCKTBX), equipped with an Intel 13900KF, multiple Samsung 990’s, a 4TB NVMe and a Samsung SSD for the Operating System is one example of an affordable solution that still offers impressive speeds. Benchmark tests show that it outperforms other processors when running standard forensic images – speeds across the NVMe’s remain consistent even when tested under concurrent benchmark tests (see Figure Below).
The Samsung 990’s (on the left and center of the screenshots) are incredibly fast; even a PNY PCIe 4.0 NVMe, connected directly to the motherboard, kept up. This combination of SSD and NVMe drives was incredibly powerful when processing casework. Furthermore, take a look at the benchmark speeds on the Samsung 870 Evo – reaching 53GB/s on some read/write speeds!
Our RCKTBX Xa and Xi systems are designed to offer superior performance compared to other systems on the market. This is achieved through incorporating Samsung 870 Evo 2.5″ SSDs in Rapid Mode, two (2) Samsung 990’s set in Performance Mode, and an additional NVMe as a processing drive for image files. This configuration eliminates bottlenecks due to exceptional data transfer speeds between the motherboard buses. We consistently test our system’s threshold of speed, different operating system adjustments, and hardware configurations for maximum speed. Our passion for innovation keeps our systems running consistently faster than any other on the market.
This article was written by Manny Kressel, CEO & Founder of BitMindz.