Although Thursday is the "official" first day of CES, the DailyTech crew has been buzzing through the pre-show coverage to get the scoop on the latest products beforehand. This afternoon, we had a chance to get a behind the scenes look at new OCZ products that will be hitting the market within the coming weeks. The most intriguing finds were three new additions to the product category that everyone likes to talk about these days: solid state drives (SSDs). OCZ currently has a three-pronged approach to multi-level cell SSDs; this includes the Solid, Apex, and Vertex Series SSDs.
The Solid Series is the at the very bottom of the product family and offers read speeds of up to 155MB/sec and write speeds of up to 90MB/sec. At the very top is the Vertex Series which DailyTech recently talked about. These SSDs features up to 64MB of cache onboard and feature read speeds of up to 200MB/sec and write speeds of up to 160MB/sec.
There is now a third series in the middle, the Apex Series, which will replace the Core Series that brought OCZ into the mainstream SSD market. Apex Series SSDs will feature read speeds of up to 230MB/sec and write speeds of 160MB/sec. Although the Apex SSDs have a higher theoretical read speed than the range topping Vertex models, they lack the onboard cache which will hinder performance somewhat.
The SSDs will be available in 30GB, 60GB, 120GB, and 250GB flavors and have a MTBF of over 1.5 million hours.
Pricing is not yet available on the new Apex Series of SSDs, but should be available once OCZ officially announces the drives.
I also got a chance to talk with OCZ's Alex Mei a little about the infamous JMicron memory controller in relation to OCZ's SSDs. OCZ Core Series SSDs and every other manufacturer’s SSDs that use a JMicron controller have had some issues with stuttering during write operations. Mei assured me that while the new Solid and Apex Series SSDs continue to use JMicron memory controllers, they have been heavily optimized to minimize any write performance issues that may crop up during normal use.
In addition, the range-topping Vertex SSDs don't even use JMicron memory controllers, so performance should not be an issue. In fact, Mei says that the Vertex's memory controller can be used for both MLC and SLC NAND flash applications, so we may see new, high performance SLC-based SSDs from OCZ instead of the current rebranded Samsung SLC offerings.
quote: do not posses the dreaded JMicron controller
quote: I can't imagine why you would want to use SSDs to store & play DivX for a Media Center (I assume you mean HTPC). A crappy 5400rpm notebook drive is speedy enough to playback SD & HD files.
quote: The only reason I can see for putting a SSD in a HTPC is because you have lots of cash burning a whole in your pocket and/or bragging rights.
quote: I can't imagine why you WOULDN'T use one...
quote: ...the new Solid and Apex Series SSDs continue to use JMicron memory controllers, they have been heavily optimized to minimize any write performance issues that may crop up during normal use.