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OCZ Vertex SSD  (Source: OCZ)
Vertex SSDs are available with up to 250Gb of storage and 64MB of cache

Many companies are betting big on SSDs as the future of data storage. Today, the SSD isn't quite there for the average computer user because of the high price of SSD technology. SSDs are faring a bit better it the enterprise world where the higher cost is offset by performance.

It's no surprise that companies are trying to come into the retail market with lower priced SSDs. OCZ introduced its Core series SSDs this year, which turned out to be priced well for a consumer SSD. OCZ has introduced its latest SSD called the Vertex Series. The line is built using MLC NAND and is aimed directly at the consumer market.

Performance from the Vertex SSD line is claimed to be 200MB/sec read, 160MB/sec write, and the drives have up to 64MB of onboard cache. The new SSDs will not replace existing OCZ SSDs and will be sold alongside existing products the company is already offering.

The drives use a 2.5-inch form factor making them suitable for notebook use. The housing of the drive is made from aluminum and OCZ says the drives have a 1.5 million hour mean time between failure ratings. Storage capacities for the drives include 30GB, 60GB, 120GB, and 250GB. Pricing for the Vertex line is $129, $249, $469, and $869 respectively.

Specifications for the drives show decent power numbers with 2W in operation and .5W in standby. The drive can withstand up to 1500G and supports RAID. Vertex drives in 30GB and 60GB capacities have a 32MB cache while the 120GB and 250GB drives have 64MB of cache.

The larger 64MB cache should help prevent any stuttering during write operations and according to OCZ support, the Vertex line doesn't use the questionable JMicron controller.

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If they think they are so good...
By gochichi on 12/12/2008 12:18:04 AM , Rating: 2
Ok, am I misunderstanding this spec:
1.5 million hour mean time between failure rating

I get 1.5 million / (24 * 365) = 171.232877 years.

Now, I want to believe it and for the most part I do. I do believe that these are going to be more reliable than mechanical drives (I don't know-nothin' about 170 years though). But manufactures need to understand that we are skittish about new technology. And a 5-year warranty should be SO amazingly affordable for them to provide if their numbers are honest. Why? Because SSDs in these capacities are going to fall below hard drive prices. Hard drives are just somehow always above $40.00 but a 30GB or 60GB SSDs could be well below $40.00 within 5-years time.

With hard drives, you need the mechanism regardless of size, that 7,200 RPM precision mechanism is a cost you're just sort of stuck with regardless of how desperately you want to make it really really cheap. You're also stuck with the power requirements of those mechanical parts.

Let's look at $/GB of these SSDs:

$129/30GB = $4.30 per GB
$249/60GB = $4.15 per GB
$469/120GB = $3.91 per GB
$869/250GB = $3.48 per GB

It's the memory itself, rather than the mechanism that determines cost (though you do gain a little bit of a discount the larger ones). It's similar to LCD technology. We were hesitant about some issues, durability, will it scratch? Etc. and LCD is actually far more durable than CRTs ever were and require cleaning far less also. So even going back to this really old 17" LCD I have, it's still running strong... my point is that if the manufacturer has the data in their hands (and they do) that proves that this SSD technology is no gamble at all, then they need to manifest that via a 5-year warranty.

As an aside, I think the return of the smaller hard drive sizes is here to stay. Because again, with mechanical drives is was entirely wasteful to equip them with less than 250GB platters... because of the starting costs (denser platters perform better too). Here, 30GB hard-drives are going to cost almost half of what 60GB hard drives cost to produce and even more so as you get up in gigabytes. So we will see the sub $40.00 hard drive market emerge. This makes sense, small devices are the fastest growing segment and I feel a demand is really there for them (at a cheap price) and this technology is cheap to produce. And unlike mechanical drives capacity scales very linearly with manufacturing costs. They'll be slapping 30GB hard drives on anything you can think. GPS, blu-ray players, TVs, stereos, cars, refrigerators... who knows.

This technology changes everything though, this technology is as important as LCD and mechanical hard drives are inferior as CRTs also. It's pretty awesome stuff. I wonder if it will evolve rapidly enough that most current computers will be retrofitted with these. Think about computers in the school system... increased reliability, reduced noise, and they really don't need that much space in that setting.

If you were going to put these on your desktop at all, it seems like going 2 x 30GB in Raid 0 would make a good boot-up drive. (or 2 x whatever since you get extra performance for free practically).

I hope they do more innovation with this too. Not just "swap" with the old hard drives and maintain the same constraints. Again, thinking about mechanical drives, the smaller the diameter, it can store exponentially less data. So 2.5" was about as small as you'd want to go with those. But why keep those constraints now? Maybe a more square design would be appropriate too or perhaps a half-height standard... like a super-slim 2.5" slither for space savings

Most of all, I hope that they get implemented as cassettes or cartridges so to speak. Allowing for seamless swapping of users in public settings and such. Similar to a thumb-drive but with OS and all. Or alternatively, public computers could have tiny SSDs (say 30GB or 60GB) for basic OS functionality and have users just slam their super fast cartridges up in there. Maybe even get to the point where software is validated to the hard drive (some "security measure" would have to be created) rather than to the computer.

I think that better implementations of shared desktops could be a fantastic alternative to cloud-computing and small, crippled, netbooks. As opposed to an oversized, high performance thumb-drive in your pocket.

By kensiko on 12/12/2008 6:51:18 PM , Rating: 2
Yes.... The OCZ Vertex is a good SSD....


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