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  (Source: DailyTech/Brandon Hill)
OCZ launches another line of mainstream SSDs

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.

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RE: What to look for in an SSD
By Chemical Chris on 1/7/2009 9:38:09 PM , Rating: 4
The JMicron controller.
However, you will rarely find this information in the published specs, and can be somewhat tricky to find.
Also, the issue that it causes is not readily detectable by common benchmarking methodologies, so a drive that may look super-speedy may suffer the same debilitating condition in real-world use.
Almost all of the current SSD's use this buggy chip, with the exception of (at least) the top-range OCZ model mentioned in the article, and the new Intel SSD's.
So, if in the market, find some that suit your price range, and use google to help you find out which, if any, do not posses the dreaded JMicron controller.
Or, just go straight to Intel or the top-range OCZ model mentioned.


RE: What to look for in an SSD
By UsernameX on 1/7/2009 9:58:49 PM , Rating: 2
do not posses the dreaded JMicron controller

That's exactly what I was looking for.


By retrospooty on 1/8/2009 8:46:06 AM , Rating: 2
Yup... but like he said, its not listed in the specs, so dont get anything that was just realeased, wait until it gets out there and then use google to see if there are too many complaints.

RE: What to look for in an SSD
By MrPoletski on 1/9/2009 4:53:39 AM , Rating: 2
You can solve all the write stuttering issues by getting a controller with cache on it. I use an AMCC 9650SE 4 port raid controller and 2 core v2 drives for a 60GB raid0 stripe.

Runs like a charm (when write caching is enabled).

By highlandsun on 1/9/2009 6:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
A fine solution in itself, but utterly useless for laptops, which is where a lot of these 2.5" SSDs are going.

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