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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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Is JMicron okay for Media Centres?
By Gastrian on 1/8/2009 7:18:36 AM , Rating: 2
I'm building a small form factor PC later this year and am really interested in SSDs for their quiet operation.

I've ripped all my DVDs to DivX and am looking to just put them all onto a SSD and leave them there. Once the disk is full its full and I'll look at another SSD further down the line to store more movies. Other than the initial write for each movie will the JMicron cause any problems and would the read speed on the cheapest SSD drives be fine for playback of SD and HD resolution movie files?




RE: Is JMicron okay for Media Centres?
By PhoetuS on 1/8/2009 8:21:55 AM , Rating: 3
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.

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.

If the physical size of the drive is the issue, a 2.5" notebook drive (320GB 7200rpm drives are under $100 at newegg) will work just fine for the playback of HD (1080p) files.

If you can use a 3.5" drive, then a high capacity drive is the way to go. For ~$110 you can get a terabyte drive that will store WAY more files then a SSD, cost less & play back HD video with no problems whatsoever.


By fishbits on 1/8/2009 9:23:08 AM , Rating: 3
"I'm building a small form factor PC later this year and am really interested in SSDs for their quiet operation."

Vanity silencing. Like the Princess and the Pea, homey can evidently hear the roar of a notebook hard drive in an enclosure, across the room, while it is playing a movie.


By FITCamaro on 1/8/2009 10:11:41 AM , Rating: 3
He wants quiet. But yeah a 5400 rpm 2.5" drive you're not going to hear. And you can get 500GB ones pretty cheap.


RE: Is JMicron okay for Media Centres?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/8/09, Rating: 0
RE: Is JMicron okay for Media Centres?
By Alpha4 on 1/8/2009 6:07:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I can't imagine why you WOULDN'T use one...
I'm certain PhoeTus is questioning the logic of purchasing an SSD exclusively for the purpose of storing & playing back HD Media.

PhoeTus rightfully suggests that any current 5400rpm notebook drive provides more than enough throughput for HD content. As I understand, the average Bluray video bitrate is between 39-40 mbits/second.


RE: Is JMicron okay for Media Centres?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/8/09, Rating: 0
By Alpha4 on 1/9/2009 12:44:40 AM , Rating: 2
LoL. I agree it's somewhat condescending to dismiss an idea as "unimaginable", and I might have detected a hint of jealousy when PhoeTus mentioned money burning holes in pockets. That aside I don't think it's fair to say magnetic storage is obsolete yet. I'm sure that as long as capacities remain significantly lower and costs higher, SSDs will only inhabit a niche market.

Props to OCZ for pushing the mainstream market so steadily though.


By partisan007 on 1/9/2009 11:21:54 AM , Rating: 2
Not recommended for this use becauase of the limited storage. But SSDs are great for HTPCs when the media is stored on a NAS or home server or something like that.


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