Print 23 comment(s) - last by Jansen.. on Feb 14 at 2:01 PM

Internal RAID 0 from $200

The Apex series was first seen at CES and falls between their high end Vertex series, which features up to 64 MB of cache, and their low end Solid and Core series. The Vertex 2 series, which will be announced at a later date, will eventually use a RAID 0 controller as well to increase performance.

With read speeds of up to 230 MB/s and write speeds of up to 160 MB/s at half the cost of Intel's X-25M 160GB, OCZ presents a very compelling upgrade solution. Seek times are less than 0.3ms, while the 60GB drive only weighs 77 grams -- the SSD is shock resistant to 1500 Gs.

The only thing that could throw a wrench in the works is random write speed, which has been a problem with MLC chips in the past, even with a properly working controller. That was the reason that OCZ developed the Vertex line specifically with built in cache, which makes a lot of sense considering how low DRAM prices have dropped.

According to OCZ, the Apex series uses an updated JMicron and MLC chips to keep costs down and reach higher capacities.

All Apex Series drives come with a two year warranty. Retail availability is expected by the end of January. More detail on OCZ's Apex product page.

If you consider the chart below, you are paying an extra $50 for 32MB of cache on the 60GB Vertex model while losing RAID. On the 120GB model, the price difference is $100, while on the 250GB model the difference drops down to $40. However, RAIDing two 30GB Vertex drives together will only cost you an extra $10 over a 60GB Vertex drive, if you already have a RAID controller. RAIDing two 60GB Vertex drives will cost an extra $30 over a single 120GB drive.




  30 GB



  60 GB



  120 GB



  250 GB   



All prices are MSRP.


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RE: Not bad
By Jansen on 1/14/2009 5:06:10 PM , Rating: 2
The prices in the table are all Manufacturer Suggested Retail Prices.

The street price will likely be lower. At higher capacities the cost of RAID controllers and cache becomes less as a percentage, it becomes more about the cost of flash.

RE: Not bad
By highlandsun on 1/15/2009 2:59:45 AM , Rating: 2
and an extremely healthy profit margin on top. Considering that 16GB USB Flash drives were selling for $13 just before Christmas, you know that there's no more than $210 worth of Flash in that 250GB drive.

RE: Not bad
By tastyratz on 1/15/2009 12:09:06 PM , Rating: 2
16gb flash drives for $13, but not ones with speeds or write cycle ratings like this will have.

Comparing that would be like comparing ddr2 and ddr3 prices for the same 2gb stick of ram. They are both 2gb ram but totally different at the same time.

RE: Not bad
By Suomynona on 1/15/2009 12:15:45 PM , Rating: 1
They're definitely using higher-spec NAND chips than a commodity 16GB USB flash drive uses.

RE: Not bad
By highlandsun on 1/15/2009 3:39:15 PM , Rating: 2
Nonsense. Nobody makes a NAND flash chip that reads/writes at 200MB/sec. They're all using the same flash chips, only the controllers are different, and they're accessing the chips in parallel in the SSD. Obviously the price of the SSD controller is a constant, no matter how much flash you attach to it. The price of the flash chips is *not* driving the price of these products, only profit and greed.

RE: Not bad
By FujiT on 1/16/2009 12:10:39 PM , Rating: 2
yeah that's not right.

If you read the "Ask an Intel SSD Engineer" article on [H] you'll see that NAND is not all made the same. The NAND used in flash drives and lower cost devices is lower quality than SSD NAND.

"Removable media products like USB memory sticks typically use the lowest quality flash they can get away with..."

RE: Not bad
By mindless1 on 2/7/2009 12:17:57 PM , Rating: 2
Except, if you read that article again you will see that through use of SATA instead of USB2, and 10 parallel channels on the flash controller, it might indeed be possible to use USB flash drive ("supposed" lower quality) chips to attain the performance their current SSD products have.

IOW, single chip USB2 flash drives costing little more than $1/GB for the whole product are attaining over 30MB/s read, 14MB/s write using dirt-cheap controllers and no cache (except perhaps a very tiny one integral to the controller).

Granted, Intel's controller could be considered premium performance for the moment, but it doesn't negate the observation a prior post made about that cost being inherant to lesser capacity drives, and a 32MB to 64MB DRAM cache is a trivial expense at these price-points.

Write cycle endurance is the wild card, we'd have to know how well the controllers wear-level to factor for that. Certainly an SSD will do it better than a USB flash drive, but the logic for that being absorbed by the controller implementation cost means we can ignore the factor once having accepted the controller cost.

RE: Not bad
By Jansen on 2/14/2009 2:01:59 PM , Rating: 2
There is no way to fit 10 channels on a USB drive, the fastest ones today like OCZ's ATV Turbo use dual channels. There may be quad channel USB drives later with USB 3.0, but you still have space constraints.

The dirt cheap $1/GB USB drive are nowhere near 30MB/S read, try 10MB/s read and 2MB/s write, if that.

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