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OCZ enters yet another market, jostling with Fusion-IO and Super Talent for enterprise and enthusiast dollars

The promise of fast access speeds has lured many enthusiasts over to SSDs already. Maximum capacity is doubling every year, and costs are dropping due to new process technologies being introduced.

One of the most important target markets for SSD manufacturers is enterprise customers. They are demanding the fastest access speeds possible, whatever the cost. SSDs are often used in a tiered storage scenario, replacing short-stroked 15k RPM mechanical hard disk drives. Even though SSDs are expensive in terms of cost per gigabyte, they offer the greatest performance return for servers due to their fast access times and read/write rates. Power and cooling requirements are also greatly reduced.

OCZ recently launched their Vertex EX series of SSDs in order to compete in this lucrative market, but SSDs are already starting to be limited by the SATA interface. Companies like Fusion-IO, which counts Steve Wozniak on its Board of Directors, have faced the problem by using the PCI-Express interface, which is available using 1, 4, 8, and 16 lane slots on most motherboards.

Super Talent recently announced its RAIDDrive SSD with up to 2TB of storage, but won't be available until June. It uses an x8 PCI-E slot to achieve read speeds of up to 1.2 GB/s, far exceeding the 300 MB/s design limit of the SATA 2.0 specification.

OCZ will compete against the RAIDDrive with its own Z-Drive SSD using a PCI-E 2.0 x4 slot. It will feature a combined 256MB cache managed with an onboard RAID controller. Capacities of 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB will be offered. Maximum read and write speeds vary for each model in the series, although the maximum sustained write speed will be limited to 200 MB/s for all Z-Drives. Random read and write speeds were not made available.

While weighing only 500 grams, the Z-Drive will also save space for power users already looking to RAID Vertex drives. It has a MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) of 900,000 hours along with a 2 year warranty.

 “It is our goal to deliver tailored SSD solutions for the complete spectrum of high performance applications,” said Eugene Chang, Vice President of Product Management for the OCZ Technology Group.
“Designed for ultra high performance consumers, the Z-Drive takes the SATA bottleneck out of the equation by employing the ultra fast PCI-Express architecture with a RAID controller and four Vertex controllers configured in four-way RAID 0 within an all-in-one product, making this solution ideal for applications that put a premium on both storage performance and maximum capacity.”

Pricing and shipping dates have not yet been announced. However, based on the current cost of Vertex drives, pricing around the $800, $1400, and $3000 marks for the 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB models respectively can be inferred.

Part Number


Maximum Read Speed/ Write Speed



450 / 300 MB/sec



510 / 480 MB/sec



500 / 470 MB/sec


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Is This Nothing More than SSD-RAID???
By Cobra Commander on 4/27/2009 2:11:41 PM , Rating: 2
I don't understand - isn't this just integrating some SSDs onto a RAID Controller???

RE: Is This Nothing More than SSD-RAID???
By Ratinator on 4/27/2009 2:29:33 PM , Rating: 3
Raid would imply 2 or more drives, wouldn't it? This is a single stand alone drive.

By wuZheng on 4/27/2009 2:53:23 PM , Rating: 3
In the sense of traditional hard disks, yes. However, with flash memory its easier and more practical to make logical divisions of the flash memory and access them as if they were two separate physical drives. So RAID concept still applies.

RE: Is This Nothing More than SSD-RAID???
By VooDooAddict on 4/27/2009 2:30:40 PM , Rating: 3
In essence yes.

However many inexpensive raid cards or on board raid cards aren't build to handle the sustained transfer rates that more then 2 SSD disks can put out.

I'd love to make one of these a boot drive, then I'd have more drive bays open for 1TB or 1.5TB drives for mass storage.

RE: Is This Nothing More than SSD-RAID???
By semo on 4/27/09, Rating: -1
RE: Is This Nothing More than SSD-RAID???
By leexgx on 4/27/2009 8:32:07 PM , Rating: 1
your thinking of raid card Probeing the hard drives,

this SSD has no config, you plug it in and it work (maybe drivers) it may add at more then 30-50 secs off the boot time due to the Speed of it unless your replaceing it from SSD in the first place then it may add 10 secs to boot time but i realy think it boot faster, one of these vertex drives are fast on there own and 4 of them are just insane (vertex Z-Drive)

if you get an real RAID card (not compareing to the above) them things do take there time to get going as thay norm have stagered start up on for the hard disk so not to over load the PSU (peak load all disks starting up same time uses alot of power)

RE: Is This Nothing More than SSD-RAID???
By seamonkey79 on 4/28/2009 3:11:00 PM , Rating: 3

?His? thinking of raid card probing the hard drives...

the rest made even less sense.

English is NOT that hard people, figure it out.

By leexgx on 4/28/2009 11:38:49 PM , Rating: 1

there are more things that more Pricey RAID cards do then what on board do, some do take up to an min to do what ever thay do norm its sending hard disk spin up command to each SATA port waits then sees if something is pluged in (probe part norm waits 5-15 secs per port) this is more prone on Hardware SAS/SCSI RAID cards then cheap raid cards/onboard, as thay norm just ask all drives at once norm only adding 5 secs to the boot up time, but can make alot of load on the PSU, if power on spin up hold jumper is not used on the hard disks (only seen them on WD consumer drives)

some one used 2 raid cards and on board with 24 SSDs , somthing likey that may take time to start but as ssds have no spin up time not likey as thay respond to commands soon as power is applyed funny vid 24 SSDs 2GB/s speeds (total)

did not want to take it to far with the tech side guess i should of before

By ipay on 5/2/2009 3:45:09 AM , Rating: 2
What was that??

What language are you speaking in cause this technobabble didn't make any sense!!!

RE: Is This Nothing More than SSD-RAID???
By HrilL on 4/27/2009 2:39:43 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah that is exactly what it is. But its a lot faster as it avoids the bottle neck of SATA 2. But SATA 3 will be out soon enough though 10Gb/s might not be enough bandwidth to not be a bottle neck for long.

RE: Is This Nothing More than SSD-RAID???
By therealnickdanger on 4/27/2009 3:58:42 PM , Rating: 3
"SATA 3" is officially being called "SATA 6 Gbit/s" at the moment and does not reach speeds of 10Gbit/s, but rather 6Gbit/s, making is still much slower than PCIe. Even at its best, SATA 6Gbit still won't match PCIe. I think we are going to see an upset in storage interfaces in the coming years. As companies fight for faster SSDs, they will be FORCED to use PCIe in order to compete with drives like the Z-Drive (as well as similar products coming soon from Patriot and G.Skill).

I don't think "SATA 3" has much a future...

RE: Is This Nothing More than SSD-RAID???
By therealnickdanger on 4/27/2009 4:02:19 PM , Rating: 2
What I really meant to say is "I don't think 'SATA 3' has much of a future as a performance interface." Chances are good that if PCIe storage devices take off, we'll see PCIe controller cards with SATA 3Gbps and eventually SATA 6Gbps ports. So SATA 6Gbps will still have a place, but perhaps only as an internal connection method for PCIe controllers.

That would be awesome if it happened like that...

RE: Is This Nothing More than SSD-RAID???
By Targon on 4/28/2009 7:57:29 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is that using a controller designed for hard drives, including spin-up times, tolerances, and so on will slow down and limit the speeds of SSD drives that do not have these issues. What is really needed is a new type of interface that is designed with SSD in mind, including the higher transfer rates.

So, how do you deal with this situation if you want to make a high performing SSD other than a dedicated controller card that goes into a slot? You could make a controller with a proprietary connection method, but without standards, who would buy such a thing other than corporations that buy into the idea?

By therealnickdanger on 4/28/2009 7:42:55 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that using a controller designed for hard drives

I don't think this is a traditional HDD RAID controller. I have seen no statements or evidence to say one way or the other, but even if it was, it clearly isn't posing a problem for these drives to hit incredible speeds.

RE: Is This Nothing More than SSD-RAID???
By Cobra Commander on 4/27/2009 4:14:53 PM , Rating: 2
Enterprise doesn't use SATA to begin with so that's a non-issue.

By Bytre on 4/27/2009 6:22:11 PM , Rating: 2
There's also 6GB SAS.

RE: Is This Nothing More than SSD-RAID???
By leexgx on 4/27/2009 8:34:58 PM , Rating: 2
allso its gigabit not gigabyte
so its max speed with out overhead is likey to be 500-550MB/s, thats Half the speed of the OCZ vertex Z-Drive can offer

dam thing is very costy thought (id prefer to just get 250gb norm vertex + 1gb HDD)

By therealnickdanger on 4/27/2009 9:44:01 PM , Rating: 2
Gbit/s = gigabits per second.

By MrPoletski on 4/28/2009 3:29:59 AM , Rating: 2
what about a hard disk drive with multiple sata lanes?

RE: Is This Nothing More than SSD-RAID???
By luceri on 4/28/2009 10:10:47 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. We'll probably start seeing higher end motherboards containing 3-4-5x pci-e x16 slots, then the mainstream and budget grade have SATA-3 only with 1-2x pci-e x16 slots.

The thing is though, you can only fit so many pci-e slots on a motherboard. the things take up a lot of space and aren't cost-effective. Something better than SATA3 needs to come out and likely will quickly.

By luceri on 4/28/2009 10:12:29 AM , Rating: 2
Another thought, perhaps we'll be seeing something like the common 4x ram slots that lock the ram into place for hard drives, right on the motherboard soon for SSD's. I don't know, it's just a thought and would make things simple.

By emboss on 4/27/2009 3:15:39 PM , Rating: 3
Probably not even that. I'm willing to bet that if you pop the cover you'll find an essentially standard RocketRAID card and 4 SSDs (sans casing) with a bit of cabling. So integrating it all into a single package, but probably not a single PCB.

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