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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

Size

Maximum Read Speed/ Write Speed

OCZSSDPCIE-1ZDRV250G

250GB

450 / 300 MB/sec

OCZSSDPCIE-1ZDRV500G

500GB

510 / 480 MB/sec

OCZSSDPCIE-1ZDRV1T

1000GB

500 / 470 MB/sec

 



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RE: not bad
By tastyratz on 4/27/2009 2:15:14 PM , Rating: 0
Very few motherboards have shipped with only 1 pci-e slot since it came out. Most of them have multiple 1x slots which are significantly faster and better than pci slots, and exceed the needs of the majority of add on cards.

Main boards with more than 1 full length pcie slot are also very common now on all but the most budget boards for sli, its 3 and up x4 or better slots that has the most limited choices (since its a niche market need).


RE: not bad
By dflynchimp on 4/27/2009 3:55:02 PM , Rating: 3
I suppose I should clarify myself.

What I was hoping for is motherboards that come only equipped with PCI-E X16 slots. No PCI, no PCI-E 1X, just 16X. could be 2.0 or 1.0. The point is if we had a unified standard then it gives us much more flexibility in placement and card selection.


RE: not bad
By Motley on 4/27/2009 11:04:48 PM , Rating: 4
You know that you can put any x1, x4, or x8 PCI-e card into a PCI-e x16 slot, right?

Any higher slot will accept lower cards, so if your motherboard has 3 x16 slots, a x4 and a x1 slot, you can put in two nvidia 295 cards for 4-way SLI, put one of these in the 3rd x16 slot, a soundcard in the x1 slot, and still have a x4 slot free for a raid card of some sort.


RE: not bad
By tastyratz on 4/29/2009 11:11:27 AM , Rating: 2
yes this is true,

the issue is that these slots come at a price. People want their cake and to eat it too, I would love only x16 slots all down the line in a row on every motherboard, but people wont want to pay the 600 bux it costs to build a motherboard that can handle it.

Yes all those full speed slots can negotiate down, but the reality is anyone requiring something close to that would be an EXTREME minority so with little market demand comes little penetration.

What I would like to see, is standardization of only full length slots on atx sized motherboards, even if they are electrically only 1x or 4x speed. Obviously they would need to be marked so people understood it was only a 1x slot, but it would allow more flexibility in card choice/placement/etc.
I run a server 4x raid card with a complex array attached, I feel the pain on motherboard selection. I can only buy a crossfire/sli mobo to use it and cant run sli without a 3 way sli mobo in place.


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