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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 drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 4/27/2009 7:20:22 PM , Rating: 2
That already exists, at least the ePci-e standard does. Havent seen anyone make any products yet


RE: not bad
By Visual on 4/28/2009 5:16:15 AM , Rating: 2
Expresscard slots on laptops are essentially external pci-express 1x slots. They are mostly used with small devices that fit completely inside the slot, but there's nothing stopping manufacturers to make bigger products that sit in a separate external case and just plug in the expresscard slot with a cable.

There actually are existing solutions to use any pci-express card in an external box with a cable plugged in either an expresscard slot or a special internal pci-express adapter card.
http://www.magma.com/products/pciexpress/expressbo...
http://www.magma.com/products/pciexpress/expressbo...
Just don't look at the price if you don't want to give up all hope of living ;)

But the limitation of just a single pci-express lane when using expresscard is disappointing. We need a standard with more lanes.

There is the new ATI XGP "standard", which uses a 2-lane external pci-express port, but it is far from standardized yet. I think only one model of a Fujitsu Amilo notebook has it, and I am not sure if it can be used for any generic device - currently it is only used with a HD3870 card.

Asus was also working on some variant of external graphics which possibly might involve a generic external pci-express solution, but I don't think anything's out yet and I don't know any details.


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