Solid State Drives (SSDs) using NAND flash modules have many advantages over traditional mechanical hard disk drives. They can offer improved battery life, greater durability, shorter boot times, and much faster response times because they no longer require the use of spinning magnetic disks.
OCZ Technology has been very successful with their popular Vertex series of SSDs. Other companies have tried to emulate its good fortune, but have had to compete with lower prices than OCZ, which has been able to maintain a price premium
One of the keys to OCZ's success has been the Barefoot flash controller from Korean flash controller specialist Indilinx. Barefoot chips are affordable and offer superb random write speeds, something that most other controllers are lacking.
The company has been very aggressive in marketing the Vertex brand. It previously unveiled a Mac Edition, and entered into the enterprise market with the Vertex EX using Single Level Cell (SLC) chips to challenge mighty Intel.
OCZ also recently launched the Agility series which also uses the Barefoot controller from Indilinx, although with lower speed flash in order to cut costs. They chose not to use the Vertex name in order to avoid diluting their branding.
The new Vertex Turbo Edition, however, can only help boost the Vertex name. OCZ is overclocking the Barefoot NAND flash controller and the SDRAM cache in order to achieve additional performance. Regular Vertex drives have 64MB of SDRAM clocked at 166MHz, but Vertex Turbo drives will have them clocked at 180MHz.
"The new Vertex Turbo makes use of the fastest SDR DRAM cache available and a
proprietary FTL level firmware that provides an even faster solid state drive for
enthusiasts looking for the ultimate desktop or laptop storage upgrade," stated Ryan Edwards, Director of Product Management for the OCZ Technology Group.
The Vertex Turbo will be available in 30GB, 60GB, 120GB, and 250GB models. The 250GB Vertex Turbo has the best performance on paper, unlike the regular Vertex series in which the 120GB model had the top performance. It has maximum read speeds of 270MB/s and maximum write speeds of 210MB/s write speed -- sustained write speeds are listed at up to 120MB/s. Performance of the 120GB model is similar, with a maximum write speed of 210MB/s. The other models have performance figures approximately 25% lower.
Overall, figures provided by OCZ indicate performance that will be 10% to 20% higher with the Turbo series. Therefore MSRP pricing is set approximately 10% percent higher by OCZ, but e-tailers will sell it for less than list price. The first units are shipping to the channel this week, with retail availability expected next week.
OCZ is also extending the warranty of all their premium level SSDs to three years. This includes all Vertex and Summit drives including the Mac Edition and Vertex EX, but excludes the Agility series due to their low cost NAND flash. Customers who previously bought Vertex and Summit drives will also have their warranties extended from two years to three. The company cited consumer demand, differentiation from competitors, and confidence in their products as key factors in lengthening the warranty period.
“Extending the warranty makes the OCZ total solution even more robust for consumers, and OCZ believes that product quality should always come first,” Edwards exclaimed.
“The confidence to back up that quality with a longer than industry average warranty is an added value for our complete spectrum of customers. Post sale service and support is simply part of the OCZ package, and now with any Vertex and Summit customers have an even longer period in which to leverage that added value.”