Print 25 comment(s) - last by MrPoletski.. on Nov 13 at 4:19 AM

Something higher than the Vertex coming soon

OCZ has grown to become one of the biggest suppliers of Solid State Drives, especially to enthusiasts and consumers. A large part of that success can be attributed to their close partnership with SSD NAND flash controller company Indilinx. The specialized design company is responsible for the Barefoot controller used in most of OCZ’s SSD products. OCZ is by far Indilinx’s largest customer, and the only Tier 1 customer besides Super Talent.

As good as the Barefoot controller is, it is still a pricey product. Many other companies have tried to make SSD controllers with varying degrees of success. SandForce is a name that has been whispered to us many several SSD companies, and OCZ is now announcing that it will partner with them for a new range of SSD products. Samsung controllers haven’t been performing up to par, so a second SSD controller partner will help reduce OCZ’s supplier dependence and hopefully spur some much needed price and performance competition.

“OCZ is committed to delivering SSD solutions to our enterprise clients and also has a strong following for our consumer solid state products; partnering with SandForce enables us to offer an even more robust offering to both these markets,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of the OCZ Technology Group. “Together with SandForce we are focused on making enterprise-class MLC-based SSDs which offer excellent reliability and performance coupled with superior total cost of ownership for all our customers.”

SandForce is a fabless semiconductor company founded at the end of 2006. Although it is a young company, it has already filed more than twenty patents. Its leadership is comprised of industry veterans, and the company is very well funded thanks to investments from several storage OEMs.

The company has been preparing two SSD controllers for the market over the last few months. The SF-1200 will be targeted at enthusiast and low-cost enterprise SSDs and will be able support up to 512GB capacities. Sequential read and write speeds can reach 260 MB/s through a 3Gb/s SATA interface. The SF-1200 is designed to utilize commodity Multi-Level Cell NAND flash in order to lower costs.

The SF-1500 is targeted at high-end enterprise and workstation applications. Speed and maximum capacity is the same as the SF-1200, but the SF-1500 can also support Single-Level Cell flash for a higher number of write-erase cycles. It also boasts an Unrecoverable Read Error rate of less that 1 per 10^17, much higher than the typical 10^15 rate found in traditional magnetic storage-based enterprise hard disk drives.

“OCZ has a proven track record in the design and manufacture of solid state drives and is in a distinctive position to deliver SSDs to both the enterprise and consumer space,” said Thad Omura, VP of Marketing at SandForce. “SandForce SSD Processors reliably enable the usage of low cost, MLC-based SSDs in volume, mainstream enterprise applications.”

A prototype SSD using a SandForce controller was shown earlier this year working with 34nm NAND flash from Micron. Intel sources the same flash chips for its SSDs though IM Flash Tech, its joint partnership with Micron. The low cost and high performance of those flash chips have helped Intel take SSD sales away from OCZ.

OCZ is planning to partner with SandForce for the long term. SandForce has stated that they have a multi-generational roadmap, and is expected to release details on a next-generation controller chip next year supporting 6 Gb/s transfers though a SATA interface.

OCZ has promised more information on performance, pricing, and availability in the weeks leading up to the Consumer Electronics Show.

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RE: Price is the key
By realmp06 on 11/11/2009 5:56:50 AM , Rating: 1
I can't wait until SSDs are the main storage so everyone can afford them. I would spend $100 bucks if i got like at 320 or 640GB drive. But, I only have one and its only to run programs off of the SSD. All my other data are on my other hard drive.

RE: Price is the key
By ChugokuOtaku on 11/11/2009 7:46:53 AM , Rating: 2
I can see how SSDs may one day take over platter based drives for laptops, and possibly as the primary drive for the OS on desktops, but those of us running 3/4TB+ harddrive farms will probably still rely on traditional platter based drives. SSDs still have a LONG way to go before they even come close to matching the $/gig ratio of platter based drives.

RE: Price is the key
By werfu on 11/11/2009 9:35:16 AM , Rating: 3
SSDs still have a LONG way to go before they even come close to matching the $/gig ratio of platter based drives

They will not. In order to catch HDD density either will would need to find an enormous breakthrough in memory technology (memristor could be the thing) or HDD density would need to hit a wall (and this wont happen soon).

RE: Price is the key
By semo on 11/11/2009 9:38:53 AM , Rating: 2
but that's not what SSDs are for. Just because it plugs into an ATA interface it doesn't mean that its storage capacity is the only useful metric.

SSDs are for performance. their price/gigabyte metric is not good but the performance is much greater. before SSDs you could only get storage, no performance options (raptor and SAS are all the same but slightly faster and noisier). now you have HDDs for storage and SSDs for performance. Price/gigabyte doesn't tell you anything about performance. people here don't talk about price/FLOPS when comparing CPUs. If you want, talk about price/IO when comparing SSDs to HDDs but the real world improvement of a PC with an SSD over HDD is undeniable.

RE: Price is the key
By SAnderson on 11/11/09, Rating: 0
"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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