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 rippleyaliens on 11/11/2009 1:37:03 PM , Rating: 2
If you have been working with computers for 10Yrs +, then you will understand it. IF you are new to the computer world, (less than 7 years) you are not seeing it.
What i mean/say, is this. For Me, my associates and what not, $1000 for a hard drive is not ALOT of money considering the performance enhancements. In 1993, a 420mb hard drive cost $500.. YES that is mb.. 16mb of ram = $1000 EASILY..
We have experienced the Cpu - roller coaster ride. from 33mhz cpus costing $500, now to quad core cpus at 2.8GHz at $169. Ram has made its speed/capacity growth, from 4mb being WOW, to now systems with 8GB of ram at $150.. up to 12GB.. NOW storage has grown in capicity, from 420mb, to 2TB.. which IS ALOT of growth, but speed of the drive hasnt kept up..

NOW we have ssd. The speed is very fast, but the I/O is awesome.. But it is still young, it will develop more and more. It will just take time. When i see people complain about the gb/$ ratio.. That just says, that you are concerned on space-NOT speed. we have 1TB drives for under $100, space for files have been here .. BUT I/O, well we are just now getting to the point of that.

Myself, I have always had high performance boot drives. 7200, for over 10 years, lol. 15k for 7 years.. granted all under 18 or 36gb.. but 36 gb is plenty for a boot drive and a good number of apps. Now storage, i am at the 5tb and counting, well that goes on the el-cheapo sata drives. Stuff that i may use now and then, but not on a constant basis.
SSD, I bought a 128gb drive, and am pissed. I should have just bought the 60gb slc drive for the speed.. versus the 128.. the 60gb drive would have been almost tripple, but my first venture, caution was needed, and still no trim support.

With ssd, you are buying for
1. Access time.. and that is the most critical.. Immediate speed
2. transfer rate.. well how often will i be moving files, versus just running apps, rofl
3. I/O NOW THAT IS THE KILLER. My ssd does 7k I/o random.. that was like WOW to me, yet my 14 drive 15k rpm scsi array, does like 3500 I/O.. That is killer..

My next ssd will be the gen2 intel, with 30,000 I/O.. yah, that is finally some progress, but progress cost $$$..

RE: Price is the key
By Skelum on 11/12/2009 7:19:29 AM , Rating: 2
You are so right... One thing I've been telling people, while trying to convince them of switching their OS drive, is that benchmarks should stop comparing SSD drives on a price/GB.

It does not make any sense anymore. They must make some kind of price/IOPS comparaison. Who would compare CPU based on their internal cache size?

I wonder what would be the price/IOPS between a Raptor HDD and an Intel G2...

RE: Price is the key
By Orac4prez on 11/12/2009 8:03:27 AM , Rating: 2
You are so right. In the past, CPU wars were on speed alone, but then people realised there were other metrics which were important. Now with storage issues, SSD's offer a huge boost to transfer rates and access over traditional hard drives. I run applications where I need a huge fast swap file and this makes an enormous difference to the overall processing time. If you want a large filing cabinet, use a traditional hard drive, but if you need rapid access, then the cost needs to assessed on access times and I/O. $/GB is a red herring!

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