Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging

Introduction

A few months back, OCZ acquired Indilinx. Ever since, we've been wondering if the next generation Indilinx offering could stand up to the competition, who has made leaps and bounds since the first generation SSD controllers were released.

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Specifications

  • 128GB Max Performance
Max Read: up to 535MB/s
Max Write: up to 170MB/s
Random Write 4KB: 7,700 IOPS
Random Read 4KB: 37,000 IOPS
  • 256GB Max Performance
Max Read: up to 535MB/s
Max Write: up to 270MB/s
Random Write 4KB: 12,000 IOPS
Random Read 4KB: 37,000 IOPS
  • 512GB Max Performance
Max Read: up to 535MB/s
Max Write: up to 400MB/s
Random Write 4KB: 16,000 IOPS
Random Read 4KB: 37,000 IOPS
  • 1TB Max Performance
Max Read: up to 560MB/s
Max Write: up to 400MB/s
Random Write 4KB: 19,500 IOPS
Random Read 4KB: 45,000 IOPS
 
Yes, you read that right. 1TB - in a 2.5" form factor SSD! HDD's hit this mark not too long ago, and while a 1TB Octane will most certainly cost a pretty penny, there's something to be said for SSD's so rapidly catching up to HDD's for a given form factor.

 

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Here's a basic block diagram of the new Everest controller from Indilinx. All of the usual bits are present, of particular note being the ability to drive 8 channels, with each channel rated at 4-way. This should mean an Everest could theoretically drive 32 flash chips.

Continue reading our review of OCZ's new Octane Indilinx Everest 512GB SSD!

OCZ Octane 512GB SSD Sneak Peek - Indilinx Has Returned

Subject: Storage | November 22, 2011 - 10:00 AM |
Tagged: ssd, ocz, Octane

A few months back, OCZ acquired Indilinx. Ever since, we've been wondering if the next generation Indilinx offering could stand up to the competition, who has made leaps and bounds since the first generation SSD controllers were released.

It appears that wait is over, well mostly at least. While OCZ's new Octane series does not officially launch until tomorrow, we've been authorized to give our readers a sneak peek:

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From our peek inside we were able to derive that OCZ is using IMFT Synchronous flash memory - the same present in OCZ's Vertex line. There's also a lot of it - our sample is the first 512GB 2.5" SSD being tested in our labs.

...and for those curious on performance, I've also been allowed to sneak a bench out to you. If you're only able to speak about an SSD with a single benchmark, ATTO is probably the way to go:

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Pushing 350 MB/sec writes and 540 MB/sec reads, with very good IOPS performance at 4K (roughly 45k write IOPS).

This new offering from Indilinx/OCZ is looking very good so far. More to follow once the OCZ Octane officially launches tomorrow!

Note: It appears OCZ's Octane product page is live. Hit the link below to check it out.

Silicon Power hits the SSD market

Subject: Storage | November 21, 2011 - 10:03 AM |
Tagged: silicon power, Velox Series V30, ssd, Sandforce SF2281, sata 6Gps

Silicon Power have extended their lineup in a logical manner, with their familiarity with flash based storage it makes sense for them to move into SSDs.  They've chosen proven parts, the SandForce SF2281 is a familiar SATA 6Gb/s controller as are the Intel branded flash chips that make up the 60GB of storage.  As you would expect, similar components produce similar results, but since each manufacturer introduces some differences as do the parts inside the benchmarks for each SSD are slightly different but price remains the factor which most heavily impacts choice.  If you are shopping for an SSD you should check Think Computers review of a drive from a brand you may not have previously considered.

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"Silicon Power is not a name you really think about when you think about solid state drives. If you did not know Silicon Power was founded in 2003 and they mainly specialize in memory products. Today we are going to take a look at one of their first SATA 6GB/s drives the Velox Series V30. This drive is powered by the SandForce SF-2281 controller and boast speeds of 550MB/s read and 500MB/s write. Let’s check it out!"

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Intel Releases Updated SSD Toolbox

Subject: Storage | October 27, 2011 - 06:19 PM |
Tagged: trim, toolbox, ssd, Intel, 34nm

Intel recently updated it's SSD Toolbox software to version 3.0. The new version has a few under the hood changes; however, the most obvious change is an overhauled interface. If you're not familiar with the Intel SSD Toolbox, it is a small application provided by Intel to manage and diagnose the company's solid state drive lineup. The software includes tools to optimize the SSD using TRIM functionality, estimate drive health, and provide diagnostic scans to verify data integrity. According to the changelog, version 3 builds upon the previous version by adding:

  • A new graphical interface
  • An integrated help and support system
  • Support for additional languages
  • The ability to update firmware on supported Intel SSDs (SSDs in IDE mode and older 50nm drives need not apply).  Users of older SSDs and those running their solid state drives in IDE mode can update their drive firmware by using this Intel Firmware Update tool.
  • Viewing drive health
  • Displaying estimated remaining drive life
  • Viewing and exporting system information

As mentioned above, the first thing you are likely to notice upon starting the software is the new interface.  Intel has kept the blue and white color scheme of the older versions; however, that is where the similarities end.  Fortunately, Intel has not downsized the tools and you are able to do the same actions as the previous iterations; they are just easier to access.  The interface is now made of two panes split horizontally.  On the left are tabs that users click on to navigate to the various tools while the right side of the window is where the action takes place with the selected tool's output being displayed therein.

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The new Intel SSD Toolbox's home page

For a full breakdown of the new interface in the SSD Toolbox including screenshots and a video, follow this link to the full story!!

Source: Intel

Pump up the volume; pump up the IOPs? The performance scaling of larger SSDs

Subject: Storage | October 20, 2011 - 02:49 PM |
Tagged: ssd, Corsair Force Series, Crucial m4, Intel 320. Intel 510

We know that there are several reasons that larger SSDs perform better than their smaller compatriots.  More flash memory means more channels for the data to traverse, which has a very noticeable effect on SATA 6Gb/s drives.  The Tech Report demonstrates just how effective a larger SSD can be, with 10 SSDs ranging from 120GB up to 300GB as well as having a healthy mix of different 25nm flash and a variety of controllers.  As you'd expect Sandforce continues their dominance by simultaneously offering better performance and a lower cost than Intel's SSDs.  Of course, the stability and durability of those drives is a hot topic right now.

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"Fresh from rounding up a collection of the latest 120-128GB solid-state drives, we've turned our attention to a pack of 240-300GB models to see how SSD performance scales as one climbs the capacity ladder."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

OCZ Technology Introduces Octane SATA 6Gbps and Octane-S2 SATA 3Gbps Solid State Drives

Subject: Storage | October 20, 2011 - 10:29 AM |
Tagged: Indilinx Everest, Octane, sata 6Gbs, sata, ssd, ocz

SAN JOSE, CA - Oct. 20, 2011 - OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs), today launched the Indilinx Everest-based Octane SATA 3.0 and SATA 2.0 SSD series, striking the ideal balance between capacity, physical size, and speed. In addition to being the world's first SSD to achieve up to a 1TB capacity in a compact 2.5 inch format, OCZ's Octane SSD series combines high-speed data transfer rates with record-breaking access times to provide a superior user experience and improved application performance.

"OCZ has reached an important milestone in the development of its own controller technology," said James E. Bagley, Senior Analyst with Storage Strategies NOW. "The high sustained performance, even with compressed files, the rapid boot feature and high access speeds using SATA 3.0 protocol puts their controller technology in the major league."

"Until now SSDs have been tailored for specific applications, forcing users into a product which maximizes performance for a narrow band of applications, but is significantly lacking in others," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology. "The Octane Series solves this problem by providing the highest level of performance across varied workloads including mixed file sizes and mixed compressible and uncompressible data, all while nearly doubling NAND flash endurance."

The Octane series leverages the cutting-edge Indilinx Everest platform to deliver up to 560MB/s of bandwidth and 45,000 IOPS and is optimized for the complete spectrum of file types and sizes. In particular, the Octane's proprietary page mapping algorithms allow for steady mixed-workload performance, mirroring real world conditions across a wide range of applications. The Octane series also includes a number of advanced features unique to Indilinx, including innovative latency reduction technology, enabling both read and write access times as low as 0.06ms and 0.09ms respectively, the lowest of any commercially available SSD. This enhances application responsiveness and enables features such as "fast boot" in consumer applications.

Octane SSDs also come equipped with Indilinx's proprietary NDurance™ technology, increasing the lifespan of the NAND flash memory, ensuring the most consistent and reliable performance as well as minimizing performance degradation even after the drive's storage capacity is highly utilized. In addition, Octane series drives support AES and automatic encryption to secure critical data.

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Octane Product Features:

  • Dual Core CPU
  • Up to 512MB DRAM cache
  • 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB models
  • High sequential speeds: Octane (SATA 3.0) Read: 560MB/s; Write: 400MB/s Octane-S2 (SATA 2.0) Read: 275MB/s; Write: 265MB/s
  • High transactional performance
  • Optimized for 4K to 16K compressed files Octane (SATA 3.0) 45,000 random read 4K IOPS Octane-S2 (SATA 2.0) 30,000 random read 4K IOPS
  • Industry-low latency: Read: 0.06ms; Write: 0.09ms
  • Strong performance at low queue depths (QD 1 – 3) 
  • Up to 8 channels with up to 16-way Interleaving
  • Advanced BCH ECC engine enabling more than 70 bits correction capability per 1KB of data
  • Proprietary NDurance Technology: increases NAND life up to 2X of the rated P/E cycles
  • Efficient NAND Flash management: Dynamic and static wear-leveling, and background garbage collection
  • Boot time reduction optimizations
  • NCQ support up to 32 queue depth - End-to-end data protection
  • TRIM support
  • Industry standard SMART reporting

The OCZ Octane SSD Series will be available November 1st in models ranging from 128GB-1TB capacities throughout OCZ's global channel.

SandForce finally patches elusive 2200 series SSD controller bug. OCZ issues firmware, others soon to follow.

Subject: Storage | October 17, 2011 - 09:25 PM |
Tagged: ssd, sandforce, ocz, firmware, bug, BSOD

Over the past few months, we had noted a seemingly disproportionate surge of negative reports from users of SandForce-2200 based SSD's. These include OCZ's Vertex and Agility 3, Corsair's Force 3 and GT, Patriot's Pyro and Wildfire, along with many others. The complete list is available in our handy SSD Decoder.

The issue at hand was random BSOD's, with the possibility of an eventual complete failure of the SSD, rendering it unrecognizeable to the BIOS or Operating System. More details (and the fix) after the break:

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I witnessed this personally, as the SF-2281 pictured above suffered the same fate when we attempted to use it a few weeks ago.

Today (hopefully) marks the answer to everyone's prayers. SandForce issued base firmware 3.3.2 for SF-2000 series controllers.

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OCZ's Toolbox software V 2.40.02 can patch OCZ's line of SF-2200 SSD's with the new fix.

The release notes follow (and seem to lack mention of the aforementioned bugfix):

OCZ Toolbox version 2.40.02
---------------------------
- Modified Identity data display
- Fixed Smart data display for power fail backup attributes
- Added BIOS update for Hybrid drive

Known Issues:
- Update Firmware feature prohibited for primary drives with 1500 & 2000 controllers
- Intel RST Driver 10.1.0.1008 prohibits SSD detection

OCZ's press tidbit for the new firmware(s):

OCZ is pleased to announce that the cause of a BSOD issue experienced by some SF-2000-based drive owners has been identified by OCZ and SandForce. A new firmware update which directly addresses this BSOD occurrence related to SF-2000 based SSDs is available here. All newly manufactured OCZ SF-2000 based SSDs will feature the new 2.15 firmware revision (which is based on SandForce firmware version 3.3.2.) We highly recommend that any customers that have experienced the BSOD issue update their firmware to 2.15.
 
We sincerely appreciate the support from our customers, and if any customers have any questions or require additional support please do not hesitate to contact a customer service representative and we will be happy to address any questions or concerns.

If you own any of the affected SSD's, I highly recommend updating as soon as possible. Until then, I also recommend you back up any data present on these drives, as the above statements confirm the presence of an issue that can potentially brick your SandForce SSD at any moment.

Remember, patch only applies to the 2200 Series controller (i.e. SandForce SSD's capable of SATA 6Gb/sec).

Intel's 710 SATA III 200GB SSD ... and you though PCIe SSDs were expensive

Subject: Storage | October 13, 2011 - 03:05 PM |
Tagged: ssd, SATA3, Intel 710

The Intel 720 is a 200GB SATA 3 SSD with rated specs of 270MBs read/210MBs write or 38500 IOPS read and 2700 IOPS write, which makes it sound great until the sticker shock hits.  At an MSRP of $1300 you suddenly realize that there is more to this drive than just those specifications.  The extra money comes into the picture due to several reasons which make this an enterprise class drive.  The drive is overprovisioned by 120GB, while it does have 320GB of storage the extra memory is not available to you, only to the drive.  That overprovisioning should mean a greatly extended lifetime, just as the 64MB DRAM cache and six transistors ensure you won't suffer data corruption if the drive loses power unexpectedly.  There is more hidden inside this drive, which you can read about at The SSD Review.

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"The SSD Review has compiled a detailed analysis of the newly released Intel 710 SATA III 200GB SSD, an SSD priced at an unexpected $1299. Contrary to original predictions, the 710 is not intended as a consumer product and we believe that it will meet with a great deal of success in the enterprise sector. Follow along as we try to explain why this SSD is such a special addition to the SSD arena."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Source: SSD Review

Corsair Releases High Capacity Force GT and Force 3 SSDs

Subject: Storage | October 6, 2011 - 01:10 PM |
Tagged: storage, ssd, sata 3, corsair

Corsair today released three new solid state drives (SSDs) that deliver both speedy performance and high capacity. The new models include two new Force 3 SSDs at 180 GB and 480 GB and one new Force GT SSD at 480 GB. All of the new models are powered by the SandForce 2280 controller and utilize the SATA 3 (6GB/s) storage interface. All models will include a 2.5” to 3.5” adapter for use in desktops, and are backward compatible with older SATA specifications.

The Corsair Force GT being the faster lineup of drives now has a 480 GB Force GT SSD that is capable of 555 MB/s read speeds and write speeds of 525 MB/s. Further, the drive uses ONFI synchronous flash memory and achieves 85K random write IOPS (input/output operations per second).

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Although Corsair already has 120 GB and 240 GB models of solid state drives, the lineup now has a 180 GB SSD (to match the 180 GB capacity of the Force GT line) and a 480 GB drive. These two new SSDs use the same asynchronous flash that the other SSDs in Corsair’s Force 3 lineup utilizes as well as the same SandForce 2280 controller. In being compatible with SATA 3 (6GB/s) interface, the drives are able to pump out 85K random write IOPS, 550 MB/s read speeds, and 520 MB/s write speeds. This puts them slightly below the Force GT series, but still delivering respectable performance.

The new solid state drives are available now from authorized distributors and retailers worldwide. The Force 3 SSDs carry an MSRP of $249 USD for the 180GB version and $799 USD for the 480GB SSD. Finally, the 480GB Force GT has an MSRP of $999 USD. Remember to check out our SSD Decoder for help in picking out your solid state drives!

Source: Corsair

OCZ Technology Acquires UK Design Team from PLX Technology

Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2011 - 02:35 PM |
Tagged: ssd, plx, ocz, merger, acquisition

SAN JOSE, CA—October 5, 2011—OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the UK Design Team and certain assets from PLX Technology, further strengthening the company’s global research and development team.

PLX’s UK Design Team has built a reputation for designing innovative and reliable system-on-chip (SOC) solutions and the acquired engineering team’s expertise provides OCZ with additional resources for controller design. Through the acquisition of the engineering team and the license of intellectual property (IP), OCZ will be able to accelerate solid state drive development, reducing its time to market for next generation SSD products, while also reducing development costs.

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“We are pleased to augment our engineering organization with the UK Design Team as they have been providing best of breed system-on-chip designs, software, and firmware since 1992,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology. “We believe the additional engineers along with the access to increased IP resources will enable us to significantly reduce the costs associated with storage protocol licensing, while simultaneously speeding our time to market.”

Pursuant to the agreement, OCZ will among other items acquire from PLX access to substantial IP and the UK Design Team, which consists primarily of approximately 40 engineers located in Abingdon, United Kingdom. PLX will retain their existing line of products which they will continue to support and supply to their customer base, and any patents related to the technology, for which OCZ will receive a perpetual license. The acquisition is subject to the satisfaction or waiver of various closing conditions.