OCZ Vertex beta firmware with background 'Garbage Collection'
OCZ wanted some feedback from us on their previously hush-hush project: custom Indilinx firmware. Since they did not have the end-user flasher ready to roll, they passed us a sample that was pre-flashed from their lab. The internal firmware revision was 1585. It arrived a couple of days ago, and I've been beating on it ever since.
Beta Vertex cooking on our storage testbed.
This new update came with a very short list of what to look for, the most interesting of which being "background garbage collection". This feature is supposed to take advantage of idle time by undoing the fragmentation previously caused by combined writes. Write combining is one of the tricks employed by nearly all current SSDs in order to increase random write performance and therefore prevent the familiar stuttering experienced by earlier generation drives. Contrary to speculation of this feature existing in firmware 1.30, firmware 1585 is the first Vertex firmware to include any background / idle optimizations.
This being only a firmware update, there is no need to dwell on packaging and pics of drive internals. For those wanting to gaze at more pretty pictures, check those from our first Vertex piece here. Packaging was covered here.