OCZ Launches New Generation Of Vertex SSDs


Solid state drive developer OCZ Technology Group on Thursday unveiled a new family of SSDs targeting PC and enterprise applications with what it terms the highest sequential read and write speeds and the highest IOs per second ratings in the industry.

However, the new SSDs, while labeled as suitable for enterprise applications, are built using MLC NAND technology, which has traditionally been used for capacity-optimized, not performance-optimized or reliability-optimized, storage devices.

The new Vertex 3 SSDs, which are targeted at performance applications, feature a 6-Gbps (gigabits per second) SATA interface, which provides double the performance of San Jose, Calif.-based OCZ's previous models.

They are built around the new SF-2200 SSD processor from Milpitas, Calif.-based SandForce, giving the SSDs up to 550 MBsps read and 500 MBs per second write transfer rates and up to 60,000 IOs per second (IOPS).

The Vertex 3 drives are rated for 2 million hours mean time between failure (MTBF).

OCZ also introduced the Vertex 3 Pro SSDs. Targeted at enterprise applications, they use a premium version of the SandForce processor, and are rated for 10 million hours MTBF.

Both versions of the drives carry a three-year warranty.

SSDs can be divided into two primary categories depending on the technology of the Flash memory on which it is built. Some SSDs feature single-level cell (SLC) memory technology, in which one bit of data occupies one cell of the flash memory, making it optimized for performance and data reliability. Other SSDs feature multilevel cell (MLC) technology, in which four bits of data occupy one cell of the Flash memory for greater capacity.

MLC NAND technology costs much less than SLC technology. However, a number of controller manufacturers including SandForce and Israel-based Anobit claim their controllers boost MLC NAND performance and reliability to equal that of SLC NAND.

OCZ executives were not available to comment on the use of MLC vs. SLC technology.

The Vertex 3 and Vertex 3 Pro SSDs will make their first public performance at next week's CeBIT tradeshow in Hanover, Germany, and are slated to start shipping after the show.

The Vertex 3 will be available in two versions. A 120-GB model is expected to carry a list price of $249.99, while a 240-GB model is expected to be priced at $499.99. The Vertex 3 Pro is expected to ship in 100-GB, 200-GB, and 400-GB models.