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OCZ Vertex 4

By Matt Simpson - Friday, April 20, 2012

It wasn’t that long ago that Solid State Drives seemed to have a long way to go. They were roughly the capacity of SD Cards at 30 to 60 gigabytes and typically cost several dollars per GB. At the time, you could get a 3Tb mechanical hard drive for a little over a hundred bucks. The future of SSD’s seemed bleak, or at least they seemed relegated to the boot drives of some mad enthusiast PC’s. Since then, Mechanical hard drives have only grown to 4TB and those are somewhat hard to find. Even the smaller sized mechanical hard drives are no longer the bargains that they once were. The flooding last year wiped out many of the hard drive plants. The ones that remain are aware of the situation and are able to charge between 25% and 50% more for the same parts they were selling one or two years ago.

Solid State drives, or SSD’s have made even greater strides.  There have been monster examples of SSD’s for some time now; the last iteration of the Revodrive from OCZ was available with up to a Terabyte class of storage with their 940GB version. The price for that much SSD space remains an expensive proposition, but it’s getting better. The smaller, more mainstream sizes in the 250GB to 500GB ranges have come down significantly even as they get faster with every generation. It is now possible to get a SSD, even one of the faster models at close to one dollar per gigabyte.

OCZ

OCZ has been one of the forces in the push to get SSD’s into the hands of consumers. They have been releasing desirable models in both the low and high end of performance as well as along the majority of capacity points. They even have one of the only PCIe solutions for SSDs that are readily available. While they made many drives early in the game, the mass adoption of the Sand force controller was what really put them on the map. At the time, the Sand force SSD controller was head and shoulders above the competition in performance. This made the companies Vertex 2 series of drives one of the most desirable at the time as well as one that was nearly untouchable in terms of I/O performance. The company followed up with the Vertex 3 when the new Sand force controller was released. They were able to keep supply in the channel and costs, while high, were not out of proportion to other top end SSD’s.

Indilinx

Indilinx was the supplier of many of the earlier SSD controllers that Sand force was in competition with. Just over a year ago, they were purchased by OCZ. In a bold move by OCZ, they decided that rather than pay a huge price for each controller, they would do better to make their own in house. Just a few months later, OCZ launched its first drives with the in house Indilinx controllers. They were not putting the sand force drives at risk, but the profits seen from them were much higher. Fast forward another 5 months and it seems that OCZ is getting the hang of working with the Indilinx silicon as we now have new controller from them which will power the flagship Vertex 4 SSD series. It is a measure of OCZ’s tenacity when turning out products that they have moved more Indilinx equipped drives in less than a year, than all companies using the Indilinx chipset put out in the previous three years. OCZ hasn’t cut ties with Sand force either, and they will continue to ship the Vertex 3 drives. OCZ has stated that they will look wherever they have to get the most performance, so if a new Sand force controller can again take the crown, we will likely see a series of OCZ drives powered by it.

The Vertex 4

Using the new Everest II controller, from OCZ’s own Indilinx, the new drive will lose a small margin in maximum sustained transfer s to its Vertex 3 counterparts, but will still maintain impressive numbers. The critical Random access is even faster and with reduced write amplification as well. This is the rightful successor to the Vertex name. Drives will initially be released in 128, 258, and 512GB models, with a terabyte version soon to come.




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