OCZ Vector 256GB RAID 0 TRIM SSD Review
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Storage Enthusiasts and Indilinx Fans such as myself have been patiently awaiting the day when OCZ Technologies and Indilinx would finally consummate the marriage and give birth to a new Flash Processing Unit that would bring with it the kind of ground breaking performance that legends are made of.
OCZ Technologies was one of the first players in consumer oriented Solid State drives. They were also first to utilize the original Indilinx Flash Processing Unit “Barefoot” in first generation consumer Solid State drives. The original OCZ Vertex sported a 4 channel Barefoot controller and was a favorite among enthusiasts because of its superior write performance and low cost.
Fans of the first generation Indilinx Barefoot SATA 3Gb/s controller were standing by eagerly awaiting Indilinx’s widely rumored second generation SATA 6Gb/s controller code named “Jet Stream” to appear on shelves when a surprising turn of events took place. OCZ having great success with their Vertex series of drives had become the world’s number one seller of consumer solid state drives. This success leads OCZ to narrow its focus to primarily the consumer solid state drive space that was and is exploding in market share.
In March 2011, OCZ acquired Indilinx Co., Ltd, a privately held fabless provider of flash controller silicon and software for SSDs. OCZ gained intellectual property including approximately 20 patents and patent applications related to the business, for approximately $32 million of OCZ common stock.
This bold move by OCZ Technologies was the first step in securing the Holy Grail of SSD production; utilizing your own in house controller. This greatly reduces cost of production and opens up new avenues of revenue. After acquiring Indilinx OCZ cut ties with SandForce who’s first and second generation controllers had made their way into OCZ’s Vertex 2 and Vertex 3 drives to focus on their own controller.
To further their aspirations OCZ announces another major 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. OCZ’s reasoning behind this acquisition as stated by former CEO of OCZ Technology Ryan Peterson is: “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.”
November 2011, OCZ launches its first “In-House” controller called “Everest” with a Solid State Drive called “Octane”. Many speculated that “Everest” would actually be the long awaited “Jetstream” controller and OCZ’s own silicon. This drive introduced us to what OCZ dubbed “Indilinx Infused” and new technologies such as NDurance™ technology to increase the lifespan of the NAND flash memory and minimize performance degradation. The Octane was touted as a drive that outperformed SandForce with incompressible data and provided better access times that increased the used experience. Inevitably news came out that the Everest Controller at the heart of Octane was not actually OCZ’s own silicon. Everest was actually Marvell silicon “Infused” with proprietary Indilinx programming and firmware.
OCZ then takes aim straight at the enthusiast market and launches a flagship series of drives bearing the famed “Vertex” moniker; the Vertex 4. The Vertex 4 is based in another “Indilinx” infusion of Marvell Silicon this time it’s third generation Marvell. The Vertex 4 is a solid drive and brings to the table a new level of write performance. At the time I dubbed the Vertex 4 “King of Writes”.
Right in the middle of all this OCZ starts having financial problems and a company restructuring is taking place even as you read this. Light at the end of the tunnel is emerging for OCZ and the first ray of light comes with the launch of OCZ’s first drive based on their OWN silicon. This first generation OCZ silicon is called “Barefoot 3” and is a true Indilinx Controller. The launch platform for Barefoot 3 is a new drive called Vector. OCZ is touting Vector as “Ground Breaking” which is nothing new as practically every launch is touted as such.
Today we have for your viewing pleasure a double dose of this “Ground Breaking Technology” in the form of RAID 0 as only RWL can deliver. Let’s first begin by taking a look at what OCZ has to say about their new Vector Series:
The Vector Series delivers a new industry-leading solid state storage solution for the high-end consumer and workstation user.
Vector delivers the industry's fastest performance. Rated for 100,000 random read and 95,000 random write IOPS to deliver ultimate responsiveness and a better overall computing and workstation experience than any other storage solution.
Vector redefines reliability and offers a premium SSD solution designed from the ground up for enhanced stability, quality, and durability.
Get consistently faster sustained speeds with the complete spectrum of file types and sizes, including both compressible and incompressible data for balanced, long-lasting performance like no other drive out there.
Built to last, Vector maximizes drive life with low write amplification, efficient garbage collection, and an advanced suite of NAND flash management to provide years of hard drive-humiliating performance that is second to none.
All Vector SSDs come bundled with a 3.5-inch desktop adapter bracket, and include an Acronis® True Image cloning software registration key with your purchase to easily transfer data from your old hard drive.
Advanced controller technology allows Vector to excel in high performance and deliver superior endurance without compression or loss of usable capacity. That means more space and more speed from your Vector SSD.
Vector features OCZ's most stringent hardware and firmware validation cycle to date and rated for 20GB of host writes per day to meet the demands of high-end workstation systems.
With a sleek 7mm housing, Vector's slim z-height ensures compatibility with the latest thinner form factor notebooks. Alloy casing lends style that matches your taste for modern storage.
Barefoot 3 IS actually ground breaking in more ways than just a sales pitch. The Barefoot 3 8 channel controller is based on an ARM Cortex Processor however it also has an exclusive Co-Processor which is OCZ’s proprietary Aragon Co-Processor developed by OCZ’s Indilinx and PLX divisions.
OCZ’s Aragon is a 400 MHz 32 bit processor that features for the first time Solid State Drive specific RISC instructions. Reduced instruction set computing, or RISC, is a CPU design strategy based on the insight that simplified (as opposed to complex) instructions can provide higher performance if this simplicity enables much faster execution of each instruction. This enables Barefoot to execute instructions in a single processor cycle resulting in “Ground Breaking” performance.
Barefoot 3 has been a long time in coming due in part to OCZ’s new extensive validation process. This Validation process assures the consumer the Vector will perform reliably and that and production errors will be detected before the drive ships. Additionally every Vector is subjected to factory “Burn-In” testing that tests the reliability of each individual drive. OCZ is backing the Vector series with a 5 year warranty as well. Let’s get started shall we?