Next-gen SandForce SSD controller shown in OCZ Vertex 3

Just a few years ago, OCZ’s CES showcase was dominated by memory modules. Row upon row of DIMMs were on display, each with a heatsink a little taller and more outlandish than the next. My, how things have changed. At this year’s show, there were only a handful of DIMMs out at OCZ’s suite. The company’s latest heat-spreader designs were relegated to the corner, over by the snacks and bottled water, while solid-state drives took center stage.

OCZ is all about SSDs these days. The full line was spread out for the show, and we caught a glimpse of a couple of intriguing new entries.

By far the most interesting of the bunch was the Vertex 3 Pro, which OCZ had running in a demo system. The new Vertex taps a next-gen SandForce SF-2582 controller with a 6Gbps Serial ATA interface. According to the ATTO disk benchmark that was running at the time, the drive hit its sustained read and write speed targets of 550 and 525MB/s, respectively.

OCZ tells us that the final version of the Vertex 3 will use different flash memory chips than what was present in the demo unit. That change may impact the performance picture, although we won’t have to wait too long to find out. The third-generation Vertex is slated to arrive in a couple of months.

While the 6Gbps SATA interface offers a nice step up in bandwidth compared to the old 3Gbps spec, it’s nothing compared to what you can get with a few PCI Express lanes. OCZ’s latest Z-Drive has a PCIe 2.0 x8 link hooked up to no fewer than four SandForce-based SSDs. We couldn’t get specifics on the RAID chip used to transform those four drives into a single striped array, but we do know that the flash controllers are current-generation designs rather than the new hotness inside the Vertex 3.

The R3 has been built on a half-height card that should slot easily into low-profile server chassis. As one might expect, the performance specifications look mighty impressive: 1,000MB/s sustained reads, 950MB/s writes, and up to 135,000 random-write IOps. You’ll be able to get this puppy with up to 1.2TB of MLC flash and as much as 600GB of SLC memory.

Comments closed
    • smilingcrow
    • 9 years ago

    Like MSI this is another brand I’ve had multiple bad experiences with. I’ve used many brands over the years for memory and this is the only one that I am wary of.
    I bought about 12 sticks of their DDR3 and half of them failed MemTest. RMA’d them and a few of the replacements were faulty as well. A bad batch no doubt but I’ve often bought RAM in bulk through work and never had this problem before.
    Can’t say I’ll miss them as a RAM supplier.

    • Bensam123
    • 9 years ago

    “OCZ tells us that the final version of the Vertex 3 will use different flash memory chips than what was present in the demo unit.”

    Yeah lets see numbers after it runs on the less expensive memory that isn’t exotic and hand picked to show off a new controller.

    In other news, the PCI-E flash drives are still hella-expensive. I really wish a company would do another take on the I-RAM. The transfer speeds would be ridiculous if it actually went through the PCI-E bus (could even probably saturate a x16 2.0 slot) and it would be definitely cheaper then all these as long as the device itself wasn’t overpriced (memory isn’t that expensive). Size limitations aside, anyone getting a SSD isn’t getting it for capacity.

      • KikassAssassin
      • 9 years ago

      According to Anandtech, they’re using 32nm flash in the current demo units, and the shipping product will be using 25nm flash. I’d imagine that they’re not using 25nm flash in the demo units because 25nm flash isn’t available yet.

        • Bensam123
        • 9 years ago

        Ah, well thats cool if it’s a upgrade and not a downgrade.

      • kuraegomon
      • 9 years ago

      More likely that they’ll be using production Intel 25nm flash. It’s actually quite likely that release performance numbers will be similar to those referenced in this article. OCZ have done pretty well in this regard since they jumped aboard the SSD bandwagon, and made themselves the conductor 😛

      I’m still more likely to pick next-gen intel, or Crucial C400 though. I think Intel has better QA, and Crucial seems like they really know what to do with SATA 3.0 – and happily I already have SATA 3.0 ports just waiting for a shiny new SSD to mate with them 🙂

        • Farting Bob
        • 9 years ago

        Im still confused as to why Crucial are the only ones to have SATA 3 SSD’s. It seemed from the moment that the first boards and addon cards started coming out for 6Gb/s that SSD makers would be all over that shit. But we actually have more mechanical HDD’s using it than SSD’s still.

    • Rectal Prolapse
    • 9 years ago

    Why do people still forget that Sandforce inflates their write speed numbers by using highly-compressible data?

    Most people will be transferring non-compressible data, like mp3s, videos, and jpegs. Take those sequential write speeds and divide in half for the real numbers! Although 200ish MB per second is pretty respectable…

      • osmosium
      • 9 years ago

      Could you provide references for this claim?

      Ive read quite a few analysis over the years on SSD’s. Don’t recall anyone giving data on this or talking about it.

        • ImSpartacus
        • 9 years ago

        He’s right.

        Sandforce drives compress data for two reasons. Writing less data is quicker and it prolongs the life of the SSD.

        Anandtech did a pretty big review of the original controller. Now they have benchmarks for both compressible and non-compressible data.

        [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/2899/3[/url<] Anand writes excellent reviews for SSDs and CPUs. They can get quite technical, but our crowd tends to respect that sort of thing.

      • Firestarter
      • 9 years ago

      Yet people keep talking about using SSD’s as boot drives. Guess what compresses pretty well? Yeah, .exe, .dll’s and all kinds of stuff like that. Only thing that you’d want to store on a boot drive that doesn’t compress well is your average game, as games have to strike a balance between storage speed and CPU speed to minimize loading times.

      • smilingcrow
      • 9 years ago

      Who cares how long it takes to transfer mp3, DixX or JPEG files. If you are buying an SSD for that reason it’s an indulgence.

        • Anomymous Gerbil
        • 9 years ago

        Yes, because your use cases are the same as everyone else’s.

        • Rectal Prolapse
        • 9 years ago

        Yes I agree – it’s the reviews that emphasize sequential writes as the end-all of SSD performance that bug the hell out of me.

        With that said, if you are into video-editing having an SSD is a godsend compared to a noisy RAID0 array of power-guzzling mechanical 7200 RPM hard drives. 🙂

    • designerfx
    • 9 years ago

    hmm. MLC vs SLC on this.

    • ew
    • 9 years ago

    and people said 6Gbps SATA wouldn’t help SSDs out!

      • Firestarter
      • 9 years ago

      yeah, while everyone with a calculator and a glass-half-full mentality could’ve figured that if a 64GB SSD can read at 200 MB/s, then a 128GB SSD with twice as many flash chips should be able to hit 400 MB/s, given the proper controllers and buses

      I wonder how much of the theoretical bandwidth these new controllers manage to squeeze out of them flash chips, and whether flash chips from the various manufacturers are another serious factor in performance.

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      They did? I think they probably meant that 6 Gbps and SATA in general has already been bypassed and rendered outdated in all but the low-end to mid-range casual user segment.

        • Anomymous Gerbil
        • 9 years ago

        Where’s the green [color=green]?[/color]

        Err, so much for my BBCode-fu.

        • stdRaichu
        • 9 years ago

        A surprising number of people were convinced that since SATA could supposedly go to 300MBs/, the fact that nothing was able to read faster than 260-280MB/s meant there was some other bottleneck inherent so SSD technology… rather than factoring in things like protocol overhead or just the simple fact that practice is frequently different to theory. IME they were also the exact same people who a) were convinced SSD’s were a flash in the pan and less reliable than moving platters and b) didn’t have SSD’s of their own.

        Personally, I bought a C300 and it’s now just landed in my sandy bridge system. Although I had hoped that Intel would have been launching a 6Gbps SSD to coincide with the release of sandy bridge and I’m a bit mystified as to why not, since lack of their own 6Gbps host controller is no longer an issue.

    • khands
    • 9 years ago

    And it’ll probably run you $10K fully decked out. Still freaking awesome though 😀

      • NotParker
      • 9 years ago

      Newegg has the current 1TB MLC model for 3549.

      [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227523[/url<]

      • cmrcmk
      • 9 years ago

      Decisions, decisions… Do I want a 1 GBps SSD or a new car? (I’m sure it’ll cost that much)

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