Z-Drive R4 SSD combines blazing speed, PCIe 2.0 interface

PCI Express may be the future for solid-state drives, and the interface has already taken root in OCZ’s Z-Drive SSDs. The company has just announced a new one: the Z-Drive R4. Available in full- and half-height models, the Z4 has a PCI Express 2.0 x8 interface with 4GB/s of peak bandwidth to and from the system. You’re gonna need the bandwidth, too, because the fastest Z4 is said to be capable of pushing data at nearly 3GB/s.

The Z-Drive achieves its impressive performance with the aid of multiple SandForce SSD controllers managed by a “SuperScale” storage controller of OCZ’s design. Details are scarce on the controller, but it’s part of version 2.0 of the company’s Virtualized Controller Architecture. VCA 2.0 offers its own queuing system in addition to supporting both TRIM and the SCSI command set. Configurable redundancy options are built right in, and VCA also attempts to extend NAND longevity at the block level. Excellent endurance with 2x-nm MLC flash memory is a big selling point for the new Z-Drive, OCZ says. According to CEO Ryan Petersen, a 3.2TB Z4 is capable of withstanding 120 petabytes worth of writes. SLC versions of the drive with even greater longevity will be available, as well, although OCZ insists they’re only necessary in extremely write-intensive environments.

Behind the OCZ chip, you’ll find up to eight SandForce SSDs controllers tied to banks of NAND. The half-height RM84 variant of the Z4 is limited to four SSD controllers, and its performance ratings drop accordingly. As one might expect, the midget card doesn’t offer as much storage capacity as its big brother, topping out at mere 1.2TB.

  RM88 RM84
Size Full-height Half-height
Interface PCI Express 2.0 x8 PCI Express 2.0 x8
NAND controllers 8 4
Available capacities 800GB, 1.6TB, 3.2TB 300GB, 600GB, 1.2TB
Max sequential reads 2800MB/s 2000MB/s
Max sequential writes 2800MB/s 2000MB/s
Max random 4KB writes 410,000 IOps 250,000 IOps
Warranty length Three years Three years

OCZ isn’t pinning down pricing just yet, but it indicates that R4 drives would run $6-15/GB depending on the configuration. With the line starting at 300GB, this isn’t something you’ll be popping into a desktop PC. The R4 is very much designed with enterprise customers in mind, and OCZ is keen to point out that it will even churn out custom form factors for its customers. Custom orders will have to wait until the end of the year. The standard Z-Drive configs are already shipping, though.

Somewhat surprisingly for such a premium product, the Z-Drive R4’s warranty runs out after just three years. That’s not actually atypical. Another big name in the PCIe SSD market, Fusio-io, also covers its drives with a three-year warranty. Enterprise-class mechanical hard drives usually have five-year warranties.

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 8 years ago

    1.2 Petabytes ~ 1.25 million Gigabytes, and this thing can write at 2.75 Gigabytes a second.

    Assuming its targetted at the enterprise segment for whom normal SSD-based SAN write speeds and IO’s are insufficient, then we have to assume that it is only going to be bought by people who demand a very high volume of reads/writes from it. If they didn’t demand this, they’d be better served by just chaining things together, like a cheap, 64-drive SATAbeast for example.

    So:

    1,250,000GB / 2.75GB per second = 450,000 seconds, also known as five and a half days.
    So, this $20K array, aimed at the enterprise market is capable of burning itself out by simply running at peak load for five days.

    It would seem that this thing is only of use to /real/ enterprise if it has SLC.

      • Waco
      • 8 years ago

      120 PB, not 1.2 PB.

      That makes it: (120 000 terabytes) / (2.8 (gigabytes / second)) = 1.39068407 years, roughly.

      Assuming you only write at maximum speed, 24/7, 365.

    • bthylafh
    • 8 years ago

    I’ll be in my bunk.

    • odizzido
    • 8 years ago

    it’s almost hard to read the speed as 2800MB/S because as a storage device 280 seems really really good.

    • Faiakes
    • 8 years ago

    Why is it so hard to offer a 50-80GB option for us wishing to only have it as an OS drive?

    Then they might be affordable.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      Because they can’t charge $1800 for it I suppose…

      I whole heatedly agree with this sentiment though. Even 40 would be fine. I miss real ramdrives…

        • mutarasector
        • 8 years ago

        … I miss the Amiga’s “RAM:”, “RRD:”, and “VD0:”,

    • albundy
    • 8 years ago

    just RMA’ed my OCZ PSU…barely 2 years…luckily there’s still warranty.

    • trek205
    • 8 years ago

    $6-15/GB??? so that’s $48,000 for the 3.2TB model? wtf?

      • pdjblum
      • 8 years ago

      Maybe they will have a mail in rebate of $47,000. Hmmmmm, so all I have to do is find $48,000 to front them and hope they don’t find a petty reason to reject my rebate. I guess I am going to have to pass.

      • Sunburn74
      • 8 years ago

      $15 dollars a gig? You’d be better off buying a ton of your own sandforce SSDs and daisy chaining them in a RAID0 of your own at that price.

        • thesmileman
        • 8 years ago

        it still wouldn’t be able to preform at this level.

          • Waco
          • 8 years ago

          With a good RAID card and some careful setup it might.

            • indeego
            • 8 years ago

            Do you have a link to said setup?

            • Waco
            • 8 years ago

            An LSI 9265-8i with 8 fast drives in RAID 0 would easily eclipse it in sustained read/write and might come close in IOPs if configured well.

            • indeego
            • 8 years ago

            MAX Iops listed for that card is 300K, or 110K less than the above.

            9265-8i ($640.00) + 8 120G OCZ V3 MI ($2,279.92)
            or
            9265-8i ($640.00) + 8 240G OCZ V3 MI($4,479.92)

            Not bad. You could still RAID0+1 two sets of these and easily eclipse performance and lower cost.

            • Waco
            • 8 years ago

            I thought it was ~465K IOPs. Oh well – it’s unlikely you’d ever hit the queue depths required to pull that kind of performance in normal use anyway. 😛

      • Waco
      • 8 years ago

      That’s still worlds better than the stuff from Fusion-io (at the high end anyway)…

      • MaxTheLimit
      • 8 years ago

      Hey if the 3.2TB one is only 6$/GB (the lower end of the mentioned scale) then it’s only a paltry $20k!

        • Farting Bob
        • 8 years ago

        I’ll take 2! Then store all my porn on them, because i cant wait for porn to load, even a second!

          • GTVic
          • 8 years ago

          Lame! Be original or don’t bother.

          • indeego
          • 8 years ago

          Who stores porn these days?

          pink

          lab

          Enjoy!

    • Waco
    • 8 years ago

    Price $130 $110

    I assume those prices are typos?

      • Dissonance
      • 8 years ago

      Indeed. Fixed.

        • elegault
        • 8 years ago

        Ya, $6-15 per GB, ouch.

    • smilingcrow
    • 8 years ago

    OCZ = Oh Christ, Zap.

      • Krogoth
      • 8 years ago

      You sir, win 1 internets. 😀

        • smilingcrow
        • 8 years ago

        Would you send it to me via snail mail please.

          • seawolf1118
          • 8 years ago

          well i always thought OCZ stood for Oh Crap, Zombies!!??!? no?

    • Xylker
    • 8 years ago

    Dell’s website will allow you to extend warranty on the server up to 5 years [i<]including[/i<] the Fusion-io card.

    • kuraegomon
    • 8 years ago

    Typo in the last paragraph – I assume you meant FusioN-IO (N is missing).

    • indeego
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]According to CEO Ryan Petersen, a 3.2TB Z4 is capable of withstanding 120 petabytes worth of writes.[/quote<] ~112.2 Terabytes of writes a day over three years?

      • 5150
      • 8 years ago

      Unless you install the drive in a different motherboard than the ONE OCZ tested with. In that case, it won’t be detected.

        • indeego
        • 8 years ago

        And will fail with a random assortment of LEDs lit or not lit, depending on its mood.

          • kuraegomon
          • 8 years ago

          And yes – I think it’s safe to say that OCZ’s QA organization needs some work 🙂

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