Although much of the attention at OCZ's CES showcase was focused on enterprise-oriented SSDs, we do have some news on a more consumer-centric offering. Tucked away in the corner of the company's suite was the Vertex 4, which will be based on a next-generation Indilinx controller dubbed Everest 2. OCZ wouldn't give us any specifics on how the chip differs from the Everest controller inside its recently released Octane SSDs. However, we were told that extensive changes have been made to the firmware. Since it owns Indilinx and the Everest controller, OCZ has full control over the firmware source code—a luxury it hasn't enjoyed when using controllers from other firms.
As you can see, the Vertex 4's circuit board puts the controller at the center of a ring of NAND chips. OCZ confirmed that this arrangement shortens the length of traces between the memory chips and the controller, although it also said the design could change by the time the Vertex 4 is ready for mass consumption. The drive is expected to be released around June of this year, giving OCZ plenty of time for tweaking.
As it stands, the Vertex 4 looks very fast. OCZ claims the drive will hit 550MB/s with sequential transfers, 105,000 IOps with random reads, and 90,000 IOps with random writes. In the demo we saw, the Vertex 4 achieved over 80,000 random-write IOps in IOMeter. OCZ was quick to point out that this result was achieved using random data—and that the Vertex 3 doesn't fare nearly as well thanks to the write-compression mojo of its SandForce controller. After that subtle snipe, we were told that OCZ will continue to work closely with SandForce on existing products. There was no mention of upcoming designs based on SandForce silicon, though.