OCZ's latest Z-Drive has 16 flash channels laced with NVMe goodness

There's a new NVM Express SSD in town. OCZ's enterprise-oriented Z-Drive 6000 Series supports version 1.1b of the low-overhead protocol designed to replace AHCI. Rather than using an in-house controller, the drive taps a PMC Sierra chip with 16 NAND channels. This controller is tied to four PCIe Gen3 lanes via a cabled SFF-8639 interface.

Source: OCZ

OCZ splits the family between two camps. The Z-Drive 6000 Series is meant for read-intensive applications, while the 6300 Series is optimized for mixed workloads. Both employ Toshiba's A19 MLC NAND, but the 6300 Series uses a higher-endurance variant. It's rated for three drive writes per day over the course of the five-year warranty, while the 6000 Series is specced for only one full write per day.

Initially, the drives will be available in 800GB, 1.6TB, and 3.2TB capacities. There are also plans for a 6.4TB version—and for a 6300 derivative based on a half-height, half-length expansion card. Right now, the 6000 Series is limited to the thicker 2.5" form factor familiar from Intel's 750 Series SSD.

As one might expect given the target market, the new Z-Drive has power-loss protection, end-to-end data protection, and hot-swap support. 256-bit AES encryption is built in, and the drive can throttle performance to prevent overheating. Interestingly, it also has a configurable thermal envelope that can be set between 15 and 25W.

Lowering the TDP will undoubtely affect performance, which purportedly peaks at 2900MB/s for sequential reads and 1900MB/s for writes. Random I/O rates top out at 700k IOps for reads and 160k IOps for writes, according to OCZ. That random read rate is particularly high compared to the specs for other PCIe SSDs.

The Z-Drive 6000 Series should be compatible with the NVMe drivers baked into some modern operating systems. That's not the only option, though. OCZ also promises custom drivers for Windows, Linux, and VMWare.

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