We first met Indilinx in early 2009, with its Barefoot controller at the heart of OCZ's Vertex SSD. Until SandForce showed up in 2010 with the SF-1200/1500 series of controllers, the Indilinx Barefoot was the cheaper alternative to Intel. If it wasn't for Indilinx I'm not sure Intel would've had any real competition until last year. 

The OCZ/Indilinx relationship was always a close one, but it's about to get a lot closer. Today OCZ announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Indilinx Co., Ltd for ~$32M in OCZ shares. The deal is expected to close within 30 days.

Why would OCZ acquire Indilinx? To be honest, it's the only way to ensure growth in the future. While OCZ is currently the retail/channel face of SandForce, SF also happens to sell to all of OCZ's competitors. OCZ may get early access to SandForce hardware, but so could anyone else who shows up with a big enough check. Ultimately to stick around in this business OCZ needs to be able to build its own controller and that's what the Indilinx acquisition is designed to allow.

Indilinx was working on its first 6Gbps controller codenamed Jet Stream, however the design never surfaced. Delays do happen in chip design and I'm guessing Indilinx just couldn't make it happen with Jet Stream. 

What does this mean for SSDs today? Probably very little. OCZ will continue to ship SandForce based drives, however at some point I'm expecting to see an exclusive OCZ branded controller. While this move will likely guarantee OCZ's ability to differentiate amongst its smaller competitors, I'm not entirely convinced  it will be enough to compete with the likes of SandForce. We've even seen Intel struggle with that battle. 

Anything can happen though. Two years ago I didn't expect anyone other than Intel to dominate SSDs. A year ago it was SandForce. By this time next year anything could happen.

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  • GeorgeH - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    OCZ can still use SandForce controllers to chase the performance halo, then use its own budget Indilinx controller to go after the budget/mainstream market. Although I believe flash is the lion's share of an SSD's cost, OCZ should still be able to leverage "at cost" controllers into enough of a price advantage to sweep the average consumer with slightly lower prices at a given capacity point. Reply
  • capeconsultant - Monday, March 14, 2011 - link

    very high end controllers about to pop? Jet or something like that? Reply
  • coconutboy - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    It'll be interesting to see how OCZ's Indilinx-based products compare vs Intel's 3rd and 4th gen x25-m/mainstream lineup. If OCZ can offer quality products at a decently sized price advantage, they can carve out a profitable niche. Otherwise, this Indilinx purchase will turn out to be a bust. Reply
  • njerald - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    Next step for OCZ: in a few months, secretly swap out the SF controller in the Vertex 3 for a slower Indilinx controller. When people find out, OCZ will blame retailers and try to charge customers to swap for the SF-based drives. As it has with the Vertex 2 fiasco, AT will say nothing and stand by all its glowing recommendations for the Vertex 3. Reply
  • DJDave404 - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    LOL njerald

    Your post looks like a resume.

    You Looking for a CEO Job?
    Reply
  • semo - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    In his last response to my request for an article about OCZ's
    wrongdoing, Anand said that the issue had been resolved.

    The only way OCZ can resolve this issue is by recalling all
    incorrectly labelled V2 drives. At the moment, OCZ will only react if
    the affected consumers approach them. So OCZ will only fess up if they
    get caught.
    "OCZ grows Up", I don't think so.

    I've listed Anand's responses to this issue in the following thread.
    forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2143367
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    Heh!

    I was just about to ask about the 25nm parts again myself. What happened to any sort of explanation?
    Reply
  • semo - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    I think OCZ will offer you to swap your drive if it is one of the slow 25nm V2s with a faster 25nm one (I think they use denser chips). Anand does not plan to cover OCZ's shoddy 25nm transition based on the last response I got from him.

    forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2143367
    Reply
  • Nentor - Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - link

    I don't know Anand personally, and I doubt many people here in the comments do, but when I read one of the first big SSD articles here on AT (about the then shoddy cheap first gen SSD from OCZ) I really thought it was a great article. Very honest and well written. If there were like Pulitzer prices for articles on hardware I would vote for it.

    But I think not long after this that attitude changed. I can not find the same spirit in later articles. I can not believe it is the same man that now claims he "could not get drives" (the Anand I see in the first article would get them no matter what!)
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - link

    Yes, they do a free exchange these days, but I've been looking for an explanation of the entire fiasco. Why where drives with half as many addressable chips shipped with the same model number as fully fledged drives? Who then though it was a good idea to charge customers for a full-spec drive replacement?

    There are plenty of other manufacturers making SandForce drives. Explain or expire.
    Reply

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