In March, OCZ signed a definitive agreement to acquire Indilinx, the SSD controller company that pretty much dominated the value segment in 2009 before Intel got aggressive on pricing and SandForce took over the high-end. Indilinx was late on releasing its 6Gbps SSD controller prior to the acquisition and had all but fallen off the radar as most of its partners jumped ship to SandForce. OCZ scooped up the company with hopes of developing its own controllers and rising above the memory-manufacturer-turned-SSD-player crowd.

SandForce has obviously extended its reach since OCZ announced its intentions, partnering with many of OCZ's competitors in an attempt to expand its reach as well as lessen dependence on OCZ. As a customer turned competitor, SF like many of us knew that an OCZ SSD boasting a new Indilinx controller was in the works. Today we have the first details on that solution and it's called Octane.

Based on the Indilinx Everest controller, OCZ is touting incompressible data and sustained write performance as the two major strengths of Octane - obviously a jab SandForce and traditional SSD weaknesses. The controller is paired up with up to a 512MB DRAM cache, indicating that it is taking the more traditional route of storing both user data as well as page mapping tables in DRAM. There's no mention of power protection circuitry to flush the cache contents to NAND in the event of a power failure, but given the target market for these drives I don't suppose we'll see such a feature. 

The Octane will be available in two discrete versions: one with 6Gbps SATA support and one limited to 3Gbps (SATA 3.0 and 2.0, respectively). The 6Gbps version will ship with 25nm IMFT synchronous NAND, while the 3Gbps version will use 25nm IMFT async NAND similar to the Vertex 3/Agility 3 divide today. Sequential read/write speeds are competitive at 560/400 MBps, while 4KB random read/write speeds are quoted at 45K/25K. 

 

Capacities start at 128GB and will go all the way up to 1TB. OCZ is expecting pricing to fall somewhere within the $1.10 - $1.30 per GB range, which would put a 128GB drive at no more than $166 (in line with current Vertex 2 pricing) and a 1TB drive at just over $1300. Spare area is set at the standard ~7% you get from the GiB to GB conversion. No word on whether or not there's any additional NAND set aside for redundancy. 

The Everest controller features 8 NAND channels and up to 16-way interleaving. With 25nm NAND that means peak performance should be achievable with the 128GB model, with the larger drives just offering higher capacity and no additional performance. TRIM is of course supported. OCZ indicates support for both standard wear leveling and background garbage collection (presumably at idle time).

The first Octane drives will be available in the channel starting November 1st. I've already dispatched a huge list of questions to OCZ about the controller and the drive's architecture so I'll update this post as I get any new information. And of course, once we get a review sample I'll begin extensive testing.

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  • Wardrop - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    All these issues? Only the last two are valid as the rest have been resolved as you said, but the last two only apply to Sandforce-based SSD's, not SSD's in general. Reply
  • Proxy711 - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    Welcome to new technology.

    Even if all those issues were valid at this point in time, which they arent. SSDs are still a lot faster then HDDs.
    Reply
  • James5mith - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    Zak,

    Windows 7 had TRIM at launch. It launched roughly at the same time as SSD's hit the mainstream. The only reason you would have problems is if you were using an 8 yr old OS that doesn't even handle block devices correctly.

    As for TRIM in RAID, it is lamentable, but not a huge issue. We've been doing testing in RAID arrays, and the controller is such a huge bottleneck that hardware RAID makes no sense. If you are using SSD's, you want performance. So it's better to do something in software, use a few CPU cores to handle the RAID calculations, and have much higher performance. I never thought I would see the day when I was against hardware RAID for performance reasons, but here we are.
    Reply
  • JonnyDough - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    I haven't had any issues, but then...I know how to upgrade my BIOS, firmwares, drivers. I say firmwares because even DVD drives have firmware. :) Reply
  • cactusdog - Thursday, October 27, 2011 - link

    Even with those issues you mentioned (trim, incompressible data etc) an SSD still kills a hard drive in performance. Never had a problem with mine, its been rock solid since day one, no stuttering or anything like that. Reply
  • sanguy - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    What OCZ is calling "enterprise" market simply isn't. They are playing numbers games. Sell an SSD to anyone except an end user and it's "enterprise".

    Manufactures like EMC, Hitachi, IBM, NetApp are not using OCZ products but they are using STEC, Intel, Micron, and Fusion-IO products as fast as they can get them - to the tune of over $1B/year of true enterprise SSD being sold. I know EMC had some products on hold as they could not get SSD's quickly enough to keep up with sales.
    Reply
  • josephjpeters - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    "The list of OCZ's OEM partners include companies such as Dell, HP, SGI, Quanta Cloud Computing, Supermicro, Panzura, Tegile, Astute Networks, Penguin Computing, Wistron, JVL, Flextronics."

    http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/other/display/2011101...
    Reply
  • josephjpeters - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    and...

    "According to Ryan Petersen, either directly or through OEMs, OCZ SSDs have recently been deployed to enterprise and data center clients such as AOL, eBay, SAP, Prudential, Marketwire, EdgeCast, ASK.com, NTT Docomo, South Korean Telecom, Boxel, Boeing, Chevron, Carbonite, Honda, Bloomberg."
    Reply
  • semo - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    This is not a busieness site. We are not interested in their business and financial accomplishments but their technological and customer care ability. They have no problem with selling shit to customers and then defending their decision.

    "This is Ryan Petersen:

    He’s the CEO of OCZ Technology. He wasn’t too happy after my Intel X25-M SSD review.

    Although that review was about the X25-M, it addressed a major shortcoming with a number of other SSDs in the market - the most popular at the time being OCZ’s Core line."

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2738/18

    They also have no problem with knowingly misselling products to their customers and only reacting when directly confronted (see my post below).
    Reply
  • soliozuz - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    I wonder how much more different this area is as compared to it's previous generation and the current competition. I like the fact that they released a 1 TB SSD, simply because this will hopefully drive down prices for other SSDs and that competition will be more focused on getting that out for their next line-ups.

    OCZ's reliability has always been something of an issue and I don't know what will happen if this drive starts failing. Especially since this would be better marketed to small businesses/enterprise division than a regular consumer. I meaning having a TB is great but who uses more than 256 gb anyway?
    Reply

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