Thirteen months ago OCZ announced its intention to acquire Indilinx, the SSD controller maker that gave Intel its first taste of competition in the consumer market in 2009. Eight months later, OCZ launched its first post-acquisition SSD based on Indilinx silicon. Today, just five months after the launch of the Octane, OCZ is officially releasing the Vertex 4 – based on its Indilinx Everest 2 silicon. In less than a year, OCZ has brought to market more Indilinx powered controllers than Indilinx did in the previous three years. It's rare that you see the fruits of acquisition so quickly, but if there's anything OCZ's CEO Ryan Petersen is good at it's pushing for an aggressive schedule.

Rather than call this drive the Octane 2, OCZ went with Vertex 4, indicating its rightful place at the top of OCZ's SSD lineup. The implications run even deeper. It marks the first time in two years that a Vertex drive will ship without a SandForce controller inside. Make no mistake, while Octane was a shot across SandForce's bow, Vertex 4 means war. While OCZ continues to ship tons of SandForce controllers, the future for the company is Indilinx. The Vertex 4 is just the beginning. OCZ will continue to ship Vertex 3 in parallel, and should a future SandForce controller make competitive sense to use OCZ will definitely consider it, but the intention is to build the fastest silicon internally and use it as much as possible.

The dramatic departure in naming also embodies just how different Everest 2 is from the original Everest controller. OCZ claims there's minimal shared code between the Octane and Vertex 4 firmware, and the two drives perform very differently. Write amplification was always a concern with the Octane - it is no longer a major issue with the Vertex 4. OCZ and its Indilinx team have reduced write amplification to roughly the levels of Intel's controllers:

Estimated Worst Case Write Amplification

Indeed write performance is improved significantly as a result. A look at the spec sheet gives us the first indication of what's to come:

OCZ SSD Comparison
  OCZ Vertex 4 OCZ Vertex 3 OCZ Octane OCZ Vertex 2
Current NAND 25nm IMFT MLC 25nm IMFT MLC 25nm IMFT MLC 25nm IMFT MLC
Capacities 128, 256, 512GB 60, 90, 120, 240, 480GB 128, 256, 512GB, 1TB 60, 120, 240GB
Controller Indilinx Everest 2 SF-2281 Indilinx Everest SF-1221
Max Seq Read 535 MB/s 550 MB/s 480 MB/s 285 MB/s
Max Seq Write 475 MB/s 500 MB/s 330 MB/s 275 MB/s
Max Random Read 95K IOPS 60K IOPS 26K IOPS -
Max Random Write 85K IOPS 85K IOPS 35K IOPS 50K IOPS
AES-256 Encryption Yes Yes Yes No

Regardless of the nature of the data (compressible or incompressible), the Everest 2 powered Vertex 4 promises better random write performance than any other consumer SSD on the market today. And it delivers:

Desktop Iometer - 4KB Random Write (4K Aligned) - 8GB LBA Space

Random write speed is nothing short of incredible. OCZ is able to equal SandForce's write speed on highly compressible data without resorting to any sort of data compression. This is a purely algorithmic advantage. While the original Everest was a work in progress by the time OCZ acquired the company, Everest 2 is the first Indilinx project OCZ had complete control over. Apparently OCZ's CEO, Ryan Petersen had a lot of his own input built into this design.

OCZ Vertex 4 Lineup
  512GB 256GB 128GB
NAND Configuration 16 x 32GB 25nm Intel sync NAND 16 x 16GB 25nm Intel sync NAND 8 x 16GB 25nm Intel sync NAND
DRAM 2 x 512MB DDR3-800 2 x 512MB DDR3-800*
2 x 512MB DDR3-800*
Controller Indilinx Everest 2 Indilinx Everest 2 Indilinx Everest 2
Max Seq Read 535 MB/s 535 MB/s 535 MB/s
Max Seq Write 475 MB/s 380 MB/s 200 MB/s
Max Random Read 95K IOPS 90K IOPS 90K IOPS
Max Random Write 85K IOPS 85K IOPS 85K IOPS
MSRP $699 $349 $179
*Only 512MB of DDR3 will be used, future versions will ship with 2 x 256MB devices

The Vertex 4 will be available in three capacities initially – 128GB, 256GB and 512GB, with a 1TB version following. Drives should be available today but in very limited quantities, and likely only 128GB capacities at the start. MSRP is fairly competitive with other 6Gbps drives on the market today:

SSD Pricing Comparison
  128GB 256GB 512GB
Crucial m4 $154.99 $299.99 $549.99
Intel SSD 520 $184.99 $344.99 $799.99
Samsung SSD 830 $174.99 $299.99 $779.99
OCZ Octane $199.99 $339.99 $849.99
OCZ Vertex 3 $199.99 $339.99 $1199.99
OCZ Vertex 4 $179 MSRP $349 MSRP $699 MSRP
Inside the Vertex 4
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  • jwilliams4200 - Saturday, April 07, 2012 - link

    There is no hard evidence that is publicly available since OCZ is keeping it quiet for obvious reasons.

    The Octane uses a rebadged Marvell 88SS9174, and the Vertex 4 uses a rebadged Marvell 88SS9187.
    Reply
  • rw1986 - Saturday, April 07, 2012 - link

    I'm just curious how you can make these claims so authoritatively when, as you say "there is no hard evidence that is publicly available" to support your position.

    What you seem to be suggesting is that OCZ made a 32 million dollar acquisition in April of 2011 (Indilinx) and then decided to simply license and rebadge controllers from Marvell rather than build internally (which is completely contrary to what OCZ has told investors and the public). On a Thursday conference call OCZ's CEO was quite adamant that Everest 2 is completely their IP and will improve their profit margin strucutre as a result (since they don't have to pay a fee to Sandforce for each controller as before). If what you are saying is true then OCZ has misled their investors at best.

    This is a pretty serious accusation you are making here and it would be nice if you had a little more to say in support of it than "trust me, i know." If you were really in a position to know then I doubt you would be posting on the comments section at AT.

    I'd be interested to hear some experts weigh in on this exchange. How could we verify or disprove that the Everest 2 is really not Indilinx but instead a rebadged 9187? Surely some analysis can be done on the ASIC
    Reply
  • jwilliams4200 - Saturday, April 07, 2012 - link

    It isn't very important to me either way, since I have no financial interest. But OCZ has a history of dishonesty, and it bothers me to see them get away it.

    If it is important to you, you could start by contacting the appropriate people at OCZ and asking whether the controllers in the Octane and the Vertex 4 have similar or identical circuits with Marvell controllers.
    Reply
  • jwilliams4200 - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5741/ocz-confirms-oc... Reply
  • hackztor - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    Good job on being correct. I think alot of people feel betrayed again by ocz. Last time i will purchase their product no matter what. Reply
  • pookguy88 - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    so wait, right now they'll (256gb, 512gb) ship with 1gb DRAM but later on 512mb? Is it just me or is that going to be a huge deal for customers once they realize that they basically got jacked 512mb of RAM vs early adopters? Reply
  • pattycake0147 - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    I inferred that the smaller drives will ship with 1GB but only 512MB will be used on the drive. Reply
  • Voo - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Considering that was explicitly stated in the article there's not much to infer here is it?

    "Oh no I was jacked from 512mb that were deactivated anyhow - what a scandal!"
    Reply
  • antef - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Why is your standard recommendation still the Samsung SSD 830? Given the performance, prices, and most notably, the incredibly excellent reviews on sites like Newegg, the Crucial M4 would still be my recommendation to new shoppers. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Samsung 830 is "a lot" faster, see our Heavy and Light benches. In real world, you will probably not notice the difference unless you do something I/O intensive. Personally, I've been recommending both Crucial m4 and Samsung 830. Crucial is great if you want to save a few bucks but otherwise Samsung is better. I think Anand has been using the Samsung in his main system for months now and haven't had issues, so that may be a reason as well. After all, we speak based on our own experience. Reply

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