I received a tip yesterday with proof that OCZ's Everest controller was actually a Marvell 88SS9174 controller (the same controller used in Crucial's m4Intel's SSD 510, etc...) with a custom Indilinx firmware. After a bit of digging, it turns out that this is indeed the case (OCZ confirmed it to me earlier today). Although OCZ is working on non-Marvell based solutions, the Everest 1 (Octane) and indeed the Everest 2 (Vertex 4) are both based on Marvell hardware. The firmware is entirely Indilinx's own development, but the hardware is from Marvell. The hardware implementation isn't completely identical as OCZ claims its solutions run at higher clock speeds than the standard off-the-shelf Marvell components. 

This doesn't really change anything but it does explain how OCZ was able to bring two revisions of Everest to market as quickly as it did after the Indilinx acquisition. OCZ and Marvell have been working very closely together for a while now and even announced a native PCIe controller they collaborated on at CES this year called Kilimanjaro. As even Intel has admitted to in the past, the value in delivering an SSD isn't always in controller hardware but rather the firmware and validation.

Update: Just to clarify, my information says the Everest 1 (Octane, Petrol) is a higher clocked Marvell 88SS9174. The Everest 2 (Vertex 4) could very well be the new Marvell 88SS9187 given its significant performance enhancements. If it is the 9187 that could tell us a lot about just how close OCZ and Marvell are, as the Vertex 4 started shipping less than a month after Marvell announced the new controller.

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  • ckryan - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    A01 to the rescue. Reply
  • ckryan - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    This is something that has been alluded to for a while now over on XS. The FW is all indilinx and OCZ, at least on the Vertex4. The Octane is suspiciously like older Marvell drives. The FtL and FW are what is really important though. Look at Arrowana vs. Cognac. Reply
  • surfsupdude - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    Looks like Indilinx to me - where is the Marvell proof? Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    OCZ confirmed it to me today.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • iceman98343 - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    so what are the implications for ocz? does this hurt them?> Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    I don't believe so - the drives remain unchanged, who provides the silicon doesn't really matter but it's an interesting distinction. The firmware and validation are much more important in this case.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • iceman98343 - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - link

    from your past reviews and i gather from what ryan p has said, it seemed like OCZ was giving us the impression that this controller was exclusive to indlinx. Seems like a bad slap in the face. Why pay $30 million then for indilinx if they can't even release a controller... Reply
  • extide - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    This controller/firmware combination IS exclusive to OCZ. And they bought indilinx for the engineers who can write that firmware. They made out just fine. Reply
  • jwilliams4200 - Friday, April 13, 2012 - link

    LOL. I'm pretty sure they could have hired two or three excellent firmware engineers for a LOT less than a $32 Million signing bonus. Reply
  • darkfoon - Sunday, May 20, 2012 - link

    Do you have any idea how difficult firmware is to write? Buying a company with proven firmware engineers (and associated IP) is much smarter than just hiring a few good engineers. You buy a team of people who have worked together successfully, and you buy the IP and experience they have together so you aren't starting from nothing. That alone is worth the $32 million.
    Also, in case you didn't know, excellent firmware engineers aren't just floating around waiting to be hired like fruit dangling from a low-hanging branch.
    Reply

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