OCZ's Vertex 2 Pro Preview: The Fastest MLC SSD We've Ever Testedby Anand Lal Shimpi on December 31, 2009 12:00 AM EST
- Posted in
Inside the Vertex 2 Pro
This time there were no stickers telling me that I’d love this SSD, just a brown ESD bag and a plain looking SSD inside.
Pop the top off and you are greeted with a 90mF capacitor. Its duty is to deliver enough power to the controller to commit any buffered data to flash if there’s ever a sudden loss of power.
I asked SandForce why they needed such a large capacitor as Intel can get away with much smaller caps. It actually has to do with the amount of data buffered. Intel’s X25-M buffers somewhere in the low hundreds of KB of data (with a 512KB L2 cache I’m guessing it’s somewhere below that). The SF controllers buffer a couple of megabytes of data, hence the much larger capacitor.
SandForce did point out that the capacitor is a feature of the SF-1500 design, despite OCZ’s use of it on the Vertex 2 Pro.
That brings us to the controller used in the Vertex 2 Pro. Ultimately SandForce is going to have two controllers - the SF-1200 and the SF-1500. Currently the two controllers have a unified firmware and feature set, which is why both OCZ and SF refer to the Vertex 2 Pro as being somewhere in between a 1200 and a 1500. It’s a SF-1200 controller with the firmware of the SF-1500 as far as I can tell. The final shipping version with be a full fledged SF-1500.
The cost of the Vertex 2 Pro is going to be high. Higher than Intel’s X25-M and any other consumer level SSD on the market today. OCZ is targeting it at the very high end desktop/workstation user or perhaps even entry level enterprise customer.
We won’t see the Vertex 2 Pro available in the channel until March. But this isn’t the only SandForced based SSD we’ll get from OCZ though. At some point in the future we’ll have an SF-1200 based SSD that’s priced around the same level as the top-bin Indilinx based Vertex drives. It’s too early to talk about timing on that one though.
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vol7ron - Monday, January 4, 2010 - linkI don't think Anand has ever tried to predict market price. He generally lets us in on lot prices, that is, what retailers buy the merchandise for in quantities of 1000. Generally, when he does release that information, he is close to dead on. He typically does not way in on numeric estimates of market prices, other than statements like "they should be cheaper than...[insert product here]... because material/manufacturing costs are lower." The link you gave looks less to be a prediction and more to be what the suggested retail price is; much like buying a car, although the suggested price is printed, it does not mean the actual market price will be equal to it.
As for the G1/G2, as you recall, the G2 was very low on initial release (at least at Newegg) to the tune of ~$225. There have been several factors that have driven this price up (~$300). This is due to demand, but really it is a step demand. They are on Revision 5 of the G2, but the important thing is the fact that the G2 has been recalled twice. Where demand is generally steady in terms of price, abnormal release dates have pushed demand higher at different points (the graph looks more like a staircase, hence "step"). The price will again fall in the future.
You should note that whenever things go "out of stock," the prices will go up, supply is low and demand is high, hence bargaining power from retailers, basic economics. Criticizing Anand does not accomplish anything as his facts were correct.
vol7ron - Monday, January 4, 2010 - linkGrammar/Syntax edit:
"...lets us in on lot prices; that is, what retailers..."
"He typically does not [weigh] in"
If you look at the Arrandale article, there is a price supply list. Those prices are for lots of 1Ku (1000 units), which reaffirms the point I made earlier, before I even looked at the Arrandale article.
As for Newegg, it's a unique site, which prices are close, but generally higher than the 1,000unit price. The fact that the G2 price was ~$225 on initial release was probably a promotional price point that often happens with new products.
viewwin - Monday, January 4, 2010 - linkMarket forces are driving the price higher than MSRP(Manufacture Suggested Retail Price). Intel tried to have lower prices, but market demand pushed it higher. Prices were far lower on Newegg.com went the G2 first came out, but shot up to $600 at one point for the 160 GB. I recall an article about it, but can't find it.
kunedog - Tuesday, January 5, 2010 - linkOK, so he's "out of touch" with actual market prices, instead of made-up retail prices (MSRP).
"I recall an article about it, but can't find it."
That's OK, I saw the whole thing play out firsthand. After Anand posted these articles . . .
. . . stressing the expected performance and *affordability* of Intel X-25M G2 drives (I quote: "The performance improved, sometimes heartily, but the pricing was the real story."), they quickly disappeared from Newegg at the Anand-predicted price (with Newegg suggesting the G1s as an alternative, for which I call foul because many or most people wouldn't know the difference). They stayed out of stock for weeks. A month later, he posts this on the weekend:
The very next day (a Monday), G2s were suddenly in stock again at a huge markup, and the prices continued to climb for a few days. They've slowly fallen since that week, but never to the Anand-predicted price, and that fact has never been acknowledged in any of the subsequent reviews.
The pattern repeated with the Kingston 40GB drives:
The pricing prediction ($85 w/ rebate, $115 without) for it was apparently so important that it had to be right there in the summary (so you don't even have to click the full article to see it). I checked Newegg every day for a couple weeks after it was posted (and somewhat less often since) but *never* saw it in stock for less than $130 (which is the current price). Further, that article was repeatedly updated and bumped for minor and predictable updates (like new bugs/firmware), but the pricing of the Kingston never updated (even though the rebate is expired).
I would argue that market prices matter *more* than MSRP, and deserve Anand's attention. The high prices themselves aren't a problem; clearly people are willing to pay that much, therefore the drives are "worth it." It's Anand's complete obliviousness to them (after previously stressing their importance and total awesomeness) that comes across as strange.
chemist1 - Sunday, January 3, 2010 - linkHi Anand,
When you wrote: "Current roadmaps put the next generation of Intel SSDs out in Q4 2010, although Intel tells me it will be a 'mid-year' refresh," didn't you mean "*there* [not 'it'] will be a mid-year refresh?" I.e., that the next generation is still not expected out until Q4, but that there will be a mid-year updating of the current generation? [By writing "it" will be a mid-year refresh, you communicate that Intel told you that the next gen will be released mid-year instead of Q4, which is not what I think you meant to say .... or is it?]
vol7ron - Sunday, January 3, 2010 - linkGood question.
To clarify what he's asking:
Is it a mid-year refresh and a 2010Q4 release?
Is the mid-year refresh going to take place instead of the Q4 release (Q4 is pushed back).
vol7ron - Saturday, January 2, 2010 - linkI thought GIGABYTE released a motherboard with SATA6 for AMD (GA-790FXTA-UD5). It might be nice to start testing it out and putting these SSDs to the test.
Also, is it fair to take the enterprise level controller (SF-1500) and compare that to the consumer market product (X25-M)? Granted the SF-1500 has already stood well against the X25-E, but it's going to cost a heck of a lot more than the X25-M and the target market is the enterprise sector, anyhow.
Regardless of what it compares to, I'm already saying that the cost of this controller is overpriced. They can justify it however they would like; that is, better performance, high research and development costs, market barriers to entry, eg. The truth, though, is that they're overcharging. The logic is mostly sound, but the price is not. OCZ should sign a contract to buy the controller for a year, sell what they can, and negotiate a lower price, or else drop the controller. I'd like to see what that does to SF's profits.
I also would like to say that not using DRAM can have bad effects down the line. To get rid of it to justify a more expensive controller seems like an ignorant bargaining chip that SF is using to make more money. That's like saying, "I've upgraded your Ferrari with a newer, bigger engine, but it'll only take Regular [gas]." There's a high correlation between horsepower and Premium fuel; suffice to say the product might be faster, but it could be better.
vol7ron - Sunday, January 3, 2010 - linkGiven time to think about this:
Maybe it is fair to compare the SF-1500 to the X25-M, since they're both MLCs. However, if the SF-1500 is still supposed to be the enterprise version, the two products are not price equivalent.
Regardless, I do like to see the comparison. I just don't like to see the criticism when one is deemed an enterprise version and the other is still targeted for the home consumer/enthusiast.
Capt - Saturday, January 2, 2010 - link...it would be nice to have a shootout between the test field (Vertex 2, X25-M, ...) and a pair some drives in a RAID0/Stripe configuration, especially comparing equal total sizes and different platforms (Intel/AMD chipset, hardware controllers). With the new about-to-be-released Intel RST drivers SSD stripe performance got boosted quite a bit, and although I guess there won't be much of an improvement in the 4k area, reading/writing larger blocks and sequential does improve by a massive amount. As a pair of two 80GB X25-Ms costs only 10% more than a single 160GB drive this scenario is very tempting...
vol7ron - Saturday, January 2, 2010 - linkI also have been trying to get the reviewers to show more SSD RAID configurations. Not just because the price difference is semi-negligent, but because SSDs are suppose to be more error-free, and thus a more suitable technology for RAID. After all, isn't the exponential error potential the reason why RAID-0 was frowned upon?
On the downside, I think there have been problems recently with the Intel Matrix Storage Manager, which might be one reason why the topic has been delayed. Regardless, it would be nice if this topic was re-addressed, if only to remind us readers that it is still in your thoughts :)