Final Words

The Indilinx Everest is a surprisingly competent controller. When OCZ first mentioned its work on the controller to me I wrote it off as yet another low performing alternative that wasn't worth consideration. Based on its performance in our Storage Bench tests, I'd say the OCZ Octane is easily able to hold its own against SandForce based drives. The obvious benefit is you get solid performance regardless of the type of data you're moving around - everything from text to compressed movies can move at the same rate. The benefit is also a downside. SandForce drives tend to have very good average write amplification (0.60 - 0.70) thanks to their real time compression/dedupe of commonly used files. The result is relatively consistent performance over time, something that more traditional SSDs can't offer nearly as well. With TRIM enabled this should be a moot point, but it's still an advantage that no one else can duplicate without SandForce's technology.

Write amplification is a concern, although I suspect it'll only be a problem for enterprise workloads. The bigger issue is that to address these limitations, OCZ will likely have to do a significant redesign of the Octane's firmware architecture. OCZ did let me know that an even faster Octane H drive was due out in the not-too-distant future. It's possible that the Octane H may address my concerns here. I'll find out in due time.

It's clear that the Octane is a powerful competitor, what matters now is its reliability. In the past OCZ has been at the mercy of third party controller makers to fix bugs in their firmware, but now with Indilinx in house I wonder how things will change. I believe OCZ needs a good 12 months of an Intel or Samsung-like track record to really build confidence in its products. The brand definitely took a hit with all of the SandForce BSOD issues (and the wild goose chase interim "solutions" to the problem). OCZ has the opportunity to start fresh with Octane and there can be no finger pointing this time. The controller, firmware and drive are all produced in house. I don't expect the drive to be perfect in every system, but it had better be very close to it.

The good news is that if OCZ is able to deliver reliable and compatible firmware, the Octane is worth owning. It performs at the top of its class, and it's priced more aggressively than OCZ's SandForce based drives. My standard recommendation for any new SSD still applies: wait and see. Let others (myself included, the Octane will be going into a work machine starting today) be the beta testers. If the waters look safe, only then should you jump in.

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  • Taft12 - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    Anand, do you have any insight into how the SSD industry's volume breakdown goes WRT size?

    I would be shocked if drives > 128GB made up more than 5% of shipments of consumer-class SSDs. I realize that hardware vendors want their product seen in the best possible light, but this 512GB drive might move a couple thousand units total globally whereas the 128GB version might see a couple orders of magnitude more.
  • Sunrise089 - Thursday, November 24, 2011 - link

    I echo both the request-for-info-on/suspicion of the breakdown in shipments between 128gb models and 512gb models. I also very much echo the desire for more reviews of 128gb drives.

    I get this is what you get sent, but one of the reasons I love Anandtech is that you guys will actually play hardball with the manufacturers. I'm not telling you to refuse to review 512/256gb drives unless you're sent a 128gb model too, but at the same time I doubt you'd only review Extreme Edition CPUs or dual-GPU video cards.
  • niva - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    Thanks a bunch Anand, it's amazing how the perception for OCZ has changed, I remember the days when it was a "stay away from" company. Personally I still haven't bought an OCZ product after getting stuck with dead RAM modules (one outright, one with errors) years ago and having no recourse.

    Still, competition is good, and OCZ has done a lot to bring prices down for SSDs. Hope they succeed in the long term. I was also really tentative about the Indilux acquisition, but so far it's a definite success.
  • james.jwb - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    pretty much all the OCZ memory modules i had over time died prematurely. Bad luck i guess.
  • inighthawki - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    I own 4 1GB modules that are a good 5+ years old, all still work fine.
  • PubFiction - Saturday, November 26, 2011 - link

    Well I do not know how much it has changed overall I would say I still have a negative view of OCZ. They just seem to be a decent marketing machine but they put out alot of garbage. They constantly have sales on bad products which people jump on to try and then get burned. Right now and for months their SSDs which have reliability and firm ware issues are all going on sale for hard to resist prices. I had ram from them that while it still works had a sticker that was so thick it had to be removed in order to fit in the slots. Of course that was on sale too which is why I tried it. Instead of really fixing problems or avoiding them they tend to just drop prices and sell more of it. We also just went through the whole different slower nand on the same part fiasco.
  • inighthawki - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    Ah, ok. As someone looking into buying a new SSD soon, I sure would like to see how the 128GB version pairs up vs other SSDs in the same range. Hopefully you will extend the review at some point if you get different models :P
  • DigitalFreak - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    I wonder about that also. Seems like all the review sites got the 512GB model.
  • hackztor - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    hum, still seem to like the vertex 3 better. This could be good, but the other day newegg had a nice sale for the vertex 3 120gb max iops for 150. Really cannot beat that. I think the key though is benchmarks are getting overrated because these drives are so fast especially compared to hard drives. They need to have a reliability chart, that would be lol. I know I went through 4 vertex 1 drives before ocz upgraded me to vertex 2 so I am somewhat hesitant.
  • mckirkus - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    Given that the vast majority of people (according to top sellers at NewEgg) buy drives in the 60 to 128 GB range, it seems odd that they're rarely represented in benchmarks. It'd be interesting to know what percentage of their sales are 512GB drives.

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