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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  • jwilliams4200 - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    "OCZ sent us a 512GB version with sixteen NAND packages and four 8GB die per package. We typically don't see any interleaving benefits beyond two die per package, so I'd expect similar performance between the 512GB drive and the 256GB version (despite the significant difference in specs)"

    What a strange thing to say. Do you really mean that you think that despite OCZ quoting a 270MB/s sequential write speed for the 256GB model (vs. 400MB/s for the 512GB model), that the two sizes will actually have the same sequential write speed?

    If so, I'd be willing to be a lot of money with you that you are wrong.
  • jwilliams4200 - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    be -> bet
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    The only reason I said that is because I wasn't really able to hit OCZ's "400MB/s" in our Iometer tests. Instead I got 280MB/s, which is closer to what OCZ specs the 256GB version at.

    I'm 100% ok with being wrong and I'll be sure to point it out if I am in the next review :)

    Take care,
  • jwilliams4200 - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    But you measured 395 MB/s for the 512GB Octane sequential write with AS-SSD.

    It seems that the Octane sequential write speed varies a lot (other review sites have measured 348 MB/s with AS-SSD). Maybe it depends a lot on the block size, or on the size of the test file (span), or on whether the SSD is in a used or fresh state.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    But if you look at HDTach and Iometer the perf is down at 280MB/s. I'm not entirely sure what's going on with AS-SSD...

    Take care,
  • gevorg - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    "I believe OCZ needs a good 12 months of an Intel or Samsung-like track record to really build confidence in its products."

    I completely agree!!
  • LoneWolf15 - Thursday, November 24, 2011 - link

    ""I believe OCZ needs a good 12 months of an Intel or Samsung-like track record to really build confidence in its products."

    I completely agree!! "

    That makes three of us. I'll say one more --they also need to build a proven track record of customer service as well.

    Right now, Intel, Crucial (specifically the m4), and Samsung are the choices I look at if a client needs an SSD.
  • MrSpadge - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    What's this "double write endurance" and "faster boot" about?

  • iwod - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    I think it just shows how Random Read is EXTREMELY important to Real world workloads.
    Since we have already establish Random Write over 40 - 50MB/s doesn't make any difference, And Seq Read Write matter a lot less then Random Read.
  • Taft12 - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    Fully agree here, in fact random read is the only thing that really matters as far as anything you'd ever notice in real world desktop use.

    Anything more is benchmark porn (no offense to the fetishes of many AT readers)

    Longevity and stability is most important by far, too bad a benchmark can't determine that.

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