This past year we've seen a major push by several manufacturers to move solid state drives (SSDs) into the mainstream market, but the lower pricing has often come at the expense of performance. Enter Intel, who did away with any notion of bang/buck and instead focused on lightning-fast read speeds with its X-25M SSD.
Now OCZ is getting into the high performance SSD game with the introduction of its new Vertex series. Unlike the company's existing Core series SSDs,which target average users, the Vertex is aimed squarely at enthusiasts.
"The new Vertex Series of SSD drives are a premium MLC based SSD solution that are designed for consumers that require fast, rugged, and reliable solid state storage,” commented Eugene Chang, Director of Product Management for the OCZ Technology Group. “The Vertex makes use of our newest architecture and controller design complete with 64MB of cache to offer faster transfers and superior overall system response times in a broad range of applications and games."
Write speeds have traditionally been a weak spot for MLC-based SSDs, but that doesn't appear to be the case with the Vertex drives, at least on paper. OCZ claims read and write speeds of up to 200MB/s and 160MB/s respectively. By comparison, Intel claims up to 250MB/s and 70MB/s read and write speeds for its X-25M, making the Vertex appear to be a more balanced higher performance solution.
No word yet on availability, but OCZ did say the Vertex series will come in 30GB, 60GB, 120GB, and 250GB capacities. MSRPs for the 30GB-250GB will be set at $130, $250, $470, and $870 respectively.
OCZ's making a pitch for its new Slate Series ExpressCard, a storage expansion drive the company claims is better suited than USB flash devices and external hard drives.
Compatible with USB 2.0
18 MB/sec read
12.5 MB/sec write
Voltage: 2.7V - 3.6V
The new ExpressCard storage drives aren't going to win any speed crowns, so OCZ is touting convenience and low power consumption over alternative backup solutions. Users who don't like to lug around external hard drives or who are prone to bumping into USB keys sticking out of a notebook may find appeal in an ExpressCard that stays put and out of the way.
Specific pricing and availability has not yet been announced, though OCZ did say its new Slate Series will come in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB capacities.
It's only a matter of time before someone comes up with a Fatal1ty brand energy drink (if it hasn't been done already), but in the meantime, Jonathan Wendel continues to have his gaming moniker marketed on more PC components, the latest being a line of power supplies by OCZ.
"These high-performance power supplies were co-developed with the expertise of Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel, 12-time World champion, to meet the specific needs of fellow gamers," OCZ wrote in a press release. "OCZ Fatal1ty Professional Series PSUs feature incredible performance to power the latest graphics cards and hard drives."
The new 'co-developed' Fatal1ty power supplies will come in three configurations to start with, including a non-modular 400W, modular 550W, and non-modular 700W unit with a single +12V rail. All three power supplies are 80-plus certified and sport a red-LED 120mm fan. The 550W and 700W units also boast SLI-certification.
The PSUs are backed by 5-year (700W) and 3-year warranties (400W and 550W). No word yet on pricing or availability.
OCZ uses rebadged Samsung SSD drives for its SSD storage offerings. While we’re confident that OCZ hasn’t done any internal tweaking to the drives, it’s nevertheless interesting to see that a slight performance difference exists between the twins.
In our tests, the Samsung and OCZ drives ran neck and neck in our sustained transfer read and write benchmarks, but the Samsung edged out the OCZ by 1MB/s to 2MB/s in both scenarios. The two drives posted similar results in random access tests, with the Samsung again taking the upper hand in random access write tests.
For many of us, the idea of building your own laptop seems pretty farfetched. But OCZ is looking to change all of that with a recently announced15” DIY gaming notebook. The notebook will be based on Intel’s Centrino 2 processor and ATI’s Radeon HD3650 integrated graphics. According to OCZ, these will “provide a premium gaming experience that lets gamers power through all of today's most advanced and graphic-intensive games and applications with DirectX 10.1 compatibility.”
“At OCZ, empowering the enthusiast end-user in the mobile gaming space is an exciting opportunity for us, and with the powerful technology found in our latest Intel Centrino 2 based notebook we are again at the forefront of this growing market,” states Ryan Edwards, Director of Product Management, in OCZ’s the press release. “With OCZ DIY notebooks, end-users have complete control of the cost/performance ratio of key components, giving consumers the opportunity to personalize a true gaming and multi-tasking powerhouse notebook by using a validated component list and our easy to follow step-by-step manual included with every DIY package.”
While the notebook isn’t one that you’ll be building from the ground up, there are plenty of great options to give it a DIY feel. In the box you’ll get the case of the machine, which features a 15” screen, optical drive, and motherboard while the HDD (or SSD), memory and processor are your call. Thanks to some conveniently placed covers, all it takes to install the components is a screwdriver a little bit of know-how. OCZ even provides a catalog of components that work in each slot, so you’ll have a short list of parts to choose from when deliberating on what to use.
For true DIY’ers, this isn’t much to concern yourself with. But if you’re someone looking for a way to get your feet wet in the DIY scene (and it truly is the place to be), this isn’t a bad place to start. Follow the simple instructions and the fundamentals of building a PC are all yours.
Arguably no other company is doing more to push SSDs into the mainstream than OCZ, who earlier this year released its Core Series SATA II SSD drives, undercutting the competition in price and hurdling past in performance. Now the company is at it again, slashing prices one more time.
It was just a week ago that OCZ's 32GB Core SSD dropped down to just $99 after mail-in-rebate, and now the company's 64GB model is receiving similar treatment. Newegg is now selling the bigger model for the same price after a $70 mail-in-rebate, which means you can now get double the storage space for a single C-note than what you could have received last week.
It's not all peaches and cream, though, as the price cuts come on the heels of heavy criticism by Anandtech, who faulted the drives for random write issues resulting in "horrible stuttering/pausing/lagging."
Is the new low price per gigabyte enough to make up for SSD technology's shortcomings?
SSDs with a 64GB storage capacity fetched close to a grand last year. But their outrageous prices have become subdued with the passage of time. Now, if you act quickly, OCZ’s brand new Core V2 OCZSSD2-2C60G 2.5” 60GB SSD could be yours for $240 – approximately $4/GB. The SSD boasts read speeds of 170MB/sec and write speeds of 98MB/sec. It also features a built-in USB 2.0 port for firmware updates, and can serve as a replacement for your notebook’s HDD.
If solid state drives (SSDs) ultimately fail to curry favor among enthusiasts, it won't be from lack of effort in OCZ's headquarters. OCZ, who once sold only DRAM products and now offers everything from DIY notebooks to mind-controlled input devices, has been one of SSDs most aggressive pushers, first with its Core Series SSDs, and now with a second revision dubbed V2.
Whereas the original Core Series come in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB flavors, the new V2 will be available in 30GB, 60GB, 120GB, and 250GB. By offering a 250GB model, a case could be made for going HDD-less in that new build.
Storage space isn't the only feature getting a boost and the V2 series will offer read and write speeds up to 170 MB/s and 98 MB/s respectively. By comparison, the previous Core Series top out at 143 MB/s and 93 MB/s respective read and write speeds. The V2 also touts improved seek times of less than 0.2-0.3ms as part of the new architecture.
One of the more interesting features OCZ brings to the table with the V2 is the ability to update the SSDs' firmware.The drives will come equipped with a mini-USB port, which paves the way for consumers to cash in on speed bumps and other future enhancements simply by installing new firmware.
Of course, the big concern with all SSDs continues to be the long term reliability, and OCZ rates its 2-year warrantied V2 series with a 1.5 million hour mean time before failure (MTBF). No word yet on pricing or availability.
The next time your Xbox Live opponent threatens to destroy you with their mind, he might actually mean it. The same holds true for the Sony Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii consoles, as OCZ is considering bringing its Neural Impluse Actuator to all three major consoles.
In sci-fi fashion, the NIA interprets electrical signals from your brain to issue commands and so far the device is only available for PC gamers. But in a meeting with TechRadar, OCZ's director of marketing Tobias Brinkmann said his company is actively looking into porting the controller over to consoles.
"It's definitely something we are looking into," Brinkmann said. "The thing we think would be most cools is to get the NIA working with the Nintendo Wii - that would be good. But of course it would be great if we could get it working with all the consoles."
OCZ isn't the only company that sees a future in thought controls. Brinkmann claims that Microsoft once tried to aquire the NIA technology from OCZ, perhaps in an attempt to separate its Xbox 360 console from the PS3 and Wii.
Is mind control the next big thing? Post your thoughts below, or just think them.
Love him or hate him, Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel has managed to get his branding slapped onto nearly every PC component it takes to build a computer, leaving only hard drives and processors left to conquer. Don't believe it? Have a look for yourself. Motherboard? Check. Videocard? Check. Case, soundcard, mouse, keyboard, and headset? Check, check, and check ad nauseum. And thanks to a recent partnership with OCZ now coming to fruition, Fatal1ty can notch both DDR2 and DDR3 memory into his belt too.
"OCZ worked closely with Fatal1ty and his team to desin new memory kits that pair perfectly with the top selling motherboards for a superior gaming experience," commented Alex Mei, cheif marketing officer of OCZ.
Hit the jump to find out why OCZ's excited about the partnership, and whether or not you should be too.