In June, we tested OCZ’s Vertex Limited Edition, one of two drives we had that used the SandForce SF-1200 controller. At the time, we wondered why OCZ would artificially limit supplies of an SSD with such great performance. And now we know: It was a trial run to help SandForce, a recent startup, gain capital to scale up production. It’s since done that, and in gratitude to OCZ has granted the company exclusive random-write-IOPS-boosting firmware for its Vertex 2 drives. The new firmware will be available to other SF-1200 drives (probably by the time this issue hits stands)—but as of press time, it’s an OCZ Vertex 2 exclusive deal. Ethics of “exclusive firmware” aside, is the Vertex 2 any better than its Limited Edition stable mate?
OCZ today introduced new high-speed 4GB modules aimed at enthusiasts and prosumers. According to OCZ, the new sticks are ideal for intensive multi-tasking, gaming, or home server use.
"Usually high speed and high density don't go hand in hand, but our newly introduced high density 2133MHz memory solutions are engineered to do exactly that," said Alex Mei, CMO at the OCZ Technology Group. "Designed for more than just raw speed, these new kits deliver an excellent blend of performance, density, and reliability for a wide range of applications ranging from rendering video to smoother gameplay on the latest titles."
The new 4GB modules can be found in several of OCZ's memory products, including the Flex EX, Reaper HPC, and Platinum series, and are available in either 8GB (dual-channel) or 12GB (triple channel) configurations.
OCZ is hoping its new RevoDrive will bring PCI-E based SSD storage to the masses, and given the price points, that's a real possibility.
The drive comes in both 120GB and 240GB capacities with MSRPs set at $390 and $700, respectively. Not exactly cheap, but in line with what other high-performance SSDs are going for. And unlike their SATA based brethren, the RevoDrive SSDs aren't bound by the same bottlenecks.
"The RevoDrive is the first PCIe SSD that delivers both performance and affordability and radically alters the SSD landscape," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of the OCZ Technology Group. "Up to this point PCIe SSDs have been reserved for enterprise applications and priced out of the range of many consumers, the bootable RevoDrive SSD changes the game by delivering a PCIe based solution that costs as low as $3 per gigabyte, exceptional small file write IOPS of over 80K, which is the most available in any low-cost solution."
The RevoDrive features a proprietary RAID 0 design that helps it ramp up transfer rates to up to 540MB/s read and up to 480MB/s write speeds, or nearly twice that of traditional SATA-based SSDs.
If you're not up to speed on your storage form factors, here's the quick and dirty rundown. Most desktop setups come with 3.5-inch drive bays, traditional notebooks typically ship with one or two 2.5-inch drive bays, and devices like ultra-thins, netbooks, some nettops, and tablet PCs usually employ 1.8-inch bays.
Now that you've graduated Storage 101, let's move on to solid state drives (SSDs), and specifically, a pair of new models from OCZ. Put more accurately, the memory maker took two existing SSD families -- the Vertex 2 and Onyx -- and put them under a shrinking ray, much like the one used in the movie "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids," only far less powerful. The result is OCZ was able to deliver 1.8-inch versions of each drive without sacrificing any performance in the process.
"Solid State Drives provide numerous benefits to mobile users including improved performance and reliability as well as lower power consumption versus traditional hard drives," said Alex Mei, CMO of the OCZ Technology Group. "We are now introducing two new drives that are designed to cater to the entire range of mobile applications including the Vertex2 1.8-inch which delivers the same performance as our popular 2.5-inch version in a smaller form factor for customers looking to achieve maximum performance on the go, and the new Onyx 1.8-inch which is designed for consumers looking for a quality SSD that is aggressively priced and is ideal for netbooks."
In other words, these are the exact same drives, only smaller, so you can expect the same 285MBs read (Vertex 2) and 275MB/s write (Vertex 2) speeds.
Few other companies are as active in the solid state drive (SSD) space as OCZ, which not only focuses on desktop consumers, but the enterprise market as well. Taking aim at the latter, OCZ has just unveiled a couple of new high-performance SSD lines, the Vertex 2 Pro and Vertex 2 EX.
Both drives come built around the latest SandForce SF-1500 controller. The Vertex 2 Pro is a multi-level cell (MLC)-based drive boasting transfer rates of up to 285MB/s read and up to 275MB/s write, while the Vertex 2 EX flavor uses single-level cell (SLC) memory and features the same speed rating. The difference, says OCZ, is that the EX has ten times the program/erase (P/E) cycles as the Pro.
"OCZ is committed to enabling our enterprise clients with the latest solid state drive technology in a variety of interfaces," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of the OCZ Technology Group. "With our new Vertex 2 EX and Pro series SSDs, we are able to deliver robust solutions that address the critical requirements of enterprise applications, including enhanced endurance, write performance, and data protection, with the option of either MLC or SLC NAND. These are truly best-in-class solutions designed for the most rigorous computing environments."
The Vertex 2 Pro and EX will both be made available in 50GB, 100GB, and 200GB capacities. No word yet on price.
OCZ this week unveiled the StealthXStream 2 power supply series, the follow-up act to the original StealthXStream aimed at the entry-level and mid-level markets.
"Three years ago we launched the original StealthXStream PSU line with the goal of delivering a power supply with the right balance of performance, features, and value," said Alex Mei, CMO at the OCZ Technology Group. "The new StealthXStream 2 is the natural evolution of this popular line and features an updated core, a sleeker more compact form factor making it easy to integrate into any chassis and plenty of stable power for dual GPU platforms, and with a complete range of models to choose customers can select the perfect wattage for their unique system configuration."
Available in 400W, 500W, 600W, and 700W flavors, all four new models are 80PLUS certified. The 400W and 500W units feature a single 20+4-pin ATX connector, one 4-pin CPU, one 6-pin PCI-E, four peripheral, one floppy, and three SATA plugs. The 600W model ups the ante with a 4+4-pin CPU connector, 6+2-pin PCI-E, and 5 peripheral plugs, while the 700W boasts six peripheral connectors, two floppy connectors, and six SATA plugs.
No word yet on price, through for a point of reference, the original 500W, 600W, and 700W StealthXStreams street for $55, $70, and $75 on Newegg, respectively.
Not everything at Computex is geared towards home users, there's plenty of enterprise fodder as well. OCZ is among those spreading the love to the corporate world, starting with the RevoDrive, a bootable PCI-Express based SSD designed for workstations.
High-end gamers with deep pockets will also be interested in the RevoDrive, which boasts read and write speeds that will make your SATA-based SSD crawl in a corner and assume the fetal position. We're talking about 540MB/s read speeds and 530MB/s write speeds, or about double that of performance-oriented SATA-based drives.
"Computex is always a good opportunity to showcase our latest solutions to both our clients and trade press and this year we have a complete range of solid state drive solutions that further push the envelope," commented Ryan Petersen, CEO of the OCZ Technology Group. "At the show we will be demonstrating exciting new products, including a truly affordable PCIe SSD for consumer applications, ultra reliable enterprise drives and a first look at the HSDL (High Speed Data Link) interface that delivers far superior transfer rates over traditional SATA."
According to those on-hand at the convention, the RevoDrive comes equipped with two SandForce SF-1200 controllers. There's also a connection on the middle of the card for future expansion -- purchase one RevoDrive to start with, add a second one later.
OCZ has not yet determined pricing and availability.
The problem with solid state drives is two-fold. First, they're bloody expensive, putting higher performing models out of reach of most mainstream shoppers. And secondly, SSDs don't offer a ton of storage space. It's this latter shortcoming OCZ is trying to address, and towards that end, they've gone and released some high-capacity Vertex 2 and Agility 2 SSDS, both of which are now available in 400GB and 480GB capacities.
"Solid state drives have long delivered on exceptional performance and reliability but capacity has been a barrier to adoption for some clients," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of the OCZ Technology Group. "Building on our popular Agility 2 and Vertex 2 SSD lines our new high capacity models give customers up to 480GB of storage space allowing them to enjoy all the benefits of SSDs with plenty of room for even the largest applications and files, making this the ideal solution for customers that place a premium on speed, reliability and capacity."
What this means is that if you have deep enough pockets, you could ditch your mechanical hard drive entirely. A pair of 480GB SSDs checks in at nearly 1TB, enough space to boot your OS, run your applications, and store a whole lot of data. According to OCZ, both Vertex 2 and Agility 2 400GB editions feature 250MB/s read and 240MB/s write speeds. OCZ didn't disclose performance numbers on the 480GB models, nor did the company mention a release date or price. Our guess? "Soon" and "you don't want to know."
We never bought into the whole Fatal1ty hype ourselves, and judging by the reader comments that inevitably accompany these types of posts, neither did most of you. Nevertheless, arguably the world's most infamous gamer, Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel, will have his gamertag slapped on another power supply product from OCZ, a 750W modular unit.
"Working with Fatal1ty to build the ultimate PSU for a high-performance gaming environment was a great experience," commented Ryan Edwards, Director of Product Management at OCZ Technology. "Jonathan and OCZ share a common commitment to performance and reliability aimed at supporting the user in even the most intense competitive gaming and enthusiast environments. With the new Fatal1ty 750, gamers and power users alike can be confident their system is fueled by a top-notch PSU with the latest in technology and design."
Underneath the Fatal1ty logo sits an 80+ Bronze Certified power supply capable of 750W continuous at 45C. Modular cables consist of four 6+2-pin PCI-E, six peripheral, two floppy, and six SATA connectors, while permanent connections consist of one 20/24-pin ATX, one 8-pin CPU, and one 4+4-pin CPU.
OCZ's Enyo Portable SSD solution might very well be the world's sexiest external storage device, and it's certainly one of the fastest. That's because OCZ slapped a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface on the drive, which already sports an SSD inside.
"We are continually searching for new ways to make the benefits of solid state storage available to consumers, and our new Enyo SSD is designed to make those benefits portable," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of the OCZ Technology Group. "The Enyo is a sleek external SSD that makes use of the increasingly popular SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface to make transferring anything from spreadsheets to high definition movies significantly faster than traditional media. Consumers never have to leave home without their valuable files again."
The Enyo supports up to 260MB/s read and 200MB/s write speeds for blazing fast transfers compared to USB 2.0. According to OCZ, the Enyo can transfer a 500MB YouTube clip in just 1.6 seconds, far faster than the 17 seconds it would take with a USB 2.0 port. But the real benefit is in extra large transfers, such as a moving a 1TB backup file in 47 minutes compared to 9.3 hours with USB 2.0
OCZ's sleek Enyo will be made available in 64GB, 128GB, and 128GB capacities. No word yet on price.