In what's fast become a crowded lineup, OCZ has released yet another SSD series, this latest one called the Agility. The 2.5-inch SATA II SSD is being aimed at mainstream desktop and notebook users not looking to spend a fortune on solid state storage.
"The new Agility Series of SSDs are the latest addition to the OCZ lineup of solid state drives and are designed for cost-conscious consumers seeking the performance and reliability benefits of SSDs at an aggressive price," said Ryan Edwards, Director of Product Management at OCZ.
On the surface, that sounds like another way of saying the new drives will be slow, but that isn't the case, OCZ says. Helped in part by a 64MB cache buffer, the 60GB and 120GB models will offer read, write, and sustained write speeds of up to 230MB/s, 135MB/s, and 80MB/s respectively. The 30GB model will check in a little slower at 185MB/s, 100MB/s, and 60MB/s for its read, write, and sustained write speeds.
Talk about a generational leap forward. The SSD revolution has barely begun, but while others are busy focusing on incremental capacity bumps nowhere near the size of the largest HDD, BitMicro says it can now make SSDs with a ginormous 6.5TB capacity.
According to TG Daily, the company made the claim at the Siggraph trade show held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The rep went on to say that the custom drives can have up to 55,000 input/output instructions per second (IOPS) with sustained (not burst) transfers of up to 230 MB/s. In other words, not only would this wonder drive thoroughly trounce today's SSDs in terms of capacity, but it would be faster too.
The drives would also be physically bigger, with the loose-lipped rep saying the custom SSDs would be about two to three times higher than a regular drive.
Anyone think we'll see 1TB SSDs before long, let alone 6.5TB models?
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.
Solid state drives (SSDs) have been all the buzz lately, with companies like OCZ and Super Talent pushing faster solutions at lower price points. But despite the strides being made, industry experts predict it could take up to 10 years for the SSD business to write realistic enterprise-level standards for flash memory.
Motivating vendors to get there, the enterprise flash memory market is projected to be in the $60 billion range by 2012. While cost still remains a roadblock, the real stickling point is that flash memory can only last for a limited amount of write cycles, at which point the cells become read-only.
"Personally, I think SSDs are a terrible replacement for hybrid hard drives (HHDs) at this time, for a lot of reasons, the biggest of which is that they haven't been around long enough to know how they really will perform in heavy-duty production situations," said Robin Harris, a panel member for Data Mobility Group.
Many analysts agree that the SSD industry needs a standard, and according to Michael Cornwell, Sun Microsystems' new head of NAND flash business development, "there are about 60 flash vendors and about 17 organizations doing some kind of standards work." Hard drives went through a similar competitive transition period back in the '80s, but it didn't happen over night.
Are we really a decade off from SSDs becoming a viable option in the enterprise market?
Not everyone is sold on SSDs, but that isn't stopping almost everyone from trying to sell you one. Competition has started to heat up, and it looks as though OCZ and Super Talent are lining up for a race to see which company can offer the fastest SSDs at the lowest price point. Super Talent kicked things off with its MasterDrive MX line, offering 120MB/sec read and 40MB/sec write speeds in 30GB, 60GB, and 120GB sizes for as low as $299, but OCZ joined the race just a few months later with a low cost line of its own. OCZ's Core series drives upped the ante with a hat trick that includes slightly more storage space, better read and write speeds at up to 143MB/sec and 93MB/sec respectively, and lower price points. Game, set, match?
Not quite. Super Talent doesn't appear ready to concede the mainstream market, and to prove it, the company has revised its MX series SSDs to offer faster speeds. Both the 15GB and 30GB models now sport read speeds of 120MB/sec and write speeds of 60MB/sec, while the 60GB and 120GB boast the same read speed but increases the write speeds to 80MB/sec. "Our expert engineering team is constantly discovering new ways to improve our proudcts, and this is one improvement that will be well received by power laptop users," said Super Talent director or marketing, Joe James.
The tweaked SATA-II SSDs still trail behind OCZ's Core series, but to make them more competitive, Super Talent has begun offering a $40 rebate (PDF) when purchased through Newegg. Is it enough to make you consider a SSD?