OCZ talks up Thunderbolt-enabled SSD

OCZ Lightfoot SSD

Solid-state drive (SSD) maker OCZ revealed a slew of upcoming NAND flash products, including its first SSD using a Thunderbolt interconnect.

At the CeBIT technology conference last week, OCZ said its Lightfoot SSD with Thunderbolt is on schedule to be available this summer. Thunderbolt offers twice the performance of the latest SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interconnect.

While the Lightfoot was originally designed for high-performance Mac users, the drive will likely be popular among computing users that need to move large files quickly. It is an ideal drive for content creators, for example, an OCZ representative said.

OCZ also displayed its upcoming Vertex 4 SSD Series , based on the SATA 3.0, 6 Gbps Indilinx Everest 2 controller.

Like Vertex 3, the Vertex 4 is a 2.5-inch drive that uses multilevel cell (MLC) NAND flash chips built on 20 nanometer lithography technology. Unlike the Vertex 3, which had a maximum capacity of 480GB, the Vertex 4 uses OCZ's Indilinx controller and is expected to boast 2TB of capacity.

Besides having four times the capacity, Vertex 4 is expected to also have better performance than its predecessor due to the controller changeover. OCZ said using 4K data blocks, the drive will have 90,000 random read Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS). The Vertex 3 sported a maximum of 40,000 IOPS. The drive also has a slightly better sequential read rate of 550 MBps compared to 530 MBps in the Vertex 3, while the write rates remain the same.

"This solution is ahead of schedule and originally we planned for a mid-summer release, but it is now looking like we will release it this spring," an OCZ spokesman said.

OCZ also expects to release a 3.5-inch form factor SSD with a stunning 4TB of capacity. Like the other SSDs, the upcomin Chiron Series SSD will use an Indilinx controller, and will have up to 560 MBps of throughput and generate up to 100,000 IOPS.

The Indilinx Everest 2 controller is expected to deliver exceptional speed and IOPS but also incorporates some features that set it apart from current controllers. Among these features is performance across all file types, including uncompressible data and special fast boot algorithms. The drive is also expected to sport NDurance technology, which increases the lifespan of the NAND and minimizes long-term performance degradation, and latency reduction for quicker access across all applications.

OCZ acquired controller maker Indilinx a year ago, and has used its technology to manufacture more embedded NAND flash products as well as put out its first hybrid SSD, which combines spinning disk and NAND flash cache.

Prices for the new OCZ products have yet to be determined.

[Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His email address is lmearian@computerworld.com.]

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