OCZ launches PCI-E SSD RAID cards

Written by Ben Hardwidge

April 24, 2009 // 5 p.m.

Tags: #chang #controller #eugene #indilinx #ocz #pci-e #pci-express #price #production #raid #read #speed #ssd #sustained #vertex #write #z-card

Just a few weeks after Super Talent unveiled its 2TB PCI-E SSD card, OCZ has revealed that it can also play the PCI-E storage game by announcing a new line of PCI-E SSD cards with capacities of up to 1TB.

Called the Z-Cards feature, the SSDs feature a 4x PCI-E interface, and will be available in 250GB, 500GB and 1 TB capacities. OCZ claims that all three drives can manage a sustained write speed of 200MB/sec, but the maximum read and write speeds vary between the drives.

For example, OCZ quotes a maximum read speed of 450MB/sec for the 250GB drive, along with a 300MB/sec write speed. Meanwhile, the company quotes a faster 510MB/sec read speed for the 500GB drive, along with a 480MB/sec write speed. However, the 1TB drive is slightly slower than the 500GB drive, with a quoted read speed of 500MB/sec and a write speed of 470MB/sec.

As well as the NAND flash chips, OCZ says that the drives feature 256MB of local cache, as well as four Vertex controllers in RAID 0 configuration, to boost performance. OCZ reportedly made the decision to use an Indilinx controller in its latest Vertex SSD drives, which we assume is the same controller used in the Z-Drive.

OCZ’s vice president of product management in its Technology Group, Eugene Chang, boasted that the Z-Drive’s cache and RAID configuration, along with the PCI-E interface “takes the SATA bottleneck out of the equation” , and OCZ describes the Z-Drive as “a truly enthusiast grade storage upgrade from traditional hard disk drives.”

The Z-Drive made its first appearance in a tech demo at the CeBIT show earlier this year, but OCZ says that drives are now officially in production. A number of retailers already have the drives available for pre-order. They’re not cheap, however. While the quoted read and write speeds are impressive enough, and the capacities genuinely rival those of traditional hard drives, we’re talking thousands of pounds for all the drives.

In the UK, Aria has the 250GB drive available for pre-order for £1,092.44 inc VAT, while the 500GB drive costs £1,701.94 inc VAT and the 1TB drive will set you back a whopping £2,640.34 inc VAT. Interestingly, Aria also lists a 120GB Z-Drive for £804.94 inc VAT, which doesn’t appear to have been announced by OCZ yet. Aria expects to have stock of the Z-Drives within the next 14 days.

Solid state disks are now seriously rivalling traditional hard drives in terms of capacity and speed, but they clearly have a long way to go in terms of value for money. Let us know your thoughts about OCZ’s new PCI-E SSDs in the forums.
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