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SSD 2009, act 2: OCZ Vertex and Indilinx Barefoot
by Marc Prieur
Published on June 23, 2009

Set up in October 2006 by three ex Samsung Electronics execs, Indilinx is a relatively new player and its first project is Barefoot, a controller for SSDs that is being used on more and more products including the OCZ Vertex range.

Under development since 2006 and finalised in the first half of 2008, the Barefoot uses an ARM7 processor, like some other top end controllers. It is able to use an external chip as cache memory and adress both SLC and MLC Flash NAND chips at the same time, giving read speeds of 210 MB/s and writes of 170 MB/s.

OCZ was the first to announce products based on the Indilinx Barefoot, back in December 2008. The first products didn’t come onto the market until February however and have been evolving as a result of firmware modifications.

At first the Vertex was delivered with the firmware 0112, then the new 1199 version quickly improved performance in mid-March. The only problem was that this firmware had a bug that meant data could be lost in intensive use. Firmware 1275, available a week later, corrected this problem. At the beginning of April, the last firmware 1.1 added TRIM support. Updates should now come at a less hectic rate, and this is no bad thing as every time a Barefoot SSD is updated, the data is lost: Indilinx needs to work on this!

The OCZ Vertex is available in four sizes: 30, 60, 120 and 250 GB. The speeds announced vary according to capacity: reads are 230, 230, 250 and 250 MB/s and writes are 135, 135, 180 and 180 MB/s respectively. To get a performance overview we tested a 30 GB and a 120 GB version..

Once you open a Vertex up you see an Indilinx controller with a 64 MB Elpida SDRAM chip with a 32-bit bus and operating at 166 MHz (theoretical bandwidth of 666 MB/s). For Flash NAND, you can see 16 8GB MLC chips from Samsung (8 on either side of the PCB).

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