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

Conclusion
OCZ has taken a big step forward with the Vertex range. Sure, it’s Indilinx rather than OCZ that is the source of these high performances, but the monitoring carried out by OCZ via its technical forums and the feeding of info back to Indilinx has allowed the Vertex range to develop rapidly since release. Of course these developments should eventually be available for all SSDs made in the same way, such as the SuperTalent UltraDrive ME or G.Skill Falcon.


Relatively affordable because based on MLC memory, offering top drawer performance across the field, giving low levels of energy consumption and the first SSD to demonstrate what the TRIM function will be able to deliver, the Vertex range are perfect SSDs. The only drawbacks are that availability has been irregular since launch and that updating the firmware requires you to back everything up because the process deletes all data on your SSD.

Those who aren’t sure about moving towards an MLC SSD and prefer to go for an SLC that lasts 10 times as long in terms of write cycles, will be delighted to hear that some manufacturers are offering Indilinx SLC SSDs (SuperTalent UltraDrive LE, OCZ Vertex EX): they come in at at least twice the price of the MLC versions however and give around a 10% gain for sequential access and 70-80% for random access.

Up till now our preference was for the first generation Samsung MLC 64 GB SSD, the PM410, then for the larger PB22-J, previously tested here in the 256 GB version. The 64 GB version was disappointing here, the PB22-J 64 GB giving a lower performance in some respects than the PM410 64 GB version! The Vertex now easily claims top spot.

Note that Intel has also updated the firmware for its X25-M supposed to counter the significant performance dips that can occur in some circumstances. This is good news that we still have to verify and that could allow the X25-M to fight back with the Vertex range. The Intels are still expensive, the cheapest version being the X25-M 80 GB available at the same price as a Vertex 120 GB!


What next? We already know that Indilinx is working on a new controller, the Jet Stream. The first prototypes are planned for the second half of the year, the manufacturer claiming speeds of 500 MB/s via an SATA 6 Gbps/s interface. Wowee!

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