Three years after the launch of the OCZ Vertex, OCZ and Indilinx have launched a new generation of SSD, the OCZ Octane range. While the two companies were previously partners, following OCZ’s buyout of Indilinx last year, they now form the same entity. From simply assembling the parts, OCZ has used 2011 to turn itself into a company that is capable of elaborating an SSD from A to Z, with the Octane the first in a long line of products.
A new controller
A new Indilinx SATA 6G controller is used on the OCZ Octane, the Everest. Several manufacturers such as Marvell or SandForce have been offering such a chip for some time, but the Indilinx solution was considerably delayed. In 2009, the Indilinx Barefoot was a precursor of high performance MLC SSDs and its SATA 6G successor, the Jet Stream, was initially slated for 2010 before being pushed back. In the end we had to wait for the end of the year to see Everest arrive.
Everest claims a high level of performance:
- sequential reads of 520 MB/s
- sequential writes of 410 MB/s
- random 4KB reads at 30K IOPS
- random 4KB writes at 22K IOPS
The controller is made up of an ARM type dual core CPU with a clock of up to 275 MHz and 196 KB of SRAM (128 KB for the firmware, 64 KB for data). It will have a 512 MB DDR2/3 DRAM cache running at 400 MHz and be able to address up to 1 TB of flash on 8 channels. This flash memory can be either MLC or SLC, with an asynchronous bus, ONFi or Toggle Mode. TRIM support is included of course, as is handling of wear and BCH ECC error correction enabling 70 bits capability per sector.
The OCZ Octane range
OCZ is going to be marketing several Indilinx Everest SSDs. From fastest to slowest we have the:
- OCZ Octane: SATA 6G, synchronous MLC
- OCZ Petrol: SATA 6G, asynchronous MLC
- OCZ Octane-S2: SATA 3G, asynchronous MLC memory
While the SSD capacity doesn’t affect read performance in the Octane range, with the exception of the 1 TB version, write performance is however very much influenced by capacity. This isn’t a new development in itself and such variation exists with most controllers, though on some Marvell SSDs, write performance won’t go any higher than 256 GB.
The OCZ Octane 512 GB
OCZ supplied us with the Octane 512 GB for this test. Inside the SSD you’ll find the new Indilinx IDX300 controller, accompanied by 16 (8 on either side of the PCB) MLC flash chips made by IMFT (Intels joint venture with Micron) as well as two Micron DRAM chips to make up the SSD’s 512 MB cache.
How does this SSD do in practice? As SSD performance is linked to capacity, we also obtained a Crucial M4 512 GB SSD so as to benchmark our Octane against an equivalent capacity model. We largely followed the protocol introduced in this article