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OCZ Unveils PCIe-Based SSD Card

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 30 comments

OCZ announced today its Z-Drive, a PCI-Express based solid state drive that offers up to 1 TB of storage.

OCZ Technology first introduced the new Z-Drive PCI-Express SSD at the CeBIT 2009 expo held in Germany this past February, representing the company's latest premium solid state storage solution using the highly-fast PCI-Express interface (x4). The Z-Drive offers an onboard RAID controller, 256 MB of onboard cache, comes in three different capacities, and a MTBF of at least 1.5 million hours. The Z-Drive is also compatible with a wide range of operating systems including Windows XP (32 and 64), Windows 7 (32 and 64), and even Mac OS X 10.

“It is our goal to deliver tailored SSD solutions for the complete spectrum of high performance applications,” said Eugene Chang, Vice President of Product Management at the OCZ Technology Group. “Designed for ultra high performance consumers, the Z-Drive takes the SATA bottleneck out of the equation by employing the ultra fast PCI-Express architecture with a RAID controller and four Vertex controllers configured in four-way RAID 0 within an all-in-one product, making this solution ideal for applications that put a premium on both storage performance and maximum capacity.”

The Z-Drive's three capacity offerings include 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB. The 250 GB version offers reads speeds up to 450 MB/s, write speeds up to 300 MB/s, and a sustained write speed up to 200 MB/s. The 500 GB version is the fastest SSD of the bunch, providing read speeds up to 510 MB/s, and write speeds up to 480 MB/s; it too also has sustained write speeds up to 200 MB. As for the 1 TB version, its read speed is a bit slower, accessing data up to 500 MB/s. It also sports write speeds up to 470 MB/s, and a 200 MB/s sustained write speed as well. The overall dimensions of all three Z-Drive versions are 245mm x 124mm x 22mm, although the drive looks thick enough to take up two slots. There's also a fan on the bottom of the SSD to keep things nice and cool.

"Z-Drives feature exceptional speeds all while delivering lowered power consumption, ultra-fast data access, superior durability, and lower cost per ownership compared to conventional hard drives when factoring in the need for multiple drives and a separate RAID controller," the company said.

Although consumers can purchase OCZ products through online retailers including Tiger Direct, Newegg, eCost, CompUSA, and more, the Z-Drive was not available for purchase at the time of this writing. However, the OCZ Vertex Series 120 GB SSD for the SATA II interface costs around $370 USD, so it may be safe to assume that the 250 GB version of the Z-Drive PCI-Express SSD may be a bit higher in price. Still, with the super fast performance provided by the PCI-e interface and SSD technology, the price may very well be worth it.

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  • 11 Hide
    joebob2000 , April 24, 2009 6:45 PM
    But, they didn't answer the all important question...

    WILL IT BLEND!

    Ooops, sorry, my mistake...

    WILL IT BOOT! Can this thing finally provide me with the instant-on experience I crave from my PC while still allowing me to turn it off each night to conserve power?
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    joebob2000 , April 24, 2009 6:45 PM
    But, they didn't answer the all important question...

    WILL IT BLEND!

    Ooops, sorry, my mistake...

    WILL IT BOOT! Can this thing finally provide me with the instant-on experience I crave from my PC while still allowing me to turn it off each night to conserve power?
  • 3 Hide
    snotling , April 24, 2009 6:46 PM
    a low profile drive would have made it great for blade servers...
  • 3 Hide
    jpdykes , April 24, 2009 6:48 PM
    Exactly what I was wondering joebob.

    I just want my desktop.... now!
  • 0 Hide
    NocturnalOne , April 24, 2009 7:01 PM
    Hmm, the RAID thing throws a bit of a wrench in the numbers. I assume the capacity is listed as non-mirrored but performance with mirroring? I suppose they could do striping but striping over what? The implementation already depends on many discrete flash chips so in effect you're always striping.

    Anyway, this is exciting stuff. I think they'd find a market for smaller units as well. It doesn't take *that* much room to have a full windows or other OS install. Just keep your most favorite apps and data on flash and the rest on HD. Come to think of it, my astro photo application PixInsight would really benefit from putting swap files on this thing.
  • 2 Hide
    gwolfman , April 24, 2009 7:04 PM
    They should have gone with a PCIe x8 slot instead!
  • 2 Hide
    halcyon , April 24, 2009 7:05 PM
    I think THG's initial article on it said that it is not bootable.
  • 0 Hide
    mrubermonkey , April 24, 2009 7:17 PM
    I/O was never very good on those Vertex drives. I wonder how it will be on this Z-Drive.
  • 1 Hide
    mrubermonkey , April 24, 2009 7:18 PM
    Also is it PCI Express 2.0 x4 or PCI Express 1.1 x4?
  • 4 Hide
    Spanky Deluxe , April 24, 2009 7:23 PM
    mrubermonkeyAlso is it PCI Express 2.0 x4 or PCI Express 1.1 x4?


    It really doesn't matter. Even PCI Express 1.1 x4 gives a maximum throughput of 1000MB/s, roughly double the maximum throughput of these drives.
  • 4 Hide
    tweak13 , April 24, 2009 7:37 PM
    Ok TomsHardware get one and test test test and post a review!

    DO IT NOW!

    PREASE!
  • 0 Hide
    vgdarkstar , April 24, 2009 8:11 PM
    IOPS?
    Will it boot?
    Pricing?
  • 4 Hide
    ShadowFlash , April 24, 2009 8:22 PM
    I sense a fusion IO vs. Z-drive article in the near future......I'm still confident that the fusion will provide better IO, but capacity goes to OCZ with lower price points.

    My opinion is that this is just a "gimmick" item anyhow.
    “Designed for ultra high performance consumers, the Z-Drive takes the SATA bottleneck out of the equation....."
    Yeah....I doubt that. It's still just a good controller card with individual drives on a sata interface in pretty packaging, not that it matters, as a single SSD cannot (yet) max out a SATA channel ( Intel X25-E's are getting close though ) thus having no such "SATA bottleneck". Any enthusiast or IT pro worth there weight in salt could easily custom build these with mid to high end controllers supporting more than just 4 drives and not sacrificing a valuable double wide PCI-E slot in the process.
    With that being said, it does have a "coolness factor" along with a 1TB capacity that could make it appealing to those who prefer to buy instead of build.
    Anything that moves SSD technology forward gets a "thumbs up" in my book. In fact, I count on "early adopters" to buy things like this to lower the price of future generation solutions.
  • 0 Hide
    curnel_D , April 24, 2009 9:11 PM
    "Today"? I know for a fact that statement is completely false.
  • 1 Hide
    pharge , April 24, 2009 9:19 PM
    "The Z-Drive is also compatible with a wide range of operating systems including Windows XP (32 and 64), Windows 7 (32 and 64), and even Mac OS X 10." hmmm... how about VISTA? lol

    Wondering how much will it be for a 1 TB Z-drive and how much power will it dran.
  • -4 Hide
    thepinkpanther , April 24, 2009 10:42 PM
    so if u want raid 0 would u need a sli connector? BRING SSD PRICES DOWN!
  • -1 Hide
    maigo , April 25, 2009 1:54 AM
    Why? Just WHY?
  • -1 Hide
    scryer_360 , April 25, 2009 3:58 AM
    Hmmm, missing something here. Isn't the SATA interface faster than the PCIe we are looking at? What makes this so cheap and so fast?
  • -1 Hide
    Tindytim , April 25, 2009 4:24 AM
    I don't understand the "instant" boot idea.

    But maybe that's because I have GRUB, and if I want to boot into XP or Vista I have to use the Longhorn bootloader after GRUB.
  • 0 Hide
    Crazy-PC , April 25, 2009 9:24 AM
    I am not sure how this PCI-E SSD work in RAID 0, seems the motherboard should with at least 3 PCI-E x16 port where 2 for the PCI-E SSD for Raid 0 and only 1 for display card lol.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 25, 2009 11:25 AM
    Amazing 1Gb a second.True HD must be near.Just imagine a 3 meter (10 feet) monitor
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