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OCZ's HSDL: A New Storage Link For Super-Fast SSDs

OCZ's HSDL: A New Storage Link For Super-Fast SSDs
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SATA 6Gb/s not fast enough? OCZ's new High-Speed Data Link serves up to 2 GB/s through a PCIe-like connection. Complementing the interface technology is a similarly-new 3.5" SSD called IBIS. Rated for up to 120,000 IOPS, enthusiasts should take note.

SATA 3 Gb/s treated us well for a very long time. Even today, mechanical hard drives simply cannot push enough data to saturate a 3 Gb/s link. Shoot—most SSDs can’t saturate a 3 Gb/s link, either. And now we have 6 Gb/s connectivity being included on AMD’s SB850 southbridge. In the next couple of months, it'll also surface on Intel’s P67 chipset. On the desktop, though, these fast storage interfaces just aren't super-exciting.

In the enterprise world, 6 Gb/s signaling is already being exploited. The faster transfer link between a compatible RAID controller and midplane means you can attach twice as many drives to each port before running out of headroom. It’s a simple matter of math, really. If one 6 Gb/s link is capable of up to 600 MB/s, assume you can attach three or four disks to an expander and not see a performance bottleneck, even if they’re all running full-out. In the days of 3 Gb/s connectivity, it would have been possible to force a limitation much sooner.

The controller board, one of three PCBs inside OCZ's IBISThe controller board, one of three PCBs inside OCZ's IBIS

Of course, the desktop market isn’t really accustomed to seeing SAS expanders or SATA port multipliers. In the world of the enthusiast, you’re usually looking at one device per port. And at 6 Gb/s, we’re now a long ways away from seeing a single drive saturate a single link.

Why, then, is OCZ announcing its own interface, labeled as the answer to current interconnect limitations? That’s the exact question I posed to Ryan Petersen, the company’s CEO.

OCZ Announces Its High Speed Data Link

New technologies generally don’t gun for the mainstream. Rather, they shoot for the top and derive their way down into more affordable versions that enthusiasts with car payments and mortgages can justify. Such is the case here. A high-speed link suggests the need for more sequential and random I/O throughput than what’s available today through SAS. And so Ryan says he’s going for the ultra-high-performance market—anything from supercomputing to bandwidth-starved (and presumably fairly wealthy) power users.

One of two storage boards inside our 240 GB sampleOne of two storage boards inside our 240 GB sample

To a degree, anyone in the range of flush enthusiasts to Oracle database administrators probably doesn’t care what bleeding-edge storage technology costs. The thing is, OCZ isn’t trying to translate its High-Speed Data Link into some new class of inaccessibly-expensive storage products. In fact, a first-glance at the company’s new SSDs based on HSDL shows a handful of price points that actually make sense.

Part Number / Capacity
MSRP
OCZ3HSD1IBS1-960G
$2799
OCZ3HSD1IBS1-720G
$2149
OCZ3HSD1IBS1-480G
$1299
OCZ3HSD1IBS1-360G
$1099
OCZ3HSD1IBS1-240G
$739
OCZ3HSD1IBS1-160G
$629
OCZ3HSD1IBS1-100G
$529


Alright, so $530 for 100 GB of storage space is a little ridiculous. But you’d expect to pay $800 for 320 GB of X25-Ms in RAID 0, so $1100 for a 360 GB IBIS drive isn’t outside the realm of reason if the performance is right. And if you were specifically shopping for something that could keep up with HSDL from the SAS world, you’d need a RAID controller, which would drive up cost. OCZ bundles each of these drives with the controller card needed to make an HSDL connection.

Interestingly, the IBIS drives are more expensive than OCZ’s recently-released PCI Express-based RevoDrive. The company’s official stance is that the RevoDrive is aimed at optimized price/performance, appealing to enthusiasts. The IBIS is better suited to workstations and the HPC market. Backing these projections are OCZ’s initial performance numbers. The company is claiming read and write speeds of up to 740 MB/s, and up to 120,000 IOPS. Those figures are insane. Clearly, they’re also in excess of what a single SAS or SATA interface could accommodate. And according to OCZ, this is only the first generation of the technology—it’s supposed to get faster from here.

Intrigued? I was too. Let’s look at the HSDL interface itself for more on what it purportedly offers.

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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    randomizer , September 29, 2010 4:29 AM
    Chris I think I'll need to double-check your results. Better send the drive my way.
Other Comments
  • 5 Hide
    kelfen , September 29, 2010 4:15 AM
    I like where they are headed but price still high mates
  • 9 Hide
    Randomacts , September 29, 2010 4:18 AM
    *faints* I will never be able to afford these.


    Those HDDs cost more then my entire comptuer
  • 8 Hide
    jaghpanther , September 29, 2010 4:25 AM
    I do want to try out one of these, maybe sell my car?
  • 23 Hide
    randomizer , September 29, 2010 4:29 AM
    Chris I think I'll need to double-check your results. Better send the drive my way.
  • -3 Hide
    mianmian , September 29, 2010 4:49 AM
    Optic link technology may be more exciting. Can't wait to see lightpeak or similar stuffs to become real.
  • 0 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , September 29, 2010 5:31 AM
    First time saw those numbers, i gasped for air... OCZ, can you try to saturated with PCIe 2.0 x16 bandwidth? And can anyone tell me how much is it in Write and Read speeds at that bandwith?
  • 2 Hide
    wribbs , September 29, 2010 5:45 AM
    Very nice to see secondary storage tech at orders of magnitude beyond what we're used to. Can't wait for this type of tech to become mainstream.
  • 0 Hide
    compton , September 29, 2010 6:31 AM
    Stuff like this makes me wish I was involved in an enterprise-class technology environment that could actually benefit from 130,000 IOPS in a package like this. I guess I don't need to ditch my Agility 60, but I like where OCZ is headed.
  • 0 Hide
    h8signingin , September 29, 2010 7:00 AM
    Yet there are already drives that outperform these by a large margin available for a while now, like this:
    http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=RGS0256M&title=Super-Talent-RAIDDrive-GS-256GB-RAID0-PCI-Express-x8-Solid-State-Drive

    Read 1.4GB/s, Write 1.2GB/s

    At those speeds, it's like writing to RAM, only it's your hard drive.
    There were also capacities up to 1TB that cost about $4,000. There were even SLC models (which cost 4x more, approx. $15,000) which are slightly faster still.

    Personally, I wouldn't mind having 1TB of "slow" RAM as my hard drive, but it's just beyond my budget.
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , September 29, 2010 7:07 AM
    h8signinginYet there are already drives that outperform these by a large margin available for a while now, like this:http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.ph [...] tate-DriveRead 1.4GB/s, Write 1.2GB/sAt those speeds, it's like writing to RAM, only it's your hard drive.There were also capacities up to 1TB that cost about $4,000. There were even SLC models (which cost 4x more, approx. $15,000) which are slightly faster still.Personally, I wouldn't mind having 1TB of "slow" RAM as my hard drive, but it's just beyond my budget.


    Yup, check it out! =)
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/super-talent-raiddrive,2513.html
  • 0 Hide
    Khimera2000 , September 29, 2010 9:25 AM
    OK sorry to say i that i do not see how you can compare Super Talent to this one. first its based on an X8 slot as opposed to an x4, but if you want to im sure someone out there will compare the x8 releas of this technolagy to the super talent, second if you read not so closely the super talent uses 4 raided SSD drives whitch means your 3 drives over for comparison, this is after all the performance from a single drive and a single controller and its already half way to the bandwith of the super talent, drop in a second card and you still have room to spare for bandwith, drop in there announced x8 card and you have 4x 740mb read 690mb write VS the 4x 355mb read 215mb write that might be used in the super talent last time i checked 2760mb read was much more then a 1420mb read not to mention that even at those speeds the OCZ flaver still has 1.25 gigs of bandwith open on there x8 card... then again i can be wrong about this entire shpeal...
  • 1 Hide
    dredj , September 29, 2010 12:25 PM
    WOW! I kinda want show this to my boss to see if we can upgrade our servers. *sigh* Wish we were one of those give-me-more-performance-at-any-cost kind of companies. Oh well, can't wait for the trickle down to enthusiast level, I'm itching for a new build. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    nforce4max , September 29, 2010 12:34 PM
    If money buys happiness then I can't afford it, OCZ is Expensive!
  • 0 Hide
    blackened144 , September 29, 2010 1:26 PM
    comptonStuff like this makes me wish I was involved in an enterprise-class technology environment that could actually benefit from 130,000 IOPS in a package like this. I guess I don't need to ditch my Agility 60, but I like where OCZ is headed.

    I just showed this and the Revo drive to my boss and he is going to get the funds to do some testing.. In our clusters we are mainly limited by drive speed and we have previously tested the Fusion IO Drive Duo but they are just too expensive..
  • 0 Hide
    lp231 , September 29, 2010 2:00 PM
    eh heh, my predictions were right.
    On this "AsRock Wants the Best Mobo ideas"

    I've posted give an idea of this

    "4. Add SAS ports as they can also run regular SATA as well as them 15K drives. But most might say SSD is faster. If that is why not a SAS SSD?"


    And here it is!

    SAS SSD!
    W00T!

    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/mobo-design-contest-x58-p67,11308.html
  • -2 Hide
    lp231 , September 29, 2010 2:00 PM
    lp231eh heh, my predictions were right.On this "AsRock Wants the Best Mobo ideas"I've posted an idea of this "4. Add SAS ports as they can also run regular SATA as well as them 15K drives. But most might say SSD is faster. If that is why not a SAS SSD?"And here it is! SAS SSD!W00T!http://www.tomshardware.com/news/m [...] 11308.html

  • 0 Hide
    wolfram23 , September 29, 2010 2:22 PM
    Wow... that is FAST!
  • 2 Hide
    rwmunchkin12788 , September 29, 2010 2:27 PM
    Warning... completely useless post incoming:

    o.O

    Woooooow....Maybe in 4 years the prices will drop enough to make this sort of thing mainstream?
  • 0 Hide
    rwpritchett , September 29, 2010 3:49 PM
    Impressive.

    Tom's: any chance of a giveaway contest with these drives? /wishful thinking
  • -1 Hide
    Supertrek32 , September 29, 2010 4:20 PM
    I would have loved to see Windows boot time numbers with this thing. I'd imagine pairing this thing with a super-fast posting board would make you computer turn on almost instantaneously.
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