Today we start with a little history lesson so indulge us if you will. In the not so distant past when consumer SSDs were in their relative infancy, there were only a handful of controllers on the market. While JMicron, Intel, Samsung and Marvell were pretty much the main players at the time, the Intel controllers arguably garnered the most praise and attention from the reviewer community. As Nate was the first to discover, many of these had performance issues over time and TRIM wasn’t even in the consumer vocabulary. It wasn’t too long before an upstart named Indilinx came along and quickly became the darling of the SSD world although the Intel drives were still widely held to be the gold standard, so to speak. Ever the pioneers, OCZ was the first to partner with Indilinx and launched their extremely popular Vertex line powered by their Barefoot controller. OCZ sold a ton of these drives and it really was the impetus that helped propel them into the forefront of the consumer SSD market. It wasn’t long before others joined in and there were a slew of Indilinx based drives on the market. Along came SandForce (of which OCZ was an early adopter) and Indilinx seemed to fade away with little fanfare.
Fast forward a bit to March of 2011, when it was announced that OCZ would be acquiring Indilinx. At the time, rumors had circulated about OCZ’s interest in SandForce so it wasn’t completely unexpected but was still a bit surprising. At the time, there was much speculation on would would come of this but OCZ kept much under their hat, so everyone took a wait and see approach. Finally, this month OCZ announced the newest Indilinx controller known as Everest which is featured in their new Octane drives. They sent us over a 512GB beast to bang around on and frankly we were chomping at the bit to see what they cooked up although this article comes out much later than we would have liked due to unforeseen circumstances, so we apologize for keeping our readers waiting.
The Octane drives actually come in two flavors. The Octane with a SATA 6Gbps interface and the Octane S2 with a SATA 3Gpbs interface. The former features orange graphics and 25nm synchronous (faster) NAND and the latter having blue themed graphics with 25nm asynchronous (slower) NAND. This is probably a wise move since many still have older 3Gbps
motherboards and care not to fork out extra bills for performance they
can’t even take advantage of. Each can be purchased in capacities from 128GB up to a monstrous 1TB which is the first such SSD in the 2.5″ form factor that we are aware of! The pricing for the 512GB is expected to be around $879.99 MSRP for the 512GB version and the 1TB version pricing has yet to be announced.
128GB Max Performance
OCZ touts the Octane drives as having up to a two times increase in the rated NAND program/ease cycles as a result of their nDurance technology. It employs proprietary algorithms to mitigate wear and maintain performance over the long haul. In contrast to the SandForce controllers, no compression is employed during the write cycle so performance should be consistent regardless of the type of data being written. OCZ also points out that the drive is designed to provide better overall performance on all file sizes rather than a small spectrum.
Gone are the traditional cardboard boxed packaging in favor of plastic blister packs. Thankfully, these are the easy to open ones with locking tabs at the top. No knives or hassle. Included is a warranty and instructions brochure and the familiar ‘My SSD is faster than your HDD’ sticker. Absent is a 2.5″ to 3.5″ adapter plate which is no big deal since many cases support 2.5″ drives now and they are relatively cheap to purchase. The overall external design of the drive is not unlike that of the other drives OCZ offers with bold graphics, a black plastic shell and brushed aluminum back plate. Let’s see what they did differently on the inside.