OCZ lives, debuting new SSDs with Toshiba's backing

ocz vertex 460 ssd

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OCZ, the struggling SSD maker, is back in business with new products that use the flash memory manufactured by new parent company Toshiba.

On Wednesday, OCZ Storage Solutions—now a Toshiba subsidiary—debuted the Vertex 460, an SSD available in either 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB capacities. Inside, the new SSDs use 20-nanometer flash from Toshiba.

Toshiba concluded its acquisition of OCZ’s assets Wednesday, and the company indicated that it intended to have OCZ continue manufacturing SATA and PCI Express consumer drives for high-performance and mainstream applications as well as SATA, SAS, and PCIe enterprise drives supported by virtualization, cache, and acceleration software.

The drives will continue to use OCZ’s own flash controller, the Barefoot 3 (BF3) M10, which has been presumably tuned for Toshiba’s flash technology. It also supports AES-256 encryption to encrypt the contents of the drive.

Designing a flash controller in sync with the flash components themselves is seen as one avenue for increasing performance, a hallmark of the OCZ line. “With Toshiba’s financial strength and portfolio of leading-edge NAND flash memory, OCZ is now in a advantageous position as one of the few companies in the SSD industry with advanced controller IP and NAND flash supply under one global organization, which in turn will help enable more robust and competitive solid-state solutions going forward while expanding our market presence in the rapidly growing SSD market,” Ralph Schmitt, chief executive for OCZ Storage Solutions, said in a statement.

Unfortunately, analysts have said that, technological improvements aside, there’s very little to differentiate SSD makers, leaving price as the critical selling point. SSD prices are expected to level out in 2014, helped by a lingering capacity shortage. OCZ did not disclose the prices of the new drives, however, although reports claimed that OCZ would charge $100, $190, and $360 for the 120GB, 240GB and 480GB versions.

From a specification perspective, the new Vertex drives offer up to 545 MBytes per second sequential reads and 525 MB/s sequential writes. I/O operations per second, a popular indicator of an SSD’s performance, measure 95,000 4K random read IOs per second, up to 90,000 4K random write IOPS, and a sustained 4K random write performance up to 23,000 IOPS. The drives were designed (and guaranteed for) three years of use, at  20GB of host writes per day—far beyond a consumer’s typical normal use.

OCZ also said it would bundle Acronis True Image cloning software to enable easy backups.

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