OCZ IBIS HSDL Solid State Drive Preview

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We never seem to tire of new SSD technologies. The storage subsystem has long been the primary bottleneck with respect to general computer system responsiveness. And as a result, the explosion of Solid State Drives in the market is indicative of the ground-breaking performance gains the average SSD offers over traditional hard drive technology. As dyed-in-the-wool speed freaks, we're always on the lookout for products that offer the type advances the SSD has offered and we're sure the average HotHardware reader shares the same passion, along with many others in the burgeoning new market segment that has been created. That said, as with most emerging technologies, there is usually a legacy of backwards compatibility and interoperability that tends to hold things back, at least initially.  For SSDs that legacy is the aging Serial ATA interface. Even the new SATA 6G interface will throttle back SSD performance somewhat with the inherent latency due to the bridging required to communicate to native system interfaces like PCI Express.

As we've noted more than once here before, as NAND Flash technologies evolve, SATA will go the way of the dino. It's not going to happen over night but like its old, spinning hard drive counterpart, the writing is on the wall.  The market needs new higher speed interfaces with lower overhead and more direct attachment to native system interfaces. OCZ has been trying its hand at developing PCI Express-based SSDs in an effort to address this requirement.  They've been rolling out all new products like their Revo Drive that we looked at recently and the new device we'll be looking at here today.  The new OCZ IBIS SSD utilizes a proprietary serial interface that the company has coined "HSDL" for High Speed Data Link and it offers up to 20Gb/sec peak bandwidth over an industry standard SAS connector, which is over three times that of next gen 6Gbps SATA technology.  Journey on for all the details and a performance profile of a prototype we've been testing here in the lab.


OCZ IBIS Series 240GB MLC SSD with HSDL Interface

OCZ IBIS 240GB HSDL SSD
Specifications and Features
  • 240GB capacity (223GB usable)
  • MLC NAND
  • 4 x SandForce 1222 Controller
  • 3.5" Standard HD Mechanical Design
  • Power Consumption: 6.6W idle, 9.5W active
  • MTBF: 2 Million Hours
  • Warranty: 3 Years
  • Read: Up to 740MB/s
  • Write: Up to 720MB/s
  • IOPs (4K random write): 120,000, QD32, 4K Aligned
  • Seek Time: 0.1ms
  • Operating Temp: 0C ~ 50C
  • Storage Temp: -45C ~ +85C
  • Interface:  HSDL (High Speed Data Link)

OCZ's upcoming IBIS product family...

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

OCZ tells us that the IBIS product family will be offered in a range of densities, as you can see in the chart above.  We've tested the 240GB model that offers up to 740MB/sec max read throughput and 720MB/sec maximum write throughput. Of course, blazing fast SSD technology like this also comes at a premium, as you'd expect.  With the average higher-end 256GB SSD weighing in right around $579 or so for a Sandforce-based drive or the likes of Micron/Crucial's 6G SATA C300 SSD, you're looking at roughly a 30 - 50% premium for the IBIS drive.  As always, at the very high-end, you've got to pay to play and sometimes the scaling is linear with performance, while other times not so much. We'll see what the case is for the IBIS but first, let's take a look at what the drive is made of, next.

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>   offers up to 20Gb/sec peak bandwidth over an industry standard SAS connector,

>  which is over three times that of next gen 6Gbps SATA technology.

 


The statement above is a bit misleading:

 

What you call "an industry standard SAS connector" is actually

four SAS cables bundled into a single multi-lane cable.

 

See Highpoint's RocketRAID 2720 and its bundled cable,

for an identical example:  one end could just as easily

"break out" into 4 x SATA/6G connectors.

 

Using the current 6G standard, four such channels have

a combined raw (peak) bandwidth of 6 Gbps x 4  =  24 Gbps

NOT 20 Gbps.

 

Moreover, if the obsolete 10/8 protocol were eliminated,

almost 20% of its overhead can be eliminated too,

resulting in an "effective" bandwidth of about 750 MB/sec per channel

or a combined bandwidth of 750 MB/sec x 4  =  3.0 GB/sec

because the one start bit and one stop bit for every byte transmitted

have been replaced with a much more efficient ECC data structure.

 

(6 Gbps / 10  =  600 MB/s;  6 Gbps / 8 = ~750 MB/s)

 

For examples, compare Western Digital's 4K "advanced format"

and the upcoming spec for PCI-Express 3.0:  128/130 jumbo frames

at the internal bus level.

 

Now, ramp up the single-channel speed to 8 Gbps planned for PCI-E Gen3,

and we get 4 channels @ 1 GB/sec  =  4 GB/second raw bandwidth.

(If the chipset's internals oscillate at 8 GHz, there is no good reason

why the connecting cables should not do likewise.)

 

Yes, the use of all those bridging chips appears to be obscuring

the true potential of quad-channel ("QC") serial data transmissions (SAS & SATA).

 

p.s.  Our guess is that the IT industry is riding out our national depression

by maximizing the profit margin on their SSD products:  some lawyers

would refer to that practice as "price fixing".

 

MRFS

 

 

 

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Correction:  I did focus on the 4 cables bundled into one SFF cable,

but the 20 Gbps correctly derives from the x4 Gen2 edge connector i.e.:

x4 @ 5 Gbps  =  20 Gbps.

 

So, it is "20Gb/sec peak bandwidth" over the x4 Gen2 edge connector,

but NOT "over an industry standard SAS connector".

 

I apologize for causing any confusion.

 

MRFS

 

MRFS

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While it does look really interesting why not just throw it on a PCI-e card like the Fusion-io? Seems overly complex and adds a ton of clutter to the case. 

I have to say against MRFS though that SSDs are coming down in price pretty fast. While not as fast as I would like consumer ones are starting to come close to that $1 a GB mark. I remember a few years back when a hard drive at $1 a GB was a really good deal. So I think the future is looking pretty good for SSD pricing. 

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Good points, Bob!

Given the market prices, I would prefer either of the following, for their flexibility

(prices are today's Newegg):

 

1 x RocketRAID 2720 x8 Gen2 edge connector:  $225

4 x 60GB OCZ Vertex 2 @ $155  =  $620

Total:  $845

-OR-

4 x 64GB Crucial RealSSD C300 @ $143  =  $572

Total:  $797

 

And, I'm honestly waiting for 6G SSDs that also support TRIM in all RAID modes

(Intel's RST still does not do so!)

 

If Nand Flash chips will eventually wear out, at least we should be able to

do efficient garbage collection on RAID arrays before that happens,

without needing to reformat and start over!

 

MRFS

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My concern on this would be having to use a spare PCI-E slot. If you have a sound card or say a TV Tuner card those slots gets filled quickly. 

 

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FYI:  Anand Shimpi's review is here:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3949/oczs-fastest-ssd-the-ibis-and-hsdl-interface-reviewed/1

 

"The 1-port PCIe card only supports PCIe 1.1,

while the optional 4-port card supports PCIe 1.1 and 2.0 and

will auto-negotiate speed at POST."

 

MRFS

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MRFS:
the optional 4-port card supports PCIe 1.1 and 2.0 and will auto-negotiate speed at POST

Too bad it's a PCI-E connected device. Those of us with Intel Lynnfield systems only have a limited amount of bandwidth to play with on the PCI-E bus, and any additional devices that are connected to the bus will throttle back the Video card to X8 speeds, instead of X16.

I don't like this feature of the 1156 socket-P55 chipset design, but I have to admit that it's smokin' fast for what I'm doing.


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As a electronic engineer, i decided to give a change on OCZ and installed one IBIS 160GB !

System crashed two times: one while updating Windows 7, and another time when introducing the key codes for MS Vioso Pro ! Error: 0x80070002

I made an img, but the day before i installed all app's !

So, re-installation, but taking the necessary time to check ALL possible User Guides from OCZ (of course !) , and reading all review about IBIS, OCZ ios recommending:

- You MUST set your BIOS ti use "S1 Sleep Mode" for proper operation, and

- Using S3 or AUTO may cause instability !

I have two VelociRaptors and interne SAS drives (NO RAID mode)

What heppens with the internal drives if i use for S1 mode ?

Is there any member who already use one of the IBIS drives ?

If the answer is YES, can you please tell me how you configured the BIOS.

The computer i use for testing the IBIS:

- Asus P6T WS Pro

- Intel i7 Core 965 Extreme 3.2GHz

- Kingston DDR3 12GB at 1600 GHz

- nVIDIA Quadro FX 4800

- PCIex 16

Thanks in advance for any (positive !) comment ;-)

Regards,

paralou

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