OCZ Unveils Synapse Cache Series SSDs

Land sakes alive, OCZ is busy. It seems as though every couple of days it has a new product out that’s worth a look. Today, it’s the OCZ Synapse Cache series of 2.5-inch SSDs, which are designed specifically for caching applications in an SSD/HDD hybrid storage setup in order to boost performance.

The drives’ main feature is the on board Dataplex software, which is able to dynamically manage data in such a way that it gives the SSD the most frequently-used “hot” data while assigning the lower-priority “cold” data to the HDD. The software adapts to user behavior, so the performance gains will theoretically improve over time and with greater use.

The first two offerings in the line include a 64GB and a 128GB option. Both are 2.5-inch SATA III drives, and they’re backward-compatible with SATA II. The 64GB version will purportedly offer up to 550/490Mbps read/write speeds and 75,000 IOPS, while the bigger 128GB drive should deliver 550/510MBps and 80,000 IOPS performance.

OCZ offers a performance chart on its website, as seen below:

It’s clear from OCZ’s website that this new line of drives is designed to be more than just another pair of SSDs. The Synapse Cache drives have their own section, separate from the SSDs, called “Caching Solutions”.

Even though the OCZ Synapse Cache drives are set apart from the rest of OCZ’s line, they’re not the only OCZ products packing the Dataplex cache software; the recently-released OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid also has it on board. In a way, the Synapse Cache drives are basically just the SSD part of the RevoDrive Hybrid. (The latter also sports 1TB of storage.)

For all the performance enhancement afforded by a good SSD, many users balk when faced with sticker shock. Those SSDs are still far more expensive per gigabyte than a nice traditional 7200rpm HDD. Setups with a small-capacity SSD and huge-capacity HDD tandem are still essentially the only way to get the best of both performance and capacity without going bankrupt, and the OCZ Synapse Cache Series is another way to do just that.

That is, of course, as long as the price is right. Curiously, there’s no sign of pricing info anywhere in the press release nor the OCZ website. Intel’s Z68 chipset enables SSD caching with its own software, so any SSD (up to 64GB) plugged into a Z68 board has the same type of functionality as these Synapse Cache drives. (The issue of which performs better remains to be seen.) If someone is building a high-end system based on a Z68 board, then, will there be any incentive to opt for an OCZ Synapse Cache drive versus any other SSD option?
Tags:  SSD, OCZ, Synapse Cache