OCZ Vertex 2 Pro, Sandforce Powered SSD Preview
What's this? Yet another SSD product from OCZ Technology? It's not like the company doesn't already have a staggeringly large selection of solid state drives of both the MLC and SLC varieties, with various controllers under the hood and even a RAID-driven, PCI Express based line-up. You wouldn't want another SSD from OCZ to choose from, with yet another Flash controller player to consider, now would you? Of course you would. The general consensus in the market right now is that both the consumer and OEM/embedded arenas can't get enough of solid state storage technology nor can it evolve quickly enough.
What's interesting about NAND Flash storage is that the primary limiting factors, density and cost, are polar opposite to what the spinning hard drive technologies offer. Hard drive technology has driven cost down to the pennies-per-gigabyte range and capacities are about as large as most end-users could want, though there's always a demand for more in the data center and perhaps in the enthusiast fringe. Conversely, SSDs have afforded an order of magnitude speed boost in most applications where hard drives have reached saturation, though there's always that insatiable need for more speed.
Intel has arguably held the pole position in terms of SSD performance with their X25-M series of drives, but OCZ and others have had their sights set on knocking Intel from their perch for a while now. Though fledgling SSD technologies are still very much maturing in terms of cost and density, performance increases are coming along at regular intervals, so we knew it would be only a matter of time before there was a serious contender. OCZ's first gen Vertex series SSD came close to catching the X25-M's performance but the second coming of the Vertex, aptly dubbed the Vertex 2 Pro, is what OCZ claims will put them squarely in the lead. In the pages that follow, we'll cover the performance profile of the new OCZ Vertex 2 Pro series 100GB SSD, though we should caution that we'll be showcasing an early engineering sample and these drives won't be available for about a month or two. Regardless, we'll profile the performance to come with this new SSD and the NAND Flash controller newcomer, Sandforce.