OCZ Z-Drive Sneak Peek, SSD RAID PCIe Card

It's not all that often that we post something up in the news just for the drool factor alone.  However, we'd go so far as to say that this little slab of circuitry classifies as a proverbial technological "hey-now!"  Certainly, SSDs and Solid State Storage solutions in general are all the buzz these days but this is the first product we've focused our beady geek eyes on with this particular design implementation.  That said, we will offer one very large caveat that what you're about to see is a VERY early stage design prototype of OCZ's upcoming Z-Drive SSD RAID PCI Express card.  In other words, drool for now but you can't and won't ever be able to buy this little gem as you see it here.  However, the product's base design approach will remain largely unchanged when it hits the market (soon we hope).  Alright then, commence the salivation process...





As you can see, the Z-Drive is essentially 4 OCZ Vertex series SSDs in a RAID configuration, coupled with a PCI Express RAID controller, all sandwiched neatly together in a single slot PCIe card.  There is also one single turbine style fan that pulls cool air into the card on the back of its casing.  The individual SSDs are plugged in "mezzanine" style and can actually be fairly easily populated or de-populated from the mainboard.  The Z-Drive does require a single 4-pin molex power connector to power the SSDs and the onboard RAID controller gets its juice from a X4 (at least currently) PCIe slot.  And yes, we blanked out the RAID controller model number label, to protect the innocent.  Sorry about that... This particular card has a 512GB max capacity with four 128GB Vertex SSDs used in RAID 0. Other RAID modes are supported as well.

Though we've performed a few preliminary tests on the beast and have been more than impressed in spots (think reads in excess of 500MB/sec and writes in excess of 400MB/sec, depending on file size), there are significant hardware-level changes coming that will offer better performance and even perhaps a tweak on the mechanicals.  Stay tuned for more details on the OCZ's Z-Drive in the weeks ahead as we offer full analysis on products coming down the pipe that will be more representative of what you'll be able to find in retail.  OCZ's Z-Drive is coming and we think it has the potential to be rather HOT.