Introduction and Specs
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's upcoming IBIS product family...
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.