OCZ Octane 512GB SSD Review
While it has been a couple of generations since Indilinx based drives ruled the enthusiast market, under the stewardship of OCZ, the original controller powerhouse is now looking to make a comeback. Since the Barefoot controller days, Indilinx fell off the radar when their promised JetStream architecture never really came to fruition. In the interim OCZ swooped in, purchased Indilinx and the “Indilinx Infused” OCZ Octane 512GB is one of the first drives to come from this new collaboration.
Last week we looked at the new Indilinx Everest 2 controller-based Vertex 4 and many were probably wondering how the second generation Everest came into fruition. Well, the original Everest is housed within the Octane series and was released only a few months ago as a slightly lower cost solution for mid-tier mass market drives. Having two levels of the same controller could prove to be a major advantage for OCZ since they no longer have to rely upon outside manufacturers for most of their SSD needs.
A major benefit from making the controller “in house” is the ability to have fine grain control over the firmware, hopefully speeding up revisions and allowing for quick reactions to any potential issues. It also leads to the possibility of offer larger capacity drives at more reasonable price points.
The Octane may not be designed – or marketed – to be direct competition for SandForce SF2281 based drives like the Vertex 3 MaxIOPS, but this doesn’t mean it is a low performance “budget” drive either. It just happens to be a budget friendly performance orientated drive that is supposed to combine performance and capacity. Unfortunately, OCZ’s release of the Vertex 4 512GB at $699 caused the higher capacity Octane some problems since its price of $819 didn't seem in touch with the current market realities. OCZ had other plans though and the Octane 512GB should be retailing for around $650 (plus rebates) or less once Vertex 4 stock hits the channel.
While the Octane’s exterior is no different than other OCZ drives like the Agility 3, when you open the case and look inside the differences are readily apparent. Much like Marvel, the Indilinx Everest controller relies on external RAM. In the case of the 512GB Octane this takes the form of not one, but two 256MB Micron branded DDR3 SDRAM ICs for a whopping 512MB of cache.
While the total of NAND ICs is no different than any other large capacity drive we have looked at, it is not all that often that you will see sixteen 256Gigabit NAND ICs on a single controller board, but that is exactly what this monster boasts. These high performance ONFI 2 ICs may be of higher capacity than the ones typically found in other drives, but we’ve seen their like before and likely will again.
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