flash memory SSD technology

OCZ sells out to Toshiba (it’s been good to know yuh’)

OCZ Technology
OCZ Technology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seems like it was only two years ago when OCZ bought out memory controller and intellectual property (IP) holder Indilinx for it’s own branded SSD products. At the time everyone was buying SandForce memory controllers to keep up with the Joneses. Speed-wise and performance-wise SandForce was king. But with so many competitors about using the same memory controller there was no way to make a profit with a commodity technology. The thought was generally performance isn’t always the prime directive regarding SSDs. Going forward, price would be much more important. Anyone owning their own Intellectual Property wouldn’t have to pay license fees to companies like SandForce to stay in the business. So OCZ being on a wild profitable tear, bought out Indilinx a designer of NAND/Flash memory controllers. The die was cast and OCZ was in the drivers seat, creating the the Consumer market for high performance lower cost SSD drives. Market value went up and up, whispers were reported of a possible buy out of OCZ from larger hard drive manufacturers. The price of $1Billion was also mentioned in connection with this.

Two years later, much has changed. There’s been some amount of shift in the market from 2.5″ SATA drives to smaller and more custome designs. Apple jumped from SATA to PCIe with its MacBook Air just this past Fall 2013. The m2 form factor is really well liked in the tablet and lightweight laptop sector. So who knew OCZ was losing it’s glamor to such a degree that they would sell? And not just at the level of 10x cheaper than their hightest profile price from 2 years ago. No, not 10x, but more likely 100x cheaper that what they would have asked for 2 years ago. Two whole orders of magnitude less, very roughly, exactly 35Million dollars along with a large number of negotiated guarantees to keep the support/warranty system in place and not tarnish the OCZ brand (for now). This story is told over and over again to entrpreneurs and magnate wannabees. Sell, sell, sell. No harm in that. But just make sure you’re selling too early rather than too late.

flash memory SSD technology

Intels Plans for New SSDs in 2012 Detailed

Logo of Intel, Jul 1968 - Dec 2005
Image via Wikipedia

Through first quarter of 2012, Intel will be releasing new SSDs: Intel SSD 520 “Cherryville” Series replacement for the Intel SSD 510 Series, Intel SSD 710 “Lyndonville” Series Enterprise HET-MLC SSD replacement for X25-E series, and Intel SSD 720 “Ramsdale” Series PCIe based SSD. In addition, you will be seeing two additional mSATA SSDs codenamed “Hawley Creek” by the end of the fourth quarter 2011.

via Intels Plans for New SSDs in 2012 Detailed.

That’s right folks Intel is jumping on the high performance PCIe SSD bandwagon with the Intel SSD 720 in the first quarter of 2012. Don’t know what price they will charge but given quotes and pre-releases of specs it’s going to compete against products from competitors like RamSan, Fusion-io and the top level OCZ PCIe prouct the R4. My best guess is based on pricing for those products it will be in the roughly $10,000+ category with an 8x PCI interface and fully complement of Flash memory (usually over 1TB on this class of PCIe card).

Knowing that Intel’s got some big engineering resources behind their SSD designs, I’m curious to see how close they can come to the performance statistics quoted in this table here:,0101-296920-0-2-3-1-jpg-.html

2200 Mbytes/sec of Read throughput and 1100Mbytes/sec of Write throughput. Those are some pretty heft numbers compared to currently shipping products in the upper pro-summer and lower Enterprise Class price category. Hopefully Anandtech will get a shipping or even pre-release version before the end of the year and give it a good torture test. Following Anand Lai Shimpi on his Twitter feed, I’m seeing all kinds of tweets about how a lot of pre-release products from manufacturers off SSDs and PCIe SSDs fail during the benchmarks. Doesn’t bode well for the Quality Control depts. at the manufacturers assembling and testing these products. Especially considering the price premium of these items, it would be much more reassuring if the testing was more rigorous and conservative.