According to the hardware information source AnandTech, the new OCZ Octane seems to be another good performer in the SSD market. The new Octane serie features an OCZ proprietary controller, developed by the acquired company Indilinx. Indeed the north american manufacturer want to became a very important player in the SSD sector.
A solid state drive is composed by NAND flash memories and a controller (or even more). NAND ICs are designed and manufactured by a few companies of which the most relevant are Intel, Micron and Toshiba. This is not going to change because the semiconductor market is a tough place where to compete and these solid players benefit of strong competitive and technical advantages. Build a controller is more viable strategy: it’s indeed a valuable component and firmware developing, rather than hardware manufacturing, can make the difference between a sluggish solution and an higly competitive one.
Vertical integration may be a tool for achieving higher margins (someone told Apple?) and OCZ knows that. Acquiring Indilinx was a clear step to became a full round SSD manufacturer and means that the company is getting really serious about it.
The first test performed by Anand, its heavy workload suite, shows very interesting transfer rates. The new controller has nothing to fear from SandForce-based disks, raising concerns regarding the future of the partnership between OCZ and SF.
In fact, OCZ is the main partner of SandForce and benefits of a limited-time exclusiveness for every release of their controllers.
I don’t think that such agreement will last in the long run, especially after the acquisition of SandForce by LSI.
Anyway, the new OCZ Octane seems to be a good drive. We’are waiting for further tests. Stay tuned!
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