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OCZ prods Z-Drive to go faster

2TB and upgradable flash modules

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OCZ has boosted the speed and doubled the capacity of its solid state Z-Drive as well as making it upgradable with interchangeable NAND modules.

The existing Z-Drive 1 is a PCI-e connected 256GB-1TB solid state drive (SSD) with good performance: up to 800GB/sec read, 750GB/sec write and a 500MB/sec sustained write speed for the 1TB model. One model used single level cell (SLC) flash but the others MLC (multi-level cell).

This second generation Z-Drive has a 512GB to 2TB capacity range, all of it using MLC flash. Its 1TB performance figures are up to 1.4GB/sec read and write, and 950MB/sec sustained write. These are good numbers.

OCZ Z-Drive R2 SSD

We can compare performance roughly with Fusion-io and LSI PCIe SSD. A 512GB Z-Drive does up to 1.3GB/sec read, up to 1GB/sec write and up to 550GB/sec sustained writes. LSI's SSS6200 has a 300GB of SLC flash capacity and its sustained bandwidth is 1.5GB/sec for reads and 1.2GB/sec for writes. The Fusion-io 640GB SMLC flash IoDrive Duo offers 1.4GB/sec read bandwidth and 1.0GB/sec write bandwidth (32K packet size).

The Z-Drive is slower than both the Fusion-io and LSI products but its capacity does go up to 2TB with the p88 product. There are also p84 and m84 products which have a 256MB-1TB capacity range.

The first iteration of the Z-Drive used permanent surface-mounted NAND. Z-Drive R2 NAND modules are carried on a daughter card, with four hot-swappable modules. These can be replaced, a feature which OCZ says is unique. Duff modules can be replaced in the field and hopefully when higher-capacity modules are available they could be used to replaced the existing ones. Today's 2TB Z-Drive could then likely become a 4TB one

OCZ says its the only bootable PCIe SSD available as well. The product has 8 PCIe lanes and either 4 or 8 SATA lanes. It has either an 8-way or 4-way RAID 0 configuration and uses Indilinx controllers and a 512KB cache. These are standard specs - OEMs can get customised versions.

There will be a three-year warranty. OCZ says the product is going to enter mass-production and isn't releasing pricing and specific availability data yet. Hexus speculates that the 2TB version could cost around £4,000. ®

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