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OCZ: We will plug Lightning into your Thunderbolt

Barefoot hustler in fab grab confab, whispers chip chap

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Hustling flash drive supplier OCZ is putting on a show at Computex in Taipei this week, including a Thunderbolt-connected external SSD called - wait for it - Lightning.

Lightning will enjoy very fast transfer speeds from the Intel-designed Thunderbolt interconnect and be a drive for media professionals who can afford Thunderbolt's eye-watering cable and connector costs.

OCZ will also show its VXL Storage Accelerator software that it claims makes primary data storage on SANs redundant in many cases. It will, it says, unveil the Intrepid 3 6Gbit/s SATA SSD using its in-house Everest 2 controller architecture - not LSI Sandforce controllers.

It announced the Agility 4 drive using this architecture last week, with 85,000 random write IOPS (4K), 48,000 random read IOPS, and 400MB/sec bandwidth. The Sandforce-powered Agility 3 had 50,000 write IOPS but a higher 525MB/sec read bandwidth and also write bandwidth at 475MB/sec.

We understand from Piper Jaffray analyst Andrew Nowinski that OCZ could also launch the next generation of its Indilinx controller, named Barefoot 3, which should be faster than the prior version and allow cheaper NAND to be used.

He also suggested, after talks with OCZ's management, that OCZ could get into NAND fabrication - perhaps via offering an equity stake to a NAND manufacturer. OCZ would then get access to more reliable and lower cost NAND die shipments. OCZ execs are, he says, exploring this option.

If OCZ pulls this off it will become a flash force to be reckoned with. ®

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