by Brian Beeler

OCZ Provides Vision for Next Generation SSDs and Processors

At the Needham 5th Annual HDD & Memory Conference today, OCZ revealed a good deal of vision about what both consumer and enterprise customers can expect out of the company in the coming quarters. OCZ highlighted a number of new initiatives; like the first SSD to use TLC NAND hitting the market early next year, their new Indilinx processors with support for up to 100,000 IOPS, the Intrepid 3 SSD and the NVM Express, OCZ's next generation PCIe SSD processor. 

TLC NAND

OCZ expects to be the first to ship SSDs based on TLC (three bit per cell) NAND. TLC NAND is substantially cheaper than MLC NAND, by as much as 30%. OCZ will ship TLC equipped SSDs for the client market in the first quarter of next year. TLC NAND flash life will be a minimum of four years, which is sufficient for most users and OEMs who want a lower-cost SSD alternative. OCZ will bring TLC into the enterprise SSD market at well, but not until the third quarter of 2012.

OCZ plans on handling the inherent weakness of TLC NAND by providing better ECC and leveraging their Indilinx nDurance technology. nDurance 2 will come to market next fall and will provide an even greater benefit to NAND by increasing life by another two times. 

New Indilinx Processors

The Indilinx acquisition is continuing to pay huge dividends for OCZ. In January they'll be launching a new high-performance client SSD processor for both SATA and PCIe interfaces. The controller will deliver 70,000 IOPS and be capable of being configured with TLC NAND. 

In the April-June 2012 time frame, OCZ also expects to release the next generation enterprise SSD controller with up to 100,000 IOPS for PCIe and SATA interfaces. The platform will also support TLC NAND and all of the Indilinx drives have nDurance for drive longevity. 

The names of the new Indilinx processors were not revealed in the presentation. 

OCZ Intrepid 3 SSD

OCZ briefly mentioned the Intrepid 3 SSD, an enterprise SSD based on the Indilinx Everest platform. The drive should be similar to the OCZ Octane, which is the client version of the drive. No additional details were provided, though the huge 1TB capacity point is likely the highlight when this drive gets pitched to data centers and others looking for a combination of speed and capacity. 

NVM Express

In January OCZ will begin sampling technoloy with support for the NVM Express specification. Their next generation PCIe SSD would be capable of delivering up to 3.2 million IOPS. By comparison the Z-Drive R4 boasts up to 500,000 IOPS. The big advantage is this solution is it will have the only native PCIe ASIC; which means potential costs savings of 50% or more from the single chip design, compared to the multi-chip design being used now. NVM Express supports OCZ's VCA 2.0 and the upcoming VCA 3.0 architecture and will support TLC NAND, though no enterprise SSDs with TLC NAND are expected in this category any time soon. 

In terms of products, NVM Express will go into OCZ's fifth generation PCIe SSD solution some time in 2012, possibly called the OCZ Z-Drive R5, though OCZ conceded it's a bit early to settle in on marketing strategy at this point. 

Update 1/6/12 - OCZ Z-Drive R5 Announced

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