PCIE SSDs Keep Getting Bigger

By Jeffrey Layton

I've been trying to get away from writing so much about storage hardware, but I just couldn't resist this one. Recently, OCZ announced a new Enterprise class PCIe SSD that goes up to 3 TB in capacity. There were several announcements in The Register, VR-Zone and Anandtech and other sources.

These are pretty unique drives that can scale from 300GB to 3.2TB. There are two models which both share the common characteristics of using MLC NAND chips, a PCIe x8 interface (presumably 2.0), SandForce controllers (eight SF-2281 controllers in a RAID-0) and OCZ's VCA (Virtualized Controller Architecture) 2.0 software managing the card.

The first version of the card, the Z-Drive R4, has polymer capacitor-based powerless loss protection, over-provisioning and enterprise SMART attributes (they don't specify what they are). The second card, the Z-Drive C4, doesn't have those features and is presumably cheaper. But the good news is that both cards support TRIM.

The performance posted on the OCZ website shows them to have the same performance for 800GB and above (full-height cards).

  • Read: Up to 2,800 MB/s
  • Write: Up to 2,800 MB/s
  • Random 8K Write: 275,000 IOPS
  • Random 4K Write: 410,000 IOPS
  • Max IIOPS: 500,000

Besides amazing performance, the cool thing about these PCIe cards is that they can go to 3.2 TBs of capacity. While you are likely to pay dearly for that card, the fact that we're starting to see large capacity SSD drives appear means that there is some sort of market for them.

This article was originally published on August 17, 2011