Indilinx Barefoot spotted
The OCZ Vertex series of solid state drives might be the most anticipated since the release of the Intel X25-M series. Using a new controller technology from Indilinx, the Vertex drive we are previewing offers incredible performance and a more reasonable price per GB.I know, I know; some of you are probably tired of seeing solid state reviews. But I am wagering that MOST of you are still very interested in the new SSD technology and want to know about as soon as you can. We at PC Perspective surely are and that is why we have had the sudden influx of solid state drive reviews. This time we are going to preview yet another offering from OCZ Technology: the much anticipated Vertex series.
For those of you counting, that brings the grand total to three for new series of SSDs from OCZ in 2009. First we had the Apex series, followed by the Summit series we previewed yesterday and now we round out the lineup with the Vertex. You may also notice that these three terms are synonyms; don’t ask us about that, we are just interested in technology and performance. But why all the different SSDs? In reality the drives are all based on very different technology. The Apex is a band-aid combination of a pair of JMicron controllers in a RAID configuration, the Summit uses a new, but standard design Samsung controller that utilizes on-drive cache and the Vertex is the first drive to use the new Barefoot SSD controller from a new company on the scene: Indilinx .
Indilinx BareFoot Overview
Indilinx is reviving a technique used by Mtron (one of the earliest SSD producers). Instead of using an off the shelf JMicron controller, Indilinx has rolled their own controller. They employ a programmable ARM7 microcontroller to control a data pipeline between the SATA interface and the flash memory. Their implementation has a new twist in that additional bus work has been added to assist in control and data transfer. This additional bandwidth should help to reduce latency and increase overall throughput. When combined with the SDRAM buffer, improvements should be seen in small write access. As long as the ARM keep everything flowing smoothly, this combination may help reduce the dreaded MLC ‘lag’ seen by many early adopters.
The Indilinx single-chip ARM-based solution to flash memory control.
The ARM and all necessary circuitry (short of the SRAM itself) is all contained within a single package, code named ‘Barefoot’. Allyn (PCPer SSD torture tester) will be diving deeper into the tech in the Vertex full review. In the meantime lets get onto some benches!