Introduction and Packaging

In an attempt to bring down the cost/GB of their Vertex 2 and Agility 2 products, OCZ has been futzing with the SandForce controller’s firmware for the past few weeks. They managed to unlock an additional 20% capacity, but how will this impact performance? They just passed us a prototype sample, so lets find out!

Last week we checked out some new products from OCZ, namely the Vertex 2 and Agility 2 SSD’s.  Both models use the SandForce 1200 controller.  While this relatively new controller performs very well, it has always come at the cost of greater overprovisioning of the drive.  This means that while other drives get 120GB out of 128GB of installed flash, SandForce controlled units only make 100GB of that same 128GB available for user data.  Less usable capacity translates directly into a higher cost/GB, as the bulk of the cost of an SSD is the flash memory chips themselves.  Recognizing that cost might weigh more heavily on the typical end user’s mind, OCZ worked with SandForce to try and bring the overprovisioning down to a more ‘consumer’ level.  The result is what we just received in our lab:

OCZ tweaks SandForce firmware, gains 20% storage capacity! - Storage 26

The new above the old.  The prototype unit is not yet labeled and came to us sans packaging.

I’ve suspected the SandForce could be run at higher capacities, but there is usually some form of drawback when you slide the scale from performance to capacity.  With a unit in-hand, we can now find out for ourselves, so let’s get to it!

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