Conclusion, Pricing, and Final Thoughts

Conclusion:

PROS:

  • Industry leading sequential performance
  • Incredible IOPS performance
  • Outstanding IOPS scaling at greater queue depths
  • Incredible performance/cost (vs. Fusion IO)

CONS:

  • Cost (see below)

Pricing and Availability:

MSRP:

The closest thing we got to an MSRP was a quoted $7/GB from the docs OCZ passed us. Extrapolating out from that figure, we can guestimate as to what those MSRP’s might look like:

Z-Drive R4 (half height):

  • 300G @ $2,100
  • 600G @ $4,200
  • 1.2T @ $8,400

Z-Drive R4 (full height):

  • 800G @ $5,600
  • 1.6T @ $11,200
  • 3.2T @ $22,400

Don’t get us wrong, these are indeed steep enterprise-class prices. That said, $7/GB is around twice that of the RevoDrive 3 X2, so you’re paying 2x, but getting 2x the performance (as well as some very high capacity offerings). Also note: the ioDrive runs ~$7,000 (for only 160GB of capacity – $43/GB!).

It’s probably a safe assumption that the lower capacity models will come in at lower than $7/GB. To take our review unit as an example, fitting 1.6TB meant using 16GB capacity chips. Due to current yields and Intel’s pricing scheme, the 8GB version of the same chip costs less than half of the larger, which should translate to lower costs for smaller models. While the ‘sweet spot’ is usually towards the mid point capacity, the Z-Drive’s (especially the full height ones), are pushing the high end of the capacity curve in the first place.

 Final Thoughts:

The OCZ Z-Drive R4 took the VCA 2.0 benefits from the RevoDrive 3 X2 and amplified them to a level I could have previously only imagined. The SuperScale processor not only takes full advantage of PCIe 2.0 x8, it nearly saturates it completely. When it comes to ganging multiple SATA 6Gb/sec SSD controllers together, this is hands down the best implementation out there. I see these showing up in the enterprise just as quickly as OCZ can make them.

OCZ is 2 for 2 on Editor’s Choice Awards from me. Some may think it’s more of the same, just faster, but doubling *everything* at the same time and actually gaining double performance is extremely difficult to pull off when this far into the bleeding edge. I applauded the RevoDrive 3 X2 for the outside-the-box thinking with VCA 2.0, and I applaud OCZ for showing the tech can truly scale with the Z-Drive R4.

SSD Technology fell into a bit of a rut where the consumer products were driving the industry. Think back to HDD’s, where the very high RPM drives were purposed for the enterprise, yet trickled down into consumer products later on (i.e. VelociRaptor). Here we see the enterprise once again driving companies to push the envelope *hard*. This benefits consumers more than you might think. All of those big companies buying up large SSD’s with plenty of flash will force the flash makers to scale up their production even further. Economies of scale kick in, and that couple-hundred GB SSD in your laptop suddenly becomes that much cheaper. This might just be the sort of thing the industry needs to flip the HDD/SSD switch over for the majority of OEM’s and system builders. For anyone who’s witnessed SSD speed first hand, you’re likely just as excited as I am to see this happen.

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