One of the latest hardware trends seems to be to use multiple Solid State Drives (SSDs) in Raid setups. We already mentioned the 24 monster SSD Raid video that was uploaded to YouTube as part of Samsungs campaign to promote a new line of SSD drives.
This is obviously nothing that end users will ever use as it is hardly affordable and practical. Nevertheless, it shows what SSD raids can do, and even a fraction of the performance would boost system performance on home user systems significantly.
OCZ seems to be one of the driving forces in SSD technology at this point in time. Their OCZ Vertex drives look really promising in both read and write performance, and that is not the only product that the company plans to make available in the near future.
Old Solid State Drives excel in read performance usually but lack the necessary write performance. Plus, performance and reliability was not the best over time, which is less of an issue for next generation SSD devices. What is meant by that is that first generation SSD performance deteriorated quickly.
The company's latest hardware, first shown at Cebit in Germany, is the OCZ Z-Drive. Unlike regular Solid State Drives that are connected via SATA, it is connected via PCI Express instead.
It takes up two slots because of its dimensions, and what it is, is basically a hardware raid of multiple Solid State Drives.
It is made up of four 256 Gigabyte MLC-based OCZ Solid State Drives and 256 Megabytes of ECC DDR2 RAM. This adds up to a total storage capacity of 1 Terabyte and promises maximum read rates of 600 MB/s and read rates of 500 MB/s. The sustained write speed is said to be 400 MB/s.
The only drawback is the hefty price tag which is expected to be between $1500 and $2000. The OCZ Z-Drive is expected to be available in April 2009 with additional models following later this year.
Update: It is 2014 now and prices have come down a lot while capacities have gone up. While Raid setups like the Z-drive are still reserved for Enterprises mostly, solutions such as Mushkin's Enhanced PCIe 2.0 x2 drive are available for about $1000 while offering faster speed at the same time (up to 815MBps read and 700 MBps write).
Internal Solid State Drives have come a long way as well. You can get excellent value for money products such as Samsung's EVO 840 series with 500 Gigabyte of storage for about $250 right now which offers up to 540 MBps read and 520 MBps write speeds.
Update 2: It is 2017 now, and Solid State Drives have become even more affordable. Speedy 1 Terabyte Solid State Drives are sold for less than $300 while PCI Express solutions have dropped below the $1000 Dollar mark. More interesting than that is that very good SSDs with 250GB capacity are now priced below the $100 mark.Advertisement
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