USB 3.0 is being weaved into the marketplace one motherboard and notebook at a time. My last three motherboards have included at least two USB 3.0 ports and my new Lenovo mobile workstation also includes a single USB 3.0 port. Next year we should see the eradication of USB 2.0 all together; a move that I support not only because it will give me more products to write about, but because transferring data five times as fast saves everyone a lot of time.
At the same time USB 3.0 is gaining market share, solid state drives and their spin off products are being adapted by users for their superior reliability, speed and robust construction. Like USB 3.0, SSDs are superior to their predecessor technology by an order of magnitude.
OCZ Technology has taken both USB 3.0 and solid state to a new level by combining the two and delivered a product worthy of the SuperSpeed namesake. The OCZ Enyo is a sleek portable storage product that is small enough to hide in your shirt pocket, but is large enough to store up to 256GB of data, or the equivalent of 32 full on DVD rips.
Let's take a look at the OCZ Enyo and see how OCZ successfully merged two emerging technologies to make one super storage product that can change the way you access your data.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
It might not look like it, but there is actually quite a lot to talk about on the graph above. OCZ has three models on the market at the time of writing; 64, 128 and 256GB. All three use the same configuration; an Indilinx controller, 64mb cache module and sixteen flash modules. Indilinx was able to squeeze more performance out of their larger drives, so we see the 128 and 256GB drives reading at 260MB/s and writing data at 200MB/s. The 64GB model reads at 225MB/s and writes at 135MB/s peak with a sustained of up to 40MB/s. These numbers look nearly identical to the SATA II drives we tested all last year with the Indilinx Barefoot controller.
You may notice that OCZ is making some specific motherboard recommendations in their spec sheet. Later in this article you will see why. Let's come back to that one and talk about the GIGABYTE USB 3.0 logo and work our way back. GIGABYTE isn't the God Father of USB 3.0, but it is the hit man that fired the machine gun that started the assault on USB 2.0. GIGABYTE has done everything humanly possible to get USB 3.0 in your hands just short of coming to your house and swapping your motherboard for you. Every motherboard GIGABYTE now sells includes USB 3.0; this is a top down strategy that leads all the way to the sub 100 Dollar products.
If you are not aware, USB 3.0 is currently implemented by an NEC USB 3.0 to PCIe chip, but many motherboards run short on the number of PCIe lanes available. That means some motherboards are getting USB 3.0, but may not be getting the number of PCIe lanes sent to the NEC USB 3.0 bridge chip to achieve maximum performance. Our GIGABYTE X58A-UD7 is limited to around 200MB/s, a number just short of OCZ's 260MB/s and the reason why OCZ choose to make the disclaimer about performance.
When it comes to pricing and availability, we were able to find the OCZ Enyo 64GB drive at Newegg for 179, the 128GB drive that we are reviewing here today for 285 and the massive 256GB drive for 696 USD. The cost may appear high, but once you start to consider the research and development costs, the lack of competing products on the market and quality of craftsmanship, the numbers start to come full circle.
Let's take a look at the OCZ Enyo and see if the dollars involved make sense for you to upgrade your portable storage.