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OCZ Technology Octane 512GB Indilinx Solid State Drive Review

By: Chris Ramseyer | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Nov 23, 2011 4:57 pm
TweakTown Rating: 89%Manufacturer: OCZ Technology

Final Thoughts




The SATA III OCZ Octane can easily be divided into two categories depending on what capacity you're looking at. The 128GB and 256GB models are clearly budget offerings based on their quoted performance numbers. Their MSRPs don't appear that way right now, but we'll get into pricing in a little bit. The larger 512GB and 1TB Octane drives are in a different league based on their performance, capacity and their price.


Let's tackle the two smaller drives first. Both the 128GB and the 256GB drives share the same read speed, 535MB/s. The write speeds are 170MB/s for the 128GB and 270MB/s for the 256GB model. The 170MB/s write speed is actually slower than what we recorded with an Indilinx Barefoot drive running firmware 1918. The 256GB models write speed of 270MB/s is just a little slower than what we recorded all last year from SandForce SF-1200 controlled drives. Granted, there is still that massive 535MB/s read speed hanging over head, but the write speeds are very limiting. We are looking forward to testing these two drives when available to see where they fall into the pyramid of SSD hierarchy. We also want to see what their price is listed at 30 days after launch. We are getting ahead of ourselves again.


The two larger Octane drives are the most interesting for most of you reading this. Today we tested the 512GB model with a quoted performance of 535MB/s read and 400MB/s write speeds. If you happened to have missed it the first fifteen times, 512GB! To date we've only tested two other drives at this capacity, the Crucial m4 and Kingston SSDNow V+. Anytime you start talking about large capacity SSDs, you have to include the small number of SandForce 480GB drives that have hit the market. There aren't many and the high cost all but guaranteed there wouldn't be too many. The OCZ Octane 512GB may be the first large capacity SSD to see a high adaption rate. Given the capacity size, many users will subscribe to the idea of losing some performance over the very fastest SSDs on the market in order to gain capacity. OCZ only has to do one thing to make this a real possibility, get the cost of ownership down.


Finally, now we can talk about the biggest hurdle for solid state drives. The OCZ Vertex 3 120GB had an MSRP of 249.99, a price set by OCZ and a price largely ignored by resellers at launch. The Vertex 3 on day 1 sold for around 300 Dollars and after a few weeks sold for the MSRP of around 250 Dollars. At the time of writing the Vertex 3 120GB was selling for around 165 Dollars after a mail in rebate at Newegg. Ignoring the initial price gouging, the V3 120GB went from an MSRP of 250 Dollars to 165 Dollars, a decline of 85 Dollars. If the OCZ Octane 128GB is able to shave 85 Dollars off its MSRP then we'll see these drives selling for around 115 Dollars. I can tell you that isn't going to happen, at least not until these parts hit the clearance isle. A more realistic price point is around 130 to 140 Dollars and that is a price we can get excited about. Even an Octane 128GB at 145 Dollars is exciting, but any more than that and you might as well get a Vertex 3 and don't look back.


The 512GB Octane is in a different league. Here you get very close to enthusiast class performance and a unique capacity size. To put the capacity into perspective, 2.5" mechanical drives didn't pass the 500GB mark until around a year and a half ago. 1TB 2.5" drives are on the market now, but SSDs are quickly catching mechanical 2.5" drives in capacity and outperform these drives by a large margin. OCZ is listing the Octane 512GB at 879.99 USD with their MSRP. The Vertex 3 480GB is listed at around 1,100 and the Crucial m4 512GB is listed at 750, both at Newegg. That is a very large divide and frankly we think the m4 is a better value when compared to the Vertex 3.


OCZ managed to get their 512GB Octane to m4 performance levels when both drives are filled to half capacity. The Crucial m4 has already dropped in price, but we think the Octane 512GB will sell for less than the m4 within 30 days of release. When this drive reaches the high 600 Dollar range, say 680 to 690 Dollars, it will obviously become much more appealing and start showing up on the radar of enthusiasts looking for great performance, massive capacity and of course a good price.


OCZ hasn't released pricing information on the 1TB Octane, so we aren't going to spend a lot of time on it. This capacity is unheard of for an SSD and matches the current 2.5" mechanical drive capacities. There isn't a big incentive for e-tailers to message the prices since the 1TB capacity size is unique and those that want one will pay based on need and not care as much about price. Bluntly, there isn't much of a difference between say 1,200 and 1,400 Dollars.


Personally I think the OCZ Octane will be a turning point for SSDs. OCZ owns Indilinx and that gives them a big advantage when it comes to pricing. The lower end models will be some of the first to hit $1 per GB before entering end of life. OCZ has delivered a product that forgoes high packaging costs and costly accessory add-ons. This is the starting line for bringing SSDs into mainstream and even upper entry level computers. This is the start of SSDs moving from luxury products to commodity products.


The timing couldn't be better either. With the flooding in Thailand mechanical drive manufacturers have publicly stated production won't ramp up again until the end of 2012; the time is right for SSDs to gain market share. In the coming months there will be two options available; spend 300 Dollars on a 1TB HDD or spend 140 to 300 Dollars on a 128GB or 256GB SSD.


I can't give the OCZ Octane a Value Award even though I believe it will be worthy of such an award very soon. The 512GB model we looked at today is certainly in a position to be awarded a Features Award given that it offers very good performance and has 512GB of capacity. Look for OCZ to get aggressive with pricing across the Octane line and at that point things will get really interesting.



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