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OCZ releases performance-boosting SSD firmware, new 64GB drive

Move improves read performance through a NCQ-like upgrade

OCZ Technology today released a firmware upgrade for its Vertex 4 line of solid-state drives (SSDs) with SATA 3.0 interfaces that doubles sequential write performance on the lower-capacity drive and markedly increases write speeds on its mid-capacity SSD.

The company also announced a new 64GB SSD to its Vertex 4 series. That model is aimed at mobile applications and for use as a system boot drive when deployed in conjunction with a hard disk drive.

Compared to Vertex 4's original firmware version, v1.3, the company's new v1.4RC firmware more than doubles sequential write performance of the 128GB model and ups the 256GB model's write speed from 380MB/sec to 465MB/sec. The firmware has no effect on the write performance of the 512GB Vertex SSD, but as with the other models, it does increase the read speed by 15MB/sec, from 535MB/sec to 550MB/sec.

With the new firmware, the write performance of the 128GB model of the Vertex 4 SSD more than doubles from 200MB/sec to 420MB/sec. The 256MB SSD sees its write speed improve from 380MB/sec to 465MB/sec., the company said.

OCZ said it is gaining the write improvement through the use of new proprietary algorithms to "orchestrate" the sequence of physical NAND programming operations to ensure that each NAND device is optimally utilized at all times. For the mainstream user, entry-level capacities of Vertex 4 can now achieve nearly the same sequential write performance as high-capacity 512GB model.

OCZ's firmware v1.4RC has also incorporated a predictive read algorithm that anticipates and responds to commands not yet issued by the host. The upgrade is similar to native command queuing (NCQ) in hard disk drives, where a drive can better determine the optimal order to retrieve data reads, the company said.

The v1.4RC firmware upgrade is available today via the company's website; Vertex 4 SSDs with the native upgrade will begin shipping to resellers in coming weeks.

The Vertex 4 64GB drives will become available over the next few weeks through the company's global channel.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

See more by Lucas Mearian on Computerworld.com.

Read more about storage in Computerworld's Storage Topic Center.


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