OCZ Octane SSD review
A closer look at Indilinx Everest SSD processor
OCZ Octane hardware.
Now let’s take a closer look at the hardware.
OCZ Octane series 512GB SSD (PCB top-side)
On the top side of the PCB, we can see the Indilinx Everest SSD processor, eight 25nm MLC NAND chips manufactured by Intel, and the first of two 256MB cache chips. The eight small chips which can be seen in various places around the PCB are believed to be channel muxing chips, which are there to provide maximum throughput from each of the 16 NAND packages found on the Octane 512GB SSD.
OCZ Octane series 512GB SSD (PCB underside)
On the underside of the PCB we can see another eight NAND chips, and the other 256MB of cache.
Indilinx Everest SSD controller
Above we can see the new Indilinx Everest SSD controller, designated IDX300X01-BC. The Everest is a dual core processor clocked at 275MHz, most likely an ARM.
512MB DDR3 SDRAM cache
Coupled to the Everest controller is 512MB of DDR3 SDRAM cache made by Micron, which consists of two 256MB cache chip packages, which provides a stable read and write buffer for the SSD controller.
Intel 25nm MLC NAND
The OCZ Octane 512GB SSD has 512GB of Intel ONFI 2 synchronous MLC NAND onboard, with a life expectancy of 5000 P/E cycles, and a user capacity of 477GB.
Indilinx Everest block diagram
There isn’t a lot known about the Everest controller at this time. We can see the Everest controller can support up to 8 NAND channels with 16 way interleaving. We can also see at least one proprietary technology which Indilinx call nDurance. At a guess I would say nDurance will be managing garbage collection, dynamic and static wear levelling and how TRIM is acted upon.
I found the following specifications at the OCZ Technology website.
Drive maintenance features
For Windows 7 users and some distributions of Linux, the OCZ Octane series supports ATA TRIM to keep the NAND clean. The OCZ Octane series also has, as I touched on above, advanced garbage collection to clean the NAND during drive idle periods.
OCZ SSD Toolbox
From the toolbox the user is able to monitor the SSD health status via SMART, securely erase the drive, and also update the drive’s firmware.
Note: To update the drive’s firmware, the drive needs to be connected as a spare, since Windows cannot flash a drive that is running the operating system. The same applies to secure erasing the SSD.
If the OCZ Octane is the only drive in the system, then OCZ provides a “Live” Linux based SSD Toolbox which runs from a CD-R or USB pen drive, and will allow the SSD to be secure erased or the drives firmware to be updated.
The OCZ Octane review sample arrived with firmware version 1412, but a firmware update became available just before I published this article. The firmware was updated to version 1.13, and all the tests were re-run to include the results from the new firmware. Where possible, I have also included the results from the older 1412 firmware, so you can compare performance.
Let’s head to the next page where we take a look at our testing methods and the review PC.