The announcement of the Z-Drive m84 from OCZ is causing quite a stir in the enthusiast world, bringing performance to the masses at a (relatively) cheap price point.
The Z-Drive m84 PCI-Express Bootable SSD consists of two or more SSD drives connected to a built in RAID controller, making use of a PCI-Express port as opposed to multiple SATA ports. What this means for consumers is blisteringly fast read/write performance and large storage capacities(as far as SSD’s are concerned at any rate).
Here is what the press release had to say:
“With cost-effective multi-level cell (MLC) NAND and a bootable internal RAID 0 configuration, the Z-Drive m84 is ideal for desktop enthusiasts seeking plug and play solid state technology. By taking the SATA bottleneck out of the equation with a high-speed PCI-Express interface, the Z-Drive m84 pushes the performance barrier future[sic] than competing mainstream SATA-based SSD products. With speeds up to 750MB/s read and 650MB/s write (based on 256GB model), the m84 can accommodate a wider range of applications and computing environments such as video editing other multi-media creation and management, all while providing lower power consumption, superior durability, and shock resistance compared to traditional rotational-based drives.”
While this may be all well and good, there are not other indications as far as performance goes. It is a well known fact that PCI-E RAID cards add latency which could hamper this setups performance, the question is how much? Furthermore no IOPS measurements for the m84 were available at the time of writing, hopefully these two key aspects of performance will become apparent within the next few weeks.
An OCZ insider has quoted an MSRP of $899 for the 256GB model(~ R6700), which when cosidering the price of two drives and a RAID controller, is actually very cheap. There are rumors that the 1TB model will retail for around $2300(~ R17000) making sure that large volumes of SSD storage remain out of budget for all without very deep pockets.