AMD seems to be working really hard to maintain a positive public image and one of the things it’s been doing recently is touting the advantages of an all-AMD system (yes, there are a few). But for the brand-obsessed, particularly if you like matching up hardware from the same vendor that’s supposed to gel well together, AMD has another piece of the PC puzzle under the Radeon brand – solid state drives made by OCZ.
The new products will be under the Radeon R7 SSD family and are comissioned by AMD from OCZ’s parent company, Toshiba. I’ve said long ago that AMD should have gone into this earlier and it looks like the market conditions are ripe enough for them to do it. Toshiba/OCZ was likely chosen for the superb performance of the Barefoot 3 controller and I’m guessing that most of the other vendors were more interested in competing with each other, not merely becoming an OEM.
The deal leaked on tech site Expreview and AMD hasn’t yet made an official announcement. These slides were part of the leak and the embargo date, as hard as it is to read, is 19 August 2014. Against the ultra-competitive SSD market today, AMD’s up against some really stiff competition and from the table above, they’ve done their homework. The Radeon R7 480GB sizes up nicely with the OCZ Vertex 460 and from specs alone it looks like it’ll perform well even against the new Samsung 850 Pro as well as Crucial’s M550.
It sucks that drive sizes do cap out at 480GB, but higher-capacity SSDs are a dangerous weapon in today’s market. You need to be particularly agile in that market to be able to go up against the other companies who will be tussling in monthly and sometimes weekly price wars to keep market share.
The product specifications also turn up something interesting. AMD labels the controller as “Barefoot 3 M00,” which suggests that Toshiba is selling them a custom solution. The promised durability is also on the high side. At 30GB a day for four years, AMD expects these drives to last through roughly 42 Terabytes of writes in a four-year cycle, hardly a blip on the real lifespan these drives can achieve. Tech Report’s recent endurance status report on the way to a Petabyte of writes shows that if you’re about 30 years old now, write 20GB of new data a day and buy a new SSD, it’ll easily be able to last until you’re 70 years of age.
AMD’s embargo on these drives needs to life up first before they announce final pricing and availability. I hope they send their stuff our way!