OCZ Confirms Octane and Vertex 4 use Marvell based Siliconby Anand Lal Shimpi on April 11, 2012 3:22 PM EST
I received a tip yesterday with proof that OCZ's Everest controller was actually a Marvell 88SS9174 controller (the same controller used in Crucial's m4, Intel's SSD 510, etc...) with a custom Indilinx firmware. After a bit of digging, it turns out that this is indeed the case (OCZ confirmed it to me earlier today). Although OCZ is working on non-Marvell based solutions, the Everest 1 (Octane) and indeed the Everest 2 (Vertex 4) are both based on Marvell hardware. The firmware is entirely Indilinx's own development, but the hardware is from Marvell. The hardware implementation isn't completely identical as OCZ claims its solutions run at higher clock speeds than the standard off-the-shelf Marvell components.
This doesn't really change anything but it does explain how OCZ was able to bring two revisions of Everest to market as quickly as it did after the Indilinx acquisition. OCZ and Marvell have been working very closely together for a while now and even announced a native PCIe controller they collaborated on at CES this year called Kilimanjaro. As even Intel has admitted to in the past, the value in delivering an SSD isn't always in controller hardware but rather the firmware and validation.
Update: Just to clarify, my information says the Everest 1 (Octane, Petrol) is a higher clocked Marvell 88SS9174. The Everest 2 (Vertex 4) could very well be the new Marvell 88SS9187 given its significant performance enhancements. If it is the 9187 that could tell us a lot about just how close OCZ and Marvell are, as the Vertex 4 started shipping less than a month after Marvell announced the new controller.
Post Your CommentPlease log in or sign up to comment.
View All Comments
ckryan - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - linkOCz was very careful to couch their marketing -- "indilinx infused" etc.
iceman98343 - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - linki'm guessing inidlinx played a mjaor role in writing the firmware. thus "indlinx infused"
gunblade - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - linkIsn't it mentioned here in AT that Petrol is also using the same silicon? Or is the Petrol using the real Indilinx controller instead of a re-badged Marvell?
kensiko - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - linkpetrol is the same as Octane 1. Only the Nand is different.
gunblade - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - linkI have searched and haven't found any PCB board pic of the Petrol. On the OCZ firmware update page, the firmware is not listed at the same column and have vastly different revision. The other similar controller based products ( Agility3 with Vertex 3, Vertex with Agility) are all sharing the same firmware.
ICBM - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - linkI would assume Petrol uses the same controller. From reading this, there is no real Indilinx controller.
I have been using an Octane since November and it has rocked, though I feel like OCZ blatently lied to me though. I bought the Octane, because I was a fan of the old barefoot controller from Indilinx.
josephjpeters - Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - linkAgain, as I wrote above this is not true. It's their own controller design and it's not available through any other 3rd parties. In fact, OCZ will be selling the design to other SSD manufacturers.
As much as some would want you to believe, OCZ is not scamming you.
extide - Friday, April 13, 2012 - linkNobody said OCZ is scamming anyone. However it is pretty clear this is an off-the-shelf Marvell controller using OCZ/Indilinx's own custom designed firmware. Honestly, there is nothing wrong with that. If the silicon is fast enough and has the correct capabilities, then the firmware is the secret sauce anyways.
yottabit42 - Friday, April 13, 2012 - linkI echo ICBM's comment.
My first SSD was the original OCZ VERTEX based on the Indilinx controller. Years later it is still performing admirably and without any problems ever. But compared to newer generations of SSDs it was slow, and I only had the 64 GB version since it was so expensive at the time when they were first released.
Then I bought a Crucial C300, a Marvell-based solution, because I have much respect for Crucial/Micron memory quality, but was very frustrated because of an apparent incompatibility with the Intel 5-series chipset that was being used in my lappy at the time, causing random I/O locks/pauses for 2 minutes at a time every 20 to 60 minutes. I tried numerous driver and registry fixes, and all the new firmwares, but nothing ever completely solved the problem. I put that SSD in my newly built AMD-based system and it's performed perfectly.
To replace the unusable Crucial C300 with the I/O locks, I bought the latest Corsair SandForce-based SSD. The first one lasted 2 days. The second one, 2 weeks. The third one, 1 week. When I received the fourth drive back on RMA from Corsair I just sold it on eBay. Good riddance.
Finally when OCZ released the OCTANE--with the stellar benchmarks and commitment to IMFT NAND and the Indilinx name--I bought one right away. I had a complete partition corruption with it the first week of use, but then updated to the new firmware (the destructive update) and haven't had a problem since, for nearly four months now of everyday intensive use. I have the 128 GB version and am using it in a new Core i7-based lappy with 8 GB of RAM and the Intel 6-series chipset. I Hibernate the entire 8 GB to the SSD at least once per day on average, too.
I also have Chrome doing intensive things, usually gobbling up 4-5 GB of RAM, plus have a huge Outlook store open, much abuse of Excel doing database-like data manipulations, and some other engineering applications with heavy I/O workloads. I still backup my drive at least once per day using Macrium Reflect since I've been bitten so often by failures of the SandForce-based Corsair drive, but luckily other than that one strange corruption that happened that first week (and I haven't seen anyone else report a likewise corruption on the OCZ forums) it has been a stellar success for me.
I've also sold a few PETROL drives to customers in AMD-based new builds and haven't had any reports of problems. I'm considering buying my entire team of 18 field engineers the OCTANE for use in their lappies in the field since the speed and solid-state reliability will enhance their work productivity.
I should mention that I have had very occasional I/O locks/pauses with the OCTANE drive. They were occuring once or twice per week, and the event would last 30 seconds. Earlier this week I applied a Registry patch to disable all Intel chipset power management features for that SATA port which reportedly fixes the problem. I've yet to see another I/O lock/pause, but it has been less than a week. I'm hopeful that problem has gone away.
Funny enough, when that I/O lock/pause first occurred, it immediately brought back the dread and despair I felt with the Crucial C300 Marvell-based SSD. Luckily it only lasted 30 seconds and only rarely occurred, so I pressed on and was willing to live with it since at that duration and frequency it was only a very minor inconvenience for all of the other advantages.
Now that I find out it's a Marvell-based controller after all, I feel a little cheated because had I known this, I wouldn't have bought it because of the problems I had with the Crucial drive and Intel chipsets.
However, with the endurance I've seen so far, and the possible I/O pause/freeze workaround I have in place now, I'm planning to still purchase these drives into the future--especially now that the price dropped 35% after release of the VERTEX 4!
I'm sure the VERTEX 4 is amazing, but quite honestly, the OCTANE is incredible enough, and a much better value. :o)
klmccaughey - Saturday, June 2, 2012 - linkEither you are making that all up or you have something dodgy in your system. That many drive failures, my guess is they got the drives back and found they were working fine. Since when does Chrome tae 4Gig?