OCZ Technology is a highly ambitious player on the market of solid state drives. They really seem to be willing to become the No.1 provider of consumer-class SSDs and put a lot of effort into this. The effort has been largely of the marketing nature. OCZ followed an aggressive advertisement strategy, waged price wars and deployed a wide-reaching dealer network. While fruitful, such activities couldn’t be fully efficient without some killer product that would be technically better than anything offered by the competitors. OCZ used to install third-party SandForce controllers in its desktop SSDs and the same controllers were also used by other manufacturers that produced similar products.
The tactical decision to buy out the entire first batch of controllers and release OCZ-branded SandForce-based SSDs ahead of competitors didn’t work out, either. It attracted some publicity to the brand but didn’t help increase sales in the long run. Moreover, being the first company to offer such products, OCZ was also the first to handle the backlash caused by the flaws and bugs in the original version of the controller and firmware.
Having learned from such bitter experience, OCZ changed its strategy and invested into its own controllers last year. They chose the Korean firm Indilinx they had already partnered with back in 2009: the Vertex SSD of the 2009 model year ran on Indilinx Barefoot controllers. The renewed collaboration proved fruitful as Indilinx engineers soon came up with an up-to-date Everest controller we recently tested using the Octane SSD. The Octane series isn’t a killer product, though. They are good enough by today's standards but fall behind both top-end SSDs with second-generation SandForce controllers and many SSDs with Marvell controllers.
The second cycle of development seems to be better, though. Released soon after the original Everest, the Everest 2 controller is employed in the Vertex 4 series, OCZ's top offer in the consumer class. OCZ obviously has high hopes regarding the Everest 2. Can SSDs with this controller become the long-awaited breakthrough for OCZ and a worthy opponent to SandForce-based products? We’ll try to answer this question in this review by benchmarking a couple of serially produced Vertex 4 SSDs.