OCZ Technology Group, a leading manufacturer of solid-state drives for businesses and consumers, said at an event earlier this month that the company will continue to rely on third-party controllers for its SSDs. Since the company only has one controller in development at a time and cannot address all the market with one controller, it will have to use chips from other suppliers.
“I do not think we can ever fully cover the entire market with our own silicon, given the size of company what we are and the ability of our R&D spent. So, we will always have one controller in development at a time. The next controller we come out with, which will be later this year, will really be more enterprise focused than the controller, Barefoot 3, which came out three months ago,” said Ralph Schmitt, chief executive officer of OCZ Technology, at Stifel Nicolaus technology conference.
Usage of own controller allows OCZ to take advantage of innovative types of NAND flash memory without waiting for third-party controllers. Developing SSD firmware for own controller is also easier since OCZ knows everything about its silicon and how it should perform and with which type of memory in different situations, which gives OCZ flexibility to adapt different types of NAND flash for its drives. The latter provides the company ability to improve performance or have better business positions.
With consumer-oriented Barefoot 3 the company will hardly end up with only one Vector product series, therefore the whole potential of the controller the company unleashed last year will be realized only in the coming months. Moreover, since Vector is based on pretty conservative synchronous multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash, the company has a natural path for the next-generation high-performance SSDs with the same controller as well as for cost-efficient SSDs on the Barefoot 3. For example, OCZ could install NAND flash with toggle DDR interface to further boost performance or triple-level-cell NAND flash to bring down the price of SSDs with Barefoot 3 controller. OCZ does not make official comments regarding the future of its controllers and product lines.
The head of OCZ did not reveal particular plans for the own enterprise-oriented controller and how (and if) it will compete against current-generation Kilimanjaro platform that OCZ co-developed with Marvell.