by Anton Shilov
04/12/2012 | 06:28 PM
While solid-state drives are relatively easy to manufacture, it takes tremendous work to design the right controller and the right firmware which ensure reliability, high performance and endurance. Sometimes, it takes strengths of two companies to make the right product.
Although OCZ Technology Group, a leading manufacturer of solid-state drives, has acquired Indilinx to develop its own controllers for SSDs and create unique products, the chips that power the company's Everest and Everest 2 platforms actually come from Marvell, a renowned designer of sophisticated controllers. OCZ admits that it now uses third-party silicon, but stresses that it implements tweaks and its own firmware to improve its solid-state drives.
OCZ Technology has confirmed to AnandTech web-site that its Indilinx Everest controller is actually a re-badged Marvell 88SS9174 chip, but it works at higher clock-speed (and can thus potentially offer better performance) and comes with OCZ's own Indilinx firmware, which is designed to with performance and reliability in mind. The Everest 2 controller also relies on Marvell silicon (perhaps, 88SS9187), but sports different firmware designed by Indilinx and OCZ teams.
Marvell controllers for solid-state drives provide excellent reliability, performance and endurance. The controllers are used by many branded SSDs, including those from Crucial, Intel and others.
At present, OCZ and Marvell are closely working together on new controllers for solid-state drives and in many cases design decisions are made together. For example, earlier this year the two companies introduced a jointly developed "Kilimanjaro" native PCIe to NAND flash controller platform for enterprise-grade solid-state drives. The native PCIe Z-Drive R5 offers an intelligent, hardware-meets-software managed solution designed to accelerate database, enterprise, and virtualization applications.