The arrival of the new OCZ Octane 512GB is the most intriguing development in SSD technology in the last few years. The key theme here is high quality SSD controllers and the firmware that goes with them.
They've proven very difficult to develop.
For proof, look no further than the fact that it's been beyond even the might of Intel to market a competitive controller and firmware package.
It plopped a Marvell controller in its 510 performance SSD over six months ago after its own technology fell well off the pace. Rumours abound that its next performance drives will themselves be SandForce-based.
Meanwhile, SandForce controllers have been dominating the benchmark tables. In that context, what hope can OCZ possibly have of creating its own competitive controller?
Well, you might argue a good start would be to buy an existing SSD controller specialist. That's exactly what OCZ did, acquiring Indilinx in early 2011.
The OCZ Octane 512GB and its Indilinx Everest controller is the first fruit of that acquisition.
It's also the first Indilinix-powered SSD to support the fastest 6Gbps SATA storage interface.
Other spec highlights include the latest 25nm synchronous flash memory from Intel, 512MB of cache memory and OCZ's nDurance wear-levelling technology.
The upshot of all this is a drive with impressively consistent performance. The highlight, arguably, is incompressible data handling.
Unlike SandForce-powered drives, the Octane's drop off from compressible to incompressible data throughput is minimal. Performance in our zip file decompression and game install tests was top notch, too.
As with any new drive, however, the true nature of the new Octane's long term performance will take time and feedback from owners to fully establish.
Competition improves the breed and the new OCZ Octane 512GB is nothing if not highly competitive with the latest SandForce-powered drives.
Consistent performance across the board rather than outrageous throughput in any one metric is the main highlight.
In a word, cost. At 512GB, this is a very hefty SSD and it comes with a commensurately big price. Problem is, the smaller members of the Octane family offer significantly lower write performance.
Long term performance is also something of an unknown quantity, currently.
The OCZ Octane 512GB is a welcome addition to the SSD market. It's just a shame you need to spend £700 to get the full performance the impressive Everest controller is obviously capable of.