OCZ introduces an SSD for under $100

The first will be a 32GB model

OCZ Technology Group Inc. today unveiled the OCZ Onyx SATA II 2.5-in. solid-state drive series, calling it "an ultra-affordable" product and the first that it will sell for under $100. The company did not specify a suggested retail price.

In comparison, OCZ's high-performance Agility series drives sell for as little as $119 for a 30GB model on online retail sites such as Pricegrabber.com. Most SSDs with around 30GB sell for well over $100. However, some companies, such as Crucial, which doesn't sell 32GB capacity SSDs, do offer 64GB models for just under $200.

The Onyx is a 32GB SSD that, like other consumer-grade flash drives, is based on multilevel cell (MLC) NAND and offers 125MB/sec. sequential read and 70MB/sec. sequential write speeds. The drive also has 64MB of onboard cache for performance enhancement.

NAND flash memory requires two steps for every data write: The drive must first erase data and then write new data. Having onboard cache allows the drive to temporarily store the data quickly while it is performing the erase function.

The Onyx's read/write speeds are well below those of OCZ's previous drives as well as those of competitors, which can top out at 250MB/sec. for reads and more than 200MB/sec. for writes.

OCZ said its Onyx SSDs have a 1.5 million-hour mean time between failure, though MTBF is not considered by many industry experts to be a reliable way of measuring SSD longevity. MLC NAND flash drives generally have about 10 times fewer write/erase cycles than higher-quality single-level cell NAND devices, which store only one bit per cell as opposed to two or more in MLC NAND.

OCZ is aiming the Onyx series SSD for use as a boot-up drive or for notebooks and netbooks. The drive comes with a three-year warranty and technical support.

"Designed to offer the best of both worlds, the new OCZ Onyx SSD delivers the speed and reliability of solid state storage to mainstream consumers at an aggressive price point that makes the technology more accessible to customers who want to take advantage of all the benefits of the SSDs without incurring the high cost normally associated with the solution," Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology Group, said in a statement.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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