OCZ released a firmware update for its Octane SSD series. The update carries a version number 1.13 and OCZ claims substantial random write improvements. To refresh everyone's memory on Octane, it's based on the Indilinx Everest controller, the first public outcome of OCZ's Indilinx acquisition. We reviewed Octane last November and it did fairly well in our tests, but it wasn't able to steal the performance crown from SandForce. With this update, Octane is getting closer to SandForce performance. Below is a table comparing the random write performance figures provided by OCZ:

OCZ Octane Random Write 4K IOPS Performance
Capacity Old Firmware (v1.12) New Firmware (v1.13) Change in Performance
128GB 7.7K IOPS 18K IOPS +134%
256GB 12K IOPS 25K IOPS +108%
512GB 16K IOPS 26K IOPS +63%

The smaller the capacity, the bigger the improvement in random write performance. We are still nowhere near the performance of SandForce based SSDs or Crucial m4, which have IOPS rates of 60K and 50K for 240GB/256GB models respectively. However, Octane is getting close to Samsung 830, which is rated for 36K IOPS (256GB model). 

This is definitely pleasant news and tightens the SSD competition even more. Moreover, this update once again shows that the firmware has a huge impact on the performance of an SSD (remember Crucial m4 FW0009?). Given the relative immaturity of the Indilinx Everest controller and its firmware, it's possible we will see another, or even two, performance updates for Octane in the future. 

We will be running Octane with the new firmware through our regular SSD tests to see how the new firmware performs in our test suite. In the meantime, OCZ's firmware updater along with the new firmware can be found here. As always, we recommend caution when moving to new firmware; this particular update is destructive so your SSD will be formatted in the process of updating, thus you should backup your data before flashing.

Source: OCZ

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  • Death666Angel - Monday, January 23, 2012 - link

    I hope it gets better and cheaper! But the 128GB version seems to be 3Gbps and it costs about the same as the OCZ Solid 3 / Agility 3 120GB which have much better performance. And I think the 120GB is the sweet spot as long as prices remain above/about 1$/GB. :-9
  • Kristian Vättö - Monday, January 23, 2012 - link

    The 128GB version is SATA 6Gb/s as well. At least it's rated for 470MB/s read and 210MB/s write.

  • Death666Angel - Monday, January 23, 2012 - link

    Ah, my bad, I just noticed that there is an Octane S2 line vs. Octane. I just found the Octane S2 line since I went by price/GB. The Octane S2 is the one similar to the Solid3/Agility3 in price and has SATA Gbps3. But the Octane with SATA Gbps 6 is 20% more expensive.
    To justify that, you need to really hate SF controllers. :D The Crucial m4 is slightly cheaper (6€) while Samsung 830 is 12€ more expensive.
    Considering that I thought this controller was supposed to give OCZ more of an edge price-wise, I don't think it has succeeded. :-)
  • DanNeely - Monday, January 23, 2012 - link

    The problem is most of the SSD price is still the flash chips themselves; until that changes the main cost differentiator between controllers on consumer SSDs is the ability to charge more for faster benchmark scores and higher perceived reliability.
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - link

    Thanks, I have updated the article.
  • gevorg - Saturday, January 28, 2012 - link

    I hope OCZ didn't sacrifice reliability to meet these big performance improvements.

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