Wednesday, October 20th 2010

OCZ IBIS HSDL Solid State Drive Dissected

The High Speed Data Link (HSDL) interface, designed by OCZ as an alternative to SATA and SAS, for high data-rate and high I/O solid-state drives (SSD) in an enterprise environment, gained quite some attention. Funky Kit scored a sample, and got the chance to dissect OCZ's first SSD that makes use of the HSDL interface, the IBIS 160 GB. OCZ also found a novel way to propagate HSDL, by bundling a single-port PCI-Express x4 addon card. Upon taking apart the card, one can understand exactly how it works. Under the hood, there are two main PCBs, one that houses a HSDL-based 2-port SATA RAID controller, and the other, which holds two independent SandForce-driven SATA SSD sub-units.

Two two SSD sub-units are striped in an internal RAID 0, which is kept abstract to the host. The HSDL itself is technically very similar to PCI-Express, in being a point-to-point serial data link. The IBIS SSD is rated to have read-write speeds of 740 MB/s and 690 MB/s, respectively, with 4KB random write performance of 100,000 IOPS. The drive connects to its host PCI-E addon card over a proprietary-design cable, while retains the SATA power connector input of conventional SATA devices. The drive itself adheres to the 3.5" PC form-factor. More pictures can be found at the source.

Source: Funky Kit
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17 Comments on OCZ IBIS HSDL Solid State Drive Dissected

#1
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
Hats off to OCZ for thinking outside the box here.
Posted on Reply
#2
Sasqui
by: newtekie1
Hats off to OCZ for thinking outside the box here.
Agree, RAID 0 in a single 3.5" drive enclosure, cool. Surprised they didn't add eSATA or SATA interface instead of PCIe.
Posted on Reply
#3
Completely Bonkers
It is very difficult to differentiate yourself in the SSD market: at the moment it all comes down to WHICH controller. We dont even ask ourselves WHAT memory, WHAT longevity, and we headline the wrong statistics:max read rates.

IMO this idea/design from OCZ is clutching at straws. Creating a proprietary new interface that is faster than SATA 300 but has *just one connector* is just silly. At the end of the day, we are interested in improved real-world speed which is more along the lines of the IOPs and 4K read/writes rates, and NOT just the max sustained single block read rates.

This extra interface card? What an environmental waste of money and silicon. FAR BETTER to redirect those resources to bump up the on board RAID cache sizes. Or RAID 4 smaller SSDs rather than 2 bigger ones. Or fill those four missing ram chips on the pcb.

But, unfortunately, 740MB/s and 100,000 IOPs "sells better" than 300MB/s and 200,000 IOPs
Posted on Reply
#6
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
Well this seems far more for the server side than anyone home user use.
Posted on Reply
#7
Kantastic
by: WarEagleAU
Well this seems far more for the server side than anyone home user use.
For the time being.
Posted on Reply
#9
filip007
That's the future people learn it, one days all that will be packed inside 1.8" inch storage with speed about 1GB/s.
Posted on Reply
#10
wahdangun
by: Completely Bonkers
It is very difficult to differentiate yourself in the SSD market: at the moment it all comes down to WHICH controller. We dont even ask ourselves WHAT memory, WHAT longevity, and we headline the wrong statistics:max read rates.

IMO this idea/design from OCZ is clutching at straws. Creating a proprietary new interface that is faster than SATA 300 but has *just one connector* is just silly. At the end of the day, we are interested in improved real-world speed which is more along the lines of the IOPs and 4K read/writes rates, and NOT just the max sustained single block read rates.

This extra interface card? What an environmental waste of money and silicon. FAR BETTER to redirect those resources to bump up the on board RAID cache sizes. Or RAID 4 smaller SSDs rather than 2 bigger ones. Or fill those four missing ram chips on the pcb.

But, unfortunately, 740MB/s and 100,000 IOPs "sells better" than 300MB/s and 200,000 IOPs
no, ocz didn't make it proprietary, every ssd manufacture can use these type of interface,

btw its good move from ocz and i hope motherboard manufacture can include these interface
Posted on Reply
#11
BazookaJoe
AAAAaaaahhhhh... Innovation...

Something we JUST DON'T SEE anymore.

Hats off to you boys.
Posted on Reply
#12
Thrackan
I'm going to keep saying this, but making your own new interface when you can do a RAID on SATA600 is simply bull. Once again, OCZ has created some niche that will slowly die away in the next 6 months, the only sounds remaining being cries of users that can't get the stuff set up right because something was still undeveloped.

How to do this right? You could fix 2 2.5" SSD's inside a 3,5" enclosure with dual data cables and an optional RAID controller capable of 600+ speeds. With normal cables. So you can actually replace one when it breaks.
Posted on Reply
#13
qwerty_lesh
They're hoping to push HSDL (which they've obviously backed) into their main targeted segments (being Enterprise then enthusiast markets)

Whats all this uproar over a new interface? It happens all the time, and IMHO its good to have something which could be superior to a serial interface (SATA/SAS) in these markets, instead of leaving a S.I.G in full control of what choice we all have as consumers.

Hats off to OCZ for innovation, for pushing something new into the market, hats off to them particularly because HSDL is something quite decent.

Intel pushed land grid array sockets into the market, and it was good too.
Microsoft pushed Vista OS onto everyone and it was no good.

But this will be great if it does well enough to surpass an enthusiast segment and becomes mainstream, more ultra powerful ATA interface technology to the consumer FTW. :toast:

edit: though shame its not a fiber standard, that would've been quite epic
Posted on Reply
#14
Thrackan
That HSDL cable + connector is just a makeshift thing. Design a proper interface with proper connectors or use something existing. It happens all the time? Remember when Parallel-ATA was introduced?
Land grid array sockets are no comparison. Intel only has their own processors to fit on them. How many different HDD brands would you like to choose from?
The only thing I see replacing SATA soon is Light Peak. It's backed by several manufacturers, developed by a large player and versatile.

Sure, OCZ can go on ahead and do experimental stuffs in their basements, but they should STOP selling them as "working" products.
Posted on Reply
#15
Completely Bonkers
This new interface is all about the WRONG METRIC. So burst read rates are > 700mbs which is > SATA so they win the "layman's MHZtrophy". But did IOP's improve with this interface? NO. Did average random read/write/application use/database use/startup times/game map loading etc. improve? NO. I'm surprised to see so many TPU'ers falling for the marketing. There ain't anything new about the "core of the product". Don't fall for the wolf's clothing, it's the same old SSD and controller, sheople!
Posted on Reply
#16
maringland
where can i buy just the HSDL-based 2-port SATA RAID controller
Posted on Reply
#17
maringland
where can i buy just the sata controller card
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