AMD said Tuesday that it will sell three 2.5-inch SSDs manufactured by enthusiast house OCZ, allowing AMD to offer high-speed storage alongside microprocessors and graphics chips.
AMD will sell the three SSDs--sized at 120, 240, and 480 gigabytes, respectively--as Radeon R7 SSDs, tying them to its Radeon family of GPUs. OCZ, which was recently acquired by Toshiba, will actually make the drives, together with its own flash chips and controllers.
Right now, AMD's new drives sit among the cream of the enthusiast SSD crop, with sequential read speeds of 545MB/sec and write speeds of 530 MB/sec. The number of random read I/O's per second (IOPS) clocks in at 100,000 IOPS, with 90,000 write IOPS. Perhaps more importantly, AMD is offering a four-year warranty that assumes users will write 30GB daily to the drive for each of those four years--far more than most users will likely do.
AMD is positioning the drive as an enthusiast part, right between the OCZ Vector 150 series SSD and the OCZ Vertex 460, a mainstream drive. The Radeon R7 drives will use the Barefoot 3 M00 controller, which supports 256-bit AES encryption, as well as Toshiba's A19 NAND flash. Under load, the drives will consume just 2.7 watts apiece, or 0.6 watts while idling.
"The AMD Radeon brand is synonymous with performance and quality amongst PC gamers," said Roman Kyrychynskyi, director of memory, at AMD, in a statement. "With the new AMD Radeon R7 Series SSDs powered by outstanding OCZ Storage Solutions IP, we bring that reputation to the SSD market with a series of drives that offer an ideal combination of performance, reliability and affordability--great for gamers building or upgrading a rig."
The new drives also give AMD the chance to counter longtime rival Intel, which was one of the early proponents, and manufacturers, of SSDs. (Recently, we tested Intel's 630 series enthusiast SSD and discovered that, by itself, it was only a middling performer.) Crucial, Kingston, Samsung, and SanDisk also offer competing enthusiast-class SSDs.
The prices of the Radeon R7 SSDs will begin at $100 for the 120GB model, AMD said. That's not a great price, as at press time you could buy the slightly slower Crucial M500 120GB SSD at Amazon for $74.99. Given AMD's branding, however, we'd say that an SSD/graphics card bundle might not be too far-fetched.