AMD entering the SSD business

AMD is a CPU and GPU company, with a small memory business on the side (it slaps its name on memory from VisionTek and Patriot), and now it looks like it's getting into the storage business. All they need now are motherboards, cases and power supplies and they can build their own PCs.

The AMD SSD is part of a partnership with Toshiba, which recently bought out the bankrupt OCZ Technology SSD maker. Much like the DDR memory deal, it looks like the partner is doing all the heavy lifting while AMD puts its name on it.

The rumors originated with a Chinese tech site, Expreview.com. The site said the drives would essentially be rebranded OCZ Vector 150 drives using Toshiba's 19nm NAND flash memory and OCZ's Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller, which is a pretty fast controller and makes for some good performance.

There will be three drives, in 120GB, 240GB and 480GB capacity. They will all offer max read speeds rated of up to 550MB/s and max write speeds of 470MB/s for the 120GB drive and 530MB/s for the 240GB and 480GB drives. They will also offer 85,000 to 95,000 random read IOPs, up to 90,000 random write IOPs, and 12,000 to 23,000 steady state random write IOPs.

Other features include a SATA III 6Gbps interface, 256-bit AES encryption, S.M.A.R.T. health monitoring and an ultra-thin form factor.

That will be a nice drive. Not so good is that AMD is reportedly using the Radeon brand name for the drives. The names are reported to be Radeon R7 120G, Radeon R7 240G, and Radeon R7 480G, with the numbers all reflecting the capacity of the drive.

Now, I'm no marketing guru, but it seems to me that sharing the same brand name between two very different products has the potential for confusion. Time will obviously tell.

There are many competitors in this field – Crucial, Kingston, SanDisk, Intel, Toshiba, Corsair and Samsung – but I would bet AMD is not about trying to gain SSD dominance. If they were they wouldn't let someone else build the drive.

No, this is about bundling deals. Get your CPU, GPU, memory and storage in one bundle that's cheaper than buying separately. Smart move, really, because no one else could offer such a bundle with their own name on it. Let's hope it works, because AMD had a disappointing second quarter while Intel did great.

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