With Intel's Ivy Bridge based Ultrabooks and a fair few other Ivy Bridge notebooks and desktops expected to offer Thunderbolt connectivity – the first time for computers no from Apple – it looks like several companies are getting interested in the still relatively new, high-speed interface. OCZ has shown off its upcoming external SSD with Thunderbolt interface at CES, as well as its new Indilinx Everest 2 SSD controller.

With Intel's Ivy Bridge based Ultrabooks and a fair few other Ivy Bridge notebooks and desktops expected to offer Thunderbolt connectivity – the first time for computers no from Apple – it looks like several companies are getting interested in the still relatively new, high-speed interface. OCZ has shown off its upcoming external SSD with Thunderbolt interface at CES, as well as its new Indilinx Everest 2 SSD controller.

The Thunderbolt equipped SSD is known as Lightfoot, quite an amusing name, but there's nothing really light-footed about it. For starters it's using the recently announced Kilimanjaro PCI Express SSD controller that is co-developed by PCZ and Marvell. This should allow the Lightfoot to take advantage of the PCI Express interface offered by Thunderbolt without any major bottlenecks.

Capacities are expected to be 128, 256 and 512GB as well as 1TB with a price of around US$2 per GB. Not cheap, but considering that OCZ is eyeing a performance figure in the region of 750MB/s (most likely for the higher capacity models), it's hard to fault the pricing too much, as there's no real competitor in the market as yet.

The new Indilinx Everest 2 SSD controller is your typical SATA 6Gbps SSD controller, although it should offer a decent performance boost over the recently launched Indilinx Everest. That said, the Indilinx Everest 2 is some six months out as yet, although OCZ already has early silicon and the performance is already said to be superior to the Indilinx Everest.

According to Anandtech "OCZ has focused more on small block performance as well as reducing write amplification" something Anand found to be issues with the Everest controller in the OCZ Octane SSDs. Apparently part of the solution is a different firmware architecture to go alongside the new SSD controller. OCZ is said to be eyeing performance figures of around 550MB/s for sequential reads, 500MB/s for sequential writes and 90K 4KB random write IOPS, quite a performance improvement over the Everest controller, although the early silicon with an early firmware didn't quite reach those kind of numbers in a quick test performed by Anandtech with over 60K 4KB write IOPS and about 345MB/s in a sequential write test. It's good that OCZ has a few months to fine-tune things before the Everest 2 is ready for retail.

Source: Anandtech and Anandtech