4-Way SSD Round-Up Redux: OCZ, Corsair, PhotoFast - HotHardware

4-Way SSD Round-Up Redux: OCZ, Corsair, PhotoFast

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Solid State storage products continue to evolve at a rapid pace. Over the last year or so, solid state drives, or SSDs, specifically targeted at PC enthusiasts have transformed from buggy, underperforming products to the preferred, high-end storage solution for performance hungry enthusiasts and even more mission critical applications. Available capacities have increased, cost per gigabyte has decreased significantly, and a number of useful features have been introduced that enhance or otherwise optimize performance.

We have already covered a number of different solid state storage products here at HotHardware, including the popular models features in this 4-way round-up, the ultra high-end options in this SSD grudge match, and we have of course featured Intel's recently introduced X25-M Gen 2. In this article, we're again rounding-up a quartet of solid state drives, but one of the entrants is a product we've already featured in the past.

The first drive we're going to show you is the OCZ Vertex Series 120GB SSD. This drive was featured in our last round-up, but since then a beta firmware has become available that features a "garbage collection" algorithm designed to scour and purge the drive of orphan data, and thus enhancing the performance of a well used, or "dirty" drive. We'll also be featuring a Vertex Turbo Series drive, Corsair's P64, and a beast of an SSD from Photofast, the G-Monster V5.

    

   
OCZ Vertex Series SSD--Now With Garbage Collection

OCZ's Vertex Series of SSDs use Samsung MLC NAND flash memory, coupled to 64MB of cache and an IndiLinx IDX110M00-LC controller that does away with the stuttering and performance issues that plagued early JMicron controllers. The drives feature the same 2.5" form factor as all of OCZ's previous SSD offerings and they are available in capacities ranging from 30GB to 250GB. The drive you see here is the 120GB model, but we should point out that its actually a 128GB drive--OCZ branded it as 120GB drive because that is its formatted capacity within an OS.

OCZ Vertex Series SATA II SSD
Specifications and Features

  • Available in 30GB, 60GB, 120GB, 250GB capacities
  • 64MB Onboard Cache
  • Seek Time: <.1ms
  • Slim 2.5" Design
  • 99.8 x 69.63 x 9.3mm
  • Lightweight 77g
  • Operating Temp: 0C ~ 70C
  • Storage Temp: -45C ~ +85C
  • Low Power Consumption: 2W in operation, .5W in stand by

 

  • Shock Resistant 1500G
  • RAID Support
  • MTBF 1.5 million hours
  • 2 year warranty

120GB Max Performance

  • Read: Up to 250 MB/s
  • Write: Up to 180MB/s
  • Sustained Write: Up to 100MB/s

 


According to OCZ, the Vertex Series drives have varying read / write speed ratings, depending on their capacity. The 120GB model featured here, is rated for read speeds up to 250 MB/s, with write speeds of up to 180MB/s and sustained writes of up to 100MB/s.


New Condition


Dirty Drive


After 5-min Idle


After Long Idle

As we mentioned earlier, a beta firmware for the OCZ Vertex Series drives incorporates a new garbage collection scheme. To give you an idea as to how this scheme can affect performance over the life of the drive, we've run a series of tests. What you see pictured above are four ATTO Disk Benchmark runs performed on the Vertex Series 120GB SSD. The first run was performed on the drive in brand new condition. As you can see, performance is high and consistent once the transfer sizes exceeds 64KB. The second run, however, was performed on the drive in a "dirty" or heavily used state, and as you can see, performance suffers dramatically with transfer sizes below 1MB. This is due to the performance penalty associated with block re-writing.

The third benchmark run was performed after letting the Vertex drive idle for about five minutes though, and as you can see performance has nearly been restored to like-new levels, save for a few MB/s drop in the middle transfer sizes. Finally, after letting the drive idle for about an hour, performance has been totally restored.

OCZ worked with Indilinx to develop the garbage collection scheme for the Vertex serie's drives, but we should point out they are not the only ones with this type of feature incorporated into their firmware. Intel has similar functionality in their X25-M SSDs, as do current generation drives based on Samsung's controller technology, like the Corsair P64 we'll show you a little later.

Article Index:

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In the conclusion under the Pros for the Vertex Turbo you put "Excellent Performance" and then under cons for that same SSD you put "Lowest performer overall" lol That seems very contradicting... must be a type ;-)

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Thanks for the head's up...just a typo...fixed now!

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Also on the last page in the little chart price and capacity are backwards.

Sorry to nit pic. Great read though.

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Man, I have such baby-brain lately--fixed. Thanks, Bob.

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Good job, Marco! Tremendously useful to those of us threading the SSD maze.

 

I wonder, though: The currenht trend seems to be drives hooked up through the SATA port, just like a motor HD. But I've also seen SSDs that plug into those miniPCIe slots, those tiny little ones on the motherboard which are usually relegated to a sound card.

 

The current crop isn't the speediest, possibly because miniPCIe is a 1x slot. The OCZ 16 GB claims a read speed of 110 MB/sec. The price per GB is worse than the larger drive-chain-based SSDs, too. (Fusion-io's IoDrive exceeds SATA-II performance; it uses a PCI Express x4 slot and its read speeds are up to 750 MB/sec, according to company literature. Of course, it's way more epensive than anything on the market.)

 

But (and this is a big but) people may go for a small drive with a low price, even if it's not a speed demon... especially if they just have one application that they want speeded up (cough cough World of Warcraft cough). I note that my (coughing fit deleted) WoW folder takes up 14.5 GB, which should be consistent up to the next major expansion. (Possibly beyond, if I get rid of all those unused AddOns and old updaters.)

 

So whaddaya think? User reviews at Amazon and Newegg imply that this is mostly for netbooks: I'm not 100% sure that it will even work in a desktop PC. But if someone has tried this, it'd be worth hearing about.

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ClemSnide:
User reviews at Amazon and Newegg imply that this is mostly for netbooks: I'm not 100% sure that it will even work in a desktop PC.

Laptop Sata drives work There are plenty of cheap brackets that sit in a 3.5 nch hard drive bay and hold the smaller drives though so its not a huge issue. Kingston even bundles one with some of there SSDs.

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@Bob-- The drives which hook into your SATA chain should indeed be recognized as a normal hard drive with no issues; but the ones I'm talking about are the ones which plug into a miniPCIe slot-- that tiny little thing on the motherboard which usually sits between the two x16 slots meant for graphics cards.

 

They should be identical, but I've found that there's a great gap in computer hardware between should be and are.

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Oh yeah I know what you are talking about now. These http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820609435

They look the same, but idk if it works or not. Hmm now I wonder.

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OCZ Z-Drive PCI-Express SSD Re-Emerges

Speak of the devil and up he pops!

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