OCZ Vertex 2 Pro, Sandforce Powered SSD Preview - HotHardware

OCZ Vertex 2 Pro, Sandforce Powered SSD Preview

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Our Test Methodologies:  Under each test condition, the Solid State Drives tested here were installed as secondary volumes in our testbed, with a standard spinning hard disk for the OS and benchmark installations.  The SSDs were left blank without partitions wherever possible, unless a test required them to be partitioned and formatted, as was the case with our Vantage benchmark tests. Windows firewall, automatic updates and screen savers were all disabled before testing. In all test runs, we rebooted the system and waited several minutes for drive activity to settle before invoking a test.

HotHardware Test System
Intel Core i7 Powered

Processor -
Motherboard -

Video Card -
Memory -
Audio -

Storage -

 

Hardware Used:
Intel Core i7 965

Gigabyte GA-EX58-Extreme
(X58 Express Chipset)

GeForce GTX 280
6144MB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1333

Integrated on board

Western Digital Raptor - OS
OCZ Vertex 2 Pro 100GB
OCZ Vertex 120GB
Intel X25-M Gen 1 80GB
Intel X25-M Gen 2 160GB

OS -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -
Video Drivers
-
Relevant Software:
Window 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Intel 9.1.0.1012
DirectX 10
NVIDIA ForceWare v195.62

Benchmarks Used:
HD Tach 3.0.1.0
ATTO ver 2.34
PCMark Vantage
SiSoftware Sandra XII SP2
IOMeter 2008
CrystalDiskMark

 IOMeter
 I/O Subsystem Measurement To


The IOMeter Question:
As we noted in a previous SSD round-up article, though IOMeter is clearly thought of as a well respected industry standard drive benchmark, we're not completely comfortable with it for testing SSDs.  The fact of the matter is, though our actual results with IOMeter appear to scale properly, it is debatable whether or not certain access patterns, as they are presented to and measured on an SSD, actually provide a valid example of real world performance for the average end user.  That said, we do think IOMeter is a gauge for relative available bandwidth with a given storage solution.

In the following tables, we're showing two sets of access patterns; one with an 8K transfer size, 80% reads (20% writes) and 80% random (20% sequential) access and one with IOMeter's default access pattern of 2K transfers, 67% reads and 100% random access.



Its surprising to see where the Vertex 2 Pro dropped in, in comparison to our reference drives. In this benchmark, it falls in the middle of the pack and is outpaced by both of the Intel SSDs. Also, the average response time of the Vertex 2 Pro trails every other drive in this comparison.  However, if you look at the bandwidth numbers, the Vertex 2 Pro drive is about on par with Intel's first gen X25-M SSD.  Also, what you'll see in the pages ahead is that this performance profile shake out the same under more real-world test conditions.

Article Index:

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This sector is moving so fast, there seems to be new which impacts it almost daily in one way or another. For a data center these things are almost a god send. For a normal user as well as a hardware junkie, performance gamer etc. they are good editions, and getting better all the time.

I personally have not taken the plunge and gotten one (I also don't have the cash to get a performance model), but would very much like to. Having one of these for an OS and for reactive software such as games, with one of these 1-2TB beauties for a storage drive, seems to be the best setup. However just using these type of drives in multiple and or raid configs is also awesome.

Maybe I will have the money to get one some time. I think it will mostly be one of these OCZ units, they seem to be the fastest as well as most successful (in operational hardware, and of course transfer ratios now as well), names in this market to me.

I wonder when then new ultra low Nm specifications will start affecting this market as well.

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Totally agree rapid1. I do believe with the shrinkage that Intel/Micron just achieved will help out the SSD market and give us larger drives for less dollar.

I also have not made the jump to SSD but I am excited when I can. The speed these things offer will take all PC use to all new levels.

I found this from another site that might help some people pick out drives and give some info on SSD.

http://www.tweaktown.com/guides/3116/tweaktown_s_solid_state_drive_optimization_guide/index.html

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I have to say that after I installed my SSD Raid in my PC (ran it for a few days before), the change was dramatic in several areas.  I mean, my PC is rather crazy to begin with, but it is all the little things that the SSD does that makes it worth it.

However, since I did drop a lot of money into my drives already it will be a while before I think of upgrading.

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What seems to be the best strategy with SSD's is to just wait for the market to calm down a bit. Like Marco said, they have a strangely large selection of drives, which makes me think they are still figuring it out. I think a safe standpoint is to wait a couple months before moving in on one of these drives.

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To be honest... i'm a bit dissappointed in the IOPS on this. It didn't even come close to the 19,000 they claim. In some cases it was only slightly better than the Vertex drive. I'm hoping it is just some bugs they need to work out. I wouldn't say this put them "squarely in the lead" as OCZ claims. It has it's benefits and drawbacks compaired to the Intel drives.

Still... that being said. It's a pretty solid drive. Hopefully the price is reasonable.

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Acarzt, what are your thoughts on Iometer in general? We're not all that thrilled with it in terms of its relevance to real world performance. Look at virtually all the other tests we ran and the Vertex 2 Pro is stronger, especially versus what Iometer shows. We're considering dropping it (Iometer) all together actually... thoughts?

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Well, as far as getting an accurate count of IOPS... i'm not sure how true the numbers really are. But I do think it is a good gauge of how well the drive will perform in the real world.

It's really hard to say for sure if that test would really even be valid or worth using anyway because in the real world i think it would be quite difficult to find any program and usage that would actually use such an large amount of IOPS.

Considering HDDs have IOPS in the hundreds vs SSDs have IOPS in the Thousands... You would really only see the difference in a Server environment. I don't think applications are really tapping into the IO potential of SSDs. The proof of this is in the fact that load times in games don't really change. I think if games took more advantage or this they could get better load times.

I'm no programmer... but if I were to take a shot at how a game loads... they seam to read segments peice by peice... like textures, models, etc. in a certain order. If they were to load these things parrallel, or all at once and really take advantage of the IO power I think they could tap into more of the bandwidth available on these SSDs. But they are more geared towards HDDs and their lower IO.

With everything going multi-this and multi-that though, I think it's only a matter of time before SSDs can have that kind of effect. But in current usage I don't think any users really tap into the IO power they have. A server environment is where they will really shine where you have hundreds of users accessing the same data.

Then again my understanding of IO could be all wrong here :-P

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Great article Dave!

I was very impressed with the CrystalDiskMark benchmarks. I have to agree with rapid1, while I'm loving the performance increases in the SSD market, the price and size/density progression has been a little slow.

Especially interesting was the section of Durawrite. I'm a little confused by this. I assumed 1x would be limit for write amplification so Intel's 1.1x seemed pretty well optimized. With the 0.5x amplification, are we saying that 10GB of information will only occupy half as much on the actual SSD? Are we talking about some sort of data compression?

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Essentially Write amplification writes the data at a larger size to write it faster. For example 4kb of data would be written to an entire block as 128kb. This is an amlification of 32x. Datawritten / Data Size = Aplification.... 128/4 = 32. So then the reverse would be true Amplification * Data Size = Data written. So for Intel this would be 1.1 * 4k = 4.4k. So .5 * 4k = 2k...... Which shouldn't be possible... So there is a big question of how, and this is not really explained. 1 theory I have is that the data is held in cache until 2 blocks can be filled in a single pass instead of needing to do multiple passes.

This would explain why it performs so well on CrystalDiskMark at 4k and why you see the sea-saw effect in sisoft.

BUT, if this IS true then it would make the potential for data corruption higher due to a power failure because data will be held in cache slightly longer and this may be why response times also went higher(poorer) in IOMeter when more writes were involved.

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