OCZ Vertex Limited Edition, SandForce Powered SSD

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Test System and IOMeter

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 LE 100GB
OCZ Vertex 2 Pro 100GB
OCZ Vertex 120GB
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 2.41
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.



First we should note that there is a very different set of test conditions here, between the OCZ Vertex 2 Pro SSD, with AHCI disabled and the OCZ Vertex LE drive, as well as all other drives in this test, with AHCI enabled.  As we mentioned earlier, we learned the hard way that these drives from OCZ based on Sandforce SSD controller technology, benefit significantly from enabling AHCI.  As such, you can see how well the drive performs with this feature turned on, which allows the drive to queue up concurrent requests when the system is busy.  In terms of IOMeter metrics, we're looking at a 3X - 6X  performance gain with AHCI enabled.  Also, essentially, the Vertex 2 Pro and Vertex LE drives are the same SSD, save for different firmware versions. They both use the same controller and memory architecture with Micron NAND Flash.  What's also impressive is how the Vertex LE with AHCI enabled takes the Intel X25-M Gen 2 to task, generally doubling its performance in our IOMeter testing.

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