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

Article Index

Test System, IOMeter, and SANDRA

Our Test MethodologiesUnder 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 ATTO 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.

The IOMeter Question:

As we've noted in our previous SSD coverage, though IOMeter is clearly thought of as a well respected industry standard drive benchmark, we're becoming increasingly uncomfortable with it for testing SSDs, as well as comparing their performance to standard hard drives.  The fact of the matter is, though our actual results with IOMeter appear to be accurate, 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, at least for the average end user.  Regardless, here's a sampling of our test runs with IOMeter version 2006.07.27 on the four drives featured in this article.

In the table above, 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.  What you see in the table is an example of how random write operations detrimentally impact I/O throughput of most SSDs in IOMeter.  There is no question random write performance is the Achille's Heel of most MLC SSDs, though we should note SLC-based SSDs have a much easier time with it.

As you can see in the chart above, the OCZ and Photfast drives perform similarly according to IOMeter, with a slight edge overall going to the OCZ Vertex Turbo series drive, which was the best performer throughout. The standard Vertex Series drive and G-Monster trade for second position depending on the access pattern (the G-Monster was better with random writes), and the Corsair P64 brought up the rear.

HotHardware Test System
Intel Core i7 Powered

Processor -

Motherboard -

Video Card -

Memory -

Audio -

Hard Drives -


Hardware Used:
Intel Core i7 920

Gigabyte GA-EX58-Extreme
(X58 Express Chipset)

GeForce GTX 280

6144MB Corsair DDR3-1333

Integrated on board

OCZ Vertex Series 120GB
OCZ Vertex Turbo Series 120GB
Corsair P64
Photofast G-Monster V5 256GB

Operating System -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -

Video Drivers

Relevant Software:
Windows Vista Ultimate
DirectX 10

NVIDIA ForceWare v182.50

Benchmarks Used:
HD Tach
ATTO ver 2.02
PCMark Vantage
SiSoftware Sandra XII SP2

In our SiSoft SANDRA testing, we used the Physical Disk test suite. We ran the tests without formatting the drives and read and write performance metrics are detailed below.  Please forgive the use of these screen captures and thumbnails, which will require a few more clicks on your part.  However, we felt it was important to show you the graph lines in each of the SANDRA test runs, so you are able to see how the drives perform over time and memory location and not just an average rated result.

OCZ Vertex Series 120GB

OCZ Vertex Turbo 120GB

Photofast G-Monster V5 256GB

Corsair P64 64GB

All of the drives tested here had drive index ratings well above the 200MB/s mark according to SANDRA. The OCZ and Photofast drives had the higest rating at right around 245MB/s, followed by the Corsair P64 with a ratings of about 208MB/s. What also interesting to note is how flat, and stable the performance of the Photofast G-Monster drive is throughout the entire benchmark run.

OCZ Vertex Series 120GB

OCZ Vertex Turbo 120GB

Photofast G-Monster V5 256GB

Corsair P64 64GB

The Photofast G-Monster V5 simply chrushes the other drives here, with a write speed score of over 246MB/s. The Vertex Turbo takes second place at about 196MB/s, followed by the standard Vertex drive at 181MB/s and finally the Corsair drive at 136MB/s.

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