OCZ Apex Series 120GB SATA II SSD

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Test Setup IOMeter and SANDRA

Our Test MethodologiesUnder each test condition, the Solid State Drives were installed as secondary volumes in our testbeds, 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 noted in a recent SSD round-up article, 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 our SSD sample lot.

 

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 above is an example of how random write operations kill I/O throughput of SSDs in IOMeter.  There is no question random write performance is the Achille's Heel of MLC SSDs, though SLC-based SSDs have a much easier time with it.  OCZ's Apex SSD performed relatively well in our IOMeter tests, besting all of the other SSDs with the obvious exception being Intel's X25-M.

HotHardware Test System
Intel C2E Powered

Processor -

Motherboard -


Video Card -

Memory -


Audio -

Hard Drives -

 

Hardware Used:
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850


Asus Striker II Extreme
(nForce 790i SLI Ultra chipset)


GeForce 8800 GTX

2048MB Corsair DDR3-1333
CAS 7

Integrated on board

Western Digital Velociraptor - OS
Western Digital Velociraptor - Test
300GB - 10,000RPM - SATA 3Gb/s

OCZ Apex Series SSD 120GB
OCZ Core Series 64GB

OCZ Standard 64GB
Super Talent MasterDrive MX 64GB
Intel X25-M 80GB


Operating System -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -

Video Drivers
-


Relevant Software:
Windows Vista Ultimate
Intel 8.6.1006
DirectX 10

NVIDIA ForceWare v175.19

Benchmarks Used:
HD Tach 3.0.1.0
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 both write and read 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.

SANDRA Physical Disk Read Performance


OCZ Apex Series SSD


Intel X25-M 80GB MLC 


OCZ Core Series


Super Talent
MasterDrive MX


According to SANDRA's Physical Disk Read performance test, the OCZ Apex Series SSD's performance of just over 165MB/s bests all of the competing offerings by a sizable margin, except for the Intel X25-M.  The Intel X25-M's 225MB/s simply can't be touched here.


SANDRA Physical Disk Write Performance


OCZ Apex Series SSD


Intel X25-M 80GB MLC


OCZ Core Series


Super Talent
MasterDrive MX

In the Write portion of SANDRA's Physical Disk Benchmark, the OCZ Apex series drive didn't fare as well.  Here, the Apex Series drive was a bit slower then the competition, by a few megabytes per second, and Intel's drive once again comes out on top.


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