OCZ Z-Drive m84 PCI-Express SSD Review

Article Index

The Setup, Methodology 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.

Also, you'll note that we performed all of our individual and RAID SSD testing on an Intel X58 chipset-based motherboard via its ICH10R Southbridge SATA controller.  The OCZ Z-Drive was tested in a PCIe X16 slot on the same test bed.  For a few of our file transfer tests specifically, we utilized Fusion-io's ioDrive as a source drive to read files from, for our write performance testing, or write files to, for our read performance testing of OCZ's Z-Drive or Intel SATA SSDs.

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 Z-Drive m84 256GB
Intel X25-M 80GB SSD x 4 RAID 0
Intel X25-M 80GB SSD X 2 RAID 0
Intel X25-M G2 160 SSD
Fusion-io 160GB ioDrive

Operating System -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -
Video Drivers

Relevant Software:
Windows Vista Ultimate
DirectX 10
NVIDIA ForceWare

Benchmarks Used:
HD Tach
ATTO ver 2.02
PCMark Vantage
SiSoftware Sandra 2009
CrystalDiskMark v2.2
Iometer 2006.07.27
Custom File Transfer Tests

In our SiSoft SANDRA testing, we used the Physical Disk test suite. We ran the tests without formatting the drives and both 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 Z-Drive m84 256GB
Read Performance

2 x Intel X25-M 80GB SSD RAID 0
Read Performance

OCZ Z-Drive m84 256GB
Write Performance

2 x Intel X25-M 80GB SSD RAID 0
Write Performance

Looking at these preliminary, high level numbers from SANDRA, the OCZ Z-Drive puts up solid numbers in excess of 400MB/sec for reads and near 700MB/sec for writes, though there are definitely saw toothed variations across different areas of the drive volume.  Write performance is obviously a strong suite for the Z-Drive and compared to a 160GB Intel X25-M (Gen 1 80GB SSDs) RAID 0 setup, the Z-Drive shows a 4X performance advantage.  Next we'll dig into the numbers a bit deeper with ATTO and CrystalDiskMark. 

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