Last week I migrated both of my primary work computers, my desktop and my notebook, to SandForce based SSDs. My desktop now uses an OCZ Vertex 2 based on the SandForce SF-1200 with OCZ’s special sauce firmware. My notebook uses Corsair’s Force F100, also based on the SF-1200 but offering equal performance to the Vertex 2.

Clearly 100GB isn’t enough space for everything I have, so on my desktop I have a pair of 1TB drives in RAID-1. This is where I store all of my pictures, music and some of my movies. Automatic backups happen to a separate 2TB networked drive.

I’ve got a separate file server that feeds the rest of my home and office with a 3TB RAID-5 array. The last part is really to feed my HTPC and hold all of my benchmarking applications, images and lab files, it’s not necessary otherwise.

My desktop and notebook drives basically house an OS, applications, emails, PDFs, spreadsheets and tons of text files. In other words - highly compressible data.

This is exactly the sort of usage model SandForce was planning on when it designed its DuraWrite technology. If the majority of the data you store can somehow be represented by fewer bits you can solve a lot of the inherent problems with building a high performance SSD.

The SF-1200 and 1500 controllers do just that. The controllers and their associated firmware do whatever it takes to simply write less. In systems like my desktop or notebook, this is very simple. Writing less means the NAND lasts longer, it means that performance remains high for longer and with TRIM you can actually maintain that very high level of performance almost indefinitely.

SandForce’s technology is entirely transparent to the end user. You don’t get any extra capacity, all you get is better performance.

We’ve been looking at SandForce drives from multiple vendors for a while now. If you want the history on the technology look here, and if you want to know how SSDs work in general click here.

As I just mentioned, OCZ’s Vertex 2 ended up in my desktop. That’s the drive we’re looking at today. I moved to SandForce SSDs not because I wanted more performance, but because I wanted to begin long term testing of the mass production firmware on these drives. If I’m going to recommend them, I’m going to use them.

The Vertex 2
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  • Imperceptible - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    I'd like to see how non-SandForce drives handle the truly random data write tests. Would they be expected to perform no different to the normal data tests? Reply
  • krazyderek - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    Although 100GB might be the sweet spot, it's still to expensive or to much for some people, i'm looking at these charts for workstation hard drives, and 50GB is perfect, but i want to know what kind of performance drop i'm also going to see on these. I wish manufacturer's would cut the crap and send more capacity points to be tested!!! IT DRIVES ME NUTS! the REAL SSD C300 is a perfect example, we get the 256gb version for testing, then find out later that the 128gb version isn't quite as hot.... well i want to see the numbers!!! and not just the manufacturer's "up to" numbers posted on newegg if any, often times you have to wait for someone to buy one of the drives and post some numbers them selve's but who know's how rigorous their test methods are.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE test the other capacity points!!!!
    Reply
  • Danse82 - Monday, May 10, 2010 - link

    I know exactly what you mean! I've been looking at the 50G model for a while now, as it does hit the sweet spot for me too. And I too have been wondering how the 50G model's performance will stack up against the 100G. Reply
  • lentc01 - Wednesday, May 12, 2010 - link

    I too would like to know the performance differences between the 50GB and the tested 100GB drives. I am debating between getting the OCZ 50GB LE or the OCZ 50GB V2 Reply
  • JPForums - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    Is there a reason that the Vertex LE is highlighted and not the Vertex 2?
    Perhaps I'm misunderstanding something, but I thought the Vertex 2 was new and interesting data.
    Not that it amounts to much, but the Vertex 2 ends up slightly outperforming the Corsair force in most cases where the Vertex LE falls slightly short.
    The data is all there, but it would be misinterpreted by people who only take a cursory glance at the charts.
    Reply
  • Skraeling - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    I still need to put a ssd in my desktop, its done wonders for my laptop (120gb agility). My desktop now feels really really slow and its a quadcore gaming pc. Sigh I sense a win7 Agility2 upgrade in my future. Reply
  • DrJohan - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    I am a Swedish anesthesiologist with 2 kids, a research program and far too many hobbies. I am interested in computers but I just don´t have the time to be any good at it. I have just ordered a new laptop (see below) and want to equip this with a SSD. The upcoming Vertex 2 is the one I am thinking about. I have been surfing around during the limited free time I have and Anand and this forum seems to be about as good as things get. I therefore would like to ask a few questions and would be very happy if I could also get some decent answers:

    I have ordered a 15" Macbook pro, core i7, 8Gb RAM, crappy 500Gb harddisk. I chose this because i needed a computer which would last a few years and with very good battery life. It also looks pretty cool.

    I almost ordered the Apple 256Gb SSD upgrade until I read on the net that they are rubbish. Intel seem to make good stuff but OCZ Vertex are "compatible with Mac". The upcoming Vertex 2 seems to be a nice piece of hardware: My questions:

    1. Mac does not have TRIM support. What is TRIM?
    2. Since there is no TRIM, Garbage Collection seems to do the job. Is this correct?
    3. Does the Vertex 2 have Garbage collection? If so, does it work?
    4. The whole "limited lifetime due to limited read/write episodes" is confusing to me. Is this really an issue with new SSD´s? The Vertex 2? Doesn´t garbage collection sort this out?
    5. Is the Vertex 2 "compatible with Mac"? Is this even necessary?

    Will be REALLY happy if Anand or anyone else could help me out here. I know I sound like a loser, but I just don´t have the time to check these things out myself (and I lack alot of the basic computer know-how that I think is needed).

    Cheers/ Johan
    Reply
  • Dylock - Friday, April 30, 2010 - link

    Johan-
    You'll receive a better response in a forum dedicated to SSDs, rather than in this article comment section.
    http://forums.anandtech.com/
    Reply
  • robert.staflin - Tuesday, May 04, 2010 - link

    I would certainly think that it works! I bought the original OCZ Vertex for my 17" MacBook Pro (early 2009), and also an extra one that I fit in an Optibay (MCETech). The extra drive has failed twice, but the original one has worked now for a long time...

    I haven't been able to find out if there's any real difference between OCZs "Mac versions" and the ordinary ones, but I'm pretty sure it'll work alright!

    Best regards,
    /Robert Staflin
    Reply
  • matthewfallshaw - Saturday, May 08, 2010 - link

    I don't think that the Vertex 2 has garbage collection, but I'm unsure, and I'm having trouble working it out. See Tony (OCZ employee) on the OCZ forums at http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread...

    > First thing is the LE is a Sandforce based drive, it does NOT work like an Indilinx based drive. There is NO idle time garbage collection on an LE. I am waiting to see what we can publish to educate you guys regarding just how the drives controller works...for now do not think it works like a regular Vertex as it does not. [posted 2010-04-13]

    He's talking about the Vertex Limited Edition there, but it sounds like he's also describing the other Sandforce drives (like the Vertex 2).

    Lloyd Chambers finds (http://macperformanceguide.com/SSD-RealWorld-Befor... that the OWC Mercury Extreme, which is a Sandforce drive and I've seen described elsewhere as being the same as the Vertex 2, just doesn't suffer from slowdowns *at all*, but the AnandTech article we're discussing shows *read* slowdowns after working the drive, that are repaired after TRIM (which our Macs don't have) (I don't understand that at all, since I thought the slowdown was supposed to be on write due to having to prepare the memory locations to receive new data).

    … still researching…
    Reply

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