The Test

Note that I've pulled out our older results for the Kingston V+100. There were a couple of tests that had unusually high performance which I now believe was due the drive being run with a newer OS/software image than the rest of the older drives. I will be rerunning those benchmarks in the coming week.

I should also note that this is beta hardware running beta firmware. While the beta nature of the drive isn't really visible in any of our tests, I did attempt to use the Vertex 3 Pro as the primary drive in my 15-inch MacBook Pro on my trip to MWC. I did so with hopes of exposing any errors and bugs quicker than normal, and indeed I did. Under OS X on the MBP with a full image of tons of data/apps, the drive is basically unusable. I get super long read and write latency. I've already informed OCZ of the problem and I'd expect a solution before we get to final firmware. Often times actually using these drives is the only way to unmask issues like this.

CPU

Intel Core i7 965 running at 3.2GHz (Turbo & EIST Disabled)

Intel Core i7 2600K running at 3.4GHz (Turbo & EIST Disabled) - for AT SB 2011

Motherboard:

Intel DX58SO (Intel X58)

Intel H67 Motherboard

Chipset:

Intel X58 + Marvell SATA 6Gbps PCIe

Intel H67
Chipset Drivers:

Intel 9.1.1.1015 + Intel IMSM 8.9

Intel 9.1.1.1015 + Intel RST 10.2

Memory: Qimonda DDR3-1333 4 x 1GB (7-7-7-20)
Video Card: eVGA GeForce GTX 285
Video Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare 190.38 64-bit
Desktop Resolution: 1920 x 1200
OS: Windows 7 x64

Random Read/Write Speed

The four corners of SSD performance are as follows: random read, random write, sequential read and sequential write speed. Random accesses are generally small in size, while sequential accesses tend to be larger and thus we have the four Iometer tests we use in all of our reviews.

Our first test writes 4KB in a completely random pattern over an 8GB space of the drive to simulate the sort of random access that you'd see on an OS drive (even this is more stressful than a normal desktop user would see). I perform three concurrent IOs and run the test for 3 minutes. The results reported are in average MB/s over the entire time. We use both standard pseudo randomly generated data for each write as well as fully random data to show you both the maximum and minimum performance offered by SandForce based drives in these tests. The average performance of SF drives will likely be somewhere in between the two values for each drive you see in the graphs. For an understanding of why this matters, read our original SandForce article.

Iometer - 4KB Random Write, 8GB LBA Space, QD=3

Random write performance is much better on the SF-2500, not that it was bad to begin with on the SF-1200. In fact, the closest competitor is the SF-1200, the rest don't stand a chance.

Many of you have asked for random write performance at higher queue depths. What I have below is our 4KB random write test performed at a queue depth of 32 instead of 3. While the vast majority of desktop usage models experience queue depths of 0 - 5, higher depths are possible in heavy I/O (and multi-user) workloads:

Iometer - 4KB Random Write, 8GB LBA Space, QD=32

Ramp up the queue depth and there's still tons of performance on the table. At 3Gbps the performance of the Vertex 3 Pro is actually no different than the SF-1200 based Corsair Force, the SF-2500 is made for 6Gbps controllers.

Iometer - 4KB Random Read, QD=3

 

Today: Toshiba 32nm Toggle NAND, Tomorrow: IMFT 25nm Sequential Read/Write Speed
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  • slickr - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    Now this is what I'm talking about about reviews/previews. Tons of benchmarks at various settings and loads. You can really make a difference now and see how the drives perform.

    I would also like a good old fashion test with Starcraft 2, how long it takes to load a 5-6mb custom map.

    I would also like another test where you select 30 files and open them at the same time and see how much time it takes to open all. I'm talking about selecting few 3-5mb images, few MP4 360p videos, few H.264 720p videos, dozen office documents from 500kb up to 3mb, several applications like GPU-z, skype, Live, Xfire, firefox etc... and opening few highly compressed script files.
    Reply
  • MamiyaOtaru - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    smaller process, less reliability, and higher price? We've been waiting for years fr prices to become reasonable next to magnetic storage but there's been barely a drop at all, and the drops that do come (smaller processes, supposedly) reduce reliability. At this point I don't see myself ever getting one for my desktop.

    Laptops sure, hard drives die there all the time, and I don't use them as my primary machine. Smaller storage requirements + hard drives dying far more often in laptops makes SSDs the better choice for me there.
    Reply
  • Chloiber - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    I do generally agree. I don't want faster drives, I want cheaper drives. They are already very fast. Of course, faster is always better but at the moment I prefer low price and reliabilty over speed. Reply
  • seapeople - Friday, February 18, 2011 - link

    Seriously... I don't need a brand new controller that might or might not be reliable and is so fast that it would still seem fast if I taped myself using the computer and replayed it in slow motion. What I want is an x25m-like drive at 160 GB for under $200. Still extremely fast, legendary (for SSD's) reliability, and make it affordable.

    The reason I don't buy Ferrari's right now is not because I don't think they're fast enough, it's because they COST too much.
    Reply
  • RU482 - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    this might be the problem with OCZ. They are an SSD marketing company with a manufacturing division Reply
  • TimK - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    Damn, Anand, so this is what an engineering degree will get you, not to mention some heavy duty skill at writing. Comprehensive and comprehensible. Thanks very much. At your recommendation I bought an early Vertex 30GB SSD for my unibody MacBook. From time to time I take it out, thinking to have everything in one place on a bigger drive, but I just can't let go of the speed. It's still working great. Reply
  • dlang1234 - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    The Samsung 470 seems to be in a lot of the benchmarks but not all, and seems to do well in every one that it is listed in.

    I can't seem to find a review of it here, but would be interested in it possibly.
    Reply
  • markjx1 - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    No mention of the fact this thing was originally slated with the SF-2000 controller, which proved to be plagued with problems in the lab and the dirty little secret no vendor would discuss at CES which was why no one had anything SF-2000 based up and running. And now OCZ had to resort to slapping Sandforce's enterprise class SF-2500 controller on it.

    Great except its going to be hella expensive and not cost competitive with the Crucial C400 unless OCZ bleeds margin, and given they took a $25 million bank loan recently, well let's just say OCZ isn't a company I'd rely on to fulfill a warranty replacement a couple years down the road when your drive dies.

    Lastly, notice the "hardware isn't final" disclaimers all over the article. This is nothing more than OCZ trying to get some buzz, and have painted themselves into a corner now if they go switching back to the SF-2000 since they've already set expectations high.
    Reply
  • jwilliams4200 - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    I thought the article was fairly well done. The only problem I have with it is a passing mention to the SSD being unusuable on a Macbook Pro, and yet not a single benchmark shows any problems with the SSD. It seems the benchmark suite Anand is using needs to have some more components added. Perhaps a latency test? Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Sunday, February 20, 2011 - link

    Check back on the site by the end of the week ;)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply

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