TRIM Performance

In our Vertex 3 preview I mentioned a bug/performance condition/funnythingthathappens with SF-1200 based drives. If you write incompressible data to all LBAs on the drive (e.g. fill the drive up with H.264 videos) and fill the spare area with incompressible data (do it again without TRIMing the drive) you'll actually put your SF-1200 based SSD into a performance condition that it can't TRIM its way out of. Completely TRIM the drive and you'll notice that while compressible writes are nice and speedy, incompressible writes happen at a max of 70 - 80MB/s. In our Vertex 3 Pro preview I mentioned that it seemed as if SandForce had nearly fixed the issue. The worst I ever recorded performance on the 240GB drive after my aforementioned fill procedure was 198MB/s - a pretty healthy level.

The 120GB drive doesn't mask the drop nearly as well. The same process I described above drops performance to the 100 - 130MB/s range. This is better than what we saw with the Vertex 2, but still a valid concern if you plan on storing/manipulating a lot of highly compressed data (e.g. H.264 video) on your SSD.

The other major change since the preview? The 120GB drive can definitely get into a pretty fragmented state (again only if you pepper it with incompressible data). I filled the drive with incompressible data, ran a 4KB (100% LBA space, QD32) random write test with incompressible data for 20 minutes, and then ran AS-SSD (another incompressible data test) to see how low performance could get:

OCZ Vertex 3 120GB - Resiliency - AS SSD Sequential Write Speed - 6Gbps
  Clean After Torture After TRIM
OCZ Vertex 3 120GB 162.1 MB/s 38.3 MB/s 101.5 MB/s

Note that the Vertex 3 does recover pretty well after you write to it sequentially. A second AS-SSD pass shot performance up to 132MB/s. As I mentioned above, after TRIMing the whole drive I saw performance in the 100 - 130MB/s range.

This is truly the worst case scenario for any SF based drive. Unless you deal in a lot of truly random data or plan on storing/manipulating a lot of highly compressed files (e.g. compressed JPEGs, H.264 videos, etc...), I wouldn't be too concerned about this worst-case scenario performance. What does bother me however is how much lower the 120GB drive's worst case is vs. the 240GB.

Power Consumption

Unusually high idle power consumption was a bug in the early Vertex 3 firmware - that seems to have been fixed with the latest firmware revision. Overall power consumption seems pretty good for the 120GB drive, it's in line with other current generation SSDs we've seen although we admittedly haven't tested many similar capacity drives this year yet.

Idle Power - Idle at Desktop

Load Power - 128KB Sequential Write

Load Power - 4KB Random Write, QD=32

AnandTech Storage Bench 2010 Final Words
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  • Shark321 - Friday, April 08, 2011 - link

    I concur. Vertex 2 120 GB should be compared to Vertex 3 120GB. I suspect the differences will be minimal on SATA II. It's basically the same product, with slight controller and firmware changes. Reply
  • SolidSteel144 - Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - link

    Why weren't other controllers tested?
    AMD's SB850 should also be able to handle these drives at full speed.
    Reply
  • A5 - Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - link

    If you go back and look at the Sandy Bridge launch article (http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridg... you'll see that the Intel and AMD controllers have essentially identical performance. No reason to double his benchmark time for a 1% difference. Reply
  • acripps - Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - link

    Newegg should have one to my door tomorrow......The last drop of my yule spending authorization. It will spend the next few years drifting through various machine incarnations....till it passes out of the pool in a give-away pc....somewhere around 2014. Reply
  • watzupken - Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - link

    Following this issue I had with them, there won't be another OCZ product from me. Anand did point out a good thing that this issue is far from over since OCZ left buyers like myself and others out in the cold in the exchange. So other than the 60 and 120GB drives, no other drives are eligible for an exchange. Worst case, I got the affected drive back due to an exchange as the earlier drive failed. I return fast drive, get a slow drive back. How nice. Reply
  • devlabz - Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - link

    Last few articles I ended up wondering why random read speed in SF controllers is slower than random write. I may have missed some important article explaining all that stuff, tho i read all of them. Isn't flash technology favoring the read speeds? Or it have something to do with lookups for the random data chunks?

    Most likely this will be the year where I'll try to get a SSD drive, and since my main reason will be to reduce the compilation times of my projects and I think that my biggest gain will be with highest random read IOPs drive? Am I wrong here? Or will it matter that much actually?
    Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - link

    I've read, don't remember where, that the IMFT 25nm NAND has on-die ECC circuitry. So:
    - did you find such
    - is OCZ, or anyone, exercising it
    ???
    Reply
  • Movieman420 - Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - link

    Yeah...Tosh also just introduced their 'built-in ECC' nand.
    http://www.techpowerup.com/143619/Toshiba-Debuts-S...
    The thing is, from what I understand anyway, that this nand will take the ECC burden off the controller. Thing is tho that SandForce controllers actually accell at ECC duties vs other controllers. This is a major selling point because as the die process continues to shrink, the ECC burden will continue to increase. So I guess I'm saying that I'm not too sure that more expensive ecc-nand would be practical if the controller doesn't suffer from the increasing ECC issue. Someone with more knowledge about how the SF controller works could probably answer the question best...cough*Anand*cough. ;)
    Reply
  • Movieman420 - Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - link

    The dismal performance of the Hynix nand was news to me. It does however explain why there were many users with horrid performance posting on the Ocz forums. I suspect these were the ones who where told that the problem was with their PC/Lappy. It has never once been mentioned on the forum that some drives may have low performing nand inside. No wonder they kept reminding folks not to open their drives 'due to potential warranty issues'. It seems Ocz was being less than forthcoming even before the whole 25nm nand thing blew up. I really really REALLY hope that Ocz puts an end to the shady business we've seem for the last few months...they are a great company with a great product. Omission and/or deception isn't gonna fly, especially when you cater to enthusiasts who are not exactly stupid. It's those same 'enthusiasts' who made Ocz's early success possible in the first place. I know that things have since changed and now the vast majority of their sales are to commercial and enterprise customers. They'd never think of pulling this with those customers, but they'll do it to the very people who made their early success possible in the first place? This post and my previous one come from the prospective of a die hard customer who also happens to be an Ocz shareholder as well. Just wish I could afford enough to actually have a say so in the way things go down. :P Reply
  • xboxist - Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - link

    Anand,

    I'm a very casual hardware enthusiast, and admittedly most of the technical aspects discussed in this article eludes me.

    With that said, I don't need to understand everything to continue to be impressed by your enthusiasm for the products in your industry, and the way you carry yourself as an ambassador for all of your users. The way you went after OCZ here has to be applauded.
    Reply

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