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  • ScottHavens - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    In the article, it was suggested that random data is not representative of what users will see. While the current sizes of drives may make that true, the importance of performance under loads of random data will become more important with time and with the growth of drive sizes. Why? Users will start to store a larger percentage of already-compressed files, like mp3s and movies, on their SSDs instead of buying additional bulk drives, and compressed files are, by nature, effectively identical to random data. Reply
  • ggathagan - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    Anand made two important distinctions: *small* and *writes*.
    He wasn't referring to all random data, regardless of size, and wasn't referring to reads.
    Those are important qualifications. Most mp3 files, and certainly movies fall under the *large* file size.
    Additionally, the vast amount of activity with those types of files are going to be reads, not writes.
    Reply
  • Lonyo - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    Not to mention that compressed files such as XviD/etc films won't see anywhere near as much benefit from an SSD in the first place.
    Sure, your read/write speeds might double or triple, but when it comes to sequential activities, mechanical drives are fast. SSDs excel at random reads/writes, which large files don't have so much of, since it's typically stored in a big chunk, meaning sequential activity, not random. And that's only a copying scenario.
    The point at which an SSD becomes useful for such large files will be further away than the point at which it becomes viable for a wider range of files. I would transfer my games to a large SSD long before I would start transferring compressed media files. They can stay on a mechanical for a loooooong time.

    When we do finally have large enough drives that they might be the primary storage drives, I doubt Sandforce will necessarily be applying the same ideas, and if they are, they will have progressed significantly from their current state.

    Talking about applying a realistic future problem to drives which exist today is meaningless when you consider how much progress has been already made up the this point, and how much progress will be made between now and when the future issue actually becomes a reality (when SSDs are affordable for mass storage purposes).
    Reply
  • ScottHavens - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    I'm not arguing about whether a particular disclaimer in the article was completely accurate. My primary point was that it's not unheard of for people to use only one drive and still have a significant portion of their data compressed, and the number of people affected by this will likely increase over time. Further, I missed a key scenario that other posters have mentioned: file/partition encryption would likely be affected as well, and it's reasonable to assume that scenario will become more common as well as disk-level encryption becomes easier and even required by some companies.

    Further, I should point out that the problem (insofar as it is one) by no means affects only small writes. Large reads, according to the tables, have a 20% perf hit, and large writes have a 43% perf hit.

    I don't intend to denigrate SandForce's methods here, by any means. If it helps, it helps, and I'll probably get at least one of these myself. I'm just pointing out that the 'YMMV' caveat is applicable to more people and situations than some people realize.
    Reply
  • TSnor - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    Re: Encryption and point that encrypted data doesn't compress. This is true, but... the SF controller self encrypts. There is little/no point in doing software full disk encryption before sending the data to the SF controller to be encrypted. SF-1200 uses 128 bit AES which NIST counts as strong encryption. Reply
  • ScottHavens - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    Unfortunately, the only way to use that encryption is to use the device (ATA) password. Management and real-world usage of that is a pain and not nearly as flexible as the options available with, say, BitLocker. I'd wager that most companies with OS-level encryption policies in place will want to continue with their current policies rather than make exceptions for using ATA passwords with drives like this, even if the quality of the encryption itself is just as good. Reply
  • beginner99 - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    Stupid question:
    Can I unplug my sandforce drive and put it in an other computer and read the data without knowing the encryption password?
    if yes isn't then the drives native encryption useless?
    Reply
  • ScottHavens - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    No, you'll be required to enter a password on startup. Reply
  • arehaas - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    Most laptops, including mine, allow for only one HD. I bought a Corsair F200 (before Anand reported the compressed file issue) and planned to keep my jpg photos, mp3s, some movies on the laptop attached to a TV (or a receiver). I think this is a reasonably common scenario. Users are already dealing big time with large compressed files which are slower sequentially on Sandforce than on Indilinx.

    I wish Crucial fixed their firmware sooner because C300 256GB is about $50 cheaper than F200 or Vertex 2 and faster in all dimensions.
    Reply
  • beginner99 - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    get a cheap small external hdd if your concerned about this. But generally I would not consider mp3's and jpgs as large files.Yes, compressed but by no means large.

    Yeah many small laptops only have 1 hdd/sdd. It's IMHO stupid. would be much better to have space for 2 and just ship an external dvd drive. i mean i need my drive like once every couple month. completely useless if you have to carry it around all the time. (that's one great thing about the hp envy 15) ;)
    Reply
  • carleeto - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    I don't think people are going to use an SSD for music and movies any time soon. At least, not until the price per GB falls within 200% of a normal hard drive. Where I could see this kind of thing being used a lot on an SSD is with a Truecrypt partition that is used to store source code, documents, mail etc. That's a lot of small writes and reads and the result, because of the encryption layer is really quite random. So I'd actually disagree with Anand here - it is something that is going to be quite relevant to a security conscious user and that is quite a large market, when you factor in enterprises. Reply
  • NandFlashGuy - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    At my workplace, all PCs have PGP software installed. That should make the data in all writes to disk look like random data, meaning less than optimal performance.

    Anand, can you measure performance under the normal benchmarks with PGP installed? It's a realistic use case for anyone in the corporate world.
    Reply
  • Squuiid - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    Anand, any news on how your replacement Crucial RealSSD C300 is holding up? Did Crucial fix the performance deterioration bug you last talked about?
    Can you recommend the Crucial over the Vertex 2, or vice versa?
    Reply
  • Grit - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    I'd like to second that request. The Crucial drive manages impressive speeds in most benchmarks and does so without the loss in space. I can live with a 256GB SSD, but a 200GB SSD is cutting it a bit too close. Reply
  • DesktopMan - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    Will there be any tests on the AES features? Since this is a feature not present in most SSDs an article on how it works and performs would be very interesting. Reply
  • vol7ron - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    All these comments, so little time :)

    Looks good.
    Reply
  • diamondsw - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    As much ink has been spilled about SandForce, I still haven't seen anything that would indicate it's a better choice than the Crucial RealSSD C300, which has better performance at a (slightly) better price. Am I missing something important? Reply
  • arehaas - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    Crucial C300 have a problem with its firmware that Crucial hasn't solved yet. Performance degrades significantly. Anand found this problem in a "Crucial's RealSSD C300: An Update on My Drive" from March 25. Crucial is currently promising to release the new firmware in mid-May, but they have shifted this deadline already twice. There is no guarantee they will manage to do it in May. Major reviewers do not recommend buying C300 SSD yet. Reply
  • xiphmont - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    I expect Crucial will fix their firmware issue just as it appears that Sandforce has fixed theirs.

    The Sandforce's redundancy (silent correction and reprovisioning around bit errors and failed flash cells) is what sells me on the Sandforce. If the promises are true, these drives will last longer and throw unrecoverable errors far less often as the NAND ages. Performance is a nice extra.

    It terrifies me that the other mass production SSDs appear to offer no redundancy or error detection/correction of stored bits at all.
    Reply
  • jimhsu - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    Sandforce attempts to scare you with this in their marketing literature. ALL SSDs (even crappy first gen JMicron ones) do a substantial amount of error correction (the raw error rate for flash is something ridiculously bad like 10^-7 to 10^-8). I think even camera flash memory has embedded error correction (don't take my word for it though). Sandforce just does "more" than its competitors. Reply
  • xiphmont - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    Yay, good to know. Do you have any pointers to descriptions of the error handling in other drives and devices? Reply
  • jimhsu - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    Some hard numbers:

    Flash memory: 10^-8 to 10^-6 depending on # of cycles. Figure 2, when writing to MLC.
    http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/iel5/4550747/4558854/04...

    Hard drives: > 10^-4 (!!)
    http://download.microsoft.com/download/a/f/d/afdfd...

    And people say flash memory is unreliable. ALL consumer storage devices (hard drives, SSDs, CDs, etc) have ridiculously massive amounts of error correction considering the rate of raw errors. It just so happens that the storage media that everyone in the world uses (DNA) is the same.
    Reply
  • MrBabbage - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    Impressive benchmark numbers, but is this drive really any faster than the original Vertex (assuming you're running Windows 7, and FW 1.5)?

    From what I hear, you might shave a second or two off of application loading versus the original Vertex - and that's only with heavy duty applications like Photoshop and AutoCAD. Can you confirm that?

    If that's the case, then this would seem to have been a step in the wrong direction: minimal performance gains for lost capacity and higher cost per gig. I still agree that SSDs are the single best performance upgrade you can buy at the moment, but with the amazing prices on Vertexes and X25-M G2s at the moment, why go for the Vertex 2? Nothing in this article suggests it's actually a good buy.

    In short, benchmarking the drive's sequential read/write performance and random read/write performance is generally pretty useless. With a controller that is architected this way, it would strike me as worse than useless, given that such benchmarks will produce staggering figures that have little effect on the main uses for SSDs (faster boot times, faster application loading times, better performance with encrypted/compressed files and workloads).
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    That is a question I wondered about in articles like this or the RAIDed 40GB Intel SSD one. Sure they turn out higher IOPS numbers, but is this something actually noticeable to humans? In a blind test would I be able to tell the difference between otherwise identical systems if one was running an 80GB X25M and one was running the RAIDed 40GB X25Vs? Reply
  • QChronoD - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    If you wrote mostly highly compressable data to the drive, would you be able to write more "data" to this drive than a regular SSD? Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    No, as far as the OS is concerned you do not gain space by compressing the data. Reply
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    Anand, I don't know if you follow other sites' articles, but a fairly recent SSD roundup at Tom's also measured power consumption (see link at the bottom of the post), and curiously, they measured 0.1W idle for the Intel drive compared to similar numbers to yours for every other SSD. Are there some test system settings that might be tweaked to get such low idle power figures with the Intel drive (and others) or does it seem like there is something sketchy about their data?
    I know that with these low power levels, this might seem like splitting hairs, but on a CULV laptop's power budget, 0.5W is still significant, IMO. Also, is there any chance you can throw in a modern 2.5" mechanical drive as a reference point in your SSD power charts? Thanks and keep up the good work on your SSD coverage!

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/6gb-s-ssd-hdd,...
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    I know the 200GB 7200 RPM drive I used in my carputer was rated for 1A at 5V. That was the only power number listed, no 12V draw. Reply
  • gfody - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    You made a point to show iometer results using random data but you still present screenshots of HDTach's results using all-zero reads/writes. The all-zero tests are no more realistic than the iometer all-random tests - I think the all-random test is probably closer to reality than HDTach now. I may not always write perfectly random data but I certainly won't be writing all-zero data! Reply
  • xiphmont - Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - link

    I believe that OCZ has also released and is recommending the 3.0.5 MP firmware update for the Vertex LE (It is labelled 1.0.5 on the OCZ site). Given that users were bricking their Vertex LEs left and right due to suspend bugs, this is most welcome... Anand, do you happen to know if OCZ 1.0.5 and Sandforce 3.0.5 are the same, and if the Special Sauce is preserved in the Vertex LE with this upgrade? It's been asked on the OCZ forums, but not answered directly.

    I have a pair of LEs that I'm going to update regardless, but it would be nice to know.
    Reply
  • 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
  • marraco - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    The data compression accelerates the writing speed, but, the question is:

    The OS still considers that the non written space is occupied?

    Or the compression releases the non used space?

    I suspect that the unused space is marked anyways as used space, but I would like a confirmation.
    Reply
  • TheHolmes - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    If Sandforce is largely about writing fewer bits to the NAND flash, wouldn't it also follow that turning on OS level compression would also work as well?

    Also, I'd be interested to know if using OS striping is ok with TRIM, as there aren't any controllers out there that work with TRIM when SSDs are striped.
    Reply
  • cyrexo - Friday, April 30, 2010 - link

    Hey Anand,

    have you put a Sandforce based disk into a mabook and let it running only on OSX?

    Can you say something about speeddrops without Trim or does the build in "gc" wich isn't "gc" can handle it accurate?

    i get my hands on a new I7 macbook and want to put a sdd into but i don't know if i should go for the old intels, use the new sandforce or wait some moths to see what intel does and how stable sandforce is without trim.
    Reply
  • 529th - Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - link

    What is the verdict with these Vertex 2 100g SSD drives???

    Because I just got one in the mail from OCZ as a replacement for my dead Vertex LE 100G SF1500

    Anand, care to comment as they have been in your desktop for ~ 5 months now.. or anyone who owns one???

    Thanks,

    529th

    p.s. i am considering a main rig install with this, booting out my ever reliable 150g 1st gen Raptor...
    Reply

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