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  • Flunk - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    It's not realistic to assume that users will really keep SSDs only 50% full, especially 128GB or 256GB drives. It seems like this feature is purely to benchmark better in reviews and that's low, even for hardware manufacturers. I'm sure that less well-informed reviewers will be tricked by this and publish misleading reviews.

    To clarify something, I'm not saying that this is a bad product, just that this feature is misleading. If I were set on buying an SSD from OCZ right now I would buy a Vertex 3 because of the price advantage, the performance is a real tossup.
  • OCedHrt - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    My 128 GB is closer to 80% full. However, at that usage any SSD suffers anyways. Reply
  • rs2 - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    I agree, this article should have included results taken with the drive "30% Full" and "75% full" in all benchmarks, to demonstrate what will happen in the real world when the 50% mark is passed. Reply
  • ratbert1 - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Tom's wrote an article about how writes are affected by this. Seems on the 128Gb drive they dwindle to 60-70MiB/s when you get over 50%. Interesting theory as to why.
  • Alexvrb - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    Yeah, stuff like that makes you think twice about buying a specific model of SSD, until you get a tough review of it. I don't want to read a softball review Kristian. I want to see worst case scenarios. Pit it up against a Samsung 830 in some real-world drive-packed scenarios. Reply
  • jwilliams4200 - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    The funny thing is that the OCZ people like Tony gave Tom's a lot of grief for that review, even though the review clearly had test results to back up their claims. The only speculation in the review was about how the performance mode worked on a low-level, but that was clearly labeled as speculation.

    OCZ is just the worst SSD company there is. They release gimicky products like the "performance mode" V4, and then when people try to give them a thorough review to see what the downsides may be, the OCZ reps whine and complain about the review being unfair or not typical of most usage.
  • Kristian Vättö - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    I don't have any Vertex 4s, Anand ran all the tests and I simply did the writing. This article was already weeks overdue so instead of pushing it back by another few weeks at least, we decided to have a "regular" review now and look at the performance mode separately.

    I do have Agility 4, though, so I can play around with it and see how it behaves.
  • Laststop311 - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    for 95% of consumers the fact that it only runs in performance mode when 50% full will completely go by their head. It's a very dirty under handed tactic to get good benchmark scales by leaving it under 50% than the customer not knowingly gets screwed. I currently own a 7mm height 512GB Crucial M4 in my Asus UX32vd and it has a very steady performance all the way up to 85% used so far. And I only paid 384.99 free shipping and no tax. Takes me less then 8 seconds to do a full boot up and windows 8 will probably lower it to about 4-6 seconds to boot up from cold.

    I'm pretty sure the 512GB Vertex 4 doesn't come in 7mm height size and I'm damn sure you aren't going to find it for 385 final cost. Also crucial makes every single part of the solid state drive. The make their on nand, dram, controller, firmware. This allows them to take the cream of the crop of components and sell the slightly not as good ones off. Plus they make sure everything is totally compatible and working perfect together since they make EVERYTHING.

    Crucial are so solid rock reliable and everything on them works just perfect together and they have great trim and garbage collection and don't lose a huge performance drop at 50% capacity.

    Oh did I mention they are dirt cheap. You can easily find a 256GB crucial m4 for right around 180 or a little more. They ware way below $1/GB and perform like the top tier ssd they are.

    Did I mention reliable? The old 256GB C300 I have in the optical bay of my m18x works just as good as the day she was born. GO CRUCIAL DIE OCZ
  • extide - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Actually, the Crucial C300's and m4's use Marvell controllers, which Crucial does not make.

    Samsung is (one of?) the only companies that make the entire drive, controller and all.

    That being said I own a C300 and a few m4's and they work very well, even after a long time.
  • yyrkoon - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Will just about 100% guarantee that marvel controller has 100% Crucial firmware on it.

    However, I am not sure which exact drive it was. But Crucial had an SSD that used a dual core ARM A9 MCU for a controller at one point.

    With all that said. I buy mostly Crucial only memory products when possible simply because of their business tactics. Simply, they are an old fashion American business. Who realizes their money comes from customers. Who they will bend over backwards for Within reason of course. Then, from the outside looking in. Crucial takes great pride in their product. Always doing the best they possibly can. After that, their customer service is second to none.

    Anyways. I am not saying I have never had a problem with a Crucial / Micron product. Because I have. The experience was nothing but pleasurable. Considering I had a problem with one of their products. Which I may add that in 15 years of dealing with Crucial has only happened once. Then since the product I returned was no longer available. They sent me a better product at no cost.

    Too bad other companies in the industry can not learn by their example.
  • menting - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    aside from the first generation SSD that never got public release, Crucial uses the marvell controller with in-house firmware.
    They are looking to make their own controller in the future AFAIK, but I dont know when that is supposed to happen.
  • 0ldman79 - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    I'll have to back up the customer review of Crucial. I had a problem with Crucial once about 14 years ago. After a 5 minute phone call it took about a week and I had a replacement stick in my hand.

    Sound like Crucial's quality control went to pot for a little while there. Two bad products in 15 years... wow.
  • JNo - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    Quite. In the UK the Samsung 830 is cheaper than the Vertex 4 (at 256GB for example).

    The 830 is cheaper, faster, made by a company that also manufactures all the components and firmware *and* has a much more reliable track record both for the drive and especially for SSDs in general where OCZ has been plagued by poor quality (I don't care if it was because of unreliable sandforce controllers - they decided to buy them and sell them).

    It's a no brainer imo - DON'T buy the Vertex 4! Why would you?! This article spent did a lot of good analysis when it could have just been a one-pager saying that the Vertex 4 has new firmware which makes it slightly faster in certain conditions but it's still slower and more expensive than competition which has a more reliable track record.
  • Coup27 - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    I like Crucial, but you really need to get your facts straight before spouting off like that. As has been mentioned below, the m4 controller is made by Marvell and is in use in more SSD's than the m4.

    The m4 has also had 5 firmware updates, one of which was to correct a catastrophic failure after 6 months of use.

    Samsung is the ONLY SSD vendor who makes all the parts.
  • pc_void - Tuesday, August 14, 2012 - link

    " It's a very dirty under handed tactic to get good benchmark scales by leaving it under 50% than the customer not knowingly gets screwed."

    Yet Toms writes: "OCZ certainly ups the Vertex 4's game with its new software, and we commend the fact that the company is striving to improve its products."

    The OPPOSITE of what you say. Hmmm.
  • brichter - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    You're correct, I didn't find the 512GB for $385 final, it was $379, $359 after $20 rebate. No shipping as I bought it in-store and no tax as I'm a resident of Oregon.

    The OCZ has 256 bit AES hw encryption, whereas the Crucial doesn't support hw encryption at all.

    I own both a Crucial and (now) an OCZ, they are comparable in performance judged by my butt -dyno, with 2 MBP 8,2s side by side. Both these drives are faster in my Macs than in my Windows machines, there wasn't more than a couple seconds difference in boot times on my Win7 desktop between the SSDs and the RAID1 (2x 500GB Seagate spinning platter drives), so the bang per buck is much better with the cheap 500GB Seagates in a Windows box.

    The following comment comes from the Tom's review, dated a couple of weeks before your post:
    But our story doesn't simply end with vindicated testing results. OCZ quickly pushed out a firmware version 1.5 to alleviate some of what we observed the last time around. The latest build significantly helps the drive to remain in “performance mode” and significantly reduces the shortcomings identified in OCZ Vertex 4 128 GB: Testing Write Performance With Firmware 1.4.
  • MrSpadge - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    No. "Performance Mode" is a bonus feature, which you may or may not get, depending on your usage of the drive. Sure, benchmarks should take this into account. However, the practical differences between any modern high-performance SSDs are small anyway. Reply
  • mattlach - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    I am also concerned about this.

    How much does the performance differ between performance mode and normal mode?

    I bought this drive based on previous reviews which did not mention this feature.

    I am concerned that once I add more data to the drive, I'll get something significantly worse than I paid for.
  • Omoronovo - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    As the article states, you will get the same performance you would have had you bought the drive when it released (or with 1.3 firmware).

    You bought the drive based on previous reviews which were on older firmware which didn't have this feature.
    When at less than 50% drive capacity you get almost double write performance and better overall performance in many situations. When you go past 50%, you still get improved write performance (improvements in the firmware that extend beyond performance mode), but you just lose the extra sequential write speeds which you wouldn't have had in the first place without the update.

    You aren't going to get anything worse than EXACTLY what you paid for; just that in many situations you'll now get something BETTER.
  • mattlach - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    I didn't base my purchase off of 1.3 firmware reviews.

    I saw those and thought "my the read performance of this thing is surprisingly poor", and then continued my research of other drives.

    Then other sites 1.4 and 1.5 reviews started coming out, showing the read speed issue having been resolved (but not mentioning the performance mode) which is when I bought the drive.

    As always Anand's reviews are better than other sites on SSD's and now I am aware of this issue, and almost feel cheated somehow...

    So are you saying this mostly impacts write performance? If that is the case I am less concerned. I write once and read many, so I don't care as much about the write performance as I do about the read performance.
  • ewood - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    You shouldn't feel cheated if you bought the drive thinking read performance was corrected. The increase in read performance does not go away when going from performance mode to storage mode; only write performance in affected. So if you chose to buy the drive when the read performance was corrected you should see those gains regardless of used capacity of the drive. And as a side benefit if less than 50% of the drive is used you also get increased write performance. Reply
  • MadAd - Wednesday, August 08, 2012 - link

    the point of a test is to create an environment to repeat runs and compare the differences between them, the fact it wasnt X full or Y empty isnt an issue as long as all drives are treated the same way

    we arent concerned if the tests dont reflect what a users drive looks like, users vary, what concerns us is if the tests can be used as a comparison from one drive to another, and we see that they can.
  • althaz - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    I only keep my 240Gb SSD half full. I have Windows, Office, my browser, Broodwar and Starcraft 2 on it and that is pretty much all.

    I would suggest that most people don't actually put that much stuff on their SSD, unless it is in a laptop.

    On a 128Gb drive, though you are more likely to have it at least 3/4 full.
  • doubledeej - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    But most people aren't buying excess capacity they don't intend to use. If you're never going to use more than half of your drive, why waste the extra money (nearly double in many cases) on space that is just going to go to waste?

    Most people will buy a drive sized appropriately for their needs, and nothing more, when it comes to SSDs. Especially since the prices just keep dropping and performance keeps improving. Buy what you need now, and upgrade later if you need to.
  • mattlach - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link


    I use an SSD for my operating system, programs, games and a few files I am currently working on. Everything else gets stored on my NAS.

    I opted for a 240GB SSD this time around as my old 120GB Agility was a little tight for this purpose, and I was running out of space.

    With my usage model, I will likely not come even close to filling the 256GB drive, but I'll likely go just over the 50% mark, which is why I am concerned.
  • MrSpadge - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    Sure, SSDs are faster when not fully loaded. But paying 2x as much for double capacity, just for this little performance bonus? Not a good value proposition. Reply
  • sequoia464 - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Any chance of filling the 128 model up over 50% and running the tests over again?

    Most of my drives are more than 50%, it would be nice to know what the final usage speeds will actally be for these drives once they get some of their capacity filled.
  • mattlach - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    I support this fully.

    It would be good to know what exactly we can expect once the drive goes past the 50% mark.

    Also, it has been stated that this is a once time calculation and reorganization of data. Does this mean that if you do a fresh install, or otherwise clear up space, you can never get the performance mode back?

    We need answers to all these questions.
  • Bull Dog - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Did power consumption change at all? I'm always interested in this metric due to the impact it can play on battery life. Reply
  • lbeyak - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Yes, I thought in the previous Vertex 4 articles, it was mentioned that the high idle power usage would be addressed with this firmware update???

    Would be great to know.
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - link

    I agree with this. I care more about power consumption than incremental performance since I only have an SSD in my laptop for now, and the next one I buy will replace that 128GB F120 and my HTPC and eventually desktop will get them as hand-me-downs Reply
  • sswing - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Now it looks like we need a review comparing VTX4-25SAT3-512G & VTX4-25SAT3-512G.M since I haven't been able to find updated specs from OCZ. There's a big price difference but is the performance difference relatively equivalent? Reply
  • Movieman420 - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Actually Ocz has been fore-warned not to repeat the same stunt they pulled when they switched from 34nm 32Gb dies to 25nm 64Gb dies without making it clear that there was a significant performance difference...esp with the 50 & 60gb drives that went from using 8 nand chips (1 per SF channel) to using only 4 chips and 4 channels. Anand took Ryan Peterson to task over the stunt and Ryan promised to differentiate models who's speed change by 5% or more I think.

    The '.M' drives with Micron nand are slower than the regular V4 with IMFT nand

    Here's the thread at Ocz.
  • menting - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    huh? Micron NAND IS IMFT NAND.
    what was that support guy smoking?
  • semo - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    Just to add that not only did the performance suffer but the capacity did as well. They also used Spectek NAND which wasn't what the reviews reported originally.

    In the end, OCZ managed to bury the issue without even issuing a mass recall of the affected drives. OCZ is a dodgy company and I'm glad that there is enough competition out there for me to avoid buying any of their products.
  • primeval - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    The performance is great and all, but without reliability I just don't see that many people jumping on board. No one wants to replace their SSD frequently. Reply
  • chaudx - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    How much of a drop in performance do other drives take when over 50% full?

    Benchmarking empty drives seems like a waste of time, as most people are going to fill them at least 50%, if not more.
  • Linuxhippy - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    What I really miss is an analysis, how much used capacity affects real-world performance.
    This way, it looks just a lot like an advertising campaing bought by OCZ ...

    The review reminds me a lot about the SandForce benchmarks, where you had to subtract -25% once the drive had been written its capacity for the first time.
  • AFUMCBill - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    Anyone needing an SSD in a video recorder such as the Black Magic Design Shuttle 2 now knows to stay away from this drive. A real time application like that is going to be utterly intolerant of the drive deciding it needs to take a large timeout half way through. I am sure there are other applications in a similar situation to that. Reply
  • Beenthere - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    The way these companies rush out half-baked software, firmware and hardware is a crime. They should all be severely punished financially for using consumers as unpaid beta testers.

    If they continue to do this the executives of these companies should do prison time. This would reduce the exploitation of consumers and bring some sanity and integrity to business. Tolerating the illegally gotten industry monopolies and product price fixing sent a clear message to these criminals that anything goes and as such they are cashing in and using the media to further their unscrupulous behavior.
  • TGressus - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    Whatever the cost of doing business will always be passed on to you the consumer. Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    Only by monopolists and oligopolists. Adam Smith was right. Reply
  • Alexvrb - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    You're probably confused - weed does that to people. If costs go up, whatever the cause, the cost of the final product goes up too. Doesn't really matter who the company is or what the product is. Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    wrong. read up econ 101. Reply
  • B3an - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    I'm about to upgrade my Crucial C300 SSD's and wanted to know what people would recommend for my usage... gaming, heavy Photoshop, video editing and 3DS Max work. What would be best for this?

    I'm guess the Vertex 4 would be one of the best options? But i'm a bit worried about the pretty poor read performance under heavy workload.

    What would people recommend?
  • charleshoskinson - Thursday, August 16, 2012 - link

    I'd highly recommend the Samsung 830 or the Crucial M4. I've used both lines of SSDs in my laptops and business computers and never have had a failure. I realize it's anecdotal, but I respect the engineers at Micron and Samsung and like the vertical integration they've built in their product line. Reply
  • charleshoskinson - Thursday, August 16, 2012 - link

    Also you may want to consider springing a little money for a sandy bridge E motherboard and 64 GB of RAM. At current prices, you'll pay about 400 for the RAM and you'll be able to mount a software based ramdrive running at speeds around 10-15 times that of a normal SSD. I use my setup to run a linux distro entirely in RAM saving anything I need from my work session encrypted on a dropbox account. I get read speeds around 2.5 GB/s and Write speeds around 2.0 GB/s. On a windows 7 setup you can expect similar speeds. Reply
  • mayankleoboy1 - Saturday, August 04, 2012 - link

    the 50% issue affects the drive temporarily only. when it is more than 50% full, it rearranges the data in a few minutes and you get the old speed back. then when you fill it again some more, you get reduced speeds, till the data gets rearrannged. Reply
  • jwilliams4200 - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    That seems unlikely. I mean, sure the drive will slow way down while it is doing its reshuffling once it crosses 50%. But after it finishes that housekeeping, it would have to be slower at >50% full than it was at <50% full. Otherwise, why go to the bother of having a "performance mode" and a "storage mode", if both modes are the same speed? Reply
  • Alexvrb - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    No. Speeds drop DRASTICALLY while it is rearranging, making you briefly wonder if you're using a 5400 RPM HDD from the late 90s. But even after it finishes, speeds are reduced to firmware 1.3 levels. Permanently, unless there is some way to force it to return to performance mode (rearranging things again) after you delete files to bring it back under 50%. It's just silly, modern SSDs should have no need for this sort of nonsense.

    Anyway, this trick allows them to advertise ever-higher speeds, and even show off reviews of these speeds. I mean who buys an SSD with more than twice the capacity that they need? You're just going to replace it with a newer, better SSD in a couple of years. It's not worth the money. Better off getting a Samsung 830 or an Intel 520 that's the right size.
  • hasseb64 - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    This OCZ firmware review biz has to stop. Let them get ONE chance to deliver a FINALIZED PRODUCT (review it 1 time, and then it is enogh). We consumers should not accept a half finished product. Reply
  • jwilliams4200 - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    The solution to that is simple. Just do what I do. Never buy OCZ. Reply
  • peevee - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    OCZ is a sketchy business. We remember upder0the-table downgrade of Vertex 2. We remember blue-screening Vertex/Agility 3s. Now this.
    OCZ employs incompetent firmware engineers. 15 months later after I purchased my Vertex 3, and the latest firmware is still unstable.
    Now all modern SATA III SSDs are fast enough for desktop use. The main differentiators are reliability and quality of support. And at these metrics OCZ is the worst of the worst. They still cannot upgrade firmware on a system drive from Windows, they still don't work with Mac at all, they still will require you to "Sec erase" your drive with your system (and then spend hundred hours to reinstall and reconfigure everything again) every time they update firmware, they still don't allow you to go to an old firmware (although some on them crash less for some users then their new firmwares) and require you to have working internet connection for update utility to redownload firmware every time... And blame problems on everybody else (while other drives simply work). This company is so bad it should simply die. I don't know why Tom's pays them so much attention, OCZ's reputation is beyond repair at this point.
  • vishwa108 - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    It is never a good moment when the bull being lead by its nose-ring is claiming to be leading the bullring. This OCZ Independence Day saga have had many a worshipful scurrying to atone his altarboy days of their “independent” review and now, after “Version 1.5”, the worship is still akin to the fruit of The Choir Boys At Practice being heard louder than ever.

    First it was OCZ Zist und Zat soon to be followed by photocopied scans of “the reviewers” bottoms and then it was Marvellouski, quickly buried by another version of Amerikana 1.4 – only to end up with some vacuous advice of the, “Don’t go beyond half und you be OK, ja?”, variety. All for a good course/cause in buggery no less. No wonder Amerikans are being offered either the feast of Uncle Tommy und hist Kobbling Kabin Krew or another Mormon extravaganza with the mesmerised numpty vessels ringing louder than ever whenever the word, “War”, is messaged. What? OCZ are not of Yankeeland but rather of those who will soon be receiving their just rewards from across The Straits? Makes you ‘fink, ain’t eet. Perhaps the truth ought to be tried once in awhile – with all holes barred, of course.

    It is self benevolent to realise that Truth is merely another word for Freedom because the freedom that was gifted is about another/others and is not about self – when the gift was taken back. When truth is of self, you can’t even get it out of the blighter after a severe bout of torture. Hands up those who would like to disagree – especially when it is via a freed versioned 1.5 of some SSD doo-dah.
  • ssddaydream - Sunday, August 05, 2012 - link

    what is wrong with you? Reply
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  • mark53916 - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    What happens to the lifetime and reliability of the OCZ Technology Vertex 4
    drives with firmware 1.5 when the drive is only running at 1/2 capacity?

    We already know that the performance is improved, but there may be other
    advantages to operating with reduced capacity. These two come to mind:
    1. The drive endurance may be improved
    If it turns out that either the drive endurance is improved if the
    drive is only half used I would be very happy.

    2. The data retention time for powered off devices may be improved.
    Increased powered off data retention time at reduced capacity
    won't affect me much since I couldn't afford solid state for my monthly
    backups even at the full capacity price, but people who have to
    keep around old system disks for long periods would benefit
    if the powered off data retention time were increased

    In addition, I find that the per byte price for SLC drives seems to be about
    10 times what the cost is for MLC drives [even though the manufacturing techniques
    seem to indicate that manufacturing cost is slightly less than 2 or 3 times
    as much for SLC compared to MLC.
    I'd gladly spend 2x the price per byte and run at 1/2 capacity until I actually
    need the additional capacity, even without increased drive endurance or
    powered off retention time, just for the improved performance.
  • FunBunny2 - Monday, August 06, 2012 - link

    SLC and MLC are the same parts, just binned and then programmed for either 1 or 2 bits. That's it. Reply
  • robalm - Sunday, September 16, 2012 - link

    I decided to upgrade from my old Intel x25-m g2 80gb to a new fast ssd.
    It became an OCZ Vertex 4 128gb (1.5) but now I saw this review and this:

    "Small filesize sequential read performance needs work. Thankfully most sequential reads in client workloads tend to be in the sweet spot for the Vertex 4, but there are some applications That do a lot of small sequential IO (eg web browser cache accesses). '

    Have I made ​​a stupid upgrde when it come to web browser performence?
  • ryrynz - Monday, December 15, 2014 - link

    My Vertex 4 128GB had a sudden death. Seems to be fairly common for these drives.
    MAKE SURE YOU'RE BACKED UP. If you get some sudden reboots you know your controller
    is on the way out.. one time it'll happen and poof.. no drive detected, you've been warned.

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