Performance Over Time & TRIM

Testing TRIM functionality is important because it gives us insight into the drive's garbage collection algorithms. OCZ insists the Octane has idle time garbage collection, a remnant of the original Indilinx drives, however in my testing I could not get the idle GC to do anything once I put the drive into a highly fragmented state. Let's start at the beginning though. The easiest way to ensure real time garbage collection is working is to fill the drive with data and then write sequentially across the drive. All LBAs will have data in them and any additional writes will force the controller to allocate from the drive's pool of spare area. This path shouldn't have any bottlenecks in it; the process should be seamless. As we've already seen from our Iometer numbers, sequential write performance at low queue depths is around 280MB/s. A quick HD Tach pass of a completely full drive gives us the same result:

The Octane works as expected here, but now what happens if we subject the drive to a ton of 4KB random writes? Unfortunately this is where the Octane falls short. If we just throw a few minutes of random writes, constrained to a small LBA range, at the Octane its performance hardly varies:

However once the Octane passes a threshold of fragmentation, the performance drop is considerable. Our standard test involves a 20 minute, 4KB random write across all LBAs at a queue depth of 32. A sequential write pass across the drive afterwards took place at between 2 and 7MB/s. Since our test drive was a 512GB model, there simply wasn't enough time to conduct a full pass in the course of preparing this review. Instead I did a shorter test with HD Tach to give you some indication of what happens to the Octane under a highy random load without TRIM:

Performance drops considerably. A single TRIM pass restores performance to new. I did have one TRIM test where only the latter half of the drive seemed to TRIM but I couldn't get the same result more than once. Now the question is, what does all of this mean?

If you have TRIM enabled on a desktop platform with a client (read: non-server) workload, none of this should matter to you. TRIM works and there doesn't appear to be any weird lag or bottlenecks in the GC path. If you don't have TRIM enabled (read: OS X) with a client workload, this could warrant a pass. The only reason I'm hesitant to recommend the Octane for use with a TRIM-less OS X installation is because I'm not entirely sure the drive will recover from this ultra low performance state without TRIM. Sequential writing alone may not be enough to adequately restore the Octane's performance. Normally idle GC would be enough, but it seems as if things get slow enough the drive's idle GC can't do much. I suspect all of this is stuff that OCZ can tweak via firmware, but I need more time with the drive to really be certain.

Finally if you're deploying a server with lots of random writes, the Octane isn't for you. OCZ will eventually release an Everest based drive for the enterprise, but the Octane is not that drive.

AnandTech Storage Bench 2011 - Light Workload Power Consumption
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  • Chloiber - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    ...now let's wait what Indilinx has learned from the Barefoot fiasco. The performance looks good - so does the performance of the competition. The only things that matter now are 1) reliability, 2) price and 3) performance over time. Reply
  • IceDread - Thursday, November 24, 2011 - link

    Reliability is very important, performance and price are as well of course but without reliability the later two does not really matter.

    So it will be interesting to later know the statistics there.
    Reply
  • Zane K - Sunday, November 27, 2011 - link

    I work at quite a large computer shop, and we sell a heap of OCZ drives. Unfortunately we see 12-14% of these come back compared to 2-4% for out corsair force 3 and Silicon Power drives, until this works its self out, I will neither buy or recommend a ocz drive. Reply
  • dj christian - Monday, November 28, 2011 - link

    I agree completely!

    This says it all

    http://www.hardware.fr/articles/843-7/ssd.html

    - Intel 0,1% (contre 0,3%)
    - Crucial 0,8% (contre 1,9%)
    - Corsair 2,9% (contre 2,7%)
    - OCZ 4,2% (contre 3,5%)
    Reply
  • dj christian - Monday, November 28, 2011 - link

    Sorry forgot the above is the reliability index

    Translated for you

    http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c...
    Reply
  • happycamperjack - Friday, December 02, 2011 - link

    Comparing last gen SSD with this Gen of SSD is hardly fair. But I guess Vertex 3 series had suffered earlier this year from a firmware bug, but it''s solved now. Should be smooth sailing from now. I would probably get Vertex 3 over Octane though. Reply
  • maxgrax - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    Definitely going to wait for reliability results before I jump back onto OCZ. They still have the best performance / $ but that has little meaning when data security is at risk. Was hoping after yesterday's preview that you would have more than just the 512GB drive benched :( , I hope the speed doesnt degrade too much going down to 256 and 128 Reply
  • Marlin1975 - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    How about testing with a SB950 AMD 6Gb controller

    Like to see what diff the newwest Intel vs AMD controllers are.

    That and more 128gb reviews. most don;t have SSDs and even fewwer have 512gb models.
    Reply
  • inighthawki - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    I would love to see a lot more tests runs on SSDs with less storage. Many of the drives have higher performance in the higher capacity models, and it's pretty obvious that your even your above average tech savvy user isn't going to be dishing out one thousand dollars for the 512GB version of the drive.

    You should perhaps try to keep all of the tests in the same size range (IE, test all 120/128GB drives, all 250/256GB drives, etc in a single batch).
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    I agree completely, but all we got this round was the 512GB drive. I'm still waiting for lower capacities :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply

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