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OCZ Vertex SSD RAID-0 Performance E-mail
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Written by Olin Coles   
Friday, 03 April 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
OCZ Vertex SSD RAID-0 Performance
Features and Specifications
First Look: OCZ Vertex SSD
Vertex SSD Internal Components
SSD Testing Methodology
Random Access Time Benchmark
Basic IOPS Performance
Linear Bandwidth Speed
I/O Response Time
Buffered Transaction Speed
Windows XP Startup Times
The Truth Behind Heat Output
Solid State Drive Final Thoughts
Vertex RAID-0 Conclusion

Vertex SSD Internal Components

Intermittent and delayed response cycles (stuttering) from Solid State Drive products is not entirely wide-spread among all MLC SSDs, but it has become a big-enough issue among most affordable SSD products that many are well-aware of the phenomenon. Consumers first experienced the bitter taste of stuttering SSD performance with the OCZ Core Series (v1) SSD, although it has also been reported with the G.Skill MLC SSD and Patriot Warp v2. The phenomenon occurs when the drives buffer is filled faster than it can read or write data, and was prevalent among first-generation JMicron JMF602 SSD controllers.

In the last SSD review, we detailed how OCZ's Apex features a JMicron JMB390 RAID controller managing a pair of JMF602(B) SSD controllers into a RAID-0 striped array to overcome the 'stutter' experienced in MLC drives. OCZ has returned to traditional methods of delivering performance with their latest and greatest Solid State Drive: the OCZ Vertex. But how will the Vertex SSD produce read-from and write-to bandwidth on par with the RAID-0 Apex without all the new architecture? The secret lies within a larger buffer, and the retirement of JMicron controllers (at least for this product) in place of the new Indilinx ARM7 micro-controller.

OCZ_Vertex_PCB_Bottom.jpg

To the untrained eye, the OCZ Verted SSD looks like every other Solid State Drive you've probably seen when the internal components have been exposed. There's a collective bank of DRAM, usually with Samsung markings, followed by the SATA controller chip. OCZ had decided to use Indilinx to deliver the SATA controller interface, since their 'Barefoot' chip was production-ready to be paired with a large cache months ago, while JMicron is still a few months away with their successor to the JMF602B chip.

OCZ_Vertex_PCB_Top.jpg

The internal DRAM is comprised of Samsung K9HCG08U1M-PCB00 IC parts, which bare the branding mark K9HCG08U1M PCB0. These lead-free RoHS-compliant 48-pin ICs are multi-layer, with one IC directly atop another. Each IC has an operating voltage of 2.7-3.6V, with a 25ns speed rating. The K9HCG08U1M parts offer 64GB in 8x organization.

SAMSUNG_K9HCG08U1M_DRAM.jpg

Indilinx claims that their IDX110M00-FC 'Barefoot' chip offer a maximum read speed 230 MBps and supports the capacity up to 512GB with multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash. The Indilinx (IDX110) Barefoot SSD controller chip is touted as delivering bandwidth over 200 MBps and random input-output (IO) of 20,000/s into various servers such as on-line transaction processing (OLTP) and streaming server units.

INDILINX_IDX1100M00-FC.jpg

A single Elpida 64MB SDRAM module is marked with S51321CBH-7BTT-F, but the actual Elpida part number is EDS51321CBH, which is a 133MHz (CL3-3-3) mobile RAM component. This 64MB cache buffer helps improve small write-to performance and removes the 'stuttering' effect from the Vertex SSD.

ELPIDA_S51321CBH.jpg

The test sample Benchmark Reviews received for our benchmarks came with version 9 firmware, but we were later halted and asked to use v10 firmware. This revision was a little too much for SATA-II controllers, so back to v9 we went. At the time of publication, the v9 firmware we used in this article is the same as what OCZ will use for retail products.

In the next section, Benchmark Reviews begins performance testing the Vertex Solid State Drive, and we determine just how well the new Indilinx Barefoot-based SSD compares to the previous best-performing competition.



 

Comments 

 
# MRAnthony 2010-03-18 04:56
I'm always wary of Mbps(bits) and MB(bytes), too many people use them interchangably. The Ads on the same page for this product say "250MB" not bits, so what is the Atto 249 MBps maximum read bandwidth??? bizarre?
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# El Presidente'Marko 2010-11-27 01:09
Anthony, typically Mbps (Megabits) refers to a transfer speed whereas MBs refer to a capacity. Whether ignorant people use them interchangeably or not, using this guideline you should always be able to figure out which it is. :)
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# RE: El Presidente'Olin Coles 2010-11-27 07:51
I'm not exactly clear which side of the argument you're on here, Marko. Read up on the specifications for any SSD product, and you'll see their bandwidth speed represented as MB/s.
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# DKSGDKSG 2012-04-18 00:41
MB when used in advertised capacity is not Megabytes, it's Million Bytes. Bytes or Bits will be denoted by B or b respectively. When the vendor advertise 250MB, it means 250 Million Bytes which is approx to 244.14 Mega Bytes. This 244.14 is RAW Megabytes and have not included partitioning and other possible overhead used in the system which may yield lower capacity than 244.14 Megabytes.

When used on the bandwidth, make sure you fully understand what the bandwidth measures. In different network or cable setup, the bandwidth could be shared and a single device do not usually get that kind of bandwidth on average. On network, typically vendors means Megabytes when they denote MB unless otherwise denoted using fineprints, but the usual price is using Megabits which looks a lot better on paper.
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# RAID-0 Setuptypoknig 2010-05-10 09:52
How exactly did you have your RAID-0 setup during this test? For instance, were you using the Intel Matrix Storage Manager or some other method?
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# Intel ICH10Olin Coles 2010-05-10 15:11
RAID-0 was built using the motherboard's Intel ICH10 controller.
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# Stripe sizeJ Walsh 2010-05-12 08:46
What stripe size was used in the RAID 0 setup and why?
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# 128KB Stripe SizeOlin Coles 2010-05-12 08:49
This articles used a 128KB stripe size, which is the largest the Intel ICH10 controller allows for RAID-0 sets.
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# Benchmarking A Bigger RAID 0 Arraytypoknig 2010-06-08 22:06
Hi, I have been running the same benchmarks you ran on my RAID 0 array which has 3 120GB OCZ Vertex drives compared to the 2 used in this benchmark. My results have not even been close to what I thought I would be getting after reading this review. I have posted some info about my results here:

##overclock.net/benchmarking-software-discussion/750979-benchmarking-3-120gb-ocz-vertex-ssds.html

Maybe you can take a look at my stuff and tell me why my linear read in Everest does not produce a flat line like yours (I realize I used 512MB block size, but the 1MB block size produced identical results), and why my numbers are so much lower when they should be higher. I have also ran the benchmarks without an OS (or any data) on the array at all, and the results are very similar. Any thoughts?
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# Partition alignmentOlin Coles 2010-06-14 19:43
I'm betting that our results are higher because of drive conditioning: partition alignment, diskpart clean all, secure erase, etc. Since TRIM doesn't always pass through to RAID arrays, used drives will produce lower performance results.
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# sanitary erasetypoknig 2010-11-27 21:23
I have had this problem fixed for quite some time now. If you go to the link I provided in my last comment you will see that using sanitary erase did trick for me... so as you said, "drive conditioning" was my problem. To keep my drives as clean as possible I use the "Wipe Free Space" feature of CCleaner. Does the same thing as wiper.exe but it works when drives are in RAID (unlike wiper.exe).
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# flash, not dramscott 2010-12-02 15:43
Samsung K9HCG08U1M-PCB00 is flash memory, not DRAM... this is why we call it an SSD
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# 4-drive RAID 0Remo 2010-12-23 08:42
Mr Coles, do you have any idea how would a 4 SSD in RAID-0 perform? Would you use it as the boot drive in a windows 7 system?
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# RE: 4-drive RAID 0Olin Coles 2010-12-23 08:44
You should look into the OCZ RevoDrive 2 PCI-Express SSDs, which fit four SSDs into RAID-0 on one board. Our review is here:

benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=635
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# RE: RE: 4-drive RAID 0Remo 2010-12-23 08:57
I definitely will look for it. But, how much gain in performance would you expect when upgrading from a 2-drive raid-0 to a 4-drive raid-0?
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