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Written by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 08 July 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
OCZ Vertex-2 Extended Solid State Drive
Features and Specifications
Closer Look: OCZ Vertex 2 Extended
SandForce SF-1200 SSD Controller
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
HDD vs Hybrid Drive vs SSD
OCZ Vertex 2 Extended Conclusion

OCZ Vertex 2 Extended SSD Review

Just when PCs were starting to seem irrelevant in this fast-paced world of mobile gadgets and smart phones, along comes a new product that changes the entire landscape. SSDs, or more formally Solid State Drives, have finally lifted computers beyond the age of spinning metal magnetic platters. Delivering a boost in speed that no memory upgrade or new processor could ever dream of, solid state drive technology has sent hard disk drives packing. OCZ Technology, an enthusiast memory company and pioneer of consumer SSD products, further commits to their passion for high-speed storage and delivers the OCZ Vertex 2. Based on the SandForce SF1200 controller, the OCZ Vertex 2 Extended SSD delivers up to 50,000 IOPS with incredible bandwidth speed. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the 120GB OCZ Vertex 2 Extended OCZSSD2-2VTXE120G against some of the fastest storage solutions on the market.

Solid State Drive storage devices have become the hot ticket for high-performance computer enthusiasts. Impartial towards either PC, Linux, or Apple platforms, SSDs have the power to transform slow computers into blazing-fast speed machines. The SandForce SF-1200 has quickly become the de facto SSD controller for companies seeking recognition, and for good reason. The OCZ Vertex 2 embraces the SF-1222TA3-SBH processor to produce up to 50,000 IOPS with only 7% over-provisioning to generate maximum performance with optimal capacity. The increase in storage capacity over 28% over-provisioned SandForce SSDs has earned the OCZ Vertex 2 the 'Extended' title.

SandForce is now the driving force in SSD controller technology for 2010, offering outstanding bandwidth speed and operational performance. OCZ utilizes the SandForce SF-1222TA3-SBH (SF-1200) processor in their Vertex-2 enthusiast MLC SSD series, which features hand-picked high-performance NAND flash memory modules. SandForce RAISE technology provides redundant protection for single SSD computer systems, while data is automatically secured with AES-128 encryption. With transfer speeds nearly saturating the SATA-3GB/s interface, and operational IOPS performance reaching SLC-NAND levels, it makes sense for OCZ to use the new industry leader.

OCZ-Vertex-2-SSD-Review-Splash.jpg

As of June 2010, the SandForce SF-1200 SSD controller has already found its way into many of the fastest SSDs available: ADATA S599, Corsair Force, RunCore Pro-V, Patriot Inferno, OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE, G.Skill Phoenix Pro, PhotoFast G-Monster 2, OCZ Agility-2, Mach Xtreme, and now the OCZ Vertex-2 series. As we've discovered with our previous SandForce reviews, operational performance and SSD bandwidth speed is very similar across the spectrum. Selling virtually identical products has forced manufacturers to offer other consumer incentives, such as an extended warranty periods or custom SandForce firmware.

The biggest mistake PC hardware enthusiast make with SSDs is grading them by their speed. File transfer speed is important, but only so long as the operational IOPS performance can sustain that bandwidth under load. Benchmark Reviews tests the OCZ Vertex-2 SSD against some of the most popular storage devices available and demonstrates that 4K IOPS performance is more important than bandwidth speed. Additionally, Benchmark Reviews has used two similar SSDs to publish our SandForce SF1200 RAID-0 SSD Performance review.

For decades, the slowest component in any computer system was the hard drive. Most modern processors operate within approximately 1-ns (nanosecond = one billionth of one second) response time, while system memory responds between 30-90 ns. Traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD) technology utilizes magnetic spinning media, and even the fastest spinning desktop storage products exhibit a 9,000,000 ns - or 9 ms (millisecond = one thousandth of one second) initial response time. In more relevant terms, The processor receives the command and waits for system memory to fetch related data from the storage drive. This is why any computer system is only as fast as the slowest component in the data chain; which is usually the hard drive.

The theoretical goal for achieving optimal performance is for system memory to operate as quickly as the central processor, and the storage drive to operate as fast as memory. With present technology this is an impossible task, so enthusiasts try to close the speed gaps between components as much as possible. Although system memory is up to 90x (9000%) slower than most processors, just consider that the hard drive is an added 1000x (100,000%) slower than that same memory. Essentially, these three components are as different in speed as walking is to driving and flying.

Solid State Drive technology bridges the largest gap. The difference a SSD makes to operational reaction times and program speeds is dramatic, and takes the storage drive from a slow 'walking' speed to a much faster 'driving' speed. Solid State Drive technology improves initial response times by more than 450x (45,000%) for applications and Operating System software, when compared to their HDD counterparts.

Bandwidth Speed vs Operational Performance

As we've explained in our SSD Benchmark Tests: SATA IDE vs AHCI Mode guide, Solid State Drive performance revolves around two dynamics: bandwidth speed (MB/s) and operational performance (IOPS). These two metrics work together, but one is more important than the other. Consider this analogy: bandwidth determines how much cargo a ship can transport in one voyage, and operational IOPS performance is how fast the ship moves. By understanding this and applying it to SSD storage, there is a clear importance set on each variable depending on the task at hand.

For casual users, especially those with laptop or desktop computers that have been upgraded to use an SSD, the naturally quick response time is enough to automatically improve the user experience. Bandwidth speed is important, but only to the extent that operational performance meets the minimum needs of the system. If an SSD has a very high bandwidth speed but a low operational performance, it will take longer to load applications and boot the computer into Windows than if the SSD offered a higher IOPS performance.

About OCZ Technology Group, Inc.

Founded in 2002, San Jose, CA-based OCZ Technology Group, Inc. ("OCZ"), is a leader in the design, manufacturing, and distribution of high performance and reliable Solid State Drives (SSDs) and premium computer components. OCZ has built on its expertise in high-speed memory to become a leader in the SSD market, a technology that competes with traditional rotating magnetic hard disk drives (HDDs). SSDs are faster, more reliable, generate less heat and use significantly less power than the HDDs used in the majority of computers today. In addition to SSD technology, OCZ also offers high performance components for computing devices and systems, including enterprise-class power management products as well leading-edge computer gaming solutions. For more information, please visit: ocztechnology.com.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: OCZ Vertex 2 Extended Solid State DriveRobert17 2010-07-14 02:45
Recently I had checked back on a year-old SSD review, the Kingston Now V series, then a another older SSD review on a Patriot. And I note a lead article regarding suggested benchmarking specs via SNIA. Only a couple of years into SSDs and the offerings are remarkably better. And of course Intel is going to sharpen the point of the stick by year-end with 25nm flash memory for their newest products. This is without doubt the most rapidly advancing technology for PCs that I can recall. The next five years should be interesting. Looking back from that perspective should be even more eye-popping.
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# RE: OCZ Vertex 2 Extended Solid State DriveJeff C 2010-07-14 11:01
On the chart showing the Intel controller, I think the garbage collection exists for it. I have the M25-V, and it has both a GC tool and has TRIM support.
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# Only the latest SSDsOlin Coles 2010-07-14 11:36
Only second-generation Intel SSDs with the latest firmware revision support TRIM and garbage collection (X25-M G2). The other 90% of the SSDs they've sold do not. I will update that chart so future articles will specify support on G2.
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# C300 results wrong!?Thomas Bruckschlegel 2010-07-15 11:42
I cannot repro your results, I get ~ 10000 IOPS with your settings: 100% random, 50% write, 50% read, 4KB, 32 outstanding I/O's per target - using the SATA2 interface on my P55 based board.

BTW. iometer is highly affected by compression - I have no troubles reaching ~45000 IOPS with my older Indilinx based SSD on a compressed NTFS partition.

Thomas
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# RE: C300 results wrong!?Olin Coles 2010-07-15 11:52
Hello Mr. Bruckschlegel:

I will email you my Iometer configuration file, so that you may reproduce our test exactly as we conduct it. Please be informed that all SSDs are wiped clean using DISKPART "clean all" prior to testing. Also note that this is the total IOPS reported by the test, and not an individual read or write.
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# RE: C300 results wrong!?Olin Coles 2010-07-15 16:40
There's a major difference between the Marvell SATA-6G controller and the Intel ICH10 on your P55 motherboard. While the Intel ICH10 will likely provide better IOPS results, it won't offer 6.00 GB/s connectivity or speeds. Crucial sent a Marvell controller with the SSD, so our tests have all used their 'recommended' setup.
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# RE: RE: C300 results wrong!?Thomas Bruckschlegel 2010-07-15 19:17
I tried your file, I had an error in mine "Align I/Os on" was set to "sector boundaries" instead of "4KB" - now I get 20220 total I/Os per second.

Do you think this is totally controller related?
BTW, sanity erase or a format of the whole drive (not a quick format) under win7 with a TRIM enabled AHCI driver+controller will restore the factory performance, not sure if a "diskpart clean all" will do the same.

Thomas
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# RE: OCZ Vertex-2 Extended Solid State DriveJayson 2010-10-02 10:29
On the ICH10R tests are you using the Intel driver or Microsoft driver? Should probably clarrify as you can be using the Intel controller with either driver set.
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# RE: RE: OCZ Vertex-2 Extended Solid State DriveOlin Coles 2010-10-02 10:32
The article already specifies that the Intel RST driver is used, and the tests show the iaStor driver.
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# MTTF and MTBF are not the same thingTypoknig 2011-01-03 15:56
Hi Olin, I noticed on your specs page that you listed the this SSDs MTTF as 200,000,000 hours, but everywhere I look OCZ has only published the MTBF numbers. Maybe a typo on your end? This number jumped right out at me because I was surprised to see that this drives MTBF numbers have increased from the 1,500,000 hours MTBF spec of the original 120GB Vertex drives. If you have any inside contacts with OCZ I would very much like to know how they are calculating this number. Of the three original 120GB Vertex drives I purchased in June of 2009 all have failed (at different times), were replaced via RMA, and then proceeded to fail again. In total I have had 7 of the original 120GB Vertex drives in my position, and one just failed again two days ago. Seems to me that OCZ's MTBF numbers are off (and all the failures mentioned by people in various forums seems to support that notion). I should point out though that OCZ has always processed my RMA hassle free, and they are now working with me to take my original drives that I have had so much trouble with and upgrade me to something a bit more stable. I really appreciate them standing by their product, and I hope they can work out the kinks in their line of SSD products soon.
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# RE: MTTF and MTBF are not the same thingOlin Coles 2011-01-03 15:59
Hello:

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. These specification are pulled directly from the manufacturer-supplied data sheet, and are often subject to change without notice. I would consider the specifications listed on the website to be the most current and accurate.
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