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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

SSD Testing Methodology

Solid State Drives have traveled a long winding course to finally get where they are today. Up to this point in technology, there have been several key differences separating Solid State Drives from magnetic rotational Hard Disk Drives. While the DRAM-based buffer size on desktop HDDs has recently reached 32 MB and is ever-increasing, there is still a hefty delay in the initial response time. This is one key area in which flash-based Solid State Drives continually dominates because they lack moving parts to "get up to speed".

However the benefits inherent to SSDs have traditionally fallen off once the throughput begins, even though data reads or writes are executed at a high constant rate whereas the HDD tapers off in performance. This makes the average transaction speed of a SSD comparable to the data burst rate mentioned in HDD tests, albeit usually lower than the HDD's speed.

Comparing a Solid State Disk to a standard Hard Disk Drives is always relative; even if you're comparing the fastest rotational spindle speeds. One is going to be many times faster in response (SSDs), while the other is usually going to have higher throughput bandwidth (HDDs). Additionally, there are certain factors which can affect the results of a test which we do our best to avoid.

SSD Testing Disclaimer

Early on in our SSD coverage, Benchmark Reviews published an article which detailed Solid State Drive Benchmark Performance Testing. The research and discussion that went into producing that article changed the way we now test SSD products. Our previous perceptions of this technology were lost on one particular difference: the wear leveling algorithm that makes data a moving target. Without conclusive linear bandwidth testing or some other method of total-capacity testing, our previous performance results were rough estimates at best.

Our test results were obtained after each SSD had been prepared using DISKPART or Sanitary Erase tools. As a word of caution, applications such as these offer immediate but temporary restoration of original 'pristine' performance levels. In our tests, we discovered that the maximum performance results (charted) would decay as subsequent tests were performed. SSDs attached to TRIM enabled Operating Systems will benefit from continuously refreshed performance, whereas older O/S's will require a garbage collection (GC) tool to avoid 'dirty NAND' performance degradation.

It's critically important to understand that no software for the Microsoft Windows platform can accurately measure SSD performance in a comparable fashion. Synthetic benchmark tools such as HD Tach and PCMark are helpful indicators, but should not be considered the ultimate determining factor. That factor should be measured in actual user experience of real-world applications. Benchmark Reviews includes both bandwidth benchmarks and application speed tests to present a conclusive measurement of product performance.

Test System

  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 (Intel X58-Express)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-920 BX80601920 @ 2.667 GHz
  • System Memory: 6GB Triple-Channel DDR3 1600MHz CL6-6-6-18
  • SATA 3Gb/s Storage HBA: Integrated Intel ICH10R Controller
    • AHCI mode - Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver 9.6.0.1014
  • SATA 6Gb/s Storage HBA: Integrated Marvell SE9128 Controller
    • AHCI mode - Marvell Magni Driver Marvell Magni Driver 1.0.0.1036
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Edition 64-Bit

Drive Hardware Tested

The following storage hardware has been used in our benchmark performance testing, and may be included in portions of this article:

Test Tools

  • AS SSD Benchmark 1.5.3784.37609: Multi-purpose speed and operational performance test
  • ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46: Spot-tests static file size chunks for basic I/O bandwidth
  • Iometer 2008.06.28 by Intel Corporation: Tests IOPS performance and I/O response time
  • Lavalys EVEREST Ultimate Edition 5.50: Disk Benchmark component tests linear read and write bandwidth speeds
  • CrystalDiskMark 3.0.0 by Crystal Dew World: Sequential speed benchmark spot-tests various file size chunks

Test Results Disclaimer

This article utilizes benchmark software tools to produce operational IOPS performance and bandwidth speed results. Each test was conducted in a specific fashion, and repeated for all products. These test results are not comparable to any other benchmark application, neither on this website or another, regardless of similar IOPS or MB/s terminology in the scores. The test results in this project are only intended to be compared to the other test results conducted in identical fashion for this article.



 

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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