OCZ Vertex-2 Extended Solid State Drive E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage
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

SandForce SF-1200 SSD Controller

The SandForce SF-1200 SATA-3GBps controller is new to the industry, but many manufacturers are already hailing it as the replacement for Indilinx's industry-leading Barefoot processor. Both are second-generation SATA products limited to 3.0 GB/s transfer speeds, and both offer similar specifications. SandForce adds DuraClass technology to their SF-1200 processor, which claims to provide best-in-class endurance, performance, and lower power consumption. DuraWrite technology extends the endurance of MLC-NAND memory by providing at least five year lifecycles measured with 3000-5000 cycle MLC flash. Additionally, SandForce RAISE technology provides RAID-like protection for single SSD computer systems, and data is secured with AES-128 automatic encryption.

SandForce has hit the 2010 SSD industry with full force, much the same way that Indilinx did back in 2009. Finished-goods companies can utilize the SandForce SF1200 processor in their own product line, which then receives a "SandForce Driven" badge. The SandForce SF-1222 processor is presently available in the ADATA S599, Corsair Force, RunCore Pro-V, Patriot Inferno, OWC Mercury Extreme Pro-RE, G.Skill Phoenix Pro, OCZ Vertex-2, PhotoFast G-Monster 2, OCZ Agility-2, and Mach Xtreme SSD series.

SandForce_SF-1200_SSD_Processor_Top.jpg

From the view above the printed circuit board (PCB), it doesn't look like there's anything dramatically innovative on the SandForce Solid State Drive. Eight flash NAND modules make a horseshoe around the SandForce SF-1200 SSD processor, and plenty of electronics fill in the remaining space atop the printed circuit board. But once the SandForce SSD board is turned to expose the underside, the difference is obvious: SandForce has used their DuraClass technology to remove the DRAM buffer.

SandForce_SF-1200_SSD_Processor_Bottom.jpg

The 2nd-generation SATA-3.0GBps SandForce SF-1222TA3-SBH processor is part of their SF-1200 family of SSD controller chips, and SSDs will utilize either the SF-1200 processor for retail consumers or SF-1500 for enterprise devices. All SandForce SSD controllers offer native TRIM support in Microsoft Windows-7, Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with 32 command slots, and Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology (SMART) command set. While not directly important to transfer speeds or operational performance, SandForce utilizes a Tensilica Diamond Core DC_570T CPU inside the SF-1200 processor.

SandForce_SF-1222TA3-SBH_Processor.jpg

Another benefit of SandForce's SF-1200 architecture is that the SSD keeps all information on the NAND grid and removes the need for a separate cache buffer DRAM module. The result is a faster transaction, albeit at the expense of total storage capacity. SandForce SSDs utilize over-provisioning technology, which allocates a portion of NAND for data storage and the remainder reserved for transaction and cache buffer space. SandForce has also marketing custom firmware to the finished-goods companies that sell their SSDs, which remove performance restrictions.

The SF-1200 SSD processor provides ECC data protection and includes SandForce's unique RAISE (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements) technology. RAISE provides the protection and reliability of RAID on a single SSD drive, thanks to flash architecture, without the significant write overhead of parity. The SandForce DuraClass technology automatically stores data in AES-128 encrypted format, preventing data extraction directly from the physical flash memory modules.

Micron-Intel_DRAM_29F64G08CAMDB.jpg

Sixteen multi-layer cell Intel 29F64G08CAMDB flash NAND modules are joined to the SandForce SF-1200 controller. On professional-level 28% over-provisioned SandForce SSDs, these NAND modules may combine for 128GB of physical storage space yet only 100GB of this capacity is designated for data. Consumer-level SandForce SSDs receive 7% over-provisioning and 128GB devices will yield 120GB of usable storage space.

Because the SandForce SF-1200 SSD processor inside many SSDs is a non-exclusive component available market-wide, Benchmark Reviews expects to see many new solid state storage products using this controller in the near future. Please continue on for details and performance results for this Solid State Drive...



 

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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