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Written by Olin Coles   
Monday, 04 April 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
OCZ Vertex 3 SandForce SF-2281 SSD
Closer Look: OCZ Vertex 3 SSD
SandForce SF-2281 SSD Controller
Features and Specifications
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
PCMark Vantage HDD Tests
HDD vs Hybrid Drive vs SSD
OCZ Vertex 3 SSD 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 64 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: ASUS P8P67 EVO (Intel P67 Sandy Bridge Platform, B3 Stepping)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4 GHz Quad-Core CPU
  • System Memory: 4GB Dual-Channel DDR3 1600MHz CL6-6-6-18
  • SATA 6Gb/s Storage HBA: Integrated Intel P67 Controller
    • AHCI mode - Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver 10.1.0.1008
  • SATA 3Gb/s Storage HBA: Integrated Intel P67 Controller
    • AHCI mode - Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver 10.1.0.1008
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Edition 64-Bit with Service Pack 1

Storage 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 1.6.4067.34354: Multi-purpose speed and operational performance test
  • ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46: Spot-tests static file size chunks for basic I/O bandwidth
  • Iometer 1.1.0 (built 08-Nov-2010) 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 3.0.1a 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 

 
# Nice reviewcube 2011-04-05 08:52
"confirming the Vertex 3 as the fastest MLC SSD Benchmark Reviews has tested to date"
Pretty good statement. If i was in their ads department i would take this line and add it somewhere in the product page.
As always Olin, excellent review. with each review you provide all the important information needed to understand how these drives work.

I think is probably time to treat myself with an SSD.

Ive been waiting for these prices to come down a bit. But dam, they are persistent. gonna have to call the EU Trade commission to look up into the scheme.

I think there has to be some type of SSD price fixing going on with these companies just like we saw with the LCDs.

"LG Display, Sharp, and Chunghwa Picture Tubes agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges for participating in a liquid crystal display price-fixing conspiracy and pay $585 million in fines, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

Read more: #news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-10095219-92.html#ixzz1IfIgIv49
"
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# analogyAnthony 2011-04-05 22:25
Nice review, but you've got bandwidth\IOPS analogy reversed. Consider this: if we have to move a few big things we can use high capacity(eg IOPS in your analogy) ship that is not so fast(eg bandwidth) and it would be ok, but if we need move a lot of small things one by one then we'd better get smaller ship with that is fast. SSD's are like smaller ship(actually nowadays they are more like bigger ships with high speed) - they have great IOPS performace, so it can move smaller things faster.
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# RE: OCZ Vertex 3 SandForce SF-2281 SSDAnthony 2011-04-05 22:26
But other than that it's really great review :)
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# RE: OCZ Vertex 3 SandForce SF-2281 SSDBenoit 2011-04-06 01:14
What about scores when it's connected in SATA2 ?
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# RE: RE: OCZ Vertex 3 SandForce SF-2281 SSDOlin Coles 2011-04-06 08:31
This is a SATA 6Gb/s SSD that reaches 555 MB/s, so it wouldn't be helpful to show SATA 3Gb/s scores because they would consume all available bandwidth on the interface.
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# Prove itPhace 2011-04-06 11:39
Many people looking to upgrade an existing SSD still only have SATA II. It would also be helpful to see add-in SATA III cards reviewed with a drive like this.
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# RE: Prove itOlin Coles 2011-04-06 12:10
The results published with this review have already proved the OCZ Vertex 3 SSD reaches 555 MB/s, which is more than the 300 MB/s SATA-II interface can support. There's nothing more to prove.
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# need sata 3GB scoresGeo 2011-04-06 19:45
They really should include SATA 3Gb/s numbers.There are several reasons why its important to people. The vast majority of users dont have 6GBs boards so is it worthwhile to pay the extra for a sata 6GBs drive or just go with cheaper sata 3Gbs SSD.?

Anyway something people need to be aware of is the bigger drives 240GB+ perform very different to 120GB and smaller vertex 3's.

Dont expect to get this performance with a 120GB vertex 3 or 60GB vertex 3. They get much slower with smaller capacity.
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# RE: need sata 3GB scoresOlin Coles 2011-04-06 20:44
Why would anyone buy a SATA 6Gb/s SSD without having support for this interface on their motherboard? That's like buying 2500 MHz DDR3 just to run it at 1333. There are literally a hundred SandForce-driven SSDs better suited to SATA 3Gb/s.
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# Not always saturating the connectionPhace 2011-04-06 21:45
Most normal usage is not full out saturation- it's random reads and random writes. The way the drive functions with both interfaces is notable for it's ability to handle real world usage. One could get the drive and place it in a SATA II setup now and later upgrade the connection for a reasonably decent performance improvement later. In this case, we're measuring how real world usage is found.

That's fine. I found just this sort of benchmark on another site and the results are encouraging. The site shows a number of SATA drives benchmarked both on III and on II.
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# RE: OCZ Vertex 3 SandForce SF-2281 SSDmanup85 2011-07-18 09:55
SUGGESTION.. im confuse now about what i can buy now.. Vertex 3 or Corsair Forces GT series? is already good ssd? and with the same price there is something better?
thanks
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