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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
OCZ Octane SATA 6 Gb/s Indilinx Everest SSD
Closer Look: OCZ Octane SSD
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
OCZ Octane SSD Conclusion

OCZ Octane Indilinx Everest SSD Review

Manufacturer: OCZ Technology Group, Inc.
Product Name: Octane Solid State Drive
Model Number: OCT1-25SAT3-512G (512GB)
Prices: 128GB $199 (Newegg / Amazon), 256GB $370 (Newegg / Amazon), 512GB $900 (Newegg / Amazon)

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by OCZ.

Nearly one year since acquiring well-known flash controller manufacturer Indilinx, OCZ has debuted their first storage product based on the Indilinx infused Everest platform with NDurance technology: welcome OCZ's Octane SSD. Offered in 1-terabyte capacities, the OCT1-25SAT3 series is designed to deliver optimized performance for mainstream users wanting to capitalize on near-instant solid state response times. OCZ Octane SSDs are good for up to 480MB/s read speeds over the latest SATA 6 Gb/s interface, and yield up to 35,000 Random Read IOPS. In this article Benchmark Reviews tests these specifications, and compares the OCZ Octane solid state drive to the leading competition.

For those keeping up with the Indilinx Everest platform SSD controller, OCZ's announcement back in July (2011) listed one particular stand-out feature: a 275 MHz dual-core CPU with 128KB on-chip SRAM for programs and another 64KB for data. Up to that point (and since), there hadn't been another dual-core SSD on the market. Even the 512MB DDR2/DDR3 cache buffer operating at 400 MHz raised expectations. It was anybody's guess as to how much a dual-core SSD controller would impact performance, but the potential was at least there on paper. Since the OCZ Octane series features this very same Everest technology, we'll soon see what these features amount to for end-users.

OCZ-Octane-Solid-State-Drive-SSD-Tilted.jpg

Solid State vs Hard Disk

Despite decades of design improvements, the hard disk drive (HDD) is still the slowest component of any personal computer system. Consider that modern desktop processors have a 1 ns response time (nanosecond = one billionth of one second), while system memory responds between 30-90 ns. Traditional hard drive technology utilizes magnetic spinning media, and even the fastest spinning mechanical storage products still exhibit a 9,000,000 ns / 9 ms initial response time (millisecond = one thousandth of one second). In more relevant terms, the processor receives the command and must then wait 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; usually the hard drive.

In a perfect world all of the components operate at the same speed. Until that day comes, the real-world goal for achieving optimal performance is for system memory to operate as quickly as the central processor and then for the storage drive to operate as fast as memory. With present-day 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, consider then 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 in these response times. The difference a SSD makes to operational response 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 mechanical HDD counterparts. The biggest mistake PC hardware enthusiasts make with regard to SSD technology is grading them based on bandwidth speed. File transfer speeds are important, but only so long as the operational IOPS performance can sustain that bandwidth under load.

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.



 

Comments 

 
# PRICErealneil 2012-02-24 06:12
SSD's still cost too much. I have a few small ones, but cannot afford the larger, better performing drives yet.
Once they get their prices down, (by more than a little) they will have an explosion in sales.
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# Smaller SSDs are affordableMergatroid 2012-02-25 17:28
I agree that the larger SSDs are still too expansive. However, the smaller sized units (120 Gb and smaller) work great as boot drives. They really speed up your o/s. They're also big enough to put your favorite apps on and really give them a speed boost. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I really don't need to have all my storage sped up (in fact, most of my movies, music and archives are on a NAS anyway).
However, I had a 60Gb Patriot Inferno SSD that was a pretty good boot drive, and all I could afford (~250 MB/s). A year later I added another in a RAID 0 and got quite the speed boost (not only in benchmarks, but boot times and load times for games and apps). If anyone had an older SATA II SSD but can't afford to purchase a larger drive, look around for another SATA II SSD for a RAID (make sure your board supports hardware RAID, not software). I wouldn't recommend this for people who already own an SATA III SSD since they're already fast, however you could add another in RAID 0 if you wanted to increase the size of your boot drive using a RAID volume without paying the higher cost for a larger drive.
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# RE: OCZ Octane SATA 6 Gb/s Indilinx Everest SSDsteve white 2012-02-27 02:10
Colin....maybe I'm not reading your review right but
the IOPS of 35,000 is less than half that of half a
dozen other SATA 111 SSD's on the market that are 40%
cheaper.
I've just ordered a Corsair 120Gb Force GT series 3
and admittedly is a very small temporary storage drive it's
IOPS is 85,000 and 4K sequential read is 550Mb/s and writes at
515Mb/s. Price $234 Aussie dollars.
Currently my 300Gb velociraptor (10,000rpm) is really showing
it's age and is holding the system back.
Any info I want to keep long term I burn onto 25Gb Blu-ray
media and catalogue.
I would be in heaven if I owned OCZ's Vertex 3 X2 hybrid
drive but the price right now is just too high, even if it
is the quickest out there.
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# RE: RE: OCZ Octane SATA 6 Gb/s Indilinx Everest SSDOlin Coles 2012-02-27 07:29
I'm guessing that you read it wrong, since you didn't get my name right.

At any rate, Octane is a plenty-fast SSD that's ideal for users like yourself. If you're running a database server on your system, then IOPS will matter. If you're just running standard applications, you won't notice a difference.
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# Network-capableJohnny-Cakes 2012-03-02 21:30
Colin - I appreciate your feedback on the OCZ Octane SSD card mentioned. Steve White said he bought a Corsair SSD that has and IOPS of 85k, but your comment says that the Octane SSD (at 35k IOPS) is ideal for him. Not sure I understand your feedback that indicates that IOPS matters, and if so, why would the Octane card at 35k IOPS be ideal for him when he has an SSD that does 85k IOPS?

Sorry, I am kind of a newbie looking to upgrade to a new SATA III board and SDD that is at least 300Gig, and don't understand your recommendation?

I don't run a database server on my system (and don't anticipate doing so on the new system), so I'm trying to get my hands around what is a worthwhile investment if i use standard applications plus a couple games like COD MW3, that may benefit from SSD performance?

I am currently under the impression that moving from my Raptor 10k rpm HDD to ANY ssd drive is a move in the right direction, but am thinking a really don't need to be paying the premium to get the highest performing SSD, since per your comment, I'm mostly using standard apps that won't realize much benefit. If COD MW3 is the most demanding app I use, should I even be looking at SSD at this point?
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# Any SSD is sweetMergatroid 2012-03-03 02:02
Even an SATA II SSD would get you 250 MB/s or more. A good SATA III SSD should net you around 500 MB/s.

Any SSD will blow the doors off any mechanical hard drive. Personally, I don't think how demanding the app is should be your deciding factor. I think you should look more at boot times and sheer performance in load times. I could only afford 120G worth of SSD (2 x 60GB in a RAID 0), but my system flies now, and I have installed the games I play the most on this volume and the performance difference is unreal. My system boots in about 15 seconds now. If you're looking at a 300G SSD, you'll get a pretty highly performing unit. It will cost a fair amount, but the performance increase will justify it easily.
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# Fast, while they last...WangoTango 2012-05-02 15:35
I bought 4 of the 512GB OCTANE drives and have had 2 fail, in different laptops. One just flat out died and the other acts as if it is being hot swapped, comes and goes, usually goes. One is off on an RMA now, getting ready to start a trouble ticket on the other. Got me so spooked that I replaced one critical drive with a Crucial 512GB. Got my fingers crossed on the other two units.
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