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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 12 June 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
OCZ Vertex 4 Solild State Drive
Closer Look: OCZ Vertex 4 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 Vertex 4 SSD Conclusion

OCZ Vertex 4 Solid State Drive Review

Manufacturer: OCZ Technology Group, Inc.
Product Name: Vertex 4 Solid State Drive
Model Number: VTX4-25SAT3-256G (256GB Capacity)
UPC: 842024030362
Prices: 64GB (Newegg / Amazon), 128GB (Newegg / Amazon), 256GB (Newegg / Amazon), 512GB (Newegg / Amazon)

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

Based on the Everest 2 platform and featuring Ndurance 2.0 technology, the OCZ Vertex 4 solid state drive arrives one year after they acquired the well-known flash controller manufacturer Indilinx. Boasting the industry's best SATA-based I/O performance, the Vertex 4 series (VTX4-25SAT3) is designed to deliver optimized performance for enthusiasts wanting to capitalize on near-instant response times. OCZ Vertex 4 SSDs are available in up to 512GB capacities, and deliver up to 550MB/s read speeds with up to 95,000 Random Read IOPS. In this article Benchmark Reviews tests these specifications, and compares the OCZ Vertex 4 solid state drive to the leading competition.

For those keeping up with the Indilinx Everest SSD controller, OCZ's announcement back in July (2011) listed a 275 MHz dual-core CPU with 128KB on-chip SRAM for programs and another 64KB for data. Soon after the first product to utilize their new Everest platform was the OCZ Octane SSD, which debuted early in 2012 with a 512MB DRAM cache buffer operating at 400 MHz. Now mature and into it's second generation, Everest 2 features a dual-ARM controller architecture based on Marvell controllers that optimize reduced write amplifications without data compression to yield better I/O and help extend the product warranty for Vertex 4 to an industry leading five years.

OCZ-Vertex-4-Indilinx-Everest-SSD-VTX4-25SAT3-Splash.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 

 
# Senior AnalystToby Fruth 2012-06-13 09:03
Any possibility you guys could test a Fusion-IO ioDrive2?
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# RE: Senior AnalystOlin Coles 2012-06-13 10:33
It's possible, but only if they respond to our requests (they haven't).
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# RE: RE: Senior AnalystJoe Peters 2012-06-13 18:28
Fusion-io doesn't want people to see their performance. They make claims about SSD latency (and remember they don't make SSD's supposedly) that is just not true.

See here: ##theregister.co.uk/2012/05/28/fusion_io_suitcase_c omputing/

"According to Brisebois, typical SSD latency is around 1 millisecond, while ioFX latency is 0.04 milliseconds ? much closer to RAM speeds."

The reality is that SSD's have latencies that aren't that much worse than their products (for example the Vertex 4 has average latency of about .05ms. Add in the $11/GB premium (where the Vertex 4 sells for $1/GB) and there products may not have much value for the majority people looking to speed up their database.
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# FIO doesn't need 3rd partyimaloser 2012-06-13 11:18
FIO doesn't need a third party to test their wares. They have plenty of enterprise customers already using them for mission critical applications unlike the 3rd rate OCZ drives.
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# Senior AnalystToby Fruth 2012-06-13 11:24
For me, in the context of consumer drives like the Vertex4, it would be cool to see how it compares with enterprise gear like the Fusion-IO products. The Fusion-IO ioDrive2 would be like a point of reference. The Vertex4 does 85,000 IOPS, the Fusion-IO ioDrive2 supposedly does 415,000. I would like to see the Fusion-IO numbers from the same tests that were run against the consumer drive, and have the results for comparison. Would be cool to say "my $130 SSD is the best thing until you get in to the $20,000 hardware" or something to that affect.
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# imaloser is a shorterNbell 2012-06-13 12:00
Heads up people, imaloser is a person shorting OCZ stock. He shows up all over the place from reviews to message boards promoting FusionIO and discounting anything related to OCZ. So don't take what he says seriously.
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# RE: OCZ Vertex 4 Solild State DriveDoug Dallam 2012-06-19 00:31
When I first started reading this review, the first thing that came to my mind was three words: Still-To-Expensive. Well, damn these things are relatively cheap now!

I really want one of these.
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# Work best with newer controllersssd-lover 2012-06-19 07:53
I own at least five OCZ Vertex 3 SSD's from the 120GB to several 480GB models, and have been very pleased with them.

Over the past few months, I have purchased the Vertex 4 512GB and 256GB SSD's. They work fine with newer motherboards, but I've ran into repeated compatibility problems (drive not recognized / won't boot) with older (more than 4 years old) laptops. Keep in mind, the Vertex 3 works fine in the older laptops. Just saying, the Vertex 4 seems a bit more finicky about the SATA controller it's attached to.

FWIW, here's my very UN-scientific and arguably woefully UN-controlled benchmark comparing performance of a Vertex 3 vs Vertex 4.

Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 on Intel Sandybridge Desktop Motherboard with i7 CPU copying 46GB file from one SSD to another. Both SSD's connected to 6GB SATA III ports on motherboard.

Vertex 3 120GB to Vertex 3 480GB = 284.93 mb/sec
Vertex 3 120GB to Vertex 4 256GB = 339.40 mb/sec
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# Where are the 2TB Version of this Vertex4 SSD ?cpX 2012-06-21 14:54
Where are the 2TB Version of this Vertex4 SSD ?

I'm the only one there missing more SSD Memory in the 2.5" Size Today ?
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# OCZ Vertex 4 vs. Last Kingston Hyper X ?Jean-Pierre FERRIER 2012-06-26 21:25
What abouta comparison about this new Vertex and the last Kingston Hyper-X SSD ?
I'd be interested in the results with (as far as I know) the same price range...
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