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Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Table of Contents: Page Index
Features and Specifications
First Look: OCZ Agility EX SSD
Indilinx Internal Components
SSD Testing Methodology
Random Access Time Benchmark
Basic IO Bandwidth
Random Access IOPS Tests
I/O Response Time
Linear Bandwidth Speed
Sequential Performance Tests
Buffered Transaction Speed
Solid State Drive Final Thoughts
OCZ Agility EX Conclusion

System Speed Test

I doubt that when DOS was put to rest, Vladimir Afanasiev ever thought he would see his System Speed Test software used again in professional reviews. This program offers comprehensive system information, but it also has a powerful benchmarking tool for memory, processor, and disks. In terms of disk performance, it measures interface and physical transfer rates, seek and access times at the hardware level, and it does so without delay or interference from Operating System software or running processes. This is why Benchmark Reviews will continue to use this test: it polls its results directly from the hardware layer without the need for an Operating System (such as Windows).

System Speed Test does not require a partition to be present for testing, so all of our Random Access Time benchmarks are completed prior to drive formatting. To detect the Random Access Time, each device runs the full test routine a total of five times. The highest and lowest scores were ignored, and the remainder was averaged. This would be prove pointless however, because the access time benchmark for every single SSD recorded identical test results between runs.


Using the System Speed Test software, the top Random Access Time benchmarks places the OCZ Agility-EX, Vertex-EX, Mtron Pro 7500, and ACARD ANS-9010 at the very top of our results. The 0.9 ms performers include: MemoRight GT, Intel X25-E Extreme, Mtron Pro 7000, Mtron MOBI 3500, Intel 80GB X25-M, and the OCZ Summit. With a Random Access Time of 10ms, the following SSDs were included: Corsair X256, OCZ Vertex Turbo, OCZ Vertex, Patriot Torqx, Super Talent UltraDrive ME, Crucial M225, OCZ Agility, and lastly the Mtron MOBI 3000. With a lightning-fast sub 0.1 ms access time, every other SSD is forced to live in the shadow that these nearly-instant products have just created.

Some of the slower Random Access Times include the following SSD products: Kingston SSDNow V+ Series (Samsung PB22-J) with 0.14 ms, The Silicon Power SLC SATA-II SSD SP032GBSSD750S25 with 0.17 ms, the OCZ Apex at 0.18 ms, the Patriot Warp v2 with 0.19 ms, and finally the G.Skill Titan finishing at 0.21 ms. There were slower SSD products, but obsolescence removed them from our results.

The DRAM cache buffer is common link between request and response time. Solid State Drive devices have the advantage of a nearly instantaneous NAND storage bank responding to an even faster DRAM buffer. Conversely, Hard Disk Drive products depend on a fast spindle speed to reduce the delay before the buffer transmits data.

Although the SSDs at the slower end of our Response Time chart may seem less impressive, in reality you couldn't begin to perceive these subtle differences in real-world applications. Still, the slowest SSD product (0.51ms) is 14x more responsive than the fastest desktop hard drive. Hard Disk Drive alternatives are much slower to react, regardless of spindle speed and cache buffer size.

Even the very best of the desktop hard drive products, such as Western Digital's VelociRaptor, only produced a best response time of 7.15 ms. The older Western Digital Raptor took 8.53ms to respond, followed by 12.99ms for the Seagate 7200.11, and 15.39ms for the 7200 RPM Hitachi Travelstar 7K100 notebook drive. The worst performer was the standard 5400 RPM notebook drive (Hitachi Travelstar 5K160 HTS541640J9SA00), which recorded a painfully slow 17.41ms Random Access Time.

Drive Hardware


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