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OWC vs Vertex 3 vs Vertex 3 High IOPS vs Crucial M4

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May 5, 2011 10:19:33 AM

I recently discovered OWC SSDs which are a serious competitor to the Crucial M4 and Vertex 3 SSDs. Anantech published a great review here:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4315/owc-mercury-extreme-...

There are no reviews of the V3 high IOPS yet. What do you think? Which SSD drive is the overall best?

Consider the following in no particular order:

1. Reliability
2. Speed
3. Wear leveling recovery / trim performance - long term performance of the drive (they are warrantied for three years)
4. Real world, touch it, feel it benefits - which drive gives the most real-world bang for your buck?
5. Ease of use

So which drive is the overall winner. Remember OCZ has a poor reputation for reliability but that may be because they sell more drives than OWC and Crucial
a c 283 G Storage
May 6, 2011 4:10:42 AM

Intel

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May 6, 2011 7:58:28 AM

JohnnyLucky said:
Intel


You're right but it seems that Intel doesn't really care that much about the SSD market. After their impressive X-25 the 510 was anticlimactic and the 320 doesn't even make much sense. Intel does have the best reliability though. Also I read that they are coming out with several new SSDs which promise to be very fast - yes add Intel to the list.
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a c 283 G Storage
May 6, 2011 10:36:13 PM

flong - You already know from another thread that OCZ, Intel, and Crucial do not sell the most solid state drives. The real action and high volume sales are for PCI-e based ssd's for business enterprise. Too expensive and often not appropriate for us.

Gamers and enthusiasts may be very vocal and on the bleeding edge of technology but they are a very very small minority. I don't have any statististics for this year but reports and surveys for last year and the year before indicate the typical gamer still had an Intel dual core based pc with one video card and between 2 and 4 gigabytes of memory. The typical gamer does not overclock anything. Same goes for home pc's. That also means those users do not have SATA III (6 Gb/s) capability and are not likely to purchase a new motherboard and cpu just so they can install an expensive ssd. The situation is somewhat similar over in the business enterprise market. There are over one billion pc's out there that do not have SATA III capability. That is where the Intel 320 series fits in. Intel did it by design. They are catering to the vast majority of their customers. Intel made it perfectly clear in several interviews and press releases.

I have to admit the Intel 510 is rather strange. It definitely did not meet gamer and enthusiast expectations. However, it does have some specific uses such as handling incompressable data very very well. It is the exact opposite of the Sandford based ssd's. Might be worth considering for some types of professional level work, video editing, or anything consisting of mostly incompressable data.

We also need to look at real world usage models. I know you've read ssd reviews at AnandTech so you might be familiar with his storagebench tests. Anand uses actual software doing actual things to test ssd performance. There are two versions of the benchmark. The 2010 version represents ssd's connected to a SATA II (3 Gb/s) port on a motherboard. The 2011 version represents ssd's connected to a SATA III (6 Gb/s) port on a motherboard.

The vast majority of users do not have SATA III (6 Gb/s) capability. They should probably be looking at the 2010 version which also includes results for the newest ssd's. Here is the link:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4316/ocz-vertex-3-240gb-r...

The smaller goup of users who have SATA III (6 Gb/s) capability should be looking at the 2011 version. Here is the link:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4316/ocz-vertex-3-240gb-r...

and

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4316/ocz-vertex-3-240gb-r...

Those results are different from what we see in typical synthetic benchmarks. All of a sudden Intel and Crucial and OWC are worth considering.

Reliability is a gray area. Other than one French survey indicating Intel has the most reliable ssd's and OCZ the worst there is very little information available. Companies do not publish their failure rate statistics.

Intel wins hands down for ease of use. Their SSD Toolbox and SSD Optimization are second to none.

There is one more thing I have to add. SSD performance results will be influenced to some extent by the computer configuration, software applications, and how the system is used. Results can vary quite a bit.
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a c 143 G Storage
May 6, 2011 11:13:54 PM

^5 +1...

Very well said!
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May 7, 2011 12:44:33 AM

You are right. I am speaking from a desktop user's point of view - ala Tom's Hardware and Bit-Tech's "best build of the month." I am sure that you are correct in pointing out that there are a lot of "business" users who read this forum and are interested in the PCI-E solutions for their clients as you mentioned in other threads.

Note, I did not say that OCZ sells the most drives in this thread, I said it sells more than OWC and Crucial and Tom's Hardware reviews have indicated that. You are right in pointing out that for industry, PCI-E solutions are the best sellers and as you said dominate the SSD market.

So from the average desktop user's point of view, which of these is the best to improve their overall computing experience. Anand-tech makes the same point that you do that Crucial and Intel are the better choices if you are dealing with large chunks of incompressible data like video and pictures. But most desktop users will not be limited to those areas.

There seems to be a tremendous amount of interest in these particular SSDs right now because the boost the speed of many common computer functions. People who have the various drives can share their first-hand experiences with them.

Also, from the different reviews, the Sata III drives (V3, OWC and others) outperform the older generation Sata II drives even when connected to a Sata II 3 GB/s port - sometimes by a lot. Even if someone has a Sata II system right now, they would benefit from spending the extra $75.00 (for a 120 GB drive) by getting better speed than the Sata II drives and future-proofing their purchase for when they do upgrade to a Sata III system. There is an argument to be made that the Sata II old Sandforce drives are a bad investment when the cost difference is so little.

In Tom's Hardware's latest SSD comparison, the Vertex 3 is hardly mentioned and is not recommended and yet right now you buy the 120 GB Vertex 3 high IOPS on NewEgg for $280.00. The older generation 120 GB Sandforce drives are hovering around $220.00 (though they are going down). Why wouldn't you spend the extra $60.00 for a superior drive even when it is installed in a Sata II system?
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May 7, 2011 12:50:34 AM

Grobert's, an OCZ beta tester who owns the V2 and V3 made these comments in another thread:

"Personally speaking as the owner of V2 and V3, I would never recommend going with the older Sandforce drives unless cost is the primary concern. The newer controller on the V3 is just too much improved and you're much more forward compatible in a purchase like that. The throttling and garbage collection is noticably improved as well on the V3 over the V2.

In other words, you'll be much happier to have this V3 as a hand-me-down years from now than alowly V2 that will seem like a small, slow, overpriced USB stick. "
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a c 143 G Storage
May 7, 2011 12:55:46 AM

He makes a very good statement and from my dealings with him here, through PM's and review of the OCZ forum... I trust his judgement on OCZ drives. :D 
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a c 283 G Storage
May 7, 2011 4:54:42 AM

Price makes a difference for a lot of individuals. That is why they ask about 64GB and 80Gb drives despite the fact that veterans recommend larger capacity drives. We see it all the time in this and other forums. The smaller capacity drives have a downside - reduced performance. It seems individuals are willing to sacrifice performance just so they can have a ssd.

I noticed you normally mention 120GB ssd's in your posts. If that is the capacity you are interested in, then it would seem that you too are willing to sacrifice performance for a reason.

In your original post you mentioned reliability, speed, wear leveling, real world benefits, and ease of use. Those additional factors above and beyond speed are what caused me to say Intel. Intel may not have the fastest drives but if you add in those additional factors they are definitely worth considering. Your replies focus on speed/performance and ignore the additional factors mentioned your original post.


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May 7, 2011 9:08:20 AM

JohnnyLucky said:
Price makes a difference for a lot of individuals. That is why they ask about 64GB and 80Gb drives despite the fact that veterans recommend larger capacity drives. We see it all the time in this and other forums. The smaller capacity drives have a downside - reduced performance. It seems individuals are willing to sacrifice performance just so they can have a ssd.

I noticed you normally mention 120GB ssd's in your posts. If that is the capacity you are interested in, then it would seem that you too are willing to sacrifice performance for a reason.

In your original post you mentioned reliability, speed, wear leveling, real world benefits, and ease of use. Those additional factors above and beyond speed are what caused me to say Intel. Intel may not have the fastest drives but if you add in those additional factors they are definitely worth considering. Your replies focus on speed/performance and ignore the additional factors mentioned your original post.


Speed is very important to me. I am locked financially into using my "spare" computer which is and eight year old Windows XP Sony Vaio and it drives me crazy because it is so slow. I had an Intel I-7 920 with 16 GB of RAM and an ATI 5850 and that computer was very fast - unfortunately it was stolen when my house was robbed.

Currently I have purchased the CM HAF X, the Corsair 850 HX and 8 GB GSkill DDR3 1600 RAM (CL 9). I am working to educate myself to build my first computer. I am tired of paying a premium for others to build my computers usually with some parts that are sub par. It is a little scary, but I believe I can do it. I taught myself to repair my truck.

Still, as important as speed is, I am very interested in the Intel SSDs because of their quality. Everyone seems to acknowledge they are well made and reliable. However the 510 is not good for my specific needs - the V3 or the OWC drives probably match up best with me.

I also am trying to understand Anand-tech's criticism of the M4. Though it appears to be the 2nd fastest SSD right now, Anand-tech felt its leveling controller was inferior to other drives. It doesn't compress the data like OCZ's drives but they say it waits to long to clear itself. I struggle to understand their explanation because I do not have a computer science background. I have to read Wickipedia and look up several industry acronyms. Then when I look up the acronyms it is still difficult to understand the various nuts and bolts of computer speak. It can be very frustrating. I have read most all applicable article in almost all the major computer websites. I appreciate Tom's Hardware very much. Many people have been kind enough to share their first-hand experience with various products.

Possibly the new Intel SSDs coming out will be a better fit for me. The speed compromise of the 120 GB compared to the 240 GB is not a lot and the cost difference is significant. Possibly the new V3 high IOPS 120 GB will be more of a competitor with the 240 GB which tops most benchmarks right now in the various reviews. Also, since I do not game heavily, I do not need a 240 GB drive. I can store all the programs I care about on a 120 GB drive easily. I can use a 1 TB drive for videos, pictures and so forth.

I appreciate your patience to correct my mistakes in understanding computers.




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a b G Storage
May 8, 2011 4:45:36 AM

Max IOPS is kickin' some butt so far. Might even want to stay tuned for the Agility 3's when the 60GB versions are released. They'll be awesome for raid setups and pretty darned cost effective for the amount of channels used. 2 of those even on a sata2 mobo would do just fine regardless of the incompressibility of the data streams. Could also start out with just one and add another later on. Maybe even add a third when the price wars start later in the year. lol
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May 8, 2011 7:07:16 AM

groberts101 said:
Max IOPS is kickin' some butt so far. Might even want to stay tuned for the Agility 3's when the 60GB versions are released. They'll be awesome for raid setups and pretty darned cost effective for the amount of channels used. 2 of those even on a sata2 mobo would do just fine regardless of the incompressibility of the data streams. Could also start out with just one and add another later on. Maybe even add a third when the price wars start later in the year. lol


Hi Groberts,

1. Have you seen any reviews on the V3 high IOPS yet?

2. Given the speed of the SATA III SSDs would the average user even need to set them in Raid 0 to improve the performance? They are pretty fast by themselves.
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a b G Storage
May 8, 2011 5:04:51 PM

No specific reviews but there are quite a few using these drives over at the OCZ forum. I'd start digging there.
http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/forumdisplay.ph...

as for the "need"?.. that would depend on the usage scenario. If you're the type that is satisfied with the snappiness of a single "regular" SSD?.. hey that's great for you, but not all fit that mold and some want all the speed they can get and are willing to pay to get it. Windows can hog all it want's on my system and it won't be slowed down enough to percieve and all boils down to headroom when there's more than you need to start with.

This I can guarantee though. Use a uber-fast array of faster SSD's and you will see first hand that EVERYTHING runs faster and you just cannot do enough to really bog the system down. That's when the brain and keyboard skills really start showing faults. lol

IOW, you'll never see someone posting comments like.. "yeah.. I tried 2 Max IOPS in R0 and it just didn't feel that much faster". Anyone who would be silly enough to say something like that would not have needed a fast 6G SSD to begin with, right? Is all a usage scenario and perspective thing.
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May 8, 2011 11:16:00 PM

groberts101 said:
No specific reviews but there are quite a few using these drives over at the OCZ forum. I'd start digging there.
http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/forumdisplay.ph...

as for the "need"?.. that would depend on the usage scenario. If you're the type that is satisfied with the snappiness of a single "regular" SSD?.. hey that's great for you, but not all fit that mold and some want all the speed they can get and are willing to pay to get it. Windows can hog all it want's on my system and it won't be slowed down enough to percieve and all boils down to headroom when there's more than you need to start with.

This I can guarantee though. Use a uber-fast array of faster SSD's and you will see first hand that EVERYTHING runs faster and you just cannot do enough to really bog the system down. That's when the brain and keyboard skills really start showing faults. lol

IOW, you'll never see someone posting comments like.. "yeah.. I tried 2 Max IOPS in R0 and it just didn't feel that much faster". Anyone who would be silly enough to say something like that would not have needed a fast 6G SSD to begin with, right? Is all a usage scenario and perspective thing.


Thanks, you make some great points. I guess if you are like me and are doing the research to purchase your first SSD, you don't think about the extra quickness that two SSDs in Raid 0 can provide.

It is quickly getting to the point though that we will see in the not too distant future SSDs capable of exceeding the Sata III limits - we are almost there now.

How does that work; if you put to 500 MB/s SSDs together in RAID 0 do you have 2 SATA III connections or 1200 MB/s bandwidth to work with so that you exceed the 600 MB/S SATA III limit? Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I do not fully understand RAID 0 arrays.
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a c 283 G Storage
May 9, 2011 12:46:55 PM

"It is quickly getting to the point though that we will see in the not too distant future SSDs capable of exceeding the Sata III limits - we are almost there now."

We've been there for quite some time but the ssd's are not SATA III based and the speed comes at a price. For example, OCZ has 25 PCI-e based ssd's over at newegg. Unfortunately the majority of the drives are very very expensive.

We have some interesting things happening in the Fall. Last year PCI-e 3.0 became the new international standard. If all 16 lanes are used the total bandwidth in one direction is 16 GB/s. Bidirectional it is 32 GB/s. The implications for video cards and flash memory devices are enormous.

We already know motherboards with PCI-e 3.0 capability will be released this Fall followed closely by video cards and ssd's.

Currently there are no plans for SATA IV.

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May 9, 2011 2:26:28 PM

JohnnyLucky said:
"It is quickly getting to the point though that we will see in the not too distant future SSDs capable of exceeding the Sata III limits - we are almost there now."

We've been there for quite some time but the ssd's are not SATA III based and the speed comes at a price. For example, OCZ has 25 PCI-e based ssd's over at newegg. Unfortunately the majority of the drives are very very expensive.

We have some interesting things happening in the Fall. Last year PCI-e 3.0 became the new international standard. If all 16 lanes are used the total bandwidth in one direction is 16 GB/s. Bidirectional it is 32 GB/s. The implications for video cards and flash memory devices are enormous.

We already know motherboards with PCI-e 3.0 capability will be released this Fall followed closely by video cards and ssd's.

Currently there are no plans for SATA IV.



Makes me want to wait and not get a Z68 mobo ha, ha. I'm not sure if I can put up with my Pentium 4 "spare computer" that long :-). The Sandy Bridge E specs do look impressive though (I'm assuming that the PCI-E 3.0 will arrive about the same time as the SB E motherboards).
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Best solution

a b G Storage
May 9, 2011 4:13:26 PM

those that run out and spend the time and money on a z68 will wish they had waited for the x79. 10 x sata3 ports and higher throuput will make it a leap above the current and soon to be released models.

and the limits of sata3 is on a port by port basis. So while each port has a theortical limit of 600MB/s limit.. the chip that controlls it will have a maximum throughput limit much higher than that. Most of the tests that I've seen so far look to be around 3 fast 6G SSD's before it hits the limit.

Also need to keep in mind that SSD still suffers from write speed weaknesses and it may even take more than 4 faster 6G SSD to saturate the sata chips limit from that perspective.
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May 9, 2011 10:33:35 PM

groberts101 said:
those that run out and spend the time and money on a z68 will wish they had waited for the x79. 10 x sata3 ports and higher throuput will make it a leap above the current and soon to be released models.

and the limits of sata3 is on a port by port basis. So while each port has a theortical limit of 600MB/s limit.. the chip that controlls it will have a maximum throughput limit much higher than that. Most of the tests that I've seen so far look to be around 3 fast 6G SSD's before it hits the limit.

Also need to keep in mind that SSD still suffers from write speed weaknesses and it may even take more than 4 faster 6G SSD to saturate the sata chips limit from that perspective.


Do you think that it will become common for desktop users to combine SSDs in RAID 0 for the x79 platform since it has much greater capacity?
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May 9, 2011 10:44:03 PM

Two of the high output SSD PCI-E based OCZ drives that Ive read about are the Revo and I think the other is the IBIS. Both of them have read/write speeds around 700-800 MB/s - and those are the 2010 model speeds. I wonder if OCZ will double the speeds of those drives? I think they are just the Sandforce drives in RAID 0 configuration. These drives with the updated Sandforce platform could reach 1500 MB/s or more. That would make boot times essentially instantaneous. The only problem is that these are very expensive and the original Revo drive did not support TRIM.
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a c 283 G Storage
May 10, 2011 2:21:15 AM

Don't pay any attention to what groberts101 and I said about PCI-e based ssd's. Just get a OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS and be happy. Otherwise you'll find yourself on a quest for speed and performance that will never end. :) 

BTW - I don't think you ever mentioned what you'll be doing with a ssd? I am curious. Professional work? Gaming? Give us a hint.
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a b G Storage
May 10, 2011 4:38:37 AM

flong said:
Do you think that it will become common for desktop users to combine SSDs in RAID 0 for the x79 platform since it has much greater capacity?


you bet yer ass they will! The current P67 chip can reach 1.3 GB/s and the newer X79 will surely eclipse that. I'm guessing at least 1.5GB/s for a conservative guesstimate. Who knows?.. maybe even 1.7-1.8GB/s or better.

You'll be able to have a 1GB/s array of SSD and another HDD array running 500+MB/s for storage!

These things can be like dedicated snow tires or sticky maximum performance summer tires.. you don't always "need" them.. but you sure are glad to have them when you do.

a few more years and people will be like.. "huh?.. what's a raidcard?". lol
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May 10, 2011 7:01:30 AM

JohnnyLucky said:
Don't pay any attention to what groberts101 and I said about PCI-e based ssd's. Just get a OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS and be happy. Otherwise you'll find yourself on a quest for speed and performance that will never end. :) 

BTW - I don't think you ever mentioned what you'll be doing with a ssd? I am curious. Professional work? Gaming? Give us a hint.


I own a construction business and went through the year from hell last year because of the construction bubble slow down. Things are going well this year though.

My business is heavily computer based. When busy I multi-task. I may be running a CAD program, several Office applications, listening to streaming internet radio and have several web pages and email pages open. Often I am dealing with picture files also. I also watch HDTV on my computer while I work and heavily use WMC for my DVR (I have the Hauppauge 2250 TV card with two tuners). I record and store a lot of programs on my computer when I don't have time to watch them. Doing all this, even my I-7 920 would slow down at times and it was a very fast computer.

What I want an SSD to do is to save overall time (like boot times) and make my applications run quicker - more snappy. Most reviewers say that a good SSD is the most significant, cost-efficient method to do this. Most reviewers for the time being are recommending using an SSD for Windows and frequently used applications and using a 1 TB (or more) HDD for your mass storage items like video, HDTV recording, pictures and so-forth. I will also probably add a set of 1 TB RAID 1 drives for archiving business records.

You are probably right, I don't necessarily need two SSDs in RAID 0 right now, but I am trying to learn about it because this type of setup is quickly becoming the future because of the bandwidth improvements of SATA III, PCI-E 3.0 and Sandy Bridge E (which I just found out about in this thread).

I will probably get the high OPS 120 GB V3 to kind of cut my teeth on for a while and then upgrade later when there are significant improvements.
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May 10, 2011 8:48:52 AM

Took a stroll over to NewEgg and there are 1.4 GB/s OCZ SSDs (PCI-E) that cost $5000 - $10,000 SSDs (OCZ). However, they are in RAID 0 and do not have TRIM - I am not sure why you would want a $10,000 SSD without TRIM. Also RAID 0 is not the most reliable setup for business archiving. If one of the SSD modules goes out you could loose all your data.

Still 1.4 GB/s is wicked fast - wouldn't that be cool ha, ha.
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a b G Storage
May 10, 2011 3:40:28 PM

If you're doing all that at once?.. you'll see HUGE benefits with raided SSD. Bandwidth is like a pie and it all gets split up amongst the tasks at hand. Writes take the greatest toll on SSD performance and even reads get pulled down when the drive struggles.

I have a 6 drive SSD/R0 array and use an Adaptec 5805 for storage using R0 as well. Redundancy is easily achieved through the use of additional R0 HDD setups using just about every port possible on my system(19 drives with only 1 e-SATA port open, lol). HDD is dirt cheap and should be leveraged if speed is the major concern. IOW, use an R0 to back up your R0.
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May 10, 2011 5:36:02 PM

groberts101 said:
If you're doing all that at once?.. you'll see HUGE benefits with raided SSD. Bandwidth is like a pie and it all gets split up amongst the tasks at hand. Writes take the greatest toll on SSD performance and even reads get pulled down when the drive struggles.

I have a 6 drive SSD/R0 array and use an Adaptec 5805 for storage using R0 as well. Redundancy is easily achieved through the use of additional R0 HDD setups using just about every port possible on my system(19 drives with only 1 e-SATA port open, lol). HDD is dirt cheap and should be leveraged if speed is the major concern. IOW, use an R0 to back up your R0.


What an interesting setup - WOW. How does the Adaptec 5805 attach to the HDDs? I Googled it and the description wasn't very clear.

So your HDD R0 array backs up your R0 SSD array correct? and this is facilitated through the Adaptec 5805 RAID controller correct?
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May 20, 2011 5:42:17 AM

Best answer selected by flong.
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