The OCZ Vertex 2 Conspiracy: Lost Space, Lost Speed?

Benchmark Results: PCMark Vantage Storage Test

Overall, PCMark Vantage seems to actually like the 25 nm Vertex 2 drive better, going so far as to demonstrate a significant gain from upgrading OCZ's 1.11 firmware to 1.29 on the 34 nm-based SSD.

The tests that comprise PCMark’s HDD suite are much more difficult to interpret with regularity. Nevertheless, this is as close as we get to real-world workloads reflecting SSD performance.

Our results seem to be all over the place, ranging from exceptionally positive in favor of the new Vertex 2 to slightly disappointing. None of the scores, however, are as bad in these trace-based workloads as the CystalDiskMark numbers would have otherwise suggested.

It looks like the worst finish is in the Vista Startup Throughput metric, where the new Vertex 2 loses just over 7% of its score with the 1.29 firmware installed in the older drive. On the other hand, the best finish is in PCMark Vantage’s Windows Defender test, where the new SSD achieves a 56% improvement over its predecessor. Interestingly, both benchmarks, which use 4 KB blocks, are dominated by reads (Windows Defender is 99% reads, while Vista start-up is 84% reads).

The bottom line here is that, almost assuredly, there are more situations where the old and new Vertex 2 drives trade blows in real-world desktop environments, rather than the new drive simply hemorrhaging performance, as you might think after considering the Iometer and CDM benchmarks.

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  • Mushkin.com have a letter posted on the website that they will not be going to 25nm as the drives life cycle is less than half that of a 3*nm drive. Also the performance is not there.
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  • LeekayMushkin.com have a letter posted on the website that they will not be going to 25nm as the drives life cycle is less than half that of a 3*nm drive. Also the performance is not there.


    Depending on supply of 34 nm NAND, that's probably not a sustainable position to take. IMFT isn't going to decide to shift back to 34 nm.

    At the risk of contradicting myself, Intel will be using 34 nm NAND on its next-gen 6 Gb/s Elmcrest drives. It's not like the flash isn't disappearing entirely, but the vendors making the switch seem to be motivated largely by cost-cutting reasons.
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  • Nicely done Mr. Angelini; however, I still think OCZ pulled a nasty car-salesman tactic on their newest 25 nm NAND SSD products, and as such will be looking elsewhere to purchase any future SSD. Blaming resellers or other sources for the SKU is an incompetent way of deflecting fault and has made them look even more silly.
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  • Thanks radiovan. Like I mentioned in the story, we'll have to see if companies like Corsair and Patriot are able to get their upcoming renamed SKUs onto Newegg, Tigerdirect, Zipzoom, etc.
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  • Ok, but when will we be able to buy ssd's that are $100 @ 1TB capacity?
    -1
  • 1.29 Firmware....how nice... pity that ocz only documents 1.28 for the moment.

    And then again why not update the 25nm to 1.29 too?

    But I guess consistency is not always wished when trying to demonstrate something
    -1
  • binoyskiOk, but when will we be able to buy ssd's that are $100 @ 1TB capacity?

    in about 10 years or so....that's a very big maybe
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  • Don't lie, Chris. We all know you still have (and love) that little Miata.
    -Devin
    -1
  • binoyskiOk, but when will we be able to buy ssd's that are $100 @ 1TB capacity?


    when you throw a shoes to bush again meaby lol
    -1
  • It is all about profit.

    The real reason is that going to cheaper flash with a 3000 cycle life to reduce the total cost of production (and therefore increase profit) means ... increasing the amount of redundant memory to replace the flash that dies due to wear ... and that process means better error correction is required to achieve that ... therefore performance is effected.

    Chris ... I got it into one sentence ... albeit a horrible one.

    Nice article mate.
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  • meanon1.29 Firmware....how nice... pity that ocz only documents 1.28 for the moment.And then again why not update the 25nm to 1.29 too?But I guess consistency is not always wished when trying to demonstrate something


    Update your drive with the 1.28 toolbox--it'll show up as 1.29 :)
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  • Well normally moving to smaller production technology has mean better performance. I am not sure if the new situation where newer technolygy is inferior compared to old took manufactures by surprice?
    But in anyway their own tests should have shown it...
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  • Mazda did the same thing in 2004 with the RX-8. Originally advertised 255hp dropped to 238 and it offered to buy back cars.

    Very bad move on OCZ's part. Justified or not, many people who hear this news will not be buying an OCZ drive.
    2
  • Great article.

    It appears as if OCZ was the first to market which would normally mean press releases, announcements, lots of hoopla, and technical reviews. Instead, OCZ chose to remain silent until customers complained. Silence had to be a management decision. What did management know?
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  • BTW - Veteran posters at Tom's Hardware might remember what happened when OCZ acquired PC Power and Cooling. PCP&C had some of the best high quality power supplies available until OCZ acquired the company.
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  • The same was for Toyota with his brakes problems few years ago.

    OCZ is a good manufacturer, but at this point when they are out of the RAM business, they need fix that problems and avoid futures ones if OCZ as company wants be on the market for more years in future.
    -1
  • So they pushed out a cheaper less performing model with same name and stayed quiet about it, not the best way to get customers to return to the brand!

    I don't like the idea of 25nm flash for several reasons, reliability is my main concern. Sure there are better block handeling in the last gen sandforce controllers (vertex3) but what about quicker dying cells and when the controller runs out of spare cells! When it comes to storage i rather let the tech mature at the expense of early adopters (paying betatesters!?) than have to restore an old backup and hassle with RMA.
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  • The "mistake" by OCZ was not a mistake at all.
    They are doing the same thing as before...
    With their Rally 2 USB drives to be specific.
    The Rally 2 did not have a model change at all (although it did have a different LED color), but users suddenly found out the new Rally 2 drives did not work in Xbox 360s and were slower.

    OCZ has been great with their SSD customer support, but this fiasco was a huge slap in the face to all of their fans.
    I know my next SSD will most likely be another brand unless the price is considerably less.
    It will most likely be a Corsair, Crucial, or Intel. Corsair, because they were completely up front with their transition to 25nm and will also continue to have the Sandforce based chips for their future SSDs.
    1
  • Good job, Chris.

    I'm glad the crew at Toms is on the case. A thorough analysis indeed. Keep it up.

    As a side note, I think I may stick with the 34u NAND drives for my third SSD purchase. I would always like more performance, but an SSD is basically destroying itself slowly. The biggest chunk of performance is gained simply by transitioning from HDD to SSD for OS and applications. Everyone wants a faster drive, but I also want my drives to last for a while. I'm concerned that reliability of ALL devices may suffer with smaller lithography. Maybe is't unwarranted concern. Time will tell.
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  • I got the 120GB Vertex 2 on the Jan 31 Shell Shocker on Newegg, since then I have been UNHAPPY with its performance. Now I know why.....I also had noticed the performance was lower than it should be

    I got the drive and threw it in the desktop to test before putting it in the laptop. Everything looked good. Threw it in the laptop and installed Windows 7 and a few basic programs. Performance now SUCKED (read was like 5% slow - 25% in 4k, and writes were all about %50 of what they should have been). Angry, I thought, maybe the laptop is bottlenecking it, threw the drive back in the desktop. Lo and behold, same abysmal performance. This was all with the drive having an on-time of about 45 hours since manufacturing......virtually NO use. I have now secure-erased the drive and that seems to have temporarily restored performance although the 4k speeds are still about 10 MB/s low (high 20's instead of high 30's)

    I have 6 SSDs right now and this is the only one I do not like. I am actually the happiest with the A-Data S599 rebrands that MicroCenter is selling (the $110 64GB ones - got 3).

    SO, I am interested in this thing that OCZ is doing, is that simply changing the chip density or also getting you a drive with 34nm chips on it? Will either do that or have newegg swap the drive with a different brand for me
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