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4 KB Random Performance: Throughput

The OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 Preview: Second-Gen SandForce Goes PCIe
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Our Storage Bench v1.0 mixes random and sequential operations. However, it's still important to isolate 4 KB random performance, because that's such a large portion of what you're doing on a day-to-day basis. Right after Storage Bench v1.0, we subjected the drives to Iometer to test random 4 KB performance. But why specifically 4 KB?

When you open Firefox, browse multiple Web pages, and write a few documents, you're mostly performing small random read and write operations. The chart above comes from analyzing Storage Bench v.10, but it epitomizes what you'll see when you analyze any trace from a desktop computer. Notice that close to 70% of all of our accesses are eight sectors in size (512 bytes per sector, thus 4 KB).

We're restricting Iometer to test an LBA space of 16 GB because a fresh install of a 64-bit version of Windows 7 takes up nearly that amount of space. In a way, this examines the performance that you would see from accessing various scattered file dependencies, caches, and temporary files.

If you're a typical PC user, it's important to examine performance at a queue depth of one. However, the RevoDrive 3 X2 is anything but a typical SSD. OCZ envisions high queue depth use. That really shows up in the random read performance line graph.

At lower queue depths, the 256 GB and 512 GB m4s, 256 GB C300, and even the older RevoDrive X2 outpace the RevoDrive 3 X2. Once you move up to queue depths above eight, OCZ's latest PCIe SSD leaves everything else in the dust as it approaches 700 MB/s (~175 000 IOPS).

If you're a hard drive owner, this benchmark is really a worst-case scenario. Seagate's 5400.6 only achieves random reads of 0.6 MB/s random read rate, 150x slower than the 64 GB m4.

The RevoDrive 3 X2 performs better in random writes. Even at a queue depth of one, its write rate of 224.6 MB/s is only outpaced by the 256 GB and 512 GB m4s. However, the margin of difference is very small among the top five SSDs. The RevoDrive 3 X2 really starts to make its stand once you look at queue depths above four. At a queue depth of eight, you're almost pushing 800 MB/s (~200 000 IOPs).

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  • 3 Hide
    reyshan , June 28, 2011 10:26 AM
    YoT!damn fast ssd and damn expensive ssd. might buy one 5 years from now(pci-e kind).
  • 2 Hide
    KingArcher , June 28, 2011 4:15 PM
    Wish I had won a lottery :) 
    So that I could afford me some drives like these.
  • 6 Hide
    Why_Me , June 28, 2011 4:29 PM
    omg this drive is fast! But way out of my budget :( 
  • 4 Hide
    warmon6 , June 28, 2011 4:30 PM
    Quote:
    It's not a business-class product. It's for the power user who is able to tax it using the right workload. If you're not one of those folks, the RevoDrive 3 X2 is seriously overkill.


    OVERKILL?!?!

    Nothing is overkill in the computer arena in terms of performance. :p 

    Just the price can be over kill. o.0
  • 7 Hide
    julius 85 , June 28, 2011 4:34 PM
    Just the price can be over kill. o.0

    For me the price is a bottleneck :) 
  • 7 Hide
    ElectroGoofy , June 28, 2011 4:39 PM
    Dear Santa...
  • 2 Hide
    acku , June 28, 2011 4:42 PM
    Santa is going to need a bigger expense account... :) 

    Personally, I'm hoping that OCZ adds TRIM prior to September.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
  • -1 Hide
    chefboyeb , June 28, 2011 5:21 PM
    Jesus!
  • -2 Hide
    greenrider02 , June 28, 2011 5:43 PM
    I saw defense of the Vertex 3's occasional low numbers, but no mention of the solid (and sometimes better) performance that the cheaper and more miserly Crucial m4 showed throughout your tests.

    Perhaps you have some bias towards the Vertex 3 that needs reconsideration?

    Other than that, $700 seems like a fair price when considering the performace difference, especially if utilized properly, for instance as a high traffic web/corporate server
  • 0 Hide
    acku , June 28, 2011 5:51 PM
    greenrider02I saw defense of the Vertex 3's occasional low numbers, but no mention of the solid (and sometimes better) performance that the cheaper and more miserly Crucial m4 showed throughout your tests.Perhaps you have some bias towards the Vertex 3 that needs reconsideration?Other than that, $700 seems like a fair price when considering the performace difference, especially if utilized properly, for instance as a high traffic web/corporate server


    If you read the first page then you know that I give a nod to Vertex 3s as the fastest MLC based 2.5" SSD. I consider that plenty of love. :) .

    We'll discuss the lower capacity m4s in another article. FYI, I suggest that you read page 5 and page 6. We are not testing FOB. We are testing steady state. That's part of the reason the SF-based drives are behaving differently with incompressible data.

    On your second point, this is in no way targeted toward an enterprise environment (that's what Z-drives are for). There is no redundancy in the array if a single SF controller fails. The whole card is a dud afterward. You can add higher level redundancy, but enterprise customers have so far been nervous on SandForce products. Plus, there's a general preference for hardware vs. software redundancy. (That's them talking not me). Overall, this makes it unacceptable for any enterprise class workload.




  • 0 Hide
    Supertrek32 , June 28, 2011 5:54 PM
    You know, almost any application that would actually benefit from these speeds won't be very effective on these drives. Why? Not enough storage space.

    It's like having a car that can do 300 miles an hour, but can only carry enough fuel to go 20 miles. Does it have a niche? Yeah. Is it practical? Not really.
  • 0 Hide
    cronos177 , June 28, 2011 6:13 PM
    In a couple of years I see them for like 1/2 the price. ONLY worth it for people who earn their paychecks based on the ability to finish task faster. that's the sole purpose at the moment.
  • 1 Hide
    guzami77 , June 28, 2011 6:16 PM
    I have the X2 100GB... im not that impressed. The speed isnt meeting specs, and other hardware/software doesnt always like a PCIe(non-standard) hard drive. Also dont forget you cant overclock your PCIe voltage with one of these...
  • 0 Hide
    acku , June 28, 2011 6:18 PM
    guzami77I have the X2 100GB... im not that impressed. The speed isnt meeting specs, and other hardware/software doesnt always like a PCIe(non-standard) hard drive. Also dont forget you cant overclock your PCIe voltage with one of these...


    I really recommend that you update the firmware. I do notice a speed difference. If you've seen our compressible benchmarks, then you know that over time the RevoDrive X2 can perform poorly. The lack of TRIM doesn't help. :( 
  • 1 Hide
    chefboyeb , June 28, 2011 6:20 PM
    The prices are too steep tho...
  • 0 Hide
    compton , June 28, 2011 6:36 PM
    This is an excellent exploration of SSD performance in general. Without the benefit of storage benches I myself have been wondering why one of my SSDs seems so much faster that the other, when it seems at face value that the answer should be clear.

    As far as OCZ goes, people who can benefit from this drive are a small group, but I'm not exactly sure who that is. Sure, its fantastically fast, and faster is better, but most people would tragically under-utilize a product like this. Since it's clearly not for enterprise use, I just have to guess what a typical user looks like for this device. Is it the high end media creation freelancer? Someone who makes their bones with Photoshop? Who knows? I want one, even though I'd clearly be better served by a more pedestrian drive. It's clearly destined for the "Cool Wall".
  • 2 Hide
    acku , June 28, 2011 6:43 PM
    Ok. I feel like I need to clear up some confusion. Some sites are reporting TRIM support and we're saying there is no TRIM support.

    The RevoDrive 3 X2 has hardware support for TRIM through VCA 2.0. This much is true, but you can't use TRIM because of a software problem. As for why?

    OCZ has a problem getting the TRIM command to the RevoDrive 3 X2, because it uses SCSI commands over PCIe, hence StorPort SCSI drivers. The TRIM command is out of the question because it's technically part of SATA. The only alternative is Unmap, which is to SCSI what TRIM is to SATA. Unfortunately, Windows does not support Unmap as part of its native driver stack. Furthermore, TRIM commands are only issued by Windows 7 when you empty the Recycle Bin, but you must have your SSD set to AHCI (part of SATA). Obviously this different from SCSI. So effectively no TRIM. :( 

    We have been in contact with the Windows driver team and OCZ, so we know that a fix is being explored. If it materializes, that's another matter....

    (RevoDrive and RevoDrive X2 don't don't support TRIM at the hardware level, so the issue is moot for them.)

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
  • 2 Hide
    Niva , June 28, 2011 6:47 PM
    Ideal user would run massive databases that need tons of accesses all the time. Are there drivers for linux for this? Small business server with the right usage will make this worth it. Also the 'trim' issue should be a non-issue under linux whereas win 7 apparently doesn't include the unmap command.
  • 2 Hide
    christop , June 28, 2011 9:05 PM
    Crazy fast!!!
  • 0 Hide
    warmon6 , June 28, 2011 9:45 PM
    __-_-_-__$700?! wow that's a nice price. Though performance @1.25gbps is kind of low for a pci-e solution. there's already on the market +2gbps. anyway those cost +$7000!I'm going to wait and see if there's any defect with this ssd's...


    Where you get Gbps (= Gigabits) from? ;)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_rate_units#Suffix:_b_vs_B

    Were talking about GBps (Gigabytes). :p 
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