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Examining Steady State Performance (Worst-Case)

OCZ Vertex 4 Review: A Flagship SSD Powered By...Indilinx?
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Clean Performance

Determining how an SSD is expected to perform over time requires “dirtying” it by filling user-accessible space with an incompressible sequential write. The point is to replicate a worst-case situation, where every available block has been written-to, leaving nothing free for the controller to use without first performing garbage collection.

Torture Performance

Worst-case steady-state performance testing involves writing over a full drive with 4 KB random writes. Because the drive is already packed, the controller doesn't have any empty blocks available. Writing again with sequential data forces garbage collection to occur, making this a far more strenuous exercise than the preceding test. This is important aspect of performance to inspect because it confirms the existence of efficient garbage collection. Because the Vertex 4 doesn't dedicate any capacity to over-provisioning, it's an especially critical metric to run.

We noticed that the original Everest controller (used to drive the Octane) primarily employed foreground garbage collection. That isn't the case with OCZ's Vertex 4.

The graphs above and below reveal a nice gradual performance recovery as garbage collection kicks in. Of course, in the real world, you probably won't see such an extreme situation where all blocks are dirty. More likely is that you'll have some free space available for the controller to use during idle periods for garbage collection. Combined with regularly emptying your Recycle Bin, triggering the TRIM command, you're almost assured to not see our worst-case scenario.

Display all 48 comments.
Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    CaedenV , April 4, 2012 6:22 PM
    JackNaylorPEWhen I built Son No.2 's box...

    You lucky dog! I wanted a similar naming system of "son 1, 2, 3" and "daughter 1, 2, 3" or even "Thing 1, 2, 3" but my wife would not let me :p 
    burnley14It's interesting because so many people have talked about how unreliable they are, but in my personal experience (a small sample size, granted) I've been very pleased with both the Vertex 2's performance and reliability and the Agility 3's. Maybe I'm just lucky.

    I completely agree, got a 60GB Solid 3 for my wife's PC about a year ago, and just picked up a much larger 240GB Agility 3 for myself. I have also put them in a few PCs for friends and have yet to have a single issue. I think a lot of the bad rap they got was due to bad firmwares that caused any number of issues, but after the last major update last summer I have not been hearing the same complaints.

    Also, are those boot times including POST? because my system boots in 9-10 sec after post, which is half the time of these scores and I don't even have a 'performance' SSD
Other Comments
  • 5 Hide
    compton , April 4, 2012 1:42 PM
    Octane was not a special and unique snowflake; Indeed, someone else's fingerprints were all over it. Vertex4 is certainly unique, but I fully expect the next round of drive launches using Marvell products to look like the V4, but possibly with some more balance.
  • 7 Hide
    billybobser , April 4, 2012 1:45 PM
    Seems to good to be true.

    We'll see how they are once they've been out in the open for 6 months when problems will/will not flare up.
  • 0 Hide
    maxinexus , April 4, 2012 2:00 PM
    As Billy said only time will tell. These preliminary tests are great and pricing is better but still SSD are expensive...we need to get to cents not dollars per GB. Anyway good start OCZ...now the only thing you need is your own NANDs...perhaps in few years
  • 3 Hide
    jgutz2006 , April 4, 2012 2:19 PM
    This is a great step and makes financial sense for OCZ to come to market with a competitive product and possibly undercut all the others. Its a no brainer im my world. Force Samsung to sell units with less profit margins
  • 8 Hide
    Branden , April 4, 2012 2:31 PM
    it'll be interesting to see how reliable these drives are and what their failure rate is going to be. OCZ's vertex 2 and 3 drives were horribly unreliable - in my experience 50% failure/DOA rate, my local shop said they see about 10% of them returned due to failure (and that's just within their 2 week return window alone).

    sorry OCZ, you've lost my business this time around. i've since replaced all my remaining OCZ SSD's with crucial m4's, they may not quite perform as well as your latest offerings but in my experience reliability > performance.
  • 3 Hide
    JackNaylorPE , April 4, 2012 2:40 PM
    When I built Son No.2 's box, we installed the Seagate Barracuda XT on Friday and measured boot times at 21.2 seconds to the Password entry screen. The Vertex 3 arrived on Monday and after installing that, we measured boot times at 15.6 seconds. Not commenting on the actual times as differences in hardware as well as testing parameters could push it in any direction, but what I will comment on is the HD choice for this test.

    My testing showed it took 36% extra time to boot off the HD instead of the HD. This test has it taking 226 % longer. If we're gonna test the best SSD's, I'd sure like to see a best in class HD added to the comparisons.
  • 3 Hide
    burnley14 , April 4, 2012 2:56 PM
    Brandenit'll be interesting to see how reliable these drives are and what their failure rate is going to be. OCZ's vertex 2 and 3 drives were horribly unreliable - in my experience 50% failure/DOA rate, my local shop said they see about 10% of them returned due to failure (and that's just within their 2 week return window alone).sorry OCZ, you've lost my business this time around. i've since replaced all my remaining OCZ SSD's with crucial m4's, they may not quite perform as well as your latest offerings but in my experience reliability > performance.

    It's interesting because so many people have talked about how unreliable they are, but in my personal experience (a small sample size, granted) I've been very pleased with both the Vertex 2's performance and reliability and the Agility 3's. Maybe I'm just lucky.
  • 5 Hide
    drwho1 , April 4, 2012 3:00 PM
    all I read was: support for 2TB... *drooling*
    Price for 2TB SSD?
    *not drooling anymore*
  • -4 Hide
    mitunchidamparam , April 4, 2012 3:42 PM
    ocz FTW
  • -4 Hide
    OntarioHero , April 4, 2012 4:33 PM
    Hmmm. Basically OCZ decided "Indilinx too slow! sod it, stick 1GB buffer in there!"
  • 1 Hide
    crewton , April 4, 2012 5:26 PM
    I love my vertex 2. I'm looking forward to seeing what ocz comes out with next!
  • 1 Hide
    iamtheking123 , April 4, 2012 5:27 PM
    I'd have like to see the 520 included in the benchmarks rather than the 320. Yeah it's higher priced but it's also the most reliable ssd on the market.
  • 10 Hide
    CaedenV , April 4, 2012 6:22 PM
    JackNaylorPEWhen I built Son No.2 's box...

    You lucky dog! I wanted a similar naming system of "son 1, 2, 3" and "daughter 1, 2, 3" or even "Thing 1, 2, 3" but my wife would not let me :p 
    burnley14It's interesting because so many people have talked about how unreliable they are, but in my personal experience (a small sample size, granted) I've been very pleased with both the Vertex 2's performance and reliability and the Agility 3's. Maybe I'm just lucky.

    I completely agree, got a 60GB Solid 3 for my wife's PC about a year ago, and just picked up a much larger 240GB Agility 3 for myself. I have also put them in a few PCs for friends and have yet to have a single issue. I think a lot of the bad rap they got was due to bad firmwares that caused any number of issues, but after the last major update last summer I have not been hearing the same complaints.

    Also, are those boot times including POST? because my system boots in 9-10 sec after post, which is half the time of these scores and I don't even have a 'performance' SSD
  • -1 Hide
    nagol567 , April 4, 2012 7:09 PM
    Looks nice but ill stick with a 120 second gen
  • 0 Hide
    jaquith , April 4, 2012 8:56 PM
    Outstanding IOPS!

    We really need SATA Express yesterday...SATA3 is saturated.
  • 2 Hide
    A Bad Day , April 4, 2012 8:57 PM
    How many 7200 RPM hard drives would it take to match OCZ's SSD? Seek time is out for sure, unless if a HDD manufacturer drops a 60k RPM HDD on the market.
  • 3 Hide
    acku , April 4, 2012 9:02 PM
    Quote:
    You lucky dog! I wanted a similar naming system of "son 1, 2, 3" and "daughter 1, 2, 3" or even "Thing 1, 2, 3" but my wife would not let me :p 

    I completely agree, got a 60GB Solid 3 for my wife's PC about a year ago, and just picked up a much larger 240GB Agility 3 for myself. I have also put them in a few PCs for friends and have yet to have a single issue. I think a lot of the bad rap they got was due to bad firmwares that caused any number of issues, but after the last major update last summer I have not been hearing the same complaints.

    Also, are those boot times including POST? because my system boots in 9-10 sec after post, which is half the time of these scores and I don't even have a 'performance' SSD

    From the time you hit the power button to desktop.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
  • 2 Hide
    acku , April 4, 2012 9:04 PM
    Quote:
    I'd have like to see the 520 included in the benchmarks rather than the 320. Yeah it's higher priced but it's also the most reliable ssd on the market.


    See our SSD 520 review. Basically same scores as Vertex 3 because they are both SandForce.
  • 3 Hide
    acku , April 4, 2012 9:05 PM
    Quote:
    Seems to good to be true.

    We'll see how they are once they've been out in the open for 6 months when problems will/will not flare up.


    Agreed!

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
  • 0 Hide
    freggo , April 4, 2012 9:24 PM
    HDs are here to stay for affordable mass storage for a few more years but SSDs are definitely getting to the point where you don't have a reason to NOT using one as a boot/system drive.

    How long until boxed PCs like Dell or HP will be offered with an affordable SSD/HD combo ?
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