OCZ Vertex 4 128 GB: Revisiting Write Performance With Firmware 1.5

Firmware 1.4.1.3: hIOmon Disk I/O Ranger

We first introduced the hIOmon Disk I/O Ranger in our article, In The Lab With Seagate's Momentus XT 750 GB Hybrid HDD. The Disk I/O Ranger provides a Data Transferred/Time Index, which we'll refer to as DXTI. The DXTI is really just a high-level means for relative comparison of I/O performance, where a higher number corresponds to better performance (more data transferred and/or less response time).

The hIOmon DXTI metric is calculated by taking the observed amount of data transferred, converted from I/O operations to megabytes for scaling), and dividing by the combined sum of the observed time durations (actual response times) of the I/O operations responsible for transferring that data. You can think of it like a car's fuel economy index insofar as it conveys performance efficiency. It is comparable to more miles driven (more data transferred) for fuel used (response time taken to transfer this data). Or, similarly, the same number of miles driven (data transferred) using less fuel (lower response time).

To obtain our DXTI, we configured the Disk I/O Ranger to monitor at the physical volume level, which records activity between the volume manager and the disk class driver. Then, we created a number of different-sized folders and filled them with MP3 files in preparation for monitoring performance. Once we created the folders, we transferred them to the Vertex 4, as outlined on the preceding page. 

Our first set of results is generated with Windows 7 installed on the Vertex 4, leaving 63% free space as we started the file transfers. In the chart below, the percentage of free space corresponds to what was available before we started moving files.

Our index drops by half between the first and third folders, with the reduction more pronounced as free space disappears. This again indicates lower write performance in the face of less available capacity.

Deleting the third folder and rebooting helped improve the DXTI so that, when folder four was transferred, performance improved. However, the index still fell short of our earlier results. Deleting folders one, two, and four, and then rebooting, also yielded a higher index, though it continues to lag the first two results we generated.

Deleting files rapidly allows the Vertex 4's write speeds to recover. Even after this recovery, though, write performance is influenced by the amount of available space.

Our second set of results is measured on the Vertex 4 set up as secondary storage, allowing us to start our test procedure with 100% available capacity.

As long as there's at least 50% free space available, the Vertex 4 performs optimally and recovers its performance nicely.

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34 comments
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  • DeusAres
    Good idea I suppose. Nothing that's going to particularly influence my decision. Probably gonna be sticking with either a Crucial or Corsair SSD. :)
    -3
  • mayankleoboy1
    on pages 6 and 7, the author of the article is shown as "Chris angelini"
    the rest of the pages show "Richard Hart"
    0
  • mayankleoboy1
    does the rearrangement of data occur only during a reboot cycle?
    how much idle time is needed for the data rearrangement to take place?
    And what is the authors recommendation on a Vertex4? should a user buy Vertex 4 over a Samsung/Sandforce?
    0
  • lutel
    Does this SDD support full disk encryption with any of the Intel desktop mainboards (Ivy Bridge)? AFAIK Intel is not supporting FDE since Q67 and although Q77 is capable of FDE, there is no mobo with BIOS that can support it. Could Tomshardware investigate it?
    0
  • TheSandman
    So keep the disk under half full and it wears out twice as fast?
    Does the performance mode mean that the wear leveling is constrained to the first bit of every cell and therefore the drive wears out quicker compared to normal mode?
    0
  • Anonymous
    I went from firmware 1.3 to 1.5, the performance increase is huge, but the down side is that the drive is not 128GB anymore but only 120GB. Has anyone else seen this issue also? Did OCZ reserve more spare?
    -2
  • JohnnyLucky
    How many additional firmware updates are needed before OCZ gets it right?
    -4
  • redgarl
    AnonymousI went from firmware 1.3 to 1.5, the performance increase is huge, but the down side is that the drive is not 128GB anymore but only 120GB. Has anyone else seen this issue also? Did OCZ reserve more spare?

    It is actually occuring with update 1.4. Hmm, damn I need to do another clone disk before doing the update.
    -2
  • kissingman
    Bother! I just purchased one.The more worse is this one has updated to firmware 1.4.
    -3
  • blazorthon
    JohnnyLuckyHow many additional firmware updates are needed before OCZ gets it right?


    Do you dislike manufacturers improving their products without demanding that you pay more money for the improvements?
    7
  • Anonymous
    ohnnyLucky :

    How many additional firmware updates are needed before OCZ gets it right?

    such a stupid comment. don't download any more updates from nvidia or amd then!
    8
  • rebel1280
    iceman343431ohnnyLucky :How many additional firmware updates are needed before OCZ gets it right?such a stupid comment. don't download any more updates from nvidia or amd then!

    i agreed and i gave you a thumbs up to bring you back to level insead of -1, some people are just ignorant.
    -4
  • fausto412
    i am confused, all the hand wringing over SSD performance...does it matter to the end user who just uses internet browsers, windows and loads a game or two?
    0
  • theconsolegamer
    And still SSD's are better suited to boot drives.
    -1
  • blazorthon
    fausto412i am confused, all the hand wringing over SSD performance...does it matter to the end user who just uses internet browsers, windows and loads a game or two?


    The average user and even somewhat above average users probably won't be able to effectively use very high end SSDs any better than much lower end SSDs. Many people can use the performance advantage, but most people probably won't unless they really try to in an unrealistic situation, such as a storage benchmark. End users who do more than minor internet browsing and such can find the performance advantage of high end SSDs almost vital to their usage.
    1
  • husker
    fausto412i am confused, all the hand wringing over SSD performance...does it matter to the end user who just uses internet browsers, windows and loads a game or two?

    Are you also confused about 4 bedroom houses, cars, and gourmet cooking? Because there are some people who live alone, prefer to walk, and eat salads.
    -2
  • Traum
    Anonymous said:
    So keep the disk under half full and it wears out twice as fast?
    Does the performance mode mean that the wear leveling is constrained to the first bit of every cell and therefore the drive wears out quicker compared to normal mode?

    I think you are mis-interpreting that a bit. I would look at it as an either or scenario -- either you keep the disk less than half full, or you suffer from the drive wearing out faster. Only 1 of the 2 will occur.

    Having said that, it does raise some concerns for me when the drive is more than 1/2 full. Realistically speaking, I think the market would be better served if manufacturers simply go with 2 tiers of SSD drives -- one using MLC for slower but high capacity drives, and the other using SLC for faster but lower capacity drives. Using MLC chips and making them behave like SLC at the cost of significantly reduced life seems like a poor idea to me.
    -1
  • blazorthon
    TraumI think you are mis-interpreting that a bit. I would look at it as an either or scenario -- either you keep the disk less than half full, or you suffer from the drive wearing out faster. Only 1 of the 2 will occur.Having said that, it does raise some concerns for me when the drive is more than 1/2 full. Realistically speaking, I think the market would be better served if manufacturers simply go with 2 tiers of SSD drives -- one using MLC for slower but high capacity drives, and the other using SLC for faster but lower capacity drives. Using MLC chips and making them behave like SLC at the cost of significantly reduced life seems like a poor idea to me.


    The lifetime is unlikely to change because of this. The NAND flash cells are almost always the longest lasting part of a drive by far. If anything, the drive would probably fail due to the power circuitry, firmware, controller, etc. etc. before flash cells start failing.
    0
  • fausto412
    huskerAre you also confused about 4 bedroom houses, cars, and gourmet cooking? Because there are some people who live alone, prefer to walk, and eat salads.


    first let me call you ASSHOLE.
    second, let me answer: SSD's are complicated and still evolving storage instruments, you can't find 2 web sites testing them the same as you do with video cards, results change with each firmware update and from brand to brand even when the same controller and nand is used. If the shit isn't confusing to you then pint a rose on your nose but I wasn't an early adopter and haven't followed the ins and outs over the last 4 years. Now that i am considering an SSD I would like to find out from people who have paid attention what the deal is.

    No i don't get confused by 4 bedroom houses, cars, and gourmet cooking? that i've visited before, driven before or ate before.
    Smart ass.
    -2
  • apache_lives
    JohnnyLuckyHow many additional firmware updates are needed before OCZ gets it right?


    another patch or 10

    this is why i stick to Intel SSD's - they WORK
    -6