Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Optimizing Performance, Like Vertex 4

OCZ Vertex 450 256 GB SSD Review: Can We Call It Vector Jr.?
By

Performance Versus Capacity

Nothing surprising happens if we read sequentially across these drives at a queue depth of one. The Barefoot-based SSDs don't perform as well as the Plextor drive, but that's not a big deal. Frankly, this isn't what we were looking for anyway; we need to switch to writes.

Now this is more like it. Plextor's M5 Pro does exactly what we expect it to. But both OCZ drives lose a ton of performance after 50% of their capacity is filled. We see a few transient drops prior to that point, but past the halfway point, throughput looks a lot bleaker. The 200,000 KB/s we're showing is equivalent to 195 MB/s, and neither drive even sustains that. As it turns out, OCZ is using the same kind of SLC emulation mode we identified in OCZ Vertex 4 128 GB: Revisiting Write Performance With Firmware 1.5. When there isn't much data being processed, the information fits into the pseudo-SLC envelope. But once the drive is hammered, it has to swap some of what it has stored around. When that data is on the drive for long enough, it eventually figures out where to put everything. But in the interim, performance is certainly impacted.

We don't know much about how this process works, but it's clearly an attempt to work smarter, rather than harder. Without it, the Vertex 450 wouldn't have the front-end speed to put it at the top of the stack. It's reasonable to assume that this fits in to OCZ's desire to round out its platform with more premium SSDs able to command higher prices. Slugging it out at the bottom-end is tough when your competition manufactures flash as well. So, focusing on performance-oriented SSDs does seem like a better long-term strategy.

Performance Versus Time

In concept, this is similar to the charts we just presented. We're just plotting write speed over time, or how long it takes to sequentially write to the entire accessible LBA space. Plextor isn't as fast to start, but it sustains higher average throughput. That means its M5 Pro finishes first, taking 560 seconds to write from the first LBA to the last. OCZ's Vertex 450 and Vector are a different story. They spend just a fraction of their time writing more than 500 MB/s. The other three-quarters occurs south of the 200 MB/s mark. In other words, the Vertex 450 takes an additional 400 seconds to write the allocated capacity once.

But what about a second consecutive fill?

The second fill occurs immediately after the first; there's no time for background garbage collection or any other downtime optimization. Neither OCZ drive takes as long to finish this task, averaging higher performance than the fill preceding it. Since the entire accessible space is already full at this point, all three drives are writing almost exclusively over used blocks.

OCZ's Vector puts some distance on the Vertex 450, but doesn't break away completely. Despite a messier-looking data series, the two OCZ drives complete the second fill faster, while the M5 Pro's run is unchanged. We can see the Vector and Vertex 450 clawing to get back to a better performance state. Specifically, the Vertex 450 spends half of the run approaching 350 MB/s. But once it does, it stays there. The Vector is similar, hugging 400 MB/s after grinding its way back up.

Now, here's the thing: during normal usage (even in taxing workloads), you're going to be hard-pressed to spot this behavior. Other companies are using SLC NAND emulation (notably SanDisk), but more as multi-tiered caching approach. OCZ appears to implement its strategy at a global level, less granularly. Without more information from the vendor, it's difficult to comment definitively. But it's fair to say the company's optimization does work, particularly in our Storage Bench trace on the next page.

Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the Reviews comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

Display all 27 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    boulbox , May 27, 2013 9:35 PM
    Kinda wanted to see 840 pro match up with it too. Guess it doesn't really matter since we could just go find your other benchies on it and compare it ourselves but i thought it would just be nice to have it up there.
Other Comments
  • 12 Hide
    boulbox , May 27, 2013 9:35 PM
    Kinda wanted to see 840 pro match up with it too. Guess it doesn't really matter since we could just go find your other benchies on it and compare it ourselves but i thought it would just be nice to have it up there.
  • 1 Hide
    Faisal Mahmood , May 27, 2013 9:37 PM
    Speed and performance are fine but what really counts is reliability which OCZ does not have. I had to RMA Vertex 2 twice and both times it lasted 8 months. Before that I invested in an Intel x25-m and it is still going strong.
  • 3 Hide
    s3anister , May 27, 2013 10:55 PM
    Just bought another 840 Pro. Really can't trust OCZ anymore after so many failed Vertex 3s.
  • 2 Hide
    slomo4sho , May 27, 2013 10:56 PM
    It is pretty common to find quality SSDs in the $0.55-0.65/GB range these days. Game coupon aside, the price of this SSD isn't all that competitive.
  • 3 Hide
    technerd , May 27, 2013 11:00 PM
    Faisal MahmoodSpeed and performance are fine but what really counts is reliability which OCZ does not have. I had to RMA Vertex 2 twice and both times it lasted 8 months. Before that I invested in an Intel x25-m and it is still going strong.

    SAME! I'm going to Samsung for my next SSD. OCZ's reliability is a joke
  • 1 Hide
    kitsunestarwind , May 27, 2013 11:31 PM
    I love OCZ The Vertex4 series SSDs have been nothing but rock solid reliable, much better then their earlier offerings and the problems with the Vertex2/3 series drives
  • 3 Hide
    cryan , May 28, 2013 1:40 AM
    slomo4shoIt is pretty common to find quality SSDs in the $0.55-0.65/GB range these days. Game coupon aside, the price of this SSD isn't all that competitive.


    The Vector gets the Far Cry 3 coupon until July 14th while the Vertex 450 doesn't get it at all. If you're having to choose between the two, the Vector is probably the better bet unless the V450 is significantly cheaper. It's hard to say what the Vertex 450 will cost once generally available, but it'd be prudent to expect prices to be higher for the first few weeks. Initially, the Vertex 450 will probably be near the $235 mark, only a few bucks less than the Vector (about $15). Is it worth giving up two years of warranty and a FC3 coupon to save $15? You be the judge.

    Regards,
    Christopher Ryan
  • 4 Hide
    cryan , May 28, 2013 1:55 AM
    boulboxKinda wanted to see 840 pro match up with it too. Guess it doesn't really matter since we could just go find your other benchies on it and compare it ourselves but i thought it would just be nice to have it up there.


    Stay tuned, because we're working on it. I've been rebuilding the entire database of comparative consumer SSD performance data, and some drives haven't been done yet for one reason or another. In some cases, it's due to time constraints. In other cases, acquiring or reacquiring particular SSDs has been problematic.


    Regards,
    Christopher Ryan
  • 1 Hide
    dgingeri , May 28, 2013 6:21 AM
    I'd like to see it's relative performance compared to a Vertex 4. I have two Vertex 4 drives, a 256 and a 128, and I've been wondering how these new drives would compare, and if they're worth spending the money to swap with my Vertex drives.
  • 2 Hide
    iknowhowtofixit , May 28, 2013 6:35 AM
    I find it interesting that there are almost no benches relating to real world performance. Toms has said in the past that there are diminishing returns beyond a certain performance level for SSDs.

    Why not show some graphs of loading screens in games, Windows start-up times, and other tangible performance metrics instead of a bunch of graphs that mean very little to anyone other than the few who use consumer class SSDs for enterprise applications?

    I'm not saying that we take out the synthetic benchmarks. Just that there should be some real world ones added in.
  • 2 Hide
    raidtarded , May 28, 2013 7:31 AM
    Later in its life, the Vertex 4 shipped with Micron NAND, eschewing Intel's flash for a slight performance drop and better pricing.

    Doesn't Intel and Micron use the same NAND via the IMFT partnership?
  • 0 Hide
    ericjohn004 , May 28, 2013 7:37 AM
    I agree with another poster that said there should be more real world benchmarks. Like Windows 7/8 boot times, shut-down times, game load times, programs load times, and such.

    I would have also like to see the Samsung 840 Pro in there. Afterall, it's the fastest SSD to date, it should be included in any SSD article even if it takes a couple more days to get it.

    Personally, I really like Plextors drive. It really impressed me. If the 840 Pro weren't out I'd get one of those. Too bad I already own a Crucial m4 256GB, Crucial m4 64GB mSATA, Kingston HyperX 3K, and Samsung 840. None of these drives have given me any problems. I buy SSD's based on reliability and price. Buying drives based on performance only you end up spending 50$ more for nothing. I got my 840 and 3K for 89.99, whereas if I would have got an 840 Pro it would have been 149.99, or right now it's still 129.99. That's 40-60$ more for pretty much nothing.
  • -1 Hide
    falchard , May 28, 2013 9:39 AM
    lol there is nothing wrong with OCZs reliability. Most of the Vertex 3 performed exactly how OCZ specified. SSD have a finite lifespan that no manufacturer will overcome. If you want something that won't fail in 3-5 years than get an HDD, an SSD will fail in that time.
  • -2 Hide
    danwat1234 , May 28, 2013 1:01 PM
    @Falchard an SSD is usually much more reliable than a mechanical hard drive. It can handle 100s of Terabytes of writes in it's lifetime, other than that, there is no wear that occurs.
  • 2 Hide
    g-unit1111 , May 28, 2013 1:19 PM
    Quote:
    Faisal MahmoodSpeed and performance are fine but what really counts is reliability which OCZ does not have. I had to RMA Vertex 2 twice and both times it lasted 8 months. Before that I invested in an Intel x25-m and it is still going strong.

    SAME! I'm going to Samsung for my next SSD. OCZ's reliability is a joke


    OCZ's reliability used to be a joke because they used the same garbage Sandforce 2.0 controller that was known to have so many bugs that it plagued every drive it touched. I had an Intel 320 that used the same controller - thing was a nightmare, errors, BSODs left and right, you name it. Swapped it for a Vertex 4 - have not had a single issue with the drive and I've owned it for almost a year now. People need to stop taking the things they say in store reviews so seriously - 90% of the time they're complete BS.
  • 2 Hide
    alextheblue , May 28, 2013 4:30 PM
    boulboxKinda wanted to see 840 pro match up with it too. Guess it doesn't really matter since we could just go find your other benchies on it and compare it ourselves but i thought it would just be nice to have it up there.
    Regular 840 would be nice to have on the graphs too, just to see how close you can get for substantially less coin, and from a reliable manufacturer too.

    But it sounds like Chris is on the case! Thanks in advance. :D 
  • 0 Hide
    cryan , May 28, 2013 7:56 PM
    ericjohn004I agree with another poster that said there should be more real world benchmarks. Like Windows 7/8 boot times, shut-down times, game load times, programs load times, and such.I would have also like to see the Samsung 840 Pro in there. Afterall, it's the fastest SSD to date, it should be included in any SSD article even if it takes a couple more days to get it.Personally, I really like Plextors drive.


    We're working on a suite of "real world" test scenarios. The problem you run into is, just about all modern SSDs perform the same. Take boot time for example. The difference between the fastest SSD and the slowest SATA III SSDs is pretty miniscule. Half a second could cover the entire field. Is it a good metric because it shows there isn't much difference in that case, or is it not very helpful for just that reason?


    Regards,
    Christopher Ryan
  • 0 Hide
    dhemp , May 28, 2013 10:40 PM
    I'm sorry if I missed this in the review, but is that an mSATA on the opposite end of the board, and would it be functional?
  • 0 Hide
    boulbox , May 28, 2013 10:47 PM
    @dhemp

    Yea looks a lot like an mSata. It would be cool if it could be run though an mSata but i think the chip is too big.
  • 0 Hide
    Eric Van Boven , May 28, 2013 11:22 PM
    Actually there was. I had 5 vertex 1 fail on me. Company sent out a new vertex 1 each time. Then they finally upgraded me to vertex 2 which just died yesterday. Vertex 4 still going strong, but I have switched to samsung 840 pros now for 3 machines and will not be looking back. SSD's should not fail in a year when just doing normal everyday stuff on them (no benchmarking, no overclocking, different machines different types of users).

    falchardlol there is nothing wrong with OCZs reliability. Most of the Vertex 3 performed exactly how OCZ specified. SSD have a finite lifespan that no manufacturer will overcome. If you want something that won't fail in 3-5 years than get an HDD, an SSD will fail in that time.

Display more comments