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

OCZ Vertex 4 Write Performance, Revisited

A couple of weeks back, we followed up our OCZ Vertex 4 Review: A Flagship SSD Powered By...Indilinx? story with hands-on time in the lab using a newer firmware version. Normally, it'd be difficult for us to retest a piece of hardware we already reviewed just because the vendor introduced fresh software for it. However, OCZ made big claims about the gains expected from its 1.4 release. We wanted to know more.

In OCZ Vertex 4 128 GB: Testing Write Performance With Firmware 1.4, we confirmed notable improvements in sequential write performance using our 128 GB sample. However, we also discovered that, after writing to more than 50% of the drive's capacity, throughput fell off significantly.

OCZ provided us with an explanation for this behavior, simultaneously suggesting how it procured its extra performance and why speed tapered off after the 128 GB model, specifically, filled beyond 50%. To paraphrase, the company noticed that many folks were leaving lots of space unused on their SSDs. So, it could afford to change the behavior of its garbage collection algorithm depending on available capacity. Below 50%, it'd operate in a "performance" mode. Otherwise, it'd switch back to a more conservative "storage" mode.

One of our goals here at Tom's Hardware is to test the latest hardware thoroughly, so that you can be sure you have a complete look at performance before making a buying decision. OCZ's claim that the Vertex 4 should recover compelled us to collect even more data. We started with a new procedure suggested by the staff at OCZ. But then the company released a new Vertex 4 firmware: a beta version of version 1.5. A week later, it uploaded a final build of 1.5. It's currently available as a stable release on OCZ's support site. Now, we have a couple of new variables to put through our gauntlet.

Vertex 4: Firmware 1.5

OCZ lists the following enhancements to firmware 1.5:

  • Improved sequential file transfer performance for 128, 256, and 512 GB models
  • Optimized idle garbage collection algorithms to extend the benefits of performance mode by enabling the feature across a greater percentage of the drive
  • Improved HBA/RAID card compatibility
  • Further improved compatibility with desktop and mobile ATA security features.

And the fixes:

  • Corrected a corner case issue where the "Remaining Life" SMART attribute could be reported incorrectly.

In essence, it appears that OCZ took feedback on its performance and storage modes to extend the benefits of the former. Naturally, then, we're interested in just how the drive's performance attributes have changed. And of course, the compatibility improvements are certainly good news to anyone who might have been having trouble with a Vertex 4 previously.

  • 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. :)
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    on pages 6 and 7, the author of the article is shown as "Chris angelini"
    the rest of the pages show "Richard Hart"
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply
  • JohnnyLucky
    How many additional firmware updates are needed before OCZ gets it right?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • kissingman
    Bother! I just purchased one.The more worse is this one has updated to firmware 1.4.
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply