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

Results: Tom's Storage Bench v1.0

Storage Bench v1.0 (Background Info)

Our Storage Bench incorporates all of the I/O from a trace recorded over two weeks. The process of replaying this sequence to capture performance gives us a bunch of numbers that aren't really intuitive at first glance. Most idle time gets expunged, leaving only the time that each benchmarked drive was actually busy working on host commands. So, by taking the ratio of that busy time and the the amount of data exchanged during the trace, we arrive at an average data rate (in MB/s) metric we can use to compare drives.

It's not quite a perfect system. The original trace captures the TRIM command in transit, but since the trace is played on a drive without a file system, TRIM wouldn't work even if it were sent during the trace replay (which, sadly, it isn't). Still, trace testing is a great way to capture periods of actual storage activity, a great companion to synthetic testing like Iometer.

Incompressible Data and Storage Bench v1.0

Also worth noting is the fact that our trace testing pushes incompressible data through the system's buffers to the drive getting benchmarked. So, when the trace replay plays back write activity, it's writing largely incompressible data. If we run our storage bench on a SandForce-based SSD, we can monitor the SMART attributes for a bit more insight.

Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120 GBSMART AttributesRAW Value Increase
#242 Host Reads (in GB)84 GB
#241 Host Writes (in GB)142 GB
#233 Compressed NAND Writes (in GB)149 GB

Host reads are greatly outstripped by host writes to be sure. That's all baked into the trace. But with SandForce's inline deduplication/compression, you'd expect that the amount of information written to flash would be less than the host writes (unless the data is mostly incompressible, of course). For every 1 GB the host asked to be written, Mushkin's drive is forced to write 1.05 GB.

If our trace replay was just writing easy-to-compress zeros out of the buffer, we'd see writes to NAND as a fraction of host writes. This puts the tested drives on a more equal footing, regardless of the controller's ability to compress data on the fly.

Average Data Rate

The Storage Bench trace generates more than 140 GB worth of writes during testing. Obviously, this tends to penalize drives smaller than 180 GB and reward those with more than 256 GB of capacity.

The Vertex 450 is scorching fast in our trace replay, coming in just behind OCZ's Vector. This is a real-worldish case where OCZ's crafty firmware optimization pays dividends. With only 150 GB worth of writes in the trace, both SSDs have the ability to service I/O in their performance mode, yielding dramatically higher average data rates. Consequently, service times drop in the process.

Service Times and Standard Deviation

There is a wealth of information we can collect with Tom's Storage Bench above and beyond the average data rate. Mean (average) service times show what responsiveness is like on an average I/O during the trace. It would be difficult to plot the 10 million I/Os that make up our test, so looking at the average time to service an I/O makes more sense. We can also plot the standard deviation against mean service time. That way, drives with quicker and more consistent service plot toward the origin (lower numbers are better here).

The higher-end Vector services trace I/O more quickly than any other drive, with the exception of the Vertex 450. Though the new SSD is slower, the difference is miniscule, resulting in statistical data which places the Vertex 450 ever so slightly behind its stablemate.

  • boulbox
    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.
    Reply
  • Faisal Mahmood
    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.
    Reply
  • s3anister
    Just bought another 840 Pro. Really can't trust OCZ anymore after so many failed Vertex 3s.
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    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.
    Reply
  • technerd
    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
    Reply
  • kitsunestarwind
    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
    Reply
  • cryan
    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
    Reply
  • cryan
    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
    Reply
  • dgingeri
    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.
    Reply
  • raidtarded
    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?
    Reply