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Testbed Configuration

For our today’s SSD test session we put together a system on an Intel H67 based mainboard. This chipset provides support for two SATA 6 Gbit/s ports, which we use to connect the tested SSDs.

We are going to compare OCZ Petrol 128 GB against a few different SSDs with different storage capacity based on SF-2281 controller. They are a typical SSD with 25 nm synchronous ONFI memory (Corsair Force Series GT – analogue to OCZ Vertex 3) and a typical SSD with 25 nm asynchronous memory (Corsair Force Series 3 – analogue to OCZ Agility 3). Moreover, we also included the recently tested Kingston SSDNow V+200 120 GB SSD, which, just like Corsair Force Series 3, is also based on SandForce SF-2281 controller and uses asynchronous memory.

Overall our testbed was configured as follows:

  • Intel Core i5-2400 (Sandy Bridge, 4 cores, 3.1 GHz, EIST and Turbo Boost turned off);
  • Foxconn H67S mainboard (BIOS A41F1P03);
  • 2 x 2 GB DDR3-1333 SDRAM DIMM 9-9-9-24-1T;
  • Crucial m4 256 GB system disk (CT256M4SSD2);
  • Tested SSDs:
    • Corsair Force 3 Series 120 GB (CSSD-F120GB3-BK, firmware version 1.3.3);
    • Corsair Force GT Series 120 GB (CSSD-F120GBGT-BK, firmware version 1.3.3);
    • Kingston SSDNow V+200 120 GB (SVP200S3/120G, firmware version 501);
    • OCZ Petrol 128 GB (PTL1-25SAT3-128G, firmware version 1.3).
  • Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 Ultimate x64
  • Drivers:
    • Intel Chipset Driver 9.3.0.1019;
    • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver 15.22.54.2622;
    • Intel Rapid Storage Technology 11.1.0.1006.

Performance

Random and Sequential Read/Write

We use CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 benchmark to test the random- and sequential read and write speed. This benchmark is convenient to work with as it can measure the speed of an SSD with both incompressible random and fully compressible recurring data. This feature is important for testing SSDs based on SF-2281/2282 controller, which tries to compress the data before writing it into memory. So, there are two numbers in the diagrams below that reflect the maximum and minimum SSD speed. The real-life performance of an SSD is going to be in-between those two numbers depending on how effective the controller data compression is.

Note that the performance tests in this section refer to SSDs in their “Fresh Out-of-Box” state (FOB). No degradation could have taken place yet.

The OCZ Petrol is unexpectedly good at sequential operations. It is even ahead of both SandForce-based SSDs with asynchronous flash at reading and only falls behind the expensive Corsair Force Series GT which features synchronous flash with ONFI interface. On the other hand, processing 4 KB data blocks, a popular operation in real-life applications, reveals a weak spot of the Petrol. A long request queue may help at reading, but desktop applications do not usually produce it. Thus, the OCZ Petrol doesn't seem to be fast even by the standards of inexpensive SSDs.

By the way, the Petrol’s Everest controller differs from the SandForce not only in speed specs but also in not compressing data when writing into flash memory. This means that the Petrol will deliver the same performance, predictable and repeatable, irrespective of data type.

 
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