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Testbed and Methods

We test SSDs on a special testbed based on a mainboard with Intel H77 chipset. The latter has two SATA 6 Gbit/s ports and we connect the tested drives to one of these ports.

Since this review covers two SSDs from two different market categories, we want to pit them against popular SSDs of different classes. Of course, we will also compare the new drives with their predecessors Vertex 450 and Vector which are also based on Indilinx Barefoot 3 controllers but have 20nm and 25nm flash memory from Micron.

Besides the four SSDs from OCZ, we will have a Seagate 600 (with LAMD LM87800 controller), Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme and SanDisk Extreme II (with Marvell’s flagship 88SS9187 controller), Plextor M5S (with Marvell 88SS9174), Intel 530 (with the good old SandForce SF-2281 controller), and Samsung 840 Pro (representing the proprietary Samsung MDX platform).

The Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme, SanDisk Extreme II and Seagate 600 are equipped with 19nm MLC NAND from Toshiba/SanDisk (it’s the same flash memory as installed in the new drives from OCZ). The Plextor M5S uses 25nm flash memory from Micron, the Samsung 840 Pro is based on Samsung’s own 21nm MLC flash, and the Intel 530 features Intel’s 20nm MLC NAND flash.

The tested SSDs have similar storage capacities (240/250/256 GB).

Here is a list of all hardware components we will use in this test session:

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470S (Ivy Bridge, 4 cores, 2.9 GHz, EIST and Turbo Boost disabled)

Mainboard: Intel DH77DF (BIOS 0108)

System memory: 2x2GB DDR3-1333 SDRAM (9-9-9-24-1T)

System disk: Crucial m4 256GB (CT256M4SSD2)

Tested SSDs:

  • Intel SSD 530 240GB (SSDSC2BW240A4, firmware DC32)
  • OCZ Vector 256GB (VTR1-25SAT3-256G, firmware 2.0)
  • OCZ Vector 150 240GB (VTR150-25SAT3-240G, firmware 1.2)
  • OCZ Vertex 450 256GB (VTX450-25SAT3-256G, firmware 2.0)
  • OCZ Vertex 460 240GB (VTX460-25SAT3-240G, firmware 1.0)
  • Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256GB (PX-256M5P, firmware 1.06)
  • Plextor M5S 256GB (PX-256M5S, firmware 1.05)
  • Samsung 840 Pro 256GB (MZ-7PD256, firmware DXM05B0Q)
  • SanDisk Extreme II 240GB (SDSSDXP-240G, firmware R1311)
  • Seagate 600 240GB (ST240HM000, firmware C675)

Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (SP1, 64-bit)

Drivers:

  • Intel Chipset Driver 9.4.0.1027
  • Intel HD Graphics Driver 10.18.10.3345
  • Intel Management Engine Driver 9.5.0.1367
  • Intel Rapid Storage Technology 12.9.0.1001
 
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