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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.

Since our today’s main heroes, Silicon Power Velox V60 and Transcend SSD720, come in 120 GB and 128 GB storage capacities, we selected SSDs of comparable size to compete against them in our test session. This allowed us to add another very interesting SSD product in our today’s test session, which we haven’t had a chance to discuss earlier – Intel SSD 330. The thing is that Intel SSD 330 240 GB drive started shipping just recently and hasn’t yet reached our lab. However, this flash-drive is very appealing for a number of reasons. On the one hand it is very much like Intel SSD 520. Namely, it is also based on the LSI SF-2281 controller, uses 25 nm synchronous memory with ONFI interface and sophisticated high-performance firmware from Intel. On the other hand, Intel SSD 330 is an inexpensive drive therefore the resource of its flash-memory has been reduced from 5000 P/E cycles to only 3000, and the warranty has been shortened to 3 years. In other words, Intel SSD 330 is a very interesting product in terms of price-to-performance ratio, but at the same time it is a little risky as far as reliability goes.

Besides Intel SSD 330, we also included other more familiar products in this test session, though this time they will stand before us in their 120/128 GB incarnations. First, these are a pair of standard SandForce based products from Corsair – Corsair Force GT and Corsair Force 3, i.e. a drive built with 25 nm synchronous ONFI-memory and another one with asynchronous memory. Second, we took a Crucial m4 drive on Marvell 88S9174 with 25 nm synchronous memory with ONFI interface. And third, we took two OCZ SSDs on Everest 2 controller: vertex 4 with synchronous ONFI-memory and Agility 4 based on asynchronous NAND-flash.

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 5.03);
    • Corsair Force GT Series 120 GB (CSSD-F120GBGT-BK, firmware version 5.03);
    • Crucial m4 128 GB (CT128M4SSD2, firmware version 010G);
    • Intel SSD 330 120 GB (SSDSC2CT120A3K5, firmware version 300i);
    • OCZ Agility 4 128 GB (AGT4-25SAT3-128G, firmware version 1.5);
    • OCZ Vertex 4 256 GB (VTX4-25SAT3-128G, firmware version 1.5);
    • Silicon Power Velox V60 120 GB (SP120GBSS3V60S25, firmware version 5.0.2);
    • Transcend SSD720 120 GB (TS128GSSD720, firmware version 5.0.4).
  • 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 11.2.0.1006.
 
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