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Solid State Drive Performance Comparison Guide Rev. 3.3
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Solid State Drive Performance Comparison Guide

The solid state drive (SSD) is a new and relatively niche storage medium, but one that is slowly but steadily eating away at the universality of the hard disk drive. After all, solid state drives offer some big advantages over hard disk drives - extremely fast random accesses, absolutely silent operation, ability to withstand tremendous amounts of shock, vibration and atmospheric pressure (or the lack thereof).

Of course, this doesn't spell the end of the ubiquitous hard disk drive. In fact, the hard disk drive is expected to soldier on for the next few decades thanks to the industry's ability to continuously innovate to keep ahead of the curve. Until solid state drives can deliver the hard disk drive's ultra-low cost per MB and cavernous storage capacity, the hard disk drive is here to stay.

As far as solid state drive enthusiasts are concerned though, the high cost and low storage capacities are just niggling issues, worthy of nothing more than a snort or two. Anyone who can afford a solid state drive expects blazing throughputs and super-fast access times. This is where the Solid State Drive Performance Comparison Guide comes in.

This comparison guide will compare the performance of all the solid state drives we can get our hands on. This would be similar to our Hard Disk Drive Performance Comparison Guide. It may start off small, but we intend to keep adding new solid state drives and even new benchmarks as we go along. Let's take a look at the solid state drives we have rounded up for this comparison.

 

The Solid State Drives

Model

Segment

Capacity

NAND
Type

Buffer

Interface

Additional
Details

OCZ Vector

2.5" Mobile

256 GB

MLC

512 MB

SATA 6 Gb/s

Full Review
Lowest Price

Western Digital SiliconEdge Blue

2.5" Mobile

256 GB

MLC

64 MB

SATA 3 Gb/s

Full Review
Lowest Price

Intel 520 Series (25 nm)

2.5" Mobile

240 GB

MLC

NA

SATA 6 Gb/s

Full Review
Lowest Price

Intel X25-M G2 (34 nm)

2.5" Mobile

160 GB

MLC

NA

SATA 3 Gb/s

Full Review
Lowest Price

Super Talent UltraDrive GX

2.5" Mobile

128 GB

MLC

64 MB

SATA 3 Gb/s

Full Review
Lowest Price

Western Digital Black²

2.5" Mobile

120 GB

MLC

128 MB

SATA 6 Gb/s

Full Review
Lowest Price

OCZ Vertex 2 (E)

2.5" Mobile

120 GB

MLC

64 MB

SATA 3 Gb/s

Full Review
Lowest Price

Intel X25-M G2 (34 nm)

2.5" Mobile

120 GB

MLC

NA

SATA 3 Gb/s

Lowest Price

Corsair F90

2.5" Mobile

90 GB

MLC

NA

SATA 3 Gb/s

Full Review
Lowest Price

OCZ RevoDrive

PCIe Desktop

80 GB

MLC

NA

PCI Express

Full Review
Lowest Price

Kingston SSDNow V+ (Gen 2)

2.5" Mobile

64 GB

MLC

128 MB

SATA 3 Gb/s

Full Review
Lowest Price

OCZ Enyo

Portable Drive

64 GB

MLC

64 MB

USB 3.0

Full Review
Lowest Price

OCZ Agility 2 (E)

2.5" Mobile

60 GB

MLC

NA

SATA 3 Gb/s

Full Review
Lowest Price

Kingston SSDNow V (Gen 2)

2.5" Mobile

30 GB

MLC

64 MB

SATA 3 Gb/s

Full Review
Lowest Price

 

Testing The SSDs

The Testbed

Processors

Intel Core i7-2600K

Motherboard

Intel DP67BG

Memory

Two Kingmax 2 GB DDR3-1333 modules

Graphics Card

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570

Hard Disk Drives

256 GB OCZ Vector
256 GB Western Digital SiliconEdge Blue
240 GB Intel 520 Series (25 nm)
160 GB Intel X25-M G2 (34 nm)
128 GB Super Talent UltraDrive GX
120 GB Western Digital Black²
120 GB OCZ Vertex 2 (E)
120 GB Intel X25-M G2 (34 nm)
90 GB Corsair F90
80 GB OCZ RevoDrive
64 GB Kingston SSDNow V+ (Gen 2)
64 GB OCZ Enyo
60 GB OCZ Agility 2 (E)

30 GB Kingston SSDNow V (Gen 2)

Operating System

Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit
Microsoft Windows Vista 32-bit

 

Testing Methodology

We tested the drives in Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft Windows Vista, with the latest updates. We chose to use AS SSD, ATTO, IO Meter 2008 as well as our "old faithful", WinBench 99 2.0, with the following tests :

  • Platter Data Transfer Profile
  • Business Disk WinMark 99
  • High-End Disk WinMark 99
  • Disk Transfer Rate (Beginning)
  • Disk Transfer Rate (End)

Business Disk WinMark 99 is a real-world simulation based on three office application suites - Microsoft Office 97, Lotus SmartSuite and Corel WordPerfect Suite 8, as well as a web browser, Netscape Navigator. They are quite dated, but should still reflect the usage patterns of users in an office environment using such applications. The test runs through a script that keeps multiple applications open, while it performs tasks that switches between those applications and Netscape Navigator. The result is the average transfer rate during the script run.

High-End Disk WinMark 99 is a real-world simulation based on AVS/Express 3.4, FrontPage 98, MicroStation SE, Photoshop 4.0, Premiere 4.2, Sound Forge 4.0 and Visual C++ 5.0. However, it differs by running the applications serially, instead of simultaneously. There are individual results for each application but in this comparison, we will be looking only at the weighted average score, which is the average transfer rate during the tests.

Unfortunately, WinBench 99 seemed to have some issues with Windows Vista and Windows 7. It would register a SetFilePointer error in the Disk Access Time test. So, we were not able to obtain any Disk Access Time results.

The IO Meter 1.1.0 RC1 tests were carried out with the alignment set at 4 KB. In addition, we tested each drive with repetitive (compressible) and random (non-compressible) data, and used the average of the two results. This will give us a more accurate representation of how the drive will perform in real life.

The case temperature results were obtained using a Fluke 62 Mini infra-red thermometer. The Load temperature test was carried out after at least 5 minutes running IO Meter (512 KB sequential read), with IO Meter continuing to run. The drives were allowed to idle for a minimum of 15 minutes before the Idle temperature test was performed. A minimum of 5 test spots were examined on each case, with the maximum test result used.

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Introduction

The Solid State Drives
Our Testbed & Methodology

Real World
Simulations

Business Disk WinBench 99
High-End Disk WinBench 99

Synthetic Tests

Transfer Rate Range
Maximum Surface Temperature

 

4 KB Random Access
4 KB Sequential Access

 

512 KB Random Access
512 KB Sequential Access

 

IOPS Scaling (4 KB Random)

 

IOPS Scaling (512 KB Random )

 

IOPS Scaling (4 KB Sequential)

 

IOPS Scaling (512 KB Sequential)

Conclusion

Conclusion & Summary



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