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OCZ Vertex 2 100GB
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by Robert Tanner on June 2, 2010 in Solid-State Drives

Are you interested in equipping yourself with one of the fastest SSD’s on the planet? If so, then OCZ’s Vertex 2 is the one you want to keep an eye on. Thanks to its tweaked SandForce SF-1200 controller, the Vertex 2 is the fastest SSD we’ve ever tested, dominating almost every single one of our tests.

Synthetic: PCMark Vantage

There are few PC enthusiasts who are unfamiliar with the name “Futuremark”, as the Finland-based developer has been producing quality benchmarks to help us gauge our computer’s worth for years. Originally known as Madonion, Futuremark has expanded its focus to go beyond its bread and butter, graphics and gaming, and tackle other areas, such as full system performance. That’s where PCMark comes into play.

The company’s most recent addition to the PCMark family is Vantage. For most users, a full suite would be run, but because we’re focused on storage performance only, we instead run only the storage-specific tests. Fortunately, Futuremark makes this easy for us to do as it has split up the entire suite into seven separate sub-tests, one being the aptly named “HDD Suite”.

PCMark’s HDD Suite may look simple on the surface, but it’s actually quite exhaustive. While the benchmark does deliver a simple “overall” result, it actually tests I/O performance based on a variety of scenarios, from adding music to Windows Media Player, to loading applications in succession, to editing video, to running a malware scanner, and more. It even includes metrics to evaluate a simulated Windows Vista boot time, so Futuremark has done a fine job of combining many useful scenarios into a single button press.

Before jumping into the results, keep in mind that the SiliconEdge Blue uses the identical JMicron drive controller as the SNV425. The only difference is Western Digital wrote its own custom firmware. To date all other SSD manufacturers that use JMicron’s controllers use the firmware supplied by that company. Therefore while it would be easy to dismiss the controller outright, the SiliconEdge Blue results do show what optimized firmware can do with this controller.

With that over with, onto the results!

Although the X25-M still clings desperately to the top spot in the overall PCMark score, by looking at the HDD suite’s overall score and the hard drive sub-tests it is fairly evident that the Vertex 2 is king. Of more interest is how the Vertex 2 compares against its predecessor, the Vertex Turbo. The Vertex Turbo in its own rights is a very powerful drive, so to see it eclipsed so easily is simply astounding and really goes to show the power of the SandForce SF-1200 controller.

The Vertex 2 seems to take every test in stride, with only the fast sequential writes of the Kingston V+ drive able to match the Vertex 2 in a few of the tests. With many results ranging near 100 times the performance of a “mere” mechanical hard drive or even greater, I think the new class of drives like the Vertex 2 proves that it is time again for Futuremark to redesign their PCMark Vantage hard drive benchmarking system!


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