Our testing methods
OCZ released a 1.13 firmware update for the Octane in late January, and we applied it to our 128GB drive before testing. This revision is supposed to "significantly" improve the sequential and 4KB random write performance of the 128 and 256GB Octane SSDs. Unfortunately, it can't be applied without destroying all the data on the drive.
We have a full suite of performance results for literally dozens of different SSDs, but today, we've narrowed the field to include only models around the same 128GB capacity as the Octane. Our test methods and systems haven't changed, so the Octane's scores will be comparable to the much larger data set on display in our Intel 520 Series SSD review.
If you're familiar with our test methods and hardware, the rest of this page is filled with nerdy details you already know; feel free to skip ahead to the benchmark results. For the rest of you, we've summarized the essential characteristics of all the drives we've tested in the table below. Our collection of SSDs includes representatives based on the most popular SSD configurations on the market right now. My apologies for the lack of results for the Samsung 830 Series 128GB. Despite multiple requests to Samsung for a 128GB sample, we've only been able to test the 256GB model. We gave that drive an Editor's Choice award, so the prospects are good for the 128GB variant.
|Interface||Cache||Spindle speed||Areal density||Flash controller||NAND|
|Corsair Force Series 3 120GB||6GBps||NA||NA||NA||SandForce SF-2281||25-nm Micron async MLC|
|Corsair Force Series GT 120GB||6GBps||NA||NA||NA||SandForce SF-2281||25-nm Intel sync MLC|
|Corsair Performance 3 Series 128GB||6GBps||128MB||NA||NA||Marvell 88SS9174||34-nm Toshiba MLC|
|Crucial m4 128GB||6Gbps||128MB||NA||NA||Marvell 88SS9174||25-nm Micron sync MLC|
|Crucial m4 128GB||6GBps||128MB||NA||NA||Marvell 88SS9174||25-nm Micron sync MLC|
|Intel 320 Series 120GB||3Gbps||64MB||NA||NA||Intel PC29AS21BA0||25-nm Intel MLC|
|Intel 320 Series 120GB||3GBps||64MB||NA||NA||Intel PC29AS21BA0||25-nm Intel MLC|
|Intel 510 Series 120GB||6GBps||128MB||NA||NA||Marvell 88SS9174||34-nm Intel MLC|
|Kingston HyperX 120GB||6GBps||NA||NA||NA||SandForce SF-2281||25-nm Intel sync MLC|
|OCZ Agility 3 120GB||6GBps||NA||NA||NA||SandForce SF-2281||25-nm Micron async MLC|
|OCZ Octane 128GB||6Gbps||512MB||NA||NA||Indilinx Everest||25-nm Intel sync MLC|
|OCZ Vertex 3 120GB||6GBps||NA||NA||NA||SandForce SF-2281||25-nm Intel sync MLC|
|Seagate Momentus XT 750GB||6Gbps||32MB||7,200 RPM||541 Gb/in²||NA*||8GB SLC|
|WD Caviar Black 1TB||6Gbps||64MB||7,200 RPM||400 Gb/in²||NA||NA|
|WD Scorpio Black 750GB||3Gbps||16MB||7,200 RPM||520 Gb/in²||NA||NA|
Our performance data also includes a number of more traditional hard drives, including Seagate's latest hybrid. I've grayed those out in the table and in the graphs on the following pages to focus our attention on how the Octane measures up to the other SSDs. Neither the mechanical drives nor the hybrid are in the same league, at least in terms of performance.
We used the following system configuration for testing:
|Processor||Intel Core i7-2500K 3.3GHz|
|Motherboard||Asus P8P67 Deluxe|
|Platform hub||Intel P67 Express|
|Platform drivers||INF update 126.96.36.1990
|Memory size||8GB (2 DIMMs)|
|Memory type||Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz|
|Audio||Realtek ALC892 with 2.62 drivers|
|Graphics||Asus EAH6670/DIS/1GD5 1GB with Catalyst 11.7 drivers|
|Hard drives||Corsair Force Series 3 120GB with 1.3 firmware
Corsair Force Series GT 120GB with 1.3 firmware
Crucial m4 128GB with 0009 firmware
Intel 320 Series 120GB with 4PC10362 firmware
Intel 510 Series 120GB with PPG4 firmware
Kingston HyperX 120GB with 320ABBF0 firmware
Corsair Performance 3 Series 128GB with 1.1 firmware
OCZ Agility 3 120GB with 2.15 firmware
OCZ Vertex 3 120GB with 2.15 firmware
WD Caviar Black 1TB with 05.01D05 firmware
Seagate Momentus 5400.4 250GB with 3.AAB firmware
WD Scorpio Black 750GB with 01.01A01 firmware
Seagate Momentus XT 750GB with SM12 firmware
OCZ Octane 128GB with 1.13 firmware
|Power supply||Corsair Professional Series Gold AX650W|
|OS||Windows 7 Ultimate x64|
Thanks to Asus for providing the systems' motherboards and graphics cards, Intel for the CPUs, Corsair for the memory and PSUs, Thermaltake for the CPU coolers, and Western Digital for the Caviar Black 1TB system drives.
We used the following versions of our test applications:
- Intel IOMeter 1.1.0 RC1
- HD Tune 4.61
- TR DriveBench 1.0
- TR DriveBench 2.0
- TR FileBench 0.2
- Qt SDK 2010.05
- MiniGW GCC 4.4.0
- Duke Nukem Forever
- Portal 2
Some further notes on our test methods:
To ensure consistent and repeatable results, the SSDs were secure-erased before almost every component of our test suite. Some of our tests then put the SSDs into a used state before the workload begins, which better exposes each drive's long-term performance characteristics. In other tests, like DriveBench and FileBench, we induce a used state before testing. In all cases, the SSDs were in the same state before each test, ensuring an even playing field. The performance of mechanical hard drives is much more consistent between factory fresh and used states, so we skipped wiping the HDDs before each test—mechanical drives take forever to secure erase.
We run all our tests at least three times and report the median of the results. We've found IOMeter performance can fall off with SSDs after the first couple of runs, so we use five runs for solid-state drives and throw out the first two. The Hybrid drives have also been subjected to five runs, but only in tests that show their performance improving after the first one.
Steps have been taken to ensure that Sandy Bridge's power-saving features don't taint any of our results. All of the CPU's low-power states have been disabled, effectively pegging the 2500K at 3.3GHz. Transitioning in and out of different power states can affect the performance of storage benchmarks, especially when dealing with short burst transfers.
The test systems' Windows desktop was set at 1280x1024 in 32-bit color at a 75Hz screen refresh rate. Most of the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.