Power Consumption, Sound Levels and Conclusions
OCZ Technology 64GB SATA-II Solid State Disk Review - SSD Update! - Storage  1

Because we are actually taking power numbers at the wall, encompassing the entire test system and not singling out the hard drive, our power numbers for in the 100s rather than the single digits.  To help showcase the differences between the hard drives a bit more, I decided to change the scale slightly and report the “watts over 90” that we recorded in each instance.  So, for example, on the WD VelociRaptor drive, with wattage listed as 13.6w at idle, that is in fact indicating total system wattage of 103.6W at idle (90W + 13.6W).

The 2.5″ hard drives, be they platter of solid state drives, use much less power than their 3.5″ brethren and surprisingly we found that the new SATA-II revision of the OCZ 64GB SSD used the most power of the 2.5″ options.  The difference is pretty minimal – 1.5 watts at idle and 1.2 watts at load, and I can only lend this extra power requirement to the increase speed it provides. 

Noise Levels

I didn’t get a chance to put sound level meter numbers to all the hard drives in our test, but let it be known: the OCZ 64GB SATA-II SSD is essentially silent at all times.  It has no spinning parts and works just like system memory or the memory card in your camera; when’s the last time you heard them power on?

Performance

We saw in the original OCZ 64GB SSD review that the performance characteristics of solid state disks are very different than those of the standard platter-based drives we all use today.  For one, the seek times and thus random access times of SSDs are simply astounding and lead to great performance benefits on small, random workloads.  Seeing a seek time of 0.3 ms compared to the 6.9 ms of the fastest platter-based drive really gets your attention when seeing it on a graph.  Of course, as with most synthetic tests, seeing those benefits in real-world scenarios is a bit more tricky and many times we saw those performance benefits muted somewhat.

The new OCZ 64GB SATA-II SSD drive improves on the previous OCZ model’s performance quite dramatically in burst speeds, average transfer speeds and especially write speeds that suffered horribly before.  While the old drive really only was shining in the random performance tests the new revision is competing or beating the WD VelociRaptor (the fastest standard drive available for consumers) across the entire testing array.  Even though the burst speed of the OCZ 64GB SATA-II SSD is less than half that of the WD VelociRaptor it is able to average a transfer speed just 18% behind at 95.1 MB/s sustained. 

Capacity Limits

To repeat the issues of capacity from our previous review: Obviously one big drawback for the OCZ 64GB SSD, and all currently available solid state drives, is the capacity limits imposed by the law of finances.  The OCZ 64GB model is one of the largest SSDs in retail availability though there is one out that has 128GB of storage.  Obviously a user that has  32GB or 64GB SSD is going to need SOMETHING else for mass storage and that would come in the form of a platter-based hard drive as large as 1TB. 

OCZ Technology 64GB SATA-II Solid State Disk Review - SSD Update! - Storage  2
A 32GB model also exists…

Solid state media will eventually be able to take over the larger capacity markets and may even outpace the standard hard drive market in the coming years.  We have seen SSDs come from 4GB and below to 128GB in the passing of just 24 months or so and even though the prices are definitely still high, they have actually come down quite a bit.  64GB may be enough for some notebook users that don’t need to take everything with them but consumers will definitely need this OCZ 64GB SSD in combination with another hard drive if they decide to take the plunge.

Potential Usage Models

Obviously the use of a 64GB solid state drive like this isn’t going to be for everyone or even for most situations.  Obviously one of the best uses for these drives is in notebook computers were hard drives are usually much slower (ala the Scorpio drive from Western Digital) and run at much lower rotation rates than desktop drives (usually 2.5″ drives will spin at 4200 or 5400 RPM versus the 7200 or 10,000 RPM of desktop drives).  The mobile market will benefit the speed increase, the lower power consumption, basically noiseless operation and won’t be hurt as much by the lack of large of amounts of storage that users really NEED on the desktop but may not on their laptop.

For the desktop consumer, the OCZ 64GB SATA-II SSD is still a hard sell – even though this new revision is just as fast as just about any desktop hard drive currently available.  Only having a capacity of 64GB is small even for just an OS drive – I know many people in our Storage Forum have discussed 150GB being all they needed so THEY might be comfortable with a 64GB primary drive but I still need a bit more.

Pricing and Availability

Now for the real kicker in all of this: even though I mentioned that the price on solid state drives have come down a lot since their first release to the consumer market, this OCZ 64GB SSD SATA-II drive will still cost you a grand.  Yep, $1049 is the lowest price you’ll find the drive selling for.  

Even so, obviously not many people are going to be spending $1000 on a hard drive; let alone one that is only 64GB in size no matter HOW fast it is or claims to be.  This is definitely a part for the true PC enthusiast that demands the absolute best. 

Final Thoughts

Any problems we had with the performance of OCZ’s first SSD reviewed last month have been more than made up for with the OCZ 64GB SATA-II SSD seen here.  The new SATA-II interface has made vast improvements in the burst speeds as well as sustained transfer rates without sacrificing any of the blazing random access speed that solid state drives are known for.  While the OCZ 64GB SATA-II SSD did not outperform the new Western Digital VelociRaptor drive in all of our testing, it did in MOST.  Enthusiasts have a new hard disk to lust after with OCZ’s 64GB SATA-II solid state drive!

OCZ Technology 64GB SATA-II Solid State Disk Review - SSD Update! - Storage  3

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