Internals, Testing Methodology and System Setup

OCZ Vertex 2 Pro SSD Review - The Sandforce Cometh - Storage 40

Sandforce controller surrounded by 8 channels of flash.

OCZ Vertex 2 Pro SSD Review - The Sandforce Cometh - Storage 41

8 more flash chips on the back.  Hey, what’s that silver thing?

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A supercap manufactured by CAP-XX!

This is the first time we’ve seen a ‘super capacitor’ make an appearance in an SSD.  Supercaps are a relatively new technology.  For those unaware, capacitors are those small round things peppered around your motherboard and various other computer gear you may have lying about.  They act like a battery, but can only store a small amount of charge.  Their advantage comes in that they can charge and discharge very quickly, making them ideal for noise filtering duties.  They act to keep voltage to various components nice and even under varying loads.  Here’s some quick capacitor 101:

OCZ Vertex 2 Pro SSD Review - The Sandforce Cometh - Storage 43

The differing construction of a supercap enables it to be manufactured in a thinner package as compared to a bulky and round electrolytic capacitor.  The improved tech enables a much greater capacity for a given size.  Achieving the same 0.09F rating in ‘regular’ capacitors would likely consume the entire volume of the Vertex 2 Pro’s enclosure.

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The point of a supercap in an SSD?  Think of it as a mini-UPS.  Should the SSD be in the middle of a write during a power loss, that write will not complete successfully.  Having a small energy reserve helps minimize any possible data corruption stemming from such an event.  Even though the Sandforce is not a caching controller, OCZ is taking the added step to minimize the possibility of data loss for the Pro, given it’s meant to be an enterprise-level product.  The standard Vertex 2 (non-pro) will have less performance and come without the added (pricey) supercap.
Testing Methods

Our tests are a good mix of synthetic and real-world benchmarks.  PCMark, IOMeter, HDTach, HDTune, Yapt and our custom File Copy test round out the selection to cover just about all bases.  If you have any questions about our tests just drop into the Storage Forum and we’ll help you out!

Test System Setup

We have switched our testbed over to a more dedicated, forward thinking machine.  We made some changes to help minimize test data scatter with higher bandwidth devices.  Sound is flat out disabled, with no additional card installed.  Video was *intentionally* shifted to a PCI unit to free up both PCIe-16 slots for testing tandem pairs of PCI Express cards (like ioDrives, DDRDrives, and high end RAID cards).  Spot checks against the previous rig showed a negligible change in test output.

PC Perspective would like to thank ASUS, Corsair, and BFG for supplying some of the components of our test rig.

Hard Drive Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i7 920 @ 4 GHZ (HT disabled)
Motherboard Asus P6T
Memory Corsair Dominator 6GB DDR3-1600
Hard Drive G.Skill 32GB SLC SSD
Sound Card N/A
Video Card BFG Geforce 8400 GS 512MB PCI
Video Drivers Geforce 181.22
Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-650TX
DirectX Version DX9.0c
Operating System Windows XP X64 SP2

  • PCMark05
  • Yapt
  • IOMeter
  • HDTach
  • HDTune
  • PCPer File Copy Test
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