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OCZ Technology Group Inc Message Board

  • mylots@sbcglobal.net mylots Jun 11, 2013 10:53 AM Flag

    OCZ AMAZON REVIEW ON VERTEX SSD POSITIVE AND SELLING GOOD

    This review is from: OCZ Technology 128GB Vertex 4 Series SATA 6.0 GB/s 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive (SSD) With Industry's Highest 120K IOPS And 5-Year Warranty - VTX4-25SAT3-128G (Personal Computers)
    UPDATE 9/5/12

    A month since the last update and still going strong! Zero problems so far, still have 100% drive life remaining (according to S.M.A.R.T.), and I've stopped even considering the possibility that anything bad is going to happen to this drive. My notebook may be heavy and chunky compared to today's ultrabooks, but with my Vertex 4 in it it's a true road warrior and I've been commuting with it to campus now that school has started up again.

    I'll see you again at the six month mark if all goes well!

    UPDATE 8/6/12

    It's been over a week since installation and I haven't had a single problem. Any issues I mentioned in my review seem to have been one-offs and have not repeated themselves. As a result, and as promised, I'm bumping my rating up to 5 stars. I've also changed the title from "Solid but not overwhelming improvement in my system" to "Solid improvement in my system", along with a few references to the title in the review itself.

    I notice the price of this drive decreased by about 13% (my inventive way of indicating a price shift without getting filtered by Amazon) since I bought it about ten days or so ago. I'm not surprised since Samsung's 840 Series drive at this same capacity recently dropped in price to where this Vertex 4 is now. The SSD market is highly competitive, and as drives get ever cheaper there's less and less of an excuse not to pick one up.

    In the past week I got around my instrument loading problem by switching to a mode that allows me to only load the attack portion of each sample to RAM and stream the remainder from the drive. Since SSDs excel at rapid access times (around 0.2 ms read access for the Vertex 4, versus around 9 ms for a standard desktop HDD) and random reads, this works far better than it did with any HDD I tried it on and gives me performance parity with simply loading the entire huge file into memory. Since I couldn't have reasonably done this before I got my Vertex 4 I can't in honesty say I have any complaints about my new drive.

    ORIGINAL REVIEW

    Note that I just received and installed this drive several days ago, and that this review is based on that experience. I plan on updating this space as time goes on.

    EXPECTATIONS & GOALS

    I bought this drive, after over a week of intensive research, so that I could hopefully load virtual instruments (VSTs) in my DAW faster. On a standard notebook HDD this can take over a minute depending on the instrument. Apart from that, I was interested in the usual benefits commonly associated with SSDs:

    -Faster bootup
    -Faster program launches
    -Snappier performance (e.g. smoother multitasking, better UI responsiveness, etc)
    -Faster Internet page loads
    -Faster program installation
    -An overall feeling of improved feedback and responsiveness (kind of everything listed above rolled together)

    We'll explore how well the Vertex 4 accomplishes all these points.

    MY SYSTEM

    I'm using this drive in a 2009-era HP dv6-1355dx, which came with the following:

    -4 GB of DDR3 RAM (updated concurrently with the drive to 8 GB)
    -2.2 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 processor
    -500 GB Fujitsu 5400 RPM 2.5" HDD
    -Intel 4 Series Express chipset
    -Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

    This system is definitely a bit long in the tooth, but it's probably typical of what a lot of folks might have, and it should give a good indication what kind of improvement can be expected from a SSD.

    INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

    The Vertex 4 comes nicely packaged, with the drive seated in a protective layer of thick foam. In the box you'll find a 2.5"-to-3.5" adapter plate, four mounting screws, a quickstart guide, a fun "My SSD is faster than your HDD" sticker, and of course the drive itself, sealed in a stiff translucent plastic wrapper. If your box didn't come with all this, assuming OCZ hasn't changed its packaging for this drive, you might want to check with OCZ or the seller to make sure everything is okay.

    Installation was simple. I had no trouble swapping the Vertex 4 for the HDD, and I was done in a little over a minute. The system POSTed with the drive installed, so all was well.

    SETUP

    Here's where I met my first wrinkle. OCZ provides two separate utilities for updating the firmware on their drives: The OCZ Toolbox, which runs from within Windows, and OCZ Tools, which is a bootable Linux-based tool. Since I planned to do a clean install of Windows 7, I had already burned the OCZ Tools utility to a disc before I began. Loading this utility worked fine, but for some reason it couldn't connect to OCZ's server to download the latest firmware. Confusingly, it stated that there was no newer version available, when I knew very well that this was not true. The drive shipped with firmware 1.4.3, and the latest version (as of this writing) is 1.5.

    Once I had Windows installed, updated, and had all my hardware configured properly, I attempted again, this time with the OCZ Toolbox. It also couldn't update, producing a generic "file not found" type error. Several hours later I tried again, and this time I succeeded. I can understand servers being down. It happens. But I think OCZ should make it a little clearer in their utilities when it's an issue with accessing and downloading the file, instead of confusingly stating that no newer file is available or generically stating that the file can't be found.

    Before we continue, let me explain why I was so adamant about updating the firmware. SSD makers in general and OCZ in particular often release updates that radically improve performance or stability or both. SSDs are still a young technology, and it's difficult at this stage to get it right the first time with the hardware. Over time these sorts of things settle down, but for the time being pay attention when your SSD manufacturer updates your drive's firmware. As we'll see in just a moment, it can be very important.

    GENERAL IMPRESSIONS IN WINDOWS

    As my title suggests, I have seen a solid improvement in my overall system performance. My own informal benchmarking shows that the drive itself is performing as well as I could expect on an SATA II interface (my laptop was made before SATA III was adopted). Let's go through the list.

    Bootup speed is noticeably improved. The Starting Windows animation often doesn't even complete before the Login screen pops up. Benchmarking reveals that the startup time to the login screen is 9 seconds, with an additional 8 seconds between login and a fully loaded desktop. I'm happy with this result, though it's not quite the blazing startup time others have claimed from SSDs in general. No doubt a new system would unleash unused potential.

    Program launches are a mixed bag. Overall nothing launches slower than before, and in the case of Firefox and Thunderbird the reductions are around 5 seconds apiece. However, if you're expecting instant launches for all your programs, that might be a little over optimistic. Also, my music program, Foobar2000, seems to hang on occasion when launching, though this is likely a specific program issue. EDIT: This seems to only happen the first time the program is launched after a reboot or if it hasn't been used in a while.

    Responsiveness improvements scale with workload. I can load up all the programs in my Taskbar at once, fire up Windows Update, play some music in Foobar2000, and load some websites all at once, and while the individual tasks might take longer than they do separately, the UI remains responsive throughout, which is a clear improvement. When single-tasking or only doing a few things at a time, I don't notice too much of a difference from before.

    Sentiment: Strong Buy

 
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