[REVIEW] OCZ Octane 512Gb, fuel that system up!
During Cebit this year we had a good chat with the representatives of OCZ Technology, talking about their latest product line-up. For 2012 OCZ seemed to be one of the very rare IT manufacturers that actually could present something refreshingly new where most others put last year’s stock on display and gave it a new paintjob.
In this review we will be focusing on their Octane 512Gb model. Not to arouse you in advance, but this drive, even if it’s sold as “quite a fast pony”, it turned out a stable racehorse.
Hold on… Everybody wants Vertex, right?
True, and not true, it depends what your personal computer usage is. Because many users are in doubt which SSD they should get, we will make it clear what’s what when we take a specific look at OCZ’s line of SATA III SSD’s:
Petrol: If you are on a tight budget but still wish to significantly speed up your system but don’t require bombshell results in games and apps, this drive won’t break your bank and will deliver the performance boost over regular hard drives.
Octane: This drive is the mainstream model and a very interesting option if you wish to spend a little more than the Petrol’s MSRP. The Octane differentiates itself by supplying previous-gen vertex-like read speeds combined with high IOPS results but doesn’t get the racetrack record write speeds like its big brother. For booting your OS, games and software this drive is a great choice.
Vertex: The pinnacle of OCZ, the Vertex series starts life with the high read speeds the Octane provides and grows into a lightning fast IOPS/Write beast based on the custom built IndiLinx (OCZ native) Everest II controller. The Vertex is a purebred SSD and shines for operations where both the read/write and IOPS count are important. For example: SQL servers, high end gaming systems, video editing and rendering systems will all benefit by leaps and bounds.
1 king, 2 queens
Over the past 5years, OCZ has always been a prominent player to integrate SandForce IO controllers. The relationship between speed leader SandForce and OCZ’s knowhow to get the best out of their controller still continues to persist.
But… Last year OCZ acquired IndiLinx, a Korean enterprise who developed the first controller platform to get the maximum out of Samsung’s MLC flash memory. (Officially their headquarters are located in the US, yet the R&D is a Korean affair. Manufacturing (assembly) of OCZ’s drives mainly take place in Taiwan. Technically speaking IndiLinx programs new firmware, their raw controllers usually come from Marvell, an American chip/controller giant. Marvell manufactures IO controllers and creates a basic instruction set (call it firmware), IndiLinx programs these controllers to get the maximum performance out of various types of MLC RAM.
OCZ started developing its own native chip firmware with IndiLinx’s experts for usage with their already vast MLC memory knowhow. Although OCZ has released plenty of previous models who were based on IndiLinx technology, it has only been their 2012 new products lineup that gave us a clear vision they have everything in-house to stay very close to the heat SandForce generated in the IO controller industry with their SF-2200, SF-2500 and SF-2600 models. Currently OCZ has no plans to drop SandForce IO controllers from their SSD lineup, the future will tell if the IndiLinx Everest’s upgrades could burst that bubble or not.
Let’s certainly not forget OCZ has gained much of its reputation thanks to SandForce IO controllers and knows very well that ditching the winning team could backfire on them. Some people buy OCZ for the brand, others buy OCZ for a particular controller, so OCZ will definitely not stir the water and keep both parties happy in the future.
- Max Read: up to 480MB/s
- Max Write: up to 330MB/s
- Random Write 4KB: 26,000 IOPS
- Random Read 4KB: 35,000 IOPS
The Octane series are available in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB capacities featuring a SATA 6Gbps / Backwards Compatible 3Gbps interface. Each SSD has 512MB Onboard Cache and equipped with native TRIM Support/Background Garbage Collection Support, Boot Time Reduction Optimization, AES and Automatic Encryption and SMART Support.
Proprietary Indilinx Ndurance™ Technology:
- Low-Latency Seek Time: 0.06ms Read; 0.09ms Write
- Slim 2.5″ Design
- 99.8 (L) x 69.63 (W) x 9.3 mm (H)
- Lightweight: 83g
- Operating Temp: 0°C ~ 70°C
- Ambient Temp: 0°C ~ 55°C
- Storage Temp: -45°C ~ +85°C
- Low Power Consumption: 1.98W active,1.15W standby
- Shock Resistant up to 1500G
- RAID Support
- MTBF: 1,250,000 hours
- 3-Year Warranty
Compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7 (32/64 bit), Linux, Mac OSX
One of our personal favorite disk benchmarking tool is ATTO, the company developing ATTO is a manufacturer of high grade network & storage solutions and their software benchmarks are regarded as a golden standard.
This OCZ Octane 512GB scored quite well, at least better than we first anticipated due to its native IndiLinx chipset compared with previous generation mainstream SATAIII ssd’s based on SandForce technology.
In ATTO the Octane showed remarkable performance 524Mb read (in 1Mb blocks) up to 540Mb on bigger sized blocks. 359Mb write (in 1Mb blocks), unfortunately we didn’t get any more than 360Mb/sec from our system on bigger sized blocks. R/W speeds below the 1Mb marker are low for this type of SSD, yet this is an end- user drive and not developed for straight shift SQL jobs where these speeds actually matter.
The nice thing we noticed is the fact that the TRIM feature works remarkably well for a mainstream drive. Feeding the system a write/clone/delete batch worth of 50GB data resulted in a very steady performance. Bad implementations of TRIM support would show a decrease in performance after a couple of mixed actions, this drive’s TRIM worked wonderful and kept the speed steady.
We tested the Octane on a dual core Atom 330 ITX board which only has the SATAII ports, and were impressed on how the setup reached peak write speeds at 1, 2 and 4Mb write blocks at 213Mb/sec. Maximum read performance was attained at 8Mb blocks (253Mb/sec), though read speeds started hitting the 250Mb/sec marker from 128Kb blocks. This said, an Intel Atom ITX board isn’t exactly a fast board (8302 IOPS 4k Read on HDTune Pro), so we can assume the Octane getting up to 50Mb/sec faster in both read and write when paired with a high grade gaming/workstation board that only features SATAII connectors.
Indilinx did a great job when optimizing the Everest controller to OCZ’s hardware, the equipment is durable and shows off remarkable performance gains over early generation SSD’s and regular hard drives.
We don’t expect everybody to go out and rush to the nearby hardware dealer to get one of these, as the current price tag is still a slight bit on the high end. But hey, if those few extra dollars buy you those extra premium IOPS, then I have no issue in recommending this drive to most gamers and daily system users out there. Do check the 128 and 256Gb versions of this OCZ Octane SSD, as they are much easier on the wallet, and deliver superb benefits in both system boot times as in fast program execution.
If you are a graphical designer working with regular photos or web developer or even casual gamer, this OCZ Octane will impress you. Not to forget that they seem to become slightly faster as new optimized firmware hits the web. That said, OCZ’s Octane is already delivering more than the box claims, from a read & write perspective this drive is a fantastic purchase for every regular PC/MAC user.