The Samsung SSD performed admirably, but it had one limitation that I wanted to overcome. The Samsung has a 3 GB/s connection, while many new laptops now have hard drive connectors that can accomodate up to 6 GB/s.
So, the real question was, how big of a difference would this make?
I searched Amazon for the fastest SSD drive I could find with a minimum size of 256GB and a 6.0 GB/s SATA III connection and finally settled on the OCZ Technology 240GB SSD. It was a little smaller, but I think it’s because the extra 16GB of lost space goes towards redundancy within the drive. (If anyone can verify that please leave a comment.)
In order to test the drives as equally as possible without having to completely erase everything I decided to clone the Samsung SSD onto the OCZ Technology drive and then perform a swap. Here’s how I did it:
- I used my brand new MacBook Pro i7 2.2 quad core running Mac OS X 10.6.8.
- I connected the Samsung MZ-5PA256 SSD to the MacBook Pro via a Thermaltake BlacX external drive adapter.
- I used SuperDuper for Mac to clone the existing drive onto the new one.
- I used Xbench for Mac to measure the Samsung SSD.
- I physically swapped the two hard drives, and then ran Xbench on the new OCZ drive.
First, let’s look at the Samsung 470 Series test results. Keep in mind that this drive is rated at “Up to 250MB/s Read speeds and 220MB/s Write speeds”:
Results 314.43 System Info Xbench Version 1.3 System Version 10.6.8 (10K540) Physical RAM 4096 MB Model MacBookPro8,3 Drive Type SAMSUNG 470 Series SSD Disk Test 314.43 Sequential 209.60 Uncached Write 213.71 131.21 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Write 312.15 176.61 MB/sec [256K blocks] Uncached Read 113.72 33.28 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Read 415.29 208.72 MB/sec [256K blocks] Random 629.08 Uncached Write 341.36 36.14 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Write 591.88 189.48 MB/sec [256K blocks] Uncached Read 1630.41 11.55 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Read 887.97 164.77 MB/sec [256K blocks]
Next, we’ll examine the OCZ Technology 240 GB Vertex 3. Again, this drive is rated for Read speeds up to 550MB/s, and Write speeds up to 520 MB/s.
Results 489.42 System Info Xbench Version 1.3 System Version 10.6.8 (10K549) Physical RAM 4096 MB Model MacBookPro8,3 Drive Type OCZ-VERTEX3 Disk Test 489.42 Sequential 284.08 Uncached Write 429.57 263.75 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Write 589.39 333.48 MB/sec [256K blocks] Uncached Read 117.08 34.26 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Read 660.01 331.72 MB/sec [256K blocks] Random 1765.81 Uncached Write 2716.46 287.57 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Write 997.89 319.46 MB/sec [256K blocks] Uncached Read 2943.69 20.86 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Read 1800.84 334.16 MB/sec [256K blocks]
For comparison, here is the benchmark test from a 1 TB 7,200 RPM 3.5″ drive in an iMac.
Results 60.93 System Info Xbench Version 1.3 System Version 10.6.8 (10K540) Physical RAM 12288 MB Model iMac11,1 Drive Type ST31000528ASQ Disk Test 60.93 Sequential 144.61 Uncached Write 135.13 82.97 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Write 134.84 76.29 MB/sec [256K blocks] Uncached Read 142.50 41.70 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Read 171.62 86.26 MB/sec [256K blocks] Random 38.59 Uncached Write 11.91 1.26 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Write 225.15 72.08 MB/sec [256K blocks] Uncached Read 106.40 0.75 MB/sec [4K blocks] Uncached Read 170.81 31.70 MB/sec [256K blocks]
As you can see, either of the SSD drives completely crush even a full-sized desktop hard drive, much less a slower portable drive.
The question about whether a 6GB/s connection vs a 3GB/s connection seems to have been answered, authoritatively! Although the OCZ wasn’t twice the speed of the Samsung in every measurement, it certainly performs in general at about twice the speed. Additionally, this drive clocks in faster than many RAID arrays comprised of traditional hard drives, and it’s the fastest drive I’ve ever personally tested.
The bottom line is, if your computer only has a 3GB/s connection for the drive, this SSD probably won’t offer a huge improvement over the Samsung. However, if you have a newer computer or if you’re concerned about having a drive that is future proof, I highly recommend the OCZ Vertex 3. So much so, we’re awarding it with the Geek Beat Editor’s Choice award!
thank you for this great article.
“16GB of lost space goes towards redundancy within the drive.” To be precise it’s 12,960 MB redundancy so rounded up to 16GB sounds about right. You were right about that as far as I can remember from the reviews I’ve seen.