So today we are testing the OCZ Summit series SSD.
As we have seen in the Vertex review, OCZ is exploring several controllers and definitely does not allow itself to be tied on controller suppliers. So OCZ has officially introduced the new Summit solid state disk series like a week or 2-3 ago, these models feature 128MB onboard cache, based on a Samsung controller.
We have seen that most budget MLC based SSDs have a JMicron controller with very little cache (16KB), then the best next step is a SSD drive like the Vertex with an Indilinx controller and 32 or 64MB cache memory, which is horrendously good product series really.
But the reality is that there is a controller even better suited for SSD technology (at this time), and that controller comes from Samsung. This is what the Summit is based off, a Samsung S3C29RBB01 controller with Samsung NAND flash memory (MLC). This choice will get the Summit several advantages to this product in terms of overall speed and performance thanks to some additional bandwidth, reducing latency and overall throughput.
Now the controller itself is not faster or massively better than the Indilinx or even JMicron, but the one thing that is important is cache memory. SSDs need to fight off a bad habit, slow write times for a lot of small and petit files, that is where the sore bottleneck of SSD drives is to be found, and large data-caches can solve that issue very well.
The trick is that the Summit has a big phat SDRAM buffer, 128MB to be precise, and that my friends helps big-time in tackling the small write access issues I just mentioned. Have a look at the innards the Summit:
In the above photo we see the SSD all nekked. To the right the Samsung flash memory chips, to the upper left the Samsung controller chip and just below it 128MB cache memory from Samsung. All combined they form the heart and soul of the Summit series SSD.
Mind you, and this is important to know, the OCZ Summit is available in 60GB, 120GB and 250GB capacities. The 120GB and 250GB disks have read speeds of up to 220MB/s and write speeds of up to 200MB/s while the 60GB version has to make do with a write speed of up to 125MB/s.
Continuing, the seek time on these puppies is even amazing; at less than 1ms -- 0.1ms as we actually can measure. The average seek time for a traditional HDD is roughly 9ms. Do the math, hey no more moving and spinning mechanical components are keys here.
These Samsung controller based SSD drives are more expensive though, they cost you roughly 100 USD/EUR per 32GB. The flash memory NAND type used is MLC.
I just checked a couple of prices,
OCZ Summit Series SATA II 2.5" SSD 60GB 214,43
OCZ Summit Series SATA II 2.5" SSD 120GB 373,21
OCZ Summit Series SATA II 2.5" SSD 250GB 658,45
So then, 220MB/sec read performance and a write performance of nearly 200 MB/sec, that speed will certainly increase your overall PC experience, as the vertebrae of overall system speed and performance is your boot drive, the traditional HDD is a limiting factor on the overall PC experience you guys. Also, storage performance like this would, for example, greatly enhance load times of games.
Not bad for a product weighing 77 grams. Here are some features:
Available in 64, 120 and 256MB capacities
128MB Onboard Cache
Seek Time: <0.1ms
Slim 2.5" Design
99.8 x 69.63 x 9.3mm
Operating Temp: -10C ~ +70C
Storage Temp: -45C ~ +85C
Low Power Consumption: 2W in operation, 0.5W in standby
Shock Resistant 1500G
MTBF 1.5 million hours
2 year warranty
Read: Up to 220 MB/s
Write: Up to 200MB/s (125 MB/s for 64GB model)
OCZ also labels the product a MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) of 1.5 million hours. I mentioned this a couple of times already but that really is a highly statistical figure and I just wish SSD manufacturers would just drop this value.
It would be more interesting to see a value in terms of lifespan. E.g. if you write 10GB of data per day, how long would it take before a drive would wear out completely. Some numbers say with average daily usage, the MLC drives will last ten years. But only the future will tell really. Also, a traditional HDD can die within 2 years just as well.
The drive we are testing today will cost you the pretty sum of roughly 650 EUR for the 250GB model. The 120GB model costs 399 USD / 375 , and priced slightly higher than the OCZ Vertex 120GB.
OCZ last week quietly extended the warranty of its Vertex and Summit solid state disks from two to three years. Two year warranty is for a storage unit very standard. On the topic of warranty, that's one thing I'd like to see improved even further, we say 5 years would be a very plausible term in this price range.
But we mentioned MLC/SLC etc, lets walk through some of that technology.
OCZ Summit 250GB SSD review We test the all new OCZ Summit SSD. OCZ submitted their 250 GB version for a review. The new Summit series SSD drives come with a massive 128MB cache, and that certainly guarantees flawless operation for an operating system like XP of Vista.