OCZ Octane SSD review
Real world tests
It has become clear that simply conducting endless benchmarks on SSD drives is pointless. Real users may run a few benchmarks when they first fit their SSD drive, but most users just want a drive that performs well in the real world. They want their drive to work "out of the box" and work fast and smoothly.
Most of the latest SSD drives can deliver very fast sustained reading and writing speeds, but these alone tell you very little about how the drive will perform in the real world.
If you intend to use your SSD as your primary system drive, with an operating system and applications installed and running from the drive, real world performance becomes much more important than just fast sequential read and write speeds.
Real world copy tests
I will now conduct a few real world copy tests. These tests simulate what real people do with their drives. I will be conducting writing tests, using a large single file and a multiple file copy of various file sizes. Then I will round off the tests by copying a folder of MP3 audio files, and also a folder of JPG pictures.
I should point out that this is not a scientific way of measuring performance. These timings were taken with a stop watch; I have however ensured that the reading drive is well able to supply a data stream to our writing drive, which is high enough not to be slowing down the performance of the writing drive.
I will once again be comparing the obtained results with our comparison drives, and will present the results in the form of graphs.
Multiple file copy writing test
For this test I copied the Nero Burning Rom install folder from our review PC to the OCZ RevoDrive X2 240GB SSD, and then copied the contents from the OCZ Vertex 3 to the OCZ Octane series SSD and our other comparison drives.
Our test copy contained 1,772 files of various sizes with a combined capacity of 307MB.
The OCZ Octane is only just beaten by the Vertex 3, but is showing an excellent turn of speed, even with small files containing real data.
Single large file writing test (7.95GB)
For this test I used a single DVD9 ISO file which had been copied to the OCZ Vertex 3 240GB SSD. The file was then copied to the OCZ Octane series 512GB SSD and our comparison drives.
The large ISO file contains quite a lot of incompressible data which is quite a handicap to the Vertex 3, so much so that the OCZ Octane steams ahead, and is by quite some margin the fastest SSD in this test.
Write a folder of JPG picture files.
For this test I copied a folder of JPG picture files from our OCZ Vertex 3 SSD to the OCZ Octane series SSD, and our other comparison drives. The folder contained 3,714 JPG pictures, with a total capacity of 5.16GB.
The queue depths are quite high in this test, so the Octane doesn’t have quite so much of an advantage, but it is still the fastest SSD in this test.
Write a folder of MP3 audio files.
For this test I copied a folder of MP3 audio files from our OCZ Vertex 3 SSD to the OCZ Octane series SSD and our other comparison drives. The folder contained 851 MP3 audio files, with a total capacity of 3.85GB.
Once again the OCZ Octane has claimed first place in our table, and is performing excellently.
Despite the fact that the OCZ Octane has modest small file random performance, when it comes to the real world scenario of moving around some pictures and audio files on the PC, the OCZ Octane is a very fast drive, in fact the fastest drive in these copy tests.
Single drive copy tests
These tests are to simulate a single drive in a PC or laptop. In other words, I will copy a series of files from one folder on the tested drive to another folder on the same drive. This means the drive is simultaneously reading and writing during the tests. I also want to make this a realistic test, so I have used a folder of MP3 music files, and then repeated the test with a folder of JPG picture files.
Single drive copy tests – 851 MP3 song files (3.85GB total)
The OCZ Octane’s very good reading and writing performance, with data that is largely non-compressible, has made sure that it is the fastest SSD in this test.
Single drive copy tests – 3,714 JPEG picture files (5.16GB total)
With higher queue depths in this test, the OCZ Vertex 3 should have an advantage, but offset this with data that isn’t so easily compressed, and the OCZ Octane pulls comfortably ahead of the Vertex 3.
Windows start-up and closedown
For these tests, I simply used a stop watch and tested the amount of time taken for a full installation of Windows 7 to boot to the desktop, and then timed how long it took for Windows 7 to close down by the normal start menu method.
The timing was started once the BIOS had initialised and reached the “loading OS message”.
Windows 7 boot time
Windows 7 closedown
The OCZ Octane is the fastest SSD to boot Windows 7 to the desktop; however the difference in speed from our other tested SSDs is marginal. The Octane was also the fastest SSD when closing down our review PC.
Installing applications is possibly something you don’t do that often. But should you replace your system disk, then you will most likely have to re-install your applications. Most of the SSD drives I have tested up until now are quite slow at installing applications, most likely because their I/O performance was quite limited.
For these tests, we picked some popular applications and copied the entire contents of the CD or DVD media to an OCZ Vertex 3 240GB SSD. We did this to make sure that the reading speed of our CD/DVD reader would not hamper the performance of the target drive.
We then installed these applications onto our comparison HDD drives, which were all running mirror image installations of our Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit installation, and timed the amount of time taken to install the application with a stopwatch on each of the drives.
MS Office 2007 Professional (full install)
MS Office is another of those applications that make you cringe at the thought of re-installing it.
Let’s find out how our drives coped with the MS Office 2007 full install.
The OCZ Octane was second fastest when installing this large office suite.
Adobe Fireworks CS3
Adobe Fireworks CS3 is another popular package. Let’s find out how our drives coped with installing this application.
There isn’t a huge margin in the amount of time taken to install this application with our modern SSDs. However, the OCZ Octane series is in second place in our table.
Our real world tests, though not scientific in nature, I feel are more realistic than simply running benchmarks. What is clear from these tests is that the OCZ Octane 512GB SSD has excellent performance in the real world. It is also worth noting that the new firmware (1.13) really does boost real world performance when compared to the older 1412 firmware.
Let’s check out application and game loading performance on the next page of this article…..