Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD Review

Posted 13 September 2016 15:00 CEST by Wendy Robertson

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 run 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 I will then round off the tests by copying a folder of MP3 audio files, and also a folder of JPG pictures.

In past reviews I simply used Windows copy and paste to copy the files from one drive to the target drive, and then I measured the time taken to complete the test with a stop watch. This method was flawed in a couple of ways. Windows employs a cache, so even when the files had been copied, some of the data was still in the Windows cache and hadn't yet been written to the SSD. The other flaw was that a stop watch is not a very accurate way of measuring the time taken to complete the test.

I had also noticed that copying the small file set had become pointless, as most modern SSDs have a rather large cache, in fact large enough to be able to take the complete file set in this cache without having to commit that data to NAND before the test had completed. I could have increased the amount of data in the test, but I felt this was moving away from the real world. For example, who would copy 2GB of data containing only very small files?

I concluded it was perhaps better just to drop this test completely, and just focus on the large 8GB ISO file, the folder of MP3 audio files, and the folder of JPG picture files. I also have taken the opportunity to increase the amount of data to be copied in the MP3 and JPG tests, to make sure the SSD's memory cache doesn't obtain an unfair advantage.

The other change is that I now use an application to copy the data, which also times how long it takes to complete the test. This application also supports "cache write-through". What this basically means is, there is now no caching of the files, and instead the data being copied must be committed to the target SSD as it's being copied.

Obviously making such changes to the methods of testing is not taken lightly. To make changes means a lot of extra work, as all the comparison drives have to be re-tested with the new method. However, here at Myce.com, we believe we should always try to improve our reviews, and if that means updating the testing methods and some initial extra work, then that benefits the Myce community as a whole.

For the reading drive, I have made the switch to a RAMDisk. With SATA Express SSDs just around the corner, the OCZ REVODrive X2 would no longer be fast enough to supply data to an NVMe PCIe3 SSD. Because RAM has lower latency and higher transfer speeds when compared to an SSD, this has meant having to rerun the tests on a selection of other SSDs to make sure the results are up to date. Please note, that some SSDs which were on loan during the review period, has meant that these SSDs still use the old results, simply because I can't retest them.

For the tests themselves, I will show a screenshot of the copy test for the SSD that I'm reviewing. All other results will be presented in the form of a graph, so you can easily compare the results.  

Single large file writing test (8144.6MB)

For this test I used a single DVD9 ISO file which had been copied to the RAMDisk. The file was then copied to the Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD and our comparison drives.

Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD

Although the Toshiba OCZ VX500 didn’t excel in our synthetic benchmarks. In the ‘real world; the VX500 is excellent, finishing this test in seventh place.


Write a folder of JPG picture files.

For this test I copied a folder of JPG picture files from the RAMDisk to the Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB series 512GB SSD, and our other comparison drives. The folder contained 7861 JPG pictures, with a total capacity of 8410.3MB.

Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD

Once again the Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB is excellent, finishing this test in sixth spot.


Write a folder of MP3 audio files.

For this test I copied a folder of MP3 audio files from our RAMDisk to the Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD series SSD and our other comparison drives. The folder contained 1691 MP3 audio files, with a total capacity of 9176.5MB.

Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD

Yet again the Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD is excellent, finishing this test in seventh spot.


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 – 1,691 MP3 song files (9176.5MB total)

Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD

Again the Toshiba OCZ VX500 is excellent, finishing this test in fifth place.

Single drive copy tests – 7,861 JPEG picture files (8410.3MB total)

Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD

Once again, the Toshiba OCZ VX500 is excellent, and finishes in fourth spot.

Summary

It is timely reminder why we should not rely on synthetic benchmarks when we judge the performance of an SSD. The Toshiba OCZ VX500 didn’t perform at the top of the tree when I tested it using synthetic benchmarks, yet in the ‘real world’ the Toshiba OCZ VX500 performs extremely well.

The key to good real world performance is having good mixed reading and writing performance, and the VX500 has this in abundance.

Installing applications


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 a RAMDisk. 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 drives, which were all running mirror image installations of our Windows 8 Professional 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 one 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 Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD gave a excellent turn of speed when installing this large office suite, and finished the test in fourth place.


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 on our modern SSDs. However the Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD finishes this test in third place.


Summary

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 Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD has excellent performance in the real world.

Let’s check out application and game loading performance on the next page of this article.....

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