Last week, we got our hands on a 64GB OCZ Core Series SSD and posted our initial findings, which were pretty encouraging. After an additional week and dozens of tests performed on the Core Series and three other drives for comparison’s sake, we still have warm feelings for the Core Series, because it opens single applications lighting fast, but we also have some qualms with its performance under heavy stress, particularly when zipping a file. Other Drives Tested Before we give the OCZ Core Series a star rating, we’ll want to compare it to more SSDs with MLC memory. We won’t get into it here, but for those who don’t know much about the NAND memory used in SSDs, there are two kinds: the more-expensive SLC (single-level cell) and the less-expensive MLC (multi-level cell) memory. To keep prices low, OCZ uses MLC memory in the Core Series. For this round of tests, we were able to compare the OCZ Core Series to one other MLC-based SSD, a 60GB Super Talent MasterDrive MX, along with a much more-expensive SLC disk, a Samsung SATA II 64GB, and a garden-variety 250GB 5,400rpm hard drive, the Western Digital Scorpio Blue. While the MasterDrive sits in the same price price range ($250 – $300) as the Core Series, the Samsung gave us an opportunity to see how the new drive stacks up against units that are triple the price, and the Western Digital is just a typical hard drive that any notebook might have pre-installed. Test Bed As in our earlier test, our system was a Gateway T6828 with a 1.83-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and 3GB of RAM. All tests were conducted on identically configured installations of Vista Home Premium (we restored each from a disk image). File Copying Last week, we showed you the results of our initial file copy test, but we were able to explore a few more situations since then. First, we took 5GB of mixed media files (MP3s, JPGs, movies) and copied them from an external USB drive to the hard drive. Then we copied, the same 5GB of files from one folder on the hard drive to another. Finally, we repeated the same internal file transfer under “stress,” with an AVG Free 8 virus scan running and a full screen CamStudio screen capture both running during the transfer.
As you can see, the Core Series did really well on the internal copy test and held its own on the external test, but performance just sunk when it was asked to perform multiple tasks at the same time.
We also tested the drives by using 7-zip, an open-source zip utility, to zip our 5GB media folder. Then we took the zip file and uncompressed it.
While unzip performance was actually excellent, zipping seems to be the OCZ Core’s kryptonite. The 20:58 (yes, that’s 20 minutes!) time it turned in was twice as long as its nearest competitor. Perhaps there’s something about archiving that just doesn’t agree with it. We were so surprised at this number, we ran the test a second time to be sure and got 21:14!
We think the drive may just have a hard time reading and writing large amounts of data at the same time as was required to zip all these files, because application launch times under normal conditions were excellent as you can see on the next page.