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New SSD: OCZ Vertex 2 SSD 120GB

My first SSD, the OCZ Apex 120GB, lasted for about 18 months. As replacement I bought another OCZ drive, this time from the Vertex series: OCZ Vertex 2 120GB. I read about the new SandForce 1200 Controller in most modern SSDs and that the Vertex drive uses firmware which is equivalent to the SandForce 1500 controller. The Agility series has the “normal” SandForce 1200 controller and lacks some writing speed in some areas.

Detailed review and comparison to other drives, in german: hardwareluxx.de

The bad minimum read spead (~1mb/s) my old ssd had is gone, as you can see in this HDTach screenshot:

read

Thank you Windows Home Server

About a year ago I bought a 3TB “NAS” running Windows Home Server: Acer Aspire EasyStore H341.

After a 15 minute setup per machine in my household everything gets automated daily, full backups.

Two days ago my ssd crashed with “SMART status BAD – backup and replace drive”, unable to ignore/boot, windows 7 repair tools didn’t even recognize the drive…

Then:

- Drive to the next store with the ssd replacement i wanted: 15 minutes

- New SSD: 200€

- Booting from the Home Server recovery CD, selecting which partitions to recover: 10 minutes

- All ssd partitions restored: 30 minutes (Gbit lan, yay)

- Reboot, working system (only 6h changes lost, luckily I was mostly sorting my mails)

Windows Home Server makes even complete drive failures a non-event, I really love this fine piece of working, reliable soft- and hardware!

OCZ Apex SSD 120GB and How to move a vista boot partition to a new drive

My newest toy arrived today: OCZ Apex SSD 120Gb – a very fast Solid State Drive. The manufacturer tags it with “230mb/s read, 160mb/s write, <0.3ms access time”.

After my six hour hassle of (trying to…) moving the boot partition from my old harddrive to the new one (see the full report/steps below), I was curious about the first performance test, which I used HD Tune for.

This is the result for my old harddrive, a Samsung HD642JJ:

hdtune_benchmark_samsung_hd642jj

Raw data:

HD Tune: SAMSUNG HD642JJ Benchmark

Transfer Rate Minimum : 55.0 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Maximum : 102.8 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Average : 83.0 MB/sec
Access Time : 13.2 ms
Burst Rate : 135.3 MB/sec
CPU Usage : 4.5%
Temperature : 25°C

And this is the result for my new SSD (OZC Apex SSD 120GB):

hdtune_benchmark_ocz_apex_ssd

Raw data:

HD Tune: OCZ APEX_SSD Benchmark

Transfer Rate Minimum : 1.4 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Maximum : 172.7 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Average : 138.1 MB/sec
Access Time : 0.2 ms
Burst Rate : 129.5 MB/sec
CPU Usage : 5.5%
Temperature : 44°C

As I said before, I moved my bootpartition to the new drive. These are my subjective feelings about the new system:

  • The Windows bootup isn’t that much faster, but I didn’t measure the startup time of the old harddrive. (Still too long…)
  • Applications start much faster now. I think this really is the point where the ridiculous low access time of the SSD kicks in. Zend Studio i.e. is down from ~30 secs to 12. (And I haven’t switched the projects/workspace to a new SSD partition yet!)

The application startup speed, and working with big filecount-intensive projects were the main reasons for me to try out a SSD. So far (this still is my impression after only 2-3 hours of usage) I am very satisfied with the results.

The temperature of the SSD is ~20° warmer, but I think even 44°C is not high enough to care about.

In about one month I will provide you with even more subjective feedback :)

The steps for the Vista bootpartition-move, using Acronis True Image, should be these:

  1. Boot from the Acronis True Image CD
  2. Backup your boot partition from the old drive
  3. Restore the backup to the new drive, mark the new partition active (Cloning didn’t work, because the SSD is much smaller, and the UI doesn’t let me clone just one partition)
  4. Reboot from your Vista Installation disc
  5. Repair the installation on your new drive (the log should show something about “missing bootmanager – fixed”)
  6. Boot from your new SSD
  7. If your bootpartition is not C, fix it this way: How to restore the system/boot drive letter in Windows
  8. Done. Finished. Hopefully.. (At least, you should have 2 layers of backups to restart if something screws up…)

Just two small things OCZ could improve:

  • Inform me as a customer, that there is no SATA cable in the retail box. Every other retail (SATA) harddrive I bought up to this day had at least one packed.
  • As most of the customers will be “switchers” imho, ship something to help with the partition migration process. I will happily pay some more bucks, if it just works.

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