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SandForce SF-1200: Does Lower Capacity Mean Lower Performance? (Page 2)

By Chris Ramseyer from Jun 21, 2010 @ 23:08 CDT
Manufacturer: My Digital Discount

Specifications, Pricing and Availability


OCZ Technology has a hand full of products that use the SandForce SF-1200 controller. The Vertex 2 line is the flagship consumer model and enjoys a special firmware that allows for higher 4K IOPS than the baseline model, the Agility 2. Looking at the spec sheet for the Vertex 2, we can see that the marketing literature refers to this as 'Max IOPS Firmware." You can read a full review of the OCZ Vertex 2 100GB model here at TweakTown. We also covered the new extended capacity Vertex 2 E 120GB model.

Keeping with the subject, we see on the specifications sheet for the Vertex 2 line that all eight available models that range in capacity from 50GB to a massive 480GB share the same read and write specifications, 285MB/s and 275MB/s.


To illustrate why matching performance claims of the SandForce SF-1200 controlled Vertex 2 through the capacity range was so interesting to me, I present the specifications for the original OCZ Vertex, an Indilinx Barefoot controlled drive. Here we see that performance in 2009 was all over the place, but the peak performing drive was the 128GB model with 250MB/s read and 180MB/s write claimed speeds. The performance envelope of the 32GB Vertex was quite different. OCZ accurately claimed read speeds of 230MB/s and write speeds of 135MB/s. If you read a review of the 128GB model, the one most commonly used in testing, but you only had the funds to purchase a 32 or 64GB model, you might have been in for a bit of a surprise without researching the purchase beforehand.

I should point out that even with such a large peak difference in data throughput, the 32 and 64GB drives still had access times much lower than any traditional platter based drive. For most users it is the access time that makes SSDs so much faster than traditional drives. You can build a RAID array of traditional platter drives and get throughput numbers that put a single SSD to shame, but when it comes to real world daily use a SSD would still feel 20 times faster. The lower access times and ability to read and write small files faster because of the access time is really where the "feel" of a fast system comes from. No other single component in your system can be upgraded, not the processor, video card nor memory and give you the same feel of a speed increase than swapping a platter drive to an SSD.

I am going to try and pull this off and not sound like a paid advertisement, but it will be difficult since I am a fan of My Digital Discount. I will go ahead and interject that I am not paid by them, nor am I even keeping the drives they provided that allowed this article to take place. I know Matt and Doug on a personal level and we all speak a couple of times a week. I wouldn't give them this free publicity if I didn't believe in what they are doing.

That said, is in a sense the Walmart of SSDs. They buy large and look to move high volumes of products by offering the products at a much lower cost. In many cases their margins are not more than the cost of lunch per sale. Another well known company used to work this way a few years ago, but has since started to push for higher profits on the most in demand items, usually exactly what TweakTown readers are looking to purchase. Just to be clear, a company's business model is their business and they can choose to run their company how they please. As a consumer with a mortgage, car payments and kids, I am looking to keep as much of my money as possible while still consuming the items I want. I am looking for the best deal and that is where My Digital Discount comes in.

At the time of writing My Digital Discount and OCZ Technology joined forces to bring you SandForces - 4 - less. That was my cheesy line and not theirs.

Right off the bat My Digital Discount has the lowest prices on the extended capacity Vertex 2 drives. Those prices are 60GB (184.99), 120GB (344.99) and 240GB (649.99). OCZ Technology has sweetened the deal with a 20 Dollar mail in rebate for the 60GB model (after MIR price, 164.99), 25 Dollar MIR for the 120GB (after MIR price, 319.99) and 30 Dollar MIR for the 240GB (after MIR price, 619.99).

To put these figures into perspective, the Newegg price on the OCZ Vertex 2 120GB model was 354.00 at the time of writing and it was out of stock. So right from the start you are saving 10 USD with MDD and after the MIR round 35 USD. At my house that is a couple of Transformer toys for my boys or enough for my wife and I to hit a movie together, like at the theater and not at home. Not only would I be able to get the fastest consumer SandForce SF-1200 drive on the market to speed up my computer system, but I would also get to be the hero for the weekend by taking the wife to see some romance movie that she wanted to see. There are some nice rewards that come with that as well. Cloud 9 times two, something like that.

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