OCZ Technology Octane 512GB Solid State Drive with 1.13 Performance Firmware

With the new firmware in hand we retest the Octane 512GB and see how it goes this time around.
@TweakTown
Published Thu, Feb 9 2012 5:56 AM CST   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Manufacturer: OCZ Technology

Introduction and Specifications and Pricing

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At CES we learned the Indilinx Everest II controller is a strong candidate for use in the upcoming Vertex 4 product family, OCZ's flagship solid state product line. With that in mind we now have a new interest in following Everest and it's progression as new firmware is introduced.

The OCZ Octane uses Indilinx's first SATA III controller, Everest. The Everest controller is paired with 512MB of high-speed cache as well as IMFT 25nm flash. Post CES OCZ Technology released a new performance firmware for the Octane family of products, version 1.13.

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The new firmware update roughly doubles random write performance, a weak point in the initial release. With a 10,000 IOPS increase in random write speed we'll be examining the new performance of the 512GB capacity size.

When the industry moves to 20nm in Q3, 512GB will be the new 256GB. 512GB drives should cost much less than they do today and by the time Q4 rolls around they may even become affordable like the 256GB drives are today.

Specifications and Pricing

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Before we dive right into the performance with the new firmware let's recap the OCZ Octane.

OCZ has released the drive in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB capacities and an insane 1TB capacity size. We were able to find all but the highest capacity drive at Newegg, Amazon and Tiger Direct. So, these drives are in the wild and ready to be plucked from e-tailers. The 512GB model we are looking at today uses a massive 512MB cache. OCZ claims a read performance of up to 480MB/s and a write performance of up to 330MB/s.

At Newegg this drive currently costs $869.99 after a mail-in rebate.

Packaging and The Drive

The Packaging

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OCZ uses a newer blister pack package for the Octane.

We're starting to see this same package used on drives that ship without a desktop adapter bracket.

The Drive

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The Octane is a standard 2.5" drive with a height of 9mm. One side of the case is plastic and the other side is aluminum.

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The aluminum wraps around the sides as well so all of the mounting locations are metal. The SATA power and data connectors are where they should be so you won't have any issue installing the drive in your notebook or desktop with an adapter bracket (not included).

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Inside we see the Indilinx Everest controller. Half of the flash and DRAM cache is located on each side. The 512GB model uses TI switches and allows the controller to talk to all of that high density flash.

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The other side holds the rest of the flash.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup and ATTO Baseline Performance

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: AVADirect, GIGABYTE, Cooler Master, LSI, Corsair and Phanteks.

You can read more about TweakTown's Storage Product Testing Workstation and the procedures followed to test products in this article.

ATTO Baseline Performance

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.34

ATTO is used by many disk manufacturers to determine the read and write speeds that will be presented to customers.

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With the new 1.13 update installed we achieved a read speed of just under 460MB/s. The update improves random write speed and in this test we almost hit 330MB/s.

Benchmarks - HD Tune Pro

HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.00

Developer Homepage: http://www.efdsoftware.com

Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

HD Tune is a Hard Disk utility which has the following functions:

Benchmark: measures the performance

Info: shows detailed information

Health: checks the health status by using SMART

Error Scan: scans the surface for errors

Temperature display

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has been gaining popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must have application for storage device testing.

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The Octane 128GB and 256GB drives received a sequential performance improvement with the new update, but the other drives only received an increase in 4KB random write performance. Because of that we don't expect to see any big improvements in the sequential tests like those run in HD Tune.

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Both the read and write sequential tests stayed about the same. The new updated slowed the speed down just a little, but for the most part performance was identical.

Benchmarks - AIDA64 Random Access Time

AIDA64 Random Access Time

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.60

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

AIDA64 offers several different benchmarks for testing and optimizing your system or network. The Random Access test is one of very few if not only that will measure hard drives random access times in hundredths of milliseconds as oppose to tens of milliseconds.

Drives with only one or two tests displayed in the write test mean that they have failed the test and their Maximum and possibly their Average Scores were very high after the cached fills. This usually happens only with controllers manufactured by JMicron and Toshiba.

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The read access time stayed about the same as well.

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The write access times saw a very good improvement with the new 1.13 firmware update on the 512GB drive.

Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark

CrystalDiskMark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview

Developer Homepage: http://crystalmark.info

Product Homepage: http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskMark/index-e.html

Download here: http://crystaldew.info/category/software/crystaldiskmark

CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software that allows us to benchmark 4K and 4K queue depths with accuracy.

Key Features:-

* Sequential reads/writes

* Random 4KB/512KB reads/writes

* Text copy

* Change dialog design

* internationalization (i18n)

Note: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 Technical Preview was used for these tests since it offers the ability to measure native command queuing at 4 and 32.

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Once again when it comes to reading data the new update on the 512GB Octane kept things about the same. We did notice a decrease in sequential reads again, but the 4K and NCQ reads were very close to the original numbers we ran when the drive was tested.

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Just as OCZ stated in their firmware notes, 4K write performance was improved. With the older firmware we saw around 52MB/s with a single write command, but the new firmware increases that to 59MB/s. More importantly, the wall around 60MB/s has been raised.

At 32 commands the Octane writes at 100MB/s, a fairly large improvement.

Benchmarks - PCMark Vantage Hard Disk Tests

PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/pcmark-vantage/

Buy It Here

PCMark Vantage is the first objective hardware performance benchmark for PCs running 32 and 64 bit versions of Microsoft Windows Vista. PCMark Vantage is perfectly suited for benchmarking any type of Microsoft Windows Vista PC from multimedia home entertainment systems and laptops to dedicated workstations and high-end gaming rigs. Regardless of whether the benchmarker is an artist or an IT Professional, PCMark Vantage shows the user where their system soars or falls flat, and how to get the most performance possible out of their hardware. PCMark Vantage is easy enough for even the most casual enthusiast to use yet supports in-depth, professional industry grade testing.

FutureMark has developed a good set of hard disk tests for their PCMark Vantage Suite. Windows users can count on Vantage to show them how a drive will perform in normal day to day usage scenarios. For most users these are the tests that matter since many of the old hat ways to measure performance have become ineffective to measure true Windows performance.

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HDD1 - Windows Defender

HDD2 - Gaming

HDD3 - Windows Photo Gallery

HDD4 - Vista Startup

HDD5 - Windows Movie Maker

HDD6 - Windows Media Center

HDD7 - Windows Media Player

HDD8 - Application Loading

I have to admit this isn't going like I expected. In all of the tests except for one the Octane 512GB with fw1.13 was slower than the drive with first release firmware. In the Media Player test we did see a 20MB/s improvement, but that is it.

PCMark Vantage - Drives with Data Testing

For a complete breakdown on the Drives with Data Testing please read this article. You will be able to perform this test at home with the files provided in the article - full instructions are included.

- Brief Methodology

SSDs perform differently when used for a period of time and when data is already present on the drive. The purpose of the Drives with Data testing is to show how a drive performs in these 'dirty' states. SSDs also need time to recover, either with TRIM or onboard garbage collection methods.

Drives with Data Testing - 25%, 50%, 75% Full States and Dirty / Empty Test

Files needed for 60 (64GB), 120 (128GB), 240 (256GB)

60GB Fill - 15GB, 30GB, 45GB

120GB Fill - 30GB, 60GB, 90GB

240GB Fill - 60GB, 120GB, 160GB

Empty but Dirty - a test run just after the fill tests and shows if a drive needs time to recover or if performance is instantly restored.

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HDD1 - Windows Defender

HDD2 - Gaming

HDD3 - Windows Photo Gallery

HDD4 - Vista Startup

HDD5 - Windows Movie Maker

HDD6 - Windows Media Center

HDD7 - Windows Media Player

HDD8 - Application Loading

In our customized version of Vantage we can see the overall scores with and without data being present on the drive.

Once again the drive was slower in these tests. The difference wasn't as large when the drive had data on it though. Locked at the 50% capacity mark, the Octane is still faster than the Agility 3 240GB which is a positive sign for sure.

Benchmarks - AS SSD

AS SSD Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.3577.40358

Developer Homepage: Alex Intelligent Software

Product Homepage: Alex Intelligent Software

Download here: http://www.alex-is.de/PHP/fusion/downloads.php?cat_id=4&download_id=9

AS determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains four synthetic as well as three practice tests. The synthetic tests are to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are carried out without the use of the operating system caches.

In all synthetic tests the test file size is 1GB. AS can also determine the access time of the SSD, the access of which the drive is determined to read through the entire capacity of the SSD (Full Stroke). The write access test is only to be met with a 1 GB big test file. At the end of the tests three values for the read and write as well as the overall performance will be issued. In addition to the calculated values which are shown in MB/s, they are also represented in IO per seconds (IOPS).

Note: AS SSD is a great benchmark for many tests, but since Crystal Disk Mark covers a broader range of 4K tests and HD Tune Pro covering sequential speeds, we will only use the Copy Benchmark from AS SSD.

- Copy Benchmark

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Copying smaller data to and from the drive saw an increase in performance. The Game and Program tests show us that. The ISO test with large blocks of data takes a big hit though, around 100MB/s.

Benchmarks - Passmark

Passmark Advanced Multi-User Tests

Version and / or Patch Used: 6.1

Developer Homepage: http://www.passmark.com

Test Homepage: http://www.passmark.com

Many users complain that I/O Meter is too complicated of a benchmark to replicate results so my quest to find an alternative was started. Passmark has added several multi-user tests that measure a hard drives ability to operate in a multi-user environment.

The tests use different settings to mimic basic multi-user operations as they would play out on your server. Variances is read / write percentage as well as random / sequential reads are common in certain applications, Web Servers read nearly 100% of the time while Database Servers write a small amount of data.

The Workstation test is the only single user environment and will be similar to how you use your system at home.

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The only enterprise test to show any improvement was the database test which makes sense since it uses a lot of heavy small file size random write. The sequential read web server test did take a large performance hit.

Final Thoughts

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The results from today's re-test of the OCZ Octane 512GB drive really weren't what I expected to see when I started.

I hoped that some of the magic OCZ found for Everest II would somehow start to appear in Octane's Everest controller, but the magic just isn't there. The new firmware increased performance in a couple of real-world tasks, but when you sum it all up, the drive lost more performance than it gained. That doesn't mean Octane is a bad product, just one that isn't as special as say a Vertex 3, the pinnacle of SSD performance.

There are some things to remember if you have an Octane and are updating the firmware. This release is a destructive update; the drive will be erased in the update process when it changes the blocks from 16k to 8k. If you want to keep the data from the drive, you'll need to back it up. Also, when we updated the Octane on our Z68 motherboard we had to install the drive to the Marvell SATA port, the Intel port with the latest Intel drivers wouldn't see the drive from the OCZ Update Tool. There is also an issue with OCZ's Update Tool and X79 motherboards. The issue is documented in the releases notes, so we didn't even try to mess with X79. The last issue is universal for all HDD/SSD products; you can't update the firmware on your boot drive.

A big reason why I wanted to run this drive back through the benchmark mill is because of the association with Vertex 4... or potential association, whatever. I'm not sure how this architecture is going to change to go from Octane to Vertex 4, but the changes will need to be pretty big for that to happen.

At CES OCZ had a Vertex 4 candidate on display and the Indilinx controller number was different than that of the controller in Everest. I guess we'll all just have to wait until June or July to see what tips up. Hopefully 20nm flash is ready by then too so we can all share in the experience of having 512GB of flash storage for much less than $800.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

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AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Chris Ramseyer started his career as a LAN Party organizer in Midwest USA. After working with several computer companies he was asked to join the team at The Adrenaline Vault by fellow Midwest LAN Party legend Sean Aikins. After a series of shake ups at AVault, Chris eventually took over as Editor-in-Chief before leaving to start Real World Entertainment. Look for Chris to bring his unique methods of testing Hard Disk Drives, Solid State Drives as well as RAID controller and NAS boxes to TweakTown as he looks to provide an accurate test bed to make your purchasing decisions easier.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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