OCZ VTX460-25SAT3-240G

I just picked up a new OCZ VTX460-25SAT3 SSD drive. I needed more room to install games on my PC. This drive is now my E: drive on my computer. My main drive is a Sandisk SDSSDX240GG25. Both are SATA3 (6Gbps) and 240GB so I wanted to run benchmarks and compare the two. I used CrystalDiskMark v3.0.3 on Windows 8.1. I also included my results for my Western Digital WD10EAVS. This is using SATA2 (3Gbps).

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Here is my result for the Sandisk.

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Here is my result for the OCZ.

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And finally, here is what I got with the Western Digital 1TB hard drive on SATA2 (3Gbps).

I’ve been running SSD drives for a few years now and never looked back. The performance is night and day. SSDs can make an old computer feel new again (unless the CPU is really old and using the original SATA (1.5Gbps) but I’m sure you’ll feel a difference.

A note during installation. It took four restarts before Windows finally recognize the drive. My bios recognized it with no problem. From the looks of it, the drive was originally formatted with GPT – I’m guessing this is why it was difficult for Windows to detect. Here’s a screenshot of Windows when it finally recognized it.

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If you haven’t tried SSD, I definitely recommend it. Prices have been dropping steadily.

OCZ ZT Series 550W

My budget HTPC build’s (I just realized I didn’t blog about it, but no worries I will post it soon) power supply died and it’s only 3 months old. It was a Cooler Master GX 450W bronze. For a couple of weeks, the PC didn’t turn on. At first I thought it could be lose cables or wires. I just never had time to take a look at it until recently. I checked everything and it still didn’t turn on. I decided to buy a Rosewill RTK-PST PSU tester. It’s a very good investment and will save you time and headaches (thanks Jeff).

As soon as I plugged in the GX 450W, the PSU tester beeped and displayed a red color on the LCD with an “X”. It’s definitely the PSU. I’m filing a RMA now so we’ll see how that goes.

I came across another good deal on a PSU so I picked up the OCZ ZT Series 550W. I’ve had good luck with OCZ’s PSU in the past so I’m giving this one a try. On top of the good price after rebate, it’s fully modular. It’s great for my HTPC being that the tower is fairly small and I won’t have unnecessary/unused cables dangling around inside. The 550W will provide more power but I wouldn’t need it. My HTPC has low power consumption. I’ve ran a kill-a-watt on it and it ranges from 38-44W (idle to use). Hopefully this PSU will last me longer than the last and that Cooler Master will replace my broken one. Then I’ll have an extra PSU.

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Here’s some pics I took when testing the bad PSU.

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OCZ Vertex Plus SSD Fixed

I posted problems with my OCZ SSD a few months ago here. I have gotten my drive back and it’s fixed. It didn’t take long for the RMA process, I just took a long time posting about the results. The whole RMA process took about a week. First I submitted a support ticket. I communicated with OCZ for a few days. Then they granted me an RMA number. I did have to pay for the shipping to send the drive back to them but it was only a few $. Here’s what they told me they did…

We have received the drive from you. It has been extensively tested for data integrity in our equipment. We were unable to find any problems with the drive. It was tested on an Asus P8P67 motherboard using Windows 7 64 bit with an i7 2600. The way we test the drive is by filling up the entire drive with data. The data is then read back to ensure that we get the same thing we wrote to the drive. This process is repeated multiple times with the drive being entirely filled up and read back many times. This testing ensures that the drive is storing data accurately and that the drive can withstand sustained maximum IOPS over a long period of time. During testing a very large amount of data is written to the drive. Any failing or marginal drives are quickly made apparent during this testing process. After this has been done many times the drive is then reflashed to ensure it has the latest firmware, and it is also reset to wipe all of the “dirty” NAND to restore full performance back to the drive. All testing is done prior to updating the firmware. The firmware has since been updated to the current version and the drive has been reset. The drive will be prepared to be shipped back to you. If we have not heard from you within a week from today the drive will be shipped back to you.

I asked…

did you use it as a storage drive or did you install windows on it? i'm able to use it as a storage drive but not install any OS on it.

Their response…

The way a storage device, such as an SSD works is that at the simplest level it just stores data, and then reads the data back when accessed. It doesn't matter if it is being used as a boot drive or as a storage device, its still doing the same fundamental process. In the case of a boot drive that errors out the operating system will crash. If it is being tested as a secondary drive and it errors out, the process will fail though the entire computer will not crash. Some of the drives we test do indeed fail this testing and they are marked as bad. Your drive didn't encounter any issues during the testing. Nearly 1tb of data was written to and then read from the drive as part of the testing.

So it looks like it was just a “dirty” drive. I know I’ve formatted it plenty of times but I guess not good enough? But it never worked even when I first got it and tried it. Anyways, it’s fixed now and I’m happy.

The process was painless with them. I now have it running on my HTPC with an MSI E350 motherboard. It works great and fast for its capabilities. Fortunately, this SSD drive was not meant for my more important machines so I had time to spare with troubleshooting and RMA. I wouldn’t buy an OCZ drive if it was going on an important machine. So far I’ve had good luck and experience with Kingston and Samsung SSD drives. If I come across another good deal on an OCZ SSD drive I wouldn’t hesitate to get it. I just won’t use it on my main machines.

Here’s a pic I took when I opened up their package. It was neatly packed and they even gave me a 3.5” adapter. Thanks OCZ.

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More problems with OCZ Vertex Plus SSD

So I‘ve had my OCZ Vertex Plus since August 2011 and since then, I’m unable to install an operating system on it. I’ve been able to use it as a storage drive but that’s it.

I have tried this SSD on a total of 4 different PC.

  1. ASUS P8Z68V-Pro with Intel i7 2600K
  2. Gigabyte Z68MA-D2H-B3 with Intel i5 2500K
  3. Compaq Mini 110
  4. MSI E350IS-E45

I did the following…

  • The bios recognizes the SSD and the correct SATA port.
  • Using AHCI mode
  • Tried different SATA ports
  • I’m running the latest firmware and bios versions.

I get as far as selecting the hard drive to install Windows on and it doesn’t see anything. I don’t have any other drives connected except the SSD drive. I tried to use an internal and external (USB) DVD drive. I’ve tried to use a USB thumb drive to install Windows. I’ve tried different discs of the same version of Windows. I’ve tried different versions of Windows 7. I’ve tried install Ubuntu. The same problem occurs, I get an error that it doesn’t detect the hard drive as soon as I’m ready to install the OS. I have moved on with other hard drives with the first 3 PC on my list above. And all installed correctly and functioning.

I finally sent a RMA request to OCZ and after a couple of days of communicating with support via email, it looks like they are granting me my RMA. Here are some pics I took from my latest attempt. It’s so odd.

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As you can see from the above image, the bios recognizes the SSD.

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SATA Mode is set to AHCI.

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During the Windows 7 installation, it doesn’t detect the SSD drive.

RAID0 using 2x 60GB OCZ Vertex Plus SSD

My latest upgrade to my computer is a pair of OCZ Vertex Plus 60GB SSD. They are running on SATAII and have had many bad reviews but I wanted to give them a try, after all my motherboard has the Z68 chipset. I was running a RAID10 4x Seagate 500GB 7200RPM with 16MB cache as my main drive. Now the plan is to create a RAID0 with the 2 SSD drives and turn the RAID10 into a RAID5 and use it for the data drive.

Here is the ATTO benchmark of the RAID10 before I deleted it.

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Now here’s the ATTO benchmark of the RAID0 using the SSD and the WEI score.

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Based on the numbers I’m getting, it doesn’t seem like a big difference – unless I’m reading it wrong but the read speeds improved from 237MB/s to 261MB/s. My boot up times have improved a lot. Not sure if that has plenty to do with SSD or the clean install of Windows or both.

Here is my ATTO benchmark of the RAID5 that used to be the RAID0.

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The write speeds are very low compared to the RAID10 but the read speeds are better.

I’m also using a iStarUSA BPU-124V2-SS 5.25” drive cage. It’s a great little tray that holds 4x 2.5” drives – either SATA or SAS and supports up to SATAIII speeds. It’s very easy to install the drives and it has 2 fans. You only need 1 power cable to power 4 drives. It’s very nice and I highly recommend it if you will use 2.5” drives.

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So far the upgrade was not only inexpensive (because they are only 60GB drives using SATAII interface) but I have noticed improvements in speed and performance. If you don’t have the budget for the newer SATAIII SSDs or larger capacity, try a RAID0 configuration with 2+ smaller SSD drives. Remember though with RAID0, you will not have redundancy. If 1 drive fails, all of the drives in the array will too.

Here’s the breakdown of the main hardware I’m using and none are overclocked. Everything is running stock.

CPU: Intel i7 2600K 3.4GHz

Motherboard: Gigabyte Z68MA-D2H-B3

Ram: G.Skills Ripjaws DDR3 1600 16GB 2x (2x4GB)

OS Drive: OCZ Vertex Plus 2x 60GB SSD in a RAID0 (SATAIII port)

Data Drive: Seagate 7200RPM 16MB cache 4x 500GB in a RAID5 (SATAII port)

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64bit SP1

Update: My computer’s fans started to kick up a little then all of a sudden it would freeze. I thought it was a glitch at first but it happened again within 5 minutes after I rebooted. It may have something to do with the SSD drives and what many are complaining about. The firmware version was 3.02 and the latest is 3.50 so I updated it. We’ll see if it continues to be unstable. Also, after installing the firmware, I redid the ATTO benchmark and got better results.

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