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【Performance Test】[Product Review] OCZ Z-Drive-R4, the PCIe-based SSD Created for High-End Servers


Published 2012-08-03 (GMT+8)

OCZ's Z-Drive R4 C series, the PCIe-based SSDs created specifically professional servers, mostly targets enterprise customers and is divided into two lines: the full height CM88 and the half height CM84. The product has capacities ranging from 300GB to 3.2TB, and utilizes SandForce 2281 controllers. Other than good speed performance, OCZ also made sure the Z-Drive R4 would perform well in the stability department.

The system configurations for the high-tiered M88 1.6T, which will be reviewed in this article, is shown below along with the test software programs that will be used:

PC Mark 07:

OCZ specifically intended the Z-Drive R4 series for the 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7, the reason being that after Windows XP has been discontinued and pulled out of the market, the company stopped offering drivers specific to the format. Given different testing software have unique properties and provide different types of measurements, OCZ’s Z-Drive R4 was tested using various benchmark-performance software such as PC Mark 07, ATTO, CrystalDiskMark, AS-SSD, and HD Tune Pro. Utilizing such testing method allowed us to understand the performance levels of OCZ's product in more depth.

The PC Mark software is commonly utilized for assessing a computer’s overall hardware performance, and can be applied to measure a wide variety of system-related specs. Focusing on SSD performance alone, the score that M88 received under PC Mark is 5823.

ATTO



ATTO is one of the most popular testing software that manufacturers use to measure read/write speeds. As shown in the graph, for the test involving 0.5KB to 8MB files, OCZ M88's read (green) and write (red) speeds appear to be quite balanced and, in general, do not show too much of a discrepancy with one another--although, on quite a few occasions, the write speeds have been noticed to slightly exceed the read speeds. As the graphs indicate, speed performances were measured using queue depths of 4 and 10.

CrystalDiskMark

〈Random〉

〈all 0x00〉

〈all 0xff〉


 
Similar to ATTO, CrystalDiskMark (CDM) is a testing software commonly utilized for measuring speed-related performances. CDM can be used to measure sequential as well as random 512K, 4KB, and 4KB (Queue Depth=32) read/write speeds. Given that QD32 4KB read tests are highly applicable to SSDs supported by NCQ and running on AHCI mode, the 4KB tests utilizing such depth has been perceived as possessing a high reference value.

A special note about CMD is it that can be used to implement tests involving highly compressed data. As SandForce controllers commonly support high compression ratios, CDM's “All 0x00 (0 fill)” or “All Oxff (1 fill)” modes can be used to examine how performance levels vary under different compression settings. Given the existence of high compression ratio, different reading speeds were spotted between tests involving compressed and uncompressed data. The diagrams below show the tests that ran on “Random,” “All 0x00” and “All 0xff” modes. By default, CDM has been set to test reading speeds for uncompressed data. When performing the actual tests, it is shown that speed is much quicker when data is highly compressed.

AS SSD



AS-SSD performs a similar test as CDM, but has an extra “Access Time” option. Under AS-SSD, the M88 received a score of 3707, which is quite impressive.



AS-SSD can also be used to perform compression benchmark tests, which measure read/write speeds for data compressed on a 0% to 100% scale. Again, due to SanForce's high compression ratio, performance speed —particularly write speed- significantly increases when files are compressed.

HD Tune Pro:


 


HD Tune Pro is favored by many gamers for its ability to perform hardware checks as well as speed testing. The software can be used to measure read and write speed either separately or together.

Final

Looking at the various results shown in the above mentioned testing software, the server-oriented Z-Drive R4 from OCZ can be said to have an above average performance. Considering the price mark and OCZ's clear intention to go in a different direction with its product, such performance outcomes should come as no surprise. It is expected the R4 series would be suitable for activities such as media editing, online server back-up, shadow copying, data write-backs, and other enterprise-related tasks that emphasize speedy file transfers. Other than speed, qualities such stability and ease of management are not as clearly indicated by the benchmark software’s performance tests.


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