What's new
  • Please do not post any links until you have 3 posts as they will automatically be rejected to prevent SPAM. Many words are also blocked due to being used in SPAM Messages. Thanks!

OCZ Summit 120GB SSD Review

Status
Not open for further replies.

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
ocz.jpg


OCZ Summit 120GB SSD Review




Manufacturer Page: OCZ Summit Series SATA II 2.5" SSD
Part Number: OCZSSD2-1SUM120G
TechWiki Info: OCZ Summit Features, Specs, Images
Price: Click Here to Check Prices
Warranty: 3 years



In the past months of SSD reviewing, we have come across quite a few great products, a fair share of good units and some that fell far below our expectations. While we have reviewed quite a few OCZ drives in the past, it seems that every time we turn around, they have a new product coming onto the market. If anything, this proves that among all manufacturers there are only a few that are blessed with such an extensive lineup. Today we look at another one of their contenders: the OCZ Summit 120GB drive.

Unlike the other OCZ drives we have reviewed in the past this unit is not powered by JMicron, nor Indilinx but by the granddaddy of them all: Samsung. In fact, this drive bears a startling resemblance to the recently reviewed Corsair P series SSD that received some high praise from us. Corsair's drive proved to be quite good albeit with some flusteringly low synthetic benchmarks numbers but OCZ has been known to tweak SSDs for increased performance so we wouldn't be surprised it happens here again.

OCZ really needs no introduction as they are a household name to everyone from enthusiasts to first-time PC builders. They also have what happens to be one of the best support forums out there when it comes to Solid State Drives. Similarly, Samsung really needs no introduction as they have been producing the SSDs for all the big brand name laptop manufacturers since SSDs were first introduced.

The OCZ Summit 128GB has been out for a while now and it is widely available from e-tailers and retailers throughout the country who stock top tier kit like OCZ drives. Since it has been out for a while, the price it can now be had for is about $349CAD which is very decent indeed.

Honestly, the biggest question is whether OCZ has done anything to the firmware of the drive to improve performance above and beyond that of Corsair's drive. Have they tweaked it’s performance envelope to be even better; or is simply a Samsung rebadged with no really outstanding reasons to choose it over the Corsair beside price differences? How does it stack up against its brethren like the Vertex? That is a bunch of questions to answer so let’s get started and see what we can find out!

summit_withback_b.jpg

 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Specifications

Specifications

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Summit/specs.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Packaging and Accessories

Packaging and Accessories


OCZ_Summit_box_front_sm.jpg

The box which the Summit drive resides in is done in an all black color scheme with white and silver font. In some ways it does remind us a lot of the Corsair’s P64 SSD's (which we reviewed awhile back) all white box in that it is simple, understated and well designed.

OCZ_Summit_box_bac_sm.jpg

Unlike the Corsair’s all white box, OCZ has included a lot of information and details which will help first time buyers make an informed decision. All of the information we would like to see is there without anything missing.

OCZ_Summit_box_open_sm.jpg

By opening up the pretty packaging and looking inside, we are once again greeted with the best in class protection scheme found on all OCZ SSDs we have looked at. Don’t get us wrong, most SSDs we have reviewed have come in more than adequately protective boxes but OCZs is simply the better design.

Concisely, the SSD comes in a static-proof wrapping which is then snuggly form fitted into the center of a foam box. The foam protects the drive from lateral and off axis blunt force trauma and the front and back are protected by thick cardboard.

OCZ_Summit_access_sm.jpg

As is becoming a reoccurring theme with ALL Solid State Drives we have reviewed (except for that first gen SLC based G.Skill 64GB SSD we reviewed many moons ago and the Patriot Torqx), the list of accessories is on the low end. Only including an thin instruction pamphlet is par for the course ; but we really wish ALL 2.5” form factor SSDs came with a 3.5” adapter like the Torqx did.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
First Impressions

First Impressions

OCZ_Summit_top_ang_s,.jpg
OCZ_Summit_bottom_ang_sm.jpg

In typical OCZ fashion, the all metal case of the Summit drive is done in a two tone colour scheme consisting of an all black case with silver metal cover. In fact it looks a heck of a lot like the Vertex and the Apex drives.

Unlike the Vertex, the Summit’s top label is also done in an all black affair with white lettering and silver highlights (thought the “SSD” is done in black lettering surrounded by silver). As we said in past reviews, we like this two tone look as a fast expensive drive SHOULD look like a fast and expensive drive.

OCZ_Summit_bottom_sm.jpg

By flipping the drive over we see that just as with past OCZ drives the back label of the Summit is full of information. Mention is also made of the .35A draw on the 5V line, which (unlike the questions we had about the accuracy of the label being correct during the Vertex review) is well within the range of the 2 watts that Samsung quotes for their “version” of this drive.

OCZ_Summit_bottom_jumper_sm.jpg

When you look at the business end of the drive is the ubiquitous power and data ports but no jumper pins. As we explained in the Corsair review, this is to be expected as Samsung does not need jumper pins for flashing their drives. This difference in philosophy is one of the things which separate this THIRD generation drive from ex-Samsung employee startup Indilinx’s first. In all honesty we think the Samsung's method of doing things is more polished and refined as jumpering ANY drive (especially one as expensive as 120GB SSD) just to update firmware is a less than optimal solution After all, jumpers are an easy solution from an engineering point of view but we're not all engineers now are we?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Interior Impressions

Interior Impressions


Before we continue: Please remember that opening any SSD will effectively void your warranty.

OCZ_Summit_board_sm.jpg
OCZ_Summit_board2_sm.jpg

While we have gotten used to the layout of Indilinx’s drives, this Samsung one isn't much different. In grand total you have: 16 flash chips, one RAM chip and one Samsung controller chip.

Except for the fact that the NAND chip layout may not be exactly the same as an Indilinx, the overall appearance is still dictated by logic for both companies. At the top of the PCB you have the controller and ram chips and then rows of NAND chips. In fact, the only real difference is unlike Indilinx SSDs which have two rows of four chips on each side of the PCB, the Summit has two rows of three on the “top” side and then on the backside a small row of two more chips in between the larger double row of 4 chips each. It is interesting to see the differing layouts and the different way both companies arrive at the same conclusion (or total number of parts), but to be honest we prefer the cleaner look of the Indilinx drives as this one looks slightly more cluttered.

OCZ_Summit_controller_sm.jpg

The I/O controller chip is of course none other than the Samsung S3C29RBB01-YK40. As expected, this is the exact same controller which graces the Corsair P series of SSDs. As noted in that previous review, the S3C29RBB01-YK40 is a 32bit ARM 9 microcontroller and is rated for speeds of 220MB/Sec read and 200MB/s writes. On paper this makes it SLIGHTLY slower in reads but slightly faster in writes than the Indilinx Barefoot controller with its 230 / 190 rating. While Samsung is not exactly open about the architecture used, it is our understanding this controller has 8 channels (compared to the 4 channel Indilinx Barefoot controller).

OCZ_Summit_ram_sm.jpg

The RAM which graces this board is also made by Samsung. To be specific this is a single 128MB Mobile DDR SDRAM model number K4X1G323P0-8GC6. This 90-FBGA ram chip is rated to run at 1.8v CL3 and is rated for an operating temperature range of -25°C to 85°C (or what Samsung calls Extended, Low, PASR & TCSR. Or as is becoming a regular theme…it’s a more robust as well as bigger chip than is found in Indilinx SSDs.

OCZ_Summit_NAND_sm.jpg
OCZ_Summit_NAND2_sm.jpg

Unlike the usual K9HCG08U1M we find in Indlinx-based drives the MLC NAND chips used in the Summit are Samsung K9HCGZ8U5M-SCK0 units. Using the online Samsung model decoder we can see these chips are 48 pin MLC Quad Die Package, 1st generation lead free & Halogen Free (ROHS compliant), 2.7V ~ 3.6V, chips which operate with Quad nCE (Quad Chip Enable control) & Quad R/nB (QuadReady/Busy Output) and customer bad block special handling. This model is rated at a density of 64Gbits or 8GB per chip and an operating temperature range of 0° to 70°C.

Above the model number we can see these were made in the 7th week of 2009 for the front 6 chips but it was 10th week 2009 for the back 10 chips. In a nut shell the only difference between these chips and the K9HCG08U1Ms is that the “Z” in the model name means they have specifically designed for SSD and do not come with the typical “Normal (x8)” designation. The other difference is the QUAD (the “5” in the model number) vs. DUAL NCE & R/nb (the “1” in their model) capabilities of the Indilinx SSD chips. When you think about it, it is not surprising that that Samsung uses enhanced (or at the very least custom model) chips for their drives as that is one of the perks of being the supplier of NAND chips to darn near ALL SSD builders!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Firmware & General Support

Firmware & General Support


SANGSUNG_logo.jpg

Unfortunately, when it comes to Firmware support, this in one area where the Summit falls a bit flat. Since it ships with the older 1801 firmware, it is now at least one revision out of date and from all reports ,Samsung branded SSDs are shipping with firmware 1901 on them….making the Summit's firmware TWO revisions old. This is a lifetime in SSDs and really does hobble this drive.

The biggest thing conspicuous by its absence is Idle Time Garbage Collection which was introduced just ONE revision later in 18C1. In the recently reviewed Corsair P64 review we discussed exactly what ITGC was and in stead of going into great detail lets make it very simple: by not having ITGC the OCZ Summit WILL get slower and slower as time goes by. It cannot clean itself up like a Vertex (via Nand Launderer or wiper.exe) nor can it even compete in the long term against the P64 which HAS ITGC. ITGC is a big deal when your product does not have it and it is very disappointing that OCZ has let this situation get as bad as it now is.

forum.jpg

With all that being said it is NOT OCZ’s fault, rather the blame resides solely on Samsung’s shoulders. Samsung can mouth all the right words about wanting to court the enthusiast market but the truth of the matter is they have a long history of NOT allowing end user firmware flashing. This travesty has continued to the point where according to OCZ, they have a firmware flasher but have been told they CANNOT release it to the public. This right here is why OCZ is in such a tough spot.

However, OCZ have stated that anyone who wants their firmware updated just needs to send their drive in and the update will be done for free (you just pay shipping). This may not be an optimal solution but it is better than nothings AND it does show how committed OCZ is to their customers.

There is some good news in all this mess in that ALL Summit drives shipped from OCZ after July 1 2009 will come with the 18C1 firmware. However, don't expect to get one without doing your homework as even ours (which came from OCZ LONG after the supposed July 1 date) did NOT come with it and we would not be surprised if it takes months for distributors to sell off the old stock.

The other good news is that OCZ has stated they are working hard to get the end user firmware flasher released to the general public and we would not be surprised if this situation resolves itself around the same time as Windows 7 and TRIM support for Samsung drives becomes available. We say this because Corsair is in a similar boat (albeit they have a newer firmware on their shipped drives) and Samsung has made indications to both companies that they WILL release a firmware flasher. In the long run, an extra month or three is not a bad thing but by the same token I truly hope that OCZ has learned their lesson and give Samsung drives a wide berth from now on unless Samsung can prove they can back up their promises. This problem is solely Samsung's doing and with newer hungrier companies like Indilinx out there we truly hope the Samsung 800lb Gorilla either learns its lesson for future releases OR approaches their OEM business with a more pro-consumer attitude.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Testing Methodology

Testing Methodology



Testing a hard drive is not as simple as putting together a bunch of files, dragging them onto folder on the drive in Windows and using a stopwatch to time how long the transfer takes. Rather, there are factors such as read / write speed and data burst speed to take into account. There is also the SATA controller on your motherboard and how well it works with SSDs to think about as well. For best results you really need a dedicated hardware RAID controller w/ dedicated RAM for SSDs to shine. Unfortunately, most people do not have the time, inclination or monetary funds to do this. For this reason our testbed will be a more standard motherboard with no mods or high end gear added to it. This is to help replicate what you the end user’s experience will be like.

Even when the hardware issues are taken care of the software itself will have a negative or positive impact on the results. As with the hardware end of things, to obtain the absolute best results you do need to tweak your OS setup; however, just like with the hardware solution most people are not going to do this. For this reason our standard OS setup is used. However, except for the XP load test times we have done our best to eliminate this issue by having the drive tested as a secondary drive. With the main drive being a WD 320 single platter drive.

For these tests we used a combination of the ATTO Disk Benchmark, HDTach, HDTune, Cystal Disk Benchmark, h2benchw, SIS Sandra Removable Storage benchmark, and IOMeter for synthetic benchmarks.

For real world benchmarks we timed how long XP startup took, Adobe CS3 (w/ enormous amounts of custom brushes installed) took, how long a single 4GB rar file took to copy to and then from the hard drives, then copy to itself. We also used 1gb of small files (from 1kb to 20MB) with a total 2108 files in 49 subfolders.

For the temperature testing, readings are taken directly from the hottest part of the drive case using a Digital Infrared Thermometer. The infrared thermometer used has a 9 to 1 ratio, meaning that at 9cm it takes it reading from a 1 square cm. To obtain the numbers used in this review the thermometer was held approximately 3cm away from the heatsink and only the hottest number obtained was used.


Please note to reduce variables the same XP OS image was used for all the hard drives.

For all testing a Gigabyte PA35-DS4 motherboard was used. The ICH9 controller on said motherboard was used.

All tests were run 4 times and average results are represented.

Processor: Q6600 @ 2.4 GHZ
Motherboard: Gigabyte p35 DS4
Memory: 4GB G.Skill PC2-6400
Graphics card: Asus 8800GT TOP
Hard Drive: 1x WD 320
Power Supply: Seasonic S12 600W Performance Testing

SSD FIRMWARE (unless otherwise noted):
G. Skill Titan: 0955
G.Skill Falcon: 1571 (AKA FW 1.3)
OCZ Apex: 955
OCZ Vertex: 1.3 (AKA FW 1571)
Patriot Torqx: 1571 (AKA FW 1.3)
Corsair P64: 18C1Q
OCZ Summit: 1801Q

Please note: The "G.Skill 64GB" listed in some of the graphs (the one with incomplete data) is the very first SSD we here at HWC reviewed. It does not have a name but its model number is FS-25S2-64GB and here is a link to our review of it.
__________________
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Read Bandwidth / Write Performance

Read Bandwidth


For this benchmark, HDTach was used. It shows the potential read speed which you are likely to experience with these hard drives. The long test was run to give a slightly more accurate picture.

We don’t put much stock in Burst speed readings and this goes double for SSD based hard drives. The main reason we include it is to show what under perfect conditions a given drive is capable of; but the more important number is the Average Speed number. This number will tell you what to expect from a given drive in normal, day to day operations. The higher the average the faster your entire system will seem.


OCZ_Summit_read.jpg

Interestingly enough, the OCZ Summit with its older 1801 firmware is still faster in reads than the Corsair P64 with its more advanced 18C1 firmware. This is interesting and we have to wonder once again if 16 chips spread over the 8 channel based Sammy controller is the sweet spot for this controller vs. the smaller 64GB model with its 8 chips on 8 channels. Either that or OCZ has tweaked the basedfirmware, though judging by the lack of support from Samsung this is less likely.


Write Performance


For this benchmark HD Tune Pro was used. To run the write benchmark on a drive, you must first remove all partitions from that drive and then and only then will it allow you to run this test. Unlike some other benchmarking utilities the HD Tune Pro writes across the full area of the drive, thus it easily shows any weakness a drive may have.

OCZ_Summit_write.jpg

If the read speeds were only mildly interesting, these writes are down right intriguing! Both the Corsair P64 and OCZ Summit use the exact same chips and the exact same controller…AND the Corsair has a more refined firmware YET it is handed a beat down by the Summit. Heck, these numbers are good enough to beat two of the three Indilinx based SSD we have reviewed in the all important minimum speed category.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
Crystal DiskMark / Random Access

Crystal DiskMark


Crystal DiskMark is designed to quickly test the performance of your hard drives. Currently, the program allows to measure sequential and random read/write speeds; and allows you to set the number of tests iterations to run. We left the number of tests at 5. When all 5 tests for a given section were run Crystal DiskMark then averages out all 5 numbers to give a result for that section.

Read Performance

OCZ_Summit_CDM_r.jpg

It really does appear that our hunch about 16 chips being the sweet spot is correct; after all this is the third result in a row where the newer firmware equipped P64 SHOULD be faster than the Summit. We REALLY wish OCZ had shipped us a Summit with 18C1 firmware, then we would have been cooking with GAS! As it stands, the small 4k reads are still significantly lower than the Indilinx SSDs but 1.4MB/s improvement is nothing to sneeze at!


Write Performance

OCZ_Summit_CDM_w.jpg

Wow. These number are much, MUCH better than the P64 and while still lower in the 4k writes they are impressive in the 512 and sequential tests.


Random Access Time


To obtain the absolute, most accurate Random access time, h2benchw was used for this benchmark. This benchmark tests how quickly different areas of the drive’s memory can be accessed. A low number means that the drive space can be accessed quickly while a high number means that more time is taken trying to access different parts of the drive. To run this program, one must use a DOS prompt and tell it what sections of the test to run. While one could use “h2benchw 1 -english -s -tt "harddisk test" -w test” for example and just run the seek tests, we took the more complete approach and ran the full gamout of tests and then extracted the necessary information from the text file. This is the command line argument we used “h2benchw 1 -a -! -tt "harddisk drivetest" -w drivetest”. This tells the program to write all results in english, save them in drivetest txt file, do write and read tests and do it all on drive 1 (or the second drive found, with 0 being the OS drive).

OCZ_Summit_random.jpg

As expected, a same generation Sammy Controller performs the same irregardless of the box it is in or the label on that box. With that being said it is nice to know that double the NAND chips doesn’t increase the latency of this device and that the P64’s numbers were not flukes.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,270
ATTO Disk Benchmark

ATTO Disk Benchmark


The ATTO disk benchmark tests the drives read and write speeds using gradually larger size files. For these tests, the ATTO program was set to run from its smallest to largest value (.5KB to 8192KB) and the total length was set to 256MB. The test program then spits out an extrapolated performance figure in megabytes per second.

Read Performance

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Summit/OCZ_Summit_atto_r.jpg" border="0" alt="" />​

Ouch, it seems the underlying tech of the Samsung controller is the root cause of the low ATTO speeds and not due to a bad firmware revision. To be totally honest AND blunt: these numbers stink. They are last generation numbers and are not impressive.


Write Performance

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Summit/OCZ_Summit_atto_w.jpg" border="0" alt="" />​

Well it seems more chips on the channel trumps firmware revision when it comes to write speeds on the ATTO test! Heck, these numbers are just as good, if not better, than what Indilinx SSDs attest to! Bravo OCZ for giving us the opportunity to see what the Samsung SSDs can do.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Status
Not open for further replies.

Latest posts

Twitter

Top