I guess that you can call me and SSD geek. More than a dozen drives have been though my system so I decided it is time to publish some stats that I’ve accumulated over time:
Here’s my latest build: 2 x Intel 320 Series 600GB drives in RAID0 (Intel P55 motherboard controller). Although this is a new build – I’ve used HDClone to copy my mechanical drive that I used after getting rid of OCZ Colossus to the RAID0. First time the process failed at over 50% complete and I had to restart it. So in theory every flash block must have been written to because of write leveling. The array is overprovisioned by about 100GB to offset the fact that RAID0 makes TRIM impossible. Will it work? I certainly hope so. These Intel drives are getting very good reviews after a firmware update in August 2011. And in my eyes Intel is a more reputable company than OCZ.
This is it’s predecessor: OCZ Colossus 1TB SSD. It was as buggy as other 2 OCZ Colossus drives that I’ve owned and eventually failed. I don’t recomment this drive. Back then it was the only non-RAID 1TB SSD storage available on the market so I went for it (given my bad experience with SSD RAID setups in the past). The machine was plagued by BSODs, I/O errors. From time to time disk wouldn’t be detected by BIOS at all. There are no diagnostic or secure erase utilities. The drive is literally a black box.
And the build before it: 2 OCZ Colossus 500GB SSD drives in RAID0. They were fast… while they worked… Then they became buggy. Then they failed. Don’t recommend. The idea was to get 1TB SSD storage (which was impossible to get otherwise, except for 1TB OCZ Colossus). Since RAID makes TRIM impossible I chose OCZ drives since they were the first to boast background garbage collection.
For comparison here is also benchmark table from single Intel 320 series 120GB SSD drive. As you can see Intel SSD RAID0 performance scales very well (linearly in most cases) in all tests except random 4K read with queue depth of more than 32. Even single Intel drive is nothing to frown at. Since it is not RAID array member TRIM will keep it performing at the top without the need to over-provision.
And finally to provide some contrast, here are benchmarks from WD 7200RPM 1TB mechanical spin-drive. The only area where it more or less holds its ground against SSD are sequential writes. Performance significantly drops on 512 kilobyte I/O operations and plummets into oblivion on 4K reads and writes. Unfortunately for mechanical drive this is the most common I/O type when booting Windows and launching apps. This is the reason I’m hooked on SSDs and keep using them despite poor reliability that I’ve experienced so far.