OCZ Vertex 120GB SSD on Macbook with Bootcamp & Windows 7

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by harshw, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. harshw macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    #1
    UPDATE: Added latest scores for Firmware 1199. Check out the xbench scores

    Woo hoo ! Just got my Vertex 120GB yesterday.
    [​IMG]

    Inside is a plain black box. Looks like OCZ is learning from Apple.
    [​IMG]

    Kinda reminds me of the iPhone packaging.
    [​IMG]

    The drive itself:
    [​IMG]

    This replaces the current WD Scorpio Blue 320GB in my Macbook 2.0 GHz
    [​IMG]

    Installing the Vertex couldn't be easier, but one has to use the 4 Torx screws so that the drive fits into the bay
    [​IMG]

    And that's what it looks like ... fitting snugly inside. I think I like the sleek black :)
    [​IMG]

    Anyways, enough of pics. Onto install notes, benchmarks and impressions.

    I partitioned the drive in Apple's DiskUtility. And installed OS X 10.5.5 and then updated with the 10.5.6 combo update. I then installed Office 2008 and VMWare Fusion. If you are concerned with alignment, don't be ... at least under OS X. That is because Apple's utilities do alignment on 4K (4096) byte boundaries. It's not perfect but it is better than nothing. If you figure out how to do the alignment yourself and still keep the GUID partition table with the protective MBR and 200MB EFI partition - please post it so that we can experiment with it. In the meantime let's look at the partition table. Running " sudo fdisk /dev/rdisk0 " in Terminal gives us the following output:

    [size=-1]
    Code:
    macbook:~ admin$ sudo fdisk /dev/rdisk0
    Disk: /dev/rdisk0	geometry: 15873/255/63 [255013680 sectors]
    Signature: 0xAA55
             Starting       Ending
     #: id  cyl  hd sec -  cyl  hd sec [     start -       size]
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
     1: EE 1023 254  63 - 1023 254  63 [         1 -     409639] <Unknown ID>
     2: AF 1023 254  63 - 1023 254  63 [    409640 -  190578688] HFS+        
    *3: 07 1023 254  63 - 1023 254  63 [ 191252480 -   63760384] HPFS/QNX/AUX
     4: 00    0   0   0 -    0   0   0 [         0 -          0] unused      
    
    [/SIZE]
    Let's look at our Windows 7 partition (it's the one marked as HPFS/QNX/AUX above). It starts at offset 191252480 which is actually 191252480 *512 = 97921269760 bytes. Is this aligned ? Well 97921269760 / 4096 = 23906560. Which is a nice round number. So far so good ! The other partitions are aligned to 4K boundaries as well. So, not perfect, but not bad either

    Ran a few benchmarks and used the drive and from what I can tell ... it is very snappy! OS X 10.5.5 took around 18 minutes to install. Office 2008 installed in 5 min 13 seconds. I dont have equivalent figures for the HDD, but I know that it wasnt 18 minutes for installing OS X on my WD Scorpio Blue :)

    Here is a screen shot of the drive in System Profiler
    [​IMG]
    It shows 00.PT1 as the firmware revision. When OCZ comes out with their new firmware, I am going to have to backup this drive somehow. And the Win 7 partition as well. Although to be honest, I could just re-install Win7. Let's get the mandatory Xbench figures out of the way, then I'll talk about real world usage.

    Here is the Xbench 1.3 disk test for my WD320GB Blue. It's a 5400 rpm drive but it is quite fast. The Xbench composite result for the WD320GB is 22.95

    Code:
    Sequential	 23.73	
    	Uncached Write	47.78	29.34 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    	Uncached Write	23.08	13.06 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    	Uncached Read	14.55	4.26 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    	Uncached Read	28.13	14.14 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    
    Code:
    Random	      22.23	
    	Uncached Write	9.22	0.98 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    	Uncached Write	45.48	14.56 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    	Uncached Read	44.88	0.32 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    	Uncached Read	36.79	6.83 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    
    Now let's look at SSD figures. As you expect, they will be higher. The composite score is 221.14. That's massive a increase !

    Code:
    Sequential	181.31	
    	Uncached Write	219.31	134.65 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    	Uncached Write	179.43	101.52 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    	Uncached Read	106.07	31.04 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    	Uncached Read	399.79	200.93 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    
    Code:
    Random	283.40	
    	Uncached Write	107.79	11.41 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    	Uncached Write	330.55	105.82 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    	Uncached Read	1650.71	11.70 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    	Uncached Read	829.64	153.95 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    
    Update: Here are XBench figures for FW1199 (the latest firmware that increases sequential writes by up to 25%)

    Code:
    Sequential	190.84	
    	Uncached Write	272.89	167.55 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    	Uncached Write	191.13	108.14 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    	Uncached Read	104.57	30.60 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    	Uncached Read	399.88	200.98 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Code:
    Random	310.43	
    	Uncached Write	120.68	12.77 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    	Uncached Write	348.66	111.62 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    	Uncached Read	1884.89	13.36 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    	Uncached Read	833.25	154.62 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    
    The Disktest score went from 221.14 to 236.37. The 4K sequential writes went from 134.65 MB/sec to 167.55 MB/sec, an increase of 32.9 MB/sec !

    So ... Xbench tells us the drive is fast. But what does it mean in real life ? Well, the laptop feels noticeably faster - whether it is installing software or doing daily work. Installing the OS X 10.5.6 combo update tok 2 mins 58 seconds! And the biggest difference was when starting up programs. As everyone knows, the first time you start up programs, after a boot, they are annoyingly slow. After that, OS X's file cache kicks in and subsequent starts are quite fast. Let's look at what the Vertex can do for us ...

    Code:
    		[B]1st run (HDD)[/B]	[B]1st run (SSD)[/B]
    Entourage 	18.6 sec	5 sec
    Excel		5.1 sec 	2.2 sec
    Word		8.5 sec 	2.1 sec
    Powerpoint	4.9 sec		3.5 sec
    

    Wow ! The laptop feels snappy with the SSD. With the HDD, Entourage used to keep bouncing in the dock like a dreary beachball. The SSD makes it bounce once, twice and presto ... it is ready for use. But what about the subsequent runs ? Surely the OSX file cache is good and there isnt much improvement the SSD can hope to bring ...

    Code:
    		[B]2nd+ run(HDD)[/B]	[B]2nd+ run(SSD)[/B]
    Entourage 	3.6 sec		2.5 sec
    Excel		2.0 sec 	1.8 sec
    Word		2.3 sec 	2.1 sec
    Powerpoint	2.9 sec		1.9 sec
    

    So the SSD does manage to open the apps faster even on subsequent runs.

    I measured OS X startup with the SSD and HDD. There was one bootable Win7 partition, I timed the duration taken from press of the power button to the desktop appearing.



    Code:
                        [B]HDD[/B]           [B]SSD[/B]
    OS X Startup     1 min 15 sec   0 min 27 sec
    


    Granted I let the Macbook sleep most of the time and flip the lid and work - but the SSD performance for startup is amazing ! But it's not just limited to startups, shutdowns also benefit. The Macbook usually takes anywhere from 12 to 20 seconds for a normal shutdown. With the SSD, I never see shutdowns take more than 7 seconds, with the average shutdown being 3 to 5 seconds.

    One thing often overlooked by people is that the solid state hard disk is well ... solid state ! It means no vibrations, no humming, no chittering, just silence. I honestly thought the WD 320GB was silent because it was a 5400 rpm model. I didnt use a 7200 rpm disk because it vibrated and I could feel the vibrations through the palmrest. But installing the SSD was a pleasant surprise. Pure silence ! (well except for the almost inaudible whoosh of the fan). Switching back to the HDD immediately brought back the vibrations and the chittering sound that was now becoming faintly annoying. I think I'm a SSD zealot now, as far as laptops are concerned :)

    Oh the other good thing with this drive is that BootCamp works. Yes, that's right. No problems with Bootcamp, at least on my MacBook Unibody. I installed Windows 7 x64 beta (and Vmware Fusion 2.0 was already installed on OSX). It took 19 minutes to install Win 7 - that is seriously fast. So how does Win 7 compare in terms of performance benefits ? I timed Win 7 startup from time of pressing enter when choosing the Win 7 disk in the option menu to getting the desktop on screen


    Code:
                        [B]HDD[/B]           [B]SSD[/B]
    Win 7 Startup     2 min 5 sec   0 min 42 sec
    

    This drive is fast. But the numbers above dont tell you the whole story. When using a SSD, do you know how annoying it is that the desktop appears and you still cannot click on anything ? Because the drive is churning away in the background and you dont get foreground control ? With the SSD, the difference is night and day. The system is super responsive. When the desktop appears, you get control and you can click on items. That is a HUGE plus point. It makes my 2.0 GHz laptop act like a 2.66 GHz MBP. I'm happy :D Starting virtual machines is faster too, but not significantly so. As always, YMMV


    Code:
                        [B]HDD[/B]           [B]SSD[/B]
    Win 7 VM Startup   1 min 42 sec   1 min 10 sec
    

    Here's a WinSAT screenie, with the Disk assessement score showing as 6.7 :D

    [​IMG]

    And finally ATTO running in Win7. Remember ATTO gives funny results when run on the system drive.

    [​IMG]

    After torturing the drive with a few installs and what not, I ran ATTO again ...

    [​IMG]

    It looks like write performance has gone down from 110 Mb/sec to 83 Mb/sec but even after further installs and usage, this value was stable.

    OCZ is coming out with a new revision of the firmware that will boost sequential writes by 25% so I plan on installing this and re-testing the drive. I plan to bench mySQL/PostgresQL and SQLite. And Xcode/gcc (time a project build etc). And I will keep an eye out for stuttering (have not seen any so far). I think this is a great drive, now I just need to save up for the 250GB variant :)
     
  2. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #2
    I so have an e-boner right now....:eek:

    Nice purchase and right now I'm saving up since I was going to buy the G.Skill Titan 128GB, but just checked my HDD (250GB 5400 rpm stock, 232 GB once formatted) usage; however, I found out need 256 GB due to my hefty iTunes library and various stuff I have 120 GB filled up out of 200 GB possible (I partitioned 32 GB for Win 7 64-bit and this partition could welcome more space;)) GB... so 256 GB is going to have to do it. I also don't mind the extra 6GBs...:D
     
  3. spacecadet610 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2006
    #3
    nice review. waiting for the price to come down more. how much did you pay?
     
  4. harshw thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    #4
    £ 368
     
  5. Paddrino macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    #5
    Excellent review! Thanks for the info and comparison. However, until the price comes down and the storage goes up I still can't seem to justify the cost yet. Maybe next year. SDD is still in the "early adopter" phase, but it will be interesting to see how much better it gets over the next year or so.
     
  6. lankox macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    #6
    Thanks for the review. I have been waiting for this drive for sometime. I plan on buying the 60gb version after the new firmware comes out and when the price drops around the $200US mark. If you have imovie 09, it would be nice to see a before and after on the launch times (itunes as well). Also, after sometime, please report on battery life. If you really want to see a big difference between the hdd and sdd, do some tests opening multiple apps at once.
     
  7. sparkie7 macrumors 68000

    sparkie7

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    #7
    the 250 is 20MB/sec slower on the write than the 120GB :rolleyes:
     
  8. harshw thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    #8
    Did you test this ? Was it consistently slower ? What firmware revision do you have ?
     
  9. zergworld macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #9
    how to flash firmware to 1199 on the mac

    ocz has a windows only tool for flashing to firmware 1199 with windows xp, but no word on how to accomplish this on the mac. Anyone here have an idea?
     
  10. poppap macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    #10
    Regarding the bigger drive...

    For those who can live without SuperDrive.. There are alternatives..
    It's MCE OptiBay.. The price is not so cheap though.. $129
    Then I bought the cheap enclosure and cheap SATA-to-USB so that I can still use the SuperDrive as external drive.

    Or if you're handy, you can get the Slimline SATA plug and hack the connector together for around $20-30. But still need to find a way to secure the HDD inside.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I planned to replace the HDD with another Samsung 256GB SSD and do a RAID0...
     

    Attached Files:

  11. flyguy79 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    #11
    great review, thx!
    I defently gonna get my new MBP with the SSD.
    So you have the MacOSX on FAT32 partition and the Windows 7 in NTFS correct?
    I never had a SSD so, I was just wondering if Bootcamp can make a partition the SSD in FAT32 and NTFS as well without any problems.
    Did you also run MacFUSE and NTFS-3G for read/write support?

    So when I get my MBP with the SSD that I can run Windows7 on seperate NTFS partition with the full read/write support.
     
  12. poppap macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2007
    #12
    Mac OSX will only run on Mac OS Extended (HFS+) partition. It won't install on FAT32
    SSD is treated the same as HDD in any respect regarding partitions. It just don't have the moving components.
     
  13. flyguy79 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    #13
    Thanks thats the answer I was looking for ;-)
     
  14. spacecadet610 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2006
    #14
    Just an FYI, the Intel SSD drive seems to have issues with boot camp partitioning.

     
  15. drew0020 macrumors 65816

    drew0020

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2006
    #15
    Sounds like a great SSD. I just bought the Intel x25-m and im thinking about selling it for this one. I can always use a little extra space. How does one apply the firmware?? Has anyone tested both of these?
     
  16. harshw thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    #16
    As of now you need a Windows machine, there is a sticky on the OCZ forums for applying firmware. A firmware flasher for DOS will come out soon, this should make it easy to apply the firmware on a MacBook ...
     
  17. Andrmgic macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #17
    Thanks for posting this.. I just got my 30GB model today and did a little xbench testing -

    here's a link if anyone is interested.. these are my computer with the stock 160gb drive and again with the SSD.. (the SSD is in blue)

    http://db.xbench.com/merge.xhtml?doc1=353799&doc2=353790

    I haven't tried windows 7 with it yet and have not done any firmware updates.. but I have to say I'm quite impressed.

    OS X install time was 12 minutes 17 seconds (no languages other than English, no printer drivers) from when I skipped the disc check until the welcome movie was finished playing in the OS.

    Format time for the 30GB was approx. 5.1 seconds

    I didn't count any app launches, sorry.. but most were 1 - 1.5 bounces.
     
  18. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    #18
    Results 260.24
    System Info
    Xbench Version 1.3
    System Version 10.5.6 (9G55)
    Physical RAM 4096 MB
    Model MacBookPro5,1
    Drive Type OCZ-VERTEX 1199
    Disk Test 260.24
    Sequential 212.18
    Uncached Write 282.10 173.20 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 294.28 166.50 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 106.75 31.24 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 393.43 197.73 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 336.45
    Uncached Write 120.06 12.71 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 539.05 172.57 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 2088.71 14.80 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 815.66 151.35 MB/sec [256K blocks]

    86gb/120gb used.
     
  19. drew0020 macrumors 65816

    drew0020

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2006
    #19
    That is fast. Even quicker than my Intel X25-M SSD.
     
  20. sunnymac macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    #20
    Windows 7 is comaptible with 2.4ghz 4gb mac as well as vmware fusion ?

    I have bought VMWARE fusion and rightnow I can use XP as well as Leopard. I am planning to try Windows 7. Is that OS is compatible with my system and also is it work with VMWARE fusion.

    My sys congig is

    2.4ghz, White MB, 4GB ram 160gb HD, Intel Core Duo.


    Thanks in advance guys..
     
  21. dr. shdw macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2008
    #21
    Maybe Xbench isn't very consistent, but my drive just got faster....

    Before
    Results 260.24
    System Info
    Xbench Version 1.3
    System Version 10.5.6 (9G55)
    Physical RAM 4096 MB
    Model MacBookPro5,1
    Drive Type OCZ-VERTEX 1199
    Disk Test 260.24
    Sequential 212.18
    Uncached Write 282.10 173.20 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 294.28 166.50 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 106.75 31.24 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 393.43 197.73 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 336.45
    Uncached Write 120.06 12.71 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 539.05 172.57 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 2088.71 14.80 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 815.66 151.35 MB/sec [256K blocks]

    86gb/120gb used.

    Now.
    Results 293.72
    System Info
    Xbench Version 1.3
    System Version 10.5.6 (9G55)
    Physical RAM 4096 MB
    Model MacBookPro5,1
    Drive Type OCZ-VERTEX 1199
    Disk Test 293.72
    Sequential 260.14
    Uncached Write 299.48 183.88 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 342.00 193.50 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 144.89 42.40 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 452.24 227.29 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 337.25
    Uncached Write 115.18 12.19 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 552.57 176.90 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 3140.05 22.25 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 951.79 176.61 MB/sec [256K blocks]

    80/120gb used.
     
  22. zergworld macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #22
    How will the DOS flasher work on the mac? Will I have to be running windows in bootcamp? If so, that means that I'll have the SSD connected over USB. Will the SSD still need to have the jumper fitted on? If the SSD has to be internally connected, then I can't boot into windows (off a usb connected drive). Also, the sata connector in a macbook pro unibody covers the jumper pins in such a way that I can't connect the the sata cable with the jumper on.

    I really want the new 1199 firmware :)

    Is my best bet to borrow someone else's desktop pc?
     
  23. MBHockey macrumors 68040

    MBHockey

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Location:
    New York
    #23
    Yeah, i'm curious about this too. Only way to flash is to use a PC? That's annoying...I don't have one. :\
     
  24. MBHockey macrumors 68040

    MBHockey

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Location:
    New York
    #24
  25. pinoyplaya macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    #25
    Is the difference very noticeable? Should I buy one or wait till they get cheaper and higher in capacity? I have no need for a faster drive atm :)
     

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