Acard ANS-9010 RAMdisk vs OCZ Vertex 30Gb SSD: Shootout

Storage/SSD by jmke @ 2009-05-11

We take a comparative look at the ACARD ANS-9010 ramdisk drive versus the OCZ Vertex 30Gb Drive in this video enhanced head to head shoot-out!

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Windows 7 Startup Timed

OCZ Vertex vs ACARD ANS-9010

We installed the OCZ Vertex 30Gb HDD in system 1, the ACARD ANS-9010 in system 2. The OCZ Vertex was hooked up to the onboard SATA 300 connector, configured in IDE mode. The ACARD was also connected to the Intel south bridge but two SATA cables were used and the ANS-9010 put in RAID mode to boost its performance. The Intel storage manager was used to configure on RAID-0 array.

Size wise the comparison is quite uneven, the OCZ Vertex clocks in at 30Gb, which after installation NTFS format leaves approximately 28Gb free. The latest firmware was used on the Vertex (1.10). The ACARD ANS-9010 was equipped with 4x2Gb DDR2 sticks, for a total of 16Gb, but with the RAID mode enabled and NTFS format, we’re left with ~14gb usable space.

We downloaded the publicly available Windows 7 Release Candidate 1 64-bit version and installed it on both systems. The latest video drivers for the NVIDIA VGA’s were installed. We were up and running in approximately an hour, with two Windows 7 setups which had identical tweaks:

  • Windows 7 hibernation file disabled (this saved 4gb, crucial space made available on the ACARD system)
  • Windows 7 page file size reduced to minimum size (again for reasons of maximizing available space)
  • Windows 7 automatically does some fine-tuning for SSD equipped systems, we made sure file indexer and superfetch service were disabled, we also enabled write caching and advanced performance on the hardware properties of the c:\ volume.
  • Intel Matrix Storage Controller was installed on the ACARD powered system and caching enabled.

    The OCZ Vertex in single drive setup can measure up to 250Mb/s in read and 200Mb/s write speed with larger file blocks, at 4kb file however it’s not the fastest out there, but still plenty times quicker than any conventional HDD. The ANS-9010 which comes at a higher price premium uses normal DDR2 sticks and delivers speed above 300mb/s read and 250mb/s write, and even at smaller 4kb file blocks it flies. Windows startup time is a good benchmark to see how your new storage reacts to reading small files, a high IO means faster boot times.

    We recorded the Windows 7 boot cycle from the first startup logo until the system sits idling on the desktop. We skipped the BIOS RAID initialization of the ACARD ANS-9010.

    OCZ 30Gb Vertex SSD

    The OCZ Vertex clocks in at approximately ~27 seconds from the time the words “Starting Windows” appear until the small “background loading” mouse pointer disappears and Windows 7 is idling.

    Let’s see how the ACARD ANS-9010 handles this task:

    ACARD ANS-9010

    About 7 seconds faster than the Vertex (or ~26%), 20 seconds is not instant-on, but we’re definitely getting there.

    Of course a fast starting PC is all fine and dandy, how does it handle other tasks? ->
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