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OCZ Octane SSD review: OCZ Octane SSD

OCZ Octane SSD

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Dong Ngo
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Dong Ngo

SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

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Powered by the new Indilinx Everest controller, the OCZ Octane SSD is supposed to be different from other recent solid-state drives that use the well-established SandForce controller. However, chances are you'll find it exactly the same as any other standard SATA 2.5-inch internal drive, though with time and scrutiny it does turn out to be slightly slower in terms of data copy speed than other enthusiast-class SSDs.

ocz-octane-ssd-256gb.jpg
8.0

OCZ Octane SSD

The Good

The <b>OCZ Octane SSD</b> offers a large amount of storage at a relatively low price. The drive supports SATA 3 (6Gbps), performs very well, has up to 1TB of storage space, and works with all popular platforms, including Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

The Bad

The OCZ Octane SSD is comparatively slower in terms of data transfer speed than other SATA 3-based solid-state drives. The drive is significantly more expensive than traditional hard drives of the same capacity.

The Bottom Line

The OCZ Octane SSD makes an excellent host drive for any laptop or desktop. It offers great value in terms of performance and cost, especially for an SSD.

More than making up for this, the new Octane comes with much friendlier price tag, with the 256GB version only costing around $370. While this is still very expensive, it's much more affordable than the $500 or so that you'd have to pay for other SSDs of the same capacity, such as the Samsung 830 series, or the Patriot Wildfire. Big spenders can also opt for the 1TB version of the drive, which is the largest capacity option among consumer-grade SSDs. If you're looking to replace your laptop's or desktop's main internal drive to significantly improve the system's overall performance, the OCZ Octane would make an excellent investment.

Design and features

Drive type Internal drive
Connector options SATA 3 (6Gbps), SATA 2, SATA
Available capacities 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Product dimensions 9mm thick, 2.5-inch standard
Capacity of test unit 512GB
OSes supported Windows, Mac, Linux

OCZ Technology Group introduced its Indilinx Everest controller in July and the Octane is the first drive from the company to incorporate it. The design of the controller is one of the most important factors in an SSD, since it determines how the drive performs as well as its durability.

On the outside, however, the new Octane looks exactly the same as other SSDs and 2.5-inch SATA hard drives. It comes in the most common 9mm thickness, so it would fit in basically all storage application that uses a 2.5-inch hard drive. The drive's housing is made of plastic on top and aluminum on the bottom. It's very light and feels hollow, since on the inside there are no moving parts, just flash memory circuitry.

According to OCZ, like most SSDs, the drive supports RAID and TRIM and has an MTBF rating of 1.3 million hours. Like all SSDs, it can handle shocks and uses much less energy than a traditional hard drive. In my trials, it worked with all popular platforms, including Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

Like all new SSDs, the OCZ Octane supports the latest SATA 3 standard that offers a ceiling speed of 6Gbps. It's one of a very few drives on the market that come with a top capacity of 1TB (if not the only one), making it as large as top-capacity high-end hard drives of the same standard. The drive's lowest available capacity is 128GB, forgoing the 64GB tier found in other SSDs.

Cost per gigabyte
The OCZ Octane is noticeably more affordable than other SATA 3-based SSDs. At the time of this review, it was unclear how much the 1TB version would cost, but the 512GB version costs around $850, noticeably lower than the $1,100 of the Samsung 830 series, for example. Its 256GB version is also cheaper at around $370 compared with $440 for the Samsung. Overall, the OCZ Octane costs around $1.5 per gigabyte, making it about the most affordable among current SATA3 SSDs. Compared with 2.5-inch SATA 3 hard drives, including the Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drive, which costs just $245 for 750GB, however, it's still much more expensive.

Internal hard drives' cost per GB (in dollars, based on current street pricing)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Performance
OCZ says that the Indilinx Everest controller is optimized mostly for boot time improvement, and that showed in my testing. The OCZ Octane does significantly reduce the boot time of the host computer. In fact its boot time was the shortest I've seen, though not by much when compared with other SSDs. The drive averaged just 12 seconds for booting, while most others average about 12.5 seconds.

The drive also improved overall performance. The test computer would wake up instantly from standby mode, and large applications, such as games, would take much less time to load. StarCraft II, for example, needed just under 10 seconds to launch, compared with almost a minute when a hard drive was used.

When it comes to data transfer, the Octane didn't impress me much. When used as a secondary drive, where it could show its top performance, it registered 183.41MBps, which was very fast, but significantly slower than other SATA3 SSDs. The Samsung 830 series, for example scored 261.63MBps in this test. Another SSD from OCZ, the Vertex 3, did much better at 260.73MBps.

A similar thing happened when the drive was used as the main drive of the computer, which is the most common use for an SSD. In the copy test, in which the drive was set to both write and read at the same time, it averaged 135.43MBps, faster than some other SSDS but, again, slower than the Samsung 830 series and the Vertex 3.

Overall, however, I was happy with the OCZ Octane's performance. It would definitely be the single component that most significantly improves the performance of a computer that was originally equipped with a hard drive. My only concern is the durability of the Indilinx Everest controller, but only time will tell.

Boot and shutdown time (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Shutdown  
Boot time  
WD VelociRaptor 300GB
12.2 
56.2 
OCZ Agility 3
6.7 
14.7 
OCZ Vertex 3
5.8 
14.1 
Crucial m4
6.8 
13.7 
SanDisk Ultra
7.2 
13.5 
Patriot Pyro
6 
12.5 
OCZ Octane
6.3 
12 

Data transfer performance (in MBps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
As secondary drive  
As OS drive  
Samsung 830 Series
261.63 
172.88 
Plextor PX-256M2S
261 
162.03 
OCZ Vertex 3
260.71 
150.01 
OCZ Octane
183.41 
135.43 
Crucial m4
235.51 
117.99 
OCZ Agility 3
207.75 
101.67 
Patriot Pyro
190.01 
76.44 
SanDisk Ultra
96.4 
65.6 
WD VelociRaptor 600GB
126.33 
58.05 
Seagate Barracuda XT
115.71 
51.1 
WD VelociRaptor 300GB
112.59 
47.12 

Service and support
As with its other SSDs, OCZ backs the Octane with a three-year warranty, which is decent. When it comes to storage devices, the length of the warranty is the most important factor, and it would be even better if the company offered a five-year warranty as Seagate does with the Momentus XT.

Conclusions
With top storage space, very good performance, and a lower price, the OCZ Octane makes a great investment both for those who want to enter the SSD world for the first time and for those who want to upgrade to a drive that doesn't compromise in terms of capacity.

ocz-octane-ssd-256gb.jpg
8.0

OCZ Octane SSD

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 8Support 8