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-   -   OCZ Synapse SSD first impressions (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/member-reviews/48436-ocz-synapse-ssd-first-impressions.html)

NightRain November 16, 2011 05:47 PM

OCZ Synapse SSD first impressions
So I installed a new OCZ Synapse 64GB SSD today. For those of you who don't know this drive is a cache drive that uses Dataplex software to cache the most frequently used files on your boot drive on the SSD. The drive has a 50% over provision to improve the life of the drive so basically with the 64GB you get 32GB of Cache. The price of this drive was $125. I was using a 1.5TB WD Black as my primary boot drive and haven't moved to a SSD boot drive because the minimum size I'd be happy with would be 256GB and I didn't want to spend that kind of money, in addition to that I've heard many horror stories of the SSD drives just crapping out.

This drive only work with Windows 7 and will work with 2TB or smaller drives, the drive you are using has to be the boot drive.

After installing the drive and software I was prompted for a reboot. I began recording with my stop watch how long it boot Windows to load. I load a lot of stuff on boot up so my boot time is a little higher than most I would imagine.

I load a ton of Windows Gadgets, MSI Afterburner, Core Temp, HWMonitor, Impulse, Steam, Origin, iTunes, Printer/Scanner software, APC software, etc. I also loaded Google Chrome with 6 tabs. The total time was 5:57. Yeah that is a long time. Windows was usable well before that but I recorded until everything was fully loaded and the HDD stopped cranking.

I rebooted again and this time to get to the exact same state and the HDD activity idle was 1:23. WOW what I drop.

I rebooted a third time and it was now 1:14. On the forth and fifth attempt it was 1:13. That is a total of 4:44 seconds saved. Crazy stuff. This thing seems to work.

I decided to try Photoshop next. 52 seconds to load the application and three 15 mega pixel pictures. 2nd attempt was 21 seconds. third forth and fifth attempts were down to 9 seconds. WOW.

Loading World of Warcraft right into Stormwind was 1:17 on the first run. By the third attempt it was down to 23 seconds.

Loading BF3 went from 47 seconds to 24 seconds by the third attempt.

Skyrim went from 41 seconds to 22 seconds by the third attempt.

After going back to Photoshop it was still quick.

This drive seems to offer the best of both worlds. Instead of me having to decide what I want to install on the SSD so it will be fast the software does it for me. This allows me to continue to fill my 1.5TB drive (with about 115GB free right now) and get speed from the items I use the most. If I stop playing Warcraft I don't need to move it to a slower drive as it will eventually work its way out of the cache and something else will take it's place.

So far I'm very happy with this. Feel free to ask any questions.

TopDogZero November 16, 2011 08:31 PM

Thanks NightRain for this. I was asking about this drive in the storage section a few weeks ago and since then a couple reviews have come out. I was going to pick it up last week at Canada Computers but they were out of stock, as soon as they get back in I'll definitely grab one. Love the cache idea a lot more than current SSD setup.
Tell me is there any user options in the software or is it totally auto, it would be nice to give power users some manual control here.

NightRain November 17, 2011 08:31 AM

The software is on auto pilot. Outside of seeing that is is active you really can't do anything with it. I agree being able to tell it what you want to cache would have been a nice addition but it is still good with out it.

Here is a couple bench marks scores. I don't have screen shots of just using my WD HDD but they are much better than I use to get overall. BTW my MB doesn't support SATA3.


terrybear November 17, 2011 11:56 AM

nice review, just further confirms what thessdreview site's review said of it. :)

TopDogZero November 17, 2011 03:41 PM

My board is also SATA2 and part of the reason I want this drive, Intel would have me buying a new platform just to get this feature. My box is powerful enough right now and I don't want to upgrade. This is a good solution and by some accounts better than Intel's? (need a review to comparing both).

NightRain November 21, 2011 07:33 PM

I did a clean install of Windows 7 this weekend. It was long over due as my previous install was an in place upgrade from Windows Vista. A couple of things I noticed. The system is much snappier. The boot time decreased again and is now at 0:57 with all the same stuff loading as before. I also noticed a nice increase in overall disk performance, particularily with write performance. Take a look and compare to before.


Also my WEI increased a little. Disk performance use to be 5.9 and remained unchanged after installing the Synapse drive. After a clean install it went up to 6.2, a small insignificant increase but it is something.


PhotoShop opens in a blink of an eye now. WOW, BF3, and Skyrim all open 2-3 seconds quicker too.

Birk November 28, 2011 02:19 PM

When using this with my Asus P8Z68-V Pro/Gen3 would I need the software included to use it for cache? The motherboard itself has this capability. Would it be a wiser choice for me to get a 30gb or so SSD and just use the MB native cache?

TopDogZero November 28, 2011 04:12 PM


Originally Posted by Birk (Post 573465)
When using this with my Asus P8Z68-V Pro/Gen3 would I need the software included to use it for cache? The motherboard itself has this capability. Would it be a wiser choice for me to get a 30gb or so SSD and just use the MB native cache?

No it would be a waste of money to use this drive without the software, use it with the software or just buy a regular SSD and use it.

NightRain November 28, 2011 06:46 PM


Originally Posted by Birk (Post 573465)
When using this with my Asus P8Z68-V Pro/Gen3 would I need the software included to use it for cache? The motherboard itself has this capability. Would it be a wiser choice for me to get a 30gb or so SSD and just use the MB native cache?

If I had a Z68 MB I would have bought a 40GB SSD instead. The performance is very similar overall. I plan on moving this OCZ drive to my H67 MB next year when I upgrade to Ivy Bridge and buy a 40 or 60GB for cache with the MB doing the work.

TopDogZero December 17, 2011 12:53 PM

So I finally pick this up on an NCIX sale a couple weeks ago, and had some time to run some benchmarks but first I like to say the performance is excellent but they are a few things you should keep in mind if you decide to get this.
First if you have a BSOD or power outage the Dataplex software will have to do a recovery at the next boot before you can get in to windows, this does not take that long but then it will want to rebuild the cache which can take a while, there is an option to bypass this however but you lose the cache and will have to uninstall and reinstall the software to enable it. Rebuilding can be a problem if you need the system right away. I had crash from an bad overclock the other day and it recovered in about 20 seconds and I decided not to rebuild the cache since you only have to start a program once anyway for it to be cache.

OCZ tool box will not see the drive once Dataplex is installed (noting will apparently) so if you want to install a firmware update you either have to use the Linux Boot firmware updater from OCZ or uninstall Dataplex. By the way as of now there is no listing for firmware for the Synapse drive on OCZ website but it is the same firmware as the Vertex 3 and the other drives based on that controller.

It will only cache the boot drive as of now and only up to 2TB (it caches the whole drive including all partitions and will cache a raid setup.)

Even with the problems above I am very happy with the drive, it is a substantial upgrade as a stranded SSD would be but with the capacity of upto 2TB (as of now). OCZ said there working with the makers of the Dataplex software in order to alleviate some of the issues above, there is a new version out now that is suppose to rebuild the cache faster and there working on the size limit of 2TB.

So here are the benchmarks.





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