OCZ brings big performance upgrade for old Vertex, Agility, Solid2 SSDs

By on March 28, 2012, 1:30 PM

OCZ has released a new firmware update for its range of SSDs running Indilinx Barefoot controllers and 34 nm NAND flash. Specifically, Vertex, Agility and Solid2 drives made after December 2009. The Arowana Flash Translation Layer (FTL) firmware update brings the firmware version up to 3.55 and adds additional over-provisioning to the drives in order to boost performance and increase longevity.

The result is a loss of around 7% in usable storage capacity but better overall performance. For example, according to a post on OCZ's official forums, a 34nm Indilinx Barefoot based Vertex SSD will go from 119.24GB capacity on firmware 1.7 to 111.79GB with 3.55, while receiving a sequential write speed bump from 187.44MB/s to 216MB/s and 4K write benchmarks jumping from 9.9MB/s to 46.14MB/s.

There's a slight drop in read speeds -- from 228.28MB/s on the original 1.7 firmware to 219.27MB/s on version 3.55 -- but access times were also significantly cut and that's likely to provide a more tangible improvement for everyday usage anyway. That said, read speeds can be boosted further by enabling AHCI in the BIOS.

The SSD Review conducted its own tests using a 64GB OCZ Agility and saw similar gains all around. They also ran the drive through the PCMark Vantage testing suite and found that the Arowana 3.55 firmware provides a 78% increase in application loading and an average boost of over 37% for every other category in the test.

OCZ originally announced the Arowana FTL firmware in May 2011 promising substantial performance improvements to end-users, but up until now only the Vertex Plus family had received it. Good to see the company didn't leave its loyal Barefoot users behind even three years after those drives were released

To find out if your drive is eligible for the upgrade, download the OCZ Drive Identity Tool and after running the utility check if the returned code matches any of the following: 661502, 641502, 661302, 661402, 641402, 661102, 641102, 651102, 661202. Also, keep in mind that all data will be wiped from the drive during the update, so be sure to backup its contents before taking the plunge.

Download: Arowana Update for 34nm Vertex/Agility/Solid2 SSDs (Instructions here)

User Comments: 5

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captainawesome captainawesome said:

Why are sizes reported differently in the two benchmarks?

captainawesome captainawesome said:

oh nv. lol:

The result is a loss of around 7% in usable storage capacity but better overall performance.

On that note, how do I delete a comment?

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

The more free space you have with an SSD, the longer and faster it runs.

I'll pass on this firmware update.

Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

I'm really impressed by OCZ releasing this firmware for it's old drives.

Much better than Intel who did not backport TRIM support to the original X25-M drive.

I of course understand their reasoning for not doing so.

But a firmware update like this one released by OCZ sure warms the hearts of the early adopters / enthusiasts!

amstech: just to clarify the higher overprovisioning of this firmware is what increases speed and longlivity.

It is also possible as a end-user to affect this by leaving some space on a SSD unpartitioned.

Most SSD's will then see that and will use that unpartitionted space in it's over provisioning space pool, increasing longlivity aswell.

champmanfan said:

Very true amstech, had to upgrade from 120GB SSD Vertex 2e to another performance branded Sata3Gb/s 240GB due to capacity reaching 75% and performance suffering. After a few months I now have 223GB usable space with 128GB free space.

For so little space, if I had one of these SSDs I'd use it as a cache drive instead with a 3TB 7,200rpm HDD. Surely any of those SSDs listed are more than fast enough?

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