It seems every other week now yet another drive solid state drive is being released which claims to take the speed crown. The OCZ Vertex is a scorching drive attaining amazing speeds throughout and it seems every memory manufacturer out there are trying to better this amazing piece of kit by touting the read speed of the drives in bold font. However, read speed is not the be all and end all of data storage. It's a little like those etailors who promote an exceedingly good price then you notice the +vat and realise it's not such a bargain after all. The OCZ Summit caters for consumers looking for an all round, high performing drive which is fast at both ends of the scale, be it reading huge chunks of data or writing those tiny files that crippled the earliest revisions of SSD's.
I did encounter some frustrating problems throughout the testing, especially with regard to HDTune Pro which misreported the write speed of the drive, jumping from 150MB/s to 0 and back up again. The results it gave were sporadic and could not be reproduced time and again hence I did not include the results as they would have been misleading. Sadly, this is what you endure when using new technology - you just have to wait for software to catch up. No such problems were encountered with the remainder of benchmarks on test so I had to put this down to a software/hardware compatibility problem. At the time of writing the review there were no available firmware updates to rectify this fault. This is in stark contrast to other drives which appear to have firmware updates every other week! How you take this will depend on personal preference. Personally, I like to have an update as often as possible to keep ahead of the competition but some may prefer the updates to come slowly but actually make a difference. Hopefully there will be a future update for the Summit which will give slightly better speeds but I wouldn't say I was disappointed with the results the drive did manage to achieve, far from it.
The performance throughout the testing was exceptional, particularly in the CrystalDisk benchmark where the Summit dominated the competition. It's a shame I could not compare the drive directly against competitor models as stacking up against the no1 drive out there is perhaps not the best form of comparison in hindsight. That said it performed extremely well, often bettering the Vertex drive, particularly when writing small files which is widely considered to be the chink in any SSD's armour. The Summits read speeds, while slightly slower than the Vertex in most benchmarks but were still way above the mechanical drives and even snapped at the heels of the almighty Vertex on more than one occasion. The Summit then, appears to have compromised a little read speed for write speed which is no bad thing. Especially if you wish to use the Summit as an operating system drive.
The biggest challenge manufacturers now face is to get the prices down but while the technology is still being developed, premium prices are to be expected. This is perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks with a drive such as the OCZ Summit. The extortionate price you will have to pay to get your grubby hands on one is going to take your breath away. Are you sitting down? Expect to pay around £550 for the model we reviewed today. Yes, that's a serious amount of money to pay for 250GB, especially when you could now buy a 10TB raid array for less. Most folk however don't have the space, power or storage requirement for such a monstrosity. The OCZ Summit makes for a near perfect operating system drive thanks to the 128MB of cache which makes writing small files a breeze and after a few days use as an OS drive, I can confirm I never encountered any of the stuttering problems encountered by earlier SSD's.
In short, if you are on the lookout for a solid state drive that has fast read AND write bandwidth speeds, silly access times then you could do a lot worse than opt for the OCZ Summit. The Samsung controller is certainly a worthy opponent to other controllers out there and I have a hunch that, with a few firmware updates, the Summit drive could well become a clear winner. For now though, with all the above considered, I honestly could not choose between this and the OCZ Vertex. Both are exceptional drives and neither will disappoint, the decision will have to come down to whether you want an F1 car, capable of holding it's own for out and out speed against any opposition (Vertex) or a GT sports car being more versatile than an F1 car yet still has plenty of grunt and enough room to keep the Mrs happy (Summit).
The decision as they say, is yours.
- Improved Write speeds
- Exceptional all round performance
- Good packaging
- 3 Year Warranty with OCZ
- 128MB cache resolves stuttering
- At this price I expect more than a photocopied instruction leaflet
- Firmware updates seem to be slow
- No drive mounting adaptors included
- Expensive compared to similar drives on the market