SSD Utility Software
The archaic custom of including utility media with computer accessories having died out some time ago, you’ll make a brief trip to the Toshiba/OCZ web site to download SSD Utility.
This simple and functional utility has the main divisions of Overview, Tuner, Maintenance, Settings, and Help across the top; for each selected tab, subdivisions appear at the lower left– in this case Dashboard, SSD Details, System Details, and SMART. The Dashboard screen shown above lets you quickly check how full the drive is, whether its firmware is up to date, any alerts, and overall “health” and drive temperature. While the SSD Details and System Details are things you probably already know, it’s nice to be able to look at detailed SMART (System Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) information:
The Tuner section includes a simple performance benchmark…
…as well as an SSD Tuner section that allows you to set over-provisioning on the drive. Over-provisioning reduces the effective storage area of the drive by setting aside a designated portion of the drive’s storage space to buffer write operations, replace failed blocks, and other things the drive controller might require. Over provisioning is why you see some SSDs that might seem to have odd capacities like 120GB instead of 128GB, or 480GB instead of 512GB. The utility notes that over provisioning can “improve performance and lifetime of your drive”, and in this case allows you to allocate up to 143GB for this purpose. That’s overkill, but I’d have appreciated some guidance here on what an appropriate over provisioning amount might be. As delivered the drive has no over-provisioning.
The Settings part of the utility lets you designate some specific monitoring and alert functions; the defaults are shown below. It’s probably a good idea to leave these all on.
OK, let’s get to the benchmarks!