OCZ Vertex, 250GB: OCZSSD2-1VTX250G
OCZ has taken to SSD production most seriously. Right now, the company offers as many as nine series of SSDs in the form-factor of 2.5-inch drives. Besides, it supplies models designed as expansion cards with PCI Express and miniPCI Express interfaces. We will start from the most popular series called Vertex.
Like all other SSDs of this firm, the drive comes in a neat box like a jewel, kind of hinting at the product’s price. OCZ’s Vertex series drives are based on the Indilinx Barefoot controller we have not yet tested in our labs and on Samsung flash memory chips. They are also equipped with 64 megabytes of cache clocked at 166MHz. The manufacturer claims the SSD can deliver peak read and write speeds of 270MBps and 210MBps, respectively. The sustained write speed is declared to be 120MBps, though. These numbers refer to the 250GB model whereas the other models have lower speeds of both reading and writing. The junior models probably have fewer controller channels and a smaller pool of free memory cells. The smaller this pool, the harder it is for the controller to clean up space to write new data.
An interesting feature of all SSDs based on Indilinx controllers is that they are supported by the Indilinx Wiper Tool. This program can be downloaded as OCZ_GC.exe from the OCZ website. It is a simple and effective tool. Here is what it does: today’s operating systems cannot tell an SSD that a file is removed and what LBA addresses are freed at that. They only write changes into the file allocation table. This is all right with HDDs but the performance of SSDs can degenerate if a previously loaded SSD is being written to. The mentioned tool asks the OS about the status of each LBA address pertaining to the SSD and tells the latter what LBA addresses are free from the file system’s point of view. As a result, the SSD can erase data from appropriate memory cells beforehand rather than just prior to writing into them. Of course, that’s nothing but a crutch that is needed to solve the problem of interaction between the OS and the new type of storage devices. But before Windows 7, which will do the same thing on the OS level, this tool is better than nothing.
The OCZ Vertex has firmware version 1.3. Version 1.4 is beta as yet.
OCZ Vertex Mac Edition, 250GB: OCZSSD2-1VTXA250G
Frankly speaking, we don’t know about any differences of this SSD from the previous model. As far as we know, Apple does not put forth some special requirements to SSDs. The device’s case contains the same stuff as the ordinary Vertex series drive: an Indilinx Barefoot controller, Samsung flash memory chips, 64 megabytes of cache memory clocked at 166MHz. The specified speeds are somewhat lower: 240MBps for reading and 150MBps for writing. The speed of sustained writing is 100MBps. There must be some changes in the firmware whose version is 1.31.