Having gone through a series of financial calamities, OCZ Technology seems to have solved most of its problems. At least, the company doesn’t want to leave the business it has been so successful at: the production of consumer- and enterprise-class solid state drives. However, this doesn't mean OCZ hasn't been affected by the past troubles at all, and we can see that by the changes in its model range. The latter has become smaller after such series of inexpensive SSDs as Petrol, Octane, Agility, Solid, etc, were discontinued. The only products left are those that bring in the most profit. In other words, they sell well but are not too costly to develop, manufacture and support.
The Vertex 3 is perhaps the most popular SSD series from OCZ of all time. Based on the LSI SF-2281 controller, it has been offering a very attractive price/performance ratio throughout its rather long lifecycle, winning a lot of customers. The popularity of the Vertex 3 series has been declining recently, though. There have just appeared a lot of competing products with flash memory manufactured on thinner tech process. Today's MLC NAND chips are cheaper, so we can see even more attractive offers such as the Kingston SSDNow V300 we've reviewed recently. It is only natural then that OCZ has decided not to abandon the popular Vertex 3 series altogether but to revise it and make it more profitable and also more attractive for end-users in terms of price/performance ratio.
It is actually quite easy to update an SSD with SF-2281 controller. It only takes replacing its memory with a more modern variant. The resulting SSD is not likely to get any worse in terms of speed while its manufacturing cost will surely be lower. We’ve seen a lot of examples of such transformations: Intel’s transition from the 330 to the 335 model, Corsair's transition from the Force GT to Force GS series, and some others.
As a matter of fact, OCZ itself used to resort to such maneuvering in the past. For example, its Vertex 2 series transitioned to a more advanced type of flash memory but that transformation wasn’t advertise and SSDs with updated components went on selling under the same name. This time around, OCZ declares it openly, so the updated series (with 20nm instead of 25nm flash memory) comes under the name of Vertex 3.20 and has somewhat different specs compared to the classic Vertex 3. OCZ has been kind to give us a sample of the new product so we could check out the new and inexpensive Vertex 3.20 in comparison with its predecessor Vertex 3. We’ll talk about the 240GB version of the new SandForce-based SSD from OCZ in this review.