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OCZ Vertex 4 and Firmware 1.5

We already wrote a review of the Vertex 4 series and the Indilinx Everest 2 controller, so you can refer to it for details on them.

We can just remind you that the Vertex 4 series includes top-end SATA III SSDs from OCZ. They are based on the Indilinx Everest 2 controller and equipped with conventional 25nm synchronous flash memory with ONFI interface. So, it is the controller that makes the Vertex 4 fast, especially in synthetic benchmarks and at write operations. The Everest 2 incorporates two ARM cores and, by some evidence, is closely related to Marvell’s controllers.

For this test session we are going to use firmware 1.5 which became available just a few weeks ago. The firmware leads to a substantial change in SSD specs, a second such change over the short market life of the Vertex 4 series. And like the last time, OCZ has managed to increase the speed of sequential operations. The following table tracks the evolution of the Vertex 4 specs since the announcement of the series:

Besides the increased speed, firmware 1.5 is expected to correct the issue with the SMART Remaining Life attribute, improve compatibility with various RAID controllers and perfect the garbage collection technique.

We’ll first check out our Vertex 4 SSDs with new firmware in the synthetic benchmark AS SSD. It will help us see if there is really any performance growth as promised by the manufacturer.

OCZ Vertex 4 128 GB

Firmware 1.4
Firmware 1.5

OCZ Vertex 4 256 GB

Firmware 1.4
Firmware 1.5

Indeed, firmware 1.5 makes the SSDs faster at sequential operations and, fortunately, without any side effects. They are as fast as before processing 4KB data blocks, for example.

So, here is a comparison of the current specs of the OCZ Vertex 4 models:

Take note that the evolution of specs doesn’t involve the junior 64GB model. Remaining as slow as before, it looks somewhat out of place among its faster cousins. So, you should keep it in mind that the junior Vertex 4 is inferior to the higher-capacity models in speed.

On the other hand, the models with capacities of 128 gigabytes and higher have improved as much as to be formally superior to the best-in-class competitors such as Intel SSD 520, Plextor M3 Pro or Corsair Performance Pro. That seems like a good reason for us to re-test them.

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