We were very pleased with the OCZ Vertex 4 series, based on the Everest 2 controller, in our previous review. Being rather affordable, these SSDs almost matched the performance of top-end SSDs with other controllers and seemed to lack just a little to claim absolute superiority in the consumer segment. Fortunately, OCZ keeps on improving this product by updating its firmware.
Firmware 1.5 is the next step in the optimization process. It improves the specs and eliminates the weakness of the Vertex 4 series, which was their low speed of sequential reading. Now the Vertex 4 specs look impressive and this series can beat any competitor in synthetic benchmarks.
However, the performance benefits are not that obvious at complex loads typical of real-life usage scenarios. The Vertex 4 series still remains a midrange offer, being inferior in performance not only to such recognized leaders as Corsair Performance Pro and Intel SSD 520 but also to popular SandForce-based SSDs with synchronous memory. In other words, the new firmware doesn’t lift the Vertex 4 up to the absolute leading position just yet.
What it does, though, is that it resolves the problem that used to bother Vertex 4 customers much more than benchmarking results. The performance of OCZ’s new SSDs used to decline after more than half the capacity of the disk was filled with data. This effect occurred because of the internal algorithms of the Everest 2 controller, but the new firmware helps mitigate it. The garbage collection technique implemented in the Vertex 4 can quickly restore the disk's performance to its original level, making this problem unnoticeable in real-life usage scenarios.
So now, four months after its release, the Vertex 4 series seems to have got rid of serious downsides. There are no unresolved problems with its hardware and firmware and its performance weaknesses have been corrected. Now, these SSDs seem to have become a very attractive option, especially as OCZ offers them at highly appealing prices and with a 5-year warranty.