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OCZ Vertex 3

A year ago OCZ launched an SSD that won the hearts of many computer enthusiasts – OCZ Vertex 2. The secret behind this product’s success was the use of a high-performance controller from a not yet very well-known SandForce Company. They introduced a technology that allowed enhancing the MLC-based products to match the performance level of SSDs using expensive SLC-memory. This technology proved great, but it has been more than a year since it became popular, so the drives equipped with old revisions of the SandForce controller started getting too out-dated.

Therefore, in the beginning of this year SandForce released new processor versions, and SSD makers hurried to update their products with them. Being SandForce’s closest long-term partner, OCZ Technology stood at the head of this process. This is how the new vertex 3 came into this world and today we are going to take a real close look at it.

 

 

Vertex 3 SSDs are built on the new SandForce SF-2200 controller. Its major innovations are the long-anticipated support of 6 Gbps interface and another performance bump resulting from firmware optimizations and compatibility with new-generation NAND-memory. According to SandForce SF-2200 specifications, this processor can deliver sequential read and write speeds of up to 500 MB/s and up to 60K IOPS random access speed.

Surprisingly, but OCZ managed to bump up these parameters even more due to their own firmware optimizations. For example, the fastest Vertex 3 modification with 240 GB storage capacity promises to deliver up to 550 MB/s sequential read speed. In other words, OCZ has every intention to become the new SSD market leader, who is offering the fastest solutions at very appealing prices.

OCZ Vertex 3 lineup includes four SSD models with storage capacities ranging from 60 to 480 GB. Frankly speaking, the junior model doesn’t look too appealing in today’s reality, that is why we decided to focus on models with 120, 240 and 480 GB capacities only. We tested each of the SSDs twice: connected to SATA-600 ports and to the “old” SATA-300 ports.

Here are the primary official specifications of the tested models for your reference:

  • Controller: SandForce SF-2281;
  • Interface: SATA 6 Gbps;
  • Flash-memory: 25 nm MLC NAND;
  • Storage capacity: 120 GB, 240 GB and 480 GB;
  • Cache-memory: none;
  • Sequential read speed: 550 MB/s (120 and 240 GB), 530 MB/s (480 GB);
  • Sequential write speed: 500 MB/s (120 GB), 520 MB/s (240 GB), 450 MB/s (480 GB);
  • Random read speed (4 KB blocks): 20,000 IOPS (120 GB), 40,000 IOPS (240 GB), 50,000 IOPS (480 GB);
  • Random write speed (4 KB blocks): 60,000 IOPS (120 and 240 GB), 40,000 IOPS (480 GB).

Unfortunately, despite very impressive characteristics, OCZ Vertex 3 SSDs were not free from the problems that came with second-generation SandForce controllers. I am sure that many of you remember the recall of similar Corsair products, and OCZ also didn’t escape the ill same fate. Some Vertex 3 users complained about different issues including complete drive failure. However, the problems seem to be resolved by now. OCZ released new firmware versions, which lower the chances of failure at the expense of minimal performance drop.

We tested the “fixed” vertex 3 modification. Here are the firmware versions of all three models that participated in our tests:

  • OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-120G 120GB – 2.02F
  • OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-240G 240GB – 2.02F
  • OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-480G 480GB – 2.02F

OCZ Vertex 2

Our comparative testing of the new high-speed SSDs would be incomplete without one of the previous-generation drives. It is true, many of you wonder how greatly the SSD speed has increased over the past year. Therefore, on our results diagrams you will also see the performance numbers for OCZ Vertex 2 - the legendary solid state drive based on the first-generation SandForce controller.

  

We have already tested a number of different modifications of OCZ Vertex 2 SSDs. Today we will talk about an E-model with 240 GB storage capacity. This model differs from the original Vertex 2 by slightly different distribution of the available flash-memory in favor of increasing the effective storage capacity and performance of the drive.

Here are the official specifications of the OCZ Vertex 2 SSD that participated in our today’s test session:

  • Controller: SandForce SF-1222;
  • Interface: SATA 3 Gbps;
  • Flash-memory: 34 nm MLC NAND;
  • Storage capacity: 240 GB;
  • Cache-memory: none;
  • Sequential read speed: 285 MB/s;
  • Sequential write speed: 275 MB/s;
  • Random write speed (4 KB blocks): 50,000 IOPS.

Its firmware version was OCZ Vertex 2 OCZSSD2-2VTXE240G – 1.32.

 
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