OCZ Vertex 3 240GB Reviewccokeman -
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Installing a solid state drive is one of the enhancements that really offers a tangible reduction in time to complete both read and write tasks. As the technology improves, the gains in performance are steadily increasing, as seen when comparing the Vertex 3 to previous-generation SATA 3Gb/s drives. The Vertex 3 easily meets its 550 MB/s read and 500MB/s write specifications in the ATTO testing. In almost all the other tests, the SATA 6Gbps Vertex 3 was the highest performing drive with very few exceptions. This of course is the expectation based on the use of the Sandforce 2281 controller and 6Gbps interface. At times, the Vertex 3 doubled the performance of the older Indilinx Barefoot and Sandforce 1222-controlled drives. Again, an expectation just looking at the specifications on paper. The SF-2281 controller and SATA 6Gbps interface no doubt help the cause here in allowing a single Vertex 3 drive to reach performance levels previously seen only when running two solid state drives in a RAID array. Unfortunately, then TRIM was an issue. With the Vertex 3, TRIM is supported in compatible operating systems. The Sandforce 2200 series controller uses its exclusive Duraclass technology that includes Durawrite to effectively manage the write cycles to increase the lifespan of the MLC NAND, RAISE (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements) technology that increases reliability, and AES encryption that happens full speed through the controller. Much has been made of the use of 25nm NAND and its lack of flash cycles before failure. Sandforces 2200 series controllers allow the lower spec MLC NAND to be used to deliver enterprise class performance instead of the more expensive SLC NAND. This helps drive down the cost of the drive.
Benchmark numbers aside, installing an SSD as a replacement for a spindle-based drive gives benefits that you can see and feel, such as reduced Windows start up and shut down times. Faster loading of large programs such as Photoshop and reduced file transfer times are added perks as well. Using this drive in a laptop or netbook again brings another benefit in reduced power consumption. My netbook saw the same increase in battery life that I have managed to see in past tests with an increased capacity and faster controller that does not have the added latency of DRAM cache. It's the small things that add up to a perception that the system is faster.
These benefits, which include the Sandforce 2281 controller and increased capacity, do come with a steep price tag. The current going price for the Vertex 3 comes in at $559 dollars for the 240GB version tested today and a massive $1800 for the 480GB version. This price seems to include a price premium due the availability of the drive. Unfortunately, much the same thing seen with any new tech sold online. Warranty support on this drive is three years. While that may not seem long, the drive should last well past that 3-year mark with a MFBF of 2 million hours. While Elvis may have walked out the door with the last of the DRAM at OCZ, the company has made a firm commitment to take solid state drive performance to new heights — something OCZ has most certainly done with the Vertex 3.
- Read and write performance
- RAID-like performance
- SATA 6Gbps Interface
- Sandforce 2200 controller
- Included mounting bracket
- 3-Year warranty