OCZ Vertex 3 240GB Reviewccokeman - June 20, 2011
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Externally, the Vertex 3 looks much like just about any other solid state drive on the market. However, there has been a manufacturing change in the case of the drive with a switch to a hybrid plastic / aluminum casing. Not that it should matter, but the use of plastic should drive the costs on the drive down — if you have seen the price aluminum brings at the recyclers, you know how the prices have spiked. The front of the drive shows the product name in silver. The back side of the Vertex 3 shows the form factor, drive size, part number, and serial number of the drive. This one happens to be 240GB in size. The Vertex 3 is also offered in 120GB and 480GB flavors, to meet varying capacity needs and budgets.
The side view really does not show much other than the mounting holes used to attach the drive to the included 2.5 to 3.5 inch adapter or into a 2.5 inch bay that are becoming more popular in chassis as time passes. There are threaded holes on the side and bottom of the drive for just this purpose. The business end of the Vertex 3 has the connection points for the SATA power supply connection and SATA 6Gbps data connection.
Opening up a $500+ drive to void the warranty is not something for the faint of heart. Not that it is difficult, but the ramifications of breaking the seal can prove costly if there is indeed a problem with the drive. That's why we take them apart to show the innards, so you don't have to — besides that, there is just genuine curiosity as to what really is inside. The PCB mounts to the plastic part of the drive enclosure with four screws. Removing them allows the PCB to be lifted from the housing. Internally, the drive sports a new look without the DRAM cache seen on earlier controllers' drives. The PCB is OCZ branded and houses the Sandforce 2281 controller and eight 16GB 25nm MLC NAND modules per side. This adds up to 256GB of NAND, but the controller sets aside a 16GB portion of the capacity for wear leveling.
The Vertex 3 is equipped with the latest controller from Sandforce, the SF2281TB1-SDC-ES. Sandforce's 2281 controller is a second generation product that uses enhanced Duraclass technology to deliver optimized power consumption, security, wear leveling, and drive performance in a single chip solution. The Vertex 3 has a total of sixteen 16GB 25nm MLC NAND modules on board, eight on each side of the PCB. The NAND is made from Intel, although you may see Micron on board. If you do the math, the total NAND equals 256GB, or 16GB more than the capacity of the drive. This extra space is used by the controller to keep the drive optimized and replace cells that may have failed.
Last, but not least, if your case does not have 2.5 inch drive bays, OCZ includes a branded 2.5 inch to 3.5 inch adapter to mount the Vertex 3 into a 3.5 inch drive bay. The drive is secured to the adapter with four included screws.
25nm NAND, 6Gbps interface, Sandforce 2281 NAND controller, and big read / write specifications add up to a drive that looks like it may be the next best thing on the market. Let's see if OCZ's concentration on solid state drives will pay off.