Brian

OCZ Vertex 3 Review Discussion

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Well, it's on now - SandForce has announced their new client SSD processor and OCZ is the first to jump - with their new Vertex 3 SSD. While the SF-2281 is the centerpiece, delivering quoted sequential speeds of up to 550MB/s read and 525MB/s writes, the updated SATA 6Gb/s interface deserves credit too. By comparison to the Vertex 2, those top line read and write speeds are about 90% faster with the Vertex 3. The spec sheet makes it sound fast, but is it the fastest SSD to be seen by our test bench?

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Well, it's on now - SandForce has announced their new client SSD processor and OCZ is the first to jump - with their new Vertex 3 SSD. While the SF-2281 is the centerpiece, delivering quoted sequential speeds of up to 550MB/s read and 525MB/s writes, the updated SATA 6Gb/s interface deserves credit too. By comparison to the Vertex 2, those top line read and write speeds are about 90% faster with the Vertex 3. The spec sheet makes it sound fast, but is it the fastest SSD to be seen by our test bench?

Full Review

Thanks for the great review.

This disk is ok but sincerely I would prefer more gigs per money and more reliability before performance.

240GB for 250$ should be the next frontier before thinking to increasing performance, I think.

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Small baby steps ;)

It will be interesting to see how the next-gen drives get priced as we see more models hit the market. I see a price war brewing if nothing else before summer.

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I'm not sure there's anything to complain about in terms of reliability, at least we can't complain yet. I think those issues while not a thing of the past, are certainly diminishing generation over generation.

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Where did you find the TBW value?

It was the number OCZ gave us which kind of follows what SandForce says when you look at the write amp spec of that.

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Awesome review. Question...I remember reading somewhere that non-sandy bridge mobos with 6Gb/s SATA interfaces may not perform on par and will actually bottle neck speeds due to its sharing of bandwidth with PCI-E pipes? I have an Asus P6X58D-E mobo with 2 x SATA 6Gb/s, and I'm wondering if this issue exists on my platform that would prevent me from using a drive such as the Vertex 3 at its maximum potential. I believe it uses a Marvell controller (6GB/s), which can only achieve about 300mb/s writes, and 80mb/s reads in raid 0 with higher latency. Some have even gone as far as using the native SataIII port without using the Marvell Driver due to TRIM not working with Marvell drivers. What options do I have?

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Well it all depends on the controller and bandwidth of said controller. This is what OCZ said to us when we were discussing testbench hardware specifics:

"Controllers like the Marvell (PCIe G2 X1) on the X58 create a bottleneck and don't show the full potential of the drive."

Outside of that I don't know what sort of drops you will see. If you are only getting 80MBs writes though... that is worse than Intel 3.0Gbps SATA.

So chances are if you use it with that board, it might not be as fast. Since this drive's speed can vary pretty significantly depending on the platform being tested, we are actually going to be updating our review soon with scores from a non-RAID LSI 9211 in place of the MegaRAID 9260, and eventually our Intel SandyBridge platform.In terms of options, getting a quality RAID card will significantly boost performance, even in single drive mode.

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is this drive crash safe or does it like other SSDs to this point need a capacitor to be considered crash safe ?

I understand that with a SATA connector its not competing in the SAS space so that may play a factor.

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Are you asking if it's using a super-cap? It's not, that's strictly an enterprise drive feature.

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Let me elaborate some more. Essentially this drive is capable of 550MB/s read and 525MB/s writes. Most X58 boards rely on a third party controller for 6Gbps SATA (Marvell in the case of my Asus mobo (marvell controller specs). These controllers are interfaced with the mobo via the PCI-Express lanes from the IOH/processor (x58 block diagram). The interface is usually only a single PCIe 2.0 lane (x1). The 6Gbps SATA spec allows for up to 750MB/s of bandwidth, but the PCIe 2.0 x1 interface limits read/write speed to 500MB/s. Essentially, this drive exceeds the possible specs in today's x58 mobos, and even Sandy Bridge mobos, all of which do not have native 6Gbps capabilities yet and rely on third party controllers which share bandwidth from pci-E lanes. (Source)

PCIe slots may contain from one to thirty-two lanes, in powers of two (1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32). Thus, it basically means to take advantage of this drive and future drives that will no doubt be just as quick if not quicker, one would need to purchase a 6Gbps raid/controller card that is at least capable of the bandwidth of PCI-Express 2.0 x2. I have only seen x1 and x4 cards on the market, making x4 controller cards the only viable option in this case. EDIT: Something like the Asus U3S6.

Also, this is quite a shocker, but it seems that if speeds of SSDs progress at this rate, the 6Gbps SATA spec (~750MB/s) will already be saturated before the end of this year.

P55 motherboards are a whole different story as the P55 chipset only has 16 lanes of pci-e 2.0 from the processor (p55 block diagram)

Edited by ctbear

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Good post ctbear.

As to saturating SATA 6Gb/s this year, that's not going to happen, at least not in a single drive configuration. But it does bring up a very good and valid point, that the generation of SSDs after this probably will be able to saturate the connection, so it's time to start at least thinking about what's next.

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As far as I know this is not true for Sandy Bridge since Sandy Bridge mobos comes with SATA6 built in natively with

no additional controller required. There are sandy bridge mobos that comes with PLX chip that let SATA to use the full bandwidth

also if USB3.0 is using part of the bandwidth.

Sandy Bridge is the answer to the 750MB/s, surely we would like to have an asnwer to what is the next step.

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Most SB boards have native 6Gb/s ports, but those were affected in the recent recall. The same boards also have a few additional 6Gb/s ports that are powered by some other controller. At least that's my understanding.

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The affected ports are the SATA 3Gb/s, the SATA 6Gb/s are safe I know it since I have an affected boards.

Yes quite all motherboards have additional SATA 6Gb/s controller (generally from marvell)

but to enjoy the full potential of SATA 6Gb/s the native ports are required or we will fall in the lines restrictions explained from ctbear.

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How about the performance of the 120 GB version? Does it have the equal amount of channels? I find SSDs significantly larger than 80-100 GB to be pointless for my use, so I'm not interested in these 200+ GB drives, and probably won't be until SSDs have espoused magnetic HDDs for general dummy storage, but I'm sure interested in their performance.

I have an 80 GB Intel X25-M G2 and only use ~40-45 GB...

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Any point waiting to get one of these for a 2009 Macbook pro dualcore 8gb ram Sata 2? Or am I better of with something else? ie current Vertex 2 or Crucial c300?

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How about the performance of the 120 GB version? Does it have the equal amount of channels? I find SSDs significantly larger than 80-100 GB to be pointless for my use, so I'm not interested in these 200+ GB drives, and probably won't be until SSDs have espoused magnetic HDDs for general dummy storage, but I'm sure interested in their performance.

I have an 80 GB Intel X25-M G2 and only use ~40-45 GB...

We haven't seen one yet, the production has not caught up just yet, though as soon as we have an opportunity, we'll get the other capacities in from OCZ. Believe me...we're working on it for you ;)

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Any point waiting to get one of these for a 2009 Macbook pro dualcore 8gb ram Sata 2? Or am I better of with something else? ie current Vertex 2 or Crucial c300?

No...I'd pass on the C300 too and look at a current generation SATA 3Gb/s SSD. The Vertex 2...eh, I'd wait until the recall gets worked out. I'd prefer OWC, Corsair or Patriot for you...what capacity are you thinking about?

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No...I'd pass on the C300 too and look at a current generation SATA 3Gb/s SSD. The Vertex 2...eh, I'd wait until the recall gets worked out. I'd prefer OWC, Corsair or Patriot for you...what capacity are you thinking about?

Hello there. Why would you pass on the C300? I know it's native a SATA III SSD, but I thought it was still considered a great drive through SATA II? I had decided it was either that or the Vertex 2 I would get for my first SSD on my desktop, but what you said has halted my decision. I figured since the next gen SSDs are all coming out, it would be a great time in the next few months to get the previous gen ones at (hopefully) lower prices.

Anyway, I'm amazed at how fast SSD technology as progressed! A year ago, I thought yes it's awesome, but I thought it would be at least another 2 years before the speeds would increase so much and the prices would become so much more reasonable. But $250 for a state of the art 120GB at release is pretty amazing I think. Still people think they are too high, but compared with prices of a year ago, it's great! I think an Intel 80GB was about $250 a year ago if I'm not mistaken.

My gawd, I just wish I held out a little longer on buying a new PC so that I could have native SATA III, but at the time, I was so (foolishly) focused on getting a blazing fast CPU, I didn't take into consideration the I/O bottleneck of SATA II hard drives, let alone SSDs.

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The C300 is fast, but has proven to not be entirely reliable. It's also okay, but not great over SATA II, making the premium a near total waste of money. For SATA II use, I'd stick with SF-1200 drives right now if performance is the goal.

Oh, and to solve your I/O issue, you could just buy a RAID card or SATA III HBA.

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The C300 is fast, but has proven to not be entirely reliable. It's also okay, but not great over SATA II, making the premium a near total waste of money. For SATA II use, I'd stick with SF-1200 drives right now if performance is the goal.

Oh, and to solve your I/O issue, you could just buy a RAID card or SATA III HBA.

Regarding the C300, perhaps I relied too much on the Newegg ratings to sway my thinking. I like to sort by Most Reviewed, then, find the one with the Highest Rating, and the 128 GB C300 wins that little test. That's my "quick and dirty" way of finding the cream of the crop. But maybe I need to abandon that method since it seems to be faulty!

As to getting a RAID card, I'll definitely be considering that route, but my assumption is that it might be tricky find a compatible card with my PC and getting it all to work - that whole barrel of monkeys. I've installed the operating system, video cards, RAM, hard drives, optical drives, and sound cards. That is the extent of my PC experience. Anything outside of that, I would be exploring new frontiers, boldly going where a noob like me has never been before.

I've read the review of the OCZ Vertex 3 and all the posts in this thread, so maybe I missed it if this was mentioned, but, does anyone think the slight performance loss compared to the SF-1200 when connected via SATA II will be corrected/adjusted in a firmware update? I'm far from being an engineer or programmer, but I can't imagine why there would be a performance drop in this case.

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