OCZ Vertex 2 Review

Vertex 2Today we’ll have a look at OCZ’s Vertex 2 SSD. As the ‘2’ in the name implies it is of course a follow-up to the original Vertex, which was developed to tackle Intel’s then-new (but still very popular) X25-M drives. This time around, OCZ has teamed up with SandForce–a relatively new name in SSD technology that has quickly gained momentum thanks to highly efficient controllers.

Vertex 2

SandForce controllers are known to reduce the amount of unnecessary writes and maintain drive performance over time–even without support for the TRIM command (which the Vertex 2 offers anyway). From just looking at the specifications, the drive looks very attractive, with impressive sequential read/write speeds at 285 MB/s and 275 MB/s respectively. In addition, OCZ promises up to 50,000 IOPS writes, which is an exceptional number.

The drive is indeed fast, so fast that it’s restricted by the limits of the SATA 2 interface, a problem that the ultra-fast RealSSD C300 from Crucial gets around by employing the 6Gbps SATA 3 standard.

Technical Specifications

Capacity: 40GB-480GB
NAND Flash Components: Multi-Level Cell (MLC)
Interface: SATA II 3.0Gbps
Form Factor: 2.5 inches
Max Read: up to 285MB/s
Max Write: up to 275MB/s
Sustained Write: up to 250MB/s
4k Random Write (Aligned): 50000 IOPS
Seek Time: 0.1 MS
Power Consumption: 0.5Watts (Idle) 2Watts (Active)
Performance Optimization: TRIM
Life Expectancy (MTBF): 2 million hours
Native Command Queuing (NCQ)

A small bonus that should be noted is that OCZ also includes a 3.5″-2.5″ converter bay, which you’d otherwise have to purchase separately for mounting it in a standard ATX case. This is not an expensive part, but it still saves you some time and money.

But let’s have a look at how the drive performs in the real world. On the whole, the drive delivers excellent performance–right up there with the top SSDs right now, with exceptional speeds of 250-270 MB/s in both read and write.

Vertex 2 Read/Write PerformanceThese numbers look excellent–especially the fast writes are eye-catching, which would put the drive ahead of most of the competition including other SandForce-based drives, not to mention the original Vertex lineup.

On the other hand they are purely theoretical figures until you apply them to actual usage scenarios. PCMark Vantage, although a synthetic benchmark, includes a range of HDD tests that simulate various everyday tasks, making it highly relevant as an overall, real-world performance test.

Vertex 2 PCMark Vantage

It should be surprising, but the Intel drive has had time to mature, and it still churns out good enough numbers to compete with the latest MLC drives on the market. The Vertex 2 isn’t far behind though, and although we haven’t had the time to do a long-term test of the drive, it is not unlikely that the numbers even out over time. SandForce drives have proven to be extremely resilient to performance degradation, even without the TRIM feature. And this drive does work with TRIM under Windows 7.

Another useful benchmark is the SSD-specific AS SSD. Here it is obvious that Crucial’s RealSSD (in this case a larger variant) is well ahead thanks to its SATA3 support, but without it the difference would no doubt be less noticeable.

The observant reader will notice that the Vertex 2 surpasses the Intel drive in this particular test by a small margin, although not by an amount that would show in real-world scenarios. In conclusion, the OCZ Vertex 2 is a formidable MLC-based SSD that does very well in comparison with some of the fastest consumer drives currently on the market. The only downside is that it’s still a little bit too expensive.