OCZ Vertex 4 SSD Revisited: 128GB and New Firmware - HotHardware

OCZ Vertex 4 SSD Revisited: 128GB and New Firmware

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Back in April, we ran a pair of OCZ Vertex 4 SSDs (256GB and 512GB) through the benchmark grinder to see what they could do and also told you everything you ever wanted to know about them in the process. Today, we’re testing another brother in the family, the 128GB OCZ Vertex 4.  When we first tested the aforementioned drives, we found that the latest generation of the Vertex series delivered somewhat uneven performance. In some workloads, the drives more or less smoked the competition, while they stumbled a bit in others.  The bottom line was that the OCZ Vertex 4 SSDs were mostly impressive, but they didn’t demonstrate quite the upgrade from the previous-generation Vertex 3s that we would have liked.

Between then and now, however, OCZ has tended to the Vertex 4 SSD line by upgrading its firmware.  On the pages ahead we’ll get a gander at how the updated 128GB OCZ Vertex 4 stacks up against other drives with similar capacities and see if it can demonstrate a greater performance enhancement over the competition than the 256GB and 512GB versions did.  We’ll also check in on how (or if) pricing has changed over the last few months; in April, the Vertex 4s were going for about $1.47 per GiB, which put them right around of the middle of the competition in terms of cost.

First, though, let’s have a look at the 128GB OCZ Vertex 4’s specs.

OCZ Vertex 4 SSD 128GB

OCZ Vertex 4 SSD 128GB
Specifications & Features
  • Max Read: 560MB/s
  • Max Write: 430MB/s
  • Random Read IOPS: 90,000 (4K QD32)
  • Random Write IOPS: 85,000 (4K QD32)
  • Max IOPS: 120,000 (512B Random Read, Iometer 2010) 
  • SATA 3.0 6Gb/s Interface
  • Ndurance 2.0 Technology
  • Reduced Write Amplification without Compression
  • Advanced Multi-Level ECC
  • Adaptive NAND Flash Management
  • AES-256 Support and ATA Security Mode features
  • Advanced ECC Engine (up to 128bits per 1KB)
  • TRIM support (dynamic and static wear-leveling, background garbage collection)
  • Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) Support
  • 5-year warranty

Before the firmware update, the 128GB Vertex 4 was rated for 535MBps/200MBps read/write times, but now OCZ promises 560MBps/430MBps performance; that’s a huge leap forward (more than double) for the SSD’s write performance. The 128GB Vertex 4 also features 90,000/85,000 random 4k read/write IOPS, with a maximum of 120,000 IOPS and a SATA III (6Gbps) interface.

Other features include Ndurance 2.0 technology, which includes Reduced Write Amplification without compression, Advanced Multi-Level ECC, and Adaptive NAND Flash Management, as well as TRIM support to keep the accumulated write clutter to a minimum and subsequently maintain performance.

SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) support helps ensure the drive’s health, an advanced ECC engine running up to 128bits per K protects the data path, and data can be locked down with AES 256-bit encryption and ATA Security Mode features.  Finally, putting its money where its mouth is, OCZ offers a 5-year warranty on the Vertex 4 SSD.

    

OCZ kept the design of the Vertex 4 identical to the earlier versions we saw; it’s 9.5mm thick and has a black plastic/composite top sporting the Vertex 4 and Indilinx logos, while the back has a brushed metal finish and all the detailed product information.

A closer look at the actual PCB reveals the same Indilinx Everest 2 (IDX400M00-BC) controller we saw in the 256GB and 512GB Vertex 4s, which supports up to 8 channels and 16-way Interleaving (and lacks the compression limitations found in the SandForce controllers OCZ previously used in some of its SSDs.)

    

The actual NAND and DRAM chips are different; the 128GB version of the Vertex 4 has sixteen Intel 25nm 8GB synchronous MLC flash chips (29F64G08ACME2), and eight each are stamped on the top and bottom of the PCB. That happens to be the same NAND that OCZ used in the 128GB Vertex 3 SSDs. This SSD also has 1GB of DRAM courtesy of a pair of Micron.

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I like how the prices are coming down on SSDs these days.

The Vertex 4 drives all have performance that's good enough for me. Consider that they go on sale for outstanding prices all of the time, and they represent a great deal.

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Thanks for doing the follow-up. I'm still on the fence about switching completely to SSD but I do like that prices are coming down and performance is improving. Would really love to see reliability get better. With no moving parts I was hoping a failure would be rare but that seems to not be the case. Maybe in a few more years things will stabilize and failures will be uncommon.

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I think I'm almost ready to take the plunge with a SSD. They are starting to hit my $100 price point at a size that is useful, and now OCZ at least is willing to back it up with a lengthy warranty, which helps alleviate failure worries.

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OCZ has some great deals, I recently bought a Vertex 3 Max IOPS for $180 ( after IR & MR) and I love the boost in performance. NCIX has regular deals on the vertex 4 making it a very good buy.

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Had the 256GB version of this since January. Blisteringly fast performance and all the goodies like low power consumption and low heat generation as you'd expect. Definitely worth buying during your next upgrade cycle.

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