OCZ Vertex Limited Edition, SandForce Powered SSD

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There's an old cliche' that seems to ring true with respect to the onslaught of SSD technology we've been treated to in the market over the past year or so, "there's always another one coming."  Solid State Drive technologies are advancing so quickly, that some manufacturers don't even get a chance to let the ink dry on product labeling before their engineering teams step up with yet another offering to productize.  Such is the case with OCZ Technology, a company that is seemingly lining itself up to be a one-stop-shop for all things SSD.

When we first took a look at OCZ's Vertex 2 Pro series SSD back in February, we noted that our evaluation was a product "preview" due to the fact that the product was still being finalized in many ways and wasn't yet available on the open market.  Little did we know that exact product would never see the light of day in retail.  In fact, the Vertex Limited Edition SSD that we're going to review for you here today, will only be available in a limited 5K unit batch release from OCZ.  Once they're gone, OCZ intends to shift gears again from the Sandforce SF-1500 series controller to the SF-1200, at least for their consumer-targeted offerings.  The good news is, performance will continue to scale with the new controller, so again, this drive is essentially a view of things to come, though OCZ will actually be offering it for a limited time at places like NewEgg and Amazon. Let's take a look...

OCZ Vertex LE Series 100GB MLC SSD

OCZ Vertex 2 Pro Series SATA II SSD
Specifications and Features
  • 100GB capacity (93.1GB usable)
  • 50GB, 100GB, 200GB and 400GB available
  • Slim 2.5" Design
  • Power Consumption: TBD
  • Warranty: TBD
 100GB SSD Max Performance:
  • Read: Up to 270MB/s
  • Write: Up to 250MB/s
  • IOPs (4K random write): 15000
  • Seek Time: < 1ms
  • Operating Temp: 0C ~ 70C
  • Storage Temp: -45C ~ +85C
  • RAID Support
  • Shock Resistant: 1500G

OCZ's upcoming product family...
 Controller  NAND  Max Read
Max Write
 Vertex LE
 SF-1500  MLC  270MB/s 250MB/s 15000
 Vertex 2
 SF-1200  MLC  270MB/s  260MB/s  20000
 Vertex 2 EX
 SF-1500  SLC  280MB/s  270MB/s 22000
Our buddy Nate over at Legit Reviews assembled the above table here and we liked it so much we stole it. Thanks Nate.  The OCZ Vertex LE 2 series of SSDs will come in two capacities of 100GB and 200GB.  We're specifically taking a look at the 100GB version here today.  It's an MLC-based drive with very robust read and write bandwidth up to 270MB/s and 250MB/s, respectively.  4K random write performance is rated at 15000 IOPs, which is a shade lower than the Vertex 2 Pro we tested not long ago, at 19K.  Essentially the Vertex LE is an offshoot of the Vertex 2 Pro but with firmware that tames down performance and adds a bit of stability.  All told, on paper the Vertex LE's specs are still impressive but as you can see there are more Sandforce-based SSDs from OCZ coming as well, perhaps with even better performance.  Finally, the Vertex 2 EX will be OCZ's SLC-based drive for the enterprise space.

Of AHCI, Trial and Error
In our first effort with the Vertex 2 Pro back in February, you may recall that while its performance was impressive, especially with respect to random write speed, we didn't feel we were getting all we could from the drive and it gave us a few moments of pause, especially in our IOMeter testing.  We came to find out that all of OCZ's new SSDs based Sandforce controllers, benefit significantly in term of general performance if AHCI is enabled in the system BIOS.  Historically, we found AHCI to be a flaky with certain SSDs and took the path of turning it off for our test setups. AHCI is a technology that was initially developed specifically for the latencies and inefficiencies of seek times and access on rotational media, so the benefit for it with SSDs, until only recently, was unfounded.  It turns out that though SSD controllers from Intel and Indilinx don't benefit much from AHCI, OCZ's chosen Sandforce controller, as well as the Marvell controller in Micron's new line of SSDs, both benefit significantly from it.   As such, in order to level the playing field, all of the storage benchmark tests you'll see on the pages ahead, were conducted with AHCI enabled for all SSDs tested.

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rapid1 4 years ago

OCZ first as a memory manufacturer is really making great choices both here as well as in a new or newer market sector here. The one thing I don't get as well as a great platform performance wise with this device, and an especially enabled on now with the huge standard HD's available now at attractive prices is the combination setup. For the price of one of there 200 Gb units, I could conceivably get two of the 100 Gb units, and a standard HD of twice there size. What this would allow anyone to do is run these two in RAID 0 with a full backup to the standard drive. I see this as an attractive idea for multiple reasons. Obviously two of these in RAID 0 would raise the performance spectrum considerably. The reliability of these type of drives while greatly enhanced still falls below a mechanical HD, as does the functionality of RAID 0. So having two of these blazing along in RAID 0, while still completely backed up to say a 400 GB or larger mechanical HD enables far better performance as well as full reliability, for roughly the same price point as one of there 200 GB stand alone drives does. This is attractive at least to me.

InfinityzeN 4 years ago

Every time new drive comes out with a large jump in performance, I think about upgradeing.  Those thoughts last all of 10 seconds until I realize it will cost me damn near a grand to replace my two Vertex 120GiB drives.  The Micron drive came the closest to making me take the jump, but I would have to dig up a SATA 6G controller.  I'm thinking I'll end up waiting until 6G is the standard for MoBos and drives, then just upgrade the whole thing.

That right there is the problem.  Your early adopters are starting to suffer some burnout (at least the ones I know).  Most of us can not afford to buy new $400+ drives every 2~3 months when the latest and greatest comes out anymore.  The situation is even worse when you look at all the early adopters (more so the first time early adopters in this case) who got saddled with the JMicron based drives.

I know the sales right now are nice, but does anyone else agree that sales will not explode till the next generation interface (6G) becomes the market standard?

rapid1 4 years ago

Hey infinityzeN as a straight pointer I have been seeing with both Sata3 and USB3 the adapters are coming out very early compared. As far as I know both are available now, although I have not bought one yet. The USB 3 adapter I am pretty sure is now or will shortly be available as a PCI-X one for under 100 dollars with internal and external ports. I am also pretty sure Sata 3 adapters are also available in the same PCI-X makeup although I think they are more than 100 but under 175 from what I've seen. This is one of the reason I did not like the 1156 motherboards, and or implementation all together, is the limitation in PCI-X bandwidth as well as how the controller works period.

InfinityzeN 4 years ago

By market standard I ment mobos would have 6G plugs and most of the drives on the market would be 6G.

rapid1 4 years ago

Yeah I got that, but why not use a PCI-X adapter if you can, rather than building a whole new PC if your current PC is sufficient? I know in general I am stating that question on a forum which has users like us that in general love building or upgrading our PC's. But still if you have the available socket, and bandwidth, why not until the prices as well as components get lower, and more standard.

blazarcher 4 years ago

I'm soooo tempted to buying an SSD. I've still got an old mechanical hard drive, I know, I know, GO BUY ONE. I'm planning on getting a "cheap" Intel X-25-V.. V for Value that is xD What would you guys consider a good SSD to start out with.. And if I were to get a high end SSD should I go with the OCZ LE Vertex or should I go with one of the others out right now?

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