Introduction and Specifications
OCZ Technology’s Vertex series of solid state drives have been consistently popular with enthusiasts since their initial arrival in 2009. OCZ has made significant changes with each successive generation of Vertex solid state drives, but generally speaking, each one has offered strong performance and was considered among the best overall values in the consumer SSD space. OCZ has also been good about providing regular firmware updates and proprietary tools to make it easy to flash a drive, perform a secure erase, or just monitor health data.
The original Vertex SSD was built around the Indilinx Barefoot controller, which was competitive when first released, but didn’t quite perform as well as some of the higher-end drives available at the time. The Vertex 2 and 3, however, featured SandForce controllers and both drives proved to be among the best performing SSDs of their generation. In fact, the Vertex 3 is still one of the best performing consumer-class solid state drives available. With the new Vertex 4 we’ll be showing you here today though, OCZ once again turns to Indilinx—now wholly owned by OCZ. The new Vertex 4 series of solid state drives are built around the Indilinx Everest 2 controller platform, which offers a host of leading-edge features like a SATA 3.0 6Gb/s interface, Auto-Encryption and AES-256 Support, and “Ndurance 2.0 Technology” for reduced write amplification (without Compression), Multi-Level ECC, adaptive NAND management, and support for Redundant NAND Array (RNA) technology.
In light of the Vertex 3, however, the new Vertex 4’s specifications may leave some of you scratching your head’s. As you’ll see below, the Vertex 4 offers max read bandwidth of 535MB/s and max writes in the 200MB/s to 475MB/s range, depending on the model, which is lower than the SandForce-based Vertex 3. However, OCZ’s new baby is tuned for higher IOps and doesn’t suffer from any compression-related performance limitations. To put it simply, the drives are optimized for different workloads.
Vertex 4 leverages new leading-edge Indilinx Everest 2 Platform Features of Everest 2 include:
From the outside, the new OCZ Vertex 4 looks just like the vast majority of consumer-class solid state drives currently available. The drive you see pictured here is a 512GB OCZ Vertex 4, but we’ve also received a 256GB model, which looks virtually identical.
The OCZ Vertex 4 uses a 2.5” form factor with 9mm Z-Height. The top casing of the drive is made from a plastic / composite material, while the bottom is a brushed metal. The top is adorned with a large Vertex 4 decal with “Indilinx Infused” emblazoned in one corner, while the bottom only has another decal with serial and model number details.
Crack the drive open, however, and you can see all of the really good stuff. As we’ve mentioned, the OCZ Vertex 4 is based on the Indilinx Everest 2 controller platform. The exact model of the controller pictured here is the Indilinx IDX400M00-BC. The controller features a SATA III interface, support for up to 8 channels with up to 16-way Interleaving, and unlike SandForce’s current designs, it does not have any data-compression related limitations, meaning it should perform consistently with both highly-compressible and incompressible data.
The Everest 2-based OCZ Vertex 4 also offers TRIM support, and dynamic and static wear-leveling and background garbage collection algorithms to maintain strong long-term performance. The drive also features “Indilinx Ndurance 2.0” technology to help minimize write amplification and increase the life-span of the attached NAND Flash memory.
Paired to the Indilinx IDX400M00-BC Everest 2 controller in this drive is 512GB (16 x 32GB) of 25nm Intel MLC NAND flash memory and 512MB of DRAM cache, comprised of two Micron chips which reside on the top and bottom sides of the PCB. The 256GB drive we tested was also outfitted with 16 pieces of NAND, but with half the capacity.