OCZ Vertex Limited Edition, SandForce Powered SSD

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Performance Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary:
To be perfectly frank, and hey, that's what you come here for, we were sort of baffled at the sometimes strong, sometimes slightly lack-luster performance of the first iteration of OCZ's Vertex 2 Pro series SSD that is built with an identical PCB and controller platform as the new Vertex Limited Edition.  What we came to find out was that this line of new Sandforce SSD controllers benefits greatly with AHCI enabled, both for synthetic benchmarks as well as more real-world test conditions like our PCMark Vantage testing.  The downside of this is that, depending on the motherboard and BIOS combination at play, we've seen AHCI induce system instability on occasion, though hopefully this is the sort of thing that will work out over time.  Regardless, when AHCI is enabled, the OCZ Vertex LE is quite literally the fastest SSD we've tested on a 3Gbps SATA interface and even sometimes faster, depending on the usage pattern, than MIcron's C300 SSD, even when connected via a SATA 6Gbps connection.  One word, "impressive."

 

The OCZ Vertex Limited Edition can be found for $439.99 in the 100GB variant we tested here, or $919 for the 200GB flavor, on Amazon and at NewEgg.  When you consider you can find Intel's X25-M 160GB gen 2 SSDs for $449, it's a bit of a reach to justify the price-per-GB premium ($2.81 for the Intel drive, $4.40 for the Vertex LE), that you're going to have to ante-up for this SSD.  In fact, even Micron's C300 weighs in at a slightly lower price point from a cost-per-GB view.  However, the enthusiast in us is always yearning for the sort of high quality drive performance, maintenance and upkeep that the Sandforce SF1500 controller in OCZ's Vertex LE brings to the table.  In addition, with the reduction in write amplification and overhead that the controller offers, it's highly likely, though we haven't proven it empirically, that these SSDs will have better than average endurance over time.

So, let's bottom line things for you a bit here.  We think the Vertex Limited Edition by OCZ would serve very nicely as a super fast notebook drive, especially if you're the type that relies on a mobile workstation or an enthusiast class desktop replacement machine.   It could also serve you well as a boot/OS drive in a high-end desktop application, where you'd use standard spinning hard drives for bulk file storage.  Load up all your applications on this SSD and with the load time performance characteristics we saw in our Vantage testing, it will have you smiling ear to ear.  Your wallet, on the other hand, is going to wince in pain at the price.

What's really important to remember about our experience with this hot new SSD from OCZ is the promise that their chosen controller vendor, Sandforce, plans to offer more affordable controller derivatives moving forward, which OCZ will feature in their product line.  We're eager to take a look at OCZ's first drive with the less costly SF1200 controller under its hood, reportedly offering similar performance but in a more consumer-class price range.  We're genuinely excited to see OCZ's upcoming family of SSDs based on this technology.  With a bit more time in development and tuning, along with some economies of scale for driving cost down, OCZ could break out nicely from the pack of SSDs vying for customer attention in the market.


  

  

  • Superb all around performance
  • Great sustained performance with maintenance algo
  • Best of class write performance
  • Claimed increased durability, reliability
  • Very pricey
  • Limited availability

 


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