OCZ Vertex 2 60GB SATA II SSD

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Product: OCZ Vertex 2 SATA II SSD
Provided By: OCZ Technology
Price: Find Lowest Price Online

 

Introduction:

OCZ has been in the SSD market for a while and they are one of the companies that isn't afraid to jump on the new technology bandwagon and squeeze as much performance out of technology as they can.  They were one of the first companies to jump on the SandForce bandwagon when that started to become popular.  With the original controller firmware, the 4K performance wasn't all that great, but this has been improved and we are witnessing some pretty impressive SSD performance with the Vertex 2 on the review bench today.  This drive comes in capacities ranging from 40GB to 480GB.  It may seem odd, but the smaller drives have faster performance than the larger units so we expect some pretty decent numbers from the 60GB version.

 


While a 60GB drive may not be big enough for everyone it is large enough for a boot drive that allows you to install a bunch of applications in your favorite desktop system.  If you have a second drive for large amounts of data, this actually could make a great upgrade and with the price of this drive dropping to ~$100 on sale; it becomes a pretty affordable upgrade.

 

First Look:

Hard Drives don't typically come with a bundle unless they are part of a "drive upgrade" kit.  The OCZ Vertex 2 pulls together a micro-bundle by including a 2.5" to 3.5" bracket that allows you to install the drive in a desktop system that isn't designed for 2.5" drives.  This allows you to easily install the drive in any spare 3.5" bay and you're done.

Bundle
Bundle

 

I do like the fact that they throw in a sticker that talks some smack.  We'll see if their SSD is really faster than other people's soon below.

SSD Profile
SSD Profile
Connector Side
Connector Side

 

The drive really isn't really all that exciting.  It has a standard metal case that is held together by four small Philips #1 screws that can be easily removed - albeit voiding your warranty.  The bottom of the drive contains the serial number, model and all the required certification logos.


SSD Label
SSD Label/Bottom

 

Even though SATA 3.0 (6.0Gbps) has been around for a bit, OCZ uses the tried-and-true SATA II interface as the current generation of SandForce controller doesn't support SATA 3.0 anyhow.  This is still rated as a very fast drive as we'll see on the next page.


 

Features:

The following information has been pulled from the OCZ Technology product page as well as from the Micron and SandForce sites and posted here for your convenience.  Please make sure to go to the source for all of the latest information regarding these products and chipsets.

 SSD Open

Based on a cutting-edge new architecture, Vertex 2 Solid State Drives raise the bar once again and deliver unprecedented performance for the complete gamut of gaming and professional multimedia applications. OCZ designed the Vertex 2 to surpass the competition where it counts most, pushing the limits in both sequential and random read/write rates. With spectacular performance in 4k file writes up to 50,000 IOPS, these latest drives take productivity to the next level with over ten times the performance of the previous generation. Using the latest controller technology, Vertex 2 not only provides a faster, more responsive PC experience, but promotes cooler, quieter, and more energy efficient conditions compared to traditional mechanical hard drives.

With sheer performance that outpaces the competition, the Vertex 2 doesn’t lose sight of what makes an SSD the ideal storage alternative to hard drives and delivers the quality, reliability, and durability demanded by consumers that will not settle for anything but the best. Built with SATA 3Gb/s, the Vertex 2 Series easily integrates into today’s mobile and desktop platforms and features TRIM support to optimize performance over the drive’s lifespan as the ultimate Windows 7 notebook or desktop upgrade.

OCZ Vertex 2 SSDs are available in 40GB to 480GB and come backed by a 3-year warranty and 2 million hour MTBF for ultimate peace of mind.

 

Drive Specifications:

 Specs

 

Micron NAND
Micron NAND
SandForce
SandForce Controller

 

The drive uses MLC Micron NAND flash that is some of the best in the business and provides great read and write speeds compliments of the SandForce SF-1222TA3-SBH controller.  This is the second generation SandForce controller that seems to have a bunch of issues resolved from the first generation. 

The controller offers native TRIM support, NCQ and S.M.A.R.T. features.  The benefit of the SF-1200 controller is that it has a built-in buffer and eliminates the need for any other buffer memory to act as a cache.

If you noticed the  specs on the side of the page, you'll see that when plugged into a supporting SATA 3Gbps board you can expect read speeds up to 285MB/sec and write speeds up to 275MB/sec.  It has a much higher rated write speed than the Crucial RealSSD SATA 3.0 drive and it will be interesting to see how they (and others) compare.

On the next page we'll take a look at some of our testing methods for SSD's and then jump right in.

 

 

SSD Testing Disclaimer:

Because of the wear-leveling algorithms used in SSDs, performance is actually pretty hard to nail down.  It is for this reason also that drive performance can vary so much from one review to the next.  Some sites go to extreme measures to show the maximum performance possible after they use utilities to restore the drive to pristine performance levels, but that isn't accurate in the real world.  We've tried to get a balance of the pristine and the dirty drive here at BCCHardware and have used this drive extensively in our test systems both running Windows 7 x64 Ultimate.  We feel that our results are as reproducible as possible, and while no software can accurately measure SSD performance in a perfectly fair fashion, we've done our best to keep the results accurate as possible.  We've used synthetic benchmark tools such as HDTach, Everest, CrystalDisk Mark and others that are indicators of real-world performance.

Test System:


Intel Core i7
CPU
Motherboard
ASRock X58 Extreme 3
Memory
Graphics
2x Radeon HD 4870 512MB
Cooling
Hard Drives

OCZ Vertex 2 MLC 60GB SSD
Crucial M225128GB SSD
- firmware 1571 (no TRIM)
Patriot Torqx 128GB SSD - firmware 1819

Plextor 128GB SSD - Original Firmware
Crucial CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1 SSD - firmware 0002

Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
ATI Drivers
10.11 Catalyst

 

 

 

Performance - ATTO:

ATTO is not an indicator of real-world performance, but it shows how fast the drive can read and write data using different sized files.  We've included results from the 128GB Patriot Torqx, Crucial M225 SSD, RealSSD C300 and Plextor 128GB SSD.  A few different NAND, DRAM and controller options are represented below.

 

 

 

You don't have to study the charts very long before you see that the OCZ Vertex 2 dominates in write speeds. It comes in at almost 70-90MB/sec faster than the closest competitor.  Read speeds are a different story however and while the drive is super-fast at write speeds, it performs on-par with other high-end drives when reading.  It can't keep up to the C300 SATA 3.0 drive from Crucial of course, but it holds its own when compared to other SATA II drives.


 

Performance - Crystal DiskMark 3.0:

As we get warmed up with the benchmarks we stop by and give CrystalDiskMark a run through the paces.  This is a very basic read and write test that is used to either confirm or deny the manufacturers rated speeds.  DiskMark uses sequential tests as well as 4KB and 512KB random tests to gauge how the drive will perform when reading and writing various file sizes.  Smaller file sizes had a very strong showing, but sequential reads and writes were much lower than we expected.

Crystal - Read 

 Crystal - Write

 

The CrystalMark tests show why we have a disclaimer on our SSD testing platform.  The results are not consistent with previous tests at all.  Granted, we are using the 3.0 version of CrystalDiskMark for this test, but the Vertex 2 shows much slower sequential read and write performance than its rated speed, and this is not consistent with other tests.  We ran the tests several times and always yielded the same results.  Win, Lose or Draw we have posted the results - although I believe CrystalDiskMark is not accurate in this instance.

 

Performance - HDTach:

While HDTach was great for testing out traditional hard drives, it lacks the precision required to test SSDs properly.  We still included the results as they read speed is quite interesting.  In this test we compare all four 128GB SSDs we've looked at recently as well as the 60GB Vertex 2.

HDTach Chart

HDTach favors the faster SATA 3.0 Crucial SSD in terms of reading, but the Vertex 2 performs better when writing in this test and comes in second fastest in terms of read speed as well.  It's a darn fast drive for sure.

 

Performance - HDTune:

HD Tune Pro is a relatively new benchmark for us here at BCCHardware but we're getting to like it and enjoy the Random Read and Write performance testing that this software can display.  This benchmark now allows random read and write tests to be performed, and the results are displayed on a very handy chart.  HDTune tests 512 byte, 4KB, 64KB, 1MB and Random sizes of data over the disk.  The results displayed below show total operations per second as well as average access time and average speed.  This is quite informative as it shows how the drive responds to different sizes of data - not only in transfer rate, but also in operations/sec, access time and more.

HDTune - Read
HDTune - Read
HDTune - Write
HDTune - Write

 

HDTune confirms that the drive is very fast when reading - coming in at just over 245MB/sec (short of the 285MB/sec rating).  It also shows that it falls just short of the rated write speed as well.  It's no slouch at over 216MB/sec, but when rated at 250MB/sec, I was hoping to see it get a little closer. 

Final Thoughts:

OCZ is not one of the first names that come to mind when we think about storage, but they've come a long way and see to be riding the cutting edge though this revolution.  The Vertex 2 based on the Sandforce SF-1200 controller shows excellent improvements and good performance through their lineup of drives and with read and write speeds hitting over 240MB/sec and 215MB/sec in real-world usage, there certainly is nothing to complain about.

Although the Vertex 2 is a SATA II drive, the price point of around $100 for the 60GB version makes it quite appealing and should offer you some pretty incredible performance in a RAID 0 array.  This would give you 120GB of screaming-fast SSD storage for $200.  This would certainly be a great value and big enough for many consumers PCs.

Pros:

  • Fast read performance
  • SandForce SF-1200 controller is very efficient
  • Supports TRIM, SMART and NCQ
  • Excellent read and write speeds on 4K random tests

 

Cons: 

  • 3 year warranty seems a bit low
  • Doesn't live up to rated speeds

 

 

 

BCCRating
 
 Gold

 

I'd like to thank OCZ for sending over their new Vertex 2 SSD for us to review.  I'm very impressed with the read performance and 4K write performance on this drive.  If you're considering building a new PC with a fast SSD for a great price, the OCZ Vertex 2 is a great drive that provides very good value.

Please post your comments and questions in the forums at the "Comments" link below.