OCZ Vertex 3 LP SATA III 240GB SSD

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Product: OCZ Vertex 3 LP 7mm SATA III 240GB SSD
Provided By: OCZTechnology
Price: Find Lowest Price Online

Introduction:

Solid State Drives have come a long way over the past few years and OCZ has actually been one of the companies that have driven the industry to be better, faster, larger and more affordable.  They don't settle for technology that has limitations and they try to find ways around, over or through limitations that are still plaguing this early stage of solid-state storage.  While you may argue that SSDs aren't all that new, the technology is changing so fast with new NAND flash chips and different controllers, algorithms for data correction and wear leveling that this whole industry is still relatively new and has a few growing pains.

Today we will be taking a look at one of the few 7mm SSD drives that are available today.  While this drive is not a Vertex 4, the Vertex 3 Low Profile drive we have on the bench today offers great performance in a small package that fits into todays thin and light laptops.

The Vertex 3 LP is definitely worth considering if you are looking to upgrade that slow HDD in your new Ultrabook or Thinkpad T430.  Today we're going to look at it and see how it stands up on our test bench.

Profile Profile

 

First Look:

Other than the drive itself, the only thing that came with the Vertex 3 LP is a sticker. Apparently, my "SSD is faster than your SSD".  As this drive is made specifically for low-profile laptop installations, there was no 3.5" HDD adapter or any other accessories with the bundle.  All you get is a bare drive in a box.  This is not a bad thing either.

Label

The OCZ Vertex 3 LP isn't all that exciting on the outside of the unit.  I did notice that this drive is actually much heavier than the original Vertex 3 drive from OCZ.  The case on the 7mm version is entirely metal.  The outside from looks like aluminum, but again, it's quite heavy.  The top and bottom lids are made of SECC steel, so when it's all strapped down there won't be any flex to this unit.

As you can see below, the drive profile is very low.  We've included a couple of pictures side-by-side with the 240GB Vertex 3 next to the new 240GB Vertex 3 LP for reference.

Connections Vertex vs Vertex LP Lower Profile

 

Inside the case is the new SandForce SF-2281 controller and it fully supports the speeds that this drive claims.  We'll find out as we continue what more we can expect from this drive.  Before we get that far, we'll take a look at the features and specifications.

 


Features:

The following information has been pulled from the OCZ Technology product page as well as from the Intel 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.

OCZ Vertex 3 Low Profile Solid State Drives are built to unleash the full potential of the 6Gbps SATA III interface in a new sleeker form factor designed for high performance computing applications.

With increasingly thinner notebooks dominating the industry, the new 7mm height form factor easily integrates into the latest mobile computing platforms. The OCZ Vertex 3 LP features incredible data transfer rates and responsiveness, significantly improving your gaming, multimedia, and overall computing experience over traditional mechanical hard drives. Using leading controller and flash technology, Vertex 3 LP SSDs are ideal for next generation platforms and operating systems to deliver a faster, more versatile storage solution.

Built with the quality, reliability, and durability that lives up to the OCZ name, the Vertex 3 LP 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 companion. Vertex 3 SSDs are available in 60GB to 480GB capacities and come backed by a 3-Year Warranty.

Board

Drive Specifications:

Specs

Specs

SandForce SF-2281 OCZ/Micron NAND

 

This drive uses OCZ branded Micron NAND memory chips M2502128T048SX22.  These are 16GB, 25nm asynchronous NAND chips that offer 200MB/sec transfer each.  When combined with the Sandforce SF-2281 controller, the drive has a theoretical transfer rate of 550MB/sec read with a 520MB/sec write speed.

The SandForce SF-2281 offers native TRIM support, NCQ and S.M.A.R.T. features.  The SF-2281 controller also provides SandForce's unique RAISE (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements) technology.  This provides RAID performance and reliability on a single SSD.  This can provide great performance and protection without a lot of overhead for storage parity.

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
  Zotac GeForce GTX 560Ti
Cooling
Hard Drives

OCZ RevoDrive X2 160GB
OCZ Vertex 3 240GB

Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
NVIDIA Drivers
306.97

 

Performance - AS SSD:

As we kick off our benchmarks, we're going to introduce a new benchmark to our SSD test suite.  As such, we don't have much in the way of comparison, but we do have a comparison with the RevoDrive X2 and the original Vertex 3 that we've looked at recently.  Overall, the performance of the drive is pretty impressive, but according to AS SSD, it does fall short of its rated speed.  This time around we are looking at IOPS with AS SSD and will cover actual MB/sec transfer rates with ATTO in a little bit.  You can see below, that the IOPS in our tests on the X58 test system that fully supports SATA 3 (6Gbps), shows poorer performance than the rated specs.

AS SSD Read AS SSD Write

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 RealSSD C300 and OCZ RevoDrive X2 SSD.  A few different NAND, DRAM and controller options are represented below.  Of course, we expect the RevoDrive to take the cake - and it does - in terms of overall speed, but when it comes to smaller files, the new Vertex 3 takes the lead up to 16KB files.

ATTO Read ATTO Write

You don't have to study the charts very long before you see that the OCZ Vertex 3 holds its own when it comes to read speeds.  Other than the RevoDrive, the Vertex 3 LP keeps up with the standard Vertex 3 and trades places back and forth when it comes to top performance.  Even though the drive features different NAND, and has a smaller stature, it still performs well.  Overall, ATTO shows off what this drive is capable of - even though it falls a bit short of the rated speeds.


Benchmarks (Continued):

As we continue on through our benchmarks today, we'll take a look at some AIDA64 benchmarks.  We'll run through the entire gamut of tests.  We don't have much data to compare to as we've recently acquired this test and added it to our test suite.  We'll be using this much more in the future though as it gives us a very good scope of the performance that we can expect from this drive.

AIDA64 Read

 

As we jump into testing the Vertex 3 LP 240GB SSD on linear testing.  We run both Linear Read and Linear Write tests on this drive.  As you can see in the graphs below, the performance is pretty good but on our test system.  That being said, we discovered that the average read speed was a bit less that we'd hoped.  I had tested this to make sure was operating on the full SATA III 6Gbps interface.  It had an average read speed of 377.4MB/s with an average linear write of 218.2MB/s.  Unlike the Vertex 3 240GB, this Low Profile version maintained steady performance from start to finish.

AIDA64 Linear Read
AIDA64 Linear Read Performance

 

AIDA64 Linear Write Performance
AIDA64 Linear Write Performance

 

On the last page, we'll cover Crystal DiskMark before we draw our final conclusions.


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.  The performance of this test follows right along with what we've seen so far.  Again we use the Vertex 3 and RevoDrive for reference.

Crystal DiskMark Read

Crystal DiskMark Write

Crystal DiskMark shows similar results to what we've seen previously.  It's interesting to see how well it compares to the RevoDrive in these tests.

 

Final Thoughts:

OCZ has pushed the boundaries on performance with their Vertex series and the nice thing about this low profile 2.5" drive is that is can be used by pretty much everyone.  If you are planning on purchasing a new machine that only takes 7mm drives, you can see our review of the OCZ Vertex 3 LP that you won't have to sacrifice performance.   The Vertex 3 LP 240GB drive holds up very well to the competition and is essentially a slimmer version of the Vertex 3 - both in terms of controller and performance - even though OCZ has made the jump from Intel to Micron NAND is this drive.

In a gaming system, the drive performs like a champ and it offers incredible Windows boot times, lightning fast map-loads and can give you and edge in almost everything you do.  In a low-profile system, such as my new Thinkpad T430, this drive offers even more.  OCZ is one of the few companies that are making these new 7mm drives, and while their market is still quite limited, as laptops and ultrabooks become more popular, these will become more popular.

In the end, I can't really complain about this drive at all.  I do wish I could see actual performance closer to theoretical performance however.

Pros:

 
  • Good performance
  • 7mm Low Profile fits in Ultrabooks - Low-Profile Laptops, etc.
  • Available up to 480GB 
  • Affordable SATA III performance
  • Excellent compatibility
 
Cons:
  • Doesn't perform up to rated speeds

 

BCCRating

Gold

I'd like to thank OCZ for sending over this unit for us to review and for their patience while we worked out some system issues.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.