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OCZ Vertex 3.20 240 GB Review

Published by Marc Büchel on 30.04.13 (17409 reads)
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With the Vertex 3.20 OCZ officially launches their first product that features 20 nanometer NAND from the Intel/Micron joint venture. This step is quite a critical one for OCZ since it means that have to do a balancing act between endurance and price. There are quite a few manufacturers out there in the market that already offer TLC based SSD with significantly lower prices. At this point we just want to tell you, that OCZ does not got for TLC NAND, they stick to MCL chips and we think it's a good compromise between not only price and endurance but also performance.

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Specifications / Delivery

Model OCZ Vertex 3.20 240 Gigabyte
Capacity 240 Gigabyte
Form Factor 2.5'', 9.3 mm
Power Consumption 0.55 Watt idle, 2.1 Watt active
Memory Synchronous NAND, 20nm, 3'000 P/E-cycles
Technology Intel 29-F16B08CCMF3
Throughput up to 550 MB/s reading, up to 520 MB/s writing up to 65'000 IOPS, random 4k
Accesstime (read) < 0.1 ms
MTBF 2'000'000 hours
Acoustics no noise
Warranty 3 Years

As soon as we read the product name "Vertex", a high-performance solid state drive comes to our mind. Over the past years OCZ has brought four different different versions of this drive to the market and the successors were always faster than the predecessors. Since last year, OCZ's CEO stepped down things started to change. The company went through a thorough restructuring process, where consolidating the product portfolio was an important part too. One crucial decision OCZ has taken was to remove the Agility and the Solid series from their lineup. In other words the means that they got ride of their entry level products and they now needed something to step into this gap.

And that's where the Vertex 3.20 jumps in. Since nowadays, the american SSD manufacturer has the Vertex 4 and the Vector, to take care of the high-performance client space, the Vertex 3.20 is covering the entry level market. But how does a former high-performance product fit into the entry level segment?

The most important update OCZ deployed with the Vertex 3.20, when comparing it to the Vertex 3, concerns the NAND flash memory. Like the product name of the Vertex 3.20 suggests, this drives features NAND flah, that has been manufactured using 20 nanometer structures. In case of the original Vertex 3, OCZ has been using NAND flash memory with 25 nanometer structures. When it comes to the manufacturing process of NAND flash, then a customer gets an upside as well as a downside at the same time. Let's talk about the upside first: a shrink enables the manufacturer to put more memory chips on one 300 millimeter wafer. In other words the manufacturing process becomes more cost efficient. This cost efficiency is going to be carried to the end user who actually buys these products for a lower price. The downside however is, that making the structures smaller causes the P/E-cycles to drop. Most 25 nanometer MLC NAND flash chips featured a P/E-cycle count of either 5'000 or 3'000. Intels 29-F16B08CCMF3 20 nanometer chips - the ones you find on the Vertex 3.20 - are validated at 3'000 P/E-cycles. So basically, these 20 nanometer chips offer the same level of endurance like the 25 nanometer chips one can find on Kingston HyperX 3k SSD. Furthermore there is another interesting fact. Quite a few entry level SSDs make use of TLC NAND flash meanwhile. These chips offer 1'200 P/E-cycles, which means, that the OCZ entry level drive offers about 2.5 times the reliability judging only by the P/E-cycle count.

Enough said now: let's see what the Vertex 3.20 with 240 Gigabyte and SandForce SF-2281 controller can do, when it comes to performance. This will be interesting, because a shrink usually brings a performance drop. Comparing the results from the Vertex 3.20 to the Vertex 3 will show how well a job the firmware engineers at OCZ did. If the performance is on about the same level, then the work they did was excellent.

Page 1 - Introduction / Specs Page 7 - Random read KByte/s
Page 2 - Impressions Page 8 - Sequential write ops
Page 3 - How do we test? Page 9 - Sequential read ops
Page 4 - Sequential write KByte/s Page 10 - Random write ops
Page 5 - Sequential read KByte/s Page 11 - Random read ops
Page 6 - Random write KByte/s Page 12 - Conclusion

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