|120GB OCZ Vertex 3.20 Solid State Drive|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Friday, 29 March 2013|
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Closer Look: OCZ Vertex 3.20 SSD
Solid state drive devices have gained quick popularity with performance-minded consumers because they work equally well in PC, Linux, or Apple computer systems. Likewise, these drives install quite easily into both desktop and notebook platforms without modification. The OCZ Vertex 3.20 SSD Series is best suited for performance-orientated users, giving personal computers a much faster response time and boosting productivity.
In this article Benchmark Reviews will test the OCZ Vertex 3.20 SSD series, which comes packaged in a plastic clamshell container. OCZ Technology offers the Vertex 3.20 SSD series in only two capacities: 120 GB and 240 GB. These models share the same part numbers with a capacity designator: VTX3-25SAT3-120G.20 that represents the 120 GB model. All OCZ Vertex 3.20 solid state drive products measure 99.8 L x 69.63 W x 9.3mm H. The 120GB version is available for $119.99 (Newegg/Amazon), and 240GB capacity for $219.99 (Newegg/Amazon).
The 120GB model we received (VTX3-25SAT3-120G.20) is specified to reach 550 MB/s for sequential reads and 520 MB/s sequential writes. OCZ specifies 4K random reads up to 20,000 IOPS and random writes up to 40,000 IOPS. Even though Vertex 3.20's product specification advertise extremely fast performance ratings, these solid state drive products are designed with a focus on product reliability. The SandForce SF-2281 controller and firmware inside Vertex 3.20 SSDs receive a long validation cycle to ensure optimal stability is delivered to the consumer, and receive an OCZ Technology three-year product warranty. These features could help factor into the consumer's decision, as it improves long-term value.
Unlike fragile Hard Disk Drive (HDD) storage products, SSDs are not nearly as sensitive to impact damage and do not require (or benefit from) any kind of special vibration dampening or shock-proof enclosures. Once installed the SSD is usually hidden away from view, which explains why OCZ has maintained a conservative appearance on the Vertex 3.20 series.
The OCZ Vertex 3.20 SSD features a 9.3mm thick chassis that comes painted black finish. OCZ utilizes a standard two-piece metal enclosure for Vertex 3.20-series SSDs, with a series branding label at the top panel and product information label on the bottom. Internal components are revealed by removing four small counter-sunk screws located at the bottom of this solid state drive.
Standard 2.5" drive bay mounting points are pre-drilled into the SSD chassis with fine screw threading, allowing this drive to fit directly into notebook computers that use SATA connections. The SSD mounting positions matched up to the drive bracket on my notebook computer, and after only a few minutes of upgrading I booted-up from a restored Windows 7 System Backup Image with ease. Optionally, by using the included 3.5" to 2.5" tray adapter this SSD will also install directly into ATX desktop computers.
Backwards compatible with SATA 1.5 GB/s and 3.0 GB/s interfaces, all LSI/SandForce SSD controllers offer: native TRIM garbage collection in supporting Operating System (such as Microsoft Windows-7), Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with 32 command slots, and basic Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology (SMART) command set. LSI/SandForce built the SF-2200 series to produce 500 MB/s sequential read and write bandwidth with 60K (burst)/20K (sustained) IOPS random write (4K transfers). More detail is available in our LSI/SandForce SF-2000 Series SSD Processor Overview article.
Similar to other second-generation LSI/SandForce-driven SSDs, OCZ Vertex 3.20-series SSDs feature a SF-2281VB1-SDC SATA 6Gb/s processor. Offering 8 flash channels with 8 Byte lanes configured (one lane per channel), the SF-2281 maintains a BGA-256 package. The SF-2281 controller offers advanced ECC engine correcting up to 55 bits per 512-byte sector to assure high data integrity and support for future generations of flash memory.
The SF-2281 SSD processor provides enhanced ECC with BCH data protection, and also includes LSI/SandForce's unique RAISE (Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements) technology. RAISE provides the protection and reliability of RAID on a single SSD drive, thanks to flash architecture, without the significant write overhead of parity. The LSI/SandForce DuraClass technology automatically stores data using Trusted Computing Group (TCG) OPAL security with 256-bit AES encryption and automatic, line-rate double encryption with a drive-level password, preventing data extraction directly from the physical flash memory modules.
In the next few sections we'll test the OCZ Vertex 3.20 solid state drive, comparing this solid state drive to other retail products intended for notebook and desktop installations.