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Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Table of Contents: Page Index
240GB OCZ Vertex 3.20 Solid State Drive
OCZ Vertex 3.20 SSD
Features and Specifications
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
PCMark Vantage HDD Tests
OCZ Vertex 3.20 Conclusion

OCZ Vertex 3.20 Solid State Drive Review

Manufacturer: OCZ Technology Group, Inc.
Product Name: Vertex 3.20 20nm SATA-3 2.5" SSD
Model Number: VTX3-25SAT3-240G.20 (240GB Capacity)
UPC: 842024033691 (120GB) 842024033707 (240GB)
Prices: 120GB: $119.99 (Newegg/Amazon), 240GB: $229.99 (Newegg/Amazon)

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by OCZ.

OCZ Technology launched their Vertex 3 solid state drive based on the second-generation LSI-SandForce SF-2281 processor back in early 2011, making it a familiar storage product among high-performance enthusiasts. Two years later they've revisited the popular design, and made several improvements. Now available with 20nm Synchronous Multi-Level Cell (MLC) NAND flash components, Vertex 3.20 is designed to offer better performance for less cost. Vertex 3.20 arrives in 120GB and 240GB capacities, both offering 550 MB/s reads and 520 MB/s writes. In this article Benchmark Reviews tests the 240GB OCZ Vertex 3.20 SSD (model VTX3-25SAT3-240G.20), and compares it against both the 120GB model as well as the fastest SATA 6GB/s storage solutions available.

What makes the Vertex 3.20 different than it's original namesake is the use of 20nm Synchronous Multi-Level Cell (MLC) NAND flash components, and refined controller firmware. The Vertex 3.20 SSD is based on the second-generation LSI-SandForce SF-2281 SATA 6Gb/s controller, which debuted back at the start of 2011, making it one of the most mature SATA controllers found in modern storage devices. Vertex 3.20 arrives in 120GB and 240GB capacities, both offering 550 MB/s reads and 520 MB/s writes.

The second-generation SF-2281 SSD processor maintains all of the original core technology SandForce originally introduced in the SF-1200 series, but now improves SSD performance with 20% faster IOPS and 40% faster sequential read/write throughput. LSI-SandForce has enhanced BCH ECC capability, and the new processor now supports ATA-7 Security Erase. Finally, the new SF-2200 series implements cost-effective 20nm-class NAND flash from all leading flash vendors with Asynch/ONFi1/ONFi2/Toggle interfaces. OCZ promises 20K/40K read/write IOPS from the 120GB the Vertex 3.20 SSD, and 35K/65K IOPS from the 240GB version.

OCZ-Vertex-3.20-120GB-Solid-State-Drive-Tilt.jpg

Solid State vs Hard Disk

Despite decades of design improvements, the hard disk drive (HDD) is still the slowest component of any personal computer system. Consider that modern desktop processors have a 1 ns response time (nanosecond = one billionth of one second), while system memory responds between 30-90 ns. Traditional hard drive technology utilizes magnetic spinning media, and even the fastest spinning mechanical storage products still exhibit a 9,000,000 ns / 9 ms initial response time (millisecond = one thousandth of one second). In more relevant terms, the processor receives the command and must then wait for system memory to fetch related data from the storage drive. This is why any computer system is only as fast as the slowest component in the data chain; usually the hard drive.

In a perfect world all of the components operate at the same speed. Until that day comes, the real-world goal for achieving optimal performance is for system memory to operate as quickly as the central processor and then for the storage drive to operate as fast as memory. With present-day technology this is an impossible task, so enthusiasts try to close the speed gaps between components as much as possible. Although system memory is up to 90x (9000%) slower than most processors, consider then that the hard drive is an added 1000x (100,000%) slower than that same memory. Essentially, these three components are as different in speed as walking is to driving and flying.

Solid State Drive technology bridges the largest gap in these response times. The difference a SSD makes to operational response times and program speeds is dramatic, and takes the storage drive from a slow 'walking' speed to a much faster 'driving' speed. Solid State Drive technology improves initial response times by more than 450x (45,000%) for applications and Operating System software, when compared to their mechanical HDD counterparts. The biggest mistake PC hardware enthusiasts make with regard to SSD technology is grading them based on bandwidth speed. File transfer speeds are important, but only so long as the operational I/O performance can sustain that bandwidth under load.

Bandwidth Speed vs Operational Performance

As we've explained in our SSD Benchmark Tests: SATA IDE vs AHCI Mode guide, Solid State Drive performance revolves around two dynamics: bandwidth speed (MB/s) and operational performance I/O per second (IOPS). These two metrics work together, but one is more important than the other. Consider this analogy: bandwidth determines how much cargo a ship can transport in one voyage, and operational IOPS performance is how fast the ship moves. By understanding this and applying it to SSD storage, there is a clear importance set on each variable depending on the task at hand.

For casual users, especially those with laptop or desktop computers that have been upgraded to use an SSD, the naturally quick response time is enough to automatically improve the user experience. Bandwidth speed is important, but only to the extent that operational performance meets the minimum needs of the system. If an SSD has a very high bandwidth speed but a low operational performance, it will take longer to load applications and boot the computer into Windows than if the SSD offered a higher IOPS performance.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: 240GB OCZ Vertex 3.20 Solid State Drivekzinti1 2013-05-27 22:56
There was an article not too long ago that OCZ was going out of business.
Are they or not? They keep coming out with new products so apparently not.
I'd forward the article but now I can't find it.
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# RE: RE: 240GB OCZ Vertex 3.20 Solid State DriveOlin Coles 2013-05-28 07:02
You can't find it because we never wrote that OCZ was going out of business. We did write about their layoffs and stock value about seven months ago:
benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20789
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# RE: RE: RE: 240GB OCZ Vertex 3.20 Solid State Drivekzinti1 2013-05-28 07:25
I never mentioned that it was you that wrote the article. Never!
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# RE: 240GB OCZ Vertex 3.20 Solid State DriveMugsy 2013-05-28 06:02
I'm most impressed by the benchmark results for the Vertex 4, which are consistently at or near the top of every test, and well above the 3.20.

I'm disappointed not to see any RAID configurations thrown into the mix (most notably, how a Raid-0 of the 120 compares to a single 240.)
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# RE: RE: 240GB OCZ Vertex 3.20 Solid State DriveOlin Coles 2013-05-28 07:04
Almost nobody purchases a SSD to put it into a RAID-0 array, so obtaining a second drive for the sake of pleasing 1/10000 of the readers wouldn't make a lot of sense.
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# RE: RE: RE: 240GB OCZ Vertex 3.20 Solid State DriveMugsy 2013-05-28 07:35
Begging your pardon, but that's a pretty stupid reply.

With a 120GB SSD running at almost exactly have the price as it's 240GB older brother, the possible performance increase over running two 120's over two SATA-III ports vs running a single 240 over just one SATA-III port, seems a bit near-sided.
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# lalamoeb 2013-05-28 07:44
as far as i know in raid-0-mode trim and other vital features do not work
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# Trim, RAID 0, Z77Bruce 2013-05-28 08:50
The Z77 Intel Chipset supports Trim with RAID. It's a shame that it only supports two SATA 6Gb/s ports, limiting RAID options to RAID 0 or RAID 1.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: 240GB OCZ Vertex 3.20 Solid State Drivekzinti1 2013-05-28 08:01
You do know that the only storage capacity running a pair of 120GB ssd's in RAID-0 is 120GB don't you?
You only obtain a faster speed and still have only the capacity of one 120GB ssd. The designation "240 GB's" is meaningless when describing this.
Paying twice just for a bump in speed is what's completely stupid.
If you lose one drive then you lose the info on both drives in RAID-0.
RAID-0 is just fine for hdd's to get a worthwhile gain in speed.
For SSD's the speed increase is not worth the expense. Just a complete waste of money.
I use 500 GB Samsung SSD's and don't RAID them. They're more than fast enough as is and running a pair in RAID-0 would just be ludicrous.
I own 5 of these, so far, that cost $319.99 each. I am more than happy with their speed as is.
If it were possible, all I would do is run them as JBOD. Same speed but double capacity.
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# RAID-0Mugsy 2013-05-28 08:45
Raid-0 is not redundant. It is simple "striping", so you will have all 240GB available. (only Raid levels above 0 that allocate one drive just for recovery "wastes" a drive.)

I'm not sure what you're talking about. But then again, neither do you.

The pitfalls of using Raid-0 (lose one drive and lose everything) is the same whether you use SSDs or HDDs. I ran Raid-0 with two HDDs for years with no problem. SSDs are (no longer) more susceptible to failure than most HDDs.

You claim Raiding SSDs is "not worth the expense", but with two 120GB going for $240 and a single 240GB going for $220, the "expense" is only $20 whereas the performance gains might more than justify the extra money (but we don't know b/c they never tested it.)

Whether YOU are satisfied with the speed of your single SSDs is a matter of usage and personal preference. *I* however edit LARGE A/V files frequently that would greatly benefit from the faster Read/Write speeds of Raid-0.
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