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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 05 April 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
OCZ Vertex 3 SandForce SF-2281 SSD
Closer Look: OCZ Vertex 3 SSD
SandForce SF-2281 SSD Controller
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
HDD vs Hybrid Drive vs SSD
OCZ Vertex 3 SSD Conclusion

OCZ Vertex 3 SSD Conclusion

IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.

NOTE: Solid state drive owners experiencing stability issues with their product are encouraged to use the latest OCZ SSD firmware available.

SandForce SSDs have taken the market by storm, which has helped companies like OCZ to expand their reach deep into the high-performance storage hardware segment. Not only are these SandForce-driven solid state drives extremely fast, but more importantly they're capable of SLC-level operational performance I/O and NAND durability. The OCZ Vertex 3 SSD builds from the powerful SandForce SF-2281 solid state processor, which brings innovation to the SSD industry by prolonging MLC NAND flash module lifetime and delivering RAID-like data redundancy. When one SandForce product is physically identical to another, the overall value depends on price, warranty, and customer support. If you're price shopping, a quick stroll through our Storage Section reviews will reveal how other SSD options compare.

Our performance rating considers how effective the OCZ Vertex 3 solid state drive performs in operations against direct competitor storage solutions. For reference, SandForce specifies the SF-2281 with 500 MB/s read and write, which OCZ increases to 550 MB/s read and 520 write maximum speeds. In our SSD benchmark tests, the OCZ Vertex 3 performed at or above this speed, and surpassed every other SATA-based SSD we tested. Our test results proved the OCZ Vertex 3 was good for delivering 555/532 MBps peak read and writes speeds using ATTO Disk Benchmark SSD speed tests. Everest Disk Benchmark produced 469/465 MB/s, confirming the Vertex 3 as the fastest MLC SSD Benchmark Reviews has tested to date.

The 240GB retail VTX3-25SAT3-240G kit that OCZ sent us for testing uses firmware capable of 60,000 maximum combined IOPS, and in our own Iometer operational performance tests using a queue depth of 32 outstanding I/O's per target the IOPS performance measured 57,553. In this particular test, the formatted OCZ Vertex 3 SSD leads all other SATA-based storage devices, and trails a short distance behind the SandForce-driven PCI-Express options. In the 4K 32QD tests with AS-SSD and CrystalDiskMark, the OCZ Vertex 3 SSD topped our charts and became the new leader for high-performance consumer storage devices. With the results we've received in our tests, hardware enthusiasts can expect extremely high operational performance and storage functionality for demanding applications and extreme I/O environments.

Solid State Drives are low-visibility products: you see them just long enough to install and then they're forgotten. Like their Hard Disk Drive counterparts, Solid State Drives are meant to place function before fashion. Anything above and beyond a simple metal shell is already more than what's expected in terms of the appearance. OCZ has created a back-to-basics look with the black textured finish and white branding on their Vertex-series SSDs. As solid state storage controllers become faster and more advanced, heat dissipation through the enclosure walls may demand that chassis designs become more beneficial than they previously needed to be. This isn't the case yet, and a metal chassis suits SandForce SSDs nicely.

SSDs are not prone to mechanical failure, but if any Vertex 3-series solid state storage product does happen to fail during the 3-year warranty period end-users may contact OCZ Technology via their company website or extensive support forums. Fortunately, there's also a toll-free telephone number (800-459-1816) for free technical support and customer service questions. OCZ has been proven to be one of the best companies in the business when it comes to customer service, and replacement parts are often sent with priority delivery.

In terms of overall value, OCZ has priced their premium Vertex 3 SSDs to be relatively comparable with older-generation SandForce-driven products of the same capacity. OCZ offers the Vertex 3 SSD series in three different capacities: 120GB (VTX3-25SAT3-120G), 240GB (VTX3-25SAT3-240G), and 480GB (VTX3-25SAT3-480G). As of April 2011 the 120GB model sells for $300 and the 240GB model costs $528 at Amazon. At the time of this writing, Newegg lists the 120GB version on backorder.

There aren't too many SATA 6Gb/s storage solutions on the market that can nearly saturate the bandwidth this interface offers, but only one year into the new storage standard OCZ has proven themselves as market leaders with their Vertex 3 SSD. Demonstrating the absolute best IOPS performance we've seen from any SATA-based storage device, the OCZ Vertex 3 SSD redefines what consumers should expect from high-performance storage solutions. Computer hardware enthusiasts will enjoy the ultra-fast response time, which assures that applications are opened with near-instant reaction when called upon. Based on the SandForce SF-2281VA1-SDC-ES processor, the OCZ Vertex 3 SSD deliver native TRIM garbage collection and basic SMART support with impressive 555 MB/s transfer speeds. More importantly, SandForce DuraClass technology adds their proprietary RAISE and DuraWrite features not available to other SSDs, and the end result is a product that could last up to five times longer with less wear on NAND flash modules.

It's still too early to tell, but OCZ may have the storage market cornered by the end of 2011. The Vertex 3 already uses one of SandForce's fastest consumer SSD processors, but there's still plenty of time for OCZ to release another product based the ultra-premium SF-2282 processor of possibly something from their recent purchase of Indilinx technology. Considering the performance results we've seen in this review I can comfortably recommend the OCZ Vertex 3 SSD to high-performance computer hardware enthusiasts and hardcore power-users, and because of blazing fast transfer speeds and outstanding operational performance at a fair price the Vertex 3 SSD earns our Golden Tachometer Award.

Pros:Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award

+ Delivers nearly 60K IOMeter IOPS performance
+ Outstanding 555/532 MBps read/write speed with ATTO
+ TCG OPAL security with 256-bit AES encryption
+ SandForce SF-2281 processor supports TRIM, SMART, and RAISE
+ DuraWrite technology extends NAND lifetime
+ Top-level enthusiast operational I/O performance
+ 3-Year OCZ product warranty support
+ 120/240GB high-speed SSD storage capacities
+ Lightweight compact storage solution
+ Resistant to extreme shock impact
+ Low power consumption may extend battery life


- Some manufacturers offer five-year warranty
- Expensive enthusiast-level product


  • Performance: 9.75
  • Appearance: 8.75
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 9.50
  • Value: 7.50

Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

Benchmark Reviews invites you to leave constructive feedback below, or ask questions in our Discussion Forum.

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# Nice reviewcube 2011-04-05 08:52
"confirming the Vertex 3 as the fastest MLC SSD Benchmark Reviews has tested to date"
Pretty good statement. If i was in their ads department i would take this line and add it somewhere in the product page.
As always Olin, excellent review. with each review you provide all the important information needed to understand how these drives work.

I think is probably time to treat myself with an SSD.

Ive been waiting for these prices to come down a bit. But dam, they are persistent. gonna have to call the EU Trade commission to look up into the scheme.

I think there has to be some type of SSD price fixing going on with these companies just like we saw with the LCDs.

"LG Display, Sharp, and Chunghwa Picture Tubes agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges for participating in a liquid crystal display price-fixing conspiracy and pay $585 million in fines, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

Read more:
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# analogyAnthony 2011-04-05 22:25
Nice review, but you've got bandwidth\IOPS analogy reversed. Consider this: if we have to move a few big things we can use high capacity(eg IOPS in your analogy) ship that is not so fast(eg bandwidth) and it would be ok, but if we need move a lot of small things one by one then we'd better get smaller ship with that is fast. SSD's are like smaller ship(actually nowadays they are more like bigger ships with high speed) - they have great IOPS performace, so it can move smaller things faster.
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# RE: OCZ Vertex 3 SandForce SF-2281 SSDAnthony 2011-04-05 22:26
But other than that it's really great review :)
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# RE: OCZ Vertex 3 SandForce SF-2281 SSDBenoit 2011-04-06 01:14
What about scores when it's connected in SATA2 ?
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# RE: RE: OCZ Vertex 3 SandForce SF-2281 SSDOlin Coles 2011-04-06 08:31
This is a SATA 6Gb/s SSD that reaches 555 MB/s, so it wouldn't be helpful to show SATA 3Gb/s scores because they would consume all available bandwidth on the interface.
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# Prove itPhace 2011-04-06 11:39
Many people looking to upgrade an existing SSD still only have SATA II. It would also be helpful to see add-in SATA III cards reviewed with a drive like this.
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# RE: Prove itOlin Coles 2011-04-06 12:10
The results published with this review have already proved the OCZ Vertex 3 SSD reaches 555 MB/s, which is more than the 300 MB/s SATA-II interface can support. There's nothing more to prove.
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# need sata 3GB scoresGeo 2011-04-06 19:45
They really should include SATA 3Gb/s numbers.There are several reasons why its important to people. The vast majority of users dont have 6GBs boards so is it worthwhile to pay the extra for a sata 6GBs drive or just go with cheaper sata 3Gbs SSD.?

Anyway something people need to be aware of is the bigger drives 240GB+ perform very different to 120GB and smaller vertex 3's.

Dont expect to get this performance with a 120GB vertex 3 or 60GB vertex 3. They get much slower with smaller capacity.
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# RE: need sata 3GB scoresOlin Coles 2011-04-06 20:44
Why would anyone buy a SATA 6Gb/s SSD without having support for this interface on their motherboard? That's like buying 2500 MHz DDR3 just to run it at 1333. There are literally a hundred SandForce-driven SSDs better suited to SATA 3Gb/s.
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# Not always saturating the connectionPhace 2011-04-06 21:45
Most normal usage is not full out saturation- it's random reads and random writes. The way the drive functions with both interfaces is notable for it's ability to handle real world usage. One could get the drive and place it in a SATA II setup now and later upgrade the connection for a reasonably decent performance improvement later. In this case, we're measuring how real world usage is found.

That's fine. I found just this sort of benchmark on another site and the results are encouraging. The site shows a number of SATA drives benchmarked both on III and on II.
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# RE: OCZ Vertex 3 SandForce SF-2281 SSDmanup85 2011-07-18 09:55
SUGGESTION.. im confuse now about what i can buy now.. Vertex 3 or Corsair Forces GT series? is already good ssd? and with the same price there is something better?
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