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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS Edition SSD
Closer Look: OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS
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 MI SSD Conclusion

OCZ Vertex 3 MI 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 Max IOPS (MI) 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 MI 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 500 write maximum speeds for the Max IOPS model. In our SSD benchmark tests, the 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 MI performed at or above this speed, and surpassed every other SATA-based SSD we tested. Our test results proved the OCZ Vertex 3 MI was good for delivering 559/519 MBps peak read and writes speeds using ATTO Disk Benchmark SSD speed tests. Everest Disk Benchmark produced 490/462 MB/s, confirming the Vertex 3 MI as the fastest MLC SSD Benchmark Reviews has tested to date.

The 240GB retail kit VTX3MI-25SAT3-240G that OCZ sent us for testing is advertised to deliver 120,000 maximum combined IOPS. Using a SandForce-provided configuration for our own Iometer operational performance tests, we used a queue depth of 32 outstanding I/O's per target that measured 83,117 combined IOPS performance. In this test, the formatted OCZ Vertex 3 MI SSD leads all other SATA-based storage devices benchmarked with this configuration, and positions itself between 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 Max IOPS Edition SSDs to be relatively comparable to their standard Vertex 3 SandForce-driven products of the same capacity. OCZ offers the Vertex 3 SSD series in only two different capacities: 120GB: VTX3MI-25SAT3-120G and 240GB: VTX3MI-25SAT3-240G. As of late May 2011, the 120GB model sells for $310 (Newegg) or $360 (Amazon),while the 240GB model costs $557 (Amazon).

In summary, there's a lot worth considering in the OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS Edition SSD. To begin with, this solid state drive nearly saturated all available bandwidth on the SATA 6Gb/s interface by reaching 559 MB/s with ATTO Disk Benchmark. In addition to impressive tranfer speeds, the Vertex 3 MI also produced the highest 4K IOPS we've seen from any SATA-based storage device - and at the same time outperformed the PCI-Express OCZ RevoDrive SSD. Our test results provide solid proof that OCZ's Vertex 3 MI SSD has redefined storage expectations by delivering unmatched performance never before seen by consumers. Computer hardware enthusiasts will clearly benefit by ultra-fast transaction response times, which allows applications to open in near-instant reaction. Based on the SandForce SF-2281VA1-SDC-ES processor, the OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS Edition delivers native TRIM garbage collection and basic SMART support with impressive 559 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. Considering the level of performance we've experienced with the Vertex 3 Max IOPS SSD, it's easy recommend this solid state drive to high-performance computer hardware enthusiasts and hardcore power-users. The blazing fast transfer speeds and outstanding operational performance at a fair price earn the OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS Edition SSD our Golden Tachometer Award.

Pros:Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award

+ Delivers nearly 90K IOMeter IOPS performance
+ Outstanding 559/519 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

Cons:

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

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.75
  • Appearance: 8.75
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 9.75
  • Value: 7.75

Final Score: 9.1 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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Comments 

 
# RE: OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS Edition SSDSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-05-25 00:15
Damn another good show from the OCZ labs. OCZ and SSD's are like Intel and CPU's....
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# RE: RE: OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS Edition SSDOlin Coles 2011-05-25 07:47
I would agree. OCZ has transformed themselves into an enthusiast storage brand, and I would consider them an industry leader in performance storage products above all others.
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# RE: RE: RE: OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS Edition SSDHsew 2011-05-25 17:30
Personally I'm just waiting for the Corsair Force 3 SSDs to become available (85k write IOPS advertised) and tested before a decision can be made.
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# RE: OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS Edition SSDRobert17 2011-05-25 18:59
Another tip of the hat to OCZ is in order. Good review Olin.

The only "con" to your review, one of few I've ever had, is the slight hit you issued in your conclusion regarding "expensive enthusiast" product. OK, it is contrary to the masses and their hard earned dollars, no question. The 240 Gb version at $2.58/Gb is a goodly sum. But looking at it from a performance standpoint, and thinking of the terminology "enthusiast" makes me think of it not as a "con" but pretty mainstream, if not reasonable as far as bang-for-buck goes.

There's my two cents worth, raising the price to $2.60/Gb. But no one will pay, right?
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# Leading brand does not always equal bestAndrew Rose 2012-02-24 07:53
I just bought a new Sandforce 2281 based Sata III SSD from one of the lesser known brands Comay, cost me 135 ($211) for a 120GB venus 3e model. I put it on ATTO and it lives up to manufacturers claims, mind blowing performance:
80,103 IOPS Random Write (4k)
36,120 IOPS Random Read (4k)
556MB Sequential Write
515MB Sequential Read

Really solid build aswell, which perhaps isn't suprising since these guys apparently are better known in the military/rugged world. Shaping up to be one of best purchases I ever made!
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# RE: Leading brand does not always equal bestSteve watts 2012-02-28 16:47
Andrew can you tell us where? I only see them for sale on ebay, and they are more expensive on there. Are you running linux? I'm looking for an SSD with specs something like that with max 4k iops to give a performance hike to an Oracle database.
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# Performance varies greatly with capacity.Homer 2011-05-25 23:44
Theres not enough explanation in this review(and others) about performance with different capacities.

The 240GB drive is much faster than the 120Gb drive. It gets even worse with 60/64 Gb(like vertex 2 series) drives which can be 70% slower than the 240Gb drive with incompressible write speed.

This review gives people the impression that a 120GB drive will perform like a 240GB drive but they do not.

I know its part of the marketing to send only the big fastest drives to reviewers but the performance difference between capacities should be more clearly explained
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# RE: Performance varies greatly with capacity.Olin Coles 2011-05-25 23:53
You must not have read the review. I mention (in three places) that the 240GB version performs better than the 120GB version. This is also evident to anyone who can read the specifications.
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# RE: OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS Edition SSDSteve White *The Stav* 2011-05-27 10:56
Re : OCZ Vertex 3
comment just sent - unclear as to why the above 2 fields have bounced back yet contents of message was sent?
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# RE: RE: OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS Edition SSDOlin Coles 2011-05-27 11:16
Please explain. I'm not really sure what you're saying.
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# RE: OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS Edition SSDThe Stav 2011-05-27 19:53
# OCZ Vertex 3 - The Stav
Olin, my response was not directed at your valid comment.
I simply sent a lengthy comment to Benchmark Reviews about the relevance
of the performance of the slowest component in a system - the hard drive.
It was not published.
I run 2 older Sata2 SSD's (A-RAM 32Gb) in Raid 0 to kick start the system and run a few apps. When I was using a single SSD and Ubuntu 9.04 the read/write speed was 270/253 Mb. In terms of the 'IOPS' I had no idea and didn't appreciate the importance as an equal indicator of overall system performance.
All of my other mid range bits that make up the system are more than adequate for what I do....6 core AMD,a GTX460, a Raptor storage drive, a SATA3 & USB3 motherboard, blue-ray burner,2 LED 22" screens etc.
My point and I'm sure many of you have read that the money spent on the hard drive replacement 'SSD' should be the priority.
When I get the bucks OCZ will be my next upgrade.
Question : when in Raid 0, is the read/write & IOPS doubled also?
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# RE: RE: OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS Edition SSDOlin Coles 2011-05-27 20:21
It's impossible to say if RAID-0 doubles IOPS without testing. Some components will come close, while others will not. The host controller also comes into play, and can determine how much headroom is available for bandwidth.
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# Does RAID 0 double read/write & IOPsPaul A. Mitchell 2011-06-09 07:23
As a general rule, RAID 0 arrays do NOT scale in a linear fashion.

And, as Olin wisely adds, a LOT depends on the controller.

The closest we've come to near-linear scaling was the combination of a Highpoint RocketRAID 2720 and 4 x Hitachi 15,000 rpm 2.5" SAS HDDs each with 64MB of cache:

3 x HDDs in RAID 0 topped out at 441 MB/second
4 x HDDs in RAID 0 topped out at 618 MB/second

We would not have ever tried 3 x HDDs, except that one was
defective from the factory, so we configured a RAID 0 with 3
of these Hitachis, while we waited for the replacement to arrive.

But, this near linear scaling has been the exception, NOT the rule, in our experience with RAID 0 arrays (which we use often, primarily for speed).


Sincerely yours,
/s/ Paul A. Mitchell, Instructor,
Inventor and Systems Development Consultant

All Rights Reserved without Prejudice
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# 2 x SSDs in OS "software RAID"?Paul A. Mitchell 2011-06-09 07:15
Hi Olin,

Thanks again for another good review.

A question keeps coming up, as I read these various reviews:
if TRIM does not work with multiple SSDs configured in a RAID array,
do you happen to know if TRIM will work if each SSD is configured
in AHCI mode, and then joined to an OS "software RAID"?

Do you have enough instrumentation at your lab to answer this question?

I'm aware that an OS "software RAID" cannot host the OS,
but I have an XP software RAID running well with 2 x 6G WD HDDs,
hosting a dedicated data partition, and it appears to work just fine.

RSVP if/when you have the time.

Thanks again! Keep up the good work.


Sincerely yours,
/s/ Paul A. Mitchell, Instructor,
Inventor and Systems Development Consultant

All Rights Reserved without Prejudice
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# RE: 2 x SSDs in OS "software RAID"?Olin Coles 2011-06-09 08:05
Hello Paul:

So long as the drives are in AHCI/IDE mode with an OS that supports TRIM (Microsoft Windows 7), then the commands will receive the SSD. Hardware RAID does not use AHCI/IDE mode, and will not pass along TRIM commands. So if you're using Windows 7 (not XP) and configure mirrored sets in the Disk Management console using AHCI/IDE SSDs, then it's not truly RAID and you'll have the benefit of TRIM support... with the penalty of a CPU/RAM hit for software mirroring.
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# RE: RE: 2 x SSDs in OS "software RAID"?Paul A. Mitchell 2011-06-09 08:45
> configure mirrored sets in the Disk Management console using AHCI/IDE SSDs


Thanks again, Olin!

By "mirrored sets" do you mean RAID 1, for example, and not RAID 0?

Also, just to clarify, do you predict the same for RAID 0 / striped arrays using OS software RAID?

This could be the topic for another Review, perhaps.


p.s. With so many quad-core CPUs proliferating, now with hyper-threading too, the CPU-RAM hit does not seem to be a huge penalty to pay, particularly for desktop and workstation users.

Also, users who have shrunk their C: system partitions have probably also created dedicated data partitions e.g. D:+ Those dedicated data partitions would be good candidates for a software RAID, particularly if TRIM will work reliably, as described above.


Sincerely yours,
/s/ Paul A. Mitchell, Instructor,
Inventor and Systems Development Consultant

All Rights Reserved without Prejudice
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# RE: RE: RE: 2 x SSDs in OS "software RAID"?Olin Coles 2011-06-09 08:47
I don't mean RAID of any kind. Window Disk Management doesn't offer RAID, it offers Mirrored Disks. This is the most ideal software-based redundancy you can get.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: 2 x SSDs in OS "software RAID"?Paul A. Mitchell 2011-06-09 08:53
> Window Disk Management doesn't offer RAID, it offers Mirrored Disks.

XP/Pro supports software RAID 0 also:
we have it running on a P45 chipset
with 2 x 6G Western Digital 1TB HDDs.

I'm not currently a Windows 7 user,
but I would expect that the same is true
for Windows 7.

The partitions need to be changed to "Dynamic" first;
but after that, it's a piece o' cake to configure software RAID 0
as long as the drive letter is NOT C: .

One needs to use the OS to effect this configuration,
so structural changes to C: are not possible at this point.


Do you have some spare hardware laying around,
with which to try it? Maybe 2 x 6G SSDs (my preference)?

OCZ might be particularly interested in this experiment,
with your usual battery of benchmark tests.


You be the "Benchmark Man" -- to be sure!!


Sincerely yours,
/s/ Paul A. Mitchell, Instructor,
Inventor and Systems Development Consultant

All Rights Reserved without Prejudice
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: 2 x SSDs in OS "software RAID"?Paul A. Mitchell 2011-06-09 09:00
See e.g.:

##softwaresecretweap ons.com/jspwiki/windows-7-software-raid-disk-partition-and-volume-context-menus

"New Striped Volume" is an option.


Sincerely yours,
/s/ Paul A. Mitchell, Instructor,
Inventor and Systems Development Consultant

All Rights Reserved without Prejudice
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: 2 x SSDs in OS "software RAID"?Paul A. Mitchell 2011-06-09 09:03
Note:
somehow "softwaresecretweapon s.com"
became "softwaresecretweap ons.com" above:

just eliminate that extra space after "weap"


Sincerely yours,
/s/ Paul A. Mitchell, Instructor,
Inventor and Systems Development Consultant

All Rights Reserved without Prejudice
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: 2 x SSDs in OS "software RAID"?Olin Coles 2011-06-09 09:15
Windows XP does not support TRIM.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: 2 x SSDs in OS "software RAID"?Paul A. Mitchell 2011-06-09 09:54
Yes, I realize that:

The experiment I'm suggesting would need Windows 7
to configure a software RAID 0 with 2 x 6G SSDs
initialized in AHCI mode.

The question at hand: will Windows 7 pass TRIM commands
to 2 x SSDs configured in an OS software RAID 0?


Sincerely yours,
/s/ Paul A. Mitchell, Instructor,
Inventor and Systems Development Consultant

All Rights Reserved without Prejudice
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: 2 x SSDs in OS "software RAID"?Olin Coles 2011-06-09 17:07
AFIK, Windows 7 doesn't support software RAID-0 with Disk Manager.
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# reportedly: 3 editions of Windows 7 support RAID 0Paul A. Mitchell 2011-06-09 17:41
#superuser.com/questions/7683/which-software-raid-modes-does-each-version-of-windows-7-support

[begin quote]

The Professional/Enterprise/Ultimate editions of Windows 7 officially support the following dynamic disk modes:

* Simple
* Spanned
* Striped (RAID-0)
* Mirrored (RAID-1)

These are the officially supported modes. It has been possible in previous Windows releases to enable unsupported modes through DLL modifications and/or registry changes, and this will probably be the case in Windows 7 as well. At your own risk, of course.

RAID-5 dynamic disks are only available in Windows Server editions.

Note that dynamic disks are not available in the Standard/Home editions of Windows 7.

[end quote]


Sincerely yours,
/s/ Paul A. Mitchell, Instructor,
Inventor and Systems Development Consultant

All Rights Reserved without Prejudice
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# crucial vs oczAleksander1337 2011-06-15 00:13
OCz used max performance but 4k its still to low. ... so its not top vs crucial c300 and we can say c300 is top still u know why ? When OCZ made max performance vs seq they loss vs crucial in 4k mode and why we need ocz just wait when comes new disk cruciall. .. u will see u will neeed more money to spend :D
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# RE: crucial vs oczOlin Coles 2011-06-15 07:16
Your message doesn't make any sense. The OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS edition SSD outperforms all of the Crucial SSDs in every IOPS test... especially 4K read/write tests. Did you even read this review, or do you just simply like Crucial product more?
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