OCZ's Vertex 3 Pro: Second-Gen SandForce Perf Preview

Final Words

Just as we were starting to hit the limit of what 3 Gb/s SATA can do, OCZ's Vertex 3 Pro makes SSDs exciting again (and just in time for widespread proliferation of 6 Gb/s controllers, too).

SATA 3 Gb/s treated us well for a very long time, but we are just starting to reach the point where it's not enough. Now we have 6 Gb/s connectivity on AMD’s SB850 and Intel’s P67. Up until now, we've seen this faster interface as an enabler of headroom for slower hard drives. After all, if you're buying storage controllers and paying per-port, 6 Gb/s gives you a lot more throughput. Suddenly, a four-port card can conceivably handle a 24-bay JBOD. But with products like the Vertex 3 Pro, we're moving beyond the transfer rates of a 3 Gb/s connection, meaning you need 6 Gb/s to enable the SSD's peak performance.

If you can remember that far back, OCZ announced Vertex 2 with a new controller from an unknown company in late 2009, and it took everyone by surprise. After the whole thing with JMicron, there were plenty of skeptics. Yet, SandForce decided to make its first public showing with OCZ’s Vertex 2 Pro. Back in early 2010, we could confidently say that Vertex 2 Pro was the fastest single-controller MLC-based SSD on the market. Even though we don’t have a Vertex 3 Pro running final firmware, we can again say that OCZ plans to maintain that title based on what we have seen today.

For the majority of users, the problem is going to be cost. Vertex 2 Pro’s dwindling supply still fetches close to $630 for the 100 GB model. Vertex 3 Pro changes the dynamic a bit. Not only is it bringing the next generation of performance, it is also doing it for a more attractive price. If OCZ actually manages to launch drives close to MSRP, we are one step closer to seeing performance SSDs priced around $2/GB.

Shortly after finishing this story, we got word that consumer-oriented drives aren't far behind. Stay tuned to Tom's Hardware for the first showing of SandForce's second-gen showing at price points that enthusiasts will be much more willing to pay.

Of course, the competition is hardly sitting still, so it's my hope that this is just the beginning. All of this has to make you wonder what Intel and Marvell have in the works. We are slated for more SSDs launches before Q2, which means everyone is going to be aggressive on price. If you're planning a new build and you haven’t yet pulled the trigger on a SSD, it’s time to set aside a budget.

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  • mi1ez
    This field is what allows the nonconductive silicon substrate to function as a conductive channel.

    Erm... Semiconductor?
  • shanky887614
    2$ a GB is still too high for me, i have a 2tb and a 1tb hdd in my computer, i really want to move to ssd's but i cant afford it, at the moment with not a lot on my c partition im using 200GB thats 400$ and i wouldnt be happy with less than a 400gb system partion which is 800$
  • shaunpugh

    I've been running SSD for a couple of years and you don't need a 400GB system partition. I've run on a 60GB system partition before, and yes that was a bit on the tight side. 120GB is probably a good balance between capacity and cost, but if you can afford it 240GB (what I have now) is enough for the OS, applications, the photo's I'm currently working on and a couple of VM's.

    Most of your 'stuff' doesn't get accessed anyway, just run Treesize and look at the last access date for your data. Look at the size of everything that was accessed in the last month, and this is a good sizing estimate for SSD - obviously leave a bit of overhead for OS components that aren't always used and for growth. Everything else can go on a much cheaper HDD. I guess we all got lazy when 1TB and 2TB disks came out, SSD makes you think about data management again, but the rewards are worth it.
  • Anonymous
    >>120GB is probably a good balance between capacity and cost>>
    Ok but $500 for 100 Gb is too much.
  • shaunpugh
    True, they aren't cheap, can't argue that one.
  • shanky887614
    actually when i say that i need 400gb partition im including just my games and programs, i would need at least that for peace of mind, actually at moment im only using 200gb of it but i wont a bit of headroom
  • shaunpugh
    Do a quick scan with treesize mate, you won't need to spend as much as you think.
  • mi1ez
    My system disk is only 80GB (HDD sadly) and has 33GB free. I don't see an 80GB system disk as being too limiting, although I would shy away from 60GB
  • Anonymous
    I've been on an 80gb system disk (hdd) for some time now, and with windows and other programs that have to be on the os drive that leaves me with only about 40gb of free space to do with as i like. 40gb is enough for maybe 4 games at a time if I'm lucky, and even so that means doing a *lot* of uninstalls and reinstalls while leaving the drive almost at capacity all the time, which wouldn't be good for a ssd.
    A ssd much smaller than 100 gb just wouldn't be practical for anything much but the os, and any larger than 100 gb and prices go through the roof. I'm sure theres benefits to be had with ssds, but affordable ones aren't all that much better than fast hdds and just dont have enough space...
  • fruees
    I don't know what you lot are talking about - I've been running my os (vista and win7) on a 30gb vertex and it great. Programs and storage are on an HDD.

    The Vertex range is for sure the staple of the ssd market and OCZ customer service on their forums is by far the best I have ever seen