OCZ Vertex 4 Review: A Flagship SSD Powered By...Indilinx?

4 KB Random Performance: RAW, Windows, And Mac

Random Read Performance (background info)

Examples include antivirus scans and typing in Word

We're used to seeing SSDs built on second-generation SandForce controllers (like the Vertex 3) perform at the head of the pack. By comparison, the Vertex 4 falls behind. Using an 8 GB LBA span, the 256 GB and 512 GB models hover just above the 200 MB/s barrier. It's a bit difficult to see from the graph, but both Vertex 4s offer nearly identical performance. The Vertex 3 still maintains a clear lead, as it's the only SSD capable of punching through the 400 MB/s ceiling at a queue depth of seven.

Once we format our test drives, we see that the performance overhead imposed by a file system is quite considerable. Based on past reviews, we know that physical drive performance should start out at roughly 80-90 MB/s for the 256 GB m4, 256 GB 830, Vertex 3s, and SSD 520s—but that's not what we see here. Formatted, all the tested SSDs start at roughly 20 MB/s.

However, the Vertex 4 does seem to enjoy a slight (10 MB/s) advantage at queue depths higher than four. That gap quickly expands to 70 MB/s after moving up to eight outstanding I/O operations.

Our Windows 7-based system returns relatively strong random read results. At a queue depth of eight, every SSD punches through the 100 MB/s barrier.

This does not hold true on our MacBook Pro, which is limited to sub-100 MB/s speeds. Nevertheless, OCZ's newest SSD slightly leads its competition (by 6 MB/s) at low queue depths. Once you scale up to queue depth of eight, you see the Vertex 4 enjoying a 20 MB/s speed advantage in random reads.

Random Write Performance

Examples include email, file compression, and Web browsing

The unique nature of SandForce's compression technology requires breaking random write analysis into two parts. Presented with highly compressible data (the sort of information typically handled elegantly by the SandForce-based drives), OCZ's Vertex 4 wrestles away a victory. Particularly at low queue depths, the new Vertex dominates its predecessor.

Incompressible data (denoted by OCZ Vertex 3 240 GB [Random] in the chart above) is the Vertex 3's Achilles' heel, preventing it from exceeding random write speeds above 250 MB/s. The Everest 2 controller does not use this compression-dependent technology, so the Vertex 4 doesn't miss a beat.

Our formatted Mac and PC yield vastly different results. As we saw in the read tests above, the Windows 7-based PC seems much better suited to delivering solid random write performance, and the outcome largely mirrors what we see when we test at the physical block level.

In contrast, the results from our MacBook Pro reflect significantly less performance. Complicating analysis is a very tight grouping. As you can see, OCZ's Vertex 4, Vertex 3, and Samsung's 830 are all pretty similar. The only outlier is Intel's SSD 320, the only SATA 3Gb/s SSD in our charts.

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  • aje21
    Remind me why no over-provisioning is a good idea (other than increased capacity) - I wonder about the usable life of this product in a typical desktop or laptop system.
  • mikeangs2004
    Are Sandforce 2281 SSD's more reliable in terms of percentage of life?
  • JakeyBoi
    untill they make SSD's more reliable and able to do everything a normal hard drive does, they simply are not worth it..
    when the working life of a SSD is around 4-5 years, then ill buy one, but when they normaly slow down and suddenly fail after a few months... who would waste money on these? :/
  • Lizard_of_Bodom
    @ JakeyBoi - are you not over-reacting a little bit? My Vertex2 is 18 months old now and is heavily used aswell, didnt notice any slow-downs nor problems with it... Surely - it WILL degrade, I am aware of this, but "few months"? come on....