OCZ Technology Vertex 3 120GB SSD review

A new milestone in solid-state disk performance
Photo of OCZ Technology Vertex 3 120GB SSD
£215

Solid-state disks (SSDs) are one of the most important recent innovations in computing, largely eliminating the biggest bottleneck in a PC’s performance created by traditional hard disk storage. The performance of SSDs has improved at a breakneck pace, with chipset provider SandForce leading the pack.

The OCZ Vertex 3 is based around SandForce’s latest SF-2281 controller. Unlike previous SandForce-based drives such as the Corsair Force, the Vertex 3 boasts the latest 6Gbit/s SATA III disk interface, granting the drive some exceptional peak transfer rates.

Phenomenal peak transfer rates
Corsair’s Force comes close to saturating the SATA II bus with peak read and write speeds of around 280MB/s. The OCZ Vertex 3 bursts through this barrier, with claimed transfer rates of more than half a gigabyte per second. To confirm these figures we loaded up Atto, a simple but effective benchmark showing a drive’s performance when transferring files of varying size. Reaching speeds of 560MB/s when reading and 520MB/s when writing, the Vertex 3 is easily the fastest SATA-based drive we have ever tested.

Performance barometers like Atto only paint a very limited picture of performance, however, and must be combined with other tests that show a drive’s ability to cope with random small-file workloads. To this end, we fired up two other benchmarks, AS SSD and CrystalDiskMark, both of which can measure these credentials. Although the OCZ’s advantage compared to previous SandForce-based drives shrinks in these tests, it is still comfortably the fastest drive we have tested. It’s 50 per cent faster than the Corsair Force when reading, and around 20 per cent faster when writing.

Exceptional real-world performance
PC Mark Vantage is our final benchmark. Its results are particularly relevant, as they demonstrate a drive’s capabilities in a number of workloads that simulate real-world use. Tests include scanning with Windows Defender, importing photos, video editing and starting Windows. In this benchmark, the OCZ Vertex 3 delivers an overall score of 58,000. That’s a staggering result – nearly 50 per cent quicker than the already rapid Corsair Force. By comparison, a fast 2.5in conventional hard disk scores around 5,000 in this demanding test – a tenth of the performance offered by modern solid state drives.

Value for money
OCZ underpins the Vertex 3′s phenomenal performance with a decent bundle, comprising an adapter to let you fit the drive in a 3.5in hard disk bay, and a bag of mounting screws. These allow easy installation into desktop PC cases – currently the Vertex 3′s most likely destination, given the rarity of notebooks equipped with the 6Gbit/s SATA interface. OCZ’s SSD forum is also one of the busiest on the net, and the firm’s firmware and technical support department have a great reputation.

At £215, the OCZ Vertex 3 is one of the most expensive 120GB solid state drives on the market. It costs around £50 more than SATA II SandForce-based competitors, but given that the drive is 50 per cent quicker than these products, we still feel it represents good value for money. SSDs provide arguably the most noticeable performance boost to modern PCs. If you are lucky enough to own an Intel Sandy Bridge or SATA III-equipped AMD system and still have your OS installed on conventional storage, purchasing the OCZ Vertex 3 will revolutionise your PC experience.

Company: OCZ

Website: http://www.ocztechnology.com/

Contact: OCZ Technology on +31 (0)182-624020

Positives
  • Extremely fast sequential speed, great real world performance, fairly priced.
Negative
  • Only shines in SATA III systems, pricy compared to other SSDs.

Verdict

OCZ proves once again that it is a pioneering force in the SSD industry. The Vertex 3 is 50 per cent faster than the previous generation of drives, and sets the new standard against which all future products will be compared.