It is fair to say that SSD technology has been a little slow this generation. We first saw SATA 6Gbps ports showing up on AMD motherboards last year, and they now also appear in small numbers on Intel platforms as well. But despite the fact that SSDs are much more in need of the extra bandwidth than mechanical drives it has taken a long time for them to support the new standard.
Drives based upon Sandforce’s SF-2281 controller have been shipping for a few months, but initial samples were delayed due to issues with 120GB drives. Corsair, for example, recalled theirs, while OCZ decided to push firmware updates to fix it. Other companies just delayed shipping products until the problems were ironed out. The issues are behind us now, so it’s time to take a look at what these lumps of flash and metal offer.
In a nutshell, they offer huge boosts over previous generations. The OCZ Vertex 3, which uses Sandforce’s SF-2281 controller, managed to deliver 229.66 MB/s in AS-SSD’s 4k-64Thrd read test and wrote at 195.94MB/s in the write version of the test. This is significantly more than the results seen with the previous generation of drives, however it is still lower than OCZ’s PCI-Express Revodrive series. The 240GB Vertex 3 is also priced quite near to the 220GB Revodrive, and we do think that the loss of 20GB is worth the performance boost.
That said the Vertex 3 is a great 2.5in SSD. It managed to eke out a slightly faster result than the other drives on this spread, and builds on the great reputation of the Vertex 2. Anecdotally the 240GB versions of the drive are a touch faster than the 120GB models thanks to differing designs, but when looking for street pricing we noticed at many places that the 120GB cost just under half the price of a 240GB. Assuming you have the SATA 6Gbps ports available (remember that Intel’s chipsets only have two such ports) then running a striped RAID between two 120GB drives will provide better performance still.