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OCZ Vertex SSD  (Source: OCZ)
Vertex SSDs are available with up to 250Gb of storage and 64MB of cache

Many companies are betting big on SSDs as the future of data storage. Today, the SSD isn't quite there for the average computer user because of the high price of SSD technology. SSDs are faring a bit better it the enterprise world where the higher cost is offset by performance.

It's no surprise that companies are trying to come into the retail market with lower priced SSDs. OCZ introduced its Core series SSDs this year, which turned out to be priced well for a consumer SSD. OCZ has introduced its latest SSD called the Vertex Series. The line is built using MLC NAND and is aimed directly at the consumer market.

Performance from the Vertex SSD line is claimed to be 200MB/sec read, 160MB/sec write, and the drives have up to 64MB of onboard cache. The new SSDs will not replace existing OCZ SSDs and will be sold alongside existing products the company is already offering.

The drives use a 2.5-inch form factor making them suitable for notebook use. The housing of the drive is made from aluminum and OCZ says the drives have a 1.5 million hour mean time between failure ratings. Storage capacities for the drives include 30GB, 60GB, 120GB, and 250GB. Pricing for the Vertex line is $129, $249, $469, and $869 respectively.

Specifications for the drives show decent power numbers with 2W in operation and .5W in standby. The drive can withstand up to 1500G and supports RAID. Vertex drives in 30GB and 60GB capacities have a 32MB cache while the 120GB and 250GB drives have 64MB of cache.

The larger 64MB cache should help prevent any stuttering during write operations and according to OCZ support, the Vertex line doesn't use the questionable JMicron controller.

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By therealnickdanger on 12/11/2008 12:05:04 PM , Rating: 1
30GB, 60GB, 120GB, and 250GB. Pricing for the Vertex line is $129, $249, $269 , and $869 respectively.

If that's correct, then (pending Anand's review) I will buy two of the 120GB model in a heartbeat.

RE: Typo?
By omnizero on 12/11/2008 12:06:54 PM , Rating: 3
it should be 469

RE: Typo?
By therealnickdanger on 12/11/2008 12:08:55 PM , Rating: 2
OK, then I'll just get two 60GB models for some RAID-0 fun! If that 30GB model can get under $100, I'll toss one in my CarPC and one in my MSI Wind (I don't come close to needing the 120GB it comes with).

RE: Typo?
By Ryanman on 12/11/2008 12:18:14 PM , Rating: 4

Here's where the blog was copy/pasted from : )

RE: Typo?
By 3DoubleD on 12/11/2008 12:57:40 PM , Rating: 3
No kidding.

It is still unfortunate that the warranty is still only 2 years. I'd expect at least 3 years, although 5 years shouldn't be out of the question considering many hard drives come with that. I still find it puzzling and contradictory that they claim these are more reliable yet don't back that up with a warranty. Unless I see a decent warranty backing up a product like this I'd be sure to back-up very frequently.

RE: Typo?
By quiksilvr on 12/11/2008 1:13:52 PM , Rating: 4
Agreed. 5 years should be a standard warranty for SSD.

RE: Typo?
By headbox on 12/11/2008 1:18:02 PM , Rating: 4
Wow, I want to run a "news" site where all I have to do is copy+paste press releases.

RE: Typo?
By Einy0 on 12/11/2008 7:10:29 PM , Rating: 5
Uh what did you think they did? The hard part is keeping up with all the info sources. They do add they're own commentary etc... I bet it's a full time job just keeping up with and compiling all this data from all these sources... Thanks DT...

Bring it on.
By fteoath64 on 12/11/2008 12:02:44 PM , Rating: 2
I was hoping for better prices to the 250GB model. That would be the sweet spot. But I am sure within 6 months, these will be less than half these quoted prices. Great.

I see that active power consumption is 2watts, wonder if they licensed that Mtron controller ?.

RE: Bring it on.
By conceptxp on 12/11/2008 1:04:18 PM , Rating: 2
Just hope they are not sour like the Core SSD, where people has nightmare over it. I would rather trust Intel SSD now since they proved on their performance.

RE: Bring it on.
By TheFace on 12/11/2008 2:22:33 PM , Rating: 2
Without the shoddy controller, and with the cache, everything should be fantastic. The consumer level of this industry is still just developing, so these drives will become faster and larger as they work out the kinks.

RE: Bring it on.
By ChronoReverse on 12/11/2008 2:33:48 PM , Rating: 2
Even the poor Core series with the JMicron controller performs very well when coupled with a controller card that has onboard cache. I suspect these drives should perform just fine.

RE: Bring it on.
By Einy0 on 12/11/2008 7:29:18 PM , Rating: 2
Talking bang for buck the intel ones are expensive. I just bought a 30GB OCZ Core Series V2 for $50 after MIR. For the price I saw it as a toy to play with. Holy crap it screams. I installed XP Pro on it. I'm running a G965 board with an E6600 2GB of RAM and a 7800GT in the test box. I've had no studdering thus far. The thing just screams. Windows loads so fast it's insane. Is the studdering a Vista only issue? If not someone let me know what to do to make this thing studder. I wanna see how annoying it is. How often it happens, etc... If it is happening, I'm not seeing it...

RE: Bring it on.
By bob332 on 12/12/2008 6:15:50 PM , Rating: 2
i just ordered the same one too - the ocz v2 @ newegg for $50AR. i was able to trim down my current main drive and install to 28.9GB, so hopefully all will fit on this 30GB version (i read that it is in fact a 32GB version but they claim 30GB since that is what is useable).

the drive i am going to be comparing it to is a fujitsu max 15k u320 scsi, so that is what i am use to. my rig still has all the program on it i use on a daily basis along w/ the 1 game i play the most, so it will be a "real world" test, not just a hdtach or synthetic benchmark test. will see if/how bad it stutters because i normally have 3-4programs open at once when doing photo or illustrations.

if it doesn't do good, worst case it goes into either my wifes laptop or the htpc (which gets its data from the home server). should be fun :)

i will post my real world feeling in the forum for anybody who cares.

RE: Bring it on.
By gochichi on 12/12/2008 9:17:09 PM , Rating: 2
I care, I care indeed.

That $50.00 deal... not buying it has been really tough. It sounds like so much darned fun. It's fun in part because it's such a small amount of space and then apparently it's really sensitive to tweaks. So you could spend all this time tweaking and benchmarking and such.

Good for you, hope it's as fun as I think it would be. Where will you post again, what are the "forums"?

This release has actually kept me from jumping on that deal, because before rebate you're talking nearly $80.00 after shipping and that's a good dent on what the Vertex drive would cost (say $140.00 shipped). The $50.00 deal has really wet my appetite though, now I want an SSD really badly.

I'm going to have to simply live precariously through reviews and other's anecdotes. What's up with Anandtech though? Aren't they supposed to that kind of stuff? I mean, buy toys and benchmark them and such.

OCZ has really done a nice job of making waves in the SSD market, first their $50.00 "real-deal" SSD, now this super cheap "performance" SSD (<$150). We'll see. Review some SSDs already. Particularly OCZ SSDs.

And OCZ, send a bunch of your drives to review sites... it's the best possible form of advertisement if your products are actually any good.

The controller isn't the only issue
By UNHchabo on 12/11/2008 12:06:08 PM , Rating: 2
In addition to the JMicron controller, the other big thing holding most consumer SSDs on the market back is the PATA-SATA converter.

Is Intel the only company to produce a native SATA SSD?

RE: The controller isn't the only issue
By UNHchabo on 12/11/2008 12:08:51 PM , Rating: 2
Disclaimer, since I mentioned the company: I work for Intel, but not for any department involved in making the SSDs. I genuinely don't know if there are any other native SATA SSDs, and I'm calling upon the collective knowledge of DT's readership. :)

RE: The controller isn't the only issue
By 3DoubleD on 12/11/2008 12:47:27 PM , Rating: 2
These ones have native SATA II interfaces:

Perhaps they are selling IDE and SATA versions side-by-side. I wouldn't think they would limit themselves to just one market by not offering both interfaces.

By 3DoubleD on 12/11/2008 12:53:39 PM , Rating: 2
In fact, I don't think they even offer this SSD in an IDE form. I did a quick look around the OCZ site and couldn't find anything.

RE: The controller isn't the only issue
By UNHchabo on 12/11/2008 1:04:32 PM , Rating: 2
You misunderstand me, I think. For a while on SSDs, we saw that most companies were implementing them on IDE (cause it's easier), then using a PATA-to-SATA bridge chip so that you can plug a SATA cable in.

Take a look at page 2 of this article:

That SSD has a Marvell PATA-to-SATA bridge chip onboard. Does the OCZ SSD?

By therealnickdanger on 12/11/2008 1:48:12 PM , Rating: 2
I don't believe they would be able to achieve the advertised bandwidth without native SATA support. I suppose, like most things, we'll just have to wait for AT's review. :-)

By Einy0 on 12/11/2008 7:16:44 PM , Rating: 2
I'm no expert but my assumption is that to reach 170MB/s sustained transfer rates you would need native SATA. ATA-6 was 166MB/s I think. We all know that's theoretical. In real life I doubt you could reach that with PATA. Anyone know?

It's a shame they dropped USB
By gochichi on 12/12/2008 12:35:02 AM , Rating: 2
I was looking more intently at these, and wow... these are very likely going to be totally killer products.

It's really too bad that they dropped USB though, because it's actually not a bad way to go for 30GB of on the go storage. I don't know, it just seemed like a modern idea to have that option there, and now not having it is kind of regressing... I hope that once USB 3.0 is released they'll equip these types of drives with one of those ports.

USB 2.0 is really a solid way to go, but USB 3.0 is going to be that much more amazing. Think about these little inexpensive power-houses just connected via a little USB 3.0 and enjoying their full performance (or at least a great improvement over current on the go solutions).

RE: It's a shame they dropped USB
By Visual on 12/12/2008 5:37:08 AM , Rating: 2
In all OCZ press releases and pages and info about the drives, the USB port is only mentioned in regards to flashing the firmware.

It is stupid enough already that the flashing can't be done through the sata connection... it'd be a real bummer if the usb is only for firmware flashing too. No loss that they drop it from the new version though.

But if it can be used for data, turning the drive into a USB Media Storage drive, it is a really great feature. I would think it would've gotten some more advertising if it were so, though.

Do you have any solid info on the topic?

RE: It's a shame they dropped USB
By gochichi on 12/12/2008 9:05:44 PM , Rating: 2
Reviewers on Newegg (a decent source in practical terms)say they've been using them the USB for data without any problems.

They even say that you can hook it up to the PS3 through USB for added storage.

I know it's very strange that OCZ doesn't mention it in their features. It is VERY strange indeed. However, a user review on OCZ's own site rants and raves about the USB port (for data).

I really do think their USB ports are the full featured deal, but it's kind of on the down-low for some reason.

Because the USB fires up the drive too, so no external power is needed... so basically you are left with absolutely no reason to have an external enclosure. This feature would be a great feature on all SSD drives going forward. It increases their useful lifespan too... because if my old IDE drives "just worked" with a USB cable I'd still be using them some, but they aren't worth the cost of enclosures (3.5" 30GB IDE for example, though a 2.5" would be worth it).

If they think they are so good...
By gochichi on 12/12/2008 12:18:04 AM , Rating: 2
Ok, am I misunderstanding this spec:
1.5 million hour mean time between failure rating

I get 1.5 million / (24 * 365) = 171.232877 years.

Now, I want to believe it and for the most part I do. I do believe that these are going to be more reliable than mechanical drives (I don't know-nothin' about 170 years though). But manufactures need to understand that we are skittish about new technology. And a 5-year warranty should be SO amazingly affordable for them to provide if their numbers are honest. Why? Because SSDs in these capacities are going to fall below hard drive prices. Hard drives are just somehow always above $40.00 but a 30GB or 60GB SSDs could be well below $40.00 within 5-years time.

With hard drives, you need the mechanism regardless of size, that 7,200 RPM precision mechanism is a cost you're just sort of stuck with regardless of how desperately you want to make it really really cheap. You're also stuck with the power requirements of those mechanical parts.

Let's look at $/GB of these SSDs:

$129/30GB = $4.30 per GB
$249/60GB = $4.15 per GB
$469/120GB = $3.91 per GB
$869/250GB = $3.48 per GB

It's the memory itself, rather than the mechanism that determines cost (though you do gain a little bit of a discount the larger ones). It's similar to LCD technology. We were hesitant about some issues, durability, will it scratch? Etc. and LCD is actually far more durable than CRTs ever were and require cleaning far less also. So even going back to this really old 17" LCD I have, it's still running strong... my point is that if the manufacturer has the data in their hands (and they do) that proves that this SSD technology is no gamble at all, then they need to manifest that via a 5-year warranty.

As an aside, I think the return of the smaller hard drive sizes is here to stay. Because again, with mechanical drives is was entirely wasteful to equip them with less than 250GB platters... because of the starting costs (denser platters perform better too). Here, 30GB hard-drives are going to cost almost half of what 60GB hard drives cost to produce and even more so as you get up in gigabytes. So we will see the sub $40.00 hard drive market emerge. This makes sense, small devices are the fastest growing segment and I feel a demand is really there for them (at a cheap price) and this technology is cheap to produce. And unlike mechanical drives capacity scales very linearly with manufacturing costs. They'll be slapping 30GB hard drives on anything you can think. GPS, blu-ray players, TVs, stereos, cars, refrigerators... who knows.

This technology changes everything though, this technology is as important as LCD and mechanical hard drives are inferior as CRTs also. It's pretty awesome stuff. I wonder if it will evolve rapidly enough that most current computers will be retrofitted with these. Think about computers in the school system... increased reliability, reduced noise, and they really don't need that much space in that setting.

If you were going to put these on your desktop at all, it seems like going 2 x 30GB in Raid 0 would make a good boot-up drive. (or 2 x whatever since you get extra performance for free practically).

I hope they do more innovation with this too. Not just "swap" with the old hard drives and maintain the same constraints. Again, thinking about mechanical drives, the smaller the diameter, it can store exponentially less data. So 2.5" was about as small as you'd want to go with those. But why keep those constraints now? Maybe a more square design would be appropriate too or perhaps a half-height standard... like a super-slim 2.5" slither for space savings

Most of all, I hope that they get implemented as cassettes or cartridges so to speak. Allowing for seamless swapping of users in public settings and such. Similar to a thumb-drive but with OS and all. Or alternatively, public computers could have tiny SSDs (say 30GB or 60GB) for basic OS functionality and have users just slam their super fast cartridges up in there. Maybe even get to the point where software is validated to the hard drive (some "security measure" would have to be created) rather than to the computer.

I think that better implementations of shared desktops could be a fantastic alternative to cloud-computing and small, crippled, netbooks. As opposed to an oversized, high performance thumb-drive in your pocket.

By kensiko on 12/12/2008 6:51:18 PM , Rating: 2
Yes.... The OCZ Vertex is a good SSD....


JMicron controversy
By Visual on 12/12/2008 3:32:15 AM , Rating: 2
I am a bit disappointed by AnandTech about this...
Their article was a very useful warning about the possible problems with SSDs, but they didn't explore the issue sufficiently. I've read on a few places that the fault really might not be in JMicron's controller, as even people with the Intel drives sometimes get such stuttering... only less, because it has more cache.
Also there have been reports that using the JMicron drives in RAID mode, even as a single-drive, reduces or removes the problem.
Also I read a post somewhere that using those drives with certain IO controllers seems to be trouble-free... do JMicron make IO controller cards or chips for them? Would be an interesting combination to try...

Anyway, my point was that it is disappointing how the issue remains unexplored and I think it hurts the SSD market unnecessarily.
For example if I knew for sure that using the drives in RAID was OK, I'd have bought a pair already. If that really turns out to be the case, I dare say that AnandTech did a disservice to me and even the whole market.

RE: JMicron controversy
By Visual on 12/12/2008 6:41:11 AM , Rating: 2
Hmm one more comment...
I now notice there are some "Solid Series" launched by OCZ a couple months ago, I somehow missed the news about it...
They seem to be slightly slower and slightly cheaper than the "Core Series" V2, not even cheaper sometimes with the rebates and stuff.
I would really love to see a comparison between the two, maybe with these new Vertexes as well.

I hope DailyTech keeps a look out for that info and I notice it in the article list this time around.

Perfect OS Drive
By Chemical Chris on 12/11/2008 3:07:18 PM , Rating: 2
If these new drives dont have the random-write issues of most other models on the market (all of them, as far as I know, except for Intel), then I'll buy a 30gb one.
For an OS/swapfile only drive, one of these would be perfect, offering better data transfer rates, but more importantly, low latency and huge IOops/sec, perfect for the OS/swapfile. One of these should be a good deal faster and more responsive than a raptor, and is cheaper (although less space, but thats what 1.5TB hdd's are for).
If I can read an impartial review of these, with fully dissected performance (esp random write issue), and it checks out, then I'll buy one as soon as its available.

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