OCZ Vertex solid-state drive
Review OCZ has been rattling out new SSD drives with gay abandon. The 120GB Apex scored 70 per cent in our recent review and now it’s time for the 120GB Vertex to take its place on the test bench.
OCZ's Vertex: standard 2.5in form-factor
Cast your eye down the specifications of the Apex and the Vertex and you’ll struggle to find much difference between the two models. They look identical because they both come in the 2.5in notebook Sata form-factor. The Vertex is available in the same capacities as the Apex - 30GB, 60GB, 120GB and 250GB - at prices that are very similar. But, inside the casing, there are changes afoot.
The older Apex uses a JMicron JMF602 SSD controller that has acquired a reputation for poor performance in a variety of SSD drives. Consequently, OCZ decided to use two of the controllers in a Raid 0 configuration.
Inside the Vertex, you'll still find 16 Samsung MLC Flash chips and a 64MB cache chip that were used in the 120GB Apex, but the JMicron controller is gone, replaced by the new Indilinx Barefoot IDX22 chip. This means that OCZ has been able to ditch the Raid arrangement, replacing the dual controllers and the Raid chip with a single controller.
Changing the controller is a huge step yet the change in the specification between the Apex and Vertex is surprisingly small. Feeds and speeds vary between models with different capacities so we’ll stick with the 120GB versions. A 120GB Apex drive has a claimed read speed of up to 230MB/s and a write speed up to 160MB/s, with a seek time of less than 0.2-0.3ms.
The 120GB Vertex has a read speed of up to 250MB/s, a write speed of up to 180MB/s and a seek time of less than 0.1ms, so the numbers haven’t changed a great deal.
@I can recommend
Maybe all you needed was to reinstall Windows, after all...
Vertex works a treat in HTPC...
I find the comparisons between drives really useful in Reg reviews, many thanks.
I took the plunge and bought a 60Gb Vertex SSD as I wanted a quiet drive for my P4 HTPC in the lounge. The HTPC runs Vista Ultimate and took 1m25s to boot on a standard 7,200rpm Samsung HDD. The Vertex SSD brought it down to 1m15s with no disc vibration or clicking noises! Very pleased.
Also took advice of some sites and turned off the paging file to prolong the life of the drive. No ill effects so far as the 4Gb of RAM seem enough for HTPC duty.
Regarding small files
Yesterday, I had to write 70,000 tiny tiny files over to a flash stick (and no, couldn't zip 'em). Only a few gig, but took hours before I finally gave up and chucked them on to a whacking great external HDD instead in the space of 20 minutes.
For the hordes of tiny tiny files, flash really can't cut it.
Are what we really need to see with SSD's
For a more detailed look at why:
Most of the time we're writing small files, 4K or less, and we notice is the drive takes a while to do that...
As my comment already said, small file random write isn't only useful in itself, it's a perfect proxy for small file random read. Which happens all the damn time. Like, whenever you launch any program - the executable (usually a fairly small file) is read into memory, and so are a whole bunch of ancillary files (again often quite small ones) - think data files, icons, shared libraries, all that garbage.
And, say, system bootup is just a series of executions of such fairly small processes, each of which gets read off the disk into memory.
You the user may not interactively shift around large amounts of small blocks of data on your disk very often, but the system's doing it all the damn time.