When it comes to solid state drives our readers know that we have been critics of them since day one. After using the OCZ Vertex or any other SSD for a day you’ll quickly notice that peak performance is a thing of the past. The only way to get performance back was by reflashing the firmware, but that wasn’t a solution as a day later you’d see decreased drive performance. When we were benchmarking the OCZ Vertex 120GB SSD for this article it was clear a performance drop was been seen as after running the benchmark 2-3 times in a row the results would drop more than 10% (as shown here). A full or quick format wouldn’t improve performance, so you were stuck with the performance degradation unless you had a utility like Secure Erase (and I don’t want that in an average consumers hands). If you installed an operating system with critical data in it you were really screwed as every time your drive took a performance hit you’d be stuck having to pull your data off and doing a complete wipe of the drive.
Speaking of wiping a drive, the OCZ Wiper.exe utility that is now available for use on Vertex drives with firmware v1.10 and newer worked great for us on Windows Vista 32-bit, but the program is still beta and is for testing purposes only. Legit Reviews specifically asked when wiper.exe would be final and ready for use by our readers that don’t want to risk corrupting a drive and were were told this.
“Its beta…you know the risks. Its pretty good on 32bit now, 50% of the 64bit users are doing OK also…BUT 50% are not. The final version will not be ready for a while yet, i want to be sure is 100% OK for 32Bit first before we [OCZ] pronounce it OK.” – OCZ PR
That being said we found wiper.exe able to restore performance, but after running HD Tach one time we noticed a significant drop in write performance. Wiper was able to be run again to get back performance, but depending on how you use your hard drive you might have to run Wiper often to keep peak performance. The synthetic benchmarks we run are tough on hard drives as they write data across the entire drive, which is something not done during normal operation. It should be also noted that when Windows 7 arrives the TRIM feature for drives should run automatically and be safer to run. Many people have been waiting for Windows 7 to hit store shelves before making the move to SSDs and to be honest this makes the most sense from a stability and performance point of view.
Another thing that we found to be interesting is that each capacity OCZ Vertex SSD comes with different speed ratings by OCZ. OCZ sent over the 120GB Vertex for review and it just happens to be the fastest of the four capacities that are on the market right now. Take a look at the prices below and the speed ratings as if you want something other than a 120GB Vertex SSD the performance could differ significantly from what we showed you here in this article.
OCZ Vertex Pricing and Speed Ratings:
The OCZ Vertex 30GB and 60GB versions have a write speed rating that is 45MB/s or 25% slower than 120GB version that was benchmarked in this review. No wonder OCZ has been sending out 120GB versions to review, so keep this in mind when picking out an SSD and comparing benchmark numbers.
Overall the OCZ Vertex 120GB proved itself to be one very fast SSD and one that we would rank up there with the Intel X-25M and Corsair P256 (a rebadged Samsung PB22-J). The good news is that the Vertex 120GB SSD costs only $334.99, which is much less than the Intel X25-M 160GB at $739.99 and the Corsair P256 at $749 (and is still two weeks away from being released). At nearly half the price of the Intel X25-M the OCZ Vertex looks like a good solution. Now that firmware v1.10 has been made public the Vertex can do TRIM like features on Windows XP and Vista, which is a nice touch as you need to erase those data blocks for peak performance. If the software to go along with the Vertex was stable and final this would be an easy editor’s choice, but that isn’t the case. The Vertex is the fastest SSD ever benchmarked here at Legit Reviews, but a few things make it tough to suggest to the average consumer.
Now if you are an enthusiast and are comfortable with running wiper and updating the firmware on your drive then you should take a closer look at Vertex. For those that like to play with cutting edge technology the Vertex is fun to use and with every new firmware update that comes out it only seems to get better. After seeing the performance of the Vertex first hand we can only guess how fast the SLC version will be when it arrives.
Legit Bottom Line: The OCZ Vertex 120GB SSD is the fastest SSD ever benchmarked at Legit Reviews and is priced right, but needs user intervention to keep it at peak performance.