As usual, we cracked the case open to see what lies within.
The removal of four simple screws is all that is needed to remove the shell. Another four hold the PCB in place and nary a thermal pad in sight.
On the first side of the PCB, we find eight of the sixteen NAND modules.
The 20nm MLC NAND that give the Vertex 3.20 its unique name are fabricated by Intel and carry part number 29F16B08CCMF3. Each are 16GB in density.
As usual, there’s no cache present as a companion to the controller so along with the controller on this side of the PCB are the remaining NAND eight modules.
Once again we gaze upon the SandForce SF-2281 SSD controller that’s appeared in a vast array of drives over its lifetime. Once the premiere SSD controller on the market making its debut in the original Vertex 3, it now has many strong competitors with maybe the most formidable being PCZ’s own latest Indilinx controller – a brand usurped by SandForce in the lineage of Vertex drives. Without going too in depth about the SF-2281 since we’ve covered it countless times, suffice it to say that it’s a very competent controller doing an excellent job on wear-leveling, error correction, and other drive maintenance duties via its proprietary DuraClass Technology. It gets peak performance via real time compression which is extremely effective when it can be leveraged and outputs more pedestrian performance when not. Either way, it remains one of the best available controllers even though it’s getting a bit long of the tooth which makes it all that much more impressive.