For the OCZ Vertex 4 drives, the level of overprovisioning looks to be set at 7% which is pretty standard. This helps with drive longevity as well as offering an “always available” swap space for the controller to use for maintenance purposes.
We chose to pare down the comparison list of drives for this review to a few of the top performing drives to make things a little simpler, plus we weren’t given a ton of time to get everything benchmarked, analyzed and written. Besides, the Vertex 4’s are now their flagship enthusiast line of drives so let them stand tall with the best of them. One of the things that was left in our minds after we had a look at the OCZ Octane drive (having the first available OCZ produced Indilinx Everest controller) was how well would the drive perform long term? Would there be issues and would there be multiplle iterations of firmware updates to correct it? While there’s been one (destructive!) firmware update that brought performance increases, we haven’t seen any widespread reports of issues. We’ve also been running the Octane drive we tested in a desktop machine that gets quite a bit of use and we haven’t had a single issue. Performance is still on par with what we saw when it was first installed so it seems OCZ has done their due diligence to make sure these things are reliable. This bodes will for the Everest 2 controller. To top it off, such is OCZ’s confidence in their new shniy bits, they upped their warranty for the Vertex 4’s to 5 full years which is outstanding and exceeds nearly all other manufacturers SSD warranties. Speaking of reliability, their Ndurance 2.0 technology is responsible for the functions that handle write amplification, error correction and their Redundant ANND Array (RNA) technology – all of which maximize drive life, preserves performance over time, and mitigates data loss as a result of catastrophic NAND failure. This is the equivalent of the SandForce DuraClass technology. Of course, TRIM and garbage collection are supported as always.
On the performance side, busting out a max of 535MB/s reads and 475MB/s writes is impressive – especially given that they’re data compressibility agnostic enabling consistent performance for real world applications. It definitely gives them some advantage over SandForce drives although they miss out a little on top end raw speed. Not that users will typically ever see the scenarios where this comes into play. Both read and write IOPS performance is strong as well, with reads maxing out at 120,000. Overall, the Everest 2 controller seems to do a fine job in concert with the hefty 1,024MB cache and the synchronous MLC NAND. With the short time we’ve had with the drives, we’ve not noticed any hiccups in performance and will look at using one of these on a 24/7 machine to see how it fares over time.
So far, OCZ’s decision to acquire Indilinx seems to be paying off as their proprietary controller now ranks, in our eyes at least, as one of the best you can buy while others are still leveraging third party controllers. Having control of the components has its advantages, positively impacting both cost and quality control – both of which are supremely important in this competitive marketplace. The Indilinx Everest 2 controlled drives are really going to give the other large players, namely SandForce, Marvell, Samsung and Intel serious competition and the incentive to step up their game. The Vertex lines have historically been profitable for OCZ and the latest incarnation will probably be no exception. MSRP pricing even looks good from the outset with the 128GB drive being $179, the 256GB at $349 and $699 for the 512GB. That’s right around $1.50 per usable GB which is only slightly higher than that of their Vertex 3 drives. As hard drive prices have skyrocketed, this becomes all the more attractive.
At the end of the day, given all the factors we see no reason why we can’t highly recommend the new Vertex 4 drives for anyone looking for a high performance SSD. OCZ continues to roll.
Legit Bottom Line: You owned the original Vertex drive and now that the Indilinx controller has returned to power the fourth generation Vertex backed with impressive performance numbers, your will to resist the upgrade as been thwarted by both the attractive price point and the superb five year warranty.