Closer Look: OCZ Vertex 450 SSD
Solid state drive devices have gained quick popularity with performance-minded consumers because they work equally well in PC, Linux, or Apple computer systems. Likewise, these drives install quite easily into both desktop and notebook platforms without modification. The OCZ Vertex 450 SSD Series is best suited for performance-orientated users, giving personal computers a much faster response time and boosting productivity.
In this article Benchmark Reviews will test the 256GB OCZ Vertex 450 solid state drive, which comes packaged in a cardboard retail kit with the SSD and drive bay adapter. OCZ Technology offers the Vertex 450 SSD series in three popular capacities: 128, 256, and 512GB. These models share the same part numbers with a capacity designator: VTX450-25SAT3-256G that represents the 256 GB model. All OCZ Vertex 450 solid state drive products measure 99.7mm L x 69.75mm W x 7mm H. Vertex 450 is available online: 128GB- $129.99 (Newegg|Amazon), 256GB- $229.99 (Newegg|Amazon), 512GB- $549 (Amazon).
The 256GB model we received is specified to reach 540 MB/s for sequential reads and 525 MB/s sequential writes. OCZ specifies 4K random reads up to 85,000 IOPS and random writes up to 90,000 IOPS. Although Vertex 450’s product specifications advertise extremely fast performance ratings, these solid state drive products are designed with a focus on product reliability. The Indilinx controller and OCZ firmware inside Vertex 450 SSDs receive a long validation cycle to ensure optimal stability is delivered to the consumer, enabling OCZ Technology to offer a three-year product warranty. These features could help factor into the consumer’s decision, as it improves long-term value.
Unlike fragile Hard Disk Drive (HDD) storage products, SSDs are not nearly as sensitive to impact damage and do not require (or benefit from) any kind of special vibration dampening or shock-proof enclosures. Once installed the SSD is usually hidden away from view, which explains why OCZ has maintained a conservative appearance on the Vertex 450 series.
The OCZ Vertex 450 SSD features a 7.0mm thick chassis that comes with a textured silver metal finish. OCZ utilizes a standard two-piece metal enclosure for Vertex 450-series SSDs, with a series branding label at the top panel and product information label on the bottom. Internal components are revealed by removing four small counter-sunk screws located at the bottom of this solid state drive.
Standard 2.5″ drive bay mounting points are pre-drilled into the SSD chassis with fine screw threading, allowing this drive to fit directly into notebook computers that use SATA connections. The SSD mounting positions matched up to the drive bracket on my notebook computer, and after only a few minutes of upgrading I booted-up from a restored Windows 7 System Backup Image with ease. Optionally, by using the included 3.5″ to 2.5″ drive bay adapter this SSD will also install directly into ATX desktop computer cases.
Backwards compatible with SATA 1.5 GB/s and 3.0 GB/s interfaces, the SATA 6.0 GB/s Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 SSD controller offers: native TRIM garbage collection for supported Operating System (such as Microsoft Windows 7/8), Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with 32 command slots, and basic Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology (SMART) command set. Indilinx Barefoot 3 SSDs offer BCH error correcting capable of 70 bits correction per 1KB of data.
OCZ Vertex 450 utilizes the Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller, which was used on the OCZ Vector Solid State Drive series that debuted at the beginning of 2013. The BF3-M10 edition controller features a power-optimized clock generator that runs at a slightly lower clock speed (compared to Vector). This produces lightly reduced transfer speeds and IOPS performance by comparison, but also improves yield which reduces cost to consumers. Maximum read speeds climb to 540 MB/s or 525 MB/s for writes on this 256GB model. 4K random read IOPS performance reaches 85,000, while random write operations top out at 90,000 IOPS.
At the heart of OCZ’s Vertex 450 SSD series is the 65nm Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller branded with part number IDX500M00-BC, and comprised of an ARM Cortex processor and OCZ Aragon co-processor. The 256GB Vertex 450 SSD tested for this article included 512MB combined DDR3 DRAM cache buffer, using two 256MB Micron IC’s (part 2DM77-D9PFJ) fixed to each side of the PCB. OCZ Vertex 450 utilizes ONFi 2.x-compatible 20nm synchronous Intel-Micron IMFT synchronous MLC NAND flash components, which are superior to asynchronous NAND but don’t have the initial speed that Toggle-Mode NAND flash offers.
In the next few sections we’ll test the OCZ Vertex 450 solid state drive, comparing this solid state drive to other retail products intended for notebook and desktop installations.