OCZ Vertex 3 MAX IOPS Review

What a long, windy road THIS has been. After a disastrous start, OCZ is back on uryaen.com and this time, we have something I can say truly nothing negative about.

Instead of dwelling on the past, let’s just dive into what we have here:

Today we have a twin pair of OCZ Vertex 3 MAX IOPSs for evaluation. These are ultra light, ultra fast SSDs to replace your HDDS with. This review is going to be comparatively brief, and keep focus on the video content.

STATS of review

Vertex drives were tested in several systems:

My primary production machine 

  • CPU - Intel Core i7 970 at 4.2GHz
  • CPU Cooling - Coolit System E.C.O. 240 with Push/Pull Fans
  • GPU - AMD reference 5970+5870 at extreme OCs
  • Motherboard - Asus Rampage III Extreme with 1208 bios
  • RAM - G.Skill 12GB kit
  • PSU - Corsair AX1200 1200w
  • OS - Windows 7 x64 

No doubt about it, this is an ULTRA HIGH end system. This system is not a bottleneck for any card/device, except in this case, where the chipset is not native SATA III.

My Alienware M17x R2 -

What’s more fun than a pair of Rocket Fast SSDs in a powerful gaming laptop? NOTHING. If only the Alienware had native SATA III. Feel free to send me one guys, and I’ll feature it.

Attempted to test with my Intel H67 based testing system -

  • CPU - Intel Core i5 2500K at stock clocks
  • GPU - AMD reference 6870 at stock clocks
  • Motherboard -  Intel  DH67BL microATX
  • RAM - G.Skill 6GB kit ( Temporary until a new 12+ kit can be had ) using only 4GB for this test. 
  • PSU - OCZ OCZ700MXSP 700 watt
  • OS - Windows 7 x64 

This board failed all but two of its USB ports. We knew that was going to happen, I was told about it upfront, so I don’t hold it against the board, or Intel. Because of this, it was next to impossible to configure more than one of the Vertex drives. Full testing could not commence, but drives were in fact recognized just fine.

Finally, long term stress testing with my new P67 based testing system -

  • CPU - Intel Core i7 3820 at 4.2Ghz
  • GPU - AMD reference 6870 at stock clocks
  • Motherboard -  MSI X79MA-GD45
  • RAM – G.Skill 16GB 1600mhz kit
  • PSU - OCZ ZT750 750 watt
  • OS - Windows 7 x64 

Drives performed as expected on the non native chipsets, meaning that they lost almost half of their potential. We don’t hold that against them though.

On the P67 MSI board, they FLY. Used as a RAID 0 boot drive, you will see that I can achieve a cold 14 second boot from BIOS screen to desktop. This is slowed down from about 12 seconds after filling the drives with testing data, including a pretty large STEAM folder.

Platform and Release Stats

Twin Vertex 3 MAX IOPS Drives were acquired direct from OCZ for review.

Overall Impression

Fast. VERY fast.

Reliable, no fuss. This is a win for OCZ, and I look forward to more great products from them in the future.

So let’s get into the details a bit.

Overview

The Architecture

As this review is behind the curve a bit ( blame my back, every one does ) I’m not going to get into the architecture too much. It’s Sandforce, it’s an SSD, it’s really, really fast.

Installing and Patching

Installation is as simple as any HDD. Unless you have need to use the included sled, and then it’s just one extra, but simple step. No issues here.

Areas for Improvement

The drives are the same size as a 2.5” HDD and feature SATA III ports. There’s really nothing to improve here, until they come up with faster ports.

Unboxing

{http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuKrmFFVJps}

First Impressions and “Draw”

Devices are ultra lightweight, which will only really be important if you are installing them in a laptop, and if you are, kudos to you!

The shiny label and sturdy build quality are quite an awesome change from a basic HDD.

Test Platform and Methodology

Main testing was really only done on the new P67 based system, so that’s what we’ll focus on:

  • CPU - Intel Core i7 3820 at 4.2Ghz
  • GPU - AMD reference 6870 at stock clocks
  • Motherboard -  MSI X79MA-GD45
  • RAM – G.Skill 16GB 1600mhz kit
  • PSU - OCZ ZT750 750 watt
  • OS - Windows 7 x64 

Test software includes ATTO Benchmark, Crystal Diskmark, PCmark 7, and a large variety of 3D benchmarks which didn’t yield particularly unique results over a HDD, so we’re going to focus on disk benches today.

Test Results

Boot Video

{http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0ln97aJwbw}

As you can see, this run is about 14 seconds. When not fully loaded, we can get an easy 12. If there is demand for it later, I will do another run with these or the next set with a slim OS install.

PCMark 7

PCMark 7 - 4.2Ghz

5767. That’s a very respectable run, but we’ll have to see how that stacks up after we get more SSDs in the lab. As is my policy, I never comment on specs, results or expected results for hardware I do not have to test. 

ATTO Benchmark

ATTO C

950MBs peak. I’ve had runs where it peaks a bit higher, but remember that this set is almost fully loaded with software, and thus, times are going to be a bit slower than an empty RAID.

Crystal Diskmark

CrystalDiskMark result IOPS 04

This backs up ATTO. As I’ll look at below, speed claims are right on the money.

Performance Claims:

From the OCZ site -

120GB Max Performance*

  • Max Read: up to 550MB/s
  • Max Write: up to 500MB/s
  • Random Read 4KB: 35,000 IOPS
  • Random Write 4KB: 75,000 IOPS
  • Maximum 4K Random Write: 85,000 IOPS

So how did we do? I’m not going to bother to publish the single device results, because they absolutely DO match up, but what about RAID?

My Max Reads were from 940 to 980MBs. Accounting for controller overhead, that is outstanding.

Writes came out exactly where we expect as well, between 900 and 950MBs.

Random 4ks at a QD of 32 according to Crystal we’re seeing 75K Read and 77K Write.

Right on the money. RAID doesn’t appear to help us at all with IOPs but we knew that already.

So how did the vendor do on claims? I’d say SPOT on.

Test Result Conclusion:

FAST. Fast, fast, and did I mention fast?

Issues?

This time, nothing. Not a thing. These little guys have withstood torture testing for two months now, and that’s sufficient due diligence for me to ease up on my previous hard stance on OCZ. The next round of devices will not need to go through so much. 

I am greatly looking forward to more torturing of OCZ- I mean OCZ products ; )

Despite their SATA III capability, this set will probably settle into full time life in my Alienware M17x, and the next set will replace them on the test bed.

That should be proof enough of my confidence in them.

COMPANY

For a company I slammed so hard the first time out, they have really turned things around. Immediate email response, two new products ( I’ll be looking more at the PSU they sent as we go along, but my first OCZ PSU kinda failed, so they sent me a new one for testing ), and the new products really helps show that they are willing to let it go and wow me.

So far so good. I’m looking forward to what comes next. Maybe faster SATA III SSDs? Maybe the Hybrid? We’ll just have to see.

Support

I mentioned this above, but it’s worth explaining. When I first got my Vertex’s, I plugged them into my existing OCZ PSU. Everything failed at this point. No one knows why. I contacted OCZ, and they immediately replaced everything.

This is a stark contrast to my original experience when I had failed memory and the other SSD and was ignored for months.

So good job guys!

Conclusion

990+MBs when combined, ultra lightweight, no issues. Do I really need to reiterate at this point?

Some perspective for next time

The Sandforce controller has gone as far as it can go. I’m looking forward to working with newer controllers, and seeing newer features.

Final Score - 100

I know what you’re thinking, Uryaen never gives out 100. Here’s the thing: Of what we’re looking at, a Sandforce controlled SSD, this iteration is perfect. Until they can get a faster port, or a new controller, you won’t see a BETTER version of this SSD generation.

I have nothing negative to say about them.

Get updates on new projects and images

Subscribe to my newsletter for regular updates on new projects and new image sets.