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OCZ Vertex 4 128GB SSD Review

/ Dec 18th, 2012 No Comments

OCZ Vertex 4 128GB SSD Review

Consumers have been able to purchase solid-state drives, or SSDs for short, for a few years now, and with every passing year SSDs get cheaper and faster. In comparison to conventional mechanical hard drives (hereby abbreviated as HDDs), SSDs feature faster read and write times. This allows for quicker boot times, snappier program loading, and less time spent waiting for file transfers to finish. SSDs also have no moving parts (hence the name), which allows them to consume less energy and makes them less vulnerable in free-fall situations. All of these positives come with a price, however, and SSDs are currently significantly more expensive per gigabyte than HDDs (about 20X as expensive at time of writing). We compared the OCZ Vertex 4 128GB SSD to a WD Scorpio Black 7200RPM 500GB to see how OCZ’s latest entry into the Vertex series stacks up against a typical mechanical drive.

Overview of the Vertex 4

With a listed max read speed of 560MB/s and a max write speed of 430MB/s, the Vertex 4 is aimed at users who want only the fastest parts for their computer setup. The Vertex 4 uses the SATA III interface, and as a result requires a SATA III-compatible motherboard to make the most of the drive’s capabilities. Another thing to note is the Vertex 4’s 2.5” form factor, which is the standard size for notebook drives but smaller than standard desktop drives. As a result, a 3.5” hard drive caddy adapter (included in the package) is required for users looking to add the Vertex 4 to a desktop setup.

Testing Method

An Alienware M14X R1 (spec’d with an Intel Core I7-2630QM, 8GB RAM, and 1.5GB Nvidia GT 555M) served as the testing platform for both the Vertex 4 and the WD Scorpio Black. Each round of testing saw either the Vertex 4 or the Scorpio Black being placed into the same hard drive slot of the computer, ensuring that all untested variables (that is, everything besides the two data drives) were kept constant throughout. Our benchmarking tools consisted of ATTO Disk, CrystalDiskMark, and HD Tune, allowing us to test for a wide variety of performance measurements.

Test Results

Our first benchmark tool, ATTO Disk, allows us to look at read and write speeds using a variety of file sizes. For our particular test, we tested file sizes of 0.5KB to 8192KB.

ATTO Disk Results for Vertex 4

ATTO Disk Results for HDD

Graph Comparing ATTO Disk Results

The Vertex 4 shows a clear performance difference in all read/write tests on ATTO Disk, transferring data at almost 5X the speed of the Scorpio Black with certain file sizes. The Scorpio Black HDD reaches its max transfer rate at about 100MB/s read and write, while the Vertex 4 maxes out at about 550MB/s read and 380MB/s write on the ATTO Disk tests.

The next benchmarking tool we used, CrystalDiskMark, allowed us to compare random and sequential file transfers of the Vertex 4 and the Scorpio Black.

CrystalDiskMark Results for Vertex 4

CrystalDiskMark Results for HDD

Graph Comparing CrystalDiskMark Results

Another test, another clear winner. The Vertex 4 shows marked performance advantages in every type of file transfer, whether it be random (i.e. located all over one’s data drive) or sequential (data that’s already organized for fast access).

Our final benchmarking tool, HD tune, gives us a visual way to compare the read/write performance variability as well as access time of the Vertex 4 and the Scorpio Black.

HD Tune Results for Vertex 4

HD Tune Results for HDD

Graph Comparing HD Tune Results

All transfer rates (minimum, maximum, and average) were about 3 to 4 times faster using a Vertex 4 compared to a Scorpio Black. Access times were much quicker on the Vertex 4, which gives credence to the faster response times of SSDs. For whatever reason, the burst transfer rate of the Vertex 4 was actually less than that of the Scorpio Black, but overall the Vertex 4 clearly outperforms the Scorpio Black.

While synthetic benchmarks can provide a pretty good picture of a drive’s performance, most users will use data drives in more real-world settings, which we looked at in the following test.

Graph Comparing Load Times With Vertex 2 vs. HDD

Whether it was Windows 7 boot times or game load times, the Vertex 4 consistently provided a substantially quicker experience. Depending on the game, users can expect to see a 30 – 70% decrease in loading times.

Conclusion

The OCZ Vertex 4 128GB has everything going for it performance-wise. It crushed the Scorpio Black HDD in almost every test and provided substantial real-world benefits in startup and load times. A top-of-the-line product, the Vertex 4 retails for $139.99, making it a worthwhile upgrade for users looking to get the most out of their computer.

OCZ VERTEX 4 128GB SSD REVIEW

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall86%

Features8.5

The included 3.5" enclosure is a nice addition for desktop users, and the Vertex 4 includes all the performance features we've come to expect of modern SSDs.

Performance9.5

Able to achieve transfer speeds of 550MB/s read and 380MB/s write in our tests, the Vertex 4 provides blistering performance that few SSDs can beat.

Value8

At its current retail price of $139.99, the Vertex 4 provides a fair performance/price ratio.



Special thanks to OCZ for sending us a Vertex 4 SSD to review!

James Ku

James Ku

Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
James Ku has never been particularly skilled at any video game (except Dance Dance Revolution, to which he attributes his preferred username as well as his somewhat respectable legs), a quirk that has nevertheless failed to quell his passion for games of every creed (yes, he loves Assassin's Creed) and race (Need for Speed Underground 2 is his personal favorite). He is currently studying Computer Science at the University of Oklahoma.
James Ku

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OCZ VERTEX 4 128GB SSD REVIEW

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall86%

Features8.5

The included 3.5" enclosure is a nice addition for desktop users, and the Vertex 4 includes all the performance features we've come to expect of modern SSDs.

Performance9.5

Able to achieve transfer speeds of 550MB/s read and 380MB/s write in our tests, the Vertex 4 provides blistering performance that few SSDs can beat.

Value8

At its current retail price of $139.99, the Vertex 4 provides a fair performance/price ratio.

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