OCZ Vertex Turbo 120 SSD Review

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Overview

  • Pros

    • Fast
    • No really, fast
    • Silent
    • Cool
  • Cons

    • Pricey
    • Won't fit in all laptops

While OCZ has always been known as a premium memory brand, long the bastion of enthusiasts and performance junkies, they’ve really made a name for themselves in the past year or so with the introduction of several lines of solid state drives. Some of them are geared for affordability, some of them are tweaked for performance. The Vertex Turbo, as its name implies, is definitely one of the latter. Read on for our full review.

Specifications:

  • Capacity: 120GB (also available in 30GB, 60GB and 250GB sizes)
  • Cache: 64MB running at 180MHz
  • Host interface: SATA (3Gbps)
  • Acoustics: 0dB
  • Power consumption: 2 watts when in use, 0.5 watts when resting in standby
  • Size: 3.93 x 2.74 x 0.366 inches
  • Warranty: 3-year manufacturer’s warranty

The pricing of the drive depends, naturally, on its quantity. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices are as follows:

Vertex Turbo 30: $139.99
Vertex Turbo 60: $249.99
Vertex Turbo 120: $409.00
Vertex Turbo 250: $774.99

Build and Design
It’s hard to talk too much about the physical/visual build and design characteristics of a hard drive — even an SSD — but there are a few things worth mentioning. First and foremost, the Vertex Turbo, like its slightly slower Vertex cousin, feels very much like a premium product. The finish is better than the original, with a shiny, slightly raised effect to the metal.

OCZ Vertex EX SSD  OCZ Vertex EX SSD

The only real issue I can take with the construction of the drive is its size. In a desktop, that’s obviously not going to be a problem; in fact, you can fit several of these solid state drives in the room taken up by just a couple of 3.5-inch desktop drives. Laptops, however, can pose something of a problem. I tried this drive in a laptop and netbook, and it didn’t fit great in either one. Both times I had to take the drive tray out and fiddle with it to get it to fit. In the case of the netbook, that meant that the only thing keep it plugged in beneath the access panel was just the tension of the SATA connector. Unfortunately, that’s not too tight, and I ended up having to buy a screwdriver on a recent business trip to fix the problem, stuffing a taxi receipt into the drive bay to keep the drive from unplugging internally.

OCZ Vertex EX SSD  OCZ Vertex EX SSD

One of the ways that OCZ has managed to keep the price down while providing a drive with reasonable capacity is to use MLC, or multi level cell, instead of SLC, or single level cell technology. You can read a light overview of the difference between the technologies in our review of the original OCZ Vertex. Suffice it to say, MLC has a reputation for being cheaper than the alternative, but also for being slower and shorter lived. Really, this technology no longer deserves any of those holdovers.

OCZ Vertex EX SSD  OCZ Vertex EX SSD

Performance
OCZ has put a lot of work into making MLC SSDs shine, and drives like the Vertex Turbo show it. While the Turbo branding shares most of the same fundamentals as the earlier Vertex (sans Turbo) drives do, they’ve been tweaked to get as much performance out of the hardware as possible. The cache is still set at 64MB, but its been clocked higher: from 166MHz to 180MHz. They use a custom tweaked firmware, too; the Vertex Turbo drives are still at firmware version 1.00 and cannot trade firmwares designed for use with the original Vertex drives.

OCZ Vertex EX SSD 

It uses the same flash memory and the ARM-based Indilinx Barefoot controller as the original Vertex as well. That Indilinx controller has really made waves in the tech press these past few months. Originally, low-cost SSDs used the now-infamous jMicron controller and it couldn’t keep up – legions of users experienced stuttering and freezing as a result. Affordable SSDs were given a bad name.

The Vertex drives put that issue to rest. Now the Vertex Turbo drives are trying to show that even high performance drives can be affordable. Well, affordable for a solid state drive, anyway. The biggest competition facing OCZ in the high performance arena is easily the Intel MLC solid state drives, and even against such strong performers as that, the Vertex Turbos are easily able to hold their own.

OCZ Vertex EX SSD  OCZ Vertex EX SSD

Our original review said the following: “The drive is fast. Very fast. It’s faster than any traditional rotating magnetic hard drive.” The Vertex Turbo is even faster. It’s not a huge jump, but the benchmarks definitely show it. Depending on the exercise, the tests were usually between five and twenty percent faster on the Vertex Turbo as opposed to the original Vertex. It’s debatable just how important that is, though.


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