- Good overall performance
- Excellent performance with easily compressible data
- Power consumption is relatively high
- Limited speeds for incompressible data
OCZ Vertex 3 120GB offers mixed performance and power consumption might be an issue for notebook users.
The latest solid state drive (SSD) in our review line up is the OCZ Vertex 3 120GB. According to the specs this should be one of the fastest SSDs we’ve seen yet. Will our real world benchmarks confirm this? And, regardless of speed, is it the best SSD for notebook users? Read on to find out.
While other publications have reviewed this drive which was sent from OCZ, the SSD reviewed here was purchased in the field. This way the manufacturer has no opportunity to cherry pick the best drives for review. Here’s a quick photo of the Vertex 3 that was bought for this review.
OCZ Vertez 3 120GB Specifications:
- Maximum read speed: up to 550MB/s
- Maximum write speed: up to 500MB/s
- Random write 4KB: 60,000 IOPS
- Maximum 4K random write: 85,000 IOPS
- MSRP: $294.99 ($245-$280 street price)
The Vertex 3 is marketed with very impressive specifications of 550 MB/sec read speeds and 500 MB/sec write speeds. It achieves these speeds thanks to real time compression. This means the quoted speeds are only reached during best-case scenarios when the data is fully compressible. When the SSD is confronted with data that cannot be compressed, performance will look very different, as we will see in our benchmarks.
To find out how the Vertex 3 performs we installed it in our test system, a Toshiba Satellite C660 with Sandy Bridge chipset, Core i5 2410m processor and 4GB DDR3 Memory.
As usual we ran Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 to get an impression of synthetic performance. This test provides a basic overview of the speeds at which the SSD can read or write files.
Crystal Disk Mark uses random data, which is not compressible by the Sandforce controller. The 475 MB/sec read speed still looks very good, while, as could be expected, the write speed is not getting close to 500 MB/sec. In the end it’s real world performance that counts though and that’s what we’re going to look at now.
Real world performance
To find out how the Vertex 3 performs in a real world setting we’re going to compare it to the following hard drives:
- Toshiba MK3265GSX, a single platter 320GB 5400rpm hard drive.
- Intel X25m 80GB SSD, a previous generation SATA II SSD.
- Crucial M4 128GB, a current generation SATA III SSD, the direct competitor to the Vertex 3.
We installed Microsoft Office 2010, Adobe Photoshop CS5 and the game Need for Speed Shift after a clean install of Windows 7.
The Vertex 3 installs applications very fast, partly due to its very good random write performance. Photoshop and Office were installed a little faster than with the Crucial M4, the game NFS was installed a little slower.
Next we measured how fast these drives boot Windows 7 with the utility Boot Timer.
The Vertex 3 doesn’t do as well as we expected here. Crucial and Intel are slightly faster. Crucial manages to boot the system in 10.4 seconds, while the Vertex 3 took 11,6 seconds on average.
To get an accurate indication of file copy performance two folders were copied. The first folder contained many small program files, the second folder contained larger media files.
As could be expected the Vertex 3 is fastest with the easily compressible program files. With the media files that are mostly incompressible the Vertex 3 looses out to the Crucial M4 by a clear margin.
To get an impression of application launching performance we opened up a large TIFF image and Adobe Photoshop CS4 64 bit together. Next was Microsoft Word and a large document containing text and images. After that the game Need for Speed was started and the time it took to load the first level was measured.
The Vertex 3 is a little slower with opening the Word document. The easily compressible tiff image is perfect food for the Sandforce controller: Vertex 3 opens the image and Photoshop in an impressive 17.4 seconds, clearly faster than the competition.
To measure multi-tasking performance three different tests were run. The first was opening a larger jpg image with Photoshop while a virus scan was running in the background. The displayed time is the time it took to open the jpg image and Photoshop. The second multi task test involved decompressing a large rar file with a virus scan simultaneously. The time displayed is the time it took to complete both jobs. The last multi-tasking test consisted of three tasks ran simultaneously: a folder was copied, a RAR file extracted and a folder was scanned. The time displayed in the graph is the time it took to complete all three jobs.
The Vertex 3 proves to be a capable multi-tasker. Only in the first test it looses out to the Crucial M4. This was probably because the jpg picture was not compressible. In the other two tests the Vertex 3 is the fastest.