PROS / It has amazingly fast random write times.
CONS / No capacities from 80 - 96GB are available.
VERDICT / This SSD is the best option available on the market today.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from viewing as part of this site because it has been replaced by another product. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Solid-state drives, like the OCZ Vertex 2, are quickly becoming a popular alternative to hard drives. SSDs have no moving parts, which means they are able to retrieve information faster and they use less energy than HDDs. It also means that they are not as fragile as mechanical hard disk drives. Having one of these drives in your laptop or desktop computer facilitates quicker memory retrieval and can help put your mind at ease about a potential hard drive crash.
OCZ Technology has been in the SSD game since almost the beginning. The Vertex 2 2.5-inch MLC solid-state drive is the latest and greatest addition to the OCZ family. This powerful storage device features the latest in controller technology and a variety of capacities. It is because of the impressive read/write speeds, the durability and the longevity that we found the Vertex 2 to be the TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winning solid-state drive.
One outstanding feature of the Vertex 2 is the SandForce SF-1200 controller chip. SandForce is a relatively new creator of controllers, but their product is quickly surpassing the Indilinix Barefoot as the dominant controller of SSDs. Many issues of earlier solid-state storage devices came about because of the information bottleneck of the controller, but the SF-1200 is able to handle the traffic without stuttering.
This is a multi-level cell (MLC) drive, which means that multiple cells are responsible for storing and transferring information. In contrast, single-level cell (SLC) flash memory stores data in individual cells. SLC drives consume less power than MLCs and they feature higher cell endurance. However, single-layer cells cost much more to make than multi-level cells. Most SLC drives are too expensive for the general computer user. The 34nm MLC technology in the Vertex 2 is more than enough for the processing speeds you will need.
The form factor of the Vertex 2 SSD is 2.5 inches, so it will fit in most laptop computers without any issues. It also comes with a 3.5-inch mounting kit, so it can easily be installed in your desktop computer. Plus, since the Vertex 2 has a SATA II interface, it is compatible with a large number of laptop and desktop computers. Most computers use a Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) to open communications between the hard drive and the rest of the computer. The connection on this SSD has a communication rate of 3Gb/s.
No onboard cache was identified in the specifications for the Vertex 2. While this may concern some, OCZ claims that the SandForce controller offers a 0.5x write amplification factor, which gets rid of the need for any onboard DRAM cache. The SandForce SF-1200 controller features a small cache inside the chip. This new technology could revolutionize the way we deal with caching data in storage devices and is one of the reasons this solid-state drive is on the top of our list.
This SSD is a slim 99.8 millimeters long x 69.63 millimeters wide x 9.3 millimeters high. In addition, it only weighs 77 grams. Since there are no moving parts in this computer storage drive, it doesn't require a bulky design to accommodate larger capacities. In fact, no matter what amount of storage you choose, the size of the OCZ Vertex 2 remains the same.
Not only does this drive use less energy than an HDD, but it is also compliant with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive. This means that this SSD is lead-free, cadmium-free and mercury-free. It also means that it meets the standards of RoHS and is environmentally friendly.
Even though there are no moving parts, even flash technology can have errors. Bad flash blocks can be formed that could create major issues with your SSD. The Vertex 2 offers Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T.) support to warn a computer user if there are any problems. S.M.A.R.T. support allows you to catch small problems before they turn into big ones.
One of the problems that solid-state computer storage has had in the past is the fact that the memory blocks couldn't be overwritten, and had to be erased before they could be written on again. This issue caused delays and stuttering in early SSDs, as they had to go through a deletion process before they could write any new files on used blocks. The Vertex 2 helps alleviate this problem by featuring native TRIM support. The TRIM command allows the drive to wipe data blocks that are no longer in use. This clears the memory blocks ahead of time, so it won't slow down the process when you are trying to write data.
For our review, we used the specifications of the 120GB model of the OCZ Vertex 2. In an ideal setting, it features sequential read speeds of up to 285MB per second and writes up to 275MB per second, which are among the highest speeds that we've found. However, the majority of users will not be doing sequential reads and sequential writes on their computer most of the time. Random write speeds are what you should look out for when assessing solid-state drives.
The Vertex 2 boasts an outstanding speed of 50,000 Input/Output Operations per Second (IOPS) while writing random 4KB blocks of memory. This far surpassed any other SSD that we reviewed. 50,000 IOPS was probably completed with a clean drive in ideal settings, but this still shows the potential power and speed of the Vertex 2.
This drive had a seek time of 0.1 milliseconds, which we found to be the standard among most solid-state storage devices. To give you an idea of how fast this seek time really is, a common desktop hard drive has an average time of 9 milliseconds. Even the fastest spindle-spun hard drives only have an average seek time of 2 milliseconds - that is still 20 times slower than the Vertex 2.
SSDs also consume much less power than traditional hard disk drives. The Vertex 2 uses 0.5 watts when idle and only 2 watts when active. This means that it won't draw as much power from your laptop battery and it will consume less power when plugged into the wall.
These drives are tough. Maximum shock tolerance for HDDs is around 1000 Gs. The Vertex 2 has a shock resistance of 1500G-forces. It also has a life expectancy of 2 million hours, which is about 228 years. It also can be stored in temperatures between -45 degrees Celsius to 85 degrees Celsius without any major damage.
The Vertex 2 has the most capacities available of any SSD that we reviewed. The standard Vertex 2 models come in 50GB, 100GB, 200GB and 400GB options. There are also extended capacity models of 60GB, 120GB, 240GB and 480GB. Having a wide range of storage capacities available is important so that the user can have the space they need for their situation.
Help & Support
A limited three-year warranty covers the Vertex 2. This warranty would be voided if you take your SSD apart, so we recommend checking out our screenshots if you want to see inside. On OCZ's website you will also find email support, a FAQs page and a phone number if you need to contact customer service. In addition, there are firmware updates, an online manual for the Vertex 2 and a community forum where you can get information. This kind of support is valuable for people switching out their old HDDs for this new technology.
The Vertex 2 is a drastic improvement on the original Vertex solid-state drive and on SSDs in general. It features a cutting-edge SandForce controller and integrated caching, as well as native TRIM support. The Vertex 2 is available in a wide range of capacities and offers read/write times that are superior to almost every other solid-state drive. Also, the 3.5-inch adapter tray means that you can put this storage drive in your laptop or your desktop. The OCZ Vertex 2 represents the future of computer storage.