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OCZ Vertex 4 512GB SSD Initial Review - Vertex Returns to its Indilinx Roots (Firmware Progression Testing)

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ Technology

Conclusion, Pricing, and Thoughts

Conclusion:

PROS: 

  • Indilinx Everest 2 controller has great potential.
  • OCZ has proven track record of post-release performance upgrades via firmware support.
  • 5-Year Warranty.

CONS:

  • Shipping firmware is very stable and compatible but lacks truly competitive performance (v1.30).

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Pricing and Availability:

Current snapshot of the competition:

OCZ Octane:

  • 128G @ $170 ($1.33 / GB)
  • 256G @ $400 ($1.56 / GB)
  • 512G @ $850 ($1.66 / GB)

Intel 520 Series:

  • 60G   @ $100 ($1.67 / GB)
  • 120G @ $184 ($1.53 / GB)
  • 180G @ $275 ($1.53 / GB)
  • 240G @ $350 ($1.46 / GB)
  • 480G @ $800 ($1.67 / GB)

OCZ Vertex 3:

  • 60G   @ $99   ($1.65 / GB)
  • 90G   @ $150 ($1.67 / GB)
  • 120G @ $170 ($1.42 / GB)
  • 240G @ $310 ($1.29 / GB)
  • 480G @ $770 ($1.60 / GB)

Samsung 830 Series:

  • 64G   @ $105 ($1.64 / GB)
  • 128G @ $170 ($1.33 / GB)
  • 256G @ $380 ($1.48 / GB)
  • 512G @ $710 ($1.39 / GB)

* Note that various rebates impact the above prices. I have listed the current Newegg prices, without rebates.

This is an NDA piece, meaning the Vertex 4 will only become available on the market *after* this piece goes live. This means we must stick with MSRP for now:

  • 128G @ $180 ($1.41 / GB)
  • 256G @ $350 ($1.36 / GB)
  • 512G @ $700 ($1.37 / GB)

MSRPs are notoriously higher than where the market price tends to settle out. That said, OCZs pricing on the Vertex 4 is *very* aggressive and this SSD will be an instant contender provided retailers can stick to (or beat) these prices.

Warranty:

Vertex 4 SSDs will all ship with a 5-Year warranty. This matches the warranty period of the Intel 520 Series - the only other maker with such a warranty at present.

* Firmware *:

I normally reserve this space to cover the firmware updates of a drive that already exists. Going on OCZs track record - they have always been a market leader for firmware support of their devices. The original Vertex just saw a performance improving firmware released (that model is over three years old and is no longer available!). The Vertex 4 is brandy-new and is already seeing significant firmware revisions. We saw big changes in tuning between the two tested firmwares, and we can only imagine that by the time folks start getting these drives in their rigs, there is likely to be an even further optimized firmware available. Our firmware update was non-destructive and could be updated easily from within Windows, so while we always recommend a backup prior to an SSD firmware update, seeing performance gains on the Vertex 4 should be a relatively painless experience down the line.

Final Thoughts:

I've entitled this section 'Thoughts' because I won't consider the Vertex 4 'Final' until it sees a second shipping firmware revision. The Vertex 4 is an exciting product with a very capable Indilinx controller, and while I can understand OCZs desire to bring it to market as quickly as possible, I can't help but think their hardware team beat their firmware team to the punch. Luckily firmwares can be updated by the end user, and OCZ has proven themselves to have an excellent track record in that regard. If the Vertex 4 matures as its predecessors have post-release, it will be a very serious contender for the SATA 6Gb/sec performance crown.

April 4, 2012 | 07:39 PM - Posted by Lou (not verified)

What I take away the most from this review is how impressive the Samsung 830 series really is. I cannot think of a better SSD to recommend than the Samsung drives.

April 4, 2012 | 07:46 PM - Posted by Lou (not verified)

Also, could you please include the Crucial M4 if possible in future reviews? It could at least represent the Marvell controller against the Sandforce and Indilinx, which would be great. I'll stop spamming the comments now!

April 10, 2012 | 12:50 PM - Posted by mark (not verified)

2nd this request especially since these are down to just over a buck a gig for the 512's.
Thanks

June 29, 2012 | 02:52 PM - Posted by Allen (not verified)

3rd this

June 12, 2013 | 10:59 PM - Posted by Fletcher (not verified)

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