Review Index:

OCZ Vertex 3.20 240GB Full Review - Vertex 3 Pushes 20nm Flash

Subject: Storage


For these tests, we use RankDisk, an application developed and copyrighted by Intel. In our testing, we found RankDisk to be suitable for a neutral benchmark. RankDisk is used to record a trace of disk activity during usage of typical applications. These traces can then be replayed to measure the performance of disk operations for that usage.

RankDisk records disk access events using the device drivers and bypasses the file system and the operating system's cache. This makes the measurement independent of the file system overhead or the current state of the operating system. In replaying traces, RankDisk always creates and operates on a new dummy file. This file is created in the same (or closest possible) physical location of the target hard disk. This allows the replaying of traces to be safe (does not destroy any existing files) and comparable across different systems. Due to the natural fragmentation of hard disks over time, they should be defragmented before running these tests.

The traces used for each test were created from real usage. The traces contain different amount of writing and reading on the disk; total ratio in the HDD test suite disk operations is 53% reads and 47% of writes.

The following input traces are used:

Windows XP Startup: This is the Windows XP start trace, which contains disk activities occurring at operating system start-up. The test is 90% reading and 10% writes. This trace contains no user activity.

Application Loading: This is a trace containing disk activities from loading various applications. It includes opening and closing of the following applications:

Microsoft® Word        
Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 5        
Windows® Media Player        
Leadtek® Winfast® DVD        
Mozilla Internet Browser

The application loading trace is 83% reads and 17% writes.

General Hard Disk Drive Usage: This trace contains disk activities from using several common applications.

These are:

Opening a Microsoft® Word document, performing grammar check, saving and closing        
Compression and decompression using Winzip        
Encrypting and decrypting a file using PowerCrypt        
Scanning files for viruses using F-Secure® Antivirus.        
Playing an MP3 file with Winamp        
Playing a WAV file with Winamp        
Playing a DivX video using DivX codec and Windows® Media Player        
Playing a WMV video file using Windows® Media Player        
Viewing pictures using Windows® Picture Viewer        
Browsing the internet using Microsoft® Internet Explorer        
Loading, playing and exiting a game using Ubisoft Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon

The General Usage trace is 60% reads and 40% writes.

Virus Scanning: Virus scanning is a critical task in today's PC usage. As the major bottleneck of scanning viruses is in hard disk activity, it is reasonable to include virus scanning as a HDD test. The test consists of HDD activity of scanning 600MB of files for viruses. The Virus Scanning test is mostly disk reading (99.5%).

File Write: This trace contains disk activities from writing 680MB files on the hard disk and no read operations are involved in this test.

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PCMark replays a pre-recorded trace of IO back on the drive under test. This is one of the more real-world ways of testing, its weakness being that it is more of a short-term test and might not represent long-term usage of an SSD. We mitigate this somewhat by pre-conditioning the SSD prior to the test.

The Vertex 3.20 keeps up with the pack in trace-based testing, but there is  anotable lag behind the Intel 335 Series, implying that the 335 is able to squeeze greater performance out of the same controller and flash memory.

April 17, 2013 | 08:22 PM - Posted by derz

Very thorough review Allyn. The move to try out the new flash size using sandforce instead of Indilinx perplexed me at first, but then I thought that they would probably want to experiment the hardware change with a tried and true firmware.

April 17, 2013 | 10:20 PM - Posted by mAxius

looks great nice work Allyn! Though you should really include more 500+ gb units in your reviews for completeness :D

April 17, 2013 | 10:55 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Thanks! We usually try to cover ranges, but the 3.20 is not available in a >240GB capacity.

April 18, 2013 | 05:22 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I am still using my OCZ Vertex 3 SSD with no problems. Vertex 3.20 does not deserve that Vertex name. Come on, OCZ, you need to do better SSD Vertex SSD products.

April 24, 2013 | 09:03 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hey Allyn,

What components make up the overhead that prevents SSD's from reaching the max 6gbps bus speed? Is it all scsi frame overhead or are there other limiting factors?