OCZ Vertex 120GB SSD Review

by AkG     |     July 5, 2009

Interior Impressions

Before we continue: Please remember that opening any SSD will effectively void your warranty.

To open the Vertex up you have to remove four screws, and a single sensible precautionary “warranty void” sticker to get at one of the screws.

Even on just a quick glance at the board one can easily distinguish this board from the Falcon's, as this is green PCB and the Falcon was blue. However, when you take a close look….it as Yogi Berra once said "This is like déjà vu all over again." as this is the exact same layout as the Falcon. At one end you have the data and power ports (and the ingenious jumper pins), then the RAM and Barefoot controller slightly in from it followed by your typical double row of flash chips, with another double row of 4 on the other side. In grand total you have 16 flash chips, one RAM chip and one Indilinx Barefoot controller chip….just like the G. Skill Falcon.

The I/O controller chip is of course none other than the Indilinx “Barefoot” IDX110 controller. This is the secret sauce that made the Vertex famous and we are happy to report that unlike earlier drives, this Vertex came with the Indilinx IDX110M00-LC (with emphasis on the LC) and not the older -FC. It seems our hunch on the -FCs version being phased out and ALL Vertex’s (EX or not) having the newer chip was correct.

The Indilinx IDX110 is an ARM based controller with native SATA 3.0Gb/s, supports capacities of up to 512GB, is rated for speeds of 230MB/Sec read and 190MB/s writes. Also and just as importantly unlike the JMicron line of controllers this bad boy also supports up to 64MB of RAM for stutter free operation. On paper this is certainly a potent brew and we are itching to see how it fares in both the synthetic and real world tests.

The Ram which helps the Barefoot go stutter free is made by Elpida. To be specific this single 64MB SDRAM chip is S51321CBH-6DTT-F, though the actual Elpida part number is the EDS51321CBH-M-F. This ram chip is rated to run at 166MHZ at CL3 and is rated for an operating temperature range of 20°C to 85°C. Or as is becoming a regular theme…it’s the exact same Ram chip as we found in the Falcon.

The MLC NAND chips used in the Vertex are Samsung K9HCG08U1M-PCB0. Once again we, using the online Samsung model decoder we can see these chips are 48 pin 3bit MLC Quad Die Package, 1st gen lead free (ROHS compliant), 2.7V ~ 3.6V, 25 nanosecond NAND chips which operate with Dual nCE (Dual Chip Enable control) & Dual R/nB (Dual Ready/Busy Output). This model is rated at a density of 64Gbits or 8GB per chip and a operating temperature range of 0° to 70°C. Above the model number (and as stated earlier) we can see these were made in the 10th week of 2009 and below it we can see the batch number “CAL37102” (or at least what we assume is the batch number but is describe by Samsung vaguely as “Customer List Reference” only). However, the chips on the backside of the board were made earlier in the 7th week of 2009, but are the exact same model. While we prefer to see all the chips be from the same batch this is obviously not the case with this particular Vertex. It will be interesting to see if these slight differences in batches will have any effect on the performance of the Vertex versus the G. Skill Falcon.

After looking long and hard at all the parts the only difference between the Vertex and the previously reviewed G. Skill Falcon is...nothing. Needless to say, we will be very surprised if this drive performs drastically different than the Falcon and most likely and minor variations will be due to slight variances from batch to batch found in all modern manufacturing process. We have to admit that our intial displeasure over the missing jumper has dissipated like the summer sun hitting morning dew.

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