OCZ Vertex 4 128GB SSD Review

Author: AkG
Date: July 29, 2012
Product Name: Vertex 4 128GB
Part Number: VTX4-25SAT3-128G
Warranty: 5 Years
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With the release of their Vertex 4 series of SSDs, OCZ took the first steps towards re-introducing computer enthusiasts to the “Indilinx” brand name. This generation of drives may use a completely different Indilinx controller than the original Vertex but one thing remains the same: OCZ’s quest for a versatile, capable brand of recognizable consumer-oriented SSDs. When the Vertex 4 was first released, we were given the opportunity to review the massive 512GB model and walked away cautiously optimistic about its design. Unfortunately, because of firmware issues at the time of our initial review, only the highest capacity model was able to realize the architecture's fullest potential. However, thanks to some timely firmware updates, those early performance issues have been alleviated in the lower capacity versions, and today we will be putting the new, improved and affordable Vertex 4 128GB under the microscope.

With an SRP of about $120, the Vertex 4 128GB is easily the most intriguing product of the entire Vertex lineup. In past generations the 120-128GB size was never considered the best value proposition and was geared towards the mid-range market. This is not the case with this model as a relatively low asking price places it firmly into what was once the value-oriented domain of OCZ’s Agility series. For the first time ever, a Vertex-branded 128GB model has been designed to be fast enough to satisfy storage enthusiasts while sporting adequate capacity to tempt first time buyers—while still being economical enough to fit into all but the most miserly budgets. We have yet to see any solid state device that is competitive in all of these aspects at once, but that is precisely what OCZ aims to do with their newest Vertex model.

As expected, the physical appearance of this Vertex 4 is exactly the same as the higher capacity models. Unless you pay close attention to the label, you won’t be able to distinguish its black and silver exterior from that of the 512GB model. Only the interior components differentiate the two drives. The one issue we have with the exterior design is that the top half of the case is made from plastic and not metal. This is a less than optimal choice, but considering the downright reasonable price point of the 128GB model, it is more acceptable than it was with the much more expensive 512GB Vertex 4.

We were expecting to see just eight NAND ICs attached to the PCB and so were pleasantly surprised to see all 16 slots filled with Intel-branded, 3K-erase-cycle ONFi 2 NAND ICs. With a few exceptions, eight NAND chips are less efficient than 16 and such a configuration usually results in lower small file performance. Given the lower density of these chips, there will still be a reduction in performance when compared against the 512GB model, but it could have been much worse.

Much like the number of NAND ICs surprised us, so too did the number of RAM chips the Vertex 4 128GB comes equipped with. Unlike the 512GB model, which has a full 1GB of RAM, the 128GB makes use of only half this amount. Thus, we were expecting only one DDR3 ram chip on the PCB instead of the two 256MB modules found on the Vertex 4 512GB. We assume this has been done to increase the efficiency of the device and allow the Indilinx Everest 2 controller to fully utilize the cache capacity offered.

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