OCZ Technology Group's Vertex 4 solid-state drive is very different from the Vertex 3 since the Vertex 4, like OCZ's Octane SSD, uses OCZ's homegrown Indilinx Everest controller. The new drive uses the second generation of the controller, however, and offers significantly better performance than the Octane. It's also slightly more affordable.
Other than that, from a consumer's point of view, the drive is very similar to other SATA 3-based standard internal drives and can be used anywhere this type of hard drive is used.
If you're looking for a replacement drive to use with your standard-size laptop or desktop computer, the new Vertex 4 would make a great investment. If you need an SSD that's thin enough to fit in an ultraportable computer or ultrabook, check out the Intel SSD 520 Series.
Design and features
|Drive type||Internal drive|
|Connector options||SATA 3 (6Gbps), SATA 2, SATA|
|Available capacities||128GB, 256GB, 512GB|
|Product dimensions||9-mm thick, 2.5-inch standard|
|Capacity of test unit||256GB and 512GB|
|OSes supported||Windows, Mac, Linux|
OCZ introduced its own Indilinx Everest in July 2011. The fact that the Vertex 4 now uses the Everest 2 controller suggests that OCZ might move completely away from using the popular SandForce controller (which was used in the Vertex 3). And in my trials, it seems the company has reasons to do so.
For example, the Vertex 4 is quite different from other drives in that a computer will recognize it instantly the moment it's plugged in. It also took literally just a second to be quick-formatted, whereas SandForce-based SSDs take a few minutes. While this initial setup is not a big deal for most consumers, for somebody who has to work with a lot of drives like me, it was quite a pleasant surprise.
On the outside, however, the new Vertex 4 looks exactly the same as the Vertex 3 and other standard SSDs. As a 9.5mm, 2.5-inch SATA standard drive, it can be used basically anywhere a regular 2.5-inch hard drive is used. Again, note that it's too big to fit in an ultrabook, since those use 7mm-thick drives. The Intel SSD 520 Series is the only SSD I've seen so far that's ultrabook-friendly.
The OCZ Vertex 4 also comes with a tray converter and all necessary screws so it can fit in place of a 3.5-inch hard drive, making it a great replacement drive for desktops as well as laptops. The drive works with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. It supports SATA 3 (6Gbps) so for maximum performance use it with a chip platform that supports this new standard, such as Intel Sandy Bridge. However, it also supports SATA 2 (3Gbps) and the original SATA (1.5Gbps).
Setting up the Vertex 4 is just like setting up a regular 2.5-inch hard drive. Since the drive is best used as a replacement for a computer's main internal hard drive, check out CNET's how-to on migrating your computer to an SSD.
Cost per gigabyte
SSD prices have been going down since the beginning of the year and the Vertex 4's pricing reflects this trend. The new drive comes in 512GB, 256GB, and 128GB capacities that carry an MSRP of $649, $349, and $179, respectively, making the cost per gigabyte around $1.30 to $1.40, quite affordable. Street prices should be even lower.