The OCZ Vertex 3 solid-state drive is the second SSD (after the Plextor PX-256M2S) we've reviewed that supports the new 6Gbps SATA 3 standard. Like the Plextor, the OCZ showed stellar performance in our testing, enough to justify the $500 price tag for the 240GB version or the $250 for the 120GB version. Its 480GB version, however, is outrageously expensive at $1,800.
If your computer, be it a Mac or PC, supports SATA 3, then the OCZ Vertex 3 makes a worthwhile investment and will increase the computer's performance significantly. The drive also works with the existing and popular 3Gbps SATA (SATA 2) controllers and at a much faster speed than regular hard drives. However, for SATA 2, you should also consider the slightly cheaper Samsung 470 hard drive.
Design and features
|Drive type||2.5-inch solid state|
|Connector options||SATA 3Gbps, SATA 6Gbps|
|Available capacities||120GB, 240GB, 480GB|
|Product dimensions||9.5 mm, 2.5-inch standard|
|Capacity of test unit||240GB|
|OSes supported||Windows, Mac, Linux|
Like the Samsung 470, the OCZ Vertex 3 has the same shape, dimensions, and port design as any standard 9.5-millimeter, 2.5-inch internal hard drive. The drive also includes a drive bay converter to take the place of any 3.5-inch hard drive. This means it will work in any case where a traditional SATA hard drive would be used.
The drive supports the latest SATA 3 (6Gbps) and also works with SATA 2 (3Gbps), as these two standards use the same interface ports. Obviously, if you want to get the best performance, the former is recommended.
We tried the Vertex 3 with a few computers of different platforms (Mac, Windows, and Linux) and it worked well with all of them. We did notice that the Vertex 3 took a significantly long time to be formatted compared with other drives. In our trials it took about 5 minutes to be quick-formatted using Windows 7. Other drives, even those that are really large in capacity, would take just less than a minute.
The OCZ Vertex 3, like all SSDs, uses flash memory chips as its storage rather than the platters used in traditional hard drives, and therefore has no moving parts. This means it uses much less energy and is more resistant to shock and vibration. It's also much lighter than hard drives of the same size. The OCZ Vertex 3 is heavier than the Plextor PX-256M2S or the Samsung 470, however, as the bottom part of its casing is made of aluminum, not plastic, making it seem sturdier than its peers.
Cost per gigabyte
As expected, the OCZ Vertex 3 is significantly more expensive than traditional hard drives, such as the hybrid Momentus XT. At about $500 for just 240GB, the Vertex 3 costs around $2.08 for one gigabyte. The Momentus, which is the most expensive among both traditional and hybrid hard drives, costs less than 10 cents per gigabyte, making it more than 23 times cheaper. This figure can go even lower with regular hard drives. The 3TB Seagate Barracuda XT, which offers the most storage on a single drive to date, costs just 8 cents per gigabyte.
When compared with other SSDs, however, the 256GB Vertex 3 is currently one of the most affordable, just slightly more expensive than the Samsung 470, for which the cost per gigabyte is $1.95. The Samsung doesn't support SATA 3, however.
We tested the OCZ Vertex 3 thoroughly with many different applications and it performed excellently with all of them. We used the drive both as the main drive of the test machine, running Windows 7 64-bit, and as a secondary backup drive.