OCZ's Vertex 3 SSD line-up is about to receive a minor hardware update, a company press release indicates. It appears OCZ's upcoming Vertex 3.20 drives are essentially the same as their predecessors, but will feature a NAND (memory) die-shrink from 25nm to 20nm. This memory cell miniaturization should result in slightly improved thermals, a one-watt decrease in power consumption and possibly reduced manufacturing costs.

A number of other manufacturers have already introduced SSDs stuffed with 20nm-based flash chips, including Intel with their 335 series and Samsung's 840 drives.

The Vertex 3.20 will ship in 120GB and 240GB capacities first, with a massive 480GB model following closely behind. The company's current offerings under its Vertex 3 umbrella include 60GB and 90GB flavors, but no drives less than 120GB were address in the press release. This may suggest OCZ is shifting its focus to larger capacity SSDs.

The MLC-based drives will sport the same "proven" LSI SandForce SF-2200 as previous models, but OCZ's specs indicate there may be a slight dip in I/O performance. Interestingly, while random read (550MB/s) and random write (520MB/s) metrics remain the same, OCZ indicates its new Vertex models are hamstringed at 35K IOPS in random reads and 65K IOPS in random writes. Previous generations advertise 60K IOPS read and 85K IOPS write. Realistically though, users will be hard-pressed to tell the difference outside synthetic benchmarks. The reason behind this possible I/O performance disparity is unknown.

All Vertex 3.20 SSDs will ship with a three-year warranty.