After OCZ's acquisition of Indilinx in 2011, the company has been slowly moving towards having a unique range of SSDs using their own controllers. Late last year we checked out OCZ Vector, the first drive entirely developed in-house by OCZ based on the Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller, and surely it didn't dissapoint.
Prior to the release of the Vector, OCZ relied on third-party controllers from SandForce, Marvell and Indilinx itself. With careful work on the drives' firmware, they were still able to market their drives well against competitors, but ultimately found themselves at somewhat of a disadvantage versus behemoths Intel and Samsung.
Nevertheless the wait to see what the collaboration between OCZ and Indilinx might yield was worth it once the Vector arrived. Unlike almost all SSDs that we have reviewed over the years, the Vector's performance was consistently strong. This was made more impressive considering it was going up against the Samsung SSD 840 Pro which to this day is one of the fastest, if not the fastest SSD available.
The Vector managed to hold its own and although it didn’t beat the SSD 840 Pro in any of our copy tests, it was never far behind.
The battle between the Vector and the SSD 840 Pro has been closely contested ever since, though when push comes to shove OCZ could be on the losing end. As it stands today the SSD 840 Pro series is slightly cheaper and slightly faster, therefore it makes sense that OCZ are releasing a second SSD series based on a slightly modified version of the Barefoot 3 controller that is designed to be more cost effective.
Known as the Vector 450 this new SSD uses the ‘Barefoot 3 M10’ controller which features a power-optimized clock generator and runs at a slightly lower clock speed, which helps to improve yields and thus drives costs down. Additionally this modified controller supports 20nm lithography NANA and AES-256 encryption.
OCZ Vertex 450 SSD
The Vertex 450 is still aimed at performance buffs while the Vector series is recommended for enthusiasts willing to part with some additional cash for even better performance. Armed with the Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 controller models offer capacities of 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. The drives have a slim 2.5" design, measuring 99.8 x 69.63 x 7mm and weighing up to 83 grams.
Power consumption is low compared to conventional hard drives as the Vertex 450 uses just 2.25 watts when active and 0.9 watts when in standby mode. While this is less than OCZ’s claimed power rating for the Vertex 4, it's more than what Samsung claims for their latest SSD 840 Pro series.
The 128GB model packs read and write speeds of 525MB/s and 290MB/s which is considerably less than the same capacity Vector drive. Meanwhile, the 256GB and 512GB models feature a read throughput of 540MB/s which is 10MB/s less than the Vector. The 256GB model boasts a write speed of 525MB/s and the 512GB model is slightly faster with 530MB/s.
All Vertex 450 models are loaded with 20nm IMFT NAND synchronous flash memory and are designed to replace the 25nm-based Vertex 4 drives which have been in circulation for a year now.
Our review sample has sixteen 16GB NAND ICs which are labelled Micron 29F128G08CFABB, giving a total capacity of 256GB. Of course, OCZ is not in the business of creating their own NAND flash memory and instead purchases and packages the NAND flash wafers, which they say allows them to pass the cost savings onto their customers. The NAND flash memory is presumably manufactured by Micron.
Once formatted in Windows, the original 256GB is converted to 239GiB, though Windows shows this as 239GB, so it seems like 7% of the original capacity is lost. With a suggested retail price of $270, the Vertex 450 256GB costs $1.05 per gigabyte, an excellent value for a high-performance SSD.
The Indilinx Barefoot 3 M10 controller features an ARM Cortex processor and is coupled with a 1GB DRAM cache. OCZ used a pair of Micron DDR3-800 512MB chips, one on either side of the PCB.
The Vertex 450 SSD series is rated to deliver 20GB of writes per day for 3 years, which equates to a total of 21.9TB’s of written data. OCZ also provides a full 3-year warranty with all Vertex 450 drives, so that should provide users with some peace of mind.
OCZ has set the MSRP for the 128GB model at $130, while the larger 256MB model will cost $235 and the 512GB model $499. This price points roughly represent a 8% discount versus the current outgoing Vector models at the same capacities.. It's also worth mentioning that the drives also include a 3.5” adapter kit for desktop PCs and cloning software from Acronis.