Review: OCZ Vertex 4 256 GB SSD

2012 continues to be an evolving market for solid state drive technology, and now the inclusion of them in notebook computers is becoming more and more mainstream. Adding an...

2012 continues to be an evolving market for solid state drive technology, and now the inclusion of them in notebook computers is becoming more and more mainstream. Adding an SSD to any notebook will improve battery life, temperature figures, and even lower weight to some extent. Today we’re testing the OCZ Vertex 4 256GB SSD in a notebook and PC environment and looking at the benefits of including one of OCZ’s renowned products in your system.

Testing Rig:

Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO USB3
CPU: AMD Phenom x4 955 Black Edition @ 3.8Ghz
RAM: 8GB DDR3 1600Mhz G-Skill Ripjaws X (9-9-9-24)
GPU: GTX 580 (1.5GB)

Note: All drives were benchmarked as is, out of the box.

Testing Programs:

AS SSD – 1.6.4237.30508
ATTO Disk Benchmark – 2.47
CrystalDiskMark – 3.0.1

As I mentioned above, OCZ has submitted the 256 GB model of their somewhat new Vertex 4. While not a unique custom chip like the Everest 1, the Vertex 4 features the powerful Everest 2 processor and high quality Marvel engineering. The 256 GB market and space model is becoming a competitive and high performance field for both entry level and power users.

The drive was wiped before having Windows 7 64 bit installed on it. We then took the drive through a series of tests and benchmarks using common tools, the data and results of which have been provided below for review.

We’ve also included data from the Crucial m4 256 GB SSD as a comparison point when looking at the visual data. The m4 is Crucial’s high-end performance SSD and has received critical acclaim across the internet and print for its price, performance, and ability to carve up all in its path.

Test One: AS SSD

A common tool used to benchmark traditional Solid State Drives as well as having the ability to benchmark other drives and devices, AS SSD is a great piece of software. We ran the Vertex 4 through all of AS SSD’s extensive tests and compiled the raw data into easy to read graphs.

The sequential read and write test of AS SSD provides valuable information into the writing and reading mechanics of any drive. How fast the drive can write large amounts of data reflects how suitable the drive may be for tasks such as video rendering that reward faster dumps.

The Agility 4 absolutely dominated the m4 256 GB and posted some of the fastest SATA based SSD results we’ve ever seen. To put it humbly and downplay it in a big way, the Vertex 4 is a capable drive.

With nearly 460 MB/s of read power, the Vertex 4 is the type of drive you’re going to want for your media based PC, or for space intensive operations like FRAPS recording or otherwise. The write is also something to take quite a look at, posting the highest SATA based write speed result we’ve featured at techAU.

The titular access time test does exactly that, test how quickly AS SSD can access the read and write functions of your drive. This is one of the only tests where you specifically want the data to be lower, and the Vertex 4 definitely performs in that respect. Both of the results were nearly under the highly sought after 1 ms mark, and the write access time of the Vertex 4 entirely halved the previous results of the Crucial m4.

The German flag colouring returns once again and with it the AS SSD Overall Score. This final AS SSD test provides a final representative score that depicts the total performance of each drive.

The Vertex 4 doubled the results of the Crucial m4, setting an above 1,000 score result in the total category. Previously the only other drive to do this was OCZ’s enterprise level RevoDrive x2 240 GB PCI-e SSD, so this is something to be quite proud of.

Test Two: ATTO Disk Benchmark

ATTO Disk Benchmark (ATTO from here on out) is one of the most reliable disk storage benchmarking tools available. The freeware tool is widely accepted across the internet for providing accurate figures and results.

OCZ Vertex 4 256 GB SSD

ATTO is an incredibly tool for showing the absolute max performance of a drive in certain environments. We’ve pushed PCI-e drives to their limits using this tool, and now we can see the ceiling for the drive outside of AS SSD.

Posting a high point at the 8k mark (something most drives do) of 535 MB/s in read, the Vertex 4 performed admirably and showed off its impressive power once again. The write speeds were expectantly behind the read, however it was nothing alarming, and it repeatedly peaked at just under 471 MB/s.

Test Four: CrystalDiskMark

CrystalDiskMark is the final program used for our review, and provides a swathe of results similar to that seen in AS SSD. Testing the drives across a number of fronts, CrystalDiskMark (CDM from here) is another comprehensive and widely recognised testing platform.

The Vertex 4 showed the absolute power it held under its plastic hood,  posting read and write speeds within 10 MB/s of each other. Impressive! As you can see from the graph, the Vertex 4’s newer Everest 2 controller and hardware helped it easily double the previous write speed results set by Crucial’s m4.

The 512k test of CDM shows each drives performance at writing data in 512k blocks, which not only offers real world insights, but also shows us valuable data you can use when purchasing an SSD.

As a heavy SSD user in both my notebook and desktop, the 512 k test is perhaps my favourite. The Vertex 4 once again performed at a breakneck pace, and left the m4 to eat its dust in both fields. The write speeds were again impressive, although I was quite honestly surprised to see the read only 20 MB/s higher than the m4.

The 4k test, as with the 512k test, shows writing and reading performance to the drives but with the tiniest of file sizes.

A picture tells the story of a thousand words, and isn’t this an example of that? Falling only 4 MB/s behind the famous 100 MB/s and doubling the m4’s previous offerings, the Vertex 4 absolutely obliterated our 4 k test. The read was once again only just ahead of the m4 in the graph, but a 10 MB/s difference in the 4 k test is a lot and nothing to smirk at.

Conclusion

Vertex 4 – The OCZ Vertex 4 is a performance drive for performance users who want the absolute everything from their SSD application. The read and write speeds were continually impressive and proved that while OCZ doesn’t have a great track record for reliability, they can build and insanely fast SSD. If I were to buy a new SSD, this would be it.

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