The Vertex Update

As you’d expect, a lot has happened since the article went live. On my end, I’ve started compatibility testing on the OCZ Vertex drives. As I mentioned at the end of last week’s article - OCZ and Indilinx, even collectively, aren’t anywhere near as large as Intel.

Firmware changes to the X25-M go through weeks upon weeks of validation at Intel; if the validation process is anything like it is for all other Intel components, the process is carried out on hundreds of servers making sure that every possible scenario is tested on the drive. Intel studied the usage pattern of hard drive users for quite a while before the X25-M ever made it to a reviewer’s hands; that’s why we didn’t have the stuttering problems on those drives. That’s why they just worked as intended right out of the box.

That’s also why the Intel drive commands such a high premium.

  Cost Per GB from Newegg.com
Intel X25-M 80GB $4.29
OCZ Vertex 120GB $2.91
Western Digital Caviar SE16 640GB $0.12
Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB $0.77

 

OCZ and Indilinx want to slot their drive in between the JMicron garbage and the Intel drive. Unfortunately, without the resources of an Intel - it’s difficult to deliver the same sort of experience. That’s not to say that the only solid state options come from Intel, it just means that you should probably check to see if there are any compatibility issues before you pull the trigger on the Vertex.

Reading through OCZ’s forums there have been reports of drives not working in some notebooks. While the Vertex worked just fine in my X58 testbed, that’s hardly the most common motherboard out there. So before I left for GDC last week I started compatibility testing on the Vertex. I met with OCZ at their offices to share notes on compatibility testing with these drives. For example, I’ve seen issues with the ASUS P5B Deluxe and the P5K Deluxe and the Vertex drive being detected properly (or taking a long time to detect) but OCZ has not. I want to find out why.

I’ve also heard limited reports of Vertex drives dying after heavy use. The data loss/corruption issues appear to be related to firmware 1199, a revision newer than the 0112 version I tested with for last week’s article. While I recommended that OCZ ship with the firmware I tested for my review, it looks like some drives shipped with 1199. I don’t have exact numbers of how many drives used 1199 vs. 0112, but there are some out there in the market. Sigh.

The problem was quickly identified by customers, OCZ and Indilinx and fixed in a very short period of time with the 1275 revision. If you have a drive with the 1199 firmware it’ll appear as such in the BIOS and your best bet is to contact OCZ directly for the new firmware and instructions on how to upgrade to it.

While it’s great that OCZ has been proactive in releasing firmware updates, every time you update your firmware you do lose all of the data on your drive. If you keep persistent backups then it’s not a big deal; if you don’t, it’s a pain.

Index The Bright Side: The Vertex is Nearly 3x as Fast
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  • monoton - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Hello Anand,

    I've read your articles about SSD with great interest and enjoyed the in-depth reviewing very very much.

    Now with this update all I asked myself when seeing the headline was: Does it stutter (again)? You do mention random write performance but the maximum latency for random 4kb writes isn't stated at all. You were dwelling on that part so extensively in the other article that I thought it might have been a good idea to have it updated here. Please, pretty please, with sugar on top ;) let us know about it. Why else should we pay the extra cash to get the Intel...

    One other thing also: You had a comment in that other article about the method of simulating the "used" drives - did you also fill up the spare blocks this time? Because the comment says, that it would bias the test results towards the Intel drive.

    All in all no biggies, and I hope you continue to do these amazing reviews for a long time!

    Best,
    monoton
    Reply
  • monoton - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Btw. the comment I'm referring to is the top one on pg. 19 of the comments. Reply
  • mschira - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Did you test any SSD directly plugged into the PCI-e slot likethe Fusion-io?
    Cheers
    M.
    Reply
  • LinkerX - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Anandtech has become the go to site since Toms Hardware turned in to junk. Keep up the great work. Reply
  • JonnyDough - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    "Your words and support are what inspire me to, even today almost 12 years since I started AnandTech, continue to work on things like The SSD Anthology or The RV770 Story. Thank you."

    (quote button doesn't work so I just used quotes)

    You mean you don't get paid for your articles? Tell the crustacean man to get on it.
    Reply
  • Akkuma - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    I recently told my roommate I read AnandTech and have been doing so for years (about 6 or so now). He told me about how he went to high school with him (he is from Raleigh, NC) and was driving Porsches back then, handing out freebies from all the stuff he got to friends, bought his parents a home, etc..

    I don't hold it against the guy, but he is making some extremely serious bank from the site when he is one of the original computer hardware review sites.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, April 02, 2009 - link

    Least he earned the money. We had people in my HS driving (brand new) Porsches that their parents had bought them. Reply
  • Bladen - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Keep up the good work.

    I have always seen this site as the most professional of it's kind.
    Reply
  • RyuDeshi - Wednesday, April 01, 2009 - link

    I agree. I can never read through an entire THG article.. yet I managed to real almost every last word of multiple SSD articles Anand has posted. Keep up the excellent work! Reply
  • semo - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    "OCZ and Indilinx want to slot their drive in between the JMicron garbage and the Intel drive"

    gold. those scumbags must have set back ssd adoption by years in certain sectors. i still hear the AMD processors are too hot nonsense every once in a while.
    Reply

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