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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  • AtenRa - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Intel X25-M 80GB $4.29
    OCZ Vertex 120GB $3.49

    OCZ Vertex is 120GB not 80GB ;)
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    Also not sure where those prices came from, as cheapest PriceGrabber finds the X25-M 80GB is $359, for $4.49/GB. The Vertex 120GB seems to be the best deal at the moment, at $2.91/GB before rebate, $2.66/GB after. Reply
  • nubie - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Nice, these Vertex drives are looking even hotter :)

    That Super Talent drive is $108 on Newegg after a mail-in-rebate of $20, if you try to keep your main drive/partition under 30GB it might be the perfect way to speed up your machine.

    Keeping media off of the main drive it should be simple to stay under 30GB, even putting games on a different (platter) drive you should see a much faster computing experience.
    Reply
  • deputc26 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Anand your SSD coverage has been second to none. I trust your reviews more than anyone elses on the web but it sure would be nice to see real-world power consumption figures for SSDs as this is an important factor in notebooks.

    _Nate
    Reply
  • gwolfman - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Great followup to the amazing SSD Anthology article. You win in my book. Reply
  • turrican2097 - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    I wonder if those JMicrons were low-cost for very specific scenarios, firmware and the like. And then it was the SSD manufacturer that cheaped out.

    I wouldn't blame JMicron without investigating
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - link

    They probably are OK for some scenarios, but you can still blame the companies for using them in a manner they are not really fit for. If some company started selling 15"+ laptops for several hundred dollars using Atom processors, you wouldn't blame Intel for making the Atom, but the company for misusing it. Reply
  • Mumrik - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Page 3: "The Intel drive can still crunch through over 3.5x the number of IOs per second as the Vertex, but it also costs nearly 2x per GB"


    Not true at all according to page 2 where price/GB is 4.29 for Intel and 3.49 for OCZ. That means that the Intel drive costs 23% more than the OCZ - nowhere near 2x.
    Reply
  • sideral - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    Anand,

    Unfortunately I had not read about the issue when I read you fantastic article on the Vertex, which made me buy a couple of X-25Ms for my machine.

    I contacted Intel through support right now after reading they might have a fix for the issue the drive has under Bootcamp on one of the new Macs with nVidia chipsets. They aren't answering (yet), do you have some color on the fix though ?
    Reply
  • inolvidable - Monday, March 30, 2009 - link

    I'm following ssd's progression throught your articles. I think they're the next big evolution in computer performance so I have much interest on them Reply

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