Thirteen months ago OCZ announced its intention to acquire Indilinx, the SSD controller maker that gave Intel its first taste of competition in the consumer market in 2009. Eight months later, OCZ launched its first post-acquisition SSD based on Indilinx silicon. Today, just five months after the launch of the Octane, OCZ is officially releasing the Vertex 4 – based on its Indilinx Everest 2 silicon. In less than a year, OCZ has brought to market more Indilinx powered controllers than Indilinx did in the previous three years. It's rare that you see the fruits of acquisition so quickly, but if there's anything OCZ's CEO Ryan Petersen is good at it's pushing for an aggressive schedule.

Rather than call this drive the Octane 2, OCZ went with Vertex 4, indicating its rightful place at the top of OCZ's SSD lineup. The implications run even deeper. It marks the first time in two years that a Vertex drive will ship without a SandForce controller inside. Make no mistake, while Octane was a shot across SandForce's bow, Vertex 4 means war. While OCZ continues to ship tons of SandForce controllers, the future for the company is Indilinx. The Vertex 4 is just the beginning. OCZ will continue to ship Vertex 3 in parallel, and should a future SandForce controller make competitive sense to use OCZ will definitely consider it, but the intention is to build the fastest silicon internally and use it as much as possible.

The dramatic departure in naming also embodies just how different Everest 2 is from the original Everest controller. OCZ claims there's minimal shared code between the Octane and Vertex 4 firmware, and the two drives perform very differently. Write amplification was always a concern with the Octane - it is no longer a major issue with the Vertex 4. OCZ and its Indilinx team have reduced write amplification to roughly the levels of Intel's controllers:

Estimated Worst Case Write Amplification

Indeed write performance is improved significantly as a result. A look at the spec sheet gives us the first indication of what's to come:

OCZ SSD Comparison
  OCZ Vertex 4 OCZ Vertex 3 OCZ Octane OCZ Vertex 2
Current NAND 25nm IMFT MLC 25nm IMFT MLC 25nm IMFT MLC 25nm IMFT MLC
Capacities 128, 256, 512GB 60, 90, 120, 240, 480GB 128, 256, 512GB, 1TB 60, 120, 240GB
Controller Indilinx Everest 2 SF-2281 Indilinx Everest SF-1221
Max Seq Read 535 MB/s 550 MB/s 480 MB/s 285 MB/s
Max Seq Write 475 MB/s 500 MB/s 330 MB/s 275 MB/s
Max Random Read 95K IOPS 60K IOPS 26K IOPS -
Max Random Write 85K IOPS 85K IOPS 35K IOPS 50K IOPS
AES-256 Encryption Yes Yes Yes No

Regardless of the nature of the data (compressible or incompressible), the Everest 2 powered Vertex 4 promises better random write performance than any other consumer SSD on the market today. And it delivers:

Desktop Iometer - 4KB Random Write (4K Aligned) - 8GB LBA Space

Random write speed is nothing short of incredible. OCZ is able to equal SandForce's write speed on highly compressible data without resorting to any sort of data compression. This is a purely algorithmic advantage. While the original Everest was a work in progress by the time OCZ acquired the company, Everest 2 is the first Indilinx project OCZ had complete control over. Apparently OCZ's CEO, Ryan Petersen had a lot of his own input built into this design.

OCZ Vertex 4 Lineup
  512GB 256GB 128GB
NAND Configuration 16 x 32GB 25nm Intel sync NAND 16 x 16GB 25nm Intel sync NAND 8 x 16GB 25nm Intel sync NAND
DRAM 2 x 512MB DDR3-800 2 x 512MB DDR3-800*
2 x 512MB DDR3-800*
Controller Indilinx Everest 2 Indilinx Everest 2 Indilinx Everest 2
Max Seq Read 535 MB/s 535 MB/s 535 MB/s
Max Seq Write 475 MB/s 380 MB/s 200 MB/s
Max Random Read 95K IOPS 90K IOPS 90K IOPS
Max Random Write 85K IOPS 85K IOPS 85K IOPS
MSRP $699 $349 $179
*Only 512MB of DDR3 will be used, future versions will ship with 2 x 256MB devices

The Vertex 4 will be available in three capacities initially – 128GB, 256GB and 512GB, with a 1TB version following. Drives should be available today but in very limited quantities, and likely only 128GB capacities at the start. MSRP is fairly competitive with other 6Gbps drives on the market today:

SSD Pricing Comparison
  128GB 256GB 512GB
Crucial m4 $154.99 $299.99 $549.99
Intel SSD 520 $184.99 $344.99 $799.99
Samsung SSD 830 $174.99 $299.99 $779.99
OCZ Octane $199.99 $339.99 $849.99
OCZ Vertex 3 $199.99 $339.99 $1199.99
OCZ Vertex 4 $179 MSRP $349 MSRP $699 MSRP
Inside the Vertex 4


View All Comments

  • hechacker1 - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    I'm not really sure if they are buffering that much data. I'm betting a lot of it is to cache the state of the available flash (tables and bitmaps), and to provide lots of room so you can use memory intensive algorithms to allocate, sort, and combine data before it gets place on the flash.

    Even with some cache, just because the SSD is so fast, it's going to empty it in 1 second.
  • vegemeister - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    As long as it's not too much RAM to write out before the energy in the caps runs out, it's not really a problem. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    But you can show all these pretty specs and graphs but until you fix something like this catastrophe I will avoid your SSD's like the plague:

    Oh and what controller is in this beauty......Indilinx Everest!
  • Comdrpopnfresh - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    It's nice to see the AES-256 encryption on it. That'll come in handy when the drive dies and has to be sent back to OCZ.
    I have 2 vertex2's and a vertex3, all of which died, and I have yet to eat or rma- OCZ provides no way to fulfill the warranty without compromising the security of user data. Used to be a big fan of OCZ, and loved their ssds... until this situation arose THREE TIMES.
  • vegemeister - Monday, May 07, 2012 - link

    Sure they do -- encrypt it yourself in software. Anyway, why would you trust OCZ not to be able to decrypt data encrypted by closed-source firmware designed by OCZ? Reply
  • Hurk - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    where is the data for the 128gb version? it will be significantly different from the 256/512, and since im really loving SSD caching on new system builds, the smaller drive is more important to see the numbers for than the 256/512 for me. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Manufacturers often send bigger capacities for reviews (they are the highest performing ones, after all). I'm sure there will be a 128GB review once we get one, which is hopefully sooner than later :-) Reply
  • Reikon - Wednesday, April 04, 2012 - link

    Nice referral link there. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    No worries -- they've been marked as spam and are gone now. Let this serve as a warning to others: if you try to put in a referral link in a comment and we mark you as spam, all your comments go bye bye! Reply
  • iceman98343 - Thursday, April 05, 2012 - link

    sorry about that. c an you delete my last entry below. didn't see any TOS against referral links. Reply

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