OCZ Vertex 450 256GB 20nm MLC SSD Review

OCZ refreshes the venerable Vertex 450 line of SSDs with its Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller and 20nm Micron MLC NAND. The new Barefoot 3 BF3-M10 controller is the same controller featured on the flagship OCZ Vector, yet with a slower clock speed. Will this slower controller allow OCZ to gain a foothold in the value market?

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Specifications

The Vertex 450 sports solid speeds with sequential read/write speeds of 540/525 MB/s and random read/write IOPS of 85,000/90,000. The Barefoot 3 controller also supports AES-256 encryption and a slightly lower clock speed than the predecessor used on the Vector. The controller also utilizes the Indilinx-infused firmware previously used in conjunction with Marvell controllers. The new Barefoot 3 controller and firmware are specifically tuned for long-term performance in steady state conditions. This controller also does not rely upon compression for its performance.

The new BM3-M10 controller drops its power consumption with a rating of 0.55W at idle and an active rating of 2.15W. The Vector with its higher-clocked BM3-M00 controller draws 0.9W at idle, and 2.25W for active power consumption. If the lower power consumption holds up in our testing, the OCZ Vertex 450's lower power consumption will be better suited for mobile applications.

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The architecture of the new Barefoot 3 features the ARM Cortex core in conjunction with the OCZ Aragon Co-Processor. The Aragon is a 400MHz 32-bit processor that features an SSD-specific RISC instruction set. This instruction set is very important, as it allows for most instructions and branches to be executed in a single cycle. Utilizing a special instruction set is a key building block that allows OCZ to innovate moving forward.

This eight-channel design allows for use of either ONFI or Toggle NAND for data storage and DDR2/3 for caching. Clocking the controller down a notch provides the same architecture and firmware design elements but produces a slower SSD.

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The OCZ Toolbox provides basic functionality for SSD management that eases the hassle needed for third party tools. The Toolbox monitors and displays SMART data, though there isn't a built-in life meter users can calculate the endurance remaining with these values.

The utility will also handle firmware updates from within the operating system and provides an easy means of secure erasing the drive. The OCZ Toolbox is functional and useful.

Availability and Warranty

The OCZ Vertex 450 comes with a three-year warranty and is available in capacities of 128, 256, and 512GB.

Features

The spec sheet below is great with the listing of the other competing SSDs. There really isn't a large performance difference between the Vertex 450 and many of the flagship SSD offerings by manufacturer specifications, but we also note the sharply lower specifications for the SSDs with lower capacity. This is a performance scaling issue that is repeating itself in many of the current SSD models with 19 and 20nm NAND.

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