Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Before we get started, I should point out that the Vertex 3 we are looking at today is a beta sample that may or may not be configured the same as the retail drives. SandForce has given manufacturers quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to the new SF-2200 products. One of the key areas that manufacturers will play around with is the flash since 2xnm, 3xnm and toggle is all supported. The Vertex 3 PRO (enterprise) that a few people tested last week used toggle memory from Toshiba, while our Vertex 3 (consumer) shipped with Micron 25nm flash.
When it comes to the early specifications, the Vertex 3 looks like the most exciting SSD to date. With a maximum read speed of 550MB/s and a maximum write speed of 525MB/s, the Vertex 3 is a huge leap forward from anything we looked at in 2010. Even as I write this I'm not sure what to compare the Vertex 3 to in the benchmarks; a standard set of SSDs or our collection of RAID Report results. At 550MB/s read the Vertex 3 performs about the same as two previous generation SandForce drives paired in RAID 0.
Of course, accessing those unbelievable speeds means you have to build a capable system. At this time the only way for the Vertex 3 to reach its full potential is with a Sandy Bridge motherboard. At CES GIGABYTE told us that their X58 based Gaming Killer line has an updated Marvell SATA 6G setup that is faster than the X58/Marvell boards that are on the market now. The current X58/Marvell boards will only get you to 385MB/s read and 240MB/s write and SATA 3G will limit you to 285MB/s read and 275MB/s write.
When the Vertex 2 launched the 100GB model cost more than 400 USD and the 200GB drive was, well, unobtainable for nearly everyone. The OCZ Technology Vertex 3 should hit e-tailers in April and the MSRP for the 120GB is only 249.99 USD! - The 240GB drive like the one we are looking at today has an MSRP of 499.99. The MSRP for these next generation SATA 6G drives is very close to the current shipping price of the current generation SATA 3G SandForce SF-1200 drives. OCZ Technology is going to be very aggressive with this release and in my opinion consumers will react favorably.