So, when will you be able to get your hands on the new firmware you ask? Well you are not, at least not 18.104.22.168 that we tested today. This was mainly a build to show reviewers some improvements coming to the Vertex 4. A couple of posts on OCZ's forums tell us that firmware 1.5 is very close and it will increase performance even more than the 22.214.171.124 beta build. I would love to be able to give you more information on 1.5, but that is as much as I know.
The OCZ Vertex 4, even with the beta firmware, still lacks single command sequential read performance. This is still a big issue for many users since copying large files still takes place with one file at a time transfer rates, i.e. when you copy and paste a file.
Things change when you open programs. Most programs will stack the commands and that is where the power of native command queuing kicks in. The NCQ read speeds are amazing with the Vertex 4, some of the best we've recorded to date. In order to get the full effect though, you have to have tasks lined up at least three deep.
One thing that has us a bit concerned is how the read latency keeps increasing as the firmware builds progress. The jump from .07ms to .11ms and now .12ms is something you can feel while working with the drive back to back, but not something you notice unless you are really trying to look for. When we first tested the Vertex 4 and hit the .07ms read access time, it felt faster when bouncing around Windows. The .12ms is still fast, much faster than most other SSDs, but the .07ms first release was incredible.
The most significant change to the Vertex 4 though is what OCZ is doing with the performance degradation when the drive has data on it. With 126.96.36.199 we observed a 5K Mark increase in Vantage when the drive was half full. This is the new frontier for SSDs at least we hope more companies start to pay attention to how their products behave when data is on the flash.
Keep the updates coming OCZ, the Vertex 4 is getting better with each new firmware.