Specifications, Pricing and Availability
I'm not going to hammer you too hard today on specifications and technical achievements, since this is a refresher course. The Vertex 3 uses the SandForce SF-2281 controller, the consumer version of the SF-2500 enterprise controller. To date, there have been challenges from Marvell in the form of the Intel 510 Series, Crucial m4 and Corsair Performance 3, but none of those products are even in the running this year for the high performance title. To put it simply, SandForce has zero competition at the high end and that means the only alternative to the Vertex 3 will be other OCZ products with the controller and 'Team SandForce' products from other manufacturers.
The Vertex 3 is already on retail and e-tail shelves sporting capacities of 120GB, 240GB and a massive 480GB drive. The MSRP of the 240GB model is 499.99, but the best we could find online is at our good friends at Newegg - $529.99. At one point we couldn't find a 240GB Vertex 3 240GB for less than 575 USD, so the e-tailers are starting to get their act together, but at this time they are still charging a premium for drives with the fastest SSD controller we've ever seen.
Speaking of speed, the 240GB model is the fastest of the original Vertex 3 drives with a 520MB/s write speed. The 120GB model is 'only' 500MB/s write speed and the 480GB drive can write at 430MB/s. The read speed of the 240GB matches the 120GB with 550MB/s, an insane read speed that nearly doubles last year's award winning Vertex 2.
Several companies are going to offer SF-2281 controlled products and a few will end up with better price points when they finally get to market. OCZ is going to be very active with pricing to combat competing products, but before others can even get a chance to get on the field, OCZ is swinging for the fences with their accessory package. The Vertex 3 ships with a standard 3 year warranty, so you have some long term guarantees from the company, but desktop users will find the included desktop adapter bracket useful from the start. OCZ also includes mounting screws so you don't have to dig through your desk to get up and running. The only competing SF-2000 Series consumer drive comes from OWC and it doesn't include the adapter bracket; the accessory that I think all SSDs should ship with standard.