We've yet to test the OCZ Technology Vertex 3 Pro with the SF-2500 controller, but have read the drive performed a little slower than the Vertex 3 original in many consumer level tests. Both the Pro and Max IOPS use Toshiba 34nm Toggle Mode flash and their PCBs are quite similar. At first I started to wonder if the Max IOPS was a rebranded Pro, just with a consumer SF-2281 controller, but even though the PCBs are nearly identical, the Max IOPS didn't have the solder points for the Super Capacitor. That still leaves us with the fact that the Pro and Max IOPS share the same Toshiba flash.
I rarely talk much about the longevity of NAND flash. This is mainly due to the fact that I don't have the resources to test drives until they fail. The flash manufacturers rate lifecycles, but even two brands that come off of the same manufacturing line can have different ratings (Intel and Micron 25nm). This alone tells me that you can't just quote a value with certainty while writing to such a large audience. Doing so is a bit foolish and has little scientific value (those things we like to actually use to warrant a purchasing decision). Still, 34nm flash is rated for higher write cycles than 25nm and even though the numbers appear to come from thin air, they are based on someone's formulas. Those looking to use their Vertex 3 SSD for a long period of time (more than the 3 year warranty) will want to keep this in mind. Small drives like the 120GB model will be affected more by this than the larger 240GB drives.
When it comes to real world performance, there isn't much of a difference between the Vertex 3 and Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240GB drives. I've read the 120GB capacity size is a different story with the Max IOPS model outperforming the standard Vertex 3. We'll see how that goes when OCZ sends us the 120GB Max IOPS. When it comes to pure speed, the 240GB Vertex 3 variants are very similar.
That pretty much leads us to the price. At the time of writing the Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240GB actually costs just a little bit more than the Vertex 3 240GB at Newegg. If it were me I'd be stretching a mere $10.00 USD more and scooping up the Max IOPS without hesitation. Desktop users will like the fact that all Vertex 3 drives ship with a desktop adapter bracket. Notebook users, especially Lenovo notebook users will need to be mindful of which drive casing they receive. By the time you read this OCZ will be ready to start rolling out a new 'Lenovo friendly' case and within a month those drives will have saturated the market. If you happen to get a drive that doesn't fit your notebook, OCZ will swap drives with you.
All things considered, I think the OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240GB is more marketing than it is substance for consumer users. If you are looking to really work your drive in intense IOPS situations, then you may see a performance increase, but gamers and even power users doing day to day activities won't see much of a difference. Things may be different when it comes to the 120GB models, we'll leave that for another day. Don't let that scare you away from the Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240GB drive, though. It is still just as fast as the Vertex 3 and should be considered one of the fastest drives available on the market. If the price still sets very close to that of the standard Vertex 3 when you are shopping, then jump on it as quick as you can. The real world benefits may be in name only for consumers, but you can look down on your friend's standard Vertex 3 and laugh.
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