In the coming weeks we'll do a proper 19nm vs. 20nm article with a handful of other drives in different capacities. After talking to several people in the industry, we're learned that 24nm Toshiba Toggle flash is pretty much a thing of the past. 25nm IMFT flash is still circulating, but the price has increased and it won't be long before it drops off as well. Looking at OCZ's new, shrinking product lineup, it makes sense for OCZ to get their mainstream low cost products off 25nm flash. This gives OCZ a little more time to keep Vector on 25nm and at the same time bring the mainstream product prices down.
At the time of writing the Vertex 3.20 120GB costs less than the original Vertex 3 at Newegg, but only by a small margin. Considering the new 3.20 ships without a desktop adapter bracket and performs worse than the original V3, I'd say buy an original Vertex 3 while you still can. If you have one now, buy another and run them in RAID. Better yet, look long and hard for a Vertex 3 Max IOPS because it is the pentacle of SandForce performance and longevity. The price of these drives are still much less than top tier Vector and Samsung 840 Pro drives, but as time passes and supply drives up, these drives will cost more than the top tier drives. If you plan on running RAID and need a second drive from the 32nm/25nm Vertex 3 era, this is your last call.
Looking at the image above we see the 120GB SandForce 'brick wall' when it comes to incompressible writes. The OCZ Vertex 3.20 has a lower ceiling than most of the SandForce drives we've tested in this capacity size. It's almost like getting async performance from a sync drive. I really don't think this is all OCZ's fault because we've seen lower performance with SandForce 5-Series firmware. We know the faster 3-Series firmware doesn't work with new NAND flash technology and Microsoft's Windows 8 WHQL requirements play a role in the evolution.
Making matters worse, if you have to trade performance for newer flash, getting better battery life is a must. OCZ used the original SF-2281 stepping and didn't go with B02, as they should have. Maybe in the future the BOM will get changed to include B02, but as of right now, you get the same battery life as before. B02 would have increased battery life on our Lenovo W530 6-cell by at least 40 minutes according to our estimates.
At this time, with other 25nm drives on the market that cost less than the Vertex 3.20 120GB, we have to pass on this one. After Computex when most of the 25nm drives have sold out, we'll take another look at OCZ's Vertex 3.20 and see how it compares to other products on the market. Look for the retake in June or July.