Given the short timing of this project we're just going to dive right in and get to work on this one. Just a month ago OCZ Technology released their new flagship consumer SSD, the Vertex 4. In our testing we observed a rather strange issue when reading data from the drives provided by OCZ. The issue had to do with single read requests for data, a single command. Both the 256GB and 512GB models provided to us would only read at around 200MB/s. This hampered the drives in several benchmarks and was even observed in several real-world tasks. The 200MB/s limit was surpassed when asking the drive to read two files, then up to 400MB/s. Three files read further increased the Vertex 4 performance to their maximum read limits. The ability to multitask with native command queuing (NCQ) is a great feature, but one that most consumers rarely take advantage of... we are just single task creatures, performing one step at a time.
When it comes to OCZ's house brand Indilinx, firmware changes, when needed, will be rapid. OCZ doesn't need to wait for a third party to get involved. As you know by now, Indilinx Infused at this time doesn't mean 100% Indilinx, but rather Indilinx programming and firmware sitting atop Marvell silicon. We suspected as much while testing the OCZ Octane, but without proof or a State of Solid State article between then and now, we kept our speculations to ourselves. Either way, none of this really matters because Marvell just makes the hardware and the SSD manufacturers come up with the rest. This is why every SSD based on Marvell controllers perform differently, from the Crucial C300 to the Corsair Performance 3; the changes in performance and behavior are pretty broad.
When it comes to the Vertex 4 update that should be available soon, the 128GB model gets the largest performance boost. This performance increase has more to do with the write speed than it does the 200MB/s read limit that we suspect the 128GB drive shared with the larger models we reviewed. Going back to the point made in the last paragraph, none of the other SSDs from other manufactures using Marvell controllers have achieved anywhere near 400MB/s write speed in a 128GB model. At the same time this article gets published online, our 128GB Vertex 4 will arrive. We hoped to tackle all three models in this article, but UPS cut off times aren't as flexible as we'd like.
Today we're focusing on the two largest Vertex 4 drives that are now shipping - 256GB and 512GB. In our previous review we concluded that both drives felt faster than what the benchmarks showed, but the 200MB/s read limit with a single request hurt the benchmark scores. We also noted that in some tasks the limited read at a single request did pop up in some real-world areas like Quick PAR and WinRAR.
Let's take a look and see the progress OCZ was able to make with their Indilinx Infused Vertex 4 in just a single month's time.
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