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Old 07-12-2011, 10:30 PM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240GB SATA 6Gbit/s SSD Review

When we took OCZ's Vertex 3 SSD for a spin last month, there was no other way to sum up our thoughts than 'blown-away'. How could such a drive get even better? With tweaked firmware and a doubling-up of NAND chips, of course. Let's take a look at the Vertex 3 Max IOPS edition and see if its price premium is justified.

You can read through Robert's in-depth look at OCZ's Max IOPS edition Vertex 3 SSD and then discuss it here!
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:30 AM   #2
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Quote:
Consumers looking to buy an SSD and keep it over the long haul, namely several years past the three year warranty period, might have justification for the Max IOPS due to the additional longevity the 34nm NAND will provide.
This is my determining factor in making the move to an SSD. It's just that I do want to trust my drives beyond the warranty period. Not because I don't expect to buy anything else for years to come, but because I don't know if I will. And having a drive unexpectedly die on me and be caught with no money on my pockets, would be a complete disaster. I don't even have a foolproof and consistent backup schema yet due to budget considerations. So reliability is a must on my case.

The 120Gb is the one that enticed me the most. The price is still a problem but not something that can't be put aside. It's good enough to want me to go greedy The 240 GB one is just completely out of reach.

Other than an increase in RAM that should happen soon, moving to a SSD+HDD setup is my Most Wanted upgrade -- to be hopefully done before the year ends. I think this Vertex 3 Max IOPS series might just be the one making it into my computer. I'm hoping for a price drop as the months march on and other drives make it on the market. However I've been observing that contrary to other devices, SSDs don't drop much in prices as time moves on. Is this correct?
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:46 AM   #3
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The Vertex 2 drives are still a viable option if the price of the 3-series is too steep.

I'm using a Mushkin drive that is basically the same as the Vertex 2 and it flies like the dickens!
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:10 PM   #4
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Optix is indeed correct, the original SandForce drives are still out there and are much more affordable now, so that's always an alternative option if the prices are too high. I believe all of the SSD manufacturers already transitionedtheri first-generation SandForce drives to 20-something nm NAND a few months ago for cost reasons. Some brands will distinguish between which is used in which models, but others do not.

Marfig, you bring up an interesting point Rob and I were discussing yesterday. Traditionally I have always kept every HDD I ever bought until it wore out or the machine it was in was sold. I never upgraded a hard drive unless I needed more capacity, but even then I still used the old ones. But for SSDs, I am honestly not sure how many people will do the same.

Every year SSDs have leapt ahead, more often than not outright doubling performance every year. Prices are continuing to fall on them, the first Intel drives used to run well north of $7 per GB three years ago. Today, a good special can make it $1 per GB. Three years from now I'm not even sure I can imagine what SSDs will be capable of, but I am certain that prices will be way below $1 per GB, very likely half to a fourth of that.

It seems like many SSDs buyers I'm aware of already have replaced older model SSDs, especially the ones with problematic controllers. And all of them that haven't bought a second SSD yet already want to do so. Not everyone has the discretionary income, that I well understand, but it seems to me that most SF-2281 buyers will probably be upgrading SSDs again around the same time the warranty expires.... so the question of longevity seriously does come down to whether or not the SSD would ever get replaced.

Although I will say... Marfig, I'm shocked at you! No backup system, no failsafes?? It only takes $50 and some free cloning software to have a solid backup system! I fully expect the average SSD to easily last 5 full, busy years... but they are in some ways extremely fragile. A certain power supply I just mentioned in another post managed to kill one because of stray voltages... one moment everything was peachy, one computer restart later the drive was utterly dead. So I'd all the more strongly advise everyone to back up their SSDs even more than a HDD for that reason alone. When an SSD unexpectedly dies, it's usually permanent and without any warning.
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Last edited by Kougar; 07-13-2011 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:13 PM   #5
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Thanks for the fire and brimstone speech, reverend. It reminds me that I haven't backed up mine in a while.
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Old 07-13-2011, 09:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kougar View Post
so the question of longevity seriously does come down to whether or not the SSD would ever get replaced.
Consider my old Toshiba Satellite Pro 6000. This is a 9 year old laptop I just keep because I have good memories of it on the back of a car... I'm joking. I keep it for sentimental reasons.

If I go to my closet and take it out right now, I can assure you this laptop will boot as it always did (booted some 3 months ago). Suddenly I have there a working machine that has seen snow and sun and has been more time On than any other computer I owned. Forgetting for a moment all the other components that contribute to this, I'm pretty confident I could not expect such a long life if the drive wasn't an HDD. Probably would have died on me before the 4 years I used it uninterruptedly ended. Instead of a working machine I have there hidden on a backroom closet, I'd have a non working machine that is essentially useless to me.

Desktops are thankfully much easier to deal with concerning failed components. In any case, I like to trust my stuff. To be assured that if I put this computer away tomorrow, in 9 years I can bring it back to become a file server, or an email server, or a... dunno, something that doesn't involve becoming a phone stand.

But for the time I'm using this computer, for sure I can imagine myself doing upgrades as I go. 3 years warranties are good, 5 year expected lifetime is even better. But SSDs are very reliable on that they will fail for sure after their write limit is reached. There's no getting away from that. Whereas HDDs can perform well beyond their expected lifetime.

A price we have to pay, I guess for all that wonderful performance boost. But one that nonetheless I regret.

Quote:
Although I will say... Marfig, I'm shocked at you! No backup system, no failsafes?? It only takes $50 and some free cloning software to have a solid backup system!
LOL!
Not like that I do have a backup schema in place. Just not a reliable and consistent one. For one I cannot produce disk images yet for lack of space. For another I'm backing up to another hard drive connected to the same PSU. I need both storage space and an external drive. This will allow me to perform disk image backups (as well the more practical incremental backups I'm doing now) . And do it in a foolproof way.

Well, you are right. As is right now, no failsafes indeed. If my PSU goes south it can take both production and backup HDDs, if it so wishes.
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:36 AM   #7
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Optix, I must always tend to the safety of my flock. But thanks for reminding me, I have some more red shards and brimstone to sell on Spiral Knights...

That's a fair enough point, although I think the majority of people can't stand to use 8-10 year old hardware, if the machine lasts that long and they even keep it that long. I certainly can't stand my current laptop for any serious work, it can't be upgraded and the processor/drive are both so slow that Windows XP runs like a chore, forget about upgrading to a much friendlier Win 7... Even a modern laptop would consume half the power of this one. I'd have sold it and bought a new one if I was in a position to do so, but for the time being it is what I have and I'll make do.

As parts of the NAND wears out, it should be mentioned that any SSD will mark the areas as read-only. The NAND specification requires that the NAND flash remain readable past this point for a minimum of one year. So no data will will suddenly be lost once the last program-erase cycle completes (which itself occurs when the chip detects no further program-erase cycles are possible).

It should also be mentioned that the NAND flash cells themselves will begin to degrade after a certain point in time... they are guaranteed to hold a charge for 10 years, but past this point they won't be able to store a charge. Since the electrical charges is how memory stores the user's data, it's a bad idea to plan to keep any SSDs and probably many other NAND-based devices for 10 years.
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Last edited by Kougar; 07-16-2011 at 12:40 AM.
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig
Consider my old Toshiba Satellite Pro 6000. This is a 9 year old laptop I just keep because I have good memories of it on the back of a car...
LOL! Just when you think you know somebody.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig
Forgetting for a moment all the other components that contribute to this, I'm pretty confident I could not expect such a long life if the drive wasn't an HDD.
Honestly, I am not too confident in any of today's storage devices, hard drives included. If I pick up an HDD, I anticipate it to last no more than three years, as that's pretty-much been my luck with any I've picked up in the past five years. Having redundancy today is more important than ever.

It's funny, because I have a 250GB Seagate (I believe) in my laptop at the moment, and it's not working properly, at all. My OS boots in 2m 10s (I tested an SSD and it booted in 33s), and applications and the OS itself reacts slowly. The HDD in there is only a couple years old (to be fair, I am sometimes a little rough with things, but even so...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig
Not like that I do have a backup schema in place. Just not a reliable and consistent one. For one I cannot produce disk images yet for lack of space. For another I'm backing up to another hard drive connected to the same PSU. I need both storage space and an external drive. This will allow me to perform disk image backups (as well the more practical incremental backups I'm doing now) . And do it in a foolproof way.
If you can swing it, I'd say get a 2TB drive for like $70 at Newegg or somewhere else, and use that for backups. If you can't afford a copy of Acronis (I'd wait a couple of months since 2012 is almost out), just use SyncBack free to create some profiles to keep reliable backups. $70 is such a small price to pay to avoid severe regret down the road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kougar
As parts of the NAND wears out, it should be mentioned that any SSD will mark the areas as read-only. The NAND specification requires that the NAND flash remain readable past this point for a minimum of one year. So no data will will suddenly be lost once the last program-erase cycle completes (which itself occurs when the chip detects no further program-erase cycles are possible).
That's interesting, not sure I was aware of that.
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