Yesterday OCZ introduced an updated version of their Vertex 3: The Vertex 3.20. The name derives from the fact that the new Vertex 3.20 uses 20nm IMFT MLC NAND, whereas the original Vertex 3 used 25nm IMFT NAND. OCZ did the same with Vertex 2 and it's a common practice to move to smaller lithography NAND when it becomes cost-effective. At first the new lithography NAND may be more expensive and limited in availability but once the process matures, prices start to fall and eventually will overtake the old process node. Fortunately OCZ has learned from their mistakes and now the Vertex 3 with new NAND is easily distinguishable from the original Vertex 3, unlike with the Vertex 2 when OCZ silently switched to 25nm NAND.

  Vertex 3.20 Vertex 3
Capacity 120GB 240GB 120GB 240GB
Controller SandForce SF-2281
NAND 20nm IMFT MLC NAND 25nm IMFT MLC NAND
Sequential Read 550MB/s 550MB/s 550MB/s 550MB/s
Sequential Write 520MB/s 520MB/s 500MB/s 520MB/s
4KB Random Read 20K IOPS 35K IOPS 20K IOPS 40K IOPS
4KB Random Write 40K IOPS 65K IOPS 60K IOPS 60K IOPS

I asked OCZ why only Vertex 3 was updated with 20nm NAND and OCZ told me that the 20nm NAND is slower than 25nm. Intel initially told me that their 20nm NAND is as fast as their 25nm NAND (only erase time is slightly slower but that shouldn't impact end-user performance), though it should be kept in mind that OCZ uses NAND from Micron too and their binning process may be different from Intel's. Either way, it doesn't make sense (at least yet) for OCZ to update their high-end SSDs with the slower 20nm NAND, which is why Vertex 4 and Vector will stick with 25nm IMFT NAND. 

In other news, OCZ is also looking to phase out Agility 3 and 4 models. If you've been reading about OCZ's new business strategy (in a nutshell, fewer products and more focus on high-end market), this move makes a lot of sense because Agility has always been a compromised budget lineup. In the near future the Vertex 3.20 will be OCZ's mainstream model, which is why it was important for OCZ to cut the costs by moving to smaller process node NAND. 

Source: OCZ Press Release

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  • mayankleoboy1 - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    How come some of the values have improved for 120GB ? Firmware magic, or moar over provisioning, or a combination of the two ?

    Will you do a re-review ?
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    It's hard to say. For the original Vertex 3, OCZ reports Iometer and AS-SSD numbers, but for the new Vertex 3.20 OCZ only reports one set of unspecified numbers. I'm assuming they are Iometer scores and hence I'm using Iometer scores for the Vertex 3. Anyway, it could be a difference in firmware too.

    I currently have quite a few drives to review so I'm not sure if I'll have time to squeeze another drive in. I'll try my best though :-)
    Reply
  • ahar - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Do you have time to correct "less products" to "fewer products"? ;-) Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Sure, thanks for the heads up! :-) Reply
  • ShieTar - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Is it correct that the 240GB version has lower random read speeds (35k) than the 120GB version (40k)? It would seem more logical the other way around. Reply
  • Marlowe - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    I don't know why I took the time out of my work day to write this on the internet in a comment section.. To make it look right I even had to learn how to insert a "tab" space in a text area without the browser selecting the next element on the page. (Keyboard shortcut Alt + 09).
    Vertex 3.20 Vertex 3
    Capacity 120GB 240GB 120GB 240GB
    4KB Random Read 20K IOPS 35K IOPS 20K IOPS 40K IOPS
    4KB Random Write 40K IOPS 65K IOPS 60K IOPS 60K IOPS

    Anyway long story short: the 40k should've said 20k. The rest was correct.
    Reply
  • Marlowe - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Apparently the comment system removed my painfully organized tab-table.. It also thought my comment was spam, so I had to remove the source links to make it pass. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    According to OCZ's site, that's what the specifications are. SandForce has always been a bit weird, for example 480GB Vertex 3 is noticeably slower than the 240GB model, even though more NAND should result in increased parallelism and hence enhanced performance.

    Since our comment system thinks every link is spam, I can't link the datasheet but just check the Vertex 3 product brief PDF at OCZ's site.
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Oops, my bad, you're correct. The 120GB is rated at 20K IOPS for random read, not 40K. Fixed. Reply
  • Marlowe - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Well all links are blocked except those in the "Love my job"-posts ;-) Reply

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