OCZ Vertex 120GB SATA2 SSD

Test Setup & Settings

In our original reviews of the OCZ SSD and Core SSD drives a comparison was made to the highest performing mechanical SATA-II based drives available on the market at that time. Their performance was somewhat underwhelming, managing to just about match the performance of the traditional platter based drives while only offering a fraction of the storage space. With the Apex 120GB it would appear that OCZ have upped the anti, and for this reason we’re going to give the SSD a chance to redeem its self by once again placing it up against some of the fastest mechanical drives we could get our hands on. The selection of drives can be seen below:

  OCZ Vertex WD Velociraptor Samsung F1 WD Caviar Black  Read Seek Time 4.3ms 8.9ms  12.2ms  Write Seek Time 4.7ms 8.9ms  12.2ms  Average Latency 5.50ms  4.17ms 4.17ms  Read Transfer Rate 250 MB/s 120MB/s  175MB/s 106MB/s  Write Transfer Rate 180MB/s 120MB/s  175MB/s 106MB/s  Capacity 120GB 300GB  1000GB 750GB  Cache 64MB 16MB 32MB  32MB

Unfortunately the results from our earlier SSD reviews could not be included in the graphs for the Vertex drive due to an entirely different benchmarking platform and test suite being used. However, as some of the results do appear to be quite similar to our original testing, we may refer to these results over the next few pages. Below are the specifications of the system used to conduct the testing of the above drives:

Processor: Intel Core i7 920 @ Stock Speed
Motherboard: MSI X58 Platinum
Memory: 6GB OCZ Gold 1600Mhz
SATA Controller: On-board ICH10R Southbridge
Drivers: Latest Intel ‘inf’ install
OS: Windows Vista x64 Ultimate SP1

It is also worth noting that in order to obtain the best performance from the Vertex, the following additional steps were performed prior to benchmarking:

  • Drive firmware upgraded to the latest version available on OCZ’s website (1275)
  • Primary partition was aligned as per OCZ’s recommendations
  • Drive was formatted with NTFS and a 4096 byte cluster size.
  • SATA Mode in BIOS was set to IDE for all hard disks.
  • ‘Enable Advanced Performance’ was selected in device manager for all hard disks.

While synthetic benchmarks such as HDTune offer a good insight into the performance of a disk drive, these figures do not always translate directly into real world performance. For this reason we selected to perform several day-to-day operations (such as file transfer and Windows startup) in addition to synthetic benchmarks. The full set of tests can be seen below:

Synthetic Benchmarks
HD Tune Pro 3.1.0
ATTO Disk Benchmark v2.34
PCMark Vantage HDD benchmarks
CrystalDiskMark 2.2.0f

File Write & Manipulation
Random file creation (15GB)
Sequential file creation (100GB)
Peazip file compression / decompression.

OS & Gaming
Windows Vista Startup time.
Windows Vista Shutdown time.
Unreal Tournament III map load time.

Now we’ve got that out of the way let’s move on to the results…