OCZ Vertex 450 SSD has 20-nm NAND, tweaked Indilinx controller

OCZ's Vertex SSD has a storied history. The original model launched in 2009 and was one of the first consumer-grade SSDs worth buying. Since then, we've seen yearly refreshes with different controller and NAND technologies. The latest edition is the Vertex 450.

In a sense, the new model represents a return to the Vertex's roots. While recent versions have employed Marvell and SandForce controller silicon, the original was based on an Indilinx chip. Indilinx is now owned by OCZ, which used its in-house controller team to develop the Barefoot 3 chip that debuted in the Vector SSD late last year. A tweaked version of that controller appears in the Vertex 450.

According to OCZ, the updated BF3-M10 chip runs at a "slightly lower clock speed" than its Barefoot 3 predecessor. The new revision also has a more power-efficient clock generator. Otherwise, it appears to be identical to the Barefoot 3. The BF3-M10 has dual processors, eight NAND channels, and support for 256-bit AES encryption.

In the Vertex 450, those eight channels are linked to 20-nm MLC NAND produced by IM Flash Technologies. OCZ buys flash by the wafer and does the packaging itself. The resulting cost savings are passed along to the consumer, the company says.

Capacity Max sequential (MB/s) 4KB random (IOps) Price
Read Write Read Write
128GB 525 290 75,000 70,000 $130
256GB 540 525 85,000 90,000 $235
512GB 540 530 85,000 90,000 $500

The table above details the performance specifications and suggested prices for the three members of the Vertex 450 family. The performance ratings are slightly lower than those attached to the Vector, but so are the prices. 128, 256, and 512GB variants of the Vector are selling for $145, $250, and $540, respectively.

Since the Vector is based on older 25-nm NAND that should be costlier to produce than the Vertex's 20-nm chips, it's no surprise that the newer drive is cheaper. I'd expect the Vertex's street prices to be even lower than the MSRPs quoted above. The Vector 128GB has fallen $5 from its initial suggested retail price, and the 256 and 512GB flavors are down $20 each.

Of course, the Vector also comes with a free copy of Far Cry 3. OCZ didn't start bundling Far Cry 3 until a couple months after the Vector's release, so I wouldn't be surprised if there were another game lying in wait—Blood Dragon, perhaps.

The Vertex 450's three-year warranty is pretty standard for a mid-range drive, but it's two years shorter than the Vector's coverage. Both drives are rated for 20GB of writes per day for the length of their respective warranties. All told, the Vertex 450 is guaranteed to take about 22TB of writes under typical client workloads.

With the Vector holding the highest overall score in our performance tests, we're eager to see whether the Vertex 450 can keep up. Unfortunately, our sample arrived late Wednesday afternoon, leaving precious little time for testing before OCZ announced the drive this morning. The Vertex is making its way through our storage test suite as I type this, but the process normally takes a few days, and it's not finished yet. Stay tuned for a full review. In the meantime, you can check out some high-res shots in the image gallery below.

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