Conclusion, Pricing, and Final Thoughts
- A decently performing 20nm SSD from a long pedigree.
- Sandforce 2281 controller is becoming outclassed by newer gen Indilinx and Samsung parts.
- Performance not competitive (as compared with Intel SSD 335)
- Pricing not competitive (see below)
Pricing and Availability:
Here's a current snapshot of Vertex 3.20 pricing:
Equivalent competition pricing – Intel 335 Series (20nm SandForce):
The pricing here seems a bit on the high end, especially considering the use of 20nm flash – something which should place the Vertex 3.20 pricing *below* that of other SandForce SSDs driving larger die 25nm flash. A quick search for '240GB sandforce' revealed nearly a dozen 25nm SSD models from PNY, Mushkin, and even Corsair, all of which were priced *lower* than the Vertex 3.20. Perhaps the most painful was the Intel 335 Series SSD, of which the 240GB variant currently sits at $220 – $10 cheaper than the new Vertex.
The largest disappointment here is that the Intel unit is running cheaper for full retail packaging with bracketry and cloning software thrown in, and the SSD itself outperforms the 3.20 while using the same controller and flash. Expanding my search outward from Newegg, I found the Vertex 3.20 for as low as $217, but those same searches found the 335 Series for $188.
The OCZ Vertex 3.20 line ships with a 3-Year warranty.
I believe we are sufficiently past the early days of SandForce controllers' firmware hiccups and bugs, and things should be mature enough to prevent any major issues at present. I feel it's safe to say there should be no major issues with currently shipping SandForce-based SSDs.
OCZ has done a lot of restructuring as of late. They have pared down their product lines and cut away some 'excess' divisions in order to focus on a core group of products. This fared well with their launch of the Vector – a very capable drive which continues to outperform to this day. That said, the Vertex 3.20 in its current form seems out of place. It lacks the performance of other SandForce-based units and even underperforms when compared to competition using the same IMFT flash, yet it is priced only marginally lower than their own flagship Vector. I fear that given the current performance and pricing, buyers are either going to opt for the flagship OCZ Vector or any of the other competition offering their own products at a lower cost/GB. Based on its current IOPS performance, the Vertex 3.20 would need to stay $10-$20 *below* the Intel SSD 335 to truly compete. Further, it would need to keep an even larger margin between it and the nearest 25nm competition. Slimmer margins can only be justified by greater performance, which we hope to see in a future firmware update.