OCZ Vertex 3.20 120GB SSD Review

by Robert Tanner on May 27, 2013 in Storage

Recently, OCZ began simplifying its SSD product line quite significantly in order to make the decision-making process easier for consumers. This was also encouraged by the fact that even budget models today offer some great performance. OCZ’s Vertex 3.20 targets that market, replacing the Agility and Vertex 3. Is it a worthy successor?

Real-World: Boot Times, Game Level Loading

For the boot test, we perform a cold boot with the stopwatch starting the moment the power button is pressed until the last systray icon has finished loading. A large number of factors can change how fast a computer starts; whether the motherboard uses a BIOS or the newer UEFI; if a RAID controller has to be initialized; to delay timers or other motherboard optimizations. In other words, individual results will vary depending on the system hardware.

Obviously, our P67 motherboard is the bottleneck at this point; it takes more than just fast storage to quick-boot a system! It just goes to show, when considering purchasing an SSD other factors such as the motherboard age or age of the laptop negate some of the performance advantages of higher-end SSDs.

Game Level Loading

SSDs deliver some of the most benefits to games. Not only can the game load significantly faster so users can hurry up and wait to get through various advertisement screens, but they also boost level or map load times. For games where player immersion into the new world is important, the difference between 15 and 25 seconds can seem huge when waiting for the next part of the level or world to load.

For our new regimen we chose Portal 2 and Civilization V. Portal 2 is already a very well optimized game, but it’s immersive, so we time how long it takes to load the sp_a2.bts6 custscene. With Civilization V‘s recent overhaul to game storage files to help decrease load times, and the new option to disable the intro movie trailer, it becomes possible to time how long it takes to start the game.

Games have always liked SandForce drives, potentially due to the large amounts of compressible data that are involved. Performance of the Vertex 3.20 puts it directly in the middle of the pack if wishing to quibble over milliseconds. Again, this is one test where it doesn’t matter if one uses a budget SSD or the most expensive SSD – either one will deliver considerable performance gains over a hard disk drive. The adoption of an SSD means either the CPU or the GPU becomes the next bottleneck for game performance.