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OCZ Vertex 450 256 GB SSD Review: Can We Call It Vector Jr.?

OCZ Vertex 450: A True Descendant Of The Vector

As long as there's enough pricing space between the Vector and Vertex 450, OCZ's newer, more value-oriented model is the better buy. They're aesthetically similar, they perform a lot alike, and they're both plenty fast. Despite the added incentive of getting Far Cry 3 and two extra years of warranty coverage, the Vertex 450 gives you the superior price-per-gigabyte figure (providing you aren't worried about the game coupon).

That's in theory, anyway. When the Vertex 3 was followed up by the slower Agility 3, the two were priced too close to each other largely because of the NAND market's volatility. Back then, simply springing for the faster drive was a no-brainer. If you like the way the Vector moves, getting most of its repertoire for less money might sound like a solid plan. If you're not a fan, saving a few bucks probably won't change your mind.

At least on the consumer side, OCZ has a healthy track record with firmware support. Issues with the Vertex 3's SF-2281 controller led to a string of fixes that didn't always help. But, for the most part, OCZ continues supporting its products with updates, including last year's Arowana FTL release for the original Vertex/Agility drives. The most important releases enhance performance, rather than just fixing bugs. That's always appreciated, even if they don't change the value equation much. There are always places where behavior can be enhanced and refined, and some drives (like the Vertex 4) end up looking a lot different after OCZ's sculpting than when they first shipped. As for the Vertex 450, it's certainly a branch from the Vector's family tree, and its firmware shares the same characteristics as its predecessors.

Part of what OCZ is selling is speed, and the company's special firmware concoction helps hit grandiose performance targets without the massive vertical integration of a company like Samsung. OCZ's unique software does help make an impression in the benches, regardless of the downsides in extreme situations. You don't always get that highest level of performance, but you do get it most of the time, and that means the optimization is doing more than just artificially inflating scores.

After some soul searching, the San Jose-based company is moving away from the lower-end value offerings that made up such a big part of its line-up. Drives like the Octane S2 and Petrol are on borrowed time, along with several others intended to get solid-state technology into the desktop space for cheap. There is more than just anecdotal evidence that those drives were at times problematic. So, reducing the number and complexity of its offerings could help OCZ focus on building higher-quality products enthusiasts might be willing to pay more for.

OCZ is still fighting an uphill struggle, though. Now that it's de-emphasizing some of the areas formerly found lucrative, OCZ's success is dependent on its ability to sell premium SSDs. That puts the company up against powerhouses like Samsung. SanDisk, notably, is ramping up its assault on the consumer market. And now companies that OCZ didn't have to worry about before (Seagate, for example) are looking for blood, too.

Seeing how industry veterans like OCZ adjust to the hyper-competitive (and crowded) SSD market is going to be interesting. After all, it took 50 years for the hard drive segment to emerge, mature, and then consolidate into a handful of firms. How fast that happens in the SSD space is unclear. But OCZ has big plans for the future, and at least with products like the Vertex 450 delivering solid performance for less than $1/GB, we expect it to be around as this industry evolves further.

  • boulbox
    Kinda wanted to see 840 pro match up with it too. Guess it doesn't really matter since we could just go find your other benchies on it and compare it ourselves but i thought it would just be nice to have it up there.
    Reply
  • Faisal Mahmood
    Speed and performance are fine but what really counts is reliability which OCZ does not have. I had to RMA Vertex 2 twice and both times it lasted 8 months. Before that I invested in an Intel x25-m and it is still going strong.
    Reply
  • s3anister
    Just bought another 840 Pro. Really can't trust OCZ anymore after so many failed Vertex 3s.
    Reply
  • slomo4sho
    It is pretty common to find quality SSDs in the $0.55-0.65/GB range these days. Game coupon aside, the price of this SSD isn't all that competitive.
    Reply
  • technerd
    Faisal MahmoodSpeed and performance are fine but what really counts is reliability which OCZ does not have. I had to RMA Vertex 2 twice and both times it lasted 8 months. Before that I invested in an Intel x25-m and it is still going strong.SAME! I'm going to Samsung for my next SSD. OCZ's reliability is a joke
    Reply
  • kitsunestarwind
    I love OCZ The Vertex4 series SSDs have been nothing but rock solid reliable, much better then their earlier offerings and the problems with the Vertex2/3 series drives
    Reply
  • cryan
    slomo4shoIt is pretty common to find quality SSDs in the $0.55-0.65/GB range these days. Game coupon aside, the price of this SSD isn't all that competitive.
    The Vector gets the Far Cry 3 coupon until July 14th while the Vertex 450 doesn't get it at all. If you're having to choose between the two, the Vector is probably the better bet unless the V450 is significantly cheaper. It's hard to say what the Vertex 450 will cost once generally available, but it'd be prudent to expect prices to be higher for the first few weeks. Initially, the Vertex 450 will probably be near the $235 mark, only a few bucks less than the Vector (about $15). Is it worth giving up two years of warranty and a FC3 coupon to save $15? You be the judge.

    Regards,
    Christopher Ryan
    Reply
  • cryan
    boulboxKinda wanted to see 840 pro match up with it too. Guess it doesn't really matter since we could just go find your other benchies on it and compare it ourselves but i thought it would just be nice to have it up there.
    Stay tuned, because we're working on it. I've been rebuilding the entire database of comparative consumer SSD performance data, and some drives haven't been done yet for one reason or another. In some cases, it's due to time constraints. In other cases, acquiring or reacquiring particular SSDs has been problematic.


    Regards,
    Christopher Ryan
    Reply
  • dgingeri
    I'd like to see it's relative performance compared to a Vertex 4. I have two Vertex 4 drives, a 256 and a 128, and I've been wondering how these new drives would compare, and if they're worth spending the money to swap with my Vertex drives.
    Reply
  • raidtarded
    Later in its life, the Vertex 4 shipped with Micron NAND, eschewing Intel's flash for a slight performance drop and better pricing.

    Doesn't Intel and Micron use the same NAND via the IMFT partnership?
    Reply