OCZ Solid 3 Series 120GB Review

Discussion in 'Solid State Drives (SSDs) and Flash Storage' started by notyou, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. notyou

    notyou Notebook Deity

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    Hello everyone, here is my review of the OCZ Solid 3 Series 120GB Solid State Drive (SSD).

    Review Outline
    - Introduction
    - About the OCZ Solid 3 120GB
    - Why the OCZ Solid 3 120GB?
    - Review
    - Pictures
    - Installation
    - Benchmarks
    - Real world results
    - Final Thoughts

    Introduction
    We'll start off with a quick background for those who aren't up to date on SSDs. SSDs are unlike your typical hard drive in that they don't contain platters which hold data, instead they rely on flash memory. This gives them the benefits of quicker access and no moving parts leading to increased shock resistance and lower temperatures. The downside is that the maturity of SSDs is nowhere near that of HDDs, leading to higher prices and lower capacities.

    About the OCZ Solid 3 120GB
    OCZ has been involved in SSDs from the beginning making them one of the industry leaders. OCZ's third generation SSD lineup consists of the Vertex 3, Agility 3 and Solid 3, dropping in both price and performance as you move down.

    Looking at specifications for the Solid 3 120GB we have (taken from the OCZ website):
    - Available in 60GB and 120GB Capacities
    - Interface: SATA 6Gbps / Backwards Compatible 3Gbps
    - Native TRIM support
    - Seek Time: .1ms
    - Slim 2.5" Design
    - 99.8 x 69.63 x 9.3mm
    - Lightweight: 77g
    - Operating Temp: 0°C ~ 70°C
    - Ambient Temp: 0°C ~ 55°C
    - Storage Temp: -45°C ~ 85°C
    - Low Power Consumption: 2.7W Active, 1.5W Idle
    - Shock Resistant up to 1500G
    - RAID Support
    - Compatible with Windows 7, Vista, XP 32-bit/64-bit, Mac OSX, Linux
    - MTBF: 2 million hours
    - 3-Year Warranty
    - Max Performance*
    - Max Read: up to 500MB/s
    - Max Write: up to 450MB/s
    - Random Write 4KB (Aligned): 20,000 IOPS

    Why the OCZ Solid 3 120GB?
    The short story is that I had been looking at solid state drives for well over a year already but never found one that could compare to the Intel G2 drives for small reads and writes, but wasn't limited at sequential performance and at the price point I wanted. Now, just last week I saw NCIX had a number of SSDs on sale and with the Solid 3 being roughly $190 Canadian (before tax and before a $30 MIR). At this price point (~$1.50/GB) I could not resist my temptations to turn to the dark side and embrace my inner geek.

    Review
    Starting with the drive itself, OCZ packaged it in a no-frills manner inside a plain box with a sticker slapped on the front and back. Now, I don't mean to slam OCZ, but the box looks cheap. I have no problem with it since it helps them save 3¢, but since the box is what consumers see, it makes sense to me to spend a little bit more to jazz things up.
    Pictures
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Inside the box OCZ has packaged the drive in stiff foam for protection and included an installation guide and a horribly cheezy sticker that I immediately threw away (sorry OCZ, should have saved another 3¢ by not including it).
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Installation
    When installing this in my G73JH notebook, I had a few small issues. First was that the drive is ever so slightly wider (~0.5mm) than a standard drive forcing me to bend the drive caddy in order to fit it in (it was very snug and I wouldn't have needed screws other than putting them in to avoid losing them). Second is that the drive is slightly taller than others (~0.5mm) which meant that I also had to bend two of the drive guide pegs slightly so they would not bump into the guides in the notebook. It may or may not be visible in this next image, but the peg on the right and the one on the opposite side are the ones I bent slightly.
    [​IMG]

    Benchmarks
    First I must apologize since I was only able to test this in an E-350 APU system I built (since my G73 only supports SATA II) meaning some of the benchmarks may not be at their best. And now without further adieu, the results.

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]

    Overall, very quick and for a comparison here are the results for the original 500GB 7200 RPM drive that was in my notebook.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    Real world results
    Just a couple of points to show where the SSD has made a big improvement in a couple of situations I've already noticed.
    - First is the initial Windows installation which only took 15 minutes compared to roughly 45 minutes on my HDD.
    - Second is start up time, <15 seconds to login screen compared to 45 seconds with the HDD.
    - Lastly is the AMD Catalyst driver install which only took 10 seconds compared to 60+ with my HDD.

    Final Thoughts
    Overall, this has been an awesome drive and I have no real complaints other than buyer's remorse (because I know there's something faster :(, but at least I can take solace in knowing I won't be able to tell the difference because this drive performs so well).
     
    Lasted edited by : May 8, 2015
  2. Peon

    Peon Notebook Deity

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    How long did you use the Solid 3 for before writing the review?

    Also, you won't like hearing this, but NCIX was selling the Vertex 3 120 GB for $199 last week. If it weren't for the BSOD issues, I'd have picked it up in a heartbeat.
     
  3. pkincy

    pkincy Notebook Evangelist

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    I truly believe all the problems must have affected their sales so as production catches up and surpasses demand they will get cheaper.
     
  4. notyou

    notyou Notebook Deity

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    It's been roughly a week I've been using it now. And yes, I saw the new deal, a few days after I bought and unpackaged the solid 3. Oh well, I still like it over the hard drive I had.
     
  5. Peon

    Peon Notebook Deity

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    To a certain extent, yes, but as long as the crooked hardware review sites (I'm looking at you, AnandTech and StorageReview) continue to praise OCZ/SF without reservation, the Vertex 3 will remain a top seller. The only major site I know of that has mentioned the issues everyone talks about is [H]ardOCP (who amusingly also mentioned the fact that everyone else in the review community has been silent) but they only just started reviewing SSDs, so let's hope they remain honest in the future.

    If you look at the Vertex 3 on a regular day, it's still no cheaper than an Intel 510, and if you're willing to watch 5-10 different etailers like a hawk for the online equivalent of door crashers, then you can get any SSD for cheap.

    Seems like you're one of the lucky ones who have no compatibility issues. Let's hope it stays that way :)
     
  6. yalcin19

    yalcin19 Notebook Consultant

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    I believe writing a review and sharing first experience with it are totally two
    different things.

    Sorry if I offend any but this is what I believe.

    I can share my experience with an F1 car but writing a review??
    Anyway again sorry couldn't put any other way.

    There even a guy used to write here, he now own a SSD review site.
    And lecturing people on how SSDs operate what he really didn't understand at all.
    Anyway world is funny as it is.:)
     
  7. notyou

    notyou Notebook Deity

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    It's ok to disagree, but I believe the two are not entirely unrelated. If the drive performs well benchmark-wise (i.e. good review), it will influence your experience (in a good way) while if it doesn't, it's not going to get a good review and this will affect your impression of the drive. See, it's not so clear cut. ;)
     
  8. chimpanzee

    chimpanzee Notebook Virtuoso

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    To extend the F1 analogy, sure it performs well on the track but when I use it on the road, I have to find a stop pit every 100km or so which would negate all the gain if I want to travel from point A to point B of 600km.

    Thus in the case of SF, you enjoy the speed for one full day(super fast and beat the lowly x25m) and the next day it dies and you need to SE it and restore from backup while I am using my lowly x25m during the time you are doing the SE etc.
     
  9. yalcin19

    yalcin19 Notebook Consultant

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    When benching something you should have some other data to compare with provided the same working conditions. By itself won't mean anything to anyone. Further you need to understand what those numbers mean and how they affect the overall performance. And a review involves bit more than just benching (reliability, price to benefit ratios, price per Gb, and etc).

    I am sorry if I spoiled your thread or if I offended you.
    That was not my intention at all.
     
  10. Peon

    Peon Notebook Deity

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    Now, let's be fair. Believe it or not, the majority of people are satisfied with their Sandforce SSD. Even the most pessimistic of estimates (Newegg reviews) shows that the Vertex 3 has a 4 star average.

    Yes, a significant minority of owners (20-30% maybe?) have problems, and I do wish the professional review sites would disclose this fact, but to imply that everyone will have to secure erase every day is just plain FUD.
     
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