Sunday, April 15, 2012

OCZ Vertex 3 60GB, Kingston SSDNOW V+200 120GB, and Corsair Force GT 240GB SSD Review By Kirk Spencer

Improving the overall performance of a computer usually boils down to identifying the bottlenecks for a given computer. HDD drives, or hard drives with spinning platters, have moving parts in them. As you might imagine, anything with moving parts is going to be significantly slower than a similar device that does not require moving parts. SATA III introduced higher bandwidth capabilities of up to 6 Gb/s. That’s a speed you will not come close to reaching with any standard HDD. In today’s review we will be showcasing three different SATA III SSD’s (Solid State Drives) each of varying sizes and specifications that already push the limit of what SATA III allows. They are the OCZ Vertex 3 60GB, Kingston SSDNOW V+200 120GB, and Corsair Force GT 240GB SSD SATA III drives.
OCZ Vertex 3 60GB
First up on our list is this beauty, the OCZ Vertex 3 60GB SSD. In the box you will find a mounting bracket, screws, an installation guide, a nice bragging rights sticker and most importantly the drive itself. We’re very impressed with the presentation of the OCZ packaging. I know it doesn’t translate to performance, but it is always nice to see companies go that extra mile to make their products look as good as they perform. The specifications listed on OCZ’s website for the drive are as follows:
●Max Read: up to 535MB/s
●Max Write: up to 480MB/s
●Random Write 4KB: 60,000 IOPS
●Maximum 4K Random Write: 80,000 IOPS
Right away we know we’re in for a treat looking at the high IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second) and read/write speeds. OCZ uses synchronous NAND for their Vertex 3 drives. Synchronous NAND is much faster than the alternative Asynchronous NAND. However, Synchronous NAND usually comes at a bit of a cost.
Kingston SSDNOW V+200
Next on our list is the Kingston SSDNOW V+200 SSD. This drive is targeted towards business users. The box includes mounting brackets, SATA cables, a USB cable, a USB enclosure and the SSD drive. The hard drive enclosure is a nice touch to the package. It’s small and portable, making it easy to take your files anywhere. Let’s have a look at the specifications for Kingston’s SSDNOW V+200 SSD:
●Max Read: up to 535MB/s
●Max Write: up to 480MB/s
●Random Write 4KB: 44,000 IOPS
●Maximum 4K Random Write: 55,000 IOPS
We’re looking at similar read/write speeds to our 60GB OCZ drive. The IOPS are not quite as high which is probably due to this being a business drive rather than an enthusiast drive. Kingston uses Asynchronous NAND for this drive, so keep that in mind as we run through our benchmarks.
Corsair Force GT 240GB

Our final drive in today’s lineup is a beastly 240GB drive from Corsair. The contents of the box include screws, a mounting bracket and the SSD. Here are the specifications for this last drive:
●Max Read: up to 555MB/s
●Max Write: up to 525MB/s
●Maximum 4K Random Write: 85,000 IOPS
The sustained random write 4KB IOPS was not available on their website, but judging from the max 4K random write IOPS all we can say is that we’re excited to put this one to the test. This is another drive targeted at the enthusiast market, so it comes as no surprise that Corsair is using Synchronous NAND in their Force Series SSD’s.
System Hardware:
●Core i7-3820 Intel processor
●32GB quad channel HyperX memory from Kingston
●P9X79 Deluxe motherboard from ASUS
●Antec Kuhler h2o 920 liquid cooling
●Antec HCG-620M power supply
Software used:
The first two applications use random data to test the drive’s performance while ATTO uses raw data which does a good job of demonstrating the full potential of the drives. ATTO has been around for years and it is what most manufacturers use for their specifications. We turn to AS SSD and CrystalDiskMark because they use random data which will come closer to simulating real world performance. As always, benchmarks are not a definitive guide to how well a device works but they should give you a good idea of what you can expect.
Benchmarking Results
AS SSD - OCZ Vertex 3
CrystalDiskMark - OCZ Vertex 3
The 60GB Vertex 3 drive from OCZ starts out setting the bar pretty high. Read speeds are averaging 457.5 MB/s in sequential reads which is due to its synchronous NAND. Another impressive number worth pointing out here is the read access time. A stunning 0.046 ms is faster than the other two drives we reviewed today.
ATTO - OCZ Vertex 3
From ATTO we can see that the fastest read was 560538 KB/s while the fastest write was 502,923 KB/s. These results are higher than the 535 MB/s and 480 MB/s listed on their website. The results we’re seeing from OCZ’s enthusiast line Vertex 3 are nothing short of jaw dropping. If you’re looking for a fast SSD priced at just under $100 we highly recommend the Vertex 3 60GB SSD from OCZ. You will not be disappointed with the results.
AS SSD - Kingston SSDNOW V+200
CrystalDiskMark - Kingston SSDNOW V+200
We talked a little bit about how these two pieces of software use random data for their testing. The Kingston SSDNOW V+200 drive uses the SF-2281 controller which relies on real time compression. What we’re seeing here is an indication of the controller used in these drives and the type of memory which is Asynchronous NAND. The drive has a harder time with random data which is also referred to as incompressible data. This drive is marketed for the business. Businesses need reliability and if there is a way to couple reliability with speed then you’ve got a solid business product. The V+200 has a few features that businesses will be interested to know of:
●DuraClass - Data integrity protection
●RAISE - Advanced data reliability
●DuraWrite - optimized writes to extend endurance, security and reliability usually come at a cost and we do see that in these first two benchmarks.
ATTO - Kingston SSDNOW V+200
I have to say, this is a bit unexpected. Much like the OCZ drive, Kingston outperforms the advertised speeds for the V+200. Our fastest results were 554109 KB/s read and 517465KB/s write. This is a drive that offers reliability a business can depend on and still delivers some impressive speeds. Any business owner considering switching to SSD’s should not overlook the reliability and speed you get from the Kingston SSDNOW V+200.
AS SSD - Corsair Force GT
CrystalDiskMark - Corsair Force GT
Are you seeing what I’m seeing? Somebody pinch me now because this must be a dream! This drive is absolutely amazing. Obviously geared towards the enthusiasts, the Corsair Force GT 240GB drive really shines in these benchmarks. The read access time is is not as fast on the reads as the other two drives, but it pulls ahead in the write access time.
ATTO - Corsair Force GT
This drive outperforms the other two in just about every scenario we see in these reviews. The fastest read was 560538 KB/s and the fastest write was 527637 KB/s which out performs the drive’s specs if only by a margin. We pointed out earlier that the Kingston drive uses a SF-2281 controller. Let’s have a look at the other two drives.
OCZ Vertex 3 Controller

Pulling apart the OCZ drive we can clearly see it is using the same SandForce SF-2281 controller. This could possibly explain why it suffers from the random data write benchmarks, but the Synchronous NAND helps it stay ahead in performance.
Corsair Force GT Controller
Opening up the Corsair drive we can see that it too uses SandForce, but this controller is the SF-2282. The SF-2282 controller is similar to the SF-2281, with the difference being in the capacities it supports.
Final Thoughts
As most things go, price is almost always going to be a part of the decision making process. With that in mind, the OCZ Vertex 3 60GB SSD can be picked up for roughly $98.99, Kingston’s SSDNow V+200 120GB SSD will cost you about $149.99, and the Corsair Force GT 240GB SSD is going for about $299.99. If you’re looking for one of the fastest drives out there without breaking the piggy bank then you might want to look at the Vertex 3 60GB fromOCZ. If reliability is your main concern but you still need speed then the V+200 SSD from Kingston is a safe bet. You also get the hard drive enclosure as an added bonus. We’re expecting a HyperX drive from Kingston that uses Synchronous NAND where we’ll give them the opportunity to demonstrate the performance you can expect from their enthusiast line. Lastly, the Corsair is breathtakingly fast! If you have the money for their 240GB Force GT SSD then you’ll have a very capable drive that delivers in every way you would expect from an enthusiast SSD.
All three drives performed excellently, and are built well. Quality was very good. The OCZ Vertex 3, Kingston SSDNOW V+200, and Corsair Force GT series of SSD drives are all very fast. Based on their design, features, quality, and performance, the OCZ Vertex 3 60GB and the Kingston SSDNOW V+200 have both earned our Highly Recommended Award. And the Corsair Force GT 240GB has earned our Editor's Choice Award. Congrats! For more info and complete specs, check out their websites at,, and