Network & Systems Architect

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Intel 320 Series vs. OCZ Vertex 2 (vs. Apple)

April 29, 2011Christian Kildau8 Comments

Actually this post should be called NO OCZ NO or something like that…

I already wrote about the OCZ Vertex 2 E once or twice with somewhat mixed feelings.
Now after 6 months with the first one, and 3 months with the second one, I wouldn’t recommend buying any of these again. Well, at least not if you’re using Apple.

60Gb OCZ Vertex 2 E in my Mac Mini (6 Months old):

  • huge loss in performance (maybe due to the lack of TRIM in OSX?)
  • sometimes the mini won’t fall asleep or just wakes up again

120Gb OCZ Vertex 2 E in my MacBook Pro (10 weeks old):

  • performance is still good
  • suspend2disk doesn’t work. Known bug. OSX will crash. OCZ promised to fix it – but didn’t!
  • sleep and direct wake-up results in the SSD not being recognized for ~10 minutes!!! No booting possible!

Most of the issues with OCZ’s SSDs seem to be sleep/hibernate related and from what I’ve heard do mostly affect Apple products, but their crappy support prevents me from buying any of their products again. They promised to release a firmware upgrade which fixes suspend2disk, but they did not. They closed the thread in their forums and don’t even respond to requests via eMail. But hey! At least they release the OCZ Vertex 3 – so you possibly get all these bugs fixed for just 180€!

All these issues and their non-responding support made me replace the Vertex with the new Intel 320 Series SSD. They might be slower according to their specs, but performance isn’t everything

Which leads me to the next part of this post…

The Intel 320 120Gb SSD! I installed this one in my MacBook Pro last week and what shall I say? After one week everything is great. I’m not talking about pure performance. I didn’t NOTE any difference in real life performance, but just in case… here is a simple sequential performance check:

OCZ Vertex 2 E 120Gb:

homer:~ $ dd if=/dev/zero of=10000M.img bs=1024 count=10000000
10000000+0 records in
10000000+0 records out
10240000000 bytes transferred in 82.815477 secs (123648385 bytes/sec)
homer:~ $ dd if=10000M.img of=/dev/null
20000000+0 records in
20000000+0 records out
10240000000 bytes transferred in 47.731347 secs (214534068 bytes/sec)

Intel 320 Series 120Gb:

homer:~ mrkofee$ dd if=/dev/zero of=10000M.img bs=1024 count=10000000
10000000+0 records in
10000000+0 records out
10240000000 bytes transferred in 108.879939 secs (94048546 bytes/sec)
homer:~ mrkofee$ dd if=file.img of=/dev/null
20000000+0 records in
20000000+0 records out
10240000000 bytes transferred in 47.695655 secs (214694610 bytes/sec)

The Intel is a tad slower in pure sequential write performance, which is a bit disappointing considering it’s one generation newer than the Vertex 2… But, now to the important stuff

  • Suspend2Disk: works
  • Closing and directly opening the MBP: works
  • Support: Well… it’s Intel. I don’t expect it to be any better than OCZ’s.
  • The good feeling of reliability: works

I haven’t received any negative reports from friends about the Intel X25-M  (the 320 Series predecessor) nor have I found much on the Interwebs… so I’m much happier with the Intel now…

This article has 8 comments
  1. jk

    I have recently changed my mind like you and decided to go with intel 320 120GB in my 17MBP(2011) because of good reliability and cost compared to others.

    originally I wanted to buy a sata 3 ssd but I heared about too many problems with sata 3 so its safer to go with sata 2

    apple needs to address the sata problems

  2. microft

    Thanks for the review.
    It made me decide to go with the Intel 320 instead of the Vertex 2E for my new white Macbook.

  3. Kevin Kershaw

    I was wondering if you are still having good results with the intel? I just bought an ocz vertex 2 and am worried about the issues I’m about to face for use in a mac. Of course, there’s a mac logo on the back of the box

    Were your ocz drives making use of garbage collection while you were using them?

    • Chris

      I’m still totally happy with the Intel. Can’t tell you about Garbage Collection on the OCZ tough.

  4. Max

    Hi there! I’m just thinking about buying an OCZ Vertex 2 120gb (OCZSSD2-2VTXE120G) for my MBP 13″ 2010(2.4).
    I have seen on the OCZ page that their firmware got updated since your post(now its 1.33). Can You please tell me if you upgraded to last firmware and if yes, of you still have any problems?
    Thank you so much.
    Kind regards

    • Chris

      No. I sold my Vertex 2’s because of all these issues. Also, I haven’t figured out how to upgrade the Firmware on a Mac!
      There are a few tricks as far as I remember, but really? Just ignore the Vertex2. I’m currently testing the Vertex3 and will post my results in a few days.

      To make it short: get an intel if you want reliablility.

      • Max

        Yes i understand its just that the vertex is 160 euros. The intel is 220. Thas why i’m asking.
        Thanks a lot!!

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