Do not judge a book by its cover, so the old adage goes. A pretty box will not improve the performance of a computer device, but a nice package looks good on the shelf for those that hoard their products original packaging. (*raises hand sheepishly*) The Vertex (since the Vertex 2) has had a very classy, impressive looking package. Using a glossy dark grey box with some hint of silver and black with white and grey lettering. The package looks sophisticated. It is understood a pretty box is not all its about, but a pretty box looks good.
The front of the box highlights a few features and a picture of the SSD itself, it even comes printed with the density of the drive on the front (128 GB) normally this is relegated to a sticker a single box can be used for numerous size drives.
The back of the box has a marketing blurb and a note that SSD’s are designed to be more durable than a conventional HDD. (This bit is repeated in a number of languages). The UPC also contains the model number of the drive, as well as a made in Taiwan branding.
The interior of the package consists of a 3.5” bracket that is designed to slide into the interior box helping to hold it closed through friction. Removing the bracket we can open up the insert and view the SSD in an ESD. Also included with the drive and bracket are some mounting screws, a manual and a “My SSD is faster than your HDD” sticker. Included with the first OCZ SSD review done here at TechREACTION, it still seems unusual that with a classy package, such an ostentatious sticker would be included. Personal preference? A nice OCZ case badge. I have yet to see a picture of someone displaying that large sticker on their PC. I have seen a few people use case badges though.
The drive looks exactly like the image on the package. The same color scheme is utilized on the top of the drive as well. The bottom of the drive is a glossy brushed aluminum with a large, almost full-sized, white label that covers all the standard details. It includes a part number and serial number, as well as a “don’t try and blend this” type of warning. Of course the FCC, ROHS and do not throw away type logos are included as well.
To open a drive, simply remove the warranty sticker (voiding the warranty) and unscrew the four fasteners holding the drive together. Laying it open we see one thing we have seen before. A large thermal pad connects the Indilinx controller to the bottom of the drive. Heat rises, but manufacturers all design their SSDs the same way, top down. The assumption is the SATA pin out should be on the same side of the PCB as the controller. For smaller density drives no NAND needs be on the other side. To flip the SATA pin out to the other side would make the power and data connections upside down. The thermal pad is necessary, during testing the drive did get warm with no active cooling. Not hot, about what a normal HDD temp gets to, probably around 35C.
Checking out the components that make up the drive we see the controller first and foremost. IDX400MG0-BC is the model number and signifies the Everest 2 controller. 16 NAND devices populate the drive (8 per side of the PCB). 16 chips of IM Flash Technologies NAND populate the board. 29F64G08ACME3 is the product number.
64 gigabit per chip times 16 = 128 Gigabytes total. Does this technology use all of it or does it over provision like the pervious Vertex line up… (*looks at package to check*) nope. It’s a 0% over provisioning type of drive. As viewed in the pic it uses two h5tq2g63bfr Hynix DDR3 cache RAMs. These are 1600 MHz DDR3 that combine for a total of 512MB of cache. That is quite the cache you got going on there Mr Anderson…
All we can tell about the NAND is that it is a 64 GB Tape ball grid array 3.3v x8 width, 100 pin Tape Ball Grid Array with separate IO. Still working on the Separate versus Common IO. The ONFi 2.0 whitepaper covers both synchronous and asynchronous NAND. So just because NAND is ONFi 2.0 qualified does not make it different. The pinout descriptions however, and Microns separate IO point to this being Synchronous NAND. since the two only differ by a few pins, the two (two pairs) of most important being Skew control (DQS) and Clock that is the clock signal used for synchronous NAND.
512 KBs of cache 128 GBs of NAND. Time to see how it stands up.