Three of the four SSDs examined in this roundup are using LSI Sandforce's SF-2281 NAND storage controller. As we've confirmed in our past SSD articles and reviews, performance differs between products using this controller with different NAND configurations. For the purpose of this article, we can already guess that the Sandforce based drives with toggle NAND will be faster than those with synchronous NAND. And in general, having a higher number of NAND dies per controller channel usually means higher performance. With respect to the products on the chopping block and the factors described above, OCZ's Vertex 3 Max IOPS and OWC's Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G should lead the charts.
On the other side of the coin, Kingston's HyperX 3K shouldn't be regarded as a performance slouch. We've found that Sandforce SSDs using synchronous NAND to be close on the heels of the top performing toggle based drives while putting a smaller dent on your wallet.
Last but not least, Crucial's m4 is the drive in our roundup that uses Marvell's 88SS9174 NAND controller. Noticeably, it doesn't use any overprovisioning so owners can use the full capacity of the NAND flash. In the 120-128GB capacity class, this works out to 8GB more space compared to the Sandforce drives.
|Solid State Drive||Capacity||NAND Modules||NAND Dies per Module||Total NAND Dies||Controller||NAND Type|
|Crucial m4||128GB||8 x 16GB||2||16||Marvell 88SS9174||25nm synchronous, Micron brand|
|Kingston HyperX 3K||120GB||16 x 8GB||1||16||Sandforce 2281||25nm synchronous, Intel brand|
|OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS||120GB||16 x 8GB||1||32||Sandforce 2281||32nm toggle, Toshiba brand|
|Other World Computing Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G||120GB||8 x 16GB||2||32||Sandforce 2281||32nm toggle, Toshiba brand|
|Solid State Drive||Warranty Length||RMA Shipping Locations||Customer & Technical Support Contact Options|
|Crucial m4||3 years||USA||Online Tickets, Toll-Free Telephone, Online Forum, Online Chat|
|Kingston HyperX 3K||3 years||Taiwan, UK, USA||Online Tickets, Toll-Free Telephone|
|OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS||3 years||Canada, Taiwan, USA||Online Tickets, Toll-Free Telephone, Online Forum|
|Other World Computing Mercury EXTREME Pro 6G||5 years||USA||Online Tickets, Toll-Free Telephone, Online Chat|
Most of the drives come with a 3 year warranty and the manufacturers offer a wide variety of customer/technical support contact options. OWC has a standout with a 5 year warranty length on its EXTREME Pro series. Another differentiating factor are the available RMA shipping locations for each company. International customers of Crucial and OWC who need to return their drives back for service may need to shell out more money for shipping, compared to Kingston and OCZ who offer more available shipping locations.