Performance wise, OCZ made a good product with the original Vertex 3 SSD, and an even better one with the Max IOPS variant. Essentially, it comes down to 4-way interleaving in the Vertex 3 versus 8-way interleaving in the Max IOPS. This pays dividends when it comes down to intensive operations which are speed limited by high latency between IOs. In benchmark results, the benefits of 8-way interleaving is made clear by the spikes in random 4K performance. And for typical user usage patterns, random 4K operations make up a high percentage of transactions.
Specifically, the performance benefits with the Max IOPS drive will only be apparent for some tasks and operations, otherwise it performs similarly to the vanilla Vertex 3. Performance wise, the characteristics of the Vertex 3 Max IOPS are excellent on both the Apple OS X and Windows PC platforms.
Support wise, the three years that OCZ offers for the Vertex series is pretty standard. Characteristic of being a relatively large company in the industry, OCZ has worldwide locations in Asia (Taiwan), Europe (Netherlands) and North America (Canada & US) for RMA returns. Support options are wide including a toll free telephone line, web tickets, and a heavily trafficked support forum.
We have a special update for Mac users since our last look at the original Vertex 3 in January of this year. We originally called out OCZ for not having an Mac compatible firmware update tool. They weren't the only company to not have a native tool. In fact, only a handful of companies at the time had such a tool. But in February, this changed when OCZ released their new Linux based SSD firmware update tool that is compatible with Apple computers. A big kudos to OCZ for adding support for Mac hardware owners.
Price wise, the Vertex 3 Max IOPS series is the most expensive consumer oriented SATA SSD line offered by OCZ. Compared to the original Vertex 3, you can expect to pay 30% more for the Max IOPS version. This is pretty big jump in price, but as far as the computer hardware market goes, if you want the fastest hardware you need to pay a premium. For most users, we'd still recommend an LSI SandForce SF-2281/2282 based drive with synchronous NAND like the original Vertex 3. If price is not a barrier and you want the absolute best performance for a SATA SSD, then step up to the Vertex 3 Max IOPS.
OCZ's 240GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS SSD is the first drive to win our Editor's Choice award in both the PC and Mac categories!