If you thought the first generation of SandForce controllers was impressive then the performance from the second generation will simply blow you away.
To say that the 240GB Vertex 3 is an impressive drive is to do it a disservice; it is a pretty amazing drive with performance you could only dream about even as recent as last year. In the space of just one generation OCZ has brought out a drive with sequential performance that threatens to overwhelm the SATA 6Gbps interface.
But, and there's always a but, behind the headline speeds, which are nearly twice the speed of the previous generation Vertex 2, the 4KB performance isn't.
Don't get us wrong, the Vertex 3 still has first-rate 4KB performance, making it a superb all round drive, it's just not as pronounced as the sequential read/write performance difference.
Another point to bear in mind is that to get the stunning speeds the Vertex 3 has to offer you really need a Sandy Bridge platform with its native 6Gbps support.
You might not get the full benefit from a board that uses a third party 6Gbps controller like Marvell's 91xx just because of the way that the chip is connected in the board.
You have to feel a little sorry for Intel's SSD division as fresh from the launch of its Marvell controlled 510 Series, its fastest drive to date, the thunder has just been stolen in the most empathic way. But as we said in our review of the Intel 510 series, the timing of its launch was always going to be unfortunate with imminent arrival of the second generation of SandForce controllers.
The one thing that SandForce's new controller does show up is that the idea that the 6Gbps interface would be future proofing for a while yet is now out of the window, well at least it is for the SSD market.
For mechanical drives it'll be a long while yet before the interface gets anywhere close to being flooded by data.
But if the Vertex 3 is anything to go by, SandForce's latest controller has almost made the interface redundant for SSDs overnight.
OCZ's exploration of the PCIe bus for its RevoDrive and RevoDrive X2 parts suddenly makes a lot more sense. And what will be interesting is to see these controllers either paired in OCZ's RevoDrives or how about four of them in the Revo X2 range of PCIe SSD drives?
SandForce's SF-2000 range of controllers provide stunning sequential read/write performance and shows where the future of SSDs is heading.
After all if the combination of SandForce and OCZ can produce a drive in the shape of the Vertex 3 250GB that is almost twice as fast as the previous one in only one generation of the controller, who knows where we'll end up, one things for sure, the replacement for SATA 6Gb/s needs to devolved a lot faster than previous thought.
It's a bit pricey and although the headline performance figures make for amazing reading, is it worth the hundred pound or so premium over the previous generation Vertex 2?
Well, of course it is.
Quite simply the SSD that all others will be measured by...for now.