In the past I have primarily used a single test system for almost all of my solid state drive testing, which consists of the following hardware:
Intel Core i5 661 Processor
EVGA H55 Motherboard
Noctua NH-D14 CPU Cooler
Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR3 2x 2GB
Sparkle GTS 250
StarTech 2 Port PCI Express USB 3.0 Controller Adapter Card
BFG 550 Power Supply
NZXT Premium Cables
Corsair Obsidian 800D Case
Lite-On Optical Drive
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
This system has worked as expected for all of my testing with Indilinx controllers thus far, but SandForce and the firmware that OCZ uses on the Vertex 2 is different. OCZ highly recommends that users use AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) in your system BIOS as well as the latest Intel RST (Rapid Storage Technology) software.
The EVGA H55 does not support AHCI and there have been zero BIOS updates since its release. I called EVGA tech support to confirm this. I also tried calling my PR contact as well as emailing him, but my call and email were never returned. Also, according to literature released from Intel, the H55 chipset does not support Intel RST.
It was clear that the H55 system was not going to be able to showcase the Vertex 2's (or any other SandForce-based drive) true potential. As luck would have it, the only other AHCI / Intel RST capable desktop I had on hand was a Gateway FX 6840-01e, a mid range gaming system. Specifications for the FX can be found below:
Intel Core i7-860 @ 2.8 GHz
8GB DDR3 1333 MHz
1TB 7200 RPM HDD
ATI Radeon HD5570
Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
I did run tests on the H55 for the hell of it and sure enough, the drive was crippled by the lack of AHCI and Intel RST. Plain and simple, if your target system doesn't support these, I wouldn't consider this SSD.
It's also worth noting that I tested the Vertex 2 using firmware 1.10.
With our test system all set, let's move ahead and put the Vertex 2 to the test.