Is it for real? Well, in many areas it is indeed superior, yes.
Read times for both compressible and incompressible data are superior, likewise for 4K random reads and writes.
The latter's especially important because it's these kind of operations that your SSD will be working on during general desktop use – accessing and creating small amounts of data across the whole drive.
It's also worth mentioning the reported burst speed with the HD Tach benchmark.
The A-Data S511 drive clocks 475 MB/s, compared to the OCZ Vertex 3's 409 MB/s. It's one of the biggest discrepancies between the two SSDs, and represents the maximum buffer of each.
Unlike the 4K random read/write performance, this won't impact noticeably on general use, but it's an indication of how differently the two drives (both controlled by that SF 2281) operate.
So which feathers does the Vertex 3 still have in its cap? Quite impressive, luxurious feathers, actually: write times.
It's especially apparent with incompressible data such as compressed images, films and music.
A-Data's otherwise speedy SSD lags behind by around 60MB/s. If you transfer a lot of this type of data between locations, the ball's still in the Vertex 3's court.
Compressible write performance is still very much the domain of OCZ's SSD.
We can only speculate about the nature of that performance gap. Maybe it's a hangover from the SF 2281's revision. Maybe write times have suffered slightly in favour of reliability.
If that's the case, we know which attribute we'd rather have. Regardless of its relative performance to the Vertex 3, the A-Data S511 is a fantastic drive.
The big one for the A-Data S511 is the relatively high 4K read and write speeds. It's this impressive performance that makes for speedy operations within the Windows environment more than any other.
As well as some impressive performance chops the S511 is also one of the cheaper SandForce 240GB drives out there. It's some £35 cheaper than the equivalent OCZ Vertex 3.
Write times are still the domain of the OCZ Vertex 3. Copying incompressible files, like audio and video files, will take longer on the A-Data drive.
The A-Data S511 is around £35 cheaper than the equivalent OCZ Vertex 3, and for that you get a healthy, reliable and – in many ways – faster SSD.