OCZ Vector 256GB SSD Review

Author: Roger Cantwell
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Monday, January 21st, 2013
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/ocz_vertor_256gb/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

OCZ's latest SSD offering is the 256GB Vector which we're reviewing here today. OCZ is taking solid state drives to the next level with the Vector lineup, featuring the new Indilinx infused Barefoot 3 controller that promises to bring extreme performance to the masses at an attractive price (around $0.93 per gigabyte). The Vector series will be available in several storage capacities: 128GB, 256GB and 512GB versions.

Taking a quick look at the package, on the front is a brief description of OCZ's Vector SSD that highlights the SATA III (6Gbps), MLC Flash Memory and Indilinx technologies, as well as TRIM support, the included 3.5/inch desktop adapter and bonus Acronis True Image software (download required). At the back of the box is a brief description in multiple languages.

   
Available Capacities
128GB, 256GB, 512GB
 
NAND Components
MLC
Interface
SATA III / 6Gbps
Form Factor
2.5 inch; ultra-slim 7mm
Dimensions
99.7 (L) x 69.75 (W) x 7mm (H)
Weight
115g
Controller
Indilinx Barefoot 3
Performance Optimizations
TRIM, Idle Time Garbage Collection
Power Consumption
Idle: 0.9W Active: 2.25W
OS Compatibility
Windows, Linux, Mac OSX
Included Contents
Acronis cloning software registration key*;
3.5" desktop adapter
Warranty
5-years

The Vector SSD itself is tucked into a form fitting foam rubber sleeve to protect it from damage during shipment. OCZ makes data transfer to your new solid state drive painless thanks to the included Acronis True Image software product key. Other accessories include an OCZ 3.5" drive tray and mounting screws along with a detailed installation guide and a "I love my SSD" sticker.

OCZ's Vector series is almost 100 percent manufactured using in-house technologies, the drive's NAND Flash being the exception. At the heart of the Vector SSD is the Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller which features a radical new design using the ARM Cortex processor coupled with OCZ's Aragon co-processor that handles certain storage operations. The Vector 256GB is capable of Sequential Read/Write speeds up to 550MB/s~530MB/s, with 4k Random Read/Writes and 100,000~95,000 IOPS. Other features include BCH ECC capable of correcting up to 28 random bits/1kb, TRIM and idle time garbage collection, SMART support and an Advanced NAND management suite (hopefully) ensuring many years of trouble-free use.

Unlike other solid state drives that use a flimsy metal or plastic case, OCZ's Vector utilizes a lightweight metal case. With it's ultra-thin 7mm profile, OCZ's Vector is the perfect upgrade for your laptop.

The Vector is equipped with two 256MB DDR3 chips for cache and 25nm MLC NAND in a standard 8-channel configuration.

To test the performance of the OCZ Vector 256GB and it's comparison drives we will be using a combination of both real world applications as well as synthetic benchmarks.

Test Setup:

Benchmarks:

Comparison Hard Drives:

The OCZ Vector 256GB represents some serious value in terms of storage capacity at roughly $0.93 cents per gigabyte. Corsair's Force GT 60GB meanwhile will cost you around $1.48 per gigabyte, roughly $0.55 more per gigabyte in comparison to the Vector. Mechanical SATA drives remain cheaper still, but the overall trade off in performance versus SSDs leaves little room for comparison.

For this test we use custom files to measure the time it takes to copy 100MB, 500MB and 1000MB of data between partitions.

This next test measures the time it takes from the moment the Windows loading screen appears to the desktop becoming available.

For second part of the test, we measured the amount of time for the computer to fully power off once the OS shutdown button is clicked by the user.

For this test we measured the amount of time it takes for Just Case 2 to load to the main menu from the desktop

Next we gauged the SSD's performance in SiSoftware Sandra Professional, an excellent all-around benchmark capable of testing every component in your system including hard drives, memory and processors.

HD Tune measures the read and write speeds of your hard drive.

PCMark Vantage is another all-in-one benchmark. Some of the featured tests include graphics, gaming and web browsing.

PCMark 7 from Futuremark includes tests for your system's processor, memory, hard drive and many other components.

Storage benchmarks have traditionally been designed for mechanical hard drives, but AS SSD was created as a more effective way to test solid state drives. AS SSD measures the drive's sequential, random read and write performance along with the access time. In the benchmarking queue is OCZ's Vector 256GB, Agility 4 256GB, followed by Corsair's Force GT 60GB and Seagate's Barracuda 1TB.

The ATTO disk benchmark measures the read and write performance of disk drives by using various transfer sizes and lengths. Once again the results are shown in the following order: OCZ's Vector 256GB, Agility 4 256GB, Corsair's Force GT 60GB and Seagate's Barracuda 1TB.

In a market loaded with similar products it can be difficult to create something that stands out from the crowd, and even more difficult to create one that delivers on what it promises. Yet that is exactly what OCZ did when they released the Vector series of solid state drives based on their Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller; they promised extreme performance and delivered.

OCZ's Vector series took a huge leap forward with the introduction of the Indilinx Barefoot 3, the first controller and firmware designed entirely in-house by the manufacturer. Featuring an Advanced NAND management suite of tools to safeguard against the wear an tear of every day use, the Vector series is capable of 20GBs of host writes for 5 years. In terms of performance the Vector not only met our expectations but far surpassed them.  For instance the Vector scored a wicked fast 0.04ms access time in the AS SSD benchmark.  Meanwhile booting into the OS took just 7 seconds, with no waiting while background programs loaded.

For those of you that have been hesitant about making the move to a solid state drive, there's never been a better time than now to make the jump as the Vector series has demonstrated that the days of needing to update the SSD firmware right out of the box are long gone; now you can simply plug it in and load your favorite OS and drivers, and you are good to go. Prices for the Vector series range from $139~$499 depending on the capacity of the drive you choose, and when you include the 5 year warranty you can't go wrong.

»Neoseeker.com

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