Model: OCZ Vector 150 120GB Solid State Drive
Manufacturer: OCZ Storage Solutions
Provided By: OCZ Storage Solutions
OCZ Storage Solutions is no stranger to the computer industry. Founded by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts, the company entered the memory market in 2002. Determined to manufacture the very best memory for overclockers, OCZ quickly established itself as a leader in the industry by breaking speed barriers and maintaining a reputation of quality. Today, OCZ is fully committed to the solid-state storage market. As a wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba, the company offers a variety of high-performance SSD solutions for the enterprise and consumer markets.
One of the latest additions to OCZ's line of consumer-oriented solid state drives is the Vector 150. Building off the success of the original Vector SSD Series, the Vector 150 is based on OCZ's Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller. Developed entirely in-house, this cutting-edge controller is powered by both an ARM Cortex processor and OCZ's own Aragon co-processor and features an advanced, multi-level ECC engine, efficient garbage collection and adaptive ﬂash management algorithms. The Vector 150 also adds support for AES-256 encryption and is equipped with 19nm MLC NAND flash for even greater endurance and performance. Along with 50GB of host writes per day for five years, the drive is capable of 550MB/s read and 530MB/s write speeds and a maximum of 95,000 4KB random write IOPS.
For this review, OCZ sent us the 120GB version of the Vector 150. This SSD comes equipped with 512MB of on-board cache and is capable of delivering up to 550MB/s sequential read and 450MB/s sequential write speeds as well as up to 80,000 random read and 95,000 random write IOPS.
|OCZ Vector 150 120GB Solid State Drive|
Dimensions and Weight
Needless to say, this is only a taste of what the Vector 150 has to offer. To give you an idea of what to expect, we'll take a closer look at OCZ's new SSD and then see how well it performs. Does the Vector 150 have what it takes? Can it deliver the performance we've come to expect from OCZ's Vector series? Keep reading as we find out.
The Vector 150 comes in a small, black and blue box. Along with a picture of the drive, the front advertises many of its key features including its 120GB capacity, SATA 6Gbps interface, Indilinx controller, MLC flash memory and TRIM support. The back of the box provides a bit more information regarding the Vector 150's features and capabilities. Inside, you'll find the SSD, a 3.5" adapter bracket, mounting screws, "I Love My SSD" sticker, installation guide and a small piece of paper with download instructions and serial number for Acronis True Image.
The construction of the Vector 150 is very similar to that of OCZ's original Vector and Vertex 450 SSDs. The outer casing is made entirely out of aluminum and is covered by a great looking silver finish. The top of the drive also has a large, blue and gray sticker showing that it is part of OCZ's Vector series.
Like the Vector, the Vector 150 uses the Indilinx Barefoot 3 M00 (IDX500M00-BC) controller chip. Designed entirely in-house, the Barefoot 3 M00 is powered by an ARM Cortex processor as well as OCZ's own Aragon co-processor.
For the 120GB Vector 150, OCZ opted to use Toshiba's 16GB 19nm TH58TEG7DDJBA4C Toggle Mode MLC NAND flash chips. Looking at the pictures above, you can see that there are eight of these chips on one side of the PCB. The drive also has two 256MB Micron IWM77-D9PFJ DDR3 memory chips that are used for caching and garbage collection.
The test system used in this review was an HP 8200 Elite. The computer came equipped with an Intel Core i5-2400 CPU, 4GB of DDR3 1333MHz memory, Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3250312AS 250GB SATA 6 Gb/s hard drive, NVIDIA Quadro FX580 512MB PCIe graphics card and an Intel 82579-LM gigabit network card. For the operating system, I installed a fresh copy of Windows 7 Enterprise.
To test the performance of the OCZ Vector 150, I ran a series of benchmarks using CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1, HD Tach RW 22.214.171.124, ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46, AS SSD, HD Tune Pro 4.61, Anvil's Storage Utilities and Iometer. For comparison, I've also included test results from the OCZ Vertex 450, Silicon Power Slim S55, Samsung SSD 840 EVO, Seagate 600 SSD, SanDisk Extreme II, OCZ Vector, Plextor PX-256M5Pro Xtreme, Samsung SSD 840 Pro, Samsung SSD 840, Kingston Ultra Plus, OCZ Vertex 4, OCZ Agility 4, Kingston SSDNow V300 and Kingston HyperX 3K.
Like the original Vector, the Vector 150 is based on the Indilinx Barefoot 3 M00 controller platform. Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that, unlike SandForce controllers, it performs equally well with both incompressible (0%) and compressible (100%) data.
First, I ran a few quick tests using CrystalDiskMark. This benchmark tool measures the performance of a storage device by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its random read and write speeds using blocks 512K and 4K in size.
According to OCZ, the 120GB Vector 150 is capable of reading at 550 MB/s and writing at 450 MB/s when connected to a SATA 6 Gb/s port. While the drive performed well, it came up a bit short of these numbers in CrystalDiskMark's sequential read and write speed tests.
The Vector 150 performed equally well when using highly compressible 0x00 (0 Fill) data. This time around, the drive was able to read at 502.8 MB/s and write at 438.9 MB/s.
HD Tach RW 126.96.36.199:
Next, I used HD Tach to test the Vector 150's read, write and burst speeds as well as its seek times and CPU usage.
Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that the Vector 150 had average read and write speeds of 335.4 MB/s and 277.2 MB/s respectively, as well as a burst speed of 363.2 MB/s.
ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46:
I also used ATTO Disk Benchmark to test the Vector 150's sequential read and write speeds. The tests were run using blocks ranging in size from 0.5KB to 8192KB and the total length set to 256MB.
When tested with ATTO, the Vector 150's read speeds topped out at about 556 MB/s and its write speeds at 445 MB/s.
AS SSD is a relatively new benchmark designed specifically for solid state drives. The application contains five synthetic tests used to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of a drive.
AS SSD also includes a copy benchmark. This test copies an ISO (two large files), program (many small files) and game (small and large files), returning the speed and duration of each.
HD Tune Pro 4.61:
Next, I ran a series of tests using HD Tune Pro. This hard disk utility measures a drive's performance by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its access time, burst rate and CPU usage. For this review, I'm also going to use it to benchmark the Vector 150's random read and write speeds, random access times and the number of operations per second.
The Vector 150 performed fairly well when benchmarked with HD Tune. The drive had average read and write speeds of 473.8 MB/s and 342.7 MB/s, respectively, and a burst rate of about 403 MB/s when reading.
OCZ Vector 150 120GB - HD Tune Random Access Read
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 128GB - HD Tune Random Access Read
OCZ Vector 150 120GB - HD Tune Random Access Write
Samsung SSD 840 Pro 128GB - HD Tune Random Access Write
The Vector 150 didn't disappoint when doing random reads and writes. When writing 4KB blocks, the drive reached 22,105 IOPS and had an average speed of 86.351 MB/s. The Vector 150 was even faster when reading, reaching 30,181 IOPS with an average speed of 117.896 MB/s.
Anvil's Storage Utilities:
Anvil's Storage Utilities is another new benchmark designed with SSDs in mind. The standard storage benchmark measures a drive's performance by testing its transfer speeds, access times and IOPS.
Lastly, I ran a series of tests using Iometer. This tool can be configured to benchmark a number of things. In this case, I used it to measure the Vector 150's read and write speeds and the number of operations per second. The tests were run using random bytes and a queue depth of 3.
The Vector 150's performance was very similar to what we saw in our other tests. The drive was able to read at 484.58 MB/s and write at 448.61 MB/s.
The Vector 150 also performed fairly well when doing random reads and writes. In our tests, the drive was able to read at 98.20 MB/s and write at 287.51 MB/s.
According to OCZ, the 120GB Vector 150 is capable of 80,000 IOPS when reading and 95,000 IOPS when writing 4K blocks. In our tests, the drive reached 25,138 random read IOPS and 73,603 random write IOPS. The only way I came close to OCZ's numbers was to increase the queue depth. With the queue depth set to 32, the Vector 150 reached 79,115 random read IOPS and 85,050 random write IOPS.
While SSD's offer many benefits, there are some downsides to using flash memory. One of the biggest issues people run into is performance degradation. Over time, an SSD will run out of fresh blocks and will have to write over data the file system has marked as deleted. This procedure is very complicated and can slow an SSD's write speeds considerably.
To fix this problem, most manufacturers have added TRIM support to their SSDs. The TRIM command allows an operating system, such as Windows 7, to tell an SSD which data blocks are no longer in use. Using this information, the drive pro-actively erases these blocks and adds them to the free block pool.
The Vector 150 also uses a number of other flash management techniques including background garbage collection, dynamic and static wear-leveling and advanced flash defect management. Where flash defect management and wear leveling optimize the way data is written on the drive, garbage collection maintains "like new" performance by reorganizing data to maximize the number of free cells.
To test the Vector 150's TRIM and garbage collection functions, I first put the drive in a "dirty" state. I used Iometer to fill the entire drive and then ran a random write test for 30 minutes. Looking at the screenshot below, you can see that the Vector 150's average read and write speeds dropped to 257.7 MB/s and 73.8 MB/s, respectively.
OCZ Vector 150 - Dirty
To see how well the Vector 150 could recover, I let the computer sit for about an hour and then reran the test. The drive's average write speed climbed up to 344.5 MB/s. However, its read speed still lagged a bit behind, averaging out at 182.5 MB/s.
OCZ Vector 150 - After TRIM
Lastly, I used OCZ's Toolbox utility to perform a secure erase on the Vector 150. With the drive wiped clean, it had average read and write speeds of 389.7 MB/s and 399.4 MB/s, respectively.
OCZ Vector - Secure Erased
The Vector 150 is a great choice for the gamer or enthusiast looking for an SSD that provides both high performance and superior endurance. Building off the success of the original Vector, OCZ's new flagship combines the company's Indilinx-infused Barefoot 3 controller with Toshiba's 19nm MLC NAND flash to deliver a fast and responsive storage experience. In our sequential read and write tests, the 120GB Vector 150 was able to read at speeds as high as 556 MB/s and write at speeds in excess of 440 MB/s. It also had no problems holding its own in our random write tests, producing more than 73,000 IOPS at low queue depths. Moreover, the drive performed equally well with compressible and incompressible data and was able to sustain these speeds, even after intensive use.
Of course, impressive performance isn't the only thing the Vector 150 has to offer. To offset the lower endurance associated with 19nm NAND, OCZ increased the amount of flash memory reserved for over provisioning. When combined with the Barefoot 3's advanced suite of flash management tools, the extra over provisioning gives the Vector 150 an industry-leading endurance rating of 50GB/day for 5-years. This is a 150% increase over the original Vector which was rated at only 20GB/day. Last, but not least, the Vector 150 offers support for AES-256 encryption, which should make the drive even more appealing to security conscious individuals and business users.
- Available in 120GB, 240GB and 480GB capacities
- Endurance rated at 50GB/day for 5 years
- Excellent sequential read and write speeds
- Good random read and write performance
- Performs equally well with compressible and incompressible data
- SATA 6Gb/s interface
- Synchronous MLC NAND flash
- Large DRAM cache
- Supports TRIM and idle background garbage collection
- Includes a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter bracket
- Includes Acronis True Image cloning software
- 5 year warranty
- Trades capacity for greater endurance