Model: Optiarc VP Series 480GB Solid State Drive
Provided By: Optiarc
Optiarc is no stranger to the data storage industry. Originally established in 2006 as a joint venture between Sony and NEC, Optiarc combined the technologies and expertise of its parent companies to provide some of the best optical drives in the world. Sony soon took over NEC's share of the company, making it a wholly-owned subsidiary. By 2013 though, Sony would be forced to shut Optiarc's doors. Despite having a 15% market share, increased competition from overseas manufacturers had forced the price of optical drives down to unsustainable levels. Thankfully, Optiarc's story does not end there. In 2017, Vinpower Digital acquired rights to the brand and re-launched it with a new series of DVD writers.
Vinpower is also using the Optiarc brand to expand into the flash storage market. This spring, they launched Optiarc's VP series SSDs. Designed with a focus on data integrity, the VP utilizes market leading components like Phison's PS3111-S11 controller as well as Toshiba's 64-layer BiCS3 3D TLC NAND. The drive is also equipped with an enhanced firmware to better control the data flow and prevent errors or overloading at the cellular level. To top it all off, Optiarc has implemented intensive testing procedures that go far beyond the standardized mainstream testing process. The company uses state of the art hardware to test each element of every single VP series SSD to ensure long term reliability and stability.
The VP series is available in 240GB and 480GB capacities. For this review, Optiarc sent us the 480GB version of the drive which is capable of delivering up to 550 MB/s sequential read and 490 MB/s sequential write speeds as well as up to 63,000 random read and 85,000 random write IOPS.
|Optiarc VP Series 480GB Solid State Drive|
Environment and Reliability
Dimensions and Weight
Needless to say, this is only a taste of what the VP has to offer. To give you an idea of what to expect, we'll take a closer look at Optiarc's new SSD and then see how well it performs. Does the VP have what it takes? Can it deliver the performance and features that we've come to expect from Optiarc? Keep reading as we find out.
Optiarc's VP series SSD comes in an eye-catching, blue and green box. The front advertises many of the drive's key features including its 480GB capacity, SATA 6Gbps interface and maximum read and write speeds. There is also a small, plastic window which lets you look inside the box and see what the VP looks like. The back of the box provides a bit more information, including the drive's full specifications. The VP does not come with any accessories or documentation which is most likely an attempt by Optiarc to make the drive as affordable as possible.
The VP looks very similar to other 2.5-inch SSDs on the market today. The outer casing is made entirely out of black plastic with large, greenish-blue stickers on the top and bottom. Along with the Optiarc logo, these stickers show information like the capacity, rated speeds, part number and serial number.
The VP uses Phison's PS3111-S11 controller chip. This small, single core SSD controller supports two channels with up to 16 chip enables (CE) per channel. The S11 is also compatible with SLC, MLC, TLC and 3D NAND flash and features advanced technologies like end to end data path protection, SmartECC, SmartZIP and SmartFlush. The controller also supports Device Sleep (DEVSLP) but for whatever reason it is not enabled on the VP.
For the 480GB version of the VP, Optiarc has opted to use Toshiba's 64-layer BiCS3 3D TLC NAND flash. Looking at the picture above, you can see that there are two 128GB NAND flash packages on either side of the PCB. Also take note that there is no DRAM cache chip. Instead, there is 32MB of SDRAM embedded in the controller.
The test system used in this review is equipped with an Intel Core i7-6700K CPU, GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-UD3 motherboard, 32GB (16GB x 2) of Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 memory, Samsung 960 PRO 512GB SSD and a GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1060 WINDFORCE OC 6G graphics card. For the operating system, I installed a fresh copy of Windows 10 Enterprise.
To test the performance of Optiarc's VP series SSD, I ran a series of benchmarks using CrystalDiskMark, HD Tach RW, ATTO Disk Benchmark, AS SSD, HD Tune Pro, Anvil's Storage Utilities, Iometer and PCMark 8. For comparison, I've also included test results from the ADATA Ultimate SU750, Samsung 860 QVO, Samsung 860 PRO, Crucial MX500, Plextor M8V, Crucial BX300, ADATA Ultimate SU900, Plextor S3C, Toshiba OCZ VX500, ADATA Ultimate SU800, Plextor S2C, Crucial MX300, Plextor M7V, PNY CS1311, OCZ Trion 150, PNY CS2211, Plextor M6V, Crucial BX200, OCZ Trion 100, Kingston HyperX Savage, Crucial MX200, OCZ Vector 180, Kingston BX100, Samsung 850 EVO M.2, Samsung 850 EVO mSATA, AMD Radeon R7, Silicon Power Slim S80, Samsung SSD 850 EVO, OCZ ARC 100, SanDisk Ultra II, Crucial MX100, SanDisk Extreme Pro and Samsung SSD 850 PRO.
As I mentioned earlier, Optiarc's VP series SSD is based on Phison's PS3111-S11 controller chip. Looking at the screenshot above, you can see that 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 Optiarc, the 480GB version of the VP is capable of reading at 550 MB/s and writing at 490 MB/s. While the drive performed better than expected when reading, it came up a bit short in CrystalDiskMark's sequential write speed test.
Contrary to what we saw with AS SSD's compression benchmark, the VP performed better when using highly compressible 0x00 (0 Fill) data. This time around, the drive was able to read at 562.6 MB/s and write at 543.3 MB/s.
HD Tach RW 220.127.116.11:
Next, I used HD Tach to test the VP'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 VP had average read and write speeds of 464.2 MB/s and 446.1 MB/s respectively, as well as a burst speed of 457.2 MB/s.
ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46:
I also used ATTO Disk Benchmark to test the VP's sequential read and write speeds. The tests are run using blocks ranging in size from 0.5KB to 8192KB and the total length set to 256MB.
When tested with ATTO, the VP's read speeds topped out at about 560 MB/s and its write speeds at 532 MB/s.
AS SSD is a benchmark designed specifically for solid state drives. The application contains five synthetic tests which are 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 5.00:
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 VP's random read and write speeds, random access times and the number of operations per second.
The VP performed relatively well when benchmarked with HD Tune. The drive had average read and write speeds of 515.1 MB/s and 429.0 MB/s, respectively, and a burst rate of 132.7 MB/s when reading.
When writing 4KB blocks, the VP reached 27,478 IOPS and had an average speed of 107.338 MB/s. The drive was slightly faster when reading, reaching 29,341 IOPS with an average speed of 114.617 MB/s.
Anvil's Storage Utilities:
Anvil's Storage Utilities is another benchmark designed with SSDs in mind. The standard storage benchmark measures a drive's performance by testing its transfer speeds, access times and IOPS.
Optiarc VP 480GB - Incompressible Data
Optiarc VP 480GB - Compressible Data
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 VP'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 VP's performance was very similar to what we saw in our other tests. The drive was able to read at 531.25 MB/s and write at 452.43 MB/s.
The VP performed relatively well when doing random reads and writes. In our tests, the drive was able to read at 167.52 MB/s and write at 242.24 MB/s.
According to Optiarc, the VP is capable of 63,000 IOPS when reading and 85,000 IOPS when writing 4K blocks. In our tests, the drive reached 42,886 random read IOPS and 62,015 random write IOPS. As with most drives, the VP performed better at higher queue depths. With the queue depth set to 32, it reached 77,456 random read IOPS and 74,367 random write IOPS.
Vantage PCMark 8 - Storage Test:
PCMark 8 is a complete benchmark for Windows. It includes five benchmark tests, each designed around a specific scenario. The storage benchmark measures drive performance using real-world traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and a selection of popular games.
PCMark 8 also includes a consistency test which measures the performance consistency and degradation tendency of a storage system. The test reports the performance level at the start, the degraded steady-state and the recovered state as well as the number of iterations required to reach them. For this test, we are focusing on the Adobe Photoshop (Heavy) trace and will look at both the bandwidth and latency of the drive
The VP didn't do as well as some of the other drives in this test. Its bandwidth dropped below 30 MB/s during the degradation and steady phases, pushing its latency above the 1600ms mark. The VP's performance increased somewhat during the recovery phase. However, it still lagged well behind the other drives, topping out at only 55 MB/s.
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 10, 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.
To test the VP's TRIM and garbage collection functions, I first put the drive in a "dirty" state. I used Iometer to fill 80% of the drive and then ran a random write test for 30 minutes. Looking at the screenshot below, you can see that the VP's average read and write speeds dropped to 475.79 MB/s and 69.54 MB/s, respectively.
Optiarc VP - Dirty
To see how well the VP could recover, I let the computer sit for about 30 minutes and then reran the test. The drive wasn't able to reach the factory fresh performance shown in our earlier tests. However, its average write speed jumped up to 446.32 MB/s.
Optiarc VP - After TRIM
Lastly, I used Parted Magic to perform a secure erase on the VP. With the drive wiped clean, it was able to read at 516.25 MB/s and write at 450.29 MB/s.
Optiarc VP - Secure Erased
When shopping for an SSD, people typically look at things like performance and price. What many don't realize though is that reliability is just as important, especially when you're trusting it to store your personal data. Optiarc knows this and, with their new VP series SSD, they've delivered a drive that focuses first, and foremost, on data integrity and long term reliability. Along with an enhanced firmware, the VP is equipped with high caliber components like Phison's PS3111-S11 controller and Toshiba's 64-layer BiCS3 3D TLC NAND. Furthermore, the company puts their drives through a rigorous testing process to further reduce the chance of failure and data loss.
When it came time to perform, Optiarc's VP series SSD did fairly well throughout most of our tests. In our sequential read and write tests, the 480GB version of the drive was able to read at speeds as high as 562 MB/s and write at speeds in excess of 481 MB/s. Despite the lack of a separate DRAM cache, the VP also had no problems holding its own when doing random writes, producing more than 50,000 IOPS at low queue depths.
Optiarc's VP series SSD is available now in 240GB and 480GB capacities and can be purchased directly from RunTechMedia or through Amazon.com for $35 and $55, respectively. If you need more storage, the company has plans to release 960GB and 1920GB versions of the drive by the end of the year.
- Available in 240GB and 480GB capacities
- Phison PS3111-S11 controller
- Equipped with Toshiba 64-layer BiCS3 3D TLC NAND
- Good sequential and random read and write performance
- Tested to ensure long term reliability and stability
- Ultra-slim form factor
- Reasonably priced
- 3 year warranty
- Not as fast when writing incompressible data
- Does not support hardware based encryption
- Not available in higher capacities (yet)