|OCZ Vector Solid State Drive|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 09 January 2013|
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Closer Look: OCZ Vector SSD Series
Solid state drive devices have gained quick popularity with performance-minded consumers because they work equally well in PC, Linux, or Apple computer systems. Likewise, these drives install quite easily into both desktop and notebook platforms without modification. The OCZ Vector SSD Series is best suited for performance-orientated users, giving personal computers a much faster response time and boosting productivity.
In this article Benchmark Reviews will test the OCZ Vector SSD series. The 256GB model we received (VTR1-25SAT3-256G) is specified to reach 550 MB/s for sequential reads and 530 MB/s sequential writes. OCZ specifies 4K random reads up to 100,000 IOPS and random writes up to 95,000 IOPS. All capacities include Acronis True Image drive cloning software, and a 3.5" to 2.5" drive adapter tray for desktop installation.
OCZ Technology offers the Vector SSD series in three capacities: 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB. All models share the same part numbers with a capacity designator: VTR1-25SAT3-256G represents the 256 GB model.
Although the product specification advertise extremely fast performance ratings, OCZ Vector SSDs are designed with a focus on product reliability above all else. The Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller and firmware inside Vector SSDs receive a long validation cycle to ensure optimal stability is delivered to the consumer, which is punctuated by an industry-leading OCZ Technology five-year product warranty. This will certainly factor into the consumer's decision, as it guarantees long-term value.
Unlike fragile Hard Disk Drive (HDD) storage products, SSDs are not nearly as sensitive to impact damage and do not require (or benefit from) any kind of special vibration dampening or shock-proof enclosures. Once installed the SSD is usually hidden away from view, which explains why OCZ has maintained a conservative appearance on the Vector solid state drive.
The OCZ Vector SSD features a 7mm thick chassis that comes finished with a silver textured aluminum look. OCZ utilizes a standard two-piece metal enclosure for their Vector-series SSDs, with a series branding label on the top panel and product information label on the bottom. Internal components are revealed by removing four small counter-sunk screws located at the bottom of this solid state drive.
Standard 2.5" drive bay mounting points are pre-drilled into the SSD chassis with fine screw threading, allowing this drive to fit directly into notebook computers that use SATA connections. The SSD mounting positions matched up to the drive bracket on my notebook computer, and after only a few minutes of upgrading I booted-up from a restored Windows 7 System Backup Image with ease. Optionally, by using the included 3.5" to 2.5" tray adapter this SSD will also install directly into ATX desktop computers.
At the heart of OCZ's Vector SSD series is the 65nm 400MHz Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller branded with part number IDX500M00-BC, and comprised of an ARM Cortex processor and OCZ Aragon co-processor. The 256GB Vector SSD tested for this article included 512MB combined DDR3 DRAM cache buffer, using two 256MB Micron IC's (part 2DM77-D9PFJ) fixed to each side of the PCB. OCZ Vector utilizes ONFi 2.x-compatible 25nm synchronous Intel-Micron IMFT synchronous MLC NAND flash components, marked M2502128T048SX22, which are superior to asynchronous NAND but don't have the initial speed that Toggle-Mode NAND flash offers.
Backwards compatible with SATA 1.5 GB/s and 3.0 GB/s interfaces, this SATA 6.0 GB/s controller includes features such as Native Command Queuing (NCQ), S.M.A.R.T. health monitoring, and TRIM-based garbage collection. Indilinx Barefoot 3 SSDs offer BCH error correcting capable of 70 bits correction per 1KB of data.
In the next few sections we'll test the OCZ Vector solid state drive, comparing this solid state drive to other retail products intended for notebook and desktop installations.