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OCZ Vector 150 240GB Review

OCZ Vector 150 240GB Review

Manufacturer: OCZ
UK price (as reviewed):
£167.98 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $234.99 (ex Tax)

Last year was certainly a rough one for storage specialist OCZ, as it was forced to enter bankruptcy proceedings. However, this was quickly followed by Toshiba snapping up the assets for a cool $35 million. While it thus remains to be seen how things will play out for the OCZ brand in the coming months, from our side of the looking glass it's essentially business as usual for now.

The Vector 150 is OCZ's newest SSD line, and it's available in three capacities – 120GB, 240GB and 480GB. As a flagship replacement for the Vector in OCZ's enthusiast range, it comes in above the Vertex 450 in the product stack. At £168, the 240GB model that we're looking at has almost the same cost per gigabyte as Samsung's 256GB SSD 840 PRO, which is currently £177. As such, the focus of the Vector 150 is more in the way of performance and endurance than pure value for money, although OCZ is looking to boost the drive's appeal here too with a free copy of Acronis True Image HD (which the cheaper Vertex 450 also has), an ever useful disk-copying tool.

OCZ Vector 150 240GB Review OCZ Vector 150 240GB Review
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The Vector 150 is, like previous Vector drives, enclosed in a solid metal casing and as such it's weighty and feels very robust. It's an ultra-slim drive at just 7mm tall, and OCZ also supplies a metal adaptor so that it can be fitted into standard 3.5-inch mounts if necessary.

OCZ Vector 150120GB240GB480GB
Max Sequential Read550MB/sec550MB/sec550MB/sec
Max Sequential Write450MB/sec530MB/sec530MB/sec
Max Random Read (4K QD32)80,000 IOPS90,000 IOPS100,000 IOPS
Max Random Write (4K QD32)95,000 IOPS95,000 IOPS95,000 IOPS
Steady-State Random Write (4K QD32)12,000 IOPS21,000 IOPS26,000 IOPS

One of the key things OCZ wants to highlight about the Vector 150 is its endurance, which is rated at 150% more than the Vector, despite a move from 25nm to 19nm NAND. OCZ is putting its money where its mouth is too, equipping the drive with a five year warranty that assumes a maximum of 50GB/day of host writes (so the warranty covers five years or 91.25TB total host writes, whichever comes first). This is high for a consumer drive – the Vector was rated for just 20GB/day while even the much praised SSD 840 PRO is rated for 40GB/day. Cynics may previously have said that an OCZ warranty wasn't worth the paper it was printed on, but the acquisition by Toshiba will hopefully put paid to such claims.

OCZ claims that the improved endurance is down it its 'advanced suite of flash management', about which it has provided no further details. However, it's also a safe bet that the move from power-of-two capacities (128GB, 256GB, etc.) to rounded ones (120GB, 240GB, etc.) is also a contributing factor. By allocating around 7 percent of the NAND as inaccessible spare area, OCZ is reducing write amplification and thus extending the life of the drives.

OCZ Vector 150 240GB Review
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Like the Vector, the Vector 150 uses OCZ's first fully in-house controller, the Indilinx Barefoot 3 M00 (the cheaper Vertex 450 uses the M10 version, which is slightly underclocked). It consists of an ARM Cortex core and an OCZ Aragon co-processor, and has been optimised so that it is better able to deal with sustained and mixed read/write workloads. The controller is cooled via a thermal pad which connects directly to the drive's outer shell.

OCZ Vector 150 240GB Review
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As we hinted at previously, OCZ has also swapped out the IMFT 25nm NAND of the Vector in favour of Toshiba's 19nm flash for a more cost effective solution. Physically, there are 16 NAND packages, each containing two 8GB dies, and these are split evenly between the front and rear of the PCB. Finally, there are two Micron 256MB DDR3 modules used as a cache.

OCZ Vector 150 240GB Review
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In terms of data security, the drive supports 256-bit AES-compliant data encryption (as does the Vertex 450). Sadly, however, there's no compatibility with the TCG Opal 2.0/IEEE-1667 specifications, so the drive doesn't meet the eDrive standard and thus doesn't support hardware accelerated encryption through Windows 8's BitLocker feature, for example. The same is true of Samsung's SSD 840 PRO, but it is something that we have seen implemented in cheaper drives like Crucial's M500 as well as the 840 EVO (thanks to a software update).

Specifications

Interface: SATA 6Gbps
Nominal capacity: 240GB (~7 percent over-provision)
Formatted capacity: 223.57GB
Controller: Indilinx Barefoot 3 M00
Cache: 2 x Micron 256MB DDR3-1600
Memory type/amount: 16 x 16GB Toshiba 19nm MLC NAND
Warranty: Five years (with max. 50GB/day host writes)