OCZ Trion 100 Review (240GB, 480GB & 960GB)

Manufacturer: OCZ Storage Solutions
UK price (as reviewed):
240GB: £63.86 (inc VAT); 480GB: £129.99 (inc VAT); 960GB: £230.97 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): 240GB: $89.99 (ex Tax); 480GB: $174.71 (ex Tax); 960GB: $340.80 (ex Tax)

OCZ is on something of a comeback, thanks in no small part to its acquisition by Toshiba – it now has direct access to the best quality NAND that comes off the line and further expertise in the fields of quality control and product testing/validation, for example. The result is more reliable drives and lowered RMA rates, and the company's excellent approach to warranty via its ShieldPlus programme is further evidence of its confidence in its own products. The infamous unreliability of previous lines is starting to fade into distant memory – hopefully this is a route OCZ Storage Solutions continues to follow.

OCZ Trion 100 Review (240GB, 480GB & 960GB)
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Following the acquisition, existing OCZ lines like Vector and Vertex were promptly updated to incorporate Toshiba NAND, and new models were introduced as well that stuck to the Barefoot 3 platform, like the Arc 100 and the AMD Radeon R7 SSD. Now, however, we have our first Toshiba built drive with OCZ branding. OCZ's only role in the Trion 100 range came in the validation stage.

OCZ Trion 100 Review (240GB, 480GB & 960GB)
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The Trion 100 is available in four capacities from 120GB to 960GB and is presented in the standard 2.5in, 7mm high form factor with a metal chassis. It's a regular SATA 6Gbps SSD that isn't bundled with any accessories or software.

OCZ Trion 100120GB240GB480GB960GB
Max Sequential Read550MB/sec550MB/sec550MB/sec550MB/sec
Max Sequential Write450MB/sec520MB/sec530MB/sec530MB/sec
Max Random Read (4K QD32)79,000 IOPS90,000 IOPS90,000 IOPS90,000 IOPS
Max Random Write (4K QD32)25,000 IOPS43,000 IOPS54,000 IOPS64,000 IOPS

This SSD is also OCZ's first triple level cell (TLC) NAND SSD. TLC can store three bits per cell rather than two, as with conventional MLC NAND. The upside is lowered cost for the same capacity, but the downside is slower performance and lowered endurance. As such, TLC drives are typically positioned at the lower end of product stacks and indeed the Trion 100 slots in below the entry-level Arc 100 as OCZ's value offering.

OCZ Trion 100 Review (240GB, 480GB & 960GB) OCZ Trion 100 Review (240GB, 480GB & 960GB)
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As mentioned, this drive is built with Toshiba hardware, which means a move away from the OCZ Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller, which doesn't support TLC NAND anyway. In its place is the Toshiba TC58 controller, or TC58NC1000GSB-00 to give it its full name. Toshiba has remained tight-lipped about its specifications, but the controller does support the low power DEVSLP state. It is paired with a Nanya 1,600MHz DDR3L cache. Lastly, there are zero encryption or power loss protection features in the Trion 100, although given the target audience that's not much of an issue.

OCZ Trion 100 Review (240GB, 480GB & 960GB) OCZ Trion 100 Review (240GB, 480GB & 960GB)
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The all important NAND is of course Toshiba's own as well; specifically we're looking at its 128Gb A19nm TLC NAND dies. As you can see, the PCB is rather small and doesn't even fill the full 2.5in casing. This is because it only requires four NAND packages, and this is true even for the 960GB model, where each package has 16 individual NAND dies crammed inside. This is also the only capacity that requires a second cache chip, presumably to deal with the size of the mapping table.

OCZ Trion 100 Specs120GB240GB480GB960GB
InterfaceSATA 6Gbps
Formatted capacity111.79GiB223.57GiB447.13GiB894.25GiB
ControllerToshiba TC58
NAND dies128Gbit Toshiba A19nm TLC
NAND packages4 x 16GiB4 x 32GiB4 x 64GiB4 x 128GiB
DRAMNanya DDR3L-1600
Endurance30 TBW (~27GB/day)60 TBW (~55GB/day)120 TBW (~110GB/day)240 TBW (~219GB/day)
WarrantyThree years

To help overcome the write speed limitation of TLC NAND, Toshiba employs a quasi-SLC NAND cache, much like Samsung does with its TurboWrite technology. In the three drives we're reviewing, this cache is 3.6GB, 7.2GB and 14.4GB in size in ascending order of capacity. The Trion 100 will put all writes initially into this high speed cache and flush it to the TLC NAND in idle times. Therefore, is a write operation exceeds this size with zero idle time, write speeds will drop to a level significantly below the advertised speeds as the data will start being written directly to the regular TLC NAND. This approach makes a lot of sense for the target market; write commands tend to be fairly small and come in bursts under typical home workloads. It's worth noting that despite the metal chassis there are no thermal pads on any of the hardware, again demonstrating that this is not an SSD designed for sustained workloads.

The Trion 100 drives have impressively high endurance ratings – the three year warranty is definitely more likely to expire before the TBW rating is exceeded; even the 240GB drive allows you to write around 55GB a day for you to still be covered. The benefits of the ShieldPlus warranty scheme are also worth reiterating: you only need your drive's serial number rather than proof of purchase, and OCZ also offers advanced replacement units and paid return envelopes.

Like the rest of OCZ's drives, the Trion 100 can be managed using the lightweight SSD Guru software. We've found this to be intuitive and responsive, and it gives you quick access to all the regular features like TRIM, secure erase, overprovisioning and firmware updates.
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