OCZ Storage Solutions displayed the company's first NVMe product at CES just a couple months ago. We fully expect OCZ to shake up the enthusiast market in a few months with an ultra-high performance product, but until that happens, we have a new Vector branded part to tide us over.
The new OCZ Vector 180 uses the aging Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller that first appeared in November 2012. Since first released, the controller hasn't undergone any major changes aside from a minor clock adjustment for the Vertex series. On one side of the coin, this shows that the controller is reliable; some SKUs have less than a .1% failure rate. On the other side of the coin, the Barefoot 3 hasn't delivered many new features that are present on other products, like DEVSLP, for reducing power consumption.
Vector 180 brings one new trick in this revision, a tantalum capacitor that provides additional power to the controller should a host power loss event occur. The capacitor has enough charge to flush the at-rest data. On more than one occasion, we've killed a client SSD in our notebook power test that lets the notebook run on the battery until the power fails. One drive we killed even has host power failure protection. We'll talk more about this in the conclusion of this review and introduce a new test as well.
The new Vector 180 also receives a flash upgrade to Toshiba's A19 MLC. This is Toshiba's second-generation 19nm flash that has a die size of 19x19.5mm. The first 19nm flash from Toshiba measured 19x26mm. The change isn't that significant when talking about a single die, but is a significant shrink at the wafer level. Toshiba can produce more die per wafer, thus reducing the cost of the flash.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Vector 180 is a drop in replacement for Vector 150 in OCZ's client product line up. OCZ kept the same M00 version of the Barefoot 3 controller, just like Vector 150 and the Radeon R7. This is OCZ's first client product to feature Power Failure Management.
Vector 180 pulls this series into the terabyte era for the first time. It's difficult to imagine, but OCZ hasn't had a flagship SATA product in this capacity size. OCZ released other 1TB models in the past though - the Octane hit 1TB, and RevoDrive has a few large capacity models as well.
Like many SSDs series available, the 120GB Vector 180 is slightly slower than the larger models. The 960GB and 480GB models share nearly every performance specification. The 480GB model provides a slightly higher random write steady state.
OCZ did what they could to update the Vector product series. Some of the features listed carry over from other products in the OCZ lineup yet others are new. We're happy to see a company tune mixed workload performance. We've harped about the importance of mixed workload performance since last June when we first introduced a new mixed workload test to our product test suite. It doesn't surprise us to see OCZ jumping at the challenge before others.
Vector 180 isn't the first client SSD to incorporate a form of host power fail protection, but there are very few client SSDs with this technology. OCZ calls their technology PFM+ or Power Failure Management Plus. This technology protects at-rest data, but not in-flight data. One of the easiest ways to brick a client SSD is to interrupt power during a write operation. This feature is a lot more than a marketing gimmick.
The new Vector 180 ships with OCZ's premium accessory pack. Users receive a desktop adapter bracket and Acronis True Image disk cloning software. This drive also works with OCZ's SSD Toolbox software and an upcoming revision of SSD Toolbox called SSD Guru.
With the drives for testing, we received Vector 180's MSRP data. The 960GB model under test today will sell for $499.99 at launch. The other capacity size models are listed in the image above.
The Vector 180 products are covered by OCZ's ShieldPlus Warranty. This refined warranty was introduced with other products from OCZ, but now carries over to the Vector 180 series.
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