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OCZ Vector 256GB SSD Review

By: Chris Ramseyer | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Nov 27, 2012 5:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: OCZ Technology

Final Thoughts




Above we see a time line as provided by OCZ in the form of milestones. What comes next or when this list ends we don't know, but certainly it's something to consider. At one point OCZ's stock was down to just $1.12 per share, you could nearly buy 500 shares of OCZ for less than you could a 512GB Vertex 4. What does this have to do with Vector? Well, nothing if the company manages to pull through this tough time, but if a worst case scenario happens and you need to RMA your Vector, then things might get a little unpleasant.


Normally we wouldn't draw any lines to these events in a review, but this is the first time we've been in a situation like this, and we feel it's something to consider. I'm not the most knowledgeable person to consult on stock matters. I can read though and many "experts" are saying OCZ is in trouble. Just how much trouble remains to be seen. If trouble is big flaming crash and burn kind of trouble then questions come up about warranties. With that out of the way we can talk about performance, pricing and the new accessory package.


Performance first, Vector is a beast of a drive with high performance all over the place. The sequential read speed of 350MB/s is a bit misleading since the access times are so low. Still, when transferring data to the drive don't expect more than 350MB/s, but the limit doesn't hurt real-world tasks like it did Vertex 4 with only 300MB/s single queue depth reads.


Write speeds are higher than Vertex 4 as well, but that pesky storage mode makes a return. This keeps you from chewing through the NAND, but we wonder what life would be like if OCZ just reserved a block of data like SandForce and LAMD do turning the 256GB Vector into a 240GB Vector. Surely this was considered at some point by OCZ given its talented engineers and designers, but left off the table when in the final product. The advantage is you have more capacity, but when you get past 70% full, your drive slows considerably. Personally, I never recommend going over 60% on any SSD, but I hear from readers all of the time with drives running with 90% of the capacity used.


OCZ Technology's new Vector is the new king of IOPS. In HD Tune Pro we measured Read 4K IOPS at just over 11K and Intel's new 335 Series was only 7K in the same test. The write 4K IOPS for Vector was nearly 40K and the 335 Series was 35K. Vector not only outperforms SandForce's newest drive to hit the market, but also blows away Vertex 4. These are single request IOPS, not using NCQ. Vertex 4 shipped with a massive high IOPS rating as well, but most of us will never achieve a queue depth higher than 8. That's why it's important to bring high IOPS performance to lower queue depth levels.


When it comes to accessory packages OCZ sets the standard in which everyone else follows. We've even heard this referred to as "the OCZ standard". OCZ raised the bar with the Vector... again. You still get the paper manual, desktop adapter bracket and screws, but this round OCZ included Acronis True Image. Users can download the software from OCZ's website and the product key used for installation is printed on your paper manual. We've used Acronis for years and feel it's the easiest way to clone an existing drive. We actually use the software in each of our reviews when loading the Lenovo W530 OS image to the drives for testing. This is a great addition to an already very well put together accessory package. OCZ also backs Vector with a five year warranty.


So, how does it compare to everything else? Vector is faster than the previous generation drives based on the SF-2281 and Marvell controllers. It's also a little faster than next-gen products that are shipping now with LAMD controllers and Samsung's new 840. Vector even outperformed the TweakTown Chris Ramseyer 128GB SLC SSD when writing data to the drive in DiskBench. Through process of elimination that makes it one of the highest performing SSDs available on the market today.


There are two things that keep us from calling Vector the fastest consumer SSD in the world, though. The first is the 350MB/s single request read speed that can limit your file transfers when moving data around. The second is storage mode on the write side. Depending on what you do and how full you run your OS drive either or both could slow down your performance. If you run into these issues you'll be doing something very focused, transferring large amounts of sequential data or using your drive near capacity. It's a bit like saying SandForce slows down when working with incompressible data. These are all targeted issues and most of us really won't notice them. If you are coming from a mechanical drive or SATA II SSD, you won't even care because it's still a magnitude faster than what you had before.



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