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OCZ Vector 150 Series Solid State Drives Tested
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Date: Nov 07, 2013
Section:Storage
Author: Marco Chiappetta
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Introduction and Specifications

OCZ is at the ready with a brand new line of solid state drives in its popular Vector family of products, targeted at performance-conscious PC enthusiasts. The new Vector 150 builds upon the success of the original Vector, which debuted last year at about this time, but offers better sustained performance and longer endurance, despite its use of 19nm NAND flash memory.

We’ve got a couple of Vector 150 drives in-house, in 120GB and 240GB capacities, and have the full scoop laid out for you on the pages ahead. First up, take a look at the specification and projected performance of the new Vector 150 family of products and then we’ll dig in and get to some of the juicier details...

OCZ Vector 150
Specifications & Features

  120GB 240GB 480GB
Max Read 550 MB/s 550 MB/s 550 MB/s
Max Write 450 MB/s 530 MB/s 530 MB/s
Max Random Read IOPS (4K QD32) 80,000 90,000 100,000
Max Random Write IOPS (4K QD32) 95,000 95,000 95,000
Steady-State Random Write IOPS (4K QD32) 12,000 21,000 26,000
Physical Specifications
Controller Indilinx Barefoot 3
NAND Components 19nm Toshiba Multi-Level Cell (MLC) Flash
Interface SATA 3.0 6GB/s
Form Factor 2.5"; Ultra-Slim 7mm
Reliability Specifications
Data Path Protection BCH ECC Corrects up to 44 random bits/1KB
Encryption 256-bit AES-compliant
Product Health Monitoring Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART)
Endurance Rated for 50GB/day host writes for 5 years under typical client workloads
Environmental Specifications
Power Consumption Idle: 0.55W Active: 2.50W
Operating Temperature 0°C ~ 55°C
Shock Resistance 1500G/0.5ms
Vibration (Operational) 2.17Grms (7-800Hz)
Vibration (Non-Operational)
Price:
16.3Grms (20-2000Hz)
240GB Currently $262 on Amazon, 120GB @ $146.59


OCZ Vector 150 Retail Bundle

Before we take a look at closer look at the 120GB and 240GB Vector 150 drive, we want to quickly draw some attention to their accessory bundle. OCZ continues to bundle their drives with not only 2.5” to 3.5” adapters, but they include a license for Acronis True Image HD as well. Though the adapters are growing less important as newer cases that include 2.5” mounting locations are released, the inclusion of Acronis is an excellent value add in our opinion.
 

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The OCZ Vertex 150 SSD

The new OCZ Vector 150 series drives look essentially identical to the original Vectors, save for the small “150” badge to the right of the name.


The OCZ Vector 150

Both the 120GB and 240GB drives shown here conform to the 2.5” form factor and have slim 7mm Z-Heights. The enclosures used on the drives are all metal and are clearly sturdier and heavier than most other consumer-class SSDs we’ve tested. There are really no external features to speak off other than a few decals and the standard SATA power and data connectors, but that’s par for the course.



 
Barefoot 3 Controller, Toshiba NAND, Micron DRAM

If you crack the drives, however, and you’ll see OCZ’s own Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller on board—the same controller used in the original Vector. That controller is paired to 19nm Toshiba MLC (Multi-Level Cell) NAND flash memory and DDR3-1333MHz DRAM cache. The 120GB and 240GB drives here sport 512MB of cache memory, while the 480GB model will be outfitted with 1GB.

Note that these new Vector 150 drives have more spare NAND over provisioned than the original Vectors, which were built using 25nm NAND. Whereas the original drives launched in 128, 256, and 512GB capacities, these new drives land at 120, 240, and 480. That additional spare area is reserved for wear leveling and other proprietary features and aids the drives in achieving their higher endurance ratings.


There are 16 pieces of NAND in the 240GB drive (left), and 8 pieces in the 120GB drive (right).

OCZ’s Vector 150 drives are all rated for max read speeds of 550MB/s, but write performance varies between the models. The 120GB drive’s writes peak at 450MB/s; the 240GB and 480GB drives at 530MB/s. All of the drives support TRIM, 256-bit AES compliant encryption and they’re rated for 50GB/day host writes for 5 years, under typical client workloads. Idle power is listed at .55w. Active power at 2.5W.

OCZ also offers a 5 year warranty on the drives.
 

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Test Setup, IOMeter 1.1 RC

Our Test Methodologies: Under each test condition, the Solid State Drives tested here were installed as secondary volumes in our testbed, with a standard spinning hard disk for the OS and benchmark installations. Out testbed's motherboard was updated with the latest BIOS available as of press time and AHCI (or RAID) mode was enabled. The SSDs were secure erased prior to testing, and left blank without partitions for some tests, while others required them to be partitioned and formatted, as is the case with our ATTO, PCMark 7, and CrystalDiskMark benchmark tests. Windows firewall, automatic updates and screen savers were all disabled before testing. In all test runs, we rebooted the system, ensured all temp and prefetch data was purged, and waited several minutes for drive activity to settle and for the system to reach an idle state before invoking a test.

HotHardware Test System
Intel Core i7 and SSD Powered

Processor -

Motherboard -


Video Card -

Memory -

Audio -

Hard Drives -

 

Hardware Used:
Intel Core i7-2600K

Asus P8Z6-V Pro
(Z68 Chipset, AHCI Enabled)

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285

4GB Kingston DDR3-1600

Integrated on board

WD Raptor 150GB (OS Drive)
OCZ Vector 150 (120GB, 240GB)
Samsung SSD 830 (256GB)
OCZ Vector (256GB)
Samsung 840 EVO (250GB)
OCZ Vector 450 (240GB)
OCZ Vertex 3.2 (120GB)
SanDisk Extreme II (480GB)

OS -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -

Video Drivers
-


Relevant Software:
Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 x64
Intel 9.2.0.1030, iRST 10.5.1027
DirectX 11

NVIDIA GeForce 275.33

Benchmarks Used:
IOMeter 1.1.0 RC
HD Tune v4.61
ATTO v2.47
AS SSD
CrystalDiskMark v3.01 x64
PCMark 7
SiSoftware Sandra 2012

IOMeter
I/O Subsystem Measurement Tool

As we've noted in previous SSD articles, though IOMeter is clearly a well-respected industry standard drive benchmark, we're not completely comfortable with it for testing SSDs. The fact of the matter is, though our actual results with IOMeter appear to scale properly, it is debatable whether or not certain access patterns, as they are presented to and measured on an SSD, actually provide a valid example of real-world performance for the average end user. That said, we do think IOMeter is a reliable gauge for relative available throughput within a given storage solution. In addition there are certain higher-end workloads you can place on a drive with IOMeter, that you an't with most other storage benchmark tools available currently.

In the following tables, we're showing two sets of access patterns; our custom Workstation pattern, with an 8K transfer size, 80% reads (20% writes) and 80% random (20% sequential) access and IOMeter's default access pattern of 2K transfers, 67% reads (34% writes) and 100% random access.

The new OCZ Vector 150 drives put up some of the best numbers of the bunch. With our workstation access pattern the Vector 150s led the pack. And with IOMeter's default access pattern, only Samsung's recently released 840 EVO came out ahead.

In terms of throughput, the maximum transfer speeds reported by IOMeter with the access patterns we used to test, mirror the IOPS numbers. The Samsung drive put up the best score with the default access patter, but the OCZ Vector 150s took the top two spots with out workstation access pattern.

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SANDRA and ATTO Disk Benchmark

Next we ran SiSoft SANDRA, the the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. Here, we used the Physical Disk test suite and provided the results from our comparison SSDs. The benchmarks were run without formatting and read and write performance metrics are detailed below.

SiSoft SANDRA 2012
Synthetic HDD Benchmarking

 

According to SiSoft SANDRA's physical disk benchmark, the new OCZ Vectors offer very competitive read speeds and writes are among the best as well. Only a few MB/s separate the top performers in this test.

ATTO Disk Benchmark
More Information Here: http://bit.ly/btuV6w

ATTO is another "quick and dirty" type of disk benchmark that measures transfer speeds across a specific volume length. It measures raw transfer rates for both reads and writes and graphs them out in an easily interpreted chart. We chose .5kb through 8192kb transfer sizes and a queue depth of 6 over a total max volume length of 256MB. ATTO's workloads are sequential in nature and measure raw bandwidth, rather than I/O response time, access latency, etc.



We saw some odd (and repeatable) issues with the OCZ Vector 150 drives in the ATTO Disk Benchmark. With the vast majority of transfer sizes, the drives competed well with competitive offerings. In the write test especially, the Vector 150 were right in the mix. But in the read tests, the drives choked with 8K and 32K transfers.
 

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HD Tune Benchmarks
EFD Software's HD Tune is described on the company's web site as such: "HD Tune is a hard disk utility with many functions. It can be used to measure the drive's performance, scan for errors, check the health status (S.M.A.R.T.), securely erase all data and much more." The latest version of the benchmark added temperature statistics and improved support for SSDs, among a few other updates and fixes.

HD Tune v4.61
More Info Here: http://www.hdtune.com







The OCZ Vector 150 drives rocked in the HD Tune tests, with the 240GB drive coming out on top in terms of average transfer rates. Burst speeds, access times, and CPU utilization were also among the best.
 

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CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks

CrystalDiskMark is a synthetic benchmark that tests both sequential and random small and mid-sized file transfers using incompressible data. It provides a quick look at best and worst case scenarios with regard to SSD performance, best case being larger sequential transfers and worse case being small, random transfers.

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks
Synthetic File Transfer Tests







The OCZ Vector 150 drives also performed well in the various CrystalDiskMark tests, though the Samsung 840 EVO and Sandisk Extreme II came out ahead more often than not.
 

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AS-SSD Compression Test

Next up we ran the Compression Benchmark built-into AS SSD, an SSD specific benchmark being developed by Alex Intelligent Software. This test is interesting because it uses a mix of compressible and incompressible data and outputs both Read and Write throughput of the drive. We only graphed a small fraction of the data (1% compressible, 50% compressible, and 100% compressible), but the trend is representative of the benchmark’s complete results.

AS SSD Compression Benchmark
Bring Your Translator: http://bit.ly/aRx11n

The new OCZ Vector 150 drives performed consistently, across the board, regardless of the compressibility of the data being transferred.
 

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PCMark 7 Storage Benchmarks
We really like PCMark 7's Secondary Storage benchmark module for its pseudo real-world application measurement approach to testing. PCMark 7 offers a trace-based measurement of system response times under various scripted workloads of traditional client / desktop system operation. From simple application start-up performance, to data streaming from a drive in a game engine, and video editing with Windows Movie Maker, we feel more comfortable that these tests reasonably illustrate the performance profile of SSDs in an end-user / consumer PC usage model, more so than a purely synthetic transfer test.

Futuremark's PCMark 7 Secondary Storage
http://www.futuremark.com

The OCZ Vector 150 drives performed very well in the PCMark storage benchmark. Note that the 120GB Vector 150 has no trouble competing with higher capacity drives here, and the 240GB drive comes within a couple of percentage points of the leaders.
 

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Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: OCZ's Vector 150 drives offered competitive, and occasionally class-leading, performance across our entire batter of tests. IOPS performance was among the best we've seen in a consumer-class SSD, read and write throughput and access times were competitive across the board, and the drives offered consistent performance regardless of the data type being transferred.


The OCZ Vector 150 - 240GB Currently $262 on Amazon, 120GB @ $146.59

There's a lot to like about OCZ's new Vector 150 drives. Their performance is competitive with--and occasionally exceeds--some of the fastest drives we've tested to date, OCZ is offering a 5 year warranty on the drives, and their 50GB/day endurance rating is among the best of any consumer-class SSD. Pricing, however, seems a bit high in light of competing products.

Admittedly, we're comparing the Vector 150's MSRPs with current street prices for other, similar capacity drives, so we'll have to see how things shake out in the coming days/weeks as availability ramps and the Vector 150 hits store shelves, but here's how OCZ is pricing the drives:

Considering you can score a Samsung 840 EVO 250GB drive for $179 at the moment, we suspect street prices for the OCZ Vector 150 to trickle downward eventually. Time will tell.

In terms of their performance though, the OCZ Vector 150 drives did not disappoint. Should street prices ultimately fall in-line with competing products, the Vector 150 looks like another strong offering from OCZ.

 

  • Competitive Performance
  • High Endurance Rating
  • 5 Year Warranty
  • 7mm Z-Height
  • Bundled Cloning Software
  • Trailed the Samsung 840 In Most Tests
  • Relatively High MSRPs



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