OCZ Vector 150 240 GB review

Toshiba invented NAND flash at the end of the 1980s, although it may not be the first company you’d think of when looking for an SSD today. Its interest in the consumer side of flash – as compared to Toshiba’s strong place in business and OEM production – has been raised again recently. Rather than create its own brand of enthusiast-level solid-state drives, it bought one – namely the bankrupt OCZ Technology Group of San Jose, California.

Now OCZ exists as a wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba, continuing with its performance-oriented SSDs for both business and enthusiast users. The OCZ Vector 150 was developed before Toshiba picked up the assets in January 2014, and still stands at the top of the OCZ range above more affordable Vector 450 and 460 ranges.

Front and centre in the OCZ SSD is a proprietary controller based on technology it had earlier bought with Indilinx, the Barefoot 3 controller. This is an ARM Cortex-based solution with OCZ’s own Aragon co-processor, able to drive eight channels of NAND. Besides the usual Trim support and garbage collection routines it can also field ECC memory.

As with many SSDs now, the full capacity of the drive has been reduced by a few percent, aiding long-term longevity and short-term sustained write performance. So our 512 GB-class drive has 480 GB available to users (447 GiB for Windows users).

OCZ offers a 5-year warranty on the Vector 150, or 50 GB per day over that period, equivalent to 91 TB of written data.

It matters little to performance and long-term endurance but the Vector 150 dirve chassis is built to a sterling level of quality. At 116 g, this is heavier than most 2.5in SATA hard disks, a solid-feeling lump of cast alloy that’s impeccably made, treated to a smart blue and black finish.

Performance

As we’d expect of any premium SSD today, the OCZ Vector 150 strolled the simple sequential test, returning peak numbers of 557 MB/s reads and 534 MB/s writes. And in the nominal overall scoring of AS SSD, the Vector 150 was awarded a high 1086 points.

Digging deeper through the results, we find great IOPS figures from the same benchmark, 88 k for reads and 82 k for writes IOPS. These numbers were conspicuously trumped at the lower queue depth available to CrystalDiskMark, which allowed almost 93 k read IOPS and 95 k write IOPS with its threaded 4 kB random data tests.

OCZ points out that its drives withstand well the steady-state edge cases of data continuously writing without pause, and in our write test with HD Tune Pro we did indeed see a precipitous drop from around 480 to a constant 200 MB/s write speed. But while the speed more than halved, the new lower trace remained relatively steady, a sign of well-mannered behaviour under duress.

OUR VERDICT

The fruits of Toshiba MLC NAND flash and the union of OCZ and Indilinx’s controller designers have created a solid-feeling and performing performance SSD. It compares well with Intel’s latest performance drive, yet is closer to 50p per gigabyte rather than 75p. At that price it deserves recommendation.

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