OCZ Vector 150 240GB SSD Review
SSD enthusiasts have notoriously short memories and a company’s reputation is only as good as their last model. Fortunately for OCZ their last enthusiast-oriented product was the Vertex 450, an altogether excellent drive with loads of potential and a great price. Meanwhile, the Vector was launched nearly a year ago and is still considered one of the better drives on the market. The Vector 150 aims to capitalize upon that SSD’s success in a number of different ways.
While OCZ may have hit rough patch of late, their in-house Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller combined with good NAND has traditionally proven to be a winning combination and a true differentiator in a market that seems to have stagnated. The problem with the Vector was it was a victim of its own success. After some well-publicized missteps, OCZ made a promise to never silently change the NAND used in any model. However, finding sufficient quantities of the older 25nm ONFi 2 NAND became an ongoing challenge. Using these older generation modules also meant that their flagship model was slowly losing ground to newer models equipped with even more powerful NAND ICs. So just a short 345 days after releasing the original Vector 256GB, the updated Vector 150 240GB is being launched.
The Vector 150 is more a product refresh rather than an entirely new model. Much like the Vertex 450, the Vector 150 features a seamless blending of existing and new technologies in order to ensure optimal performance and no surprises. Like the original Vector it uses the already proven, adaptable Barefoot 3 controller and comes with a price tag of nearly $1 per GB or MSRP of $239 for the 240GB model.
Unlike the original Vector or even the Vertex 450 series OCZ have taken a page from their ‘Max IOPS’ days and paired this new drive with cutting edge Toggle Mode NAND instead of the typical ONFi 2 NAND ICs found in previous units. It utilizes Toshiba’s 19nm Toggle Mode NAND which has proven itself in other cutting edge devices such as the Seagate 600 Pro and Corsair Neutron GTX series.
Unlike the original Vector 256GB model, OCZ has set aside 16GB of NAND for over-provisioning exclusively for the Barefoot 3 controller. This is also why OCZ has been able to increase the endurance rating by a good 150% over the original Vector. This combination of improved NAND with actual over-provisioning should prove to be even more potent than the original Vector while boasting an enhanced lifespan.
In keeping with the premium theme, the Vector 150 an ultra-durable full metal case which first made its debut with the original Vector. Besides being extremely robust it has a secondary benefit in being a svelte 7mm form factor which will fit inside Ultrabooks and other slim and light mobile devices without any issues. OCZ also includes a 2.5” to 3.5” adapter plate.
The internal architecture of the new Vector series is very similar to that of its predecessor. In total there are 16 Toshiba branded 19nm Toggle Mode NAND ICs populating all 16 slots on the full size PCB. There is also one Barefoot 3 controller and a pair of 256MB Micron DDR3-1600 RAM ICs. Interestingly enough, there is actually room on the PCB for an additional RAM chip. We assume the 512GB version will receive three RAM chips for its external cache buffer compared to the two chips of the 256GB model.
The Barefoot 3 controller is actually the older full speed ‘M00’ version and not the newer ‘M10’ found inside the Vertex 450. This may seem counter intuitive but the design goal of the M10 was to make the Barefoot 3 even more power efficient, but in order to accomplish this OCZ had to reduce its processing speed. Using the higher performance M00 version should help boost performance to even higher levels than the Vertex 450 but some it will also consume more power.
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