titleWith the Agility and Vertex product lines from OCZ in their fourth generations it was exciting to see OCZ change things up and introduce a new model late last year. With a unique design and an Indilinx controller inside it looks like it could really shake things up. I’m excited to see how it will perform, especially compared to the Agility 4 and Vertex 4 that we have recently taken a look at. OCZ gave it the Vector name and in some cases that means “a force or influence”, let’s find out if the OCZ Vector will be a force or influence in the SSD market. 

Product Name: OCZ Vector SSD 256GB

Review Sample Provided by: OCZ

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

 

Specifications

Performance

Sequential Reads

550MB/s

Sequential Writes

530MB/s

Random 4k Read IOPS

100,000 IOPS

Random 4k Write IOPS

95,000 IOPS

Physical

Usable Capacities (IDEMA)

128GB, 256GB, 512GB

NAND Components

25nm Multi-Level Cell (MLC)

NAND Controller

Indilinx Barefoot 3

Interface

SATA 3 6Gb/s (Backwards compatible with SATA II 3Gb/s)

Form Factor

2.5 Inch, Ultra-slim 7mm

Dimension (L x W x H)

99.7 x 69.75 x 7mm

Weight

115g

Reliability/Protection

MTBF

1.3 million hours

Data Path Protection

BCH ECC corrects up to 28 random bits/1KB

Product Health Monitoring

Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) support

Environmental

Power Consumption

Idle: 0.9W, Active: 2.25W

Operating Temperature

0°C ~ 55°C

Storage Temperature

-45°C ~ 85°C

Shock Resistance

1500G/0.5ms

Certifications

RoHS, CE, FCC, KCC, C-Tick, VCCI, BSMI

Compatibility

Serial ATA (SATA)

Fully compliant with Serial ATA International Organization: Serial ATA Revision 3.0. Fully compliant with ATA/ATAPI-8 Standard Native Command Queuing (NCQ)

Operating System

Windows / Mac OS X / Linux

Additional Features

Performance Optimization

TRIM, Idle Time Garbage Collection

Endurance

Rated for 20GB/day of host writes for 5 years under typical client workloads

Service & Support

5-Year Warranty, Toll-Free Tech Support, 24 Hour Forum Support, Firmware Updates

Included Accessories

Acronis® True Image HD cloning software registration key (current version compatible with Windows XP, Vista and 7.) and a 3.5" desktop adapter

 

 


Packaging

The Vector’s packaging follows a similar theme to what we had seen with other OCZ SSD’s. Rather than silver or green like the Agility and Vertex we have blue taking up a good portion this time. You can see that this is similar to the design on the SSD as well on the front of the package. Information on the front of the packaging is trimmed down to six bullet points down at the bottom along with a 256GB capacity indicator. Most of the information listed is a given but I do like that they include what type of flash memory they are using as well as the Indilinx controller. There is also a note about the drive including a copy of Acronis True Image. Around on the back there really isn’t anything to see. There is a little information on how the best SSD’s have gotten better with the introduction of the Vector but if you skip out on everything on the back you aren’t going to miss anything.

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Inside the packaging we have a foam insert just like on previous OCZ drives. Tucked away inside of it is a 2.5 inch to 3.5 inch drive mount for you to be able to install your Vector even if your case doesn’t support SSD’s. The adapter also has a nice OCZ logo on it as well. Other than the mount you will also get a small baggie with the screws needed to install your Vector on to the mount as well. For documentation you get an installation manual and a lovely paper with information on how to install Acronis® True Image and a free key to use the software.

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The Vector SSD was of course inside the foam padding then wrapped up in a static protective bag as well to keep it safe from any random electrical discharge before it gets to you.

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Our Testing Procedures and Test Rig

Procedures

Iometer

Random 4K/QD30 IOPS

CrystalDiskMark

Read Seq and Write Seq tests

AS SSD 

Copy Benchmark with ISO, Program, and Game results

Passmark 

Advanced disk benchmark file server, Web Server, Workstation, and Database benchmarks

Test Rig

Motherboard

Asus Maximus V Gene Motherboard

Ram

Crucial Ballistix Tracer Ram 1600Mhz 2x2Gb

CPU

Intel i7-3770K

Heatsink

Noctua NH-C14 heatsink

Power Supply

Cooler Master Silent Pro M 850Watt PSU

Video Card

XFX R7970 DD Black Edition Overclocked

Test Bench

Microcool Banchetto 101 Test bench

 

 


Pictures and Breakdown

Traditionally OCZ drives have all come in that black casing with just the sticker on the top setting the models apart. This is the most noticeable difference with the Vertex. OCZ went with a silver casing with rounded corners that is basically the opposite of what their previous models look like. On top the standard small sticker has been supersized to the entire top of the SSD. That means the Indilinx logo, OCZ logo, and Vector branding is all larger and more in your face. I love the blue styling as well, its eye catching and should look good in a lot of builds.

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On the underside of the SSD we have a fairly standard looking drive other than the extra rounding on the corners. We can still see what is holding the drive together though; there are four screws, one in each corner. One of the screws does have a warranty void if removed sticker over it, but that didn’t last. We had the sticker off in no time and started pulling the drive apart.

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When you pull the bottom of the drive off, you can see a small thermal pad that helps dissipate the heat from the Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller when it gets hot. The PCB is mounted to the main portion of the SSD casing still, in order to be able to remove that you will have to remove four more small screws.

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With the drive opened we were able to get a better look at what makes it tick. First there are 16 NAND chips split up half and half on each side of the drive. We finally get to see a fully home grown controller with the Indilinx Barefoot 3. Before in the Vertex 4 the controller was licensed and based on Marvell controllers. This is really the heart of this drive and what makes the Vector so special. You can see that OCZ wanted to showcase their first FULLY in house design to be perfect.

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Here’s what the Vector looks like next to other OCZ models, as I mentioned before this is completely different than what they have produced in the past visually. The rounded off shape and the silver finish both stand out but the branding that covers the entire top of the SSD really helps as well.

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Performance

Okay so the Vector looks amazing, but let’s be honest the most important thing is going to be the performance right? So after breaking the vector down in the previous section I put it through the standard SSD test suite.

To start things off I went with CrystalDiskMark for random read performance in a few file sizes as well as with a queue depth of 32. As you can see, the Vector performed amazingly well when compared to all of the other drives that we have tested. The test with a high queue depth was especially impressive, the next closest SSD was the Vertex 4.

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Write results were similar but this time around the Vector performed better in everything except for 4k testing. Sequential read speeds are especially impressive at over 500MB/s

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In AS SSD rather than using AS SSD’s normal read speed tests that are very similar to CrystalDiskMark I went with the application benchmarks. In this case the lower the score the better because they are timed tests. The OCZ Vector performed very well but the Samsung 830 that we tested a while back did still outperform the Vector slightly. Having said that, I was still very impressed with the performance of the OCZ Vector compared to its brothers the Agility and Vertex 4’s, although they were quick, the Vector did outperform them on all three tests.

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In our Passmark benchmark I ran the OCZ Vector through four different benchmarks, each tuned specifically to replicate situations that are important in a workstation, web server, file server, and database server. In the case of the web server and the file servers the Vector performed extremely well while workstation results came in lower than the non-Indilinx based drives.

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In my final test, I put the OCZ Vector through our IOMeter benchmark. As I suspected from my previous benchmarks, the Vector’s high queue performance really helped it in Intel’s IOMeter benchmark. The Vertex 4 that previously topped our charts was closely out performed by the Vector. Beyond the Vertex the Vector actually performed at nearly twice the performance of all of the other drives.

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Overall and Final Verdict

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When the OC Vector came in, I was excited to see an SSD that seemed to break from the mold from OCZ. But honestly, I was focusing more on the drives aesthetics than anything. When I opened up the Vector I saw that this is really the heart of this drive and what makes the Vector so special. You can see that OCZ wanted to showcase their first FULLY in house design to be perfect. So the question is, how did OCZ do? I was extremely impressed with the Vector’s performance in almost every test that I through at it. The Vector performed right up with the Samsung 830 in every benchmark proving that OCZ still has what it takes to be competitive in the SSD market. Because of that I had nothing bad to say about the Vector at all. Normally with an OCZ drive I would nip pick at their bland black box design but with the Vector they went outside of the box, literally, with a design that really catches your eye. OCZ has priced the Vector right where it should be as well, it back be found just slightly higher than all of the other 256 gig SSD’s on the market but with its performance that seems to be a fair price point. If you are on the market for one of the best drives on the market the OCZ Vector should be right at the top of your list for your next build.

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Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld replied the topic: #31678 10 Jul 2013 19:35
Today we finally take a look at the OCZ Vector

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