Josh Norem Dec 12, 2012

OCZ Vector 256GB SSD Review

At A Glance

NAND Flash

Extremely fast in every test; Looks and feels high quality; five-year warranty

Mardi Gras Flash


OCZ’s new flagship SSD kicks serious ass

Say hello to what most of us would have considered the new OCZ Vertex 5 SSD: the OCZ Vector 256GB SSD . That’s right; this isn’t some offshoot, sub-par asynchronous NAND-using bargain basement drive, but OCZ’s new benchmark-busting flagship SSD, and the first to use the company’s very own Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller and firmware rather than a modified Marvell or Sandforce controller like its previous drives. Since the drive uses OCZ’s own controller, it ditched the Vertex branding and went with an all-new name, hence the Vector badge.

The Vector is the first to use OCZ’s very own Barefoot 3 controller, and the company has certainly done its homework on this one.

OCZ is claiming this drive is all-around fast, and can not only read and write like the dickens but also boasts extremely high IOPS performance and longevity, as it is backing the drive with an impressive five-year warranty. It uses 25nm ONFI synchronous MLC NAND flash, feels extremely solid and even looks pleasing to the eye with its radiused edges. It’s also just 7mm thick, so it should fit into some Ultrabooks . It rides the SATA 6Gb/s interface, and supports TRIM, garbage collection, SMART and ECC error-correcting, and ships with a 3.5-inch bay adapter as well as a copy of Acronis drive cloning software. Of course, all of these features and endurance don’t come cheap, and the Vector is priced right at the tippy-top of the price range for 256GB SSDs, hovering next to the Samsung 840 Pro at $270.

In testing the Vector’s performance was extremely impressive, as it ran neck-and-neck with our returning champion, the Samsung 840 Pro, and it also edged out the Corsair Neutron GTX in some tests as well, making it one of the fastest SSDs we have ever tested. In our sequential read and write tests using CrystalDiskMark, the Vector was nicked at the line by the Samsung drive, but it was a tight race as the Vector sat right around 500MB/s for both read and write speeds, which is top-of-the-charts. In our ATTO 64k compressible data test the Vector basically saturated the SATA interface completely, burying the needle at 522MB/s write speed and 514MB/s read speeds, again, bringing it neck-and-neck with the Samsung 840 Pro. This was the only test where the Vector had a clear advantage over the Corsair Neutron GTX.

When it comes to low-depth 4K queues, the Vector ran slightly behind the Samsung drive in AS SSD, which is a “worst case scenario” test that uses incompressible data and hits the drive with a small workload of four commands in a queue. This is designed to test an average desktop user’s workload, and we saw it trailing the Samsung slightly in read speeds but dominating in write speeds. When we increased the workload to a 32-command queue in Iometer, the Vector took second place overall behind the Neutron GTX at 80k IOPS, both of which are substantially faster than the Samsung 840 Pro.

In our real word PCMark Vantage test the Vector took top marks with its score of 74k, with the Neutron trailing by a smidgen at 73K and the Samsung 840 Pro back at 56k. All three drives are smokin’ fast, but the OCZ is the fastest we’ve seen yet. Although let’s make it clear: The SATA interface is clearly the impediment at this point to increased performance of SSD performance not plugged directly into a PCIe slot.

The final result then is the OCZ drive freaking rocks. It’s one of the fastest SSDs we’ve ever seen and it performed impressively in every single test we ran. There is very little for us to complain about, which is rare, however we can point to the high price, but must also note that it’s in-line with the Samsung 840 Pro’s cost  so it’s not totally outrageous. That said, if you want this level of performance you must be willing to pay a premium for it, but also keep in mind the Corsair Neutron GTX costs a bit less than both the OCZ Vector and the Samsung 840 Pro, and offers extremely comparable performance. That said, the Vector is a victor this time around. And you have our clearance to use it in your rig, Clarence .


OCZ Vector 256GB SSD

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