SilverStone MMS01 Military-Grade USB 3.0 Enclosure Review

Introduction


If you are living an active lifestyle and still want to carry around your storage while keeping it protected the best way possible, then you need something other than a normal portable storage device. There are many rugged portable drives on the market by now and we’ve had a look at several of them already. But what if you already have a drive and want to turn that into a safe portable storage drive? Then you need something like SilverStone’s MMS01 military-grade USB 3.0 portable enclosure. Today I’m taking a closer look at how this works and how well it works.

SilverStone’s MMS01 is a thick protective enclosure that has been IP65 certified which makes it dust proof and water-resistant. The enclosure doesn’t stop there, it has been tested and proven to be immune or resistant to rapid temperature change, vibration, 1.2-meter drop, salt spray, sand, and fungal growth. You shouldn’t fully submerge a setup like this, but other than that your data’s drive is well secured.

Durability doesn’t mean that we need to sacrifice performance and the MMS01 is bound to show us some great numbers. Powered by the USB 3.0 bus and with UASP support, the only limitation is the 5 Gbps of the USB bus. The enclosure is equipped with a USB 3.0 type B port and the drive is backward compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1. Thanks to the USB interface, we don’t require any extra drivers or anything and it will work as plug-and-play with both Windows and Mac OS systems.

Inside the enclosure there is room for a drive with a height of up to 9.5mm, allowing you to mount most 2.5-inch hard disk drives. Solid state drives with the thinner 7mm height aren’t a problem either and that is what I’ll be using in my tests today.

With a weight of just 280 gram, the MMS01 is a lightweight unit despite its great protection. This is an important factor when we deal with mobile drives as no one wants to carry unnecessary weight with them. If you are looking for an enclosure that can protect your drive in the harshest environment possible, the MMS01 might be the one to get.

Feature Highlights

  • Super speed USB 3.0 and SATA 6G interface
  • Supports 7mm or 9.5mm thick 2.5” SATA hard drives or SSD
  • Supports UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) for additional performance
  • Unique anti-vibration silicone sleeve over ABS shell for complete protection
  • Adheres to US military standard (MIL-STD-810G) for thermal, drop, shock, humidity, sand, dust, and fungus resistance
  • Certified IP65 for dustproof and water resistance

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers information and might as such be subject to changes in possible future revisions of the product.

Package and Accessories

The colour scheme on the package fits the military theme originating from the certifications and presents the enclosure well. The front has all the vital features presented for a quick and easy view.

The rear of the package contains more details information about the specifications and a multilanguage description.

Next to the enclosure itself, we find a USB cable, an Allen key to take the enclosure apart and mount the drive as well as a manual inside the package.

OCZ Z-Drive 6000 NVMe U.2 SSDs Get Dual Port Functionality

Enterprises need a whole different level of redundancy than the average consumer and there are many solutions in that regard, may it be RAID setups to prevent data loss and downtime during a drive fail or redundant power supplies, but what to do when you need redundant access to one modern storage drive? You pick one of OCZ’s Z-Drive 6000 or Z-Drive 6300 drives that now are available with dual-port functionality.

The Z-Drive 6000’s addition of dual port connection enables two host systems to concurrently access data from the same storage device or the more likely scenario which is to provides a redundant access path to the drive. The new feature will give the drives SAS-like features such as High Availability (HA) that storage architects have come to rely on.

“OCZ is excited to offer our customers this robust new firmware that enables the Z-Drive 6000 series to be a compelling solution, not only for low latency, high performance compute applications, but now also for storage-class applications where the additional enterprise-class features are required to compliment latency and performance,” said Daryl Lang, Vice President, SSD Product Enablement, Toshiba America Electronic Components.

The now dual-ported Z-Drive 6000 series is an overall amazing storage solution that supports the real-time I/O needs of business-critical enterprise applications and virtual infrastructures which require high bandwidth and low latency performance, but also need redundancy. The redundant data access now also eliminates another single point of failure in systems. Dual-port isn’t the only new addition to the Z-Drive 6000 series that now also features enhancements such as multiple namespaces, non-binary sector sizes, and self-encrypting drive (SED) with Crypto Erase.

 

NVMe drives have taken storage to a whole new level and the Z-Drive 6000 series in a prime example of such a solution. The drives can perform with a sustained I/O performance over 700,000 IOPS for 4K random read and a consistent low latency of just 30 µs. The U.2-based Z-Drive 6000 SSDs are hot-swappable and designed for a wide range of storage infrastructures with capacities available from 800GB to 6.4TB and come as both read-intensive and mixed workload models.

Customers who have deployed final hardware and firmware Z-Drive 6000 SSDs and wish to upgrade to dual port firmware should contact OCZ Product Management for more details. More details on the drives themselves can be found on the official product page.

OCZ Trion150 240GB and 480GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction



OCZ introduced us to the Trion series about half a year ago and the first drive already impressed us with its performance versus value offering and now OCZ is back with the next generation of Trion drives. The newly released Trion 150 series brings the newest in TLC NAND technology coupled with a great controller in order to provide an amazing drive for people on a budget. Today I’m taking a closer look at this series as I’ll be testing the 240GB and 480GB models.

The OCZ Trion 150 SSD is aimed at people who want to make the move from traditional mechanical hard disk drives and into the modern flash-based storage. There is no comparison when it comes to performance and access speeds, the SSD wins this by miles. Traditional storage does however have the benefit of more capacity per dollar and that is where TLC-NAND based drives come into play. They offer a great capacity at a lower price compared to MLC or SLC-based drives.

The new drives are built around Toshiba’s own controller and their latest Triple-Level-Cell NAND. This combination allows the drive to achieve a performance up to 550 MB/s when reading and 530MB/s when writing while the random performance still provides up to 91K IOPS reading and 64K IOPS writing. With a performance like this, you’ll seriously decrease your system’s boot-up times as well as any other loading process. It’s also one of those upgrades every system should have, an SSD.

The OCZ Trion 150 is available in a wide variety of capacities which means that there is a size for everyone’s need. It is available in capacities of 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB. One of the downsides to TLC NAND is that it doesn’t have the same endurance as MLC and SLC NAND, but that isn’t something that should scare you away as a normal user. Despite the lower endurance, these drives will easily outlive their time of operation in most systems and it shouldn’t be something you need to worry about. The Trion 150 has an endurance rating of up to 240TB total bytes written which should be plenty for almost any normal scenario.

The new 15nm Toshiba TLC NAND used in this series is quite a bit better than the previous 19nm thanks to the optimized manufacturing processes and it shows in this drive. Ordinary flagship drives can easily handle write loads of 50GB data at once, but that’s a problem for most TLC drives. They are just as fast with small area writes as the bigger brothers, but when they have to write more than a few GB in one instance, they suffer some performance loss. To combat this, a part of the NAND is being run in SLC mode as a kind of burst area. You can easily copy large amounts of data to the drive at once, but once the SLC cache has been exceeded, the performance will drop a little bit. The good news here is that the new series offers almost twice the write speed that the Trion 100 was able to offer during these scenarios. That’s a bold statement and one that will be interesting to see if the drive can live up to in the tests.

Despite being a budget drive, the OCZ Trion 150 is still backed by a 3-year warranty and it isn’t just a normal warranty either. OCZ gave the Trion 150 the ShieldPlus Warranty for the entire time and it’s pretty much the best drive warranty you can get anywhere. Especially for free and included. In the unlikely event that a drive needs to be replaced, you got a worry-free customer service experience which eliminates all the hassle and cost surrounding traditional support and warranty claims consumers often have to deal with; OCZ has you covered.

OCZ packed the Trion 150 series with the basic features such as Trim, Garbage Collection, and SMART monitoring, but other than that they don’t feature much. They are, after all, basic drives.

As most SSDs these days, the Trion 150 is also built with a snap-together screwless case that holds the PCB in place. The two drives look the same once I got them opened, but there are a few differences. The most noticeable difference is actual not a difference – the amount of NAND chips. Despite the capacity difference, OCZ used the full set of chips in both models. That’s most likely also one of the reasons that these drives promise as great a performance as they do.

Once we remove the PCBs from the case, we also find another difference on the other side. The 480GB model is utilizing a Micron cache chip while the 240GB has a Nanya chip. Both drives use the same Toshiba controller and 15nm NAND chips.

Feature Highlights

  • Next Gen TLC Technology
  • Superior balance of price and performance
  • 100% Toshiba technology
  • Optimized for lower energy consumption
  • ShieldPlus Warranty

Specifications

Packaging

The Trion 150 comes in a colourful box showcasing the drive design as well as the capacity on the front.

The rear of the box lists the drives features as well as little about OCZ and the Trion 150 drive itself.

Inside the box is a reminder not to return the drive to the shop where you bought it and instead handle possible RMAs through OCZ directly as well as a setup guide and naturally the drive itself.

OCZ Introduces Trion 150 SSD Series

OCZ already showcased their Trion 150 series SSD during CES 2016 in Vegas and now it has been officially introduced. The new Trion 150 series replaces the current Trion 100 series and it is built with Toshiba’s 15nm Triple-Level-Cell NAND technology for even better performance on a budget.

Making the move from traditional mechanical hard disk drives to the faster solid state drives is simply something everyone has to experience. The difference is like day and night, but not everyone has the budget to get the flagship SSDs on the market. That is where these drives come into play as they still offer a great performance but don’t come with the heavy price.

The Trion 150 with its Toshiba controller and 15nm TLC NAND can bring you speeds of up to 550 MB/s reading and 530MB/s writing while the random performance still provides up to 91K IOPS reading and 64K IOPS writing. These specifications will decrease your boot time as well as any data access significantly and an SSD is an upgrade that every system should get. The OCZ Trion 150 will be available in capacities of 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB which should cover most people’s needs.

One of the downsides to TLC NAND is that it doesn’t have the same endurance as MLC and SLC NAND, but that isn’t something that should scare you away as a normal user. Despite the lower endurance, these drives will easily outlive their time of operation in most systems and it shouldn’t be something you need to worry about. The Trion 150 has an endurance rating of up to 240TB total bytes written which should be plenty.

The new 15nm Toshiba TLC NAND is quite a bit better than the previous 19nm thanks to the optimized manufacturing processes and it shows in this drive. Ordinary flagship drives can easily handle write loads of 50GB at once, but that’s a problem for TLC drives. They are just as fast with small area writes as the bigger brothers, but when they have to write more than a few GB in one instance, they suffer some performance loss. To combat this, a part of the NAND is being run in SLC mode as a kind of burst area. You can easily copy large amounts of data to the drive at once, but once the SLC cache has been exceeded, the performance will drop a little bit. The good news here is that the new series offers almost twice the write speed that the Trion 100 was able to offer during these scenarios.

Despite being a budget drive, the OCZ Trion 150 is still backed by a 3-year warranty and it isn’t just a normal warranty either. OCZ gave the Trion 150 the ShieldPlus Warranty for the entire time and it’s pretty much the best drive warranty you can get anywhere, especially for free and included. In the unlikely event that a drive needs to be replaced, you got a worry-free customer service experience which eliminates all the hassle and cost surrounding traditional support and warranty claims consumers often have to deal with. OCZ has you covered.

“Our Trion 100 series solid state drives quickly became a top seller for us and are popular among end users seeking a performance boost over hard drives at a very reasonable price,” said Steve Fingerhut, Sr. Vice President and GM of SSD BU, at Toshiba America Electronics Corporation. “We are continually looking for ways to improve both SSD real world performance and value to end users and are pleased to introduce the new Trion 150 series which leverages the latest Toshiba 15nm Triple-Level Cell NAND flash to deliver an even better storage solution for value-oriented mobile and desktop users.”

The Trion 150 is expected to be on par if not below the Trion 100 pricing, so that is great news for consumers. I also really like the new drive design, a little fresher than the previous. We will naturally have full reviews of this series ready for you shortly.

Cooler Master Launched Case Mod World Series 2016

Case modding has become very popular again and it isn’t just something that a few select sponsored people do. A lot of people take it upon themselves to make their existing or new rigs just a little more fly. If you should be among those people, then you might want to pay attention to this as you could end up being one of the people walking away with 30,000 USD in cash and prizes. Cooler Master has launched the Case Mod World Series 2016 which is sponsored by ASUS, Avexir, Dremel, NVIDIA, and OCZ. Those are all some familiar names with some quality products.

The Case Mod World Series is designed to connect modders everywhere and 2016 is the seventh time it is being held where Cooler Master expanded the scope of the series to include local meet and greets, and modding sessions. The participants will be judged in four equally weighted areas that are complexity, design, originality, and overall look. The judgement will be done by the sponsoring companies as well as an international panel of judges: Ermanno Bonandini from Italy, Ronnie Hara from Brazil via Japan, Richard Keirsgieter from The Netherlands, Antony Leather from The UK, Richard Surroz and Brian Farrell from the USA.

“Modding has exploded in recent years and is taking root in every corner of the globe. The Case Mod World Series is about fuelling that growth. It’s about igniting the modding spirit – the maker spirit – on the web and right in your community,” said Michelle Wu, Global Community Manager. “This year, we will be running local events to involve modders everywhere. Together, with the generous support of our sponsors, we hope to enable the modding community the world over. ”

The registration is open now and will run until June the 12th, 2016. You need a Cooler Master Forum account to get going, but it is free and the Case Mod mini-site has all the details in that regard. The Info Hub will keep you updated with posts along the way and as previously mentioned, you can win a lot of prizes.

There are three categories with three places in each. The first place winner in the Tower Mod contest will walk away with $3000 USD in cash, any Cooler Master case of their choice, a V1200 PSU, MasterAir Maker 8 cooler, QuickFire Xti keyboard, Sentinel III mouse and Sirus headset. The motherboard is sponsored by Asus and is a Maximus VIII Formula while the GPU power comes from two GTX 980 Ti cards. Along with that, the first place winner gets OCZ SSD, Avexir Memory and a Dremel 8050 Micro tool. You can also see the full list of prizes for the different categories on the mini-site.

Basic Solid State Drive Features Explained

When we report on storage news as well as in our reviews, we use a lot of terms and features that might not be familiar to everyone. The words and acronyms sound good and you chose your products based on whether they are present or not. But what do they actually mean? That is something that I’ll try to explain a little more today. I think there is a little bit for everyone here, whether you’re an advanced system builder or new to the area.

First I’ll start out with the basic features that are present in almost any storage drive these days, whether it’s a flash drive, hard disk drive, or solid state drive, and then slowly move on to the more exclusive features further down.


S.M.A.R.T.

S.M.A.R.T. is the most basic feature that you’ll find and at the same time it is one of the most useful ones. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology and it is a way for the drive to keep track of itself and let you have access to the information too. There are many tools out there that can read out the information for you and most systems can also keep track of them trough BIOS and chipset functions. A simple and free tool to get access to the information is CrystalDiskInfo.

Most SMART values are can be two values, either good or bad, but there are a few that keep track of total reads, writes, and power-on hours as well. An application like CrystalDiskInfo will also show you the expected health status as you can see in the image above.

S.M.A.R.T. can also include self-tests that can be run manually or scheduled by a lot of systems. The short and long tests will check electrical and mechanical performance and are basically identical. The short will only test small parts of the area where the long test will test the entire surface of the disk with no time limit.


TRIM

TRIM, also know as a Trim command, is a way for the operating system to inform a solid state drive which blocks of data are no longer considered in use and can be wiped. Internally, SSD operations are quite a bit different from HDD operations and TRIM was created because of that. The typical way in which operating systems handle deletes and formats would result in progressive performance degradation of write operations on SSDs.

With TRIM, the SSD is able to handle the garbage collection itself and free up the cells for new writes. We all know that a deleted file in the operating system doesn’t mean a deleted file on the drive, not until the physical location of the file has been overwritten. A mechanical drive handles a write and an overwrite action the same way, but an SSD doesn’t. It would first need to erase the area before it can write there again. It also means that a deleted file is gone ones the Trim command has processed the area.

There are manual tools to trigger the Trim command, but they’re aren’t needed if you got a modern operating system. There are independent tools for it and pretty much any SSD toolbox and software also has a button to send the command to the drive. This is a thing that we can expect to see removed from such software in the future as it’s fully automatic now.


Garbage Collection

Garbage collection is basically the same function, except that the garbage collection is performed on a drive level where TRIM is an operating system function. In return, it means that it also works on systems that don’t support TRIM and helps to keep the performance up.

I could go a lot into detail about how it works, but then we’re missing the point of easy information in this article. Without TRIM or garbage collection, the SSD doesn’t know what files have been marked as deleted and aren’t no longer needed. Those deleted data might still be moved around on the drive itself when it is optimizing and that will result in a lot of extra writes. There are many ways this is implemented in drives and it comes down to the drive itself, the controller, and manufacturer how exactly it works.


Wear Leveling

There are two types of wear leveling, dynamic and static. Static is also sometimes referred to as global wear leveling and it is this type that we usually find in solid state drives. Dynamic wear leveling, on the other hand, is mostly found on flash drives. Both types will attempt to use all physical flash equally so one chip doesn’t burn out before the rest and render the drive useless. Where the static will do this on the entire drive, the dynamic will only do this with memory blocks that get replacement data. The static wear leveling is a little slower but gives the drive a longer life expectancy. It doesn’t just help to prolong the life of the drives, it also helps with a more even performance.


DevSleep

DevSleep, DevSlp, or Device Sleep are all words for the same thing and it is the newest and most effective way for drives to enter a low-power sleep mode. In traditional low-power modes, the SATA link still needed to remain powered on to allow the device to receive a wake-up signal again. With DevSlp, the rarely used 3.3 V power connection is used instead to send the signal, allowing the drive to enter an even deeper sleep state by turning off more functions. The return is an even faster response time when it wakes up again and less power consumption. This is particularly useful for notebook users.


PFM+, IPS, and more

These are all synonyms for basically the same function, so I’ll stick with one that is present in one of the drives that we’ve recently reviewed: Power failure management plus (PFM+) that is present in OCZ’s Vector 180 series. With different names, they all perform the same function: get as much data safely to the storage drive in case of a power failure. There are extra capacitors in the drive that store currency in order to flush more data to the flash cells before all the power is gone. The capacitors also ensure that all metadata is safe and that the drive will continue to operate normally after a power loss, i.e. the NAND mapping table won’t be lost, which can brick the drive or at least slow down the next boot up as the drive has to go through a recovery process. This used to be a feature reserved to enterprise class drives, but we see it enter more and more enthusiast drives too.


ECC

ECC or Error Correction Code is present in a lot of devices and it is no different for solid state drives. It is an extra code that allows the drive to correct minor errors in sector reads and to recover data from sectors that have gone bad while storing that data in the spare sectors. It is basically what it says it is. It corrects errors.

Low-density parity-check (LDPC) is the go-to standard today for multiple reasons that I won’t go to much into here. In the past, it was rather BCH that was used, but that isn’t an effective method for modern SSDs. To say it short, LPDC allows you to correct more errors for the same ratio of user data to ECC parity. With ECC, fewer actions have to be repeated in case something goes wrong which in return gives a better overall performance.

New OCZ Gaming Site Supports Streamers and Gamers

OCZ is no stranger in the world of gaming and computers with their strong portfolio of solid state drives and it is this group that is partially responsible for OCZ’s success, simply by buying their products. OCZ wants to give back to those and have launched a new mini-site dedicated to gamers and streamers.

The new mini-site is simply called OCZ Gaming and the slogan “what moves me”. The answer to that is without a doubt gaming for a lot of our readers, which makes it worth to check this site out. Especially if you are a Twitch streamer that doesn’t have an SSD sponsor yet.

OCZ has started a streamer sponsor program and best of all, it is real easy to sign up and apply for it. There is but one rule really, you can’t have an SSD sponsor from another company. That’s fair, right? There are four different sponsor tiers that will give different awards starting from a single OCZ Vector 180 SSD and to a lot more. There are some details on what has to be fulfilled for each of the tiers, but it is definitely worth checking out if you are a Twitch game-streamer. All you need to do to apply is to fill out a little form on the OCZ Gamers mini-site.

On the OCZ Gaming site, you’ll also find videos with system builds and wallpapers for your desktop to show off your OCZ pride. There are contests and giveaways too as well SSD guides so you pick the right drive for your setup.

A big part of PC gaming is located around the Steam platform, there is no getting around that. To meet the gamers where they are, OCZ also launched a Steam Group. The group already has over 1200 members, so it is off to a very good start.

SilverStone PTS01 USB 3.0 Enclosure for NUC Review

Introduction


Intel’s NUC series of mini PCs as well as SilverStone’s lineup of Petit series are amazing and bring a lot of great hardware in a very tiny box. They do however have one problem for some people and that is the lack of storage upgradeability. A few of the NUCs have a 2.5-inch bay, but most only feature mSATA, M.2, and similar next generation form factors. That sets some limitations, but limitations are meant to be broken and SilverStone did that with their PTS01 external USB 3.0 storage enclosure that fits the NUC and Petit cases like a glove.

SilverStone designed the PTS01 specifically for the Intel NUC as the majority of the NUC motherboards only support mSATA in order to reduce the dimensions. Where basic and small is great for the one, the other wants a little more. The PTS01 easily stacks with the NUC and Petit series chassis and it can even be placed between the NUCs and their mounting positions such as behind monitors. That way you don’t increase the footprint of your system, at least if you got a little more space behind your monitor.

You can mount a 2.5-inch hard disk or solid state drive with a maximum height of 9mm in the SilverStone PTS01. It is fully SATA III and USB 3.0 compatible with backward compatibility on both sectors. This could truly be the perfect and most convenient way to expand the storage of your NUC system.

The PTS01 is made from aluminum and steel which makes it sturdy and also helps with the cooling of the drive you mount inside. The tiny chassis measures just 122mm by 108mm by 15mm and it weighs just 125-gram thanks to the choice of material.

The SilverStone PTS01 storage enclosure is very simple on its own as it’s just a two-piece enclosure held together by eight screws and containing a small PCB at one end. On the PCB, you can see the USB 3.0 port and the activity LED to the right and we also spot the ASMedia ASM1153E USB 3.0 to Serial SATA bridge chip. The ASM1153E supports UASP for even better transfer speeds and a larger command queue. The enclosure did however not register as UASP device on my Windows 8 Pro system.

Feature Highlights

  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 with 5Gbps
  • Supports Intel NUC cases
  • Supports SATA3 2.5” SSD/HDD x 1
  • Robust aluminum and steel body construction

Specifications

Package and Accessories

The simple black box has a premium feel over it thanks to the full-colour print, although you probably won’t look much at the box after you unpacked the enclosure. It also showcases the product itself and the main features right on the front.

The rear of the box has all the specifications themselves and a small image showcasing the usage directly connected to a Petit case.

Inside the box you find the enclosure itself along with a USB connection cable and all the screws you need to mount a drive inside as well as mount it to the NUC or Petit chassis.

OCZ Demonstrate Latest Storage Devices @ CES 2016

OCZ continue to expand their product range at CES 2016, this year showing off their new Trion 100 Series and the Trion 150 Series SSD hard drives.

Equipped with Toshiba controllers and the latest Toshiba 15nm TLC NAND, the drives promise competitive performance for desktop users, but also great capacity, with options available up to 960GB, more than enough for most desktop system builds.

Need more performance? Not a problem! The new RevoDrive 400 Series, comes equipped with PCI Express Gen. 3 x4 SSD drives, which combined deliver a staggering 24000 MB/s read and 1500 MB/s write, not only is this great for desktop users, but will also deliver the performance needed for high-end rendering workstations, gaming systems and more.

Moving further up the range, their latest enterprise drives are also on display. The Z-Drive 6300 U.2 and the AIC Series offer up groundbreaking performance, perfect for professional deployment, servers, workstations and more.

The AIC model is of particular interest, as it comes with up to 6.4TB of storage, great for large scale operations, server deployments and more.

Another great demonstration, their latest drive putting up a good fight and delivering exception read and write performance, hopefully it will prove strong competition for the current crop of Samsung NVME drives that are creating a monopoly on the market.

OCZ Significantly Broadens ShieldPlus SSD Warranty Program

With more and more of our purchases being online these days, it is ever more important to have a good RMA and warranty policy in case something goes bad. In a major but not unsurprising move, OCZ Storage Solutions has expanded their ShieldPlus warranty program for their SSDs. Tripling the number of countries by going from 33 to 99, it means more OCZ customers will be able to benefit from the advanced warranty program.

ShieldPlus is one of the better warranty programs for SSDs out there right now. When a drive becomes defective, owners merely have to provide the details of the issue as well the serial number. Once technical support confirms the defect is with the drive, OCZ will give the customer a prepaid shipping label and cross-ship a replacement drive within 24 hours for no charge. This is generally better than most policies that require the customer to send the defective product on their own dime.

A few years back OCZ suffered from a high failure rate for their SSDs and the company ended up being acquired by Toshiba. Since then OCZ has fixed their drives up and have made a strong comeback. With the extension of this warranty to more countries, there is all the more reason for users to consider OCZ these days. The ShieldPlus program currently covers the Vertex 460A, Vector 180, AMD R7, ARC 100 and Trion 100.

OCZ RevoDrive 400 Revealed: NVMe Speeds for M.2

While we’ve long had M.2 SSDs, those drives have often been limited to either SATA speeds or suffered from the legacy AHCI protocol. In order to get around the legacy standard, consumer SSDs are starting to pick up NVMe, a new storage protocol designed for flash. OCZ is set to bring their own contender to the M.2 market by offering the OCZ RevoDrive 400, the first NVMe M.2 SSD.

We’ve seen what NVMe is capable of with the PCIe version of Intel’s 750. Now with 4 lanes of PCIe 3.0 through the M.2 connector, the RevoDrive can finally make use of those M.2 slots on many motherboards, giving much-needed speed without having to use up a PCIe slot. Read speeds are set to hit  2000MB/s and write speeds around 1600MB/s – 2000MB/s, pretty close to the Intel 750.

Given that OCZ is now owned by Toshiba, it’s interesting that this comes so soon after Toshiba announced their own M2. NVMe SSD from the BG1 family. Those drives however, were targetted more for OEMs and enterprise rather than consumers. At this point, all we know about the RevoDrive 400 is that it uses a Toshiba controller and 15nm MLC NAND.

No word is available on pricing but we can expect prices to probably fall near the Intel 750 so don’t expect this to be a budget drive. Intel does have one important advantage as the RevoDrive 400 maxes out at 1TB while the 750 goes a bit higher; it’s not quite fair to compare the two different form factors, though. No launch date has been revealed at this time.

Thank you TechReport for providing us with this information 

OCZ TRION 100 240GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


I recently took a closer look at the TRION 100 480GB solid-state drive from OCZ and today the time has come for the 240GB TRION 100. The TRION 100 series is the new value series from OCZ where you don’t get the fastest drive on the market, but instead an unbeatable value for very little money. A lot of good things have come from OCZ since they became a part of Toshiba, and the TRION 100 is surely one of them.

This TRION 100 SSD is a cost-effective performance upgrade that creates an optimal mix of value and performance for both notebooks and desktop systems. The drive is based around a Toshiba SSD controller and also uses Toshiba’s A19 TLC NAND. It is the first OCZ drive series to feature TLC NAND and the first consumer SSD on the market with Toshiba’s TLC NAND.

Ultrabooks, laptops, and netbooks can all benefit greatly from this drive over a mechanical solution. The TRION 100 is OCZ’s first drive to feature DevSleep, making it a perfect companion in a mobile system with its lower power consumption. It only consumes 6mW in DEVSLP mode, 830mW while idle, and 4.8W when active. But the drive is equally great for desktop upgrades on a budget. Home theater PCs, family PCs, and even entry-level gaming rigs can get a great performance boost from this drive for a low cost.

OCZ is now basing their endurance rating on the JEDEC industry standard instead of the previously used worst-case scenario. This 240GB model is rated for 60TB Total Bytes Written (TBW) or 55GB per day and a Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF) of 1.5M hours.

The series is also backed by OCZ’s amazing ShieldPlus warranty where you got a no-hassle, no trouble customer service if the worst case should happen. All you need is the serial number and you’ll get a replacement and a return label for the old one. That is a warranty that everyone should provide and the TRION has 3-years of it.

This might be a value series, but the TRION 100 still performs pretty good with a sequential performance up to 550MB/s while reading and 520MB/s while writing. The random IOPS come in at 90K for reading and 43K for writing.

The drive is assembled without any screws or other parts. The cleverly designed chassis allows the PCB to slide right on in and into position after which the two part case can snap together. No need for any screws at all.

The PCB fills about two-thirds of the drive and it is only one side of it that is used. The controller is a Toshiba TC58NC and each of the four TLC NAND packages is 64GB big. We also see a Nanya 128MB RAM chip.

The TRION 100 supports SMART, NCQ, TRIM, Idle Garbage collection, and the aforementioned DevSleep. It is backward compatible to earlier SATA revisions.

Being a budget drive, we only find the drive in itself and the installation manual inside the box. Notebook users won’t need any mounting kits as the 7mm high drive just slides into the appropriate slot. Neither will most desktop users as there aren’t many PC cases out there that don’t support 2.5-inch drives natively by now.

Features

  • Next Gen TLC Technology: Built with premium Toshiba TLC NAND flash
  • Toshiba Controller & Firmware: Leverages Toshiba SSD controller technology
  • Performance Made Affordable: Superior Balance of price and performance
  • Better Battery Life: Optimized for lower energy consumption for longer battery life
  • World-class Quality and Reliability: 100% Toshiba technology built into every drive, keeping data secure
  • ShieldPlus Warranty: Provides an elite, worry-free customer service experience

OCZ TRION 100 480GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


I’ve had the pleasure to test all of OCZ’s current SATA drive line-up and I’ve never been let down by any of them and I doubt that it will be any different this time. Today I’m taking a look at the brand new OCZ TRION 100 SSD with 480 GB capacity.

The TRION 100 series is the new value series. You might not get the fastest drive on the market, but you will get one of the cheapest while it still maintains a strong performance. A lot of good things have come from OCZ since they became a part of Toshiba, and now you can get even more of that for you money thanks to the TRION 100.

This SSD is a cost-effective performance upgrade that creates an optimal mix of value and performance. The drive is based around a Toshiba SSD controller and also uses Toshiba’s A19 TLC NAND, making it OCZ’s first drive to feature TLC NAND and the first consumer SSD on the market with Toshiba’s version of it.

There are two core areas where this drive will be perfect, one being consumer notebooks, work laptops, and ultra-thin notebooks. The TRION 100 is OCZ’s first drive to feature DevSleep, making it a perfect companion in a mobile system thanks to its lower power consumption. In DEVSLP mode the drive only consumes 6mW, 830mW while idle, and 4.8W when active.

The second area where it will be great is for a desktop upgrade. Budget systems, home theater PCs, family PCs, and even entry-level gaming rigs can get a great performance boost from this drive over a traditional hard drive – and all that with a price level that comes very close to mechanical solutions.

The TRION 100 has a lot of firsts as it’s also the first OCZ SSD with endurance ratings based on the JEDEC industry standard. Previously the endurance rating was based on the worst-case scenario and those will be adjusted to the same new scheme shortly.

The 480GB version has an endurance rating of 120TB Total Bytes Written (TBW) or 110GB per day. The Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF) is rated to 1.5M hours.

One of the things I love most on OCZ’s current line-up of SSD drives is the ShieldPlus warranty. I can not stress enough how great this is. It is like it should be, no hassle and no trouble if the worst case scenario should happen and your drive fails.

In the event that the product is determined to be defective, it will be replaced with a brand new SSD. Simply provide the SSD’s serial number and it will be set in motion. The advanced product replacement and paid return shipping label minimizes expenses and downtime. The TRION 100 comes with 3-year ShieldPlus warranty.

Just because the drive is labeled as a budget drive with value in mind, doesn’t mean that there isn’t any performance to speak off. The 480GB TRION 100 is rated for up to 550MB/s sequential reads and 530MB/s writes. The random read performance is rated up to 90K IOPS while the write performance is rated up to 54K IOPS. Steady IOPS are rated at 3200 after a 12hour pre-conditioning.

The drive is assembled without any screws or other parts. It’s cleverly designed to so the PCB slides into position while the case snaps together.

The PCB fills about two-thirds of the drive and it is only one side of it that is used. The controller is a Toshiba TC58NC and each of the four TLC NAND packages is 128GB big. We also see a Nanya 256MB RAM chip.

The TRION 100 supports SMART, NCQ, TRIM, Idle Garbage collection, and the aforementioned DevSleep. the SATA3 drive is also backward compatible to earlier SATA revisions.

Being a budget drive, we only find the drive itself and the installation manual inside the box. Notebook users won’t need any mounting kits as the 7mm high drive just slides into the appropriate slot and neither will most desktop users as there aren’t many PC cases out there that don’t support 2.5-inch drives by now.

Features

  • Next Gen TLC Technology: Built with premium Toshiba TLC NAND flash
  • Toshiba Controller & Firmware: Leverages Toshiba SSD controller technology
  • Performance Made Affordable: Superior Balance of price and performance
  • Better Battery Life: Optimized for lower energy consumption for longer battery life
  • World-class Quality and Reliability: 100% Toshiba technology built into every drive, keeping data secure
  • ShieldPlus Warranty: Provides an elite, worry-free customer service experience

OCZ Shows off Their Storage Drives at Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – A company like OCZ can’t be missed and we did of course stop by their booth to check out the latest storage drives out of their house.

The Trion 100 series is a new and value oriented series for entry-level users, but that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice performance. The Trion 100 series will be available in capacities ranging from 120GB to 960GB and a performance up to 550MB/s on sequential performance and 91K IOPS on random operations. T

Those performance figures come from read operations, but it’s equally impressive on the write performance where it steal breaks the 500MB/s barrier. The drive comes backed by OCZ’s amazing ShieldPlus warranty and is built around Toshiba’s proprietary Alishan controller and A19 TLC NAND flash.

OCZ also brought along their Radeon R7 branded SSD, one that we’ve already reviewed and that scored great. The drive comes with great endurance ratings and is built around the Barefoot 3 M00 controller that I personally am a big fan of.

On the other side of things we have the enterprise-class storage – drives for people that don’t want anything but the best for their critical systems.

There is no doubt that NVMe is the new king in the market and OCZ has ready with the OCZ Z-Drive 6000 series that takes full advantage of the relative new interface.

OCZ is running live demonstrations to show just how great these drives are. One can say a lot, but OCZ also shows how it’s done.

Reaching 345K IOPS on 4K random read performance with 8 workers isn’t something that we see often and that is quite impressive.

OCZ’s Z-Drive 6300 series is built around the NVM Express 1.1b Gen 3. x4 PCI Express connection and comes as both HHHL add-in card and 2.5-inch form factor with SATA Express interface.

Features include Power Loss protection, endurance ratings for 3 full drive writes per day for 5 years and capacities up to 6.4TB. Performance can go all the way up to 2900MB/s at sequential operations and 700K IOPS at random operations.

The XD-JX series is an M.2 sized NVMe based storage drive that boasts almost the same specs as the Z-Drive 6300. We see an endurance rating of 2 DWPD over a 5-year period, 1600MB/s and 300K IOPS performance at just 12W. Capacity is equally impressive with modules that go all the way up to 960GB.

We shouldn’t forget the Intrepid 3000 series either, a standard SATA 3 based 2.5-inch drive designed for Enterprise Applications. The drive is built around the latest generation Toshiba eMLC NAND flash and comes in sizes all the way up to 2TB. Impressive capacity and performance thanks to the use of eMLC NAND.

Last but not least is the Saber 1000 series. This is another drive that is utilizing the OCZ Barefoot 3 controller and the latest Toshiba MLC NAND. The drive features Power Failure management Plus as well as great performance and capacities for Hyperscale Data Centers and other situations where high-IOPS are needed.

 

OCZ Will Unveil New TLC-Based Trion 100 SATA Client SSD at Computex

We’ve seen a lot of amazing things from OCZ since they became part of Toshiba, the last being the impressive new Z-Drive 6300 NVMe add-in card. The Z-Drive is mostly aimed at businesses and data centers, but that doesn’t mean that OCZ has forgotten their consumer-class fans.

During this year’s Computex in Taipei, OCZ will demonstrate their new value-oriented option, the Trion 100 SSDs. These drives are built to provide an easy and affordable way for entry-level users to optimize their mobile or desktop systems.

The Trion 100 series is based on Triple Cell (TLC) NAND made by Toshiba in their A19 TLC flash technology. The drives will also utilize Toshiba’s own Alishan SSD controller, making it another complete in-house designed drive.

The Trion 100’s preliminary performance ratings don’t sound bad at all after we’ve heard the terms budget and affordable. Sequential transfer speeds are measured up to 550MB/s and random 4K performance clocks up to 91,000 read IOPS.

“Computex is the ideal venue for us to unveil our upcoming TLC NAND-based Trion 100 SSDs,” said Alex Mei, CMO and GM of the Client Business at OCZ Storage Solutions. “By leveraging controller and TLC NAND technology from Toshiba, we are pleased to be able to bring to market the exciting new Trion 100 SSD Series which will offer end-users an optimal mix of performance, features, and value, making it easier than ever for value-conscious consumers to leverage the benefits of a high quality yet affordable SSD that delivers improved desktop and mobile computing experiences.”

OCZ will be demonstrating the new Trion 100 series, but also the NVMe Z-Drive 6000 series and probably a few more surprises. We’ll make sure to check it all out for you in our event coverage.

 

OCZ Introduces Z-Drive 6000-Series NVMe SSDs

OCZ presented their newest storage drive, and it is one that isn’t without. The newly announced Z-Drive 6000 SSD Series combines the power of the third-generation PCI Express and Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) technologies to create a blazing fast drive in multiple form factors and capacities.

 

“The NVMe SSD market is poised to take off, now that it provides an efficient storage interface between flash and the processor,” said Jim Handy, of Objective Analysis. “By joining the NVMe SSD market early with a compelling product, OCZ has won itself an opportunity to become a leader.”

The Z-Drive Series will initially be available with a capacity between 800GB and 3.2TB, but a 6.4TB version is planned for a release later this year. When it comes to speed, the Z-Drive doesn’t need to hide from anyone and has some impressive figures attached. Sustained transfer speeds are rated up to 2.9GB/s and the series can perform up to 700K IOPS on random read operations.

 

The Z-Drive 6000 Series also comes with dual port capabilities that enable two host systems to concurrently access the same device or allows for redundancy inside the host. In the event of a system failure, if one of the data paths becomes compromised, the available data path continues operation as if no failure had occurred through the second port. The Z-Drive 6000 Series also supports hot swapping of 2.5-inch drives, pre-set power thresholds and temperature throttling to support many types of enterprise ecosystems.

The Z-Drive 6000 and 6300 SFF series are expected to be available in Q2 2015 in 800GB, 1600GB and 3200GB capacities. The 6300 PCIe card will be available at the same time in the same capacities, but a 6.4TB model is also planned for a release later this year.

While the SATA standard isn’t dead and still has its merits, NVMe is definitely the new King in the market.

Intel SSD 750 PCIe 1.2TB NVMe Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Once in a while we see a new generation of products being released that completely change how we view the area and make what we used to think was good into something rather mediocre. Such a time is upon us right now thanks to Intel and their brand new consumer drives, the Intel SSD 750 Series. I’ll be taking a closer look at the 1.2TB PCIe Half-Height Half-Length (HH-HL) add-in card today, but the drive is also available as a smaller version with 400GB capacity and both capacities are also available as 2.5″ inch form factor with an SFF8639 connector.

The Intel SSD 750 series is an NVMe based drive which both is a wonderful thing and has a hitch at the same time. Your motherboard has to support it and you need the proper drivers to get the full potential. But assuming we have this, and major manufacturer are all upgrading their Intel 9 series motherboards to support this, then you have the next generation of storage drives.

What started out as something available only for enterprises and at a price that no normal person could afford has now moved into the consumer range. In a way, this storage drive can be seen as a consumer version of the Enterprise DC series and now that the processes have matured and a lot of R&D costs have been paid by enterprises utilizing the DC drives, we end users rake the benefits.

NVMe is the next generation of storage connectivity and it will replace the AHCI standard the same way that replaced the IDE. AHCI and SATA3 were created for with mechanical drives in mind and it’s far from the perfect platform to build flash storage upon. NVMe on the other hand is designed from the ground up for this use and performs a lot better thanks to this. NVMe lowers overall CPU overhead because NVMe has a simplified command set which minimizes the number of CPU clocks per I/O in comparison to AHCI.

I’ve talked a lot about how great this new drive performs, but I haven’t mentioned any numbers yet and that has to change. The drive is rated for impressive 2400MB/s read and 1200MB/s write performance at sequential operations and has even more impressive 440K IOPS read and 290K IOPS random 4K write performance.

The drive is rated for 70GB writes per day that equals to 219TB total bytes written over a five-year period. It comes with a mean time before failure of 1.2 million hours and is backed by a five-year warranty. SMART, TRIM, and ECC are also part of the package.

Diving further into the card and having a look at the PCB on the bottom of the card and we find 14-BFA packages with 20nm Intel Multi-Level Cell NAND and two Micron DDR3 DRAM packages.

Removing the giant heatsink isn’t an easy task, and it is one that I failed at. It is mounted so solid that I couldn’t make it move the tiniest bit despite having removed all screws. I wasn’t using more than a sensible amount of force on a product like this, and I had to give up as I didn’t want to destroy the card.

Inside the large heatsink that covers the entire card, we find a smaller one that can be removed and below we find the SSD controller.

Intel is using their own proprietary controller named the CH29AE41AB0 and I really like how Intel used proper thermal paste rather than pads. Overall the cooler design is impressive for a storage drive and it should keep the drive running perfectly in even the most demanding setups.

Inateck FE2004 USB 3.0 HDD External Enclosure Review

Introduction


I’ve had the pleasure to have a closer look at quite a few of Inateck’s docking stations and enclosures so far, and it has been a pleasure every time. Today I’m taking a closer look at the Inateck FE2004 2.5-inch portable HDD and SSD enclosure. The FE2004 enclosure connects through a USB 3.0 connection for great transfer speeds thanks to the 5Gbps bandwidth and it can take drives up to 9.5mm height.

The Inateck FE2004 has a delicate and simple appearance. The only thing that stands out from the black enclosure is the battery indicator and company logo. The manufacturing is great and every part fits together without gaps or edges that you’ll feel. The surface also feels very smooth and it’s generally an enclosure that is pleasant to touch and hold.

A portable enclosure also has to be convenient to carry and light weight. Inateck’s FE2004 is both as it only weighs 90 grams the rounded corners make the 130 x 83 x 13 mm small enclosure easy to slide into even the tightest pockets. The USB cable is detachable so you don’t break it during transport and can pack it all better. A detachable USB cable also allows you to replace it with a longer or shorter one depending on your needs.

The FE2004 would be a great expansion for laptop users to store all their extra media such as films and images, ready to stream when needed and without the need to take up that little precious internal storage that most laptop users are bound to. The enclosure is

The enclosure is suitable for 9.5mm and thinner drives. There is a pre-mounted foam pad inside the enclosure to keep thinner drives such as 7mm SSDs mounted properly and prevent them from rattling around and Inateck also includes a second foam pad with the enclosure in case you ever need to replace it. A minor thing that costs them maybe a cent, but one that is extremely convenient for the user buying the product.effectively.

The bottom side of the enclosure has four tiny nipples as feet and while they don’t look like much, they do provide a better grip on the surface than the other side does. Place on the top side, the enclosure could easily slide off a smooth surface, but the feet hold it in place.

Features

  • Built-in foam pad, protect hard disk effectively
  • Blue and red power supply/HDD LED activity indicator
  • Suitable for 9.5mm and thinner 2.5-inch SATA HDD and SSD.
  • Super Speed USB3.0 offer Speed up to 5Gbps
  • Compatible Operating Systems: Windows 2000/Windows Me/Windows 98/ XP /Vista/ 7/ 8, Mac OS 9.1/10.8.4 above
  • Hot Swap & Plug and Play: No reboot and additional driver is needed
  • Tool-Free design: Mounting a drive in three-second without tools and mounting screws.

 

OCZ Vector 180 480GB in Four-Disk RAID Review

Introduction


We’ve recently taken a look at how two OCZ Vector 180 960GB drives would perform in a RAID setup and to no one’s surprise, they were amazing. So how can we kick this up a notch? Easy, we take four of these amazing OCZ Vector 180 drives and try a RAID setup on them; now this is what I call fun and I love being able to test this setup.

Okay, I have to admit right away that this setup is halfway cheated, yet it shouldn’t have any performance impact. I only have two 480GB drives, but I also have two 960GB drives that use the exact same components. This means that I’ll just treat the 960GB drives as 480 ones and it won’t have any impact on our tests except that it will have a slightly different total space displayed. It’s really rare that I have four disks of the same brand for such a test, and I just didn’t want to let this chance slip away – and I’m sure more than a few of our readers will appreciate to find out how four of these drives will handle themselves in a RAID environment.

The new OCZ Vector 180 is the follow-up drive to the already successful Vector 150 series and on the base it’s still the same drive. It has however gotten a refresh in both parts, performance, and features, and it’s a drive well worth the attention that it’s getting here. With four drives at my disposal, I also got all the RAID modes available that the Intel RST has to offer: RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10, and I’ll be testing the drives in each available setup. The only place where I’ll only be using the two 480GB drives is the RAID 1 setup and this is a natural limitation based on the setup. Two disks are just max here.

The Vector 180 drive is based on the well-known, and in my opinion amazing, Indilinx Barefoot 3 M00 controller and it’s coupled with Toshiba’s A19nm NAND that we’ve seen perform great in any drive that it’s been used in. The drive is categorized as an enthusiast drive and that with good reason, the performance is great with a rated sequential speed of 550MB/s while reading and 510-530MB/s at writing. The random performance gets close to the 100K on 4K benchmarks, which isn’t bad either, not at all.

All the basic features like SMART, TRIM, and Garbage collection that is a must in every SSD these days are covered, but OCZ didn’t stop there. They also took something that’s usually reserved for enterprise-class drives and added it to their consumer drive and it’s called PFM+. PFM+ stands for Power Failure Management Plus and it helps to prevent data loss in the event of a sudden power loss. The drive has built-in capacitors that can provide enough power to flush the data from the cache to the NAND in the case that the power to the system should fail. Critical data can be saved with addition and it’s a great feature to have in any system.

OCZ’s Vector 180 comes with an official endurance rating of 50GB/day which is quite impressive for both desktop and server-grade disks. It also carries the amazing 5-year ShieldPlus warranty if the worst case situation should happen, where you can get around the hassle and troubles of normal RMAs and just get a new drive instead of the failed. I can not stress enough how amazing this is and you should give this warranty an extra look before you purchase your next SSD. It might be enough to change your mind on what to get, I know it did for me.

When it comes to what is bundled, then we find the usual great content inside the OCZ packaging. We get both a 3.5-inch adapter for those cases that aren’t suited for 2.5-inch drives natively as well as a key for the Acronis True Image disk cloning software so we easily can clone our old and slow drive onto our new and fast SSD. Other available capacities besides the 480GB are 120GB, 240GB, and 960GB.

OCZ Vector 180 480GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


We have had a look at the 960GB capacity of the new Vector 180 series already and today it’s time to take a closer look at the smaller sibling with 480GB capacity. The new mainstream and entry-level server SSD is packed full of great features and performance, and the 480GB capacity will probably hit the sweet spot for most people interested in this drive.

The drive is aimed at the mainstream market but still delivers more performance than most do in this segment and it lands right in the middle of features and performance. OCZ’s Vector 180 is built around the in-house created Indilinx Barefoot 3 M00 controller that has been coupled with the latest generation of Toshiba’s A19 MLC NAND flash for great sequential speeds up to 550MB/s and a random performance up to 100k IOPS. This is surely a drive that will wake the interest of enthusiast.

The drive doesn’t just come with great speeds, it also has a great endurance with an official rating of 50GB/day. OCZ’s Power failure management plus (PFM+) is a great new feature that prevents partial data loss and corrupting in case of power failure. There are capacitors that ensure the data at rest is safe but all user data in the DRAM buffer will still be lost in the case of sudden power loss. The capacitors ensure that all metadata is safe and that the drive will continue to operate normally after a power loss, i.e. the NAND mapping table won’t be lost, which can brick the drive or at least slow down the next boot up as the drive has to go through recovery process. While not perfect, it’s a really great feature and extra security to have.

The 480GB model is using a total of 16 Toshiba A19nm NAND and two Micron RAM chips just like the 960GB model does, but they’re half the capacity, of course.

You can easily relax for the next five years as OCZ’ ShieldPlus warranty covers your drive, even without receipt or proof of purchase. This is absolutely one of the best warranty services around. Vector 180 comes with a full bundle including 3.5-inch adapter and Acronis True Image disk cloning software. Other available capacities are 120GB, 240GB, and 960GB

OCZ Vector 180 960GB SSDs in RAID Review

Introduction


I often read the comment ‘that would be awesome with two 1TB SSDs’ or ‘I would love two of these new SSDs for a RAID setup’ in our comment sections, both here on the page and on Facebook. So what would be more obvious than testing the brand new OCZ Vector 180 960GB Solid State Drive in the available RAID setups.

With two disks at my disposal, my options are limited to just RAID 1, RAID 0, Recovery and the normal single disk modes. Each mode has its ups and downs and there really isn’t one that is better than the others, it comes down to your personal needs. Whether you need capacity, redundancy, speed or a just the baseline, that is your choice.

The new enthusiast drives from OCZ are built on a solid principle of proven components. At the heart is the Indilinx Barefoot 3 M00 SSD controller and it is paired with Toshiba’s A19nm MLC NAND. This is a great combination that will give you top speeds on a reliable drive full of features. The basics are covered with SMART, TRIM, and Garbage collection, but the Vector 180 also features Power Failure management plus (PFM+) to prevent data loss in the event of a sudden power loss.

OCZ’s Vector 180 comes with an official endurance rating of 50GB/day, quite impressive. It also carries the amazing 5-year ShieldPlus warranty if the worst case situation should happen and comes bundled with both Acronis True Image disk cloning software and a 3.5-inch adapter bracket. Other available capacities are 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB

We saw sequential speeds up to 550MB/s while reading and 510MB/s while writing in our one disk review, but how well will the Vector 180 perform in the different RAID setups?

OCZ Vector 180 960GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


It has been a while since OCZ first introduced us to the Vector 180 series, actually almost a year. The company wasn’t fully happy with the drive back then and decided to keep working on it until they had the best possible product to release. Now it’s finally that time and the OCZ Vector 180 drives are ready and released.

The first drive I’ll be taking a look at in the new Vector 180 series is the 960GB model, the biggest. This is the first time OCZ is releasing a client-level SATA SSD in the 1TB category, and one I’m sure will be welcomed by many users. SSD prices have dropped and these large sizes are increasingly becoming a valid option for more and more people.

The OCZ Vector 180 is built around the in-house created Indilinx Barefoot 3 M00 controller and coupled with the latest generation of Toshiba A19 MLC NAND flash for great sequential speeds up to 550MB/s while reading and 510MB/s while writing while also performing up to 100k IOPS; this surely is a drive that will wake the interest of enthusiasts.

The drive is aimed at the mainstream but delivers more performance than most in this segment and it lands right in the middle between performance and features. Not only does the drive come with great speeds, it also has great endurance with an official rating of 50GB/day. Power failure management plus (PFM+) is another new feature that prevents partial data loss and corrupting in case of power failure.

There are capacitors that ensure the data at rest is safe but all user data in the DRAM buffer will still be lost in the case of sudden power loss. The capacitors ensure that all metadata is safe and that the drive will continue to operate normally after a power loss, i.e. the NAND mapping table won’t be lost, which can brick the drive or at least slow down the next boot up as the drive has to go through recovery process. While not perfect, it’s a really great feature and extra security to have and one that you mostly find in the enterprise class drives.

The Vector 180 SSD is using a total of 16 NAND chips with 8 on each side of the PCB to achieve the 960GB capacity. To ensure that the transfer rates stay up and you have a smooth operation, the Vector 180 960GB SSD has two Micron RAM chips which should be 512MB.

The drive carries OCZ’s 5-year ShieldPlus warranty where a purchase receipt isn’t required and all defective drives will be replaced with brand new units. It also comes with a bundle of accesories, including a 3.5-inch adapter and Acronis True Image disk cloning software. Other available capacities are 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB

OCZ Drives at CeBIT 2015

OCZ, a tech enthusiast household name. One of the first companies to mass produce consumer SSD drives and succeeded. They had small teething issues at the beginning with poor read/ write cycle; however they have now sorted the issues and provide some of the longest warranty periods and read/ write cycle life span. We see no new additions to the line-up compared to CES, but there’s not really been any advancements in SSD technology for a little while.

I personally love OCZ products, I’ve owned a few of their SSD’s like the Agility 3 and still use it to this day. We can’t wait for a new advancement in SSD technology for the sector to boom once again. Any news or events from OCZ, we will keep you updated.

Latest OCZ Memory Products @ CES 2015

OCZ are constantly pushing to create some of the finest storage drives and devices on the market and their offerings at CES 2015 are a prime example of this. This year they were showing off their incredible Z-Drive 4500, which offers up to 2900mbs read and 2200 MB/s write, more than enough for enterprise use, or even for the enthusiast market. The Saber 1000 SATA may not have the fastest speeds, but it promises to be extremely cost effective, while offering all the features one would expect from an enterprise class drive.

The JetExpress SSD controller powers their new M.” drive, and will be hitting their consumer and enterprise solutions this year.

They also brought along their new consumer drives, including the recent AMD R7 SSD. Nothing especially new here, but all still great drives in their own respect.

As usual, we’ll be releasing reviews of their new products in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned for more information on these.

eTeknix 2014 Christmas Tech Buying Guide

Christmas time is almost here and as we wrap up warm over winter, we’re also wrapping up on a year of incredible products here at eTeknix HQ. We’ve had hundred of reviews this year, but no doubt many of you are eagerly writing your letters to Santa, or at least dropping hints to your parents, partner or friends for what you want for Christmas. Of course, there’s no doubt a fair few of you who are eager to treat themselves to something cool this Christmas. We’ve scratched our heads and had a really good think about what some of our favourite bits of technology are from this last year, and if you’ve still got some money left after the manic Black Friday sales, perhaps some of these products will be perfect for you.

While I admit that I couldn’t fit all of our favourites onto this list, its certainly a killer list of great products and they’ve all won awards from us here at eTeknix for one reason or another. If you’re after a headset, a chassis, a new keyboard, graphics card, or other cool gadget, you’ll find something that’s right for you in our guide.


Astro A38 Wireless Gaming Headset

The Astro A38 headset really stood out for me, not only is it one of the more stylish looking headsets I’ve ever reviewed, but the sound quality is nothing short of incredible. They’re a little expensive, but you certainly get what you pay for and Astro have yet to create a product that was anything less than stunning. They’re a perfect gift for yourself or someone else and ideal for those who love to listen to music and play games on the go, and the wireless technology and NFC pairing makes them very user friendly.

Check out our full review here – £144 from Astro Gaming


NZXT H440 Mid-Tower Chassis

A great PC deserves a great chassis and the H440 is certainly one of my all-time favourites. It’s not the biggest, and it may not even be the best chassis ever, that much is subjective, but it’s certainly got a lot of great features.  From the PSU shroud that helps keep cable management looking neat and tidy, to the comprehensive set of dust filters, thick sound dampening material lined panels and the large side panel window; you’ll find a lot to love about this chassis.

Check out our full review here – £89.99 from Overclockers


Thermaltake Core V71 Full Tower Chassis

Not all chassis’ are created equally, the Core V71 packs an incredible range of features that make it an ideal choice for high-end systems. The Thermaltake Core V71 looks great, but the real magic comes from its extreme flexibility. It has class leading radiator and fan mounting support and there’s no doubt that you’ll be able to build a stunning air-cooled system thanks to its array of 200mm pre-installed fans, or an incredible custom water cooling loop thanks to its modular interior. If you need extreme performance without spending crazy amounts of money, this chassis needs to be at the top of your list.

Check out our full review here – £131.34 from CCL Computers


Cooler Master Novatouch TKL Keyboard

Treating yourself to a high-quality mechanical keyboard is a solid investment for anyone who uses their computer a lot. Mechanical keyboards are expensive, but their overall build quality and performance goes a long way to justifying the cost. The NovaTouch TKL isn’t your average mechanical and features something called Hybrid Capacitive Switches that offer a truly premium and luxurious typing experience. If you want to treat your fingers to a more enjoyable typing experience, try out this keyboard!

Check out our full review here – £149.99 from Overclockers


Zowie FK1 Gaming Mouse

I have yet to use a Zowie mouse that wasn’t impressive and the FK1 is by far one of their best. While this mouse only offers minor revisions over its previous model, such as a slightly larger body and an improved sensor, it’s performance is second to none. It’s ambidextrous, has one of the best performing sensors available, great ergonomics and a stylish design. If you’re serious about your gaming and want something that offers eSports levels of performance, then you’ll love what the Zowie FK1 has to offer.

Check out our full review here – £49.99 from Overclockers


Nvidia Shield Android 5.0 Gaming Tablet

Mobile gaming is something that never really excited me, but Nvidia have really pulled out all the stops with their Shield Tablet. It’s powered by the incredibly powerful Tegra K1 graphics chip and it’s one of the fastest tablets on the market. It recently received an update that added the latest Android 5.0 operating system, as well as enabling Nvidia’s GRID cloud gaming service and all this comes on top of features like in-home game streaming, 4K video output, wireless controller support and a whole lot more. The Shield Tablet is easily one of the most versatile portable on the market.

Check out our full review here – from £239.99 at Overclockers


Nvidia GeForce “Maxwell” GTX 970 Graphics Card

Nvidia are on our list once again, first they dominate the mobile gaming market, now they’re showing their worth once again in the desktop GPU market. While we admit that the GeForce GTX 980 is an incredible graphics card, you’ll not be disappointed by their GTX 970 as it offers most of the performance of its bigger brother at a much more affordable price tag. This card is packed with the latest features, it looks fantastic and for gaming, it’s one of the best cards you can buy right now. If you want to welcome your computer into the world of high-end PC gaming, this is a great place to start.

Check out our full review here (Asus Strix GTX 970) – from £247.99 at Overclockers


Asus Rampage V Extreme LGA 2011-3 Motherboard

Intel really set a new standard for PC performance this year with the launch of their consumer X99 chipsets. It’s not a cheap upgrade right now, but a new support for the latest high-end CPUs, DDR4 memory and a wave of new features make this motherboard perfect for the enthusiast and professional markets. The Asus Rampage motherboard series has long been a popular choice and the V Extreme is certainly one of the best available right now.

Check out our full review here – £329.99 from Overclockers


Gigabyte Z97X Gaming5 1150 Motherboard

Extreme motherboards are one thing, but they’re a little out of the reach of your average consumer. The Gigabyte X97X Gaming 5 series of motherboards offers a lot of exciting features that make them a great choice for high-end gaming PCs, without the colossal price tags that you’ll find with enthusiast grade products. We loved this motherboard when we review it and while the black and red colour scheme is getting a little bit repetitive in the gaming market, it’s still a great looking board that is perfect for a wide range of systems.

Check out our full review here – £109.99 from Overclockers


Gigabyte Brix Ultra Compact System

A lot of the fame and glory goes to big gaming rigs with multiple graphics cards, loads of hard drives, water cooling and all that other crazy stuff, but this system turns all that on its head. The Brix may be small, but it packs enough power to be worthy of our Extreme Performance award! When space is limited, this little rig will fit on the back of your monitors VESA mount and it packs enough performance to get through a heavy workflow with ease. It’s a little expensive, but for a full-fledged PC that’s small enough to fit in a backpack, it’s a bargain!

Check out our full review here – £503.96 from Scan


PC Specialist Vortex 440 System

If you’re looking to upgrade to an X99 equipped system, then it’s likely that you’ll also be investing in DDR4 memory, a new CPU and a whole host of other components, so why not take all the fuss out of the process and invest in one of the best systems we’ve reviewed this year, the PC Specialist Vortex 440. We loved this system, partly because it was packed full of high-end hardware, but also because it was incredible value for money. Despite what the high price tag may suggest, the Vortex 440 actually worked out cheaper to buy than it would to build it yourself; now that’s a deal we can get behind!

Check out our full review here – around £1500 (customisable) from PC Specialist


OCZ Arc 100 240GB SSD

There’s a lot of SSD hard drives on the market right now and there are so many great ones that it’s now very easy to find one suitable for your system. The OCZ ARC 100 really stood out for us as it offers excellent performance, solid reliability, lots of features and it’s also competitively priced (per GB). Upgrading to an SSD is a great way to give your system a new lease of life, your system will boot faster and all of your games will benefit greatly from the speed boost. There is a cheaper 120GB model available, but the 240GB is the best balance of storage and value, making it a great choice for a boot drive.

Check out our full review here – £94.99 from Overclockers


Asus RT AC68U Dual Band Wireless Router

A really great router is something a lot of people overlook, it can be daunting spending a lot of money on tech like this, but the rewards soon pay for themselves. With more and more devices becoming internet connected, it’s likely that you’re not reaching the full potential of your devices networking capabilities. If you’re wanting to stream movies around your house from a NAS, play games online, while browsing the web from smartphones, tablets, consoles and other devices, then you’re going to see huge benefits from a router that can handle the most demanding workloads without sacrificing performance. The Asus RT AC68U looks great and offers a simple way to improve your home network. It’s expensive, but you certainly get what you pay for.

Check out our full review here – £166.98 from Overclockers


Crucial 32GB 2133MHz Quad Channel DDR4 Memory Kit

DDR4 memory marks the first major update to RAM memory formats in desktop systems in years, but it comes with a steep price tag. However, should you choose to make the leap for your high-end X99 platform build, then you should really consider the Crucial 32GB 2133MHZ kit. If you’re not too bothered about the aesthetics, this memory really does impress in terms of performance and offers excellent value for money vs many of the other DDR4 products on the market.

Check out our full review here – £319.99 from Overclockers


So, what will you be asking Santa for this year?

OCZ Announces Partnership with Currys PC World in the UK and Ireland

OCZ has announced a new partnership with Dixons Carphone for the resale of OCZ products at its Currys PC World stores. While there might be mixed feelings about the chain of stores, it’s great to be able to pick up drives such as the OCZ ARC 100 or Vertex 460 just around the corner. The OCZ SSDs will now be readily available for end users in the local retail markets in the United Kingdom, Scotland, and Ireland.

Currys PC World has more than 500 stores across the UK as well as their online presence, enabling a strong market potential for OCZ SSDs. Through Currys PC World, OCZ will now have a visible and clear customer offering for end users looking to add SSD features and performance as an upgrade, or into their new computer system.

Thanks to OCZ for providing us with this information

OCZ Introduces Saber 1000 Enterprise SSD

OCZ announced its new enterprise-class Saber 1000 SSD series designed for read-intensive applications and targeting high-volume deployments such as hyper-scale, web-hosting, and distributed computing environments. Where we’ve seen many recent enterprise-class SSDs come in other form factors, the Saber 1000 comes as a standard 2.5-inch SATA3 drive.

Using the A19nm NAND flash from Toshiba and OCZ’s own Barefoot 3 controller is a combination that can deliver consistent and sustained I/O performance to the drive that will be available in 240GB, 480GB and 960GB capacities.

Designed for read-intensive applications such as front-end web servers, virtual desktop management or video-on-demand streaming, and many other areas, the Saber 1000 can deliver up to 550MB/s and 470MB/s in sequential reading and writing. The random performance is rated to 98K IOPS reading and 20K writing.

The components used ensure a low power consumption and the drive is said to only drain 3.7 watts during typical usage. While speaking of power, the Saber 1000 SSD uses a technique called Power Failure Management Plus (PFM+) which holds up the circuitry long enough to ensure the integrity of the device in the event of a power failure.

The OCZ Saber 1000 SSD has an MTBF of 2 million hours and features AES-256-bit encryption and Device Activity Signal (DAS). It’s backed by a 5-year warranty and can endure 0.5 full drive writes per day (DWPD).

OCZ has also added the StoragePeak 1000 SSD Management system that enables IT managers to centrally monitor and administer connected Saber 1000 SSDs as well as other OCZ enterprise-class solutions from a web-based management interface. It is a cross-platform system and will work on both Linux and Windows systems and includes warning features as well to alert administrators of impending trouble.

Thanks to OCZ for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of OCZ