OCZ Vector 180 480GB Solid State Drive Review

by - 7 years ago

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Introduction


OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Photo-top

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.

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Photo-rear

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.

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Photo-box_contents

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.

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Photo-inside_out

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.

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Photo-pcb_1

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_Vector180_480GB-Photo-pcb_2

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Test Procedure


Test system:

  • Supermicro C7Z97-OCE
  • Intel Xeon E3-1230Lv3
  • Corsair Vengeance 8GB 1866MHz
  • Corsair H100i
  • BeQuiet Dark Power Pro 850W
  • Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD

Software used:

  • Aida64
  • Anvil’s Storage Utilities 1.1.0
  • AS SSD Benchmark 1.7.4739
  • ATTO Benchmark 2.46
  • CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3

In a bid to make our testing as thorough and as accurate as possible, we have devised a testing methodology to give us the maximum amount of data. Whilst this means that testing each drive will take considerably longer to test – nearly 36 hours in fact, the picture that we are able to build upon the overall performance of each drive is far clearer, providing a more accurate analysis at how a drive performs under different conditions.

I will be testing the drives performance when it is clean and fresh out of the box and then start to fill it up with data, namely 25%, 50% and 75% of the drives capacity and rerun the tests under each of these scenarios. I’ll be using the same sample files under each test to keep the results as consistent as possible. The files in question are a collection of files from my personal NAS, composed of a mixture of small and big files, media, programs, and archives.

On top of this, I will also take the wear on the NAND into consideration and this process obviously takes a long time to perform – so long under real world conditions that it is simply not practical. In order to accelerate this conditioning process I will use the SSD endurance test that lies within Anvils Storage Utilities and read / write 15TB of data to the drive through a process of filling the drive with thousands of small files of various sizes and compressibility (with randomised duration between each of the writes), then reading each of them back with a randomised time between each file. After this has completed, the data is then erased and the process starts again. This process of conditioning the drive can take anywhere upwards of 12-15 hours on a typical 256GB SATA III SSD, however, the performance and capacity of the drive will influence the time it takes to condition the drive.

Following the conditioning process, the benchmarking process described above is repeated again with the volume filled with the same sample data to each percentage between test runs. Furthermore between each benchmark, the drive will get a TRIM command sent and further left alone for a while to make sure the TRIM command has done its job. TRIM can heavily impact a drives performance as it takes place, so allowing a period of time between tests will eliminate this factor and any subsequent false performance figures.

On each page that follows with the benchmark results, I have inserted the screenshots from the benchmark results, created a drive analysis chart for fill-level as well as a drive comparison chart for each software used.

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AIDA64


AIDA64 is a streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking software for home users. It provides a wide range of features to assist in overclocking, hardware error diagnosis, stress testing, and sensor monitoring.

It has unique capabilities to assess the performance of the processor, system memory, and disk drives and is compatible with most Microsoft Windows operating systems. It also has a disk benchmark tool, and that is the one we’ll be using.

Fresh Drive

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Bench-Fresh_aida-suite

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Bench-Fresh_aida-access

Conditioned Drive

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Bench-Condi_aida-suite

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Bench-Condi_aida-access

Drive Performance

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Chart-analysis_aida

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Chart-comparison_aida64

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Anvil’s Storage Utilities


Anvil’s Storage Utilities is a new benchmarking utility that we have started using here at eTeknix, it’s completely free to download and has the ability to test mainly hard drives and solid state drives, but also any other form of storage medium that you can throw at it.

As well as testing the drive in a variety of benchmarking tests, it also has a drive endurance test that consistently reads and writes data to the selected medium to give days, months and potentially even years of use in a shorter period of time to see how the drive copes in the longer term.

Compressible Data

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Bench-Fresh_anvil-compressible

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Bench-Condi_anvil-compressible

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Chart-analysis_anvils_compressible

Incompressible Data

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Bench-Fresh_anvil-incompressible

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Bench-Condi_anvil-incompressible

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Chart-analysis_anvils_incompressible

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Chart-comparison_anvils

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AS SSD


The AS SSD software determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains five synthetic and three practice tests. The synthetic tests determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are performed without using the operating system caches. In Sequential tests, the program measures the time it takes to read and write a 1 GB file respectively. To give a clearer picture of the drives tested, I’ve chosen to include all tests. Special the copy test is one that I think is relevant on the consumer level as it gives the user a view into one of the operations he’s going to do many times.

New Drive

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Bench-Fresh_asssd-combined

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Bench-Fresh_asssd-compression

Conditioned

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Bench-Condi_asssd-combined

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Bench-Condi_asssd-compr

Drive Performance

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Chart-analysis_asssd

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Chart-comparison_asssd

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ATTO


The ATTO Disk Benchmark performance measurement tool is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Measure your storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. Several options are available to customize your performance measurement including queue depth, overlapped I/O and even a comparison mode with the option to run continuously. Use ATTO Disk Benchmark to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host adapters, hard drives and SSD drives and notice that ATTO products will consistently provide the highest level of performance to your storage.

Fresh Drive

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Bench-Fresh_atto

Conditioned

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Bench-Condi_atto

Drive Performance

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Chart-analysis_atto

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Chart-comparison_atto

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CrystalDiskMark


CrystalDiskMark is a small HDD benchmark utility for your hard drive that enables you to rapidly measure sequential and random 4KB/512KB read/write speeds.

Fresh Drive

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Bench-Fresh_cdm

Conditioned

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Bench-Condi_cdm

Drive Performance

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Chart-analysis_cdm

Drive Comparison

For the purpose of drive comparison, I will be using the performance figures from both unconditioned and conditioned tests with 0% data-fill.

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Chart-comparison_cdm

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Software: OCZ SSD Guru


OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Software-Guru_page_one

OCZ didn’t just release a new solid state drive, they also got a brand new piece of software. OCZ’s SSD Guru is a dashboard application that provides all the interesting information as well as different settings and options. You can take a look at your drives details, which driver they’re currecntly using or get the serial numbers quick and easy.

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Software-Guru_page_sub

SSD Guru also collects and displays all your relevant PC information, ranging from BIOS name and version to what processor and memory is used. This is great to have handy when troubleshooting issues.

OCZ_Vector180_960GB-Screenshot-Guru_subpage-2

The S.M.A.R.T. details have their own page too and Key icons will help you find the relevant information much easier that without.

OCZ_Vector180_960GB-Screenshot-Guru_subpage-3

The Tuner has two functions, one to force a TRIM command to the drive in order to restore performance by collecting the garbage and the second being a manual over provising setting. This might not be a feature the average user is looking for, but one that the enthusiasts will love.

OCZ_Vector180_960GB-Screenshot-Guru-2

SSD Guru also allows you to update the firmware of your OCZ drives, both by direct download over the internet as well as from a file. The second maintenance function is a Secure Erase that’s handy to have around as well and everything worked without a single hickup.

OCZ_Vector180_960GB-Screenshot-Guru-3

OCZ_Vector180_960GB-Screenshot-firmware-update

In the application settings you can enable logging, automatic boot-up launch as well as proxy settings for firmware download part, if needed.

OCZ_Vector180_960GB-Screenshot-Guru-4

The final page is a basic help page with useful links to contact the support staff as well as a report about your system with relevant information that you might be asked for by the support staff.

OCZ_Vector180_960GB-Screenshot-Guru-5

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Final Thoughts


Pricing

The review is being written prior to the release date which in return means that the prices here will reflect the manufacturers suggested retail price rather than actual store prices that may vary in both directions depending on location. We will update this part of the review once the drive has launched and it becomes available. The tested OCZ Vector 180 480GB SSD comes with a £224.99 MSRP which is pretty good for an entry-level server SSD. The 960GB will cost you £429.99, the 240GB £119.99, and the 120GB model can be yours for just £74.99.

OCZ_Vector180_480GB-Chart-price

Conclusion

The Vector 180 is OCZ’s new enthusiast and performance drive and it lives up to the category. The performance convinced throughout the benchmarks with transfer speeds up to 550MB/s at reading and 510MB/S at writing – just as advertised. The random read performance was equally impressive with up to 95K IOPS, a situation many other drives don’t handle so well.

The drive follows OCZ design line with a simple top in the series colours, in this case black, and with the company and series names printed on the top. Turning the drive around and having a look at the bottom and you see the information sticker with every bit of relevant information about the drive in itself, like capacity, serial number, product number, capacity and certifications.

OCZ is using a complete set of in-house hardware in the Vector 180. Inside the drive is the great Indilinx Barefoot 3 SSD controller that OCZ coupled with Toshiba’s latest A19nm NAND chips. This combination will not only give you a great performing drive, but also one that will last for a long time. It comes with almost all features you’d like including S.M.A.R.T., Trim, Garbage collection, and Power failure management plus protection. The only thing that’s missing a little bit, is the DevSLEEP power saving function. But on the other hand that’s a function that isn’t really relevant to a drive that is aimed at the home performance PC rather than ultrabooks and laptops.

The reliability becomes clear when we see the 50GB/day endurance rating of the drive. When we coupled that with OCZ’s amazing 5-year ShieldPlus Warranty, then you know you have a drive that will last a long time and one that you can get replaced easily and hassle free if the worst case scenario should happen and it fails.

OCZ also packs a great bundle with their SSD drives and it’s no different with the Vector 180 drive. It comes with both a 3.5-inch adapter bracket and a copy of the Acronis True Image disk cloning software. I’m convinced and this will be the future drive for my work and game station.

Pros

  • Great performance
  • 50GB/day endurance rating
  • 3.5-inch adapter included
  • Acronis Cloning Software
  • 5-Year Shield Plus Warranty
  • Good price

Neutral

  • Occasional speed drops in ATTO. This is due to the new PFM+ mechanism and something that’s only visible in the synthetic benchmarks. It has no effect on the real-world performance.

“OCZ convinced us with Vector 180 480GB SSD. This isn’t just a great performing drive, but also one with one of the markets best warranty options, packed with features, and a great endurance rating.”

Extreme-Performance

OCZ Vector 180 480GB Solid State Drive Review

 

Thanks to OCZ for providing us with this sample

Article Index

  1. Introduction
  2. Test Procedure
  3. Aida64
  4. Anvil's Storage Utilities
  5. AS SSD
  6. ATTO
  7. CrystalDiskMark
  8. Software: OCZ SSD Guru
  9. Final Thoughts
  10. View All

Author Bio

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