OCZ Vector Series SSD

The OCZ Vector Series SSD would make a great investment for those moving on from using a hard drive as the main drive for their system.


8.4
CNET Rating


The OCZ Vector is one of many solid-state drives I've reviewed from OCZ Technology Group, but it's the first that's truly OCZ-made. The new drive comes with components that are designed by OCZ, including the controller.

The OCZ Vector is a high-end SSD designed to compete with the recently reviewed Samsung 840 Pro, and in my testing, it proved to be a formidable contender in both performance and looks. The new ultrathin (7-millimetre) drive comes standard with a drive-bay converter, which also lets it fit easily inside desktops, as well as laptops and ultrabooks.

The drive currently costs about the same as the Samsung 840, and breaks down to just slightly more than $1 per gigabyte. If you're looking for a fast SSD for your system, be it a Windows computer or a Mac, the OCZ Vector would make an excellent choice as far as performance is concerned. If you want a drive that offers better battery life for your portable computer, however, consider the Samsung 840 Pro, or even the Samsung 830 Series.

Design and features

Drive type 7mm-thick, 2.5-inch standard internal drive
Connector options SATA 3 (6Gbps), SATA 2, SATA
Available capacities 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Product dimensions 7mm-thick, 2.5-inch standard
Capacity of test unit 512GB
Controller OCZ Boot Foot 3
Flash memory type OCZ 25nm IMFT synchronous 2-bit-per-cell MLC NAND
OSes supported Windows, Mac, Linux

Coming in the now familiar 7mm chassis, the new OCZ Vector still manages to look very different from the rest of OCZ's SSDs, or the rest of the SSDs on the market for that matter. It has a coloured aluminium casing with a new, eye-catching label on top. The bottom of the drive remains much the same as the rest of OCZ's SSDs, showing the part number, as well as other technical information. Still, the overall look of the OCZ Vector suggests that it's not just another SSD from OCZ.

On the inside, the drive sports OCZ-branded NAND flash memory and an OCZ-made Barefoot 3 controller. Though the previous Octane and Vertex 4 drives also used somewhat non-traditional Indilinx controllers, that controller itself is not made entirely by OCZ, as is the Barefoot 3. The new controller is designed to offer high performance, but currently isn't capable of providing hardware encryption. This is not a big deal, however, since encryption is hardly used on the client side for general consumers, partly because many computer motherboards don't support it.

Supporting the latest SATA 3 (6Gbps) standard, the OCZ Vector's energy usage rating is not as impressive as those of the aforementioned Samsung SSDs. The Vector requires 2.25W when working and 0.9W when idle, much higher than the .068W (working)/.042W (idle) rating of the Samsung 840 Pro. Even the much older Samsung 830, with a 0.24 (working)/0.14(idle) rating, beats the Vector in terms of energy efficiency. While I didn't have time to test how the Vector affects a laptop's battery, my guess is that it would probably cut down the battery life by 15 to 20 minutes compared with the Samsung 840 Pro.

The Vector brings some style to OCZ SSDs.
(Credit: Dong Ngo/CNET)

Energy usage aside, the OCZ Vector worked well with both Windows and Mac OS in my trials. The drive comes with a five-year warranty. OCZ's warranty policy is a little interesting. The company guarantees that the drive will last at least five years if you write 20GB to it per day, every day. Consequently, the warranty of the Vector expires after five years or after 36.5TB of writes, whichever comes first. It's quite hard to determine how much data has been written to the drive, however, so keep that in mind.

The reason the daily written amount is a concern is because generally, SSDs have limited program/erase (P/E) cycles, which dictate how many times you can write and rewrite information on a memory cell before it won't retain new information anymore. In real-world usage, this is not a big issue since most of us don't write more than 10GB on a computer's internal drive in a day, let alone every day. Still, heavy users, such as video-editing professionals, should pick a different type of SSD or use very fast standard hard drives for their data intensive work.

The OCZ comes with a drive-bay converter to make it fit in the 3.5-inch type of drive bay found inside a desktop computer. Just by itself, the drive can fit easily inside a laptop computer, even an ultrabook. Though there's no software included, it also comes with a registration key for Acronis True Image HD cloning software, which helps with the process of trading your computer's existing hard drive for an SSD. It also currently includes a copy of Far Cry 3 via online redemption (128GB, 256GB and 512GB models).

Performance

The OCZ Vector is fast. In fact it's the fastest in my tests in terms of data transfer. When used as a secondary drive on our test machine, the drive offered 287MBps for writing and about 279MBps for reading. When used as the main drive that hosts the OS — which is the most popular usage of SSDs — and performing both writing and reading at the same time, the OCZ Vector reached an impressive 174MBps, topping the chart.

The new drive also helped the test machine boot up and shut down very fast, taking about 13 seconds and about 5 seconds, respectively. Note that 13 seconds is actually quite long, relatively speaking, since there are SSDs that have done it in just 10 seconds. But most will not notice this difference in real-world usage. There was no delay when the computer resumed from sleep mode. All applications I tried opened noticeably faster.

The OCZ Vector worked very smoothly, with everything behaving as expected. It also works with computers that only support the older SATA 2 standard.

Boot / Shutdown (in seconds)

  • Shut down
  • Boot time
  • 4.9513
    OCZ Vector
  • 5.2810
    Corsair Neutron GTX
  • 611
    SanDisk Extreme
  • 6.0911
    Samsung 840 series
  • 1114.6
    Seagate Momentus XT (2nd gen)
  • 1450
    WD Velociraptor 1TB

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Data transfer scores (MB per second)

  • As secondary
  • As OS drive
  • 80.233.96
    Seagate Momentus XT (2nd gen)
  • 230.69103.12
    Samsung 840 series
  • 234.15117.66
    SanDisk Extreme
  • 263124
    WD Velociraptor 1TB (RAID 0)
  • 273.62161.380
    Corsair Neutron GTX
  • 286.77173.78
    OCZ Vector

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Conclusion

With very fast performance, accessories and a great look, the OCZ Vector would make an excellent gift for those looking to upgrade their computer from a standard hard drive.

Via CNET.com



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Will1505 posted a comment   

Because being good looking is important for an internal component?

 

Mr Revi posted a reply   
Australia

The large capacity would have made a better positive point.

It certainly doesn't make sense as most mount their hard drive (SSDs included) in the hard drive bays, which aren't visible even if the case has a window or mesh.




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