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OCZ Vector 180 SSD review: Good performance plus power failure management

Jon L. Jacobi | March 27, 2015
OCZ's latest solid state drive, the Vector 180, offers the speed of the company's Radeon R7 SSD, plus power failure protection and less performance degradation over time. It's hard to argue with those kinds of improvements.

4KB random reads and writes were around 30MBps and 80MBps un-queued, and around 375MBps and 350MBps with a queue depth of 32. In my 20GB data copy tests using the Vector 180 and an OCZ RevoDrive as the source, write/read speeds were consistently around 453MBps/445MBps with a single large file, and 408MBps/314MBps with the smaller file/folder mix. There were no large fluctuations in my tests, as there were with CrystalDiskMark.

Software and warranty

The Vector 180 comes bundled with Acronis True Image for cloning your existing drive onto the SSD and an adapter bracket. Those are perks not everyone will need, and most vendors no longer offer, but they're very handy for those that have the need. Useful to everyone is the OCZ Toolbox utility that lets you upgrade the firmware, manually TRIM the drive, and get info on its status.

After my initial hands-on, OCZ released Toolbox's replacement — SSD Guru, which ships as Windows and Linux executables, and a bootable ISO. Little seemed new beyond a somewhat classier appearance, and info no longer pops up in a secondary window. Still, it's a nice improvement on the prior, slightly clunky app.

OCZ touts its ShieldPlus support, which basically says the company won't hassle you if you want to return a drive that died within the 5-year warranty period. You get a new one, and OCZ pays the shipping cost. However, that supposes a normal consumer/client computer, not server usage. If you've exceeded 90 terabytes written (TBW), i.e., the 50GB a day OCZ talks about in the warranty, the company reserves the right to review the case.

The problem with that warranty is that while 50GB a day/90TBW is a good rating for a 120GB drive and okay for the 240GB model, it's about half what you'd expect for the 480GB and 960GB models, which, with far more cells, should be able to write considerably more data before failing. Most companies promise 175TBW to 180TBW for their larger capacity drives, though that's also a whichever-comes-first (years/TBW) guarantee. If you want a warranty that's longer in years or data-writing maximum, spend a bit more and go for a pro-level drive.

Conclusion

The Vector 180 is a nice addition to the OCZ portfolio. It offers good speed, decent pricing, and promises data safety during power outages as well as performance over the long haul. OCZ says it's never rejected a customer whose drive failed within the warranty period, but I'd say something slightly more legally binding on the 480GB and 960GB models would be nice.

 

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