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OCZ Trion 100 series solid-state drive review: A great SSD for the budget-minded

OCZ launches its latest budget solid-state drive, the Trion 100. Is it the sweet deal you've been waiting for? Here's CNET's full review.

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Dong Ngo
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Dong Ngo

SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

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6 min read

The new OCZ Trion 100 is one of the slowest solid-state drive (SSDs) on the market but it's likely the most affordable. Most importantly, the SSD is still considerably faster than any regular hard drives (HDDs).

ocz-trion-100-3263-001.jpg
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OCZ Trion 100 series solid-state drive

The Good

The OCZ Trion 100 series solid-state drive is much faster than any regular hard drive and is affordable. The SSD also has high endurance, allowing you to write a lot of data to it before it becomes unreliable.

The Bad

Compared with other solid-state drives (not traditional hard drives) on the market the new Trion is among the slowest. The drive also comes with a short three-year warranty and doesn't support encryption.

The Bottom Line

For what it costs, the OCZ Trion 100 series solid-state drive and ideal replacement drive for an older computer that still runs on a regular hard drive.

Available in capacities from 120GB to 980GB, the Trion has suggested retail prices from just $57 to $370, respectively. (Pricing and availability for the UK and Australia will be announced at a later date.) Like the case of other OCZ SSDs, such as the ARC 100, the actual street price of the Trion is expected to be noticeably lower. Chances are the Trion 100 is or will be the most affordable drive on the market.

As a bonus, the Trion has a high endurance rating, especially the higher capacities, meaning you can use it for a long time before having to worry about replacing it. If you have an aging HDD-based computer, this SSD is an excellent upgrade that will make your old system perform much faster than even when it was brand-new.

On the other hand, if you don't mind spending a bit more for faster SSDs, check out this list of the top SSDs on the market.

The Trion 100 SSD is housed in an aluminum sturdy casing. Josh Miller/CNET

Standard design

The Trion 100 is the previously released OCZ ARC 100 with a twist. Both drives are value SSDs aiming to offer SSD performance at low cost. However, while the ARC uses an OCZ controller, the Trion is made entirely of Toshiba components, from the controller to the flash memory. In a way the drive is the first complete result of Toshiba's acquisition of OCZ, which took place more than a year ago.

The Trion is also the first OCZ SSD that uses triple-layer-cell (TLC) flash memory. Typically, this means the drive has higher density -- you can put more memory cells in the same area of the silicon wafer -- but slower performance. This proved to be the case for the Trion in the performance section below.

Other than that, this is a standard internal drive, taking the 2.5-inch design (laptop). The drive supports the latest SATA3 (6Gbps) but will work with all existing SATA revisions. It will fit in all applications where a single standard hard drive is being used, however it's best used as the main drive of a computer that hosts the operating system and applications.

With the 7mm profile (thinner than 9.5mm of a standard laptop hard drive) the Trion will also work in some ultrabooks, in additions to laptops and desktops.

Note that the drive doesn't support encryption, so it's not suitable for corporate or business environment where you need to protect data in case of thief or loss.

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The OCZ Guru is a handy application for you to manage the SSD. Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET

Like the ARC 100, the new Trion drive comes in a spartan package that includes just the drive itself. There's no other accessories included, such as a drive-bay bracket (which makes it easier to install a 2.5-inch drive into the drive bay of a desktop computer.) This is not a big deal, however; since an SSD has no moving parts, you can actually leave it hanging loose inside a desktop.

The Trion include the downloadable OCZ Guru software that comes in handy in case you want to check on the drive's status, update its firmware and so on.

High endurance

Depending on the capacity, the Trion's endurance can be quite impressive.

Endurance is the number of program-erase cycles an SSD can perform before you can't write to it anymore. (Read more about SSD endurance here.) In other words, with an SSD there's a finite amount of data you can write to it before the drive becomes unreliable. The higher this amount the longer you can use the drive.

OCZ says that the four capacities of the Trion, 120GB, 240GB, 48GB and 980GB, have an endurance rating of 30TB, 60TB, 120TB and 240TB, respectively. More specifically, take the lowest 120GB capacity, for example; if you write 27GB per day every day to the drive, it will take more than three years for the drive's endurance to run out. Higher-capacity drives will take accordingly longer. 27GB is a lot of data and on an average use case, we write just about 5GB to the computer's drive a day, and most days we don't write to the drive at all.

That said, if you're looking to do a lot of write-intensive tasks, such as high-def movie editing, however, you might want to get the higher capacities of the drive, or get a different drive with even higher endurance, such as the Transcend SSD370S.

OCZ Trion 100 series specs

120GB240GB480GB980GB
Interface SATA3SATA3SATA3SATA3
Controller Toshiba TC58Toshiba TC58Toshiba TC58Toshiba TC58
Flash memory Toshiba A19 TLC NAND FlashToshiba A19 TLC NAND FlashToshiba A19 TLC NAND FlashToshiba A19 TLC NAND Flash
Sequencial Read 550 MB/s550 MB/s 550 MB/s 550 MB/s
Sequencial Write 450 MB/s520 MB/s530 MB/s500 MB/s
Random Read 79K IOPS90K IOPS90K IOPS90K IOPS
Random Write 25 IOPS43K IOPS54K IOPS64K IOPS
Endurance (total data written) 30TB60TB120TB240TB
Endurance (GB written per day for 3 years) 27GB55GB110GB219GB
U.S. MSRP $57.00 $88 $185 $370
Warranty 3 years3 years3 years3 years

Affordable pricing

The OCZ Trion 100 has the lowest suggested price I've seen, costing $57, $88, $185 and $370 for 120GB, 240GB, 480GB and 980GB, respectively. Like with all SSDs on the market, the street price of the drive will be even lower. In fact, even comparing its MSRPs with the street prices of other SSDs on the market, the Trion is already one of the most affordable. Chances are that just within a week or two, you'll find this new drive to be one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest on the market.

SSD US street price (in dollars per GB)

OCZ Vector 180 (240GB) $0.58SanDisk Extreme Pro (240GB) $0.57Intel SSD 730 (240GB) $0.55Samsung SSD 850 Evo (120GB) $0.54OCZ Vector 180 (480GB) $0.53Plextor M6S (256GB) $0.52Samsung SSD 850 Pro (512GB) $0.50OCZ Trion 100 (120GB) $0.48SanDisk Extreme Pro (480GB) $0.46Samsung SSD 850 Pro (1TB) $0.44Crucial MX200 (250GB) $0.40Crucial MX200 (500GB) $0.40Transcend SSD370S (256GB) $0.39OCZ Trion 100 (480GB) $0.39Samsung SSD 850 Evo (250GB) $0.38OCZ Trion 100 (980GB) $0.38SanDisk Ultra II (240GB) $0.38OCZ ARC 100 (240GB) $0.37OCZ Trion 100 (240GB) $0.37Samsung SSD 850 Evo (500GB) $0.36SanDisk Ultra II (480GB) $0.35Transcend SSD370S (512GB) $0.34Samsung SSD 850 Evo (1TB) $0.33WD Black 2 Dual Drive $0.12
Note: Measured in dollars per gigabyte, based on current price on Amazon.com. MSRP used for reviewed product. The lower number indicates better value.

Performance

I didn't expect much from the Trion, considering its specs and pricing, and the drive's performance was indeed modest. In most tests it was the slowest I've seen, but in some tests it actually managed to do better than some expensive drives.

Especially in copy tests, when used as a secondary and performed reading and writing separately, the Trion scored quite high at 352MB/s and 185MB/s, respectively -- actually faster than the Samsung SSD 850 Evo. However, when used as the main drive that hosted the operating system and performing both writing and reading at the same time, which is the main usage of an SSD, the Trion scored just 124MB/s, landing at the bottom of the charts.

CNET Labs' SSD data transfer performance

Sandisk Extreme Pro 250.98 450.59 457.46Samsung SSD 850 Pro 246.25 454.32 448.11Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 236.18 269.78 270.8SanDisk Extreme II 224.27 255.86 203.42Crucial MX200 190.3 433.49 412.46Intel SSD 730 Series 189.52 265.53 266.84Samsung SSD 850 Evo 182.78 114.45 205.63OCZ Vector 180 175.3 347.32 353.67WD Black 2 Dual Drive 174.65 114.66 228.2OCZ ACR 100 163.53 289.39 385.71Plextor M6S 155.34 144.78 227.89Transcend SSD370S 150.69 311.73 390.08Transcend SSD720 145.26 230.58 269.55SanDisk Ultra II 126.49 210.21 319.23OCZ Trion 100 124.19 185.35 352.32
  • As OS Drive (Read and Write)
  • As Secondary Drive (Write only)
  • As Secondary Drive (Read Only)
Note: Measured in megabytes per second. Longer bars indicate better performance.

In tests with the PC Mark benchmark suite, the new OCZ Trion 100, was also slowest on the charts, though by a small margin, having a storage score of 4,875 and the storage bandwidth of 175MB/s.

PC Mark 8 overall storage performance

Samsung SSD 850 Evo 4,983 276.16Samsung SSD 850 Pro 4,979 267.32Crucial MX200 4,968 256.94Sandisk Extreme Pro 4,957 244.17Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 4,948 236.18Transcend SSD370S 4,927 210.4SanDisk Ultra II 4,922 208.55OCZ Vector 180 4,921 204.04OCZ ACR 100 series 4,948 203.72OCZ Trion 100 4,875 175.38
  • Storage score
  • Storage bandwidth (MB/s)
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance.

The same thing happened in PC Mark 8 for applications; the OCZ Trion 100 was consistently outperformed by SSDs released in the past few years. Basically, the applications all took a bit longer to finish a task when compared to other SSDs. Note however, the differences were quite small, from a few tenths of a second to slightly more than 10 seconds, depending on the tasks.

For example, the task that showed the biggest difference is Photoshop, where the Samsung SSD 850 Pro, one of the fastest on the market, took 359.1 seconds, and the Trion took 367 seconds, a difference of almost 18 seconds. However on this same test, a regular hard drive would take longer than 565 seconds. In other words, while the Trion is slower than other SSDs, it's still considerably faster than any regular hard drive.

PC Mark 8 storage application performance

Samsung SSD 850 Evo 58 133.4 359.2 28.2 9.2 9.2Crucial MX200 58 133.6 361 28.2 9.2 9.2Samsung SSD 850 Pro 58.1 133.8 361.8 28.3 9.1 9.2Sandisk Extreme Pro 58.4 133.9 361.1 28.3 9.2 9.2Transcend SSD370S 58.6 134.3 363.9 28.4 9.3 9.3SanDisk Ultra II 58.8 134.6 363.1 28.4 9.3 9.3OCZ ARC 100 series 58.9 134.7 362.3 28.4 9.4 9.3OCZ Vector 180 59 134.8 361.2 28.5 9.4 9.4OCZ Trion 100 59.2 136.2 367 28.5 9.4 9.5Standard Laptop HDD 138.9 366 565.19 51.7 26.6 27.4
  • World of Warcraft
  • Battlefield 3
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
Note: Measured in seconds. Shorter bars indicate better performance.

Conclusion

The OCZ Trion has just enough to be a good deal. The new SSD is slow compared with other SSDs, but compared to hard drives, it's still much faster. Most importantly it's cheap and also has high endurance.

With that in mind, if you're always been using a computer that uses a hard drive as the main storage unit, upgrading to the Trion will bring about a significant and satisfying performance boost. Obviously, the main appeal of the Trion is the cost. If you can spend a few more cents per gigabyte, I'd recommend the Samsung SSD 850 Evo that's overall a bit faster, has a long five-year warranty, supports encryption and includes many other features, such as the RAPID mode.

In all, the affordable OCZ Trion is definitely one of the slowest among recent SSDs on the market. However, if you've only used hard drives before, the drive will still a major performance improvement. So if you're a first-time upgrader, this is the drive to get.

ocz-trion-100-3263-001.jpg
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OCZ Trion 100 series solid-state drive

Score Breakdown

Setup 8Features 7Performance 6Support 7