OCZ Vector 150 review: Fast, good-looking SSD, but not new

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MSRP: $499.99

The Good The OCZ Vector 150 offers fast performance and includes a desktop adapter bracket as well as hard-drive-cloning software. The drive comes with a five-year warranty and now supports hardware encryption.

The Bad The Vector 150 doesn't outdo its predecessor in most categories, including storage capacity, pricing, and performance. The new drive doesn't offer anything new compared with other SSDs.

The Bottom Line With fast performance and a good warranty, the OCZ Vector 150 is a great SSD for first-time adopters. It's not a worthwhile upgrade for the original Vector drive, however.

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7.8 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8
  • Support 9

The new OCZ Vector 150 is a great solid-state drive, but it doesn't really have anything that you haven't seen before.

Made to be the upgraded version of the Vector drive that came out last December, the Vector 150 looks almost exactly the same as its predecessor. On the inside, the drive uses more affordable NAND flash memory but shares the same controller. To balance the value out, it now supports AES-256 data encryption, which the Vector doesn't.

In my testing, the new drive showed slower performance than the Vector in certain tests and faster in the others. At launch, it carries the same price tag as the Vector, about $1 per gigabyte.

After almost a year, I expected the Vector 150 to have more to offer, or at least have a lower price. For this reason, the OCZ Vector 150 is a great drive but won't be an excellent choice until its street price is on par with those of its competitors, such as the Samsung 840 Evo. For more choices of excellent SSDs, check out this list.

The new Vector 150 looks almost exactly the same as the original Vector drive that came out almost a year ago.
The new Vector 150 (bottom) looks almost exactly the same as the original Vector drive that came out almost a year ago. Dong Ngo/CNET

The OCZ Vector 150 has an aluminum chassis, which makes it feel solid and look expensive. It has the same pattern as the original Vector. In fact, the only difference between the two is that the 150 says "Vector 150" on it; the original Vector only says "Vector."

OCZ Vector 150 OCZ Vector
Controller Barefoot 3 M00 Barefoot 3 M00
Flash NAND memory 19nm Toshiba MLC Flash NAND
OCZ 25nm MLC Flash NAND
Capacities 120GB, 240GB, 480GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Rated sequential speed Up to 550MBps Up to 550MBps
Rated random speed Up to 100K IOPS Up to 100K IOPS
Rated endurance 50GB/day 20GB/day
Encryption support Yes (AES-256) No
Software included Acronis True Image for Windows XP, 7, and 8 Acronis True Image for Windows XP and 7
Warranty 5 years 5 years

On the inside, the two also share the same OCZ Barefoot 3 controller, but the Vector 150 uses 19nm MLC Flash NAND from Toshiba, as opposed to OCZ's home-grown 25nm MLC Flash NAND. The smaller flash memory size means that you can put more memory cells per square inch, leading to a cheaper manufacturing price. This will also mean differences in performance and endurance.

Despite using the same controller, the Vector 150 supports AES-256 hardware encryption. This is a great new feature for business users. For home users, this makes no difference, since the encryption needs to also be supported by the host, such as a laptop's motherboard, and most home computers don't include the hardware encryption feature.

OCZ says the new Vector 150 drive has endurance of 50GB per day. This means if you write 50GB to the drive every day, it will still last at least five years before it becomes unreliable. This is significantly better than the 20GB-per-day rating of the Vector. Most of the time, however, we don't write 50GB to a computer's internal drive each, and especially not every, day.

The reason SSDs have an endurance rating is that, unlike regular hard drives, all SSDs come with a finite number of program/erase cycles, meaning that you can write to them only so many times before you can't anymore. For most users, SSDs' endurance ratings are so high that it's not really an issue. (Read more about SSDs here.)

Other than that, the Vector 150 has a standard 2.5-inch internal drive design and supports the latest SATA 3 (6Gbps) I/O interface. It's also backward-compatible with SATA 2 and the original SATA standard. In other words, it can be used virtually anywhere a regular hard drive of the same standard is used.

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