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
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
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|
|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.
The drive's package includes the SSD itself, a desktop bracket to make it easily fit inside a desktop computer, and a serial number for a retail copy of Acronis True Image 2013, which is one of the best backup and drive-cloning software for Windows. You can download this software and use the key to activate it.
Cost per gigabyte
The Vector 150 is available in 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB versions, which at launch are slated to cost $129.99, $239.99, and $499.99, respectively. The drive costs just a few cents more than a dollar per gigabyte; that's about how much the original Vector cost when it launched. But the Vector came out a year ago; with a smaller memory capacity, I was hopping that the Vector 150 would be more affordable.
For now, the Vector 150 is among the most expensive SSDs on the market. The Samsung 840 Evo, for example, only costs between 60 cents and 80 cents per gigabyte.
The Vector 150 was fast in my testing, but it didn't really outdo its predecessor. In fact it was slower than the Vector in most tests.
In sequential copy tests, the new drive offered a sustained speed of 265MBps for writing and 201MBps for reading. In the same tests the Vector scored 287MBps and 278MBps, respectively. In the combined test where the drive performed both writing and reading simultaneously, the Vector 150 scored 231MBps, compared with the Vector's 243MBps. Since the Vector was one of the fastest SSDs I've seen, the Vector 150 was still average among high-end SSDs. It just doesn't outdo its older brother.
|As secondary drive (read only)||As secondary drive (write only)||As OS drive (read and write)|
In simulation tests using PC Mark 8 benchmark software, where the entire system was tested to see how the SSD helped improve the performance, the Vector 150 did very well, topping the charts in both Home and Work simulated workloads.
|Storage score||Work score||Home score|
Other than that, the Vector 150 worked well throughout my testing process and worked with both Windows and Mac computers without any problems. Compared with a hard drive, it indeed showed significant improvement in system performance. The test machine took a very short time to boot up and resume from sleep mode, and all applications launched much faster.
Overall, the Vector 150 is a winner in terms of performance, design, and warranty. The drive will make a great upgrade for a computer that's currently using a regular hard drive as its main storage device.
However, compared with the original Vector drive, the Vector 150 is not a worthwhile upgrade since it offers about the same (slightly slower, in fact) performance with no other benefits. And among high-end SSDs on the market, it's one of the most expensive, for now.