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Results: PCMark 7 And PCMark Vantage

OCZ Vector 150 SSD Review: A New Flagship With 19 nm Flash
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OCZ is re-launching its flagship consumer SSD as the Vector 150. Armed with 19 nm Toggle-mode flash and new encryption functionality, this new drive is purported to be the pinnacle of of enthusiast-class solid-state storage. Does it live up to the hype?

Futuremark's PCMark 7: Secondary Storage Suite

PCMark 7 uses the same trace-based technology as our Storage Bench v1.0 for its storage suite testing. It employs a geometric mean scoring system to generate a composite, so we end up with PCMarks instead of a megabytes per second. One-thousand points separate the top and bottom, but that encompasses a far larger difference than the score alone indicates.

This test is a big improvement over the older PCMark Vantage, at least for SSD benchmarking. The storage suite is comprised of several small traces. At the end, the geometric mean of those scores is scaled with a number representing the test system's speed. The scores generated are much different from PCMark Vantage, and many manufacturers are predisposed to dislike it for that reason. It's hard to figure out how PCMark 7 "works" because it uses a sliding scale to generate scores. Still, it represents one of the best canned benchmarks for storage, and if nothing else, it helps reinforce the idea that the differences in modern SSD performance don't necessarily amount to a better user experience in average consumer workloads.

Instead of showing the post-processed PCMark 7 scores, this chart reflects percentages relative to the fastest drive tested (in this test's case, that's Samsung's 840 Pro 256 GB). Our interpretation isn't earth-shattering, but it likely is more meaningful than raw benchmark results.

Fire up PCMark 7 and the status quo strikes back. Except, this time, OCZ's Vertex 3 bests the Vertex 450. The Vector 150 falls to the original Vector.

Futuremark's PCMark Vantage: Hard Drive Suite

PCMark's Vantage isn't the paragon of SSD testing, mainly because it's old and wasn't designed for the massive performance solid-state technology enables. Intended to exploit the new features in Windows Vista, Vantage was certainly at the forefront of consumer storage benching at the time. Vantage works by taking the geometric mean of composite storage scores and then scaling them a lot like PCMark 7 does. But in Vantage's case, this scaling is achieved by arbitrarily multiplying the geometric sub-score mean by 214.65. That scaling factor is supposed to represent an average test system of the day (a system that's now close to a decade behind the times). PCMark 7 improves on this by creating a unique system-dependent scaling factor and newer trace technology. 

Why bother including this metric, then? A lot of folks prefer Vantage in spite of or because of the cartoonish scores and widespread adoption. That, and the fact that most every manufacturer uses the aged benchmark in box specs and reviewer-specific guidelines. In fairness, Vantage's Hard Drive suite wasn't designed with SSDs in mind, and is actually quite good as pointing out which 5400 RPM mechanical disk might be preferable.

Break out the Moët, because the Vector 150 finally demonstrates a finish that trumps OCZ's other offerings. Granted, it bests the first-gen Vector by a slim 1.01%, but still, a win is a win.

Less enthusiasm-generating is the fact that OCZ's new flagship is bested by four 128 GB-class drives, seven 256 GB SSDs, a trio of 512 GB-class models, and Samsung's EVO 1000 GB. Then again, PCMark Vantage is no longer the most brilliant indicator of general performance.

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  • -1 Hide
    Amdlova , November 11, 2013 9:03 PM
    time to upgrade from vertex 4 to 150
  • 0 Hide
    CommentariesAnd More , November 11, 2013 9:41 PM
    It looks pretty good and it does perform pretty good.
  • 1 Hide
    enihcam , November 11, 2013 9:54 PM
    Will Toshiba buy OCZ?
  • 0 Hide
    jimmysmitty , November 11, 2013 10:15 PM
    Quote:
    time to upgrade from vertex 4 to 150


    I just hope the quality increased. Only because at my last job we had used Vertex 3s for all of our work stations and they one by one started having random issues, from not being detected to wiping the partitions.

    I like OCZ because they help lower the price of SSDs but there has to be quality behind the price as well.
  • 3 Hide
    Sakkura , November 11, 2013 10:43 PM
    Some of the numbers in the bottom diagram on page 4 seem to be off. Look at the Intel 520 180GB for example; the random write bar is longer than the random read bar, but the actual IOPS numbers are the other way around.
  • 0 Hide
    Sakkura , November 11, 2013 10:46 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    time to upgrade from vertex 4 to 150


    I just hope the quality increased. Only because at my last job we had used Vertex 3s for all of our work stations and they one by one started having random issues, from not being detected to wiping the partitions.

    I like OCZ because they help lower the price of SSDs but there has to be quality behind the price as well.

    My impression is that OCZ was hit hard by the Sandforce issues, partially as a result of being an early adopter. Their newer drives seem to be reliable.
  • 0 Hide
    cryan , November 11, 2013 10:52 PM
    Quote:
    Some of the numbers in the bottom diagram on page 4 seem to be off. Look at the Intel 520 180GB for example; the random write bar is longer than the random read bar, but the actual IOPS numbers are the other way around.


    Awesome catch! The 520 seems to have the right bar length, but the label from the Intel 510. I'll sort that out, but that's a genuine not-my-fault problem. One of the very few. I can blame Excel 2013 with confidence, but kudos for the eagle eye.

    The random write bar is correct though; the SandForce-based 520, 525, and Intel 530 each pull down more random write IOps than read with incompressible data.



    Regards,
    CR
  • 0 Hide
    kancaras , November 12, 2013 2:12 AM
    TOM!!! you gotta unswap PCMARK 7 graph with PCMARK vantage graph!
  • 0 Hide
    Amdlova , November 12, 2013 4:39 AM
    I got two SSD vertex 4 128gb on my computer 3770k and on my girlfriend 3470 I never get an single error on this SSD. raid 0 or normal configs. run solid!
  • 0 Hide
    ssdpro , November 12, 2013 5:54 AM
    Quote:
    My impression is that OCZ was hit hard by the Sandforce issues, partially as a result of being an early adopter. Their newer drives seem to be reliable.


    Early on yes, but the 2nd gen SF drives really are pretty darn stable now. OCZ has had solid top tier releases since the Vertex 4. I own Vertex 4 and Vector, will probably get a 150. Hands down the worst thing they ever did was try budget/value offerings like the Petrol. I don't think there is any reason for fanboism, I own Samsung and OCZ drives and all work happily together.

  • 0 Hide
    expl0itfinder , November 12, 2013 5:58 AM
    The power benchmarks were interesting. The power draw is fairly irrelevant for desktops, but on a mobile platform, the majority of those SSDs drew only 50% the power of the average 2.5 inch HDD.
  • 0 Hide
    mapesdhs , November 12, 2013 9:01 AM

    cryan, $135 would sure be nice, but as usual real-world prices
    can spoil the attractiveness of a new product. Scan.co.uk has
    the 120GB Vector 150 listed for 115 UKP (ie. about 35% more than
    the stated RRP), making it 10 UKP more than the tried & trusted
    840 Pro; worse, it's a whopping 26 UKP more than the Vertex 450
    (even the 120GB Vertex3 MAX IOPS is 18 less). Scan has its own
    double-irony though, as they also list the original Vector 128GB
    as a factory refurb (FR) for 70. :D  Likewise, they have the
    256GB Vertex4 FR for 119, the 256GB Vector FR for 131, the 512GB
    Vertex4 FR for 215 and 512GB Vector FR for 233 (I bought one of
    the FR 512GB Vertex4s, performing splendidly as an AE cache drive).

    Best price I could find for the Vector 150 120GB was 100 UKP on
    dabs.com. SSDs continue to be a tad expensive here. I was hoping
    we'd see 240GB/256GB below 100 UKP this year, but sadly not.
    Prices were certainly heading that way a year ago, with the 830
    256GB going for as low as 119 UKP, but then everything went whacko
    back in Feb this year as prices jumped back up again.


    Amdlova writes:
    > time to upgrade from vertex 4 to 150

    It's unlikely you'd notice any real-world difference between a
    Vertex4 and the Vector 150. The Vertex4 is already pretty quick.


    ssdpro writes:
    > ... Hands down the worst thing they ever did was try budget/value
    > offerings like the Petrol. ...

    Indeed! What did you make of the Agility3/4 series though? I bought
    an Agility4 128GB for testing; it's not too bad, though HDTach gave
    rather wobbly write performance and curiously low read speeds compared
    to the numbers reported by AS-SSD which were much higher.


    ssdpro writes:
    > ... I don't think there is any reason for fanboism, I own Samsung
    > and OCZ drives and all work happily together.

    Yup, me too. I ended up with a lot of 120GB MAX IOPS units when several
    vendors were doing them dirt cheap (no idea why), but I have many
    Vertex2Es aswell, all running fine. With the fw updated, the early SF
    drives are ok. I have two Vector 256s, a Vector 128, various Vertex4s
    and a range of Samsungs (830, 840, 840 Pro). The main difference I've
    noticed is that the Samsung units seem to be able to maintain better
    and more consistent steady-state read speeds, giving completely smooth
    HDTach graphs, eg. here's my 3930K system's 840 250GB:

    http://www.sgidepot.co.uk/misc/samsung_840_250GB_HDTach_22-May-2013.gif

    Contrast that with my 2700K system's Vector 256GB:

    http://www.sgidepot.co.uk/misc/OCZ_Vector_256GB_HDTach_12-Nov-2013.gif

    In reality though, I can't tell the difference between them for normal
    real-world use. They both load complex apps nice & quick, etc.

    Ian.

  • 0 Hide
    masmotors , November 12, 2013 2:51 PM
    i want the 120 gb one as i have a 90gb ocz vertez 3 time to send this one to my 2nd pc maybe the 250gb but i dont know about that 1 the lesser is more do able
  • 0 Hide
    danwat1234 , November 12, 2013 3:57 PM
    What's the point. SSDs have reached stagnation of performance. Little bits of increase here and there. The 2nd gen Sandforce based SSDs, the Vertex 4 Marvell SSD, Samsung 840 pro, OCZ Vector all offer great performance and as far as I can tell none are that much better than the others, besides the Sandforce which isn't as fast on non-compressible data.
    Waiting for a SATA 4 SSD and then buy it used when cheap (many many years from now).
    For now I'm rocking an X25-M SSD, very reliable and quick enough.
  • 0 Hide
    cryan , November 12, 2013 8:04 PM
    Quote:

    cryan, $135 would sure be nice, but as usual real-world prices
    can spoil the attractiveness of a new product. Scan.co.uk has
    the 120GB Vector 150 listed for 115 UKP (ie. about 35% more than
    the stated RRP), making it 10 UKP more than the tried & trusted
    840 Pro; worse, it's a whopping 26 UKP more than the Vertex 450
    (even the 120GB Vertex3 MAX IOPS is 18 less). Scan has its own
    double-irony though, as they also list the original Vector 128GB
    as a factory refurb (FR) for 70. :D  Likewise, they have the
    256GB Vertex4 FR for 119, the 256GB Vector FR for 131, the 512GB
    Vertex4 FR for 215 and 512GB Vector FR for 233 (I bought one of
    the FR 512GB Vertex4s, performing splendidly as an AE cache drive).




    Yeah, OCZ didn't give out MSRPs prior to launch. OCZ decided to launch the Vector 150 on the same day and same time as the nVidia 780 ti, so that conflict and a holiday pushed it to today, by which point units were available on e-tailer shelves here in the states, which I'd fully expect to NOT represent UK and European pricing.

    To be honest, the Vector 150 is a fine drive, but even here its pricing is just not currently in sync with what I believe most Toms readers would be willing to pay, given the totality of the package.

    The 120 GB Vector is less expensive than the 120 GB Vector 150 here at the moment. The retailer I used for pricing has a nasty habit of charging a good deal more for newly launched products though, so it's possible the V150 could come down in price soon, but perhaps not significantly.


    Regards,

    Christopher Ryan

  • 0 Hide
    Sakkura , November 12, 2013 9:44 PM
    Quote:
    What's the point. SSDs have reached stagnation of performance.

    Nah, they have just run into the limits of SATA3. Sandisk's M.2-based A110 shows that SSDs are still improving beyond what SATA3 allows. It's just that SATA Express adoption has been a bit slow compared to M.2.
  • 0 Hide
    mapesdhs , November 13, 2013 6:45 AM
    Quote:
    To be honest, the Vector 150 is a fine drive, but even here its pricing is just not currently in sync with what I believe most Toms readers would be willing to pay, given the totality of the package.

    The 120 GB Vector is less expensive than the 120 GB Vector 150 here at the moment. ...


    Indeed. I can't work out who OCZ thinks would buy the 150. The
    existing Vector is already good and much cheaper, or - if one can
    locate it - the Vertex4 (both drives behave in the same way re when
    more than half the space is written to).

    Ian.

  • 0 Hide
    Sakkura , November 13, 2013 7:57 AM
    That's launch pricing. Who says it won't get cheaper? It costs them less than the original Vector, so it most likely will get cheaper soon.
  • 0 Hide
    mapesdhs , November 13, 2013 11:06 AM
    Quote:
    That's launch pricing. Who says it won't get cheaper? It costs them less than the original Vector, so it most likely will get cheaper soon.


    People were saying that about SSDs in general 11 months ago,
    but prices have risen since Feb this year. Consider: a year ago,
    in the UK, the Samsung 830 256GB reached a low of 119 UKP.
    Today, at least two generations on (840, 840 EVO, etc.), why do
    we still not have a decent mainstream 256GB model for under 100?
    It's because vendors don't have to, ie. people are willing to pay more
    than that (demand), so prices have actually gone up. The 250GB
    EVO is 140 UKP here atm.

    Likewise, the Vector 256GB stubbornly remained at 225 UKP and
    never went down since its launch, and now it's vanishing from seller
    sites because of the 150. Although I can find the 240GB Vector 150
    for 170 UKP, this price drop vs. the old Vector is not due to sliding
    pricing after the initial Vector launch, it's because of a new product
    replacing an old, ie. in the intervening months there's been no point
    at which the old Vector was available at a sensible price.

    Besides, at this price level I'd rather have the 840 Pro instead, which
    is 9 UKP cheaper here just now (161 from Amazon with free shipping).

    Ian.

  • 0 Hide
    Sakkura , November 13, 2013 2:03 PM
    Dunno about the UK, but around here I can get a 120 GB Samsung 840 Evo for the same price as a 120 GB Agility 3 was going for a year ago. That's serious progress.
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