OCZ Vector 256 GB Review: An SSD Powered By Barefoot 3

Real-World Read And Write Tests

We try to hammer this home any time we talk about comparing SSDs: upgrading to any modern solid-state drive is going to give you a better experience than the best conventional disk, regardless of the SSD's position relative to its competition. From there, sure, the benchmarks tell us that certain drives are faster than others. But it gets more difficult to tell them apart.

Nevertheless, we wanted to add real-world write testing to help demonstrate the performance delta between SSDs, even at the same capacity points and using similar controller technology.

In our first test, we clone our system drive (a 240 GB Vertex 3) over to each target drive using Acronis True Home Image 2013. The source data comes from my personal laptop, so hopefully it's representative of what many of you have on your machines, too. Aside from the OS, I have hundreds of song files, video content, a handful of games, Photoshop, Office 2010, and a bunch of personal documents. Overall, there's a fairly balanced mix of compressible and incompressible data.

OCZ's Vector leads in this test, but not by much. As the "best" performer, it finishes the workload in 31 minutes and 22 seconds. At the other end of the chart, Intel's SSD 335 finishes the task in 32 minutes and 9 seconds (just 47 seconds behind). I've run this test multiple times, and it seems more consistent than using Todo Workstation, as we did in Time To Upgrade: 10 SSDs Between 240 And 256 GB, Rounded Up. Although there is some variation between one run and the next, the biggest point here is that real-world differences from one drive to another are smaller than the synthetics would indicate.

This file transfer test is a follow-up to the drive cloning exercise. Immediately after, we transfer the 2.86 GB H.264-encoded file that we use for tablet/notebook battery life testing. This is a little different from what we did in the 10-drive round-up linked above, where each SSD was secure-erased after each test. And the result definitely exposes the difference between how certain controllers handle incompressible data. We know this test has a bit of variance to it as well (that's the case for any measurement taken from a real-world workload), so the most accurate we can be is a claim that OCZ's Vector is on par with the non-SandForce-based competition.

Anti-virus scanning involves randomly and sequentially reading different file sizes. There are even some writes involved, as the software decompresses certain archives to scan the files contained within.

Again, this is a real-world metric, and the results jump around between successive iterations. From one test to the next, however, OCZ's Vector comes out on top. We continue to be impressed with the Barefoot 3 controller and SSD it powers. Just bear in mind that the outcome of each benchmark on this page tends to be fairly close, and you're often looking at single-digit performance deltas between modern drives.

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  • gnesterenko
    "In the real world, it's almost a certainty that you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between them (or a number of the nearly-as-fast but tangibly less expensive models featured each month in Best SSDs For The Money)."

    This, This, This. All SSDs are pretty amazing at this point for me, the average user. What I care fare more about is - Are they reliable. At the moment, it still seems that Intel holds the reliability crown. Reviews like this are great, for sure, but they don't answer the most important question sadly.
    8
  • acku
    gnesterenko"In the real world, it's almost a certainty that you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between them (or a number of the nearly-as-fast but tangibly less expensive models featured each month in Best SSDs For The Money)."This, This, This. All SSDs are pretty amazing at this point for me, the average user. What I care fare more about is - Are they reliable. At the moment, it still seems that Intel holds the reliability crown. Reviews like this are great, for sure, but they don't answer the most important question sadly.


    Let's make one thing clear. Endurance, reliability, durability, they all refer to different things.

    When it comes to reliablity, everything we know is rather anecdotal. There are no published RMA rates (only return rates and for a 500 sample size), so its rather flawed. Second, two users subject their SSDs in different ways. The first may have more random data in their workload. You can't make an evaluation that drive x failed for user y therefore its bad. What you do matters. Unlike HDDs, performance and characteristics of the drive change based on what you do to it. Since no two users do the same thing with their system, the only real way to test this out is to get a few thousand SSDs, subject them to the same workload in a big data center for a few years. I'd love to do this but naturally, it's really not feasible. :)

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    8
  • mayankleoboy1
    So basically all good SSD's are constrained by the SATA3 interface. I cant wait for the direct PCIE interface(express pcie ?) to become standard.
    3
  • Hupiscratch
    Do these drives (specially the Samsung 840) support TRIM in RAID 0 arrays or this is a property related to the chipset?
    0
  • acku
    HupiscratchDo these drives (specially the Samsung 840) support TRIM in RAID 0 arrays or this is a property related to the chipset?


    That's a mobo thing. You're going to want a 7-series chipset from Intel.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    6
  • Jerky_san
    Jebus Samsungs are such strong contenders on all fields..
    3
  • edlivian
    i dont care how much slower the crucial m4 is compared to the new kids on the block, I will keep stocking them for myself and company, since that is the only one that has never failed me.
    2
  • acku
    Anonymous said:
    i dont care how much slower the crucial m4 is compared to the new kids on the block, I will keep stocking them for myself and company, since that is the only one that has never failed me.


    Glad to hear the m4s are working out for you! Indeed, they have a pretty good track record.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    8
  • dingo07
    So should I buy some of thier stock now...? It can't get much lower than them going out of business from the lawsuits... :/
    0
  • Anonymous
    I just hope that there won't be as many firmware updates with this drive. I got tired of that with my past 2 OCZ SSD's (Vertex 3 & Vertex Turbo). It was way too often, almost as much as my GPU drivers. That being said, they both have given me no issues whatsoever and run like champs. I see a 256GB Vector in my future.
    2
  • jonjonjon
    didnt ocz assure you last time it was their own controller until they were forced to admit they lied? now im guessing that even a company as shady as ocz wouldnt be dumb enough to try to pull the same stunt twice. i personally wouldnt touch a new ocz controller. if they can prove its stable and not a beta product that requires 10 firmware updates to become a stable consumer grade product then maybe i would consider it if the performance/price was better then the competition. that said im all for continued firmware development/support and i know there is no such thing as perfect bug free code but that is what validation testing is for and its unacceptable to release unfinished/broken products. otherwise ill take my chances with intel/samsung/crucial.
    1
  • bentonsl_2010
    Quote:
    With so much drama in the LBC, it's kinda hard being a company selling SSDs.


    Best quote ever!!!
    3
  • g-unit1111
    It makes me very glad to see companies putting more time and effort into their SSDs rather than letting Sandforce do it for them. I have a Vertex 4 and it's a very impressive drive - I had my doubts about buying one but it's definitely impressed me so far. I am really interested to see what Bigfoot can do.
    6
  • LordConrad
    I'll stick with Mushkin's Chronos Deluxe, best performance/price I've found in any SSD.
    -2
  • mapesdhs
    It amuses me how many people say they'll stick with a particular model/brand of SSD because *insert reason*, as if
    they've actually run statistically valid tests on a whole range of SSDs from which to draw any valid conclusion. :D
    As Andrew said, everyone uses their SSDs in different ways. What works for one person may be invalid for
    someone else.

    Ian.
    1
  • BrightCandle
    I am just waiting for the inevitable scandal. Seems everything OCZ sells is tainted with lies and I see no reason why they will break with tradition this time. The specification of this drive will at some point turn out to be outright lies, again. A decade of dishonesty seems to be a constant with OCZ.
    -2
  • xpeh
    BrightCandleI am just waiting for the inevitable scandal. Seems everything OCZ sells is tainted with lies and I see no reason why they will break with tradition this time. The specification of this drive will at some point turn out to be outright lies, again. A decade of dishonesty seems to be a constant with OCZ.


    Mind pointing out their lies?
    1
  • mayankleoboy1
    if only Vertex would have released before the Samsung 840Pro....
    Now, its Samsung's reliability vs OCZ's dubious past.
    2
  • acku
    mayankleoboy1if only Vertex would have released before the Samsung 840Pro....Now, its Samsung's reliability vs OCZ's dubious past.

    I assume you mean Vector?
    0
  • JohnnyLucky
    Hmmm.... Neither OCZ nor Indilinx had their own fabricating facilities. Previous versions of the Indilinx controllers were manufactured by Marvell. Has that changed?
    0