OCZ's TL100 DRAM-less SSD Starts At $45

The DRAMless SSDs are coming, the DRAMless SSDs are coming! That's the sound you hear in the HDD Hills as flash attempts to displace the legacy technology from yet another market. The target: your mother, grandmother and the typical beige box PCs without LED lights, discrete graphics and performance-enhancing stickers.

The new Toshiba OCZ TL100 ultra-low cost SSD is just in time for the holiday shopping season. The TL100 is the first high-profile DRAMless SSD to reach the retail channel. The DRAMless design further reduces the starting price for SSDs and allows the technology to reach a wider demographic.

The Toshiba OCZ TL100 joins the Patriot Spark with retail packaging for an SSD built primarily for OEMs. DRAMless SSDs first moved into pre-built OEM systems so the OEM could "check the SSD box" on big-box retail stickers. They also allow you to get the technology for the same price as OEM hard disk drives.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ProductTL100 120GBTL100 240GB
Sequential Read550 MB/s550 MB/s
Sequential WriteUp To 530 MB/sUp To 530 MB/s
Random Read85,000 IOPS85,000 IOPS
Random WriteUp To 80,000 IOPSUp To 80,000 IOPS
Endurance30 TBW - 27 GB/Day60 TBW - 54 GB/Day
Warranty3-Years Advanced Warranty3-Years Advanced Warranty

The TL100 specification sheet looks impressive with up to 530 MB/s sequential reads, which is a 5x increase over OEM-style HDDs. The sequential write performance peaks at 530 MB/s, but we don't know the sustained write performance (a measurement we call native TLC write performance). OCZ used a standard 7% overprovisioning scheme to reduce wear and added an SLC cache to keep sequential and random write burst speeds fast and responsive. The random performance tops 85,000/80,000 read/write IOPS.

The new DRAMless class SSDs are not for enthusiasts, Steam gamers or power users. The endurance is a limiting factor for many of us. The TL100 120GB delivers just 30 TBW, and that doubles with the TL100 240GB model. The total bytes written (TBW) rating limits the 3-year warranty. If you have a warranty issue while you are still inside of the TBW rating, OCZ will replace your drive with a guaranteed new product that ships to you before you even remove the failed drive.

The price reflects the low endurance rating. OCZ’s TL100 120GB model ships with an MSRP of just $44.99. The TL100 240GB moves the price bar to $67.99, but we expect both to fall as we get closer to Black Friday and further into the holiday shopping season.

We've yet to test the new TL100 series products but plan to do so in the future. The Patriot Spark 512GB and other DRAMless products are in testing now for a roundup-style review. We hope to add the OCZ TL100 to the testing list.

The DRAMless products target the famed Average Joe, which is the largest demographic of computer users. These users may be average, but they still use a slow 500GB to 1TB hard disk drive with a little less than 50GB of data on the platters. Joe could have a desktop or a notebook that rarely leaves the sunroom and could benefit from a low-cost SSD, but you will need to tell him because he and Jane have no idea what the magical internet box looks like on the inside.

These products are not for most Tom's Hardware readers, per-se, but they do offer an excellent value for gifting an SSD to an internet-only user.

Chris Ramseyer
Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.
  • firefoxx04
    Not sure about this drive but I did just pickup a Toshiba / OCZ TR150 and it performs as expected. I usually go Samsung but I needed a cheep solution
  • mpdahaxing
    So I take it this SSD would be good for Kodi-centered HTPC with non-steam gaming?
  • CRamseyer
    The problem I've found with Steam and Origin games is that many of the games update the full folder of files, or a massive amount of data with each update. If you keep that data on a dedicated drive with high endurance then you are be fine using a DRAMless or other similar low endurance product as a boot drive.

    For many users, the 27 GB/day endurance should be fine but you will want to actually replace the drive after the warranty expires or keep an eye on the amount of data written and utilized after background activity.

    Personally, I like to load a system with a drive and never have to think about endurance, media wearout indicators or anything along those lines.
  • Christopher1
    CRAMSEYER, that 27GB a day is the MINIMUM for. As to the "Steam downloads all the files for the game!" not from what I have seen. My average download for an MMORPG on Steam being updated is between 100MB's and 300MB's per game.
    For non-Steam MMORPG's it is even less than that unless they find a huge problem.
  • Nuckles_56
    Clearly Christopher1 has never played payday 2, as it is always giving you 500MB+ (typically 800-900MB) updates, often once a week.
  • ssdpro
    I like those sequential numbers... what a joke. If you write any file over 300MB that drops to 40MB/s - USB 2.0 speeds.
  • bgunner
    This would be good for my laptop since it really only gets used for internet surfing while watching TV. My Gaming rig would kill one of these in no time though. Will keep it in mind for when the price drops.
  • clifftam
    So this drives is good for someone like my dad who rarely turn on a computer and only use it to surf the net and listen to music?
  • synphul
    I'd rather wait for sales. Might not be as dependable as a set price but managed to pick up a 240gb ssd a couple years ago for $60 on sale. Not a gimped dram-less and had a 5yr warranty and much higher tbw threshold. Offering a 'cheap' drive with a higher pricetag than a decent drive on sale? Pass.

    I guess I fail to see how this differs, improves upon or in any other way offers 'moar value' for less when drives like the $65 corsair force le exist. So instead they cut corners, add a couple bucks to the pricetag and try to convince everyone it's a good deal. Now if they want to put out a 240gb model for $45 by all means cut corners.

    If it fits someone's low data capacity needs I think there are still equally priced better options available. If they need more space for data, a $65-80 240gb ssd isn't going to compete with a 1tb hdd for $55. Heck hitachi has 7200rpm models at 1tb for $40. They're still nowhere near overtaking hdd's for storage value.

    It's one of those products with performance and a pricetag that make it difficult to defend either the cheaping out or the not-so-discounted price to performance ratio.
  • memadmax
    These are cheap enough to throw 4 together in a raid 0 setup and the endurance factor would be a non issue as the drives would last far long enough for something better that is also cheap to come along.