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OCZ Trion 100 Series SSD Review

Now firmly in the Toshiba camp, OCZ's Trion 100 Series is the first retail product to ship with Toshiba's new A19 TLC NAND flash.

Our Verdict

If OCZ Storage Solutions pushes the price down to sub Reactor levels and truly targets the entry level user we would get behind it. The performance is low in all workloads but still higher than what hard drives offer. The price is the real key here. OCZ may have introduced TLC too soon with so many low cost MLC options still shipping.

For

  • Endurance • Notebook battery life • Performance compared to HDDs

Against

  • Price • SLC density in relation to the overall capacity • Performance

Tom's Hardware Verdict

If OCZ Storage Solutions pushes the price down to sub Reactor levels and truly targets the entry level user we would get behind it. The performance is low in all workloads but still higher than what hard drives offer. The price is the real key here. OCZ may have introduced TLC too soon with so many low cost MLC options still shipping.

Pros

  • +

    Endurance • Notebook battery life • Performance compared to HDDs

Cons

  • -

    Price • SLC density in relation to the overall capacity • Performance

Introduction

OCZ Storage Solutions first teased a triple-level-cell client SSD at CES 2012 as part of its Everest platform. If it had been released, the drive would have been the first TLC SSD to hit the channel. OCZ wasn't shy about the need for such a product. Even back in 2012, the company claimed it'd see a 30% price reduction compared to MLC flash, while still delivering up to 500 MB/s of sequential throughput and up to 30,000 random 4KB IOPS.

The long delay in bringing a TLC-based product to market wasn't an OCZ issue. Outside of Samsung, triple-level-cell flash wasn't ready for the SSD space. Both Flash Forward (Toshiba/SanDisk) and IMFT (Intel/Micron) have been manufacturing the stuff for years now, but most of it ended up in devices with low endurance like thumb drives and SD cards.

The flash-to-controller relationship also played a role in bringing TLC to market. In order to make the memory technology viable, companies needed a processor with powerful ECC capabilities. Adding an extra level of sophistication increases the controller's cost, and companies don't want to build expensive parts without the flash ready to drop into retail products.

But now we're at a point where the necessary processors and TLC flash are ready. Some analysts claim that TLC will account for 50% of all flash shipped in 2015. That number represents both OEM and channel products, so retail shoppers still have some time left before MLC becomes a premium-only offering.

OCZ Storage Solutions is one of the first vendors with a new drive based on TLC, beaten there only by Samsung and SanDisk. Of course, Samsung first broke through with the original 840 in 2012 and is on its third-gen TLC-based SSD in the 850 EVO. SanDisk, Toshiba's partner in Flash Forward, introduced TLC to the channel in late 2014. 

To usher in this new era, OCZ minted the Trion 100 product name. It's the company's sixth product for the client and workstation markets, and it slides into an entry-level position. Above the Trion 100 is the ARC 100, Vertex 460A, Radeon R7, Vector 180 and the RevoDrive 350.

Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.