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OCZ Vector 180 960GB SSD Review

Final Thoughts

The difference between first- and second-generation 19nm Toshiba flash is die size. The older dies measured 19x26mm, while the new ones are 19x19.5mm. Toshiba is able to harvest more dies per wafer, and the wafer is a fixed cost. More dies means less money spent per part. So, it only makes sense for OCZ to adopt the lower-priced flash as quickly as possible. The first move to A19 happened in the Vertex 460 series, hence the Vertex 460A was born with its only differentiator being flash. OCZ didn't make a lot of noise about that introduction, and performance stayed the same.

On its top-of-the-line Vector series, OCZ took advantage of the change and looked for ways to improve reliability. All SSDs have capacitors to protect data as much as possible for a given build of material cost. We suspect the Vector series, with its faster processor, needed more power than the Vertex 460's components. This distinction may have increased returns by a few percentage points. OCZ addresses the issue with a tantalum capacitor that provides more charge to the Vector 180.

OCZ doesn't stop with the increase in charge density. The Vector 180's firmware adds other changes aimed at increasing reliability as well. For instance, the firmware creates a new mapping table snapshot and writes it to flash. This is an area we need to explore further, and you can bet we'll have more to report before reviewing any other members of the Vector 180 family.

On the 960GB model tested today, the table flush takes between one and two seconds due to a large 1GB buffer. OCZ tells us that the flush time shouldn't be an issue in consumer workloads, but we did find it affecting the performance of heavy workloads. We can test this two ways. First, using trace-based tests with samples taken at least every second. The other method (and the one we're using now) is running the drive in a notebook with real-world applications. So far, the buffer flush isn't an issue. But the drive also isn’t fragmented with lots of random data spread across the cells yet. Lower-capacity models with less DRAM should be impacted less. OCZ chooses to use a reliable approach in saving the entire table. Making updates would have had less impact on performance. 

Aside from the buffer flush that takes place every 20 seconds or so, the Vector 180 performs as well as the Vector 150 it replaces. Both drives are limited by the SATA 6Gb/s interface, though neither rises to the same performance levels offered by SanDisk's Extreme Pro or Samsung's 850 Pro. The Vector 180 finishes a close third place when it comes to latency in lighter workloads and second under heavy workloads. I classify OCZ's new flagship in the same distinguished group of top-performing SSDs.

One area where the Vector 180 outperforms its predecessor is mixed workloads. I’m impressed with OCZ’s decision to tune for real-world performance and make it a topic of discussion in the product brief. Over time, other manufacturers will follow suit. This benefits us all as the focus falls away from four-corner performance for marketing and towards real-world performance for users.

A 1TB-class version of the Vector 180 means there are now three high-capacity SSDs in the top performance tier. The new reliability features will mean more to some, but it's not like this type of product has a history of reliability issues. Money buys more than just performance, after all.

OCZ’s accessory package is the best amongst its competition. Perhaps you only need the desktop adapter bracket; others may value the cloning software. Both are included regardless, though. We can also add OCZ’s ShieldPlus warranty as a valued accessory, should you need it. OCZ provides cross shipping with an included return label as part of its plan. It's a nice feature, even if we hope we never need it.

  • damric
    Now that's what I'm talking about. Adding the capacitor should keep them from having so many RMAs from loss of power/hard resets. I usually only see the capacitor added to enterprise solutions, so I'm excited to see it as a feature in consumer SSDs.

    THW, you need to test all SSDs with about 50 of these hard power loss cycles and see which ones become unresponsive to motherboards and bricked.
    Reply
  • PraxGTI
    Intel has been doing this on consumer drives for reliability for a long time. OCZ cuts corners. From unstable DDR3 RAM to unreliable Vertex SSDs (Red light, bricked, within weeks of initial use), I for one won't buy OCZ products anymore without big warranties and longer-term support. I have never had an issue with an Intel drive, totally worth the extra money and reliable performance.
    Reply
  • uglyduckling81
    I thought OCZ was gone. I have had 2 of their drives and never had a problem. The only reason I'm not still using my original Agility is because my laptop got stolen, but I'm sure someone is still enjoying the speed it offered. That thing cost over AU$500 for 128gb but it was worth every cent.
    Reply
  • I have two OCZ drives, with Terabytes written to them and no problems at all. The problems seem mostly hearsay or people that don't know how to read SMART data. One has 19 TB of writes (my vertex 3 doesn't show writes, but I'd estimate it's around that or higher). Both have around 19 000 hours of heavy use.

    That being said, with 3d NAND available, it just doesn't make sense to purchase anything except Samsung drives these days. I'm just waiting for prices to come down, and nvme.

    But OCZ is very reliable, don't drink the kool-aid.
    Reply
  • ykki
    Hopefully this move (adding the capacitor) will also encourage(force?) other players in the market to follow suit.
    Reply
  • damric
    15546008 said:
    I have two OCZ drives, with Terabytes written to them and no problems at all. The problems seem mostly hearsay or people that don't know how to read SMART data. One has 19 TB of writes (my vertex 3 doesn't show writes, but I'd estimate it's around that or higher). Both have around 19 000 hours of heavy use.

    That being said, with 3d NAND available, it just doesn't make sense to purchase anything except Samsung drives these days. I'm just waiting for prices to come down, and nvme.

    But OCZ is very reliable, don't drink the kool-aid.

    Out of 6 of my OCZ drives, 5 of them bricked after hard reset or power loss. I was able to raise my Agility 2 back from the dead though. Since then I've learned my lesson and I don't do heavy overclocking tuning/testing/benching on SSD to minimize crashes.

    I've had other SSDs with same problem. It's most common on Sandforce, but I see it happen to Indillix and Micron controllers as well.
    Reply
  • David Cruit
    Wait. Forced shut downs screw up SSDs? I overclock a lot and I've done at least 100 forced shut downs, and my SanDisk Extremes (I not II) are still working as good as ever.
    Reply
  • 15546281 said:
    15546008 said:
    I have two OCZ drives, with Terabytes written to them and no problems at all. The problems seem mostly hearsay or people that don't know how to read SMART data. One has 19 TB of writes (my vertex 3 doesn't show writes, but I'd estimate it's around that or higher). Both have around 19 000 hours of heavy use.

    That being said, with 3d NAND available, it just doesn't make sense to purchase anything except Samsung drives these days. I'm just waiting for prices to come down, and nvme.

    But OCZ is very reliable, don't drink the kool-aid.

    Out of 6 of my OCZ drives, 5 of them bricked after hard reset or power loss. I was able to raise my Agility 2 back from the dead though. Since then I've learned my lesson and I don't do heavy overclocking tuning/testing/benching on SSD to minimize crashes.

    I've had other SSDs with same problem. It's most common on Sandforce, but I see it happen to Indillix and Micron controllers as well.

    Sounds like BS. You have 6 OCZ SSD? Let me guess, you have 30 TB of precious data and 196GB of ram. But no UPS?

    I'll admit, I've never used their agility drives, I went with Vertex both times, 3 and 4.

    Sorry if I sounded harsh, it's just your bash against OCZ sounds like every other (invented) one. How many people buy 6 drives? And why buy 6 SSD drives? And you have many other SSD drives, many of which went bad, with both Indillix and Micron controllers. It doesn't make sense.

    If you work for a corporation, you have UPS and redundant power supplies. If you're an individual, you can't have had so much experience with so many hard-drives. So you're a liar. Like so many a-holes online that try to discredit OCZ. Everyone I know that has used OCZ has had great experience, except for early drivers that did cause problems, mostly lost data, rarely lost drives.
    Reply
  • NeatOman
    Corsair, Samsung, Sandisk, Intel.. the rest i don't care for, not worth taking a risk if a new generation is good or not. Those companies have a great reputation of only selling SSD's that are dependable. If its in a desktop and you don't have an UPS then look for a PFM, but IMO you shouldn't half ass it as it will still lose data because it wont write what is still in the RAM. It's only $40, and should be replaced every two years.
    Reply
  • damric
    15546723 said:
    15546281 said:
    15546008 said:
    I have two OCZ drives, with Terabytes written to them and no problems at all. The problems seem mostly hearsay or people that don't know how to read SMART data. One has 19 TB of writes (my vertex 3 doesn't show writes, but I'd estimate it's around that or higher). Both have around 19 000 hours of heavy use.

    That being said, with 3d NAND available, it just doesn't make sense to purchase anything except Samsung drives these days. I'm just waiting for prices to come down, and nvme.

    But OCZ is very reliable, don't drink the kool-aid.

    Out of 6 of my OCZ drives, 5 of them bricked after hard reset or power loss. I was able to raise my Agility 2 back from the dead though. Since then I've learned my lesson and I don't do heavy overclocking tuning/testing/benching on SSD to minimize crashes.

    I've had other SSDs with same problem. It's most common on Sandforce, but I see it happen to Indillix and Micron controllers as well.

    Sounds like BS. You have 6 OCZ SSD? Let me guess, you have 30 TB of precious data and 196GB of ram. But no UPS?

    I'll admit, I've never used their agility drives, I went with Vertex both times, 3 and 4.

    Sorry if I sounded harsh, it's just your bash against OCZ sounds like every other (invented) one. How many people buy 6 drives? And why buy 6 SSD drives? And you have many other SSD drives, many of which went bad, with both Indillix and Micron controllers. It doesn't make sense.

    If you work for a corporation, you have UPS and redundant power supplies. If you're an individual, you can't have had so much experience with so many hard-drives. So you're a liar. Like so many a-holes online that try to discredit OCZ. Everyone I know that has used OCZ has had great experience, except for early drivers that did cause problems, mostly lost data, rarely lost drives.

    I had an Agility 2 (failed), Agility 3 (failed), 3 Vectors (all failed) (2 came from RMA), and 1 Vector 150 (still in use), I also have a PNY Optima (first one failed), and an m500. I'm on a first name basis with the OCZ techs, btw. They always do me good when it comes to RMA, despite the fact that I broke a lot of drives. They pay for all my shipping now, and upgraded my last Vector to the 150 which is still going strong despite the fact that I haven't been all that careful with it.

    I test a lot of hardware in my lab, but I'm only a small time overclocker/bencher. I really don't own that much compared to a lot of the people around here. I only have 4x entry/mid-level gaming rigs up and running right now at the house.

    You can check out my HWBOT profile and see the dozens of hardware submissions I have made over the years, if you still have doubt about my credentials, or just ask the mods around here.
    Reply