OCZ have become one of the most trusted and reliable SSD brands, offering high performance, long lasting SSDs but a slightly more premium price. The company have attempted to squeeze the absolute limit out of their SSD hardware, with the Vector being advertised with sequential speeds of up to 550MB/s read and 530MB/s write. Read on for our full review…

COMPARISONS: We will be running our SSD COMPARISON ARTICLE after all SSDs have been reviewed individually. This comparison will compare all our SSD samples, so, this article will not contain any comparisons with other drives. We hope you return to read our full SSD comparison, to see which drive comes out on top!

We have been looking at a number of SSDs over the last few weeks (with more to come) in an attempt to find the best overall SSD, taking all aspect of the drive into account. We are currently in the stage of giving each drive their individual reviews, and then we will move on to run a large comparison feature, comparing each drive used in our SSD review series. Today, we have the OCZ Vector 256GB SSD, which is usually regarded as one of the best SSDs currently on the market, with, as mentioned 550MB/s sequential read and 530MB/s sequential write. OCZ also claim the drive has a rating of 100,000 random read IOPS and 95,000 random write IOPS.

Back in 2011, OCZ acquired Indilinx, but only in the Vector did we see the true potential of this acquisition. OCZ’s Vector features the entirely in-house developed Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller, which is a massive advantage to the SSD and the company. By manufacturing their own controller, OCZ can ensure it is completely optimised to function at 100% performance with the other hardware within the drive. However, not only do OCZ make their own controller, however, they also produce all components of the drive in-house with exception only to the NAND flash memory. OCZ are a very consumer-oriented company, and claim that performance and quality always come first.

Now, in terms of hard specs, the drive is available in capacities of 128GB, 256GB and 512GB. The drive, of course, runs on the SATA III (6Gbps) interface, and has full RAID and TRIM support. Inside the 256GB version of the drive are sixteen 25nm 16GB NAND modules, which are produced my IMFT (Intel/Micron) but branded as OCZ packages. Two 256GB DRAM packages, as well as the Barefoot 3 controller also populate the PCB. The drive uses a tiny 0.9W while idle, and 2.25W while in-use. An ARM cortex processor, as well as an OCZ Aragon co-processor both drive the SSD.

OCZ are a great company for reliability as we have mentioned, and all their drives go through an extensive burn-in process before they are packaged and sent to retail, which ensures they are at the highest standard, have no deficiencies and are not faulty. This dramatically reduces the chance of getting a defective drive, however, for protection, OCZ throw in a 5 year warranty for good measure, so, you should be able to trust the Vector to deliver. This drive is definitely an enthusiast/high performance/high durability drive, so, entry level or mid-level consumers might find this drive over-performing for their needs. This 5 year warranty is rated for 20GB daily writes, so, you can reach 36.5TB writes before invalidating the warranty.

So, lets take a look at the inner contents of the Vector. Inside the stylish blue and black packaging, which includes useful drive information on the front and back, we have the drive itself (inside an anti-static bag), a 3.5″ bracket for mounting, a code to download the excellent Acronis TrueImage HD software package (for effortless migration), an installation manual and an adorable “I <3 my SSD" sticker (with OCZ being written inside the heart). The drive itself comes in a very stylish aluminium case, which carries on the blue and black theme. The "Indilinx Infused" logo adorns both the packaging and the drive itself. On the front of the SSD, "Vector" is printed in large, shiny-silver print. On the back of the SSD, we have the serial number, product code, a QR code and some warning information. The drive has overwhelming shock tolerance, so dropping the drive is very unlikely to do damage.

Now, before we do our benchmarks, the last thing to discuss is the pricing of the drive. The 256GB version of the drive is currently available on Amazon UK at exactly £200 and on Amazon US at the price of $259.99, so, a considerable premium over other SSDs, however, if you need a reliable drive, you will get what you pay for. These prices are as of time of writing and so price the drive at £0.78 per GB and $1.015 per GB.

It’s time for some benchmarks. Again, please note, all comparisons with other drives will be carried out at the end of the feature in our SSD comparison article.

ATTO Disk Benchmarking Tool
ATTO is one of the most trusted and reliable disk benchmarking utilities available. The figures given by ATTO are the most accurate way of identifying the drives maximum capability if it were pushed beyond real-use limits and brought to theoretical maximum performance. The Vector reached read speeds very close to its rated speed, and very slightly exceeded write speed.

8192KB Read – 549.12MB/s
8192KB Write – 531.08MB/s

32KB Read – 508.11MB/s
32KB Write – 498.77MB/s

CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark is one of my personal favourites in regards to drive benchmarking, as it often gives a very accurate figure as to how your drive will perform if it is pushed to its limit, whereas you usually will not be able to reach the figures provided in ATTO manually. CrystalDiskMark tests sequential speed, as well as a number of random read/write tests for 512K and 4K. While the drive does fall a little short on the sequential tests, all the random read & write tests give excellent results, particularly the outstanding 4K QD32 speeds. This drive would definitely perform fantastically in a high performance system.

Sequential Read – 531.7MB/s
Sequential Write – 517.9MB/s

512K Read – 441.2MB/s
512K Write – 498.6MB/s

4K Read – 28.7MB/s
4K Write – 110.9MB/s

4K QD32 Read – 379.1MB/s
4K QD32 Write – 305.8MB/s

SiSoftware Sandra
SiSoftware Sandra is another tool used by many benchmarkers to see if the drive is consistent across multiple tests in different benchmarking tools. While the SSD does dip significantly in write speed, Sandra often does not achieve a rating which represents the maximum performance of the drive, but rather performance closer to the real-life use of the drive.

Sequential Read – 532.2MB/s
Sequential Write – 460.7MB/s

There is no doubt in my mind the Vector deserves a gold award. OCZ are a great company who seem very dedicated to giving their customers the best performance and reliability possible. The Vector is extremely well built, made almost completely in-house and while the drive does cost a considerable premium, you do get what you pay for!