OCZ Vector SSD Review: New Flagship Drive, Brand New Indilinx Controller

By on November 27, 2012, 11:00 AM

Earlier this year we reviewed OCZ's flagship Vertex 4 SSD which at the time we were lead to believe was based on a second-generation Everest controller developed in-house. Having acquired IP and assets from Solid Data in 2010, followed by the acquisition of Indilinx, maker of the renowned Barefoot SSD controller, OCZ was in a good position to start working on their own controllers.

Eventually it was revealed and later confirmed by OCZ that the Octane and Vertex 4 drives actually used Marvell controllers with firmware developed in-house by the Indillinx team. While we acknowledged that it was very sneaky on OCZ’s behalf, it also didn’t change things much for us. Regardless of who did or didn't make the controller, the Vertex 4 was still one of the best performers and best values in the high-end SSD segment.

So with the controversy of the Vertex 4 almost behind them, it appears that OCZ is finally ready to unveil its first truly in-house SSD controller. It's been three years since Indilinx released a brand new controller and they are doing so today with the Barefoot 3, which is to be featured in OCZ’s latest SSD series known as Vector.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 18

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Lionvibez said:

Excellent review. This drive's performance is much better than I expected. But as you listed with your cons OCZ is not known for reliability with all the firmware shenanigans they pull.

Will wait and see how this drive fares in the wild.

1 person liked this | Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I have to admit, the Velociraptor held its own against the Hitachi!

1 person liked this |
Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

Eventually it was revealed and later confirmed by OCZ that the Octane and Vertex 4 drives actually used Marvell controllers, while the firmware was developed in-house by Indilinx (hence the 'Indilinx infused' moniker). That meant these SSDs were using the very same controller driving the Crucial m4 and Intel SSD 510, at least in the case of the Octane anyway.

I did not know that even the Octane drives were Marvell based, but how does this work with their very poor reliability? (I'm assuming the "Petrol" is the same too then?). If you look them up on Newegg they have really poor ratings, vs for example the Crucial m4.

EDIT: Here is a more respectable source, just look at those numbers, MY GOD! [link]

Also this new Vector drive says "Indilinx infused" on the packaging as well so how do we know they aren't pulling the same trick again?

Twixtea said:

Not that I would buy an SSD based on their looks, but this looks badass.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

This SSD has more potential than the 840 Pro from Samsung, and it really depends on the firmware. If they can take more juice with the firmware it will be the best SSD so far.

Twixtea said:

Well, but OCZ firmware upgrades do usually include some performance gains as well, if this gets like a firmware upgrade with ~10+ % in performance it could easily beat the Samsung 840 Pro.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Eventually it was revealed and later confirmed by OCZ that the Octane and Vertex 4 drives actually used Marvell controllers, while the firmware was developed in-house by Indilinx (hence the 'Indilinx infused' moniker). That meant these SSDs were using the very same controller driving the Crucial m4 and Intel SSD 510, at least in the case of the Octane anyway.

I did not know that even the Octane drives were Marvell based, but how does this work with their very poor reliability? (I'm assuming the "Petrol" is the same too then?). If you look them up on Newegg they have really poor ratings, vs for example the Crucial m4.

EDIT: Here is a more respectable source, just look at those numbers, MY GOD! [link]

Also this new Vector drive says "Indilinx infused" on the packaging as well so how do we know they aren't pulling the same trick again?

Does it matter what "controller" they use? Just consider the drive on it's merits and move on. If it has firmware problems, benchmarks, price etc. Really who cares the Vertex 4 had a Marvell controller?

howzz1854 said:

Eventually it was revealed and later confirmed by OCZ that the Octane and Vertex 4 drives actually used Marvell controllers, while the firmware was developed in-house by Indilinx (hence the 'Indilinx infused' moniker). That meant these SSDs were using the very same controller driving the Crucial m4 and Intel SSD 510, at least in the case of the Octane anyway.

I did not know that even the Octane drives were Marvell based, but how does this work with their very poor reliability? (I'm assuming the "Petrol" is the same too then?). If you look them up on Newegg they have really poor ratings, vs for example the Crucial m4.

EDIT: Here is a more respectable source, just look at those numbers, MY GOD! [link]

Also this new Vector drive says "Indilinx infused" on the packaging as well so how do we know they aren't pulling the same trick again?

I wish you had provided this link a few months ago when we were all arguing about reliability between OCZ SSDs vs other brands.

howzz1854 said:

Eventually it was revealed and later confirmed by OCZ that the Octane and Vertex 4 drives actually used Marvell controllers, while the firmware was developed in-house by Indilinx (hence the 'Indilinx infused' moniker). That meant these SSDs were using the very same controller driving the Crucial m4 and Intel SSD 510, at least in the case of the Octane anyway.

I did not know that even the Octane drives were Marvell based, but how does this work with their very poor reliability? (I'm assuming the "Petrol" is the same too then?). If you look them up on Newegg they have really poor ratings, vs for example the Crucial m4.

EDIT: Here is a more respectable source, just look at those numbers, MY GOD! [link]

Also this new Vector drive says "Indilinx infused" on the packaging as well so how do we know they aren't pulling the same trick again?

Does it matter what "controller" they use? Just consider the drive on it's merits and move on. If it has firmware problems, benchmarks, price etc. Really who cares the Vertex 4 had a Marvell controller?

I guess you never read the link he put up.

here it is again: [link]

some of the OCZ drives have over 40% return rate, that's classified as mass defective.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

I guess you never read the link he put up.

here it is again: [link]

some of the OCZ drives have over 40% return rate, that's classified as mass defective.

Its not so much the controllers as it is the Firmware and memory used. Firmware is extremely important to SSDs as it can heavily influence performance and reliability.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Its not so much the controllers as it is the Firmware and memory used. Firmware is extremely important to SSDs as it can heavily influence performance and reliability.

Yes now to wait and see how OCZ approach that this time around...

Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

Does it matter what "controller" they use? Just consider the drive on it's merits and move on. If it has firmware problems, benchmarks, price etc. Really who cares the Vertex 4 had a Marvell controller?

It does to me, because some controllers are known to cause problems, like many of Sandforce's controllers causing BSOD issues with certain firmwares.

But other controllers are known to be good, like the Marvell controller, however when you put that in a OCZ Petrol or OCZ Octane SSD you get 40% return rates!?

Its not so much the controllers as it is the Firmware and memory used. Firmware is extremely important to SSDs as it can heavily influence performance and reliability.

Yes, time will tell.

I'm myself of course an enthusiast and I like the little guy, however I'm sorry to say this but honestly OCZ is giving SSD drives a bad reputation.

If you look at BeHardware's older reliability surveys (The one I linked before was published on the 16:th Nov)

You begin to see a pattern, no other drive manufacturer has single drives with returns above 5% except for one Corsair Force model (which is a Sandforce drive) OCZ Agility 4 has a return rate of 8.52% for the coming period!

OCZ is the only brand that has had an increasing return rate for every period except the latest one.

But the fact that the latest period got a lower total percentage of returns should not be seen as a "win" when specific models see a 40% return rate!

And indeed when Intel switched to Sandforce their return rate increased from 0.1% > 1.73% (They did also inflate their numbers with their in house controller and the "8MB bug" of course)

Novulux said:

So why does this SSD have the track record for a con, but not the Vertex 4?

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

It does to me, because some controllers are known to cause problems, like many of Sandforce's controllers causing BSOD issues with certain firmwares.

Intel released a series of drives based on the same controller. Very solid from what I've heard.

I also use the same controller but hearing about the potential issues, have been careful in what firmware I have applied to them. Been running 2x Vertex 3 drives for quite some time now and had 1 issue from either drive ever. Firmware update solved the problem must be almost 12 months ago. No reformatting required.

OCZ might have released some iffy firmware but they brought to light some bad SATA 3 implementations by diving in the deep end so early. Intel were culpable there and the issues were not limited to SandForce.

You want to stay away from dodgy chipsets, why don't you stay away from Intel motherboard platforms? No TRIM on RAID unless you are on Z77. They keep stuffing it up. Their integrated graphics have legendary incompetence. Only recently people were getting replacement boards because the SATA 2 was stuffed on one chipset?

Oh ever wondered why LGA2011 (and possibly LGA1155?) came out with 2x SATA 3 ports when the initial roadmaps had 6 ports planned? Good ol' Intel...

Marvell SATA 3 controllers? Rubbish. Bandwidth starved - writes are worse than a SATA 2 controller. Missing TRIM on RAID of course. Don't know if they even support TRIM fullstop?

Then there's Microsoft. Want to run TRIM on RAID on a SCSI controller card? You can't on Win7. Win7 simply does not support passing TRIM to a SCSI controller. Maybe on Win8?

Relatively speaking, SandForce 2 controllers look pretty good to me.

EDIT: I will say, I'm a bit disturbed about the return rate figures. Curious to work out why the figures are so high for OCZ. They used to have a policy in the forums of pushing everyone to update firmware the moment a new one came out without a real settling period to see if there were problems.

Twixtea said:

Using a vertex 3 on for a year now with the shipped firmware and never had a problem.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Here's an interesting Intel tidbit...

[link]

Mod community proves that the OROM update they limited to Z77 can be adapted to 6 series.

It proves that Intel could, at the very least, have a beta for 6 series available. OCZ on the other hand you might say are a little too open with their firmware but I certainly rather too aggressive and the ability to cherry pick rather than being starved of options.

Guest said:

Your sentence implies that you hope OCZ does *not* keep up with good firmware updates. Surely for all the top SSD there are microns, nay quanta of difference in everyday use.. also why test all the large sizes when people really want to know about the real world speeds from the 64 and 128Gb with their lesser amount of memory channels. OP, Trim is an OS issue rather than a controller issue. And finally where do they go next? Sata3 is saturated, not really sure SATA4 (x2 bandwidth) will really make much difference except on seq's. Bootable PCie? Mram ..Me? I'm still on a gen1 Kinston 64gb .(100/80). no poblems so far.

rob L said:

Eventually it was revealed and later confirmed by OCZ that the Octane and Vertex 4 drives actually used Marvell controllers, while the firmware was developed in-house by Indilinx (hence the 'Indilinx infused' moniker). That meant these SSDs were using the very same controller driving the Crucial m4 and Intel SSD 510, at least in the case of the Octane anyway.

I did not know that even the Octane drives were Marvell based, but how does this work with their very poor reliability? (I'm assuming the "Petrol" is the same too then?). If you look them up on Newegg they have really poor ratings, vs for example the Crucial m4.

EDIT: Here is a more respectable source, just look at those numbers, MY GOD! [link]

Also this new Vector drive says "Indilinx infused" on the packaging as well so how do we know they aren't pulling the same trick again?

if you go to the very next page of your link you will see this "Among the most popular models, things are much better, with the exception of the Agility 4: 0.93% on the Vertex 4s, 1.22% on the Vertex 3s, 2.59% on the Agility 3s and 5.60% on the Agility 4s."

The Agility 4 was rushed to market which is the reason for the bad feedback but has been already fixed. As per the OCZ conference call, they have discontinued all of the older models and are only selling Vector, Vertex4, and possibly the Agility 4 which may be discontinued soon since they only plan to sell high performance drives. If the Vertex 4 return rate is any indicator then you be sure the Vector will be just as good, if not better.

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