The Vector 150 is an evolutionary step forward for OCZ's enthusiast series, improving the original Vector's endurance and security by supposedly being able to withstand 150% more writes along with providing AES-256 encryption. By focusing on those features, OCZ left us with the impression that speed wasn't a priority, but that hasn't prevented the company from boasting about breaking performance barriers.
OCZ says its Vector 150 series offers better sustained and mixed workload results than its first Vector and while we'll test those claims shortly, for now it's worth noting that the company's pricing certainly seems to reflect a speed boost at no less than $1.00 per gigabyte. The 120GB model is set at $130 ($1.08/GB), the 240GB version is fetching $240 ($1.00/GB) and the 480GB Vector 150 is going for $500 ($1.04/GB).
By comparison, OCZ's performance series Vertex 450 is priced at $128 for a 120GB drive ($1.06/GB), $230 for 256GB ($0.89/GB) and $500 for 512GB ($0.97/GB), while Samsung's 256GB SSD 840 Pro is only $0.83/GB and a TLC-equipped 840 Evo of the same size costs a mere $0.66/GB. Point being, it's easy to find a snappy yet affordable SSD -- even among OCZ's own offerings with the 256GB Vertex 450 being such a great value.
We're skeptical about OCZ being able to justify the Vector 150's price at a buck per gig or more, but the company has surprised us with knockout performance in the past so it only seems fair to expect big things from the Vector 150. Before pitting it against today's top SSDs, let's lift the newcomer's hood and see what's changed from last year's Vector, which enjoyed a seat in our Enthusiast's PC until Samsung's 840 Evo arrived.
Vector 150 240GB in Detail
The Vector 150 is designed for the "enthusiast" market while the Vertex 450 series is recommended for "performance" users -- both crowds love hardware, but apparently "enthusiast" means "performance user with more disposable income."
The Vector 150 is armed with the Indilinx Barefoot 3 M00 controller, the same as you'll find in the original Vector. Models offer capacities of 120GB, 240GB and 480GB and feature a slim 2.5" design, measuring 99.8 x 69.63 x 7mm and weighing up to 83 grams.
Consuming only 2.5W when active and 0.55W in standby, the Vector 150 consumes much less power than conventional storage drives and its claimed idle draw is even lower than the original Vector's, which is likely due to the memory used. We'll get to that in a minute, of course.
The 120GB model packs read and write speeds of 550MB/s and 450MB/s, which is slightly more than the same capacity Vector drive. Meanwhile, the 240GB and 480GB models feature a read and write throughput of 550MB/s and 530MB/s which is identical to the original Vector drives.
All Vector 150 models are loaded with 19nm Toshiba MLC synchronous flash memory and are designed to replace the 25nm-based Vector drives which have been in circulation for a year now.
Our review sample has sixteen 16GB NAND ICs labeled "Toshiba TH58TEG70DJBA4C," giving a total capacity of 256GB. Once formatted in Windows, the original 256GB is converted to 239GiB, though Windows shows this as 239GB, so it seems like 7% of the original capacity is lost.
The Barefoot 3 M00 features an ARM Cortex processor and is coupled with a 1GB DRAM cache. OCZ used a pair of Micron DDR3-800 512MB chips, one on each side of the PCB.
The Vector 150 is rated for a whopping 50GB of writes per day, which is considerably more than the original's 20GB per day and it's backed by a full five-year warranty.
It's also worth mentioning that the drives also include a 3.5" adapter kit for desktop PCs and Acronis cloning software that supports Windows 8. Additionally, unlike the original Vector series, today's release includes AES-256 encryption for fast secure erase. The AES keys can be destroyed via firmware which would make data unreadable. Encryption and decryption happens in the controller's hardware so there is no performance hit.