OCZ Technology Vector Series 256gb Solid State Drive Review
About 12 days before Christmas, I ran a news story on OCZ Technolgy’s newest Sata III solid state storage drive series, the OCZ Vector. It’s an exciting new entry in the heavily crowded SSD arena that threatens with some killer speeds and performance specs. The idea was to run the news when word broke of the product. I had already secured a unit for coverage. So the review would follow very shortly on the heels of the news coverage. Ha! Come to my surprise, the Marvell controller on my x58 motherboard was sourly neutered in the speed department. The Vector could only hit half the speed advertised when connected to a full-speed 6gb/s sata 3.0 port on my Evga x58 FTW motherboard. The review would have to wait for a system rebuild. The best laid intentions of mice and men, I suppose…
But let’s create a bit of context for my mobo woes. The OCZ Vector 256GB Solid State drive uses a brand new on-drive controller. The Indilinx Barefoot 3 is the company’s internally crafted silicon paired with OCZ’s proprietary firmware. Beyond the boring details, the Vector sata III drive boasts speeds rated for 100,000 random read and 95,000 random write IOPS. More interestingly to me are the lofty Sequential read speeds–supposedly reaching 550mb/s for read and 530mb/s for write speeds. To achieve those speeds I rebuilt a new system on the z77 motherboard chipset platform with an Intel i7 3770K processor. Lets see if all is now right with the world.
The drive is a 7mm slim 2.5-inch SSD. It’s packaged with a 3.5-inch adapter bracket to increase installation options and the Acronis True Image cloning software. Rarely do we see such a handsome drive. The unit looks pretty slick and is a departure, aesthetically, from past designs. But that holds little weight regarding performance.
The OCZ Vector Sata III SSD is a speedy drive for sure. It met or exceeded its advertised speeds in our synthetic test as well as our real-world data transfer. Using the latest version ATTO Disk Bench, we can see the Vector drive reached a max sequential read speed of nearly 560mb/s and a sequential write speed of just over 534mb/s. In a more random real-world test, the Vector was able to read and write 30.3GB of random files, pics and movies to a high-speed USB 3.0 drive in 5min 48sec. Reading and writing that same data to a 7200rpm platter style sata took a couple of minutes longer at 7 min 50 sec. That’s some of the fastest work we’ve seen. But we have several other SSD to cover over the coming weeks, so we will see if OCZ can remain in our good graces. But the available software bundle helps.
Acronis True Image cloning software does not come packaged with the drive. But the activation key does. Download the application from OCZ and then use the provided key. Acronis True Image is a robust software suite. I was able to clone my older OCZ Apex 128gb sata II drive. This was my main system drive running Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit. It cloned my C-drive to the new OCZ Vector and I was able to boot from it as if nothing had changed–all in less than 10 mins. This also means I now have a backup of my entire system drive. Amazing stuff! You can also use Acronis True Image to read larger capacity drives where an OS doesn’t typically recognize them, such as a 2tb drive on Windows XP. You can mount an image so you can then access it as a virtual storage solution. You can transfer backups, perform system clean ups, create partitions, create “Rescue Media” to recover your system if it is rendered unbootable, permanently shred undeletable files, trim an SSD to improve performance (though I saw no increase is transfer speed upon doing so) and more. It’s a feature rich utility suite with even more features available with the purchase of the full version.
Solid state drives are significantly cheaper than they were a couple years ago. But don’t think you’re walking away with one of these premium little puppies for anything less than a couple c-notes. Make your peace with that and own one of the fastest SSDs around. It’s ideal as a system drive, extra storage, dedicated gaming hard drive or anything else you can come up with for the 256gb of speedy storage. Plus OCZ has tossed in a healthy 5-year warranty for added security and confidence.
Bottom Line: The OCZ Vector 256GB Sata III 2.5-inch drive is an outstanding performer. It hits and exceeds the advertised speeds, which are lofty to say the least. Plus it serves up an incredible Software suite to manage, clean and backup all your hardrives.
- Faster than advertised at 560mb/s
- Included 3.5mm adapter bracket
- Acronis True Image software is fantastic!
- One of the best looking SSD on the market
- 5-yr warranty
The OCZ Vector 256gb Sata III 2.5mm solid sate drive is available at Amazon for $229.99.