OCZ Vector 256GB SSD drive review

Reviews Mike Jennings Apr 4, 2013

An excellent piece of kit in every regard

It's been a tumultuous couple of years for OCZ. The firm was once one of the dominant names in SSD manufacturing, but financial problems mean it's had to streamline its current range - which means that around 150 products have been mothballed.

The leaner, more focused firm is now concentrating on mainstream and enthusiast drives, and its Vector is the first high-end SSD to emerge from its factory in this new era.

This £175 drive isn't just notable for being OCZ's latest high-end bit of kit; it's also its first drive to use a genuine Indilinx controller since OCZ bought the boutique chip maker. Previous OCZ drives have used Marvell parts that had been branded Indilinx, but the Barefoot 3 is home-grown silicon.

There's an intriguing story behind this drive, then, but the Barefoot 3 controller clearly works when paired with 25nm MLC NAND chips. The Vector's AS SSD sequential read and write results of 521MB/s and 503MB/s are barely behind the Samsung, and the OCZ drive actually beat the 840 Pro in AS SSD's 4KB-64 read and write tests. In the read test, the OCZ scored 380MB/s to the Samsung's 281MB/s, and the two drives scored 335MB/s and 328MB/s in the write benchmark.

It's a competitive start, but the Vector wasn't quite able to keep up when we loaded the CrystalDiskMark tests. There wasn't much between the two parts across the app's eight benchmarks, but only in one did the Vector pull ahead. Even then, its 375MB/s pace in the 4KB-32 write benchmark isn't far ahead of the Samsung's 369MB/s score.

The Vector's ATTO minimum read and write results of 10MB/s and 48MB/s are middling this company, but it impressed in the app's maximum speed results: its read pace of 559MB/s is the equal of the Samsung, and its top write score of 535MB/s is only 1MB behind the Samsung.

That's a solid set of benchmark results, and OCZ's memory chips are packed into this month's best-looking and sturdiest drive. We're big fans of its two-tone colour scheme, and the aluminium enclosure used offers no hint of give - a big improvement on most of the drives here.

A 2.5"-to-3.5" bracket is included, so the Vector can be installed into a PC straight away, and its five-year warranty matches the length on offer from this test's most generous drives. It's worth bearing in mind, though, that the Vector uses the chunkier 9.5mm form factor, so it's thicker than the 7mm Samsung, and it won't fit in some slimline laptops.

There's very little to choose from between the Vector and the Samsung when it comes to our benchmarks, but it's the Samsung that comes out on top - just. And while the OCZ drive is 2p-per-gigabyte cheaper, it's not enough to convince us that it's the best SSD here. OCZ's home-grown Vector is an excellent SSD, but the Samsung is still our drive of choice - if only by a whisker.

Details:

• Price: £175 inc VAT, www.ebuyer.com
• Manufacturer site: www.ocztechnology.com

Scores:

Quality: 8/10
Value: 9/10
Overall: 9/10