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KitGuru Prize Winner review: OCZ Vector 180 SSD


So this SSD has been created and developed by OCZ, a company which was recently bought by Toshiba. Now the company itself always had a bit of trouble in the past with its SSDs, usually failing thus resulting the in the company having a high level of returns in comparison to other SSD manufacturers. Since being bought by Toshiba though, this has been rectified and now OCZ offer a range of high quality, affordable and well made SSDs. They have several families of SSDs, the main ones being the ARC, VECTOR and SABER families.

The VECTOR family is the brand of SSDs I will be focusing on though, they are offered as a 120 Gb, 240 Gb, 480 Gb or 960 Gb version, all boasting some quite respectable figures in terms of speeds, endurance ratings and prices.

The 480 Gb version offers the following speeds:

  • Up to 550 MB/s Sequential Read
  • Up to 530 MB/s Sequential Write
  • Up to 100,000 IOPS 4KB Random Read
  • Up to 95,000 IOPS 4KB Random Write

Now I will compare these to average speeds I found later in the review but looking at these speeds, these are some pretty good speeds if you're looking for a new SSD especially if you're moving over from a HDD, you will wonder why you put up with an HDD for so long, I definitely did!

The drive also boasts PFM+ or Power Failure Management Plus (It's all right, I'd never heard of it either!) In the event of a sudden power loss, the SSD uses a technique referred to as Power Failure Management Plus (PFM+) which holds up the SSD circuitry long enough to ensure the integrity of the device so that it can be fully operational again once power is restored. To achieve this, the SSD saves a single action on the log which is only the essential data needed to rescue the SSD from metadata corruption. As a result, the PFM+ logs are accumulated and saved frequently with no impact on overall SSD performance. PFM+ ensures that once the power is restored, and the server cluster stabilizes again, all SSDs will return back to the condition they were in at the time of failure.

In terms of the drive's endurance, the SSD boasts a 50Gb a day endurance rating. Now this is a lot of data for each day and even as a pretty active gamer and YouTuber, playing, recording, saving and rendering a lot of data each day, I come no where close to this amount of data each day, even through downloading and installing new games neigh on everyday. Couple this with the 5 year ShieldPlus Warranty (more in detail later on) that OCZ are offering and you really, really can't go wrong!

Now KitGuru recently did a very interesting experiment with OCZ drives (a different family but OCZ all the same), in an attempt to judge whether the company had improved it's SSDs since the early days of high failure and return rates. What Kitguru found, blew everyone involved away (in a good way!)

Being given 5 drives, Kitguru were tasked with destroying each one by constantly writing and re-writing data over and over again in an attempt to break the drive. Using the endurance rating and the ShieldPlus Warranty time (20 Gb a day and 3 years) Kitguru anticipated that the drives would last for just under 22Tb of data, after that then the drive had done that was expected from it. Expecting the drives to die pretty quickly after this amount of data, the SSDs went on to destroy everyone's conceptions of them, with the first one giving out at 322Tb and the last one failing at 695.5Tb. Now these were some extraordinary results, far surpassing what everyone believed would happen and I personally believe, showing everyone that the old days of high failure rates were long and truly gone.

With this in mind, I believe the SSD is going to last me a long, long time as the VECTOR boasts a 50Gb a day endurance rating and a 5 year ShieldPlus Warranty, so even if the drive did go Pete Tong (wrong) then at least I would have the warranty to fall back on. Talking of the warranty, I have been keeping you waiting about the details of it so I'll lay them out for you now. The warranty for the drive is 5 years which is a very long warranty for anything, so it goes to show how much faith and confidence the company places in its SSDs these days.

Now the warranty does not require any proof of purchase, all you have to do if a drive fails is get into contact with OCZ, they will determine if they can fix the drive or not and if not, they will send you a brand new one before you have to send yours back. They really do take the sting out of having a failed drive (as long as you've been sensible and do a regular back up of your files onto another drive!) as they do not expect you to even pay for shipping costs either which is a really nice bonus. None of us want a failed drive but if it does happen, then at least with OCZ you know they have your back.

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