OCZ has been teasing the Vector 180 for quite some time now. The first hint of the drive was unveiled over nine months ago at Computex 2014 where OCZ displayed a Vector SSD with power loss protection, but the concept of 'full power loss protection for the enterprise segment' as it existed back then never made it to the market. Instead, OCZ decided to partially use the concept and apply it to its new flagship client drive that is also known as the Vector 180.

OCZ calls the power loss protection feature in Vector 180 'Power Failure Management Plus', or PFM+ for short. For cost reasons, OCZ didn't go with full power loss protection similar to enterprise SSDs and hence PFM+ is limited to offering protection for data-at-rest. In other words, PFM+ will protect data that has already been written to the NAND, but any and all user data that still sits in the DRAM buffer waiting to be written will be lost in case of a sudden power loss. 

The purpose of PFM+ is to protect the mapping table and reduce the risk of bricking due to a sudden power loss. Since the mapping table is stored in the DRAM for faster access, all SSDs without some sort of power loss protection are inherently vulnerable to mapping table corruption in case of a sudden power loss. In its other SSDs OCZ tries to protect the mapping table by frequently flushing the table from DRAM to NAND, but with higher capacities (like the 960GB) there's more metadata involved and thus more data at risk, which is why OCZ is introducing PFM+ to the Vector 180.

That said, while drive bricking due to mapping table corruption has always been a concern, I don't think it has been significant enough to warrant physical power loss protection for all client SSDs. It makes sense for the Vector 180 given it's high-end focus as professional users are less tolerant to downtime and it also grants OCZ some differentiation in the highly competitive client market. 

Aside from PFM+, the other new thing OCZ is bringing to the market with the Vector 180 is a 960GB model. The higher capacity is enabled by the use of 128Gbit NAND, whereas in the past OCZ has only used a 64Gbit die in its products. It seems that Toshiba's switch to 128Gbit die has been rather slow as I have not seen too many products with 128Gbit Toshiba NAND - perhaps there have been some yield issues or maybe Toshiba's partners are just more willing to use the 64Gbit die for performance reasons (you always lose some performance with a higher capacity die due to reduced parallelism).

OCZ Vector 180 Specifications
Capacity 120GB 240GB 480GB 960GB
Controller OCZ Barefoot 3 M00
NAND Toshiba A19nm MLC
NAND Density 64Gbit per Die 128Gbit per Die
DRAM Cache 512MB 1GB
Sequential Read 550MB/s 550MB/s 550MB/s 550MB/s
Sequential Write 450MB/s 530MB/s 530MB/s 530MB/s
4KB Random Read 85K IOPS 95K IOPS 100K IOPS 100K IOPS
4KB Random Write 90K IOPS 90K IOPS 95K IOPS 95K IOPS
Steady-State 4KB Random Write 12K IOPS 20K IOPS 23K IOPS 20K IOPS
Idle Power 0.85W
Max Power 3.7W
Encryption AES-256
Endurance 50GB/day for 5 years
Warranty Five years
MSRP $90 $150 $275 $500

The retail package includes a 3.5" desktop adapter and a license for Acronis True Image HD 2013 cloning software. Like some of OCZ's recent SSDs, the Vector 180 includes a 5-year ShieldPlus Warranty.

OCZ has two flavors of the Barefoot 3 controller and obviously the Vector 180 is using the faster M00 bin, which runs at 397MHz (whereas the M10 as used in the ARC 100 and Vertex 460(a) is clocked at 352MHz). 

OCZ's other SSDs have already made the switch to Toshiba's latest A19nm MLC and with the Vector 180 the Vector series is the last one to make that jump. Given that the Vector lineup is OCZ's SATA 6Gbps flagship, it makes sense since NAND endurance and performance tend to increase as the process matures.

The Vector 180 review is the second that is based on our new 2015 SSD Suite and I suggest that you read the introduction article (i.e. the Samsung SM951 review) to get the full details. Due to several NDAs and travel, I unfortunately don't have too many drives as comparison points yet, but I'm running tests non-stop to add more drives for more accurate conclusions.

AnandTech 2015 SSD Test System
CPU Intel Core i7-4770K running at 3.5GHz (Turbo & EIST enabled, C-states disabled)
Motherboard ASUS Z97 Deluxe (BIOS 2205)
Chipset Intel Z97
Chipset Drivers Intel 10.0.24+ Intel RST 13.2.4.1000
Memory Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1866 2x8GB (9-10-9-27 2T)
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4600
Graphics Drivers 15.33.8.64.3345
Desktop Resolution 1920 x 1080
OS Windows 8.1 x64
SSD Guru: The New OCZ Toolbox
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  • Shark321 - Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - link

    Tosh, it's a pity PFM does not work on the internal cache of the drive. You can still get file system damage during a power loss. Reply
  • AVN6293 - Sunday, December 20, 2015 - link

    Does this drive support Opal 2.0 eDrive (FIPS/Hippa compliance) ? Reply
  • AVN6293 - Sunday, December 20, 2015 - link

    ...And can the over provisioning be increased by the user ? Reply
  • ats - Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - link

    Actually, all consumer drives need power loss protection and they realistically need it much more than drives targeted at the actual enterprise side of the market. It comes down to simple probabilities. The average enterprise SSD is going to be backed by at least 1 additional layer of power loss prevention (UPS et al), have a robust backup infrastructure, and likely mirroring (offsite) on top.

    In contrast, consumer drives are unlikely to have any power loss prevention, unlikely to have anything approaching a backup infrastructure, and highly unlikely to have robust data resiliency(offsite mirroring et al).

    So like many others, Anandtech gets it exactly wrong wrt PLP and SSDs. The fact that manufacturers have been able to get away without providing PLP on consumer SSDs is almost criminal. The fact that review sites accept this as perfectly OK is pretty much criminal on their part.

    And what should pretty much be a rage storm for consumers is the actual cost of providing PLP on an SSD is literally a couple of $ in capacitors. Not to mention many consumer drives without PLP have enterprise drives using the exact same PCB with PLP. That we as consumers have allowed companies to have PLP as a point of differentiation is to our great detriment, esp when the actual cost of PLP is in the noise even for cheap low capacity SSDs.

    If a drive cannot survive a power loss with data integrity then it certainly shouldn't get a recommendation nor should any consumer even consider it.
    Reply
  • Shiitaki - Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - link

    You do raise some very good points. I think the enterprise still needs it because they want as many ways to protect the data that they can get, after all it's only a couple of bucks. The consumer would benefit to a greater degree since that is likely all they would have is the caps in the SSD. However the consumer is their own worse enemy, a couple of bucks makes a difference for most consumers.

    I've had no issues, and until I read this article, gave no thought to pulling power on a system using an SSD! And I've done it ALOT! Not a single bad block yet! And that is with 6 SSD's in various machines from 4 manufacturers and 8 product lines. Though none of them with Windows, all Linux and OS X.

    Sometimes I wonder just how wide spread issues really are. On the internet it's hard to tell since it's the angry people doing most of the posting.

    In the end though whether you area company or individual, if it isn't backed up. you really don't need it.
    Reply
  • trparky - Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - link

    I do an image of my system SSD every week and my computer is always plugged into a UPS, and yes, that's my home setup. The power is my area is known to be dirty power, not complete drop-outs but if you measured the voltage output it would make most electrical engineers shake their heads and smack their foreheads. Reply
  • zodiacsoulmate - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    also the Arconis 2013 is basically useless since it only runs on windows 7.... Reply
  • ocztosh - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    Hi Zodiassoulmate, just wanted to confirm that the Vector 180 drives are shipping with Acronis 2014. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    That's a step in the right direction; but is still last years product. Acronis 2015 is already out. Am I overly cynical for thinking Acronis offered the 2014 version at a discount hoping to make it up by convincing some of the SSD buyers to upgrade to the new version after installing? Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    Acronis TrueImage 2015 is complete shit. Check the Acronis forums: most people (like myself - a paying annual customer since 2010) have gone back to 2014. The most recent update (October) still did not fix issues with image compatibility, GPT partition compatibility (added for 2015) and UEFI boot mapping. Aside from the lingering compatibility, reliability and stability issues, the interface is terrible. They've basically turned it into a backup product for single PC's instead of a imaging product. Even the USB bootable ISO I typically boot off a flash drive for imaging/cloning is inherently unstable and occasionally even corrupts the destination. Nobody has confirmed the "Universal Restore" works for Windows 7, yet another broken feature that worked FINE in 2014.

    Acronis lost me as a long-time customer to Miray because 2015 was SO botched and after waiting months for them to fix it, I gave up and had to find a product that could adequately clone UEFI OS's installed on GPT partitions. I use this product almost daily to upgrade PC's to SSD's. Unfortunately Miray's boot environment is a little slower, even with the verification disabled and "fast copy" turned on, likely because it runs a different USB stack.

    I don't blame OCZ for sticking with 2014 like every other Acronis licensee has, including Crucial and Intel. 2014 is mature and stable, but it is not the modern solution - especially with Windows 10 around the corner. Acronis will forfeit this market to Miray or in-house solutions like Samsungs' Clonemaster if they don't get their act together. It's just astonishing how well Acronis was doing until 2015.
    Reply

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