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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  • nils_ - Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - link

    I distinctly remember that when I replaced a SSD in my workstation the Acronis tool, instead of copying my data from the source SSD to the new SSD copied the data to another, unrelated HDD in the system, happily overwriting the Linux partitions stored thereon... I had to unplug everything from the mainboard safe for the old and new SSD to make sure that it doesn't destroy any more of my data. Reply
  • MikeMurphy - Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - link

    Macrium Reflect is free and wonderful to use. Reply
  • mapesdhs - Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - link


    Yep, MR is what I use, it works very well and has a good interface.

    Ian.
    Reply
  • JonnyDough - Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - link

    Thirded. It works wonderfully. Reply
  • The_Assimilator - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    OCZ is still beating that Barefoot 3 dead horse for all it's worth. No wonder they went bankrupt. If you don't innovate, you die. Reply
  • ocztosh - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    Hello The_Assimilator. Thanks for your comments. Innovation is definitely a key area of focus for us on both the client and enterprise sides of our SSD business. We currently have a lot of resources put on next generation controllers and have been working hard on client SSDs leveraging the latest Toshiba NAND flash, which includes TLC. While some of these products are on the horizon it was natural for us to update our Vector Series with A19 NAND flash, and rather than just make a NAND change we wanted to add new features not normally found in our client class products like power fail management plus (PFM+) to further improve reliability in applications that blur the line between enthusiast and workstation.

    It is true that Barefoot 3 has, and continues to be, a very strong platform for us as we have shipped so many drives based on this in-house controller, and it has been so solid that we have not had to rev silicon a single time. We will continue to push to innovate when it comes to SSD performance, features and cost and are committed to delivering more value for all our customers. Thanks again for your feedback.
    Reply
  • Minion4Hire - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    The bigger problem is that the SSD market has stagnated. When their weren't major players (like Samsung) the little guy could cobble something together and make a decent living filling what was a niche market. Now SSDs are mainstream, and through volume alone the big guys can overpower the little guys, let alone R&D, etc. Until the market shifts away from SATA there's no room for niche innovation or clever advances. It's all down to margins right now. Reply
  • Samus - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    You do realize the two best-selling controllers are Marvell and Sandforce, and both are older than Barefoot 3. The SF2281 is 3+ years old and still ships in a variety of Mushkin, ADATA, Intel, etc SSD's.

    Barefoot 3 is thoroughly modern, but it does lack some power saving and drive encryption features. I don't think it makes sense for OCZ to update it when PCIe is around the corner and will require a new controller since a bridge will be expensive and not much faster.

    Aside from that, Barefoot 3 is incredibly innovative. I consider it the best controller available aside from Intel's 3rd gen controller (equally as old) and Samsung's MEX. ASMedia is still a little inconsistent and featureless, Marvell has an aging indirection table implementation that yields average performance, Phison is clearly entry-level with relatively low performance and consistency, Silicon Motion and Fusion-IO are power hungry, have quirks with certain NAND varieties and are not cost competitive.
    Reply
  • Guspaz - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    "There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again."

    Yeah, George, I'm not planning on getting fooled by OCZ again.
    Reply
  • blue_urban_sky - Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - link

    Is that the saying from Tennessee where they cant't remember the proper saying? Reply

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