OCZ has completely revamped their brand image for the better since they have been purchased by Toshiba. They have unified their product designs and now all their products are easily recognizable and powered by in house Indilinx Barefoot 3 controllers paired with Toshiba’s A19 Toggle MLC NAND. With this combination in addition to their ShieldPlus warranty, they have been able to deliver customers some fast and reliable SSDs with great warranty coverage and customer support.
Since their acquisition, however, they have not refreshed their enthusiast class SSD line, their Vector 150 does not have the same ShieldPlus warranty as their other SSDs. Not only that, but their product line capacity maxes out at only 480GB. With so many new 1TB SSDs being released and 2TB SSDs around the corner, they need something to fill that void so they can maintain competitiveness in the high capacity market segment. Well, today they have addressed these issues. Meet the OCZ Vector 180 family.
If you have been following us for a while, you have probably already seen some early samples and coverage of this SSD while we were attending Computex 2014 and CES 2015. The Vector 180 carries over the performance we’ve seen and come to appreciate from the Vector line as well as the 5-year warranty, but now it has an even better warranty via ShildPlus and something they call Power Failure Management Plus (PFM+). During CES 2015 we were also told that with this new SSD it marks an end of a controller line, this is their last Barefoot 3 powered SSD. In light of this however, they have expanded the Vector 180’s capacity options up to the 1TB class and created yet another product that delivers great performance and value.
SPECIFICATIONS, PRICING, AND AVAILABILITY
The OCZ Vector is a 2.5″ 7mm, SATA 6Gb/s SSD. It is available in four capacities, 120GB ($89.99), 240GB ($149.99), 480GB ($274.99), and 960GB ($499.99). The performance of this new SSD is up there with the best of them with sequential reads and writes up to 550MB/s and 530MB/s respectively. IOPS are rated for up to 100K read and 95K write while sustained write is rated for up to 23K.
The OCZ Vector 180 features AES 256-bit encryption, however it does not support TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667 standards. Data path protection is established via BCH ECC and it corrects up to 44 random bits/KB. Now to explain their latest feature, Power Failure Management Plus (PFM+). It detects power anomalies and protects data at rest and helps to prevent bricking through a backup capacitor and firmware design. The graphic below explains the steps to shut down in the case of a power loss or anomaly.
The Vector 180 has a MTBF rating of 2.3 million hours and endurance is rated at 50GB per day for the span of the 5-year ShieldPlus warranty, which comes out to just over 91TB. Their ShieldPlus warranty really makes support and warranty claims a breeze. All you need to do is provide your SSD’s serial number (no original purchase receipt required) and if the SSD is determined defective it will be replaced via an advanced product replacement and prepaid return shipping label for the defective SSD. This is the type of warranty support that really puts emphasis on their confidence and commitment of backing a product and in turn it gives you a hassle free RMA experience, which we like to see!
They have also released a new SSD management tool that they call SSD Guru and it rivals both Samsung’s Magician and SanDisk’s SSD Dashboard. It features a plethora of tools that cover maintenance, health monitoring, OS and SSD tuning, and firmware updating. It is compatible with all OCZ Barefoot 3-based consumer drives as well as the RevoDrive 350.
PACKAGING AND COMPONENTS
The packaging design is very clean and appealing with a black theme accented by blue and white. The front pictures the Vector 180 and at the bottom right the capacity is listed. On the backside states that this SSD is “Storage for the most demanding enthusiasts” and is followed by a list of its main feature specs and performance numbers.
Taking a look inside the package we see that besides the SSD itself, it comes with a 2.5″ to 3.5″ tray adapter, installation screws, and warranty and product papers including an Acronis True Image serial key to make cloning from your old drive easy.
Taking a better look at the front and back we can see that the exterior design is solid all around. The front graphic is following the same clean layout as their other SSDs. On the backside, the capacity, firmware revision, and max power draw rating is shown on the sticker along with the serial number.
When handling these SSDs we noticed them to be quite heavy and solid, unlike most SSDs in the market. We took them to the scale to see the difference and it was quite clear, the weight of these SSDs are about twice the weight of most others at 112 grams. Even most 2.5″ HDDs are lighter than this. But then again, this premium alloy housing is quite appealing as it conveys quality and durability.