Review Index:

OCZ Vector 180 SATA SSD Full Capacity Roundup - Barefoot 3 M00 with PFM Plus

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OCZ Storage Solutions

Internals, Testing Methodology and System Setup


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Opening the housing, we see the thermal pad conducting heat away from the Barefoot M00 controller and onto the housing back plate.

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Opening further, we find DRAM and Toshiba A19 MLC flash. This is the 960GB model, and the extra space for another DRAM chip suggests the possibility of a 1,920GB model.

PCB Front:

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PCB Rear:

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16 flash packages in total, so expansion to 2TB capacities would require additional dies stacked within the flash packaging.

Testing Methodology

Our tests are a mix of synthetic and real-world benchmarks. PCMark, IOMeter, HDTach, HDTune, Yapt and our custom File Copy test round out the selection to cover just about all bases. If you have any questions about our tests just drop into the Storage Forum and we'll help you out!

Test System Setup

We currently employ a pair of testbeds. A newer ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt and an ASUS Z87-PRO. Variance between both boards has been deemed negligible.

PC Perspective would like to thank ASUS, Corsair, and Kingston for supplying some of the components of our test rigs. 

Hard Drive Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i7-4770K
Motherboard ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/TB / ASUS Z87-PRO
Memory Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR3-2133 CL9
Hard Drive G.Skill 32GB SLC SSD
Sound Card N/A
Video Card Intel® HD Graphics 4600
Video Drivers Intel
Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-650TX
DirectX Version DX9.0c
Operating System Windows 8.1 X64
  • PCPer File Copy Test
  • HDTach
  • HDTune
  • IOMeter
  • YAPT

Video News

March 25, 2015 | 05:01 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Man, Allyn, you really reestablished my faith in you. Historically, you have been very easy on OCZ SSD's, often giving them the benefit of the doubt with respect to problems with them at review time that you assumed would be fixed eventually by firmware updates and lower pricing. Just saying, with the conclusions you reached, this is a drive I will definitely be steering clear of.


March 25, 2015 | 08:45 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

As the saying goes: "Fool me once..."

March 25, 2015 | 10:19 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

“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.”

March 25, 2015 | 05:38 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

There's some genuine investigative reporting going on there in the fifth page of this review and it's very refreshing. Nicely done Mr. Malventano.

In my view page 5 basically blows the lid off of OCZ and the reliability of their Barefoot controller. Despite reporting from most outlets, for years now drives based off of this technology have suffered massive failure rates due to sudden power loss. Here we have definitive evidence of those flaws and the lengths OCZ is going to in order to work around them (note, i didn't say 'fix' them).

The fact that they were willing to go to the extra cost of adding the power loss module in addition to crippling the sustained performance of their flagship drive in order to flush the cache out of DRAM speaks VOLUMES about how bad their reliability was before. You don't go to such extreme - potentially kiss of death measures - without a good boot up your ass pushing you headlong toward them. In this case said boot was constructed purely out of OCZ's fear that releasing yet ANOTHER poorly constructed drive would finally put their reputation out of it's misery for good and kill any chance a future sales.

OCZ has cornered themselves in a no win scenario:

1) They don't bother making the drive reliable and in doing so save the cost of the power loss module and keep the sustained speed of the Vector 180 high. The drive reviews well with no craters in performance and the few customers OCZ has left buy another doomed Barefoot SSD that's practically guaranteed to brick on them within a few months. As a result they loose those customers for good along with their company.


2) The go to the cost of adding the power loss module and cripple the drives performance to ensure that the drive is reliable. The drive reviews horribly and no one buys it.

This is their position. Kiss of death indeed.

Ultimately, i think it speaks to how complicated controller development is and that if you don't have a huge company with millions of R&D funds at your disposal it's probably best if you don't throw your hat into that ring. It's a shame but it seems to be the way high tech works. (Global oligopoly, here we come.)

All things considered, it's nice that this is finally all out in the open. Thanks Allyn.

March 25, 2015 | 07:32 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Somehow I'm not suprised.

March 26, 2015 | 01:10 AM - Posted by Dvon E (not verified)

You tested the Vector 180 with the new 1.01 firmware, but was the Radeon R7 also updated to 1.01, as OCZ recommends? Does it show the same write hitching?

March 26, 2015 | 06:29 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

The R7 results in this piece were based on the initial firmware. We're going to take a closer look at all other M00 based drives (with updates applied) now that we've uncovered this behavior. 

March 26, 2015 | 03:45 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

beta testing on consumers. fail products fail company fail fail fail! all computer parts should handle power fails the same way: not requiring a 2-3 week rma. ocz should not exist anymore.

March 27, 2015 | 05:14 AM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

>Blah-blah-blah walloftextsomethingsomething blah-blah-somethingwalloftext-blah-somethingsomethingwalloftext >'s crap.

You should have said so right away, d00ds.

March 27, 2015 | 10:11 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"Write hitching". I first saw that and all I could think of was the the old stuttering jmicron controllers....on older OCZ drives no less. Bad memories.

Now you show compelling evidence on why you might want to flat out avoid drives with Barefoot controllers.

Love these in-depth articles. Awesome job as usual.

March 28, 2015 | 12:04 AM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

Even though JMicron was always slow as hell (and still is even these days), AT LEAST IT DIDN'T FAIL RIGHT OUT OF IT'S ASS, like that SandForce trash does all the time. JMicron's stuff slow, true, but also one of the more reliable controllers out there.

March 28, 2015 | 01:45 AM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

As a data point, no JMicron controller we ever tested halted all writes for more than one second, and it certainly didn't do so every 20 seconds.

March 29, 2015 | 08:16 PM - Posted by HERETIC (not verified)

How long is it going to take to forget-
"Friends DON'T let friends OCZ"

March 30, 2015 | 05:22 AM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

Unless you're buying their "extremely-rare-now-since-they're-not-doing-them-anymore" PSUs, that is.

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