Barefoot 3, if you were wondering, is OCZ’s in-house designed controller that succeeds the Marvell-based Indilinx 2 controller seen in the Vertex and Agility 4 family. Vector heralds a new step for the company as it now controls two aspects of SSD performance in the controller and the ARM-based DRAM core that handles the caching for the drive, manufactured by TSMC. The last part of the drive, the NAND chips in use, are still held by other companies but may be made by OCZ in future. But lets forget that for now, the new Vector wants to impress you.
Vector’s performance in online reviews has been great. Its generally faster than the Vertex 4 even with the recent drive updates and the way it handles both compressible and incompressible data is something that only one other drive controller can match – and that is LAMB’s controller seen in the new Corsair Neutron family. Vector’s main competitor, Samsung’s 840 Pro, its its main competition and OCZ even made sure to price-match their drives to remain more competitive.
Interestingly, Vector is also the first SSD family to eschew the 64GB and lower drive sizes and simply starts off from 128GB. It makes sense, given that it becomes increasingly difficult to make the drives cost-effective to both manufacture and sell if they’re in low sizes and since most people simply move up to a 128GB drive for their Windows installation and a few games, its a market they can safely cut out. Smaller drives can simply be used for caching, which is what they’re better at given their low price point.
Most reviews online have been positive, praising the drive’s performance and lower price point. It also used less power and produces less heat than the outgoing Vertex and Agility 4 family. Samsung’s 840 uses less power still and generates less heat, but it commands higher price points and makes itself less attractive in doing so. Could this be another price war on the cards?
But while the introduction of a new family is great news, the company is still having financial issues. OCZ is suffering a mild cash flow problem and will probably take a year or two to dig itself out of the hole it created when it bought out the Indilinx technology for $32 million. The drive does come with a five-year warranty, but will that mean the company will be around five years later to honour it? Only time will tell. For those of you worried about that, there are other companies that will be around in that time frame – Corsair and Intel are just two brands sold here locally.
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