OCZ Trion 150 480GB SSD Review
By David Ramsey
Manufacturer: OCZ Storage Solutions
Product Name: Trion 150 480GB SSD
Part Number: TRN150-25SAT3-480G
Prices: 120GB $45.99 (Amazon) 240GB $69.99 (Amazon), 480GB $139.99 (Amazon), 960GB: $269.99 (Amazon)
Full Disclosure: OCZ provided the product sample used in this article.
OCZ Storage Solutions, a subsidiary of Toshiba, has a new entry into the burgeoning field of low-cost consumer TLC (triple-level cell) NAND SSDs: the Trion 150. Featuring a new (and somewhat mysterious) Toshiba controller backing up also new Toshiba 15nm TLC NAND, the Trion 150 is aimed squarely at the consumer who’s been waiting for prices on larger SSDs to drop to this level. Historically, drives based on TLC NAND have suffered from significant performance and durability compromises. Benchmark Reviews will run this drive through our gamut of tests to see if these issues are still a factor you should be aware of.
We’ve tested one other TLC NAND drive recently, the MyDigitalSSD BP5e. We found that while this drive has made some progress on the performance front relative to other TLC drives, there were still significant limitations in sustained write speeds and random I/O speeds. Offsetting these performance issues– which, to be honest, had little relevance to real-world performance in a typical consumer system– was the very low retail price, especially for the 960GB version. It will be interesting to see how OCZ’s entry, boasting both a new controller and new NAND, compares.
|NAND||Toshiba 15nm Flash|
|Max. Read||Up to 550MB/sec|
|Max. Write||Up to 530MB/sec|
Solid State vs Hard Disk
No matter how fast your processor, memory, or video card is, your computer will still be limited by its slowest component: the hard disk. While hard disk speed has improved tremendously since the “early days”, with large caches and 10,000RPM spindle speeds, even the fastest hard disk’s performance is glacial compared to the rest of the computer. The situation only gets worse with modern pre-emptive multitasking operating systems, where dozens of threads are running simultaneously and competing for your disk’s limited response time and bandwith.
Consider: the average time to move a high-performance hard disk’s read/write head to a new track will be less than 10ms, which seems pretty fast. But your CPU is galloping along at billions of cycles per second, and will spend a significant amount of its time just waiting for the hard disk to fulfill its last request. Hard disk performance has plateued in the last few years, running up against the physical limitations of spindle speeds, magnetic media density, and head servomotor performance. At the end of the day, disks are limited by the fact that they’re comprised of physical, moving parts.
With no moving parts, Solid State Drive technology removes this bottleneck. The difference an SSD makes to operational response times and program speeds is dramatic: while a faster video card makes your games faster, and a faster processor makes compute-bound tasks faster, Solid State Drive technology makes your entire system faster, improving initial response times by more than 450x (45,000%) for applications and Operating System software, when compared to their mechanical HDD counterparts. The biggest mistake PC hardware enthusiasts make with regard to SSD technology is grading them based on bandwidth speed alone. File transfer speeds are important, but only so long as the operational I/O performance can sustain that bandwidth under load.
Bandwidth Speed vs Operational Performance
As we’ve explained in our SSD Benchmark Tests: SATA IDE vs AHCI Mode guide, Solid State Drive performance revolves around two dynamics: bandwidth speed (MB/s) and operational performance I/O per second (IOPS). These two metrics work together, but one may bemore important than the other. Consider this analogy: bandwidth determines how much cargo a ship can transport in one voyage, and operational IOPS performance is how fast that ship moves. By understanding this and applying it to SSD storage, there is a clear importance set on each variable depending on the task at hand.
For casual users, especially those with laptop or desktop computers that have been upgraded to use an SSD, the naturally quick response time is enough to automatically improve the user experience. Bandwidth speed is important, but only to the extent that operational performance meets the minimum needs of the system. If an SSD has a very high bandwidth speed but a low operational performance, it will take longer to load applications and boot the computer into Windows than if the SSD offered a higher IOPS performance. That said, high iOPS performance is more of a concern for server and business use than most consumer systems.