OCZ VX500 Review

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Toshiba is a company that has been around since 1873 and has evolved over the years. In 1983 the name Toshiba was adopted and replaced from Tokyo Shibaura. Over several years Toshiba has invested and manufactured several technologies, including NAND. Toshiba acquired OCZ in 2013, and since then several new SSDs have come into the market. Most modern SSDs manage to saturate the SATA 6Gbps bus, but with the Rise of NVMe based products,  the SSD market has managed to create some competitive pricing. I will be looking into one of OCZ’s new drives the VX500 512GB, this seems to be a rebrand of the q300 client SSD. They offer 128GB models all the way up to a 1TB model. Marketing has become a core concept of Toshiba’s new OCZ division, so let’s see how the VX500 being a rebrand can offer consumers an advantage over the increasing crowded market of SSDs.

PERFORMANCE 128GB 256GB 512GB 1024GB
Sequential Read6 Up to 550 MB/s Up to 550 MB/s Up to 550 MB/s Up to 550 MB/s
Sequential Write6 Up to 485 MB/s Up to 510 MB/s Up to 515 MB/s Up to 515 MB/s
Random Read7 (4KiB, QD32) Up to 62,000 IOPS Up to 90,000 IOPS Up to 92,000 IOPS Up to 92,000 IOPS
Random Write7 (4KiB, QD32) Up to 49,000 IOPS Up to 58,000 IOPS Up to 64,000 IOPS Up to 65,000 IOPS
ENDURANCE
TBW (Total Bytes Written)8 74 TB 148 TB 296 TB 592 TB
Daily Usage Guidelines9 40 GB/day 81 GB/day 162 GB/day 324 GB/day
PHYSICAL
Capacities 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1024GB
NAND Flash Memory Type MLC
Interface Serial ATA (SATA) 6 Gbit/s
Form Factor 2.5-inch, 7 mm height
Dimension (L x W x H) 100.00 x 69.85 x 7.00 mm
Drive Weight 128GB, 256GB: 49 g (typ.)
512GB: 52 g (typ.)
1024GB: 54 g (typ.)
POWER REQUIREMENTS
Supply Voltage 5V ±5 %
Power Consumption Active Up to 3.6 W (typ.)
Idle 128GB, 256GB, 512GB: 125 mW (typ.)
1024GB: 260 mW (typ.)
DevSleep Power 128GB, 256GB, 512GB: 5 mW max
ENVIRONMENTAL
Operating Temperature (Tc) 0°C to 70°C
Storage Temperature -40°C to 85°C
Shock Resistance 14.7 km/s2 {1500 G} (0.5 ms)
Vibration 196 m/s2 {20 Grms} (Peak, 10 to 2,000 Hz)
Certifications CE, BSMI, RCM, KCM, UL
RELIABILITY / SECURITY
MTTF 1.5 Mhours
Product Health Monitoring Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) Support
COMPATIBILITY
Serial ATA (SATA) ATA/ATAPI Command Set-2 (ACS-2) and Serial ATA revision 3.1 interface specifications supported
Operating System10 Windows® 10 x64, Windows® 8.1 x64, Windows® 7 x64
Linux® Fedora x64 22, 23; Mint x64 17, 17.1, 17.2, 17.3; Ubuntu Server 16.04 LTS;
Mac® OS X® 10.9, 10.10, 10.11.4
Connector Type Standard SATA Power Connector
Targeted Applications Client desktops and laptops
ADDITIONAL
Performance Optimization TRIM
Service & Support 5-Year Advanced Warranty Program11, Toll-free and onlineTech Support
Software SSD management software: SSD Utility and Command Line Online Update Tool (CLOUT)
Cloning software: Acronis® True Image™ 2016 with Windows® 10 support

Shipping

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The box is really flashy and which highlights the Toshiba name. We can see the SATA 6Gbit/s label on the side and the back showcases the best highlights like MLC NAND.

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The accessories include:

  • OCZ VX500
  • Warranty Documentation

Design

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The barefoot controller OCZ used is ancient news, the VX500 abandons Indilinx and Barefoot3 but instead uses a modern refresh of a Toshiba controller. The TC358790 controller has already been used in several Toshiba products, including the Toshiba Q series of SSDs. The VX500 was designed for “mainstream desktops and notebooks, the Toshiba OCZ VX500 SATA SSDs provide a faster, more responsive computing, gaming, and application experience compared to traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). Prioritizing storage endurance, the Toshiba MLC NAND flash-based VX500 series is suitable for users with write-intensive PC environments seeking well-balanced speed and features that will take system performance to the next level.”

Features of the VX500:

  • Sequential Read/Write: Up to 550/515 MB/s
  • Random Read/Write (4KiB): Up to 92,000/65,000 IOPS
  • Endurance: Up to 592 TB TBW (Total Bytes Written)
  • Capacities: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1024GB
  • 5-Year Advanced Warranty Program3
  • Includes Acronis® True Image™ cloning software

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The exciting part of the VX 500 is the use of the MLC ( Multi Level Cell) NAND which is a better than the TLC SSDs in the market. MLC NAND is capable of storing more than a single bit of information, You can read more about it here.  SSDs consist of SLC, MLC, and TLC. SLC is considered the best due to the state of being in a single cell on or off. This reduces the possibility of errors and has the longest life span. If you’re interested more on the different types check this out. TLC is (Tripple Level Cell) and does triple the amount of bits. This is where SSDs became more affordable because TLC offers more storage for less but has a much higher error rate and last a lot less read/write cycles. This is more ideal for consumers and not industrial.

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The housing of the SSD is not flashy by any means, but I enjoy the industrial look. of the aluminum housing. I also thought it was equally nice to have screws on the case for taking apart the SSD. I have seen this trend of the clamshell cases and it makes it difficult to take apart the SSD.

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Taking apart the SSD we see the VX500 utilizes 8 NAND chips for the 512GB. The 1TB model utilizes 8 NAND chips, but the 256GB model only utilizes four. The 256Gb and 512GB are DRAM-less and rely on the controllers on-die SRAM for caching. The 1TB model does utilize 256GB of Micron LPDDR3 DRAM. The controller used here is Toshibas TC358790. This does not offer encryption or QSCB error  correction like in the PRO series.

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I do believe that the advertised speeds of 550 MB/s read and 515MB/s write should prove to make the VX500 an excellent choice for gamers and enthusiasts. The VX500 also has a low power state resulting in better power consumption making it really efficient and reliable.

The VX500 is bundled with free data migration software making it a better value over its competitors. Acronis True Image 2016 allows for hard drive cloning, easy file transfers, backup up of your data from your old hard drive or SSD.

Testing

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Testing can differ slightly from system to system. I am going to test the VX500 using ATTO Disk Benchmark , and the AS SSD benchmark. I will also check out the OCZ software and run the included benchmark as well. I will be testing this SSD drive vs the Toshiba RD400 NVMe drive, and the PNY XLR8 equivalent.  By doing this, we can see any difference by controller choices, or by driver level variances.The NVMe drive is definitely going to be much faster due to bypassing the SATA bus, but you will at least see what real world differences NVMe shows over SATA. The PNY drive uses another controller; The Phison PS3110-S10-X. We can see if any advantages occur between the different controllers of choice.

My test bench is as follows:

  • ViewSonic XG2703-GS Monitor
  • Motherboard- EVGA Z170 Classified K
  • CPU: Intel Core I7 6700K
  • Network Card- Netgear AC 1200 USB
  • Cooler- Enermax Liqmax II 240
  • Memory- Anarchy X 16GB DDR4 2800MHz
  • Video Card: Nvidia GTX 1060
  • Storage- PNY CS2210 480GB (Boot) / Toshiba VX500 512GB (Boot) / Seagate 3TB/ Zotac Sonix 480GB (Not used for tests) / Toshiba RD400
  • Power Supply- Corsair RM650X / Sleeved CableMod red/black cables
  • OS: Windows 10 x64 Pro
  • Headphones- Creative H7

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I did decide to do Windows boot testing as an OS drive. Surprisingly the VX500 booted a bit faster than the Phison controller did on the PNY drive. Seems like they would have similar performance but the VX500 came ahead. It’s not a huge difference between 37 seconds and 28 seconds, but it is a difference! I tested from a cold state to fully powered on and in Windows with everything loaded. The RD400 NVMe drive was not tested because that requires more tricks involved since it uses an HHHL PCIe card.

ocz-main  tuner

The OCZ SSD utility is critical for monitoring your drives health. The utility offers all the data you need for testing, monitoring, and updating your drive. The tuner allows you to choose built in profiles for achieving your desired use of the SSD.

Built-in profiles:

  • Reliability
  • Performance
  • Capacity
  • Default
  • Custom

These profiles can enable or disable certain features like SuperFetch, Search Indexing, Boot Graphics, and the hibernation system file. They add an easy layer of optimization that get automatically configured for you. Yo can easily revert back to default if something doesn’t work as planned. The items that get disabled like Search Indexing can lead to performance issues or too many reads/writes to your SSD, which can reduce its lifespan. Some of these options are best used for Windows 7 and may be unchangeable on Windows 8 and above. I’m using Windows 10 and I just leave the profile to default for best performance. The Tuner section also has the OCZ benchmark utility built into this section for testing the SSD speeds.

over

Over-Provisioning is also built into the tuner section.Over-Provisioning is important for performance and health of your drive. This is a 512GB sized drive so be careful on the percentage you use for Over Provisioning as it adds up quicker than on a smaller drive.

maint  help

The maintenance section allows you to update your drive’s firmware, use the built-in tools like secure erase, set up alerts, and create a bootable SSD utility for performing maintenance on your drive. The settings section allows you to configure your settings for the OCZ utility and the help section allows you to contact OCZ and save your drives host report.

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We can obviously see the RD400 is faster because its NVMe, but it should show you how much gains you can get over a traditional SATA SSD. The VX500 does beat out the PNY drive here with the OCZ software by a little bit, but we will see if any other tests show something different.

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The AS SSD benchmark had some very strange results compared to the OCZ benchmark. The OCZ software has a better score for the read/write benchmark . Here the AS SSD score was better for the PNY drive, and of course, the RD400 is where it should be for NVMe performance. I did notice that for this test suit the drive struggles on the 4k read section, but everything else seemed okay. This is what contributed to the lower score for AS SSD. The 4k testing for the OCZ software turned out just fine.

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Surprisingly ATTO shows a different story than AS SSD. The drive’s performance numbers are about the same. The PNY has a slightly larger read, but the VX500 has a slightly larger write. There are minimal tradeoffs here.  Both drives are within spec of each other.  I threw in a tradition spinning disk HDD to show the performance differences from a standard hard drive compared to an SSD.

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I wanted to test loading times for games, and also test the AS SSD copy benchmark for a performance overview of theVX500. The Game load times alone are a dramatic difference.

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I loaded DOOM onto the VX500 and the loading times were cut in half compared to a standard hard drive. It only took about 30 seconds to load DOOM compared to 54 seconds on a platter hard drive.

Conclusion

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The VX500 does offer excellent performance for and MLC SSD. There were some problems with the AS SSD tests for random 4k reads, but other tests didn’t reflect this. The drive performance as expected, and would be a worth upgrade over any traditional hard drive. The interesting thing is the cost of NVMe, and if prices will become competitive like Intel’s new 600p series.

The OCZ SSD toolbox is excellent software for monitoring your drives health and performance, with the included Acronis 2016 True Image software this makes the VX500 an excellent value.  I do recommend this drive for anyone looking for a drive that performs well and has technologies that add to the lifespan of the drive. The Toshiba MLC NAND included will add a lot of value to someone who is looking for a drive that can handle multiple writes. You can buy the VX500 right now from NewEgg for $195.00.

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OCZ VX500 Review

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