OCZ TL100 Review

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The SSD marketplace offers a wide variety of products in various budget ranges. OCZ has created a product called the TL series that won’t necessarily win any awards for speed or capacity but rather win over the budget oriented crowd. This is a key to winning over competitors in this entry level area with the high demand for SSDs for all various levels of consumers.

With the launch of 3d NAND, this has promised a massive price drop in the SSD market. The previous generation of TLC planar NAND has evolved the SSD market dramatically since then. Since Toshibas OCZ products have not adopted 3d NAND yet this actually creates a good opportunity for them to improve in other areas of their SSD products.

Today I will be looking at their value oriented SSD the TL100 series which is an important product for its low cost in this SSD mass market. Will the Tl100 prove to stand out due to price? We shall see if OCZ has the price to performance ratio required for customers to make the jump to an SSD.

OCZ SSD Definitions

  • Definition of capacity: Toshiba defines a megabyte (MB) as 1,000,000 bytes, a gigabyte (GB) as 1,000,000,000 bytes and a terabyte (TB) as 1,000,000,000,000 bytes.  A computer operating system, however, reports storage capacity using powers of 2 for the definition of 1GB = 230 = 1,073,741,824 bytes and therefore shows less storage capacity.  Available storage capacity (including examples of various media files) will vary based on file size, formatting, settings, software and operating system, such as Microsoft Operating System and/or pre-installed software applications, or media content.  Actual formatted capacity may vary.
  • A kibibyte (KiB) means 210, or 1,024 bytes, a mebibyte (MiB) means 220, or 1,048,576 bytes, and a gibibyte (GiB) means 230, or 1,073,741,824 bytes.
  • IOPS: Input Output Per Second (or the number of I/O operations per second)
  • MTTF (Mean Time to Failure) is not a guarantee or estimate of product life; it is a statistical value related to mean failure rates for a large number of products which may not accurately reflect actual operation. Actual operating life of the product may be different from the MTTF.
  • Read and write speed may vary depending on the host device, read and write conditions, and file size.
  • Subject to Change: While Toshiba has made every effort at the time of publication to ensure the accuracy of the information provided herein, product specifications, configurations, prices, system/component/options availability are all subject to change without notice.
  • Product image may represent design model.

The specifications are as follows:

Performance

120GB- Sequential Read Speed Up to 550 MB/s / Sequential Write Speed Up to 530 MB/s / Random Read (4 KiB, QD32) Up to 85,000 IOPS / Random Write (4 KiB, QD32) Up to 80,000 IOPS

240GB- Sequential Read Speed Up to 550 MB/s / Sequential Write Speed Up to 530 MB/s / Random Read (4 KiB, QD32) Up to 85,000 IOPS / Random Write (4 KiB, QD32) Up to 80,000 IOPS

Endurance

120GB- TBW (Total Bytes Written) 30 TB / Daily Usage Guidelines 27 GB/day

240GB- TBW (Total Bytes Written) 60 TB / Daily Usage Guidelines 54 GB/day

Physical

  • Capacities- 120GB, 240GB
  • NAND Flash Memory Type- TLC
  • Interface- Serial ATA (SATA) 6 Gbit/s
  • Form Factor- 2.5-inch, 7 mm height
  • Dimensions- 100 mm x 69.85 mm x 7.00 mm
  • Drive Weight- 120GB, 37.5 g (typ.) 240GB: 37.5 g (typ.)

Enviornmental

  • 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, RoHS + RoHS2

Shipping

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The box is very colorful and flashy and highlights the OCZ division well. For a budget, the product is packaged well.

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The accessories include:

  • OCZ TL100 240 GB SSD
  • Warranty documentation

Design

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Both the TL series models come with the same hassle free 3-year warranty. Since the TL series is TLC NAND based durability is always a concern. The TL drives use TLC NAND but use SLC caching as a write buffer wich offers better drive life. Even the most basic user will have a drive that lasts longer than the warranty period when used daily.

Features of the TL100:

Instant performance upgrade – “It’s time to leave your hard disk drive behind and enhance your computing experience once and for all. Toshiba OCZ TL100 SSDs provide an immediate and noticeable increase in system speed and responsiveness.”

Affordability- “Offering an easy and affordable way for value-oriented users to boost storage performance, Toshiba OCZ TL100 SSDs enable increased home/office productivity over traditional hard disk drives.”

Mobility- “Compared to hard disk drives, Toshiba OCZ TL100 SSDs also offer improved durability and power consumption, which can translate into longer battery life to keep you up and running longer.”

Quality- “Value” doesn’t have to mean you need to sacrifice quality. With Toshiba expertise built into each TL100 drive, you can expect quality hardware, firmware, and a 3-year Advanced Warranty Program1 you can trust.”

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Externally no one would guess this is a budget product with the included aluminum 7.5chassissis. The only typical exclusion was a 2.5 mm bracket adapter to save on costs. These were typically included in the TR/VT lines of products.
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Opening up the drive shows something interesting. I was only sent the 240GB model but from research, the PCB looks differently on the 120GB model than it does on the 240GB model. My 240 GB model uses three 15nm TLC NAND ICs and the Toshiba controller TC58NC1010. This also is lacking an external ram buffer and lacks onboard capacitors wich can help with data loss.
Missing these features isn’t critical especially if you own an external power source for battery backup. The lack of a dram buffer may prove to be troublesome in later tests but the TL100 has enough internal memory to supply moderate usage across the SSD,
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At 550MB/s read and 530 MB/s write this drive should prove to be an excellent choice for gamers and budget machines. This is an excellent upgrade and will prove to show in real world results. Another important aspect of this drive is the use of a Toshiba controller inside. This should provide excellent performance for the price. To keep costs down I didn’t see any included software like Acronis which comes with other higher end drives in the OCZ family.

Testing

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Testing can differ slightly from system to system. I am going to test the TL100 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, PNY XLR8 equivalent, and VX 500. 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- Toshiba OCZ TL 100 240 GB (Boot) / PNY CS2210 480GB (Test) / Toshiba VX500 512GB (Test) / 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 TL100 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 32 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 is not surprising here with the fastest boot time. Remember NVMe is not limited by the SATA bus and uses PCIe bandwidth.

main-ocz  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 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. Unfortunately, the TL100 doesn’t support the tuner section like the VX500 and RD400 does. The Tuner section allows you to use built-in profiles for automatic settings for performance or power saving features.

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Over-Provisioning is also built into the tuner section.Over-Provisioning is important for performance and health of your drive. This is a 240GB sized drive so be careful on the percentage you use for Over Provisioning as it adds up quickly. This is also the section where you can run the built-in benchmark utility.

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. The TL100 surprisingly holds up against these more expensive drives even though the numbers are lower in writes and random seeks. SLC caching helps keep the reads high and even above the VX500 at times.

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The AS SSD benchmarks are interesting, to say the least. The AS SSD benchmark had some very strange results compared to the OCZ benchmark. The TL 100 actually out beat the VX 500 and I believe it’s due to the SLC caching. 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 VX500 has a slightly larger read, but the TL100 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 theTL100. The Game load times alone are a dramatic difference.

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I loaded Titanfall 2 onto the TL100 and the loading times were cut in half compared to a standard hard drive. It only took about 35 seconds to load DOOM compared to 64 seconds on a platter hard drive.

Conclusion

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The TL100 does offer excellent performance for an entry level SSD. There were some problems with the AS SSD tests for random 4k reads, but other tests didn’t reflect this. The drive performed as expected, and would be a worthy 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 and with the OCZ software is an excellent value.  I do recommend this drive for anyone looking for a drive that performs well and wants technologies that add to the lifespan of the drive. The most compelling feature of this drive is the price! You can buy the TL100 240 GB version right now from Amazon for $72.00. (Toshiba OCZ TL100 Series 2.5″ SATA III 240GB SSD (TL100-25SAT3-240G)

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OCZ TL100 Review

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