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OCZ Trion 150 480GB & 960GB SATA SSD Review

AkG

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Oct 24, 2007
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5,274
When OCZ’s Trion 100 was released last July it proved to be a pretty impressive value-forward SSD series. It also happened to be a rather big deal for OCZ and end users since it combined very good performance with an affordable price, features which were backstopped by some key Toshiba technology. As we stated at that time the OCZ Trion 100 was primarily targeted at users who were migrating from HDD territory and wanted higher levels of performance without sacrificing too much capacity.

Was that original Trion 100 perfect? Not quite since a good amount of expectation management was required to understand that it wasn’t going to be a chart-topper. It wasn’t meant to be one anyways. However, we still found performance fell by the wayside in some key metrics.


Fast forward to February 2106 and both Toshiba and OCZ are proving that the do indeed listen to feedback. To that end, they have reworked and revamped the Trion series so that it delivers better throughput. Hence the Trion 150 has been born. It is actually advertised to be ‘up to’ 50% faster than its predecessor and it is priced lower.

Looking at the chart above, we can see that on the surface of things not much has actually changed since the Trion 150 seems like a direct clone of its predecessor. Everything from IOPS performance to NAND endurance is identical and yet still very much in-line with its competitors. Supposedly, there has been a lot of optimizations going on behind the scenes with the NAND itself as well as the way OCZ’s controller handles that NAND which has directly affected sustained performance.


There’s a good reason for OCZ’s approach here. Despite being launched less than nine months ago, the original Trion has been showing its age. While still competitive, there are SSDs like Crucial’s BX200 and PNY’s newly minted CS1311 which are arguably more appealing in a number of respects. Many have been lamenting the fact that the high-end SSD market has stagnated as companies pause to take a breath before fully diving into next generation storage interfaces like U.2, NVMe and M.2. Meanwhile, the mainstream and entry level markets have been firing on all cylinders and if OCZ hadn’t refreshed the Trion, they ran the very real risk of being left behind.


With an asking price of $50 for the 120GB to a mere $270 for the largest 960GB version, the new Trion 150 is tailor made for budget minded buyers. In order to achieve such a low price of entrance, OCZ and Toshiba have not thrown the baby out with the bath water. Instead they have taken the self-same controller that powered the Trion 100 and paired it with the latest 15nm Toshiba Toggle Mode TLC NAND rather than the toggle mode A19 modules which graced its predecessor.


Further backstopping this NAND and controller combination is firmware that promises to be razor sharp, and much, much more refined than what is found on the Trion 100 series. Specifically, OCZ has introduced a new algorithm to their SLC caching technology which detects when the controller senses when a write request will exceed the SLC cache. It will then circumvent the SLC cache portion and implement ‘old fashioned’ direct-to-NAND cell writes. This may sound like a step backwards, but as we saw with the Trion 100, once the SLC cache is exhausted the drive would go into emergency write mode to flush this buffer before continuing to accept write requests. This caused a very noticeable – and consistent- drop in performance that put the Trion 100 at a distinct disadvantage versus the competition.

While the Trion 150’s method of temporarily ignoring the SLC cache is not without its downsides – namely increased wear and tear on the NAND – it should allow this model to be much more stable in its performance. This last piece of the puzzle is easily the most crucial as when dealing with TLC’s (and value orientated drives in specific) generalized long term performance. This is key to creating a drive that can take on Micron and other NAND manufactures and beat them at their own game.


As you can see the exterior of the OCZ Trion 150 looks basically the same as its predecessor and it is only by paying close attention to the label on the drives that a consumer will be able to tell the various capacities – or even models – apart from one another. Both use an all-metal chassis (a rarity at this price point) that looks great, both make use of the more compact 7mm Z-height form factor instead of the older 9.5mm version, and both capacities also come with a 2.5mm height adapter.

Even on just a cursory glance we can see that internally the Trion 150 does not follow in the Trion 100’s footsteps. Instead of the Trion 100’s half-length PCB that could only accommodate four NAND ICs, the Trion 150 makes use of a full length PCB that can accommodate sixteen. This is actually important as the individual NAND ICs are not stacked as densely as before and thus there is more surface area for heat dissipation. Equally important is the controller itself now has a heatpad to help keep it from overheating. From experience, the last generation could get extremely hot during extended testing; so these improvements should help in the durability department.


Interestingly enough, OCZ have not increased the RAM cache buffer for the Trion 150 series. Instead, just like the Trion 100 before it, the 480GB capacity version has a moderately large NANYA branded DDR3 256MB RAM IC while 960GB capacity version doubles this to 512MB via two of those modules with the second being located on the PCB’s backside.


Sadly, also like the Trion 100, the Trion 150 is missing one critical feature: enough on-board capacitors for true hardware-based data protection when there is a power failure. Instead it once again relies upon OCZ’s mainly firmware based Power Failure Management Plus (PFM+). On the positive side PFM+ does provide a level of security against power failure-based data loss that is rare in this corner of the marketplace. However it is what will once again keep the Trion 150 from competing against the MX200’s of mainstream marketplace.

All in all this OCZ’s new Trion 150 looks like a pretty significant improvement upon its predecessor. This is something which was needed if OCZ stood a chance of staying relevant in the quickly evolving entry-level SSD marketplace. The questions remains though: will these changes make enough of a difference to keep the Trion series ahead of the competition.
 
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AkG

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Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
Test System & Testing Methodology

Testing Methodology


Testing a drive is not as simple as putting together a bunch of files, dragging them onto folder on the drive in Windows and using a stopwatch to time how long the transfer takes. Rather, there are factors such as read / write speed and data burst speed to take into account. There is also the SATA controller on your motherboard and how well it works with SSDs & HDDs to think about as well. For best results you really need a dedicated hardware RAID controller w/ dedicated RAM for drives to shine. Unfortunately, most people do not have the time, inclination or monetary funds to do this. For this reason our test-bed will be a more standard motherboard with no mods or high end gear added to it. This is to help replicate what you the end user’s experience will be like.

Even when the hardware issues are taken care of the software itself will have a negative or positive impact on the results. As with the hardware end of things, to obtain the absolute best results you do need to tweak your OS setup; however, just like with the hardware solution most people are not going to do this. For this reason our standard OS setup is used. However, except for the Windows 7 load test times we have done our best to eliminate this issue by having the drive tested as a secondary drive. With the main drive being an Intel DC S3700 800GB Solid State Drive.

For synthetic tests we used a combination of the ATTO Disk Benchmark, HDTach, HD Tune, Crystal Disk Benchmark, IOMeter, AS-SSD, Anvil Storage Utilities and PCMark 7.

For real world benchmarks we timed how long a single 10GB rar file took to copy to and then from the devices. We also used 10gb of small files (from 100kb to 200MB) with a total 12,000 files in 400 subfolders.

For all testing a Asus Sabretooth TUF X99 LGA 2011-v3 motherboard was used, running Windows 7 64bit Ultimate edition. All drives were tested using either AHCI mode using Intel RST 10 drivers, or NVMHCI using Intel NVMe drivers.

All tests were run 4 times and average results are represented.

In between each test suite runs (with the exception being IOMeter which was done after every run) the drives are cleaned with either HDDerase, SaniErase or a manufactures 'Toolbox' and then quick formatted to make sure that they were in optimum condition for the next test suite.

Processor: Core i7 5930K
Motherboard: Asus Sabretooth TUF X99
Memory: 32GB Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780
Hard Drive: Intel DC S3700 800GB, Intel P3700 800GB
Power Supply: XFX 850

SSD FIRMWARE (unless otherwise noted):

OCZ Vertex 2 100GB: 1.33
Vertex 460 240GB: 1.0
Intel 7230 240GB: L2010400
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB:DXM06B0Q
Plextor M6e 256GB: 1.03
AMD R7 240GB: 1.0
Crucial MX200: MU01
G.Skill Phoenix 480GB: 2.71
Intel 750: 8EV10135
Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB: 0C34L5TA
Kingston HyperX Savage 240GB: SAFM00.r
OCZ Trion 100 480GB & 960GB: SAFM11.1
AData XPG SX930 240GB : 5.9E
AData SP550 240GB: O0730A
PNY CS2211: CS221016
PNY CS1311: CS131122
OCZ Trion 150 480GB & 960GB: SAFZ12.2

Toshiba TC58 controller:
OCZ Trion 100 480GB & 960GB - Custom firmware w/ 19nm Toggle Mode TLC NAND
OCZ Trion 150 480GB & 960GB - Custom firmware w/ 15nm Toggle Mode TLC NAND

Samsung MDX controller:
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB- Custom firmware w/ 21nm Toggle Mode NAND

SandForce SF1200 controller:
OCZ Vertex 2 - ONFi 2 NAND

SandForce SF2281 controller:
G.Skill Phoenix 480GB - Custom firmware w/ 128Gbit ONFi 3 NAND

Marvell 9183 controller:
Plextor M6e 256GB- Custom firmware w/ 21nm Toggle Mode NAND

Marvell 9189 controller:
Crucial MX200 - Custom firmware w/ 128Gbit ONFi 3 NAND

Marvell 9293 controller:
Kingston HyperX Predator - Custom firmware w/ 19nm Toggle Mode NAND

Barefoot 3 controller:
AMD R7 (M00) - 19nm Toggle Mode NAND w/ custom firmware
OCZ Arc 100 (M10) - 19nm Toggle Mode NAND

Intel X25 G3 controller:
Intel 730 - Custom firmware w/ ONFi 2 NAND

Intel NVMe G1 Controller:
Intel 750 - Customer firmware w/ MLC 20nm NAND

Phison PS3110 Controller:
Kingston HyperX Savage 240GB - 19nm Toggle Mode NAND
PNY CS2211: 15nm Toggle Mode NAND
PNY CS1311: 19nm TLC NAND

JMicron JMF670H Controller:
AData XPG SX930 240GB - ONFi 3 NAND

SMI SM2256 Controller:
AData SP550 240GB - TLC NAND

Special Thanks to Crucial for providing the memory for this testbed.
 
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AkG

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Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
Read Bandwidth / Write Performance

Read Bandwidth


<i>For this benchmark, HDTach was used. It shows the potential read speed which you are likely to experience with these hard drives. The long test was run to give a slightly more accurate picture. We don’t put much stock in Burst speed readings and thus we no longer included it. The most important number is the Average Speed number. This number will tell you what to expect from a given drive in normal, day to day operations. The higher the average the faster your entire system will seem.</i>
<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/read.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Write Performance


<i>For this benchmark HD Tune Pro was used. To run the write benchmark on a drive, you must first remove all partitions from that drive and then and only then will it allow you to run this test. Unlike some other benchmarking utilities the HD Tune Pro writes across the full area of the drive, thus it easily shows any weakness a drive may have.</i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/write.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

While it is obvious that the new Trion 150 is indeed faster than the original 100 series, what is not so obvious is how much more consistent its performance really is. This is especially true of its sequential write abilities. While yes there are indeed two performance levels the difference is not as massive as it was with the Trion 100.

Basically what it appears to be happening is that the Trion 150 does indeed start out writing to the SLC cache buffer, but once that buffer is filled instead of instantly moving the data over to the TLC NAND and causing a veritable traffic jam, the Toshiba controller simply leaves the data in the buffer temporarily, continues on with the existing write IO request and writes directly the TLC NAND. Then once the write request is fulfilled the controller goes back and empties its SLC ‘cache’ to the TLC NAND.

This certainly does increase performance, but only time will tell on how much lifespan it eats up in the process. After all TLC NAND is only rated for a bout 10K write/erase (‘p/e’) cycles. In order to boost performance OCZ has decided to decrease the already short NAND’s lifespan. For most consumers the TLC NAND p/e 10K limit will never be reached while the drive is in warranty, but that is cold comfort indeed four or five years down the road when the drive may run out of write cycles.
 
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AkG

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Messages
5,274
ATTO Disk Benchmark

ATTO Disk Benchmark


<i>The ATTO disk benchmark tests the drives read and write speeds using gradually larger size files. For these tests, the ATTO program was set to run from its smallest to largest value (.5KB to 8192KB) and the total length was set to 256MB. The test program then spits out an extrapolated performance figure in megabytes per second. </i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/atto_r.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/atto_w.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Again the Trion 150’s new firmware does pay dividends and there is nothing wrong with these performance curves. They are actually quite impressive.
 
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AkG

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5,274
Crystal DiskMark / PCMark 7

Crystal DiskMark


<i>Crystal DiskMark is designed to quickly test the performance of your drives. Currently, the program allows to measure sequential and random read/write speeds; and allows you to set the number of tests iterations to run. We left the number of tests at 5 and size at 100MB. </i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/cdm_r.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/cdm_w.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

PCMark 7


<i>While there are numerous suites of tests that make up PCMark 7, only one is pertinent: the HDD Suite. The HDD Suite consists of numerous tests that try and replicate real world drive usage. Everything from how long a simulated virus scan takes to complete, to MS Vista start up time to game load time is tested in these core tests; however, we do not consider this anything other than just another suite of synthetic tests. For this reason, while each test is scored individually we have opted to include only the overall score.</i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/pcm.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Overall this new series is more in line with a <i>refresh</i> rather than anything else but that was expected. By that same token these refinements do make a difference and the Trion 150 is faster than the Trion 100 it replaces.
 
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AkG

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Messages
5,274
AS-SSD / Anvil Storage Utilities Pro

AS-SSD


<i>AS-SSD is designed to quickly test the performance of your drives. Currently, the program allows to measure sequential and small 4K read/write speeds as well as 4K file speed at a queue depth of 6. While its primary goal is to accurately test Solid State Drives, it does equally well on all storage mediums it just takes longer to run each test as each test reads or writes 1GB of data.</i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/asd_r.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/asd_w.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Anvil Storage Utilities Pro


<i>Much like AS-SSD, Anvil Pro was created to quickly and easily – yet accurately – test your drives. While it is still in the Beta stages it is a versatile and powerful little program. Currently it can test numerous read / write scenarios but two in particular stand out for us: 4K queue depth of 4 and 4K queue depth of 16. A queue depth of four along with 4K sectors can be equated to what most users will experience in an OS scenario while 16 depth will be encountered only by power users and the like. We have also included the 4k queue depth 1 results to help put these two other numbers in their proper perspective. All settings were left in their default states and the test size was set to 1GB.</i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/anvil_r.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/anvil_w.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

There are indeed performance improvements here but the differences are nowhere near the 50% that OCZ promises. At least not in this test.
 
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AkG

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Messages
5,274
IOMeter

IOMETER


<i>IOMeter is heavily weighted towards the server end of things, and since we here at HWC are more End User centric we will be setting and judging the results of IOMeter a little bit differently than most. To test each drive we ran 5 test runs per HDD (1,4,16,64,128 queue depth) each test having 8 parts, each part lasting 10 min w/ an additional 20 second ramp up. The 8 subparts were set to run 100% random, 80% read 20% write; testing 512b, 1k, 2k,4k,8k,16k,32k,64k size chunks of data. When each test is finished IOMeter spits out a report, in that reports each of the 8 subtests are given a score in I/Os per second. We then take these 8 numbers add them together and divide by 8. This gives us an average score for that particular queue depth that is heavily weighted for single user environments.</i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/iom.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

As you can see both the 480GB and 960GB capacity version do post improved IOMeter numbers than their predecessors.
 
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AkG

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Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
Windows 8.1 / Adobe CS5 Load Time

Windows 8.1 Start Up with Boot Time A/V Scan Performance


<i>When it comes to hard drive performance there is one area that even the most oblivious user notices: how long it takes to load the Operating System. We have chosen Windows 8.1 64bit Pro as our Operating System with all 'fast boot' options disabled in the BIOS. In previous load time tests we would use the Anti-Virus splash screen as our finish line; this however is no longer the case. We have not only added in a secondary Anti-Virus to load on startup, but also an anti-malware program. We have set Super Anti-Spyware to initiate a quick scan on Windows start-up and the completion of the quick scan will be our new finish line. </i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/boot.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>


Adobe CS5 Load Time


<i>Photoshop is a notoriously slow loading program under the best of circumstances, and while the latest version is actually pretty decent, when you add in a bunch of extra brushes and the such you get a really great torture test which can bring even the best of the best to their knees. Let’s see how our review unit fared in the newly updated Adobe crucible! </i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/adobe.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

On the one hand this new series is indeed faster than the Trion 100 it replaces, but we have yet to see much of the promised fifty percent improvement. It certainly isn't evident here.
 
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AkG

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Firefox Performance / Real World Data Transfers

Firefox Portable Offline Performance


<i>Firefox is notorious for being slow on loading tabs in offline mode once the number of pages to be opened grows larger than a dozen or so. We can think of fewer worse case scenarios than having 100 tabs set to reload in offline mode upon Firefox startup, but this is exactly what we have done here.

By having 100 pages open in Firefox portable, setting Firefox to reload the last session upon next session start and then setting it to offline mode, we are able to easily recreate a worst case scenario. Since we are using Firefox portable all files are easily positioned in one location, making it simple to repeat the test as necessary. In order to ensure repetition, before touching the Firefox portable files, we have backed them up into a .rar file and only extracted a copy of it to the test device.</i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/ff.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>


Real World Data Transfers


<i>No matter how good a synthetic benchmark like IOMeter or PCMark is, it cannot really tell you how your hard drive will perform in “real world” situations. All of us here at Hardware Canucks strive to give you the best, most complete picture of a review item’s true capabilities and to this end we will be running timed data transfers to give you a general idea of how its performance relates to real life use. To help replicate worse case scenarios we will transfer a 10.00GB contiguous file and a folder containing 400 subfolders with a total 12,000 files varying in length from 200mb to 100kb (10.00 GB total).

Testing will include transfer to and transferring from the devices, using MS RichCopy and logging the performance of the drive. Here is what we found. </i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/copy_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/copy_lg.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Once again the Trion 159 drives do perform better than the Trion 100 which allows them to compete against newer controller based models.
 
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AkG

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Partial and Full Drive Performance

Partial and Full Drive Performance


<i>While it is important to know how a drive will perform under optimal conditions, more realistic scenarios are just as important. Knowing if a solid state drive will behave differently when partially or even nearly full than when it is empty is very important information to know. To quickly and accurately show this crucial information we have first filled the drive to 50% capacity and re-tested using both synthetic and real world tests. After the completion of this we then re-test at 75% and 90% of full capacity. </i>

Synthetic Test Results

<i>For our synthetic testing we have opted for our standard PCMark 7 test.</i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/data_pcm.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Real World Results

<i>For a real world application we have opted for a modified version of our standard Windows 7 Start Up test. Unlike our standard Windows 7 image this image is based on a working system that has been upgraded numerous times of the past few years and represents an even more realistic real world test.</i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Storage/Trion_150/data_boot.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

By removing the SLC cache buffer issue from the equation OCZ were able to boost the overall performance of this drive to much more acceptable levels. This is certainly igood news as the Trion 100 was rather weak in these tests.
 
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