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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
Conclusion

Conclusion


When we first reviewed OCZ’s Trion series, the conclusion boiled down to one salient fact: while potential buyers will drool over halo products, most will end up buying an SSD which satisfies their needs without breaking the bank. The original Trion 100 accomplished just that by offering a great blend of price, performance and NAND longevity. Since then, the entry level SSD market has become increasingly cluttered with alternatives; so much so that the Trion 100 was pushed into also-ran status by an influx of competing products. With the Trion 150 OCZ has attempted to leapfrog that competition by replicating previous successes and improving in areas their previous iteration fell short. For the most part those key points have been met but that doesn’t necessarily make this SSD series a perfect fit for everyone.

Arguably the most important aspect of this new series is not the new 15nm TLC NAND but rather its firmware. The Trion 150 may make use of the same controller as the Trion 100, but its software has been <i>highly</i> modified. OCZ has removed one of the largest negatives of the Trion 100: the small SLC cache buffer size. While we are not entirely enamored by the potential downsides to this, the fact remains that the Trion 150 acts like a completely different drive. Users will no longer have to worry about performance suddenly grinding to hard drive levels as this new model’s firmware can <i>almost</i> seamlessly switch between SLC cache writing and direct to TLC NAND cell writing. The end result of this witchcraft is a much more stable and consistent performer.

That potential downside we mentioned does lie within the hypothetical realm but it should nonetheless be discussed. Toshiba was able to fix their TCXX controller’s shortfalls by temporarily disabling the SLC cache. TLC NAND is rather fragile and by removing the protective abilities that the SLC buffer offers OCZ have increased performance but they may have also decreased longevity. Thankfully, there aren’t many typical home use scenarios where SLC cache overruns will occur so this will likely become a non-issue but it could still be a concern for situations where continual and long term read / write operations are necessary.

Outside of these factors the Trion 150 in both 480GB and 960GB forms is an extremely competent budget focused SSD. In our tests it rarely –if ever- approached OCZ’s claimed 50% performance increase versus the Trion 100 but its gains closed the gap with newer alternatives. Both models also showed that performance could be effectively retained even as the SSDs filled up to their maximum capacities.

One of the main problems right now is market saturation and the Trion 150 suffers because of it. There is an almost shocking number of SSDs converging around OCZ’s stated prices for the 480GB and 960GB models, many of which offer similar performance metrics, warranties and on-paper longevity. While OCZ certainly has a leg up on second tier manufacturers with their excellent customer support, many of their direct competitors have upped their games in this category as well.

If you take the Trion 150 at face value it is a great step forward for OCZ’s entry level SSD series, one which will allow them claw back some market share in a key volume-focused segment. While it may not bring anything particularly new to the table, the Trion 150 will ultimately help drive down the cost of entry for buyers who are looking to move away from traditional spindle-based storage.
 
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