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OCZ has put out some great SSD drives over the years. From high-end enthusiast drives in the Vertex and Vector lines to the smoking fast PCIe based Revo drives (and let me tell you, we are looking forward to the PCIe based NVME drives too!). OCZ also has their ‘bang for the buck’ line in the Agility and new ARC series. Now they have an even more price oriented line in the Trion 100 series. The Trion line of drives are a more ‘read performance oriented’ series versus write performance when compared to the ARC and other OCZ high-end enthusiast SSDs. SSD drives like this are good for a slew of things, but storage and gaming come to mind first as that’s a high read environment with minimal writes. OCZ – A Toshiba group company, sent us the 480 GB Trion 100 to take out for a test drive, and we did just that. Take a look below and check out some of its features, and how it performed in our testing.
Specifications and Features
Below is a list of specifications and features on the OCZ Trion 100 drive we have in hand. As mentioned above, and you see below, we were sent the 480 GB version. This happens to be one of the faster Trion 100 versions as speeds tends to go up with higher capacities, with the 960 GB version being at the top of the heap. The 480 GB drive gives you a performance rating of 550 MB/s sequential reads and 530 MB/s writes at 90K and 54K IOPS respectively. The write IOPS are lower than we are used to seeing on modern SSDs, but again this is a read oriented drive in the first place. The 960 GB has the same throughput, but higher write IOPS at 64K. The 240 GB and 120 GB are 550 MB/s read, 520 MB/s write, 90K/43K IOPS and 550 MB/s read, 450 MB/s write, 79K/25K IOPS respectively.
One of the other things you will notice is the use of a Toshiba Controller, the TC58. This controller is used in conjunction with the Toshiba A19 TLC NAND. TLC has its pluses and minuses compared to MLC in that you can get higher densities on the IC with a lower cost. However, a weakness of MLC is intensified, specifically the bit level error rate, which needs software to help keep things on the straight and narrow. The OCZ Barefoot 3 controller just doesn’t have the ECC capabilities the TC58 has, hence part of the reason for the move.
Endurance with flash, while a major concern in years past, has certainly been much less of a worry with the last couple generations of SSDs, and this TLC flash seemingly will not have any issues either. The Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF) is a whopping 1.5 million hours. Not quite up to the ARC/Vector 180 series, but that is a TON of time. With a total of 120 TBW (Total Bytes Written) and a 110 GB/day capability (following JEDEC JESD21A client workloads), most users wont come close to those values. If something were to go wrong with the drive, you are covered under OCZ’s 3-Year ShieldPlus warranty, which includes toll-free tech support, 24 hour forum support, and firmware updates.
|OCZ Trion 100 480 GB SSD Specifications
|SATA III 6 GB/s
|Toshiba Controller – TC58
|Toshiba A19nm Triple-Level Cell (TLC)
|2.5 inch, 7mm height (fits ultra-thin notebooks)
|100 x 69.85 x 7mm
|1.5 million hours
|Sequential Read/Write Speed (6 GB/s)
|Max random 4K Read/Write
|120TB TBW (Total Bytes Written) 110 GB/day (following JEDEC JESD219A client workload)
|Service & Support
|3-Year ShieldPlus Warranty, Toll-Free Tech Support, 24 Hour Forum Support, Firmware Updates
Below are some features found at the OCZ website for the Trion 100. We mentioned above the Toshiba A19nm flash and their controller being used. Seems fitting to use that technology since it is, for all intents and purposes, ‘in-house’. See below for a more complete list of features from OCZ.
Below are a few of the slides from the media deck as well. These will go over the relationship with Toshiba and its technology with OCZ, the durability of the drive, and the ShieldPlus warranty.
In the slideshow below, we get our first glimpse of OCZ’s packaging for the Trion 100. This box is white with their blue and lighter blue-lined theme. The front shows the model and has a sticker with the capacity on it. The back of the packaging shows some specifications and other items in multiple languages.
The drive itself is your standard fare 2.5″ 7mm SSD as far as dimensions go. Just like the packaging, the drive has the same white/light grey front with the OCZ name and its blue/light blue bars on the top. The back side shows more detailed model information along with your S/N. Compared to the Vector 460 and 180, this unit felt pretty light, surprisingly.
So, we took apart the Trion 100 to see what is going on under the hood. We come to find a shorter PCB that slides into the smaller case bottom (the top of the case slides over it and ‘clicks’ in). The next photo shows the PCB with the ‘business end’ up flaunting its innards. After the PCB pic, the next shot is a close up of the Toshiba TC58 controller, while after that is a close up of the DDR3 SO DIMM made by NANYA, and the Toshiba A19nm NAND that we spoke about earlier.
OCZ has their own software to help you out with your SSD. It can give you health and performance information, including SMART information. You can force TRIM commands with it, secure erase your drive, and even find and update the firmware as needed. The latest version is 1.21.1351 as pictured in the slideshow below. You can get this software at the OCZ website for SSD Guru.
Testing and Benchmarks
Here is the breakdown of the components used in our test bed:
|Test System Components
|ASRock Z97m OC Formula
|Intel i7 4790K Devil’s Canyon @ 4 GHz
|Kingston Hyper X Predator 2666 MHz CL 15 @ 1866 9-9-9-24
|OCZ Trion 100 480 GB
|MSI GTX 980 Ti Gaming 6G
Each SSD is Secure Erased (SE) using the OCZ SSD Guru utility to make sure we get the best results possible. We do this before each and every test run to give the comparison samples the best environment possible for testing. Below are the tests we run with a brief description.
- Crystal Disk Mark – Run at Default Settings (5 Pass)
- AS SSD – Run at Default Settings
- ATTO – Run at Default Setting with QD Set to 10
- IoMeter 2010 – Ran Manually with QD32 for the 4K Tests
Starting off with CrystalDiskMark, our random incompressible benchmark, the sequential reads start things off with a bang. The Trion 100 reached 544 MB/s and fell just short of the ADATA SSD while beating out all the rest by a few MB/s (the OCZ ARC 100 by nearly 100 MB/s). The 512K reads hit 531 MB/s beating out the entire pack by a fair amount (~25 MB/s or much greater). The 4K small file reads also dominate the pack here with over 71 MB/s beating its closest competitor, the formidable Samsung 850 EVO by 16 MB/s. The last read test showed performance at 311 MB/s and falling in the middle of the pack. As OCZ said, this drive is made for reads and we are seeing very solid performance so far.
The writes side of the house paint a slightly different, but expected story. The sequential writes start off quite well reaching over 520 MB/s, just a few MB/s behind the Samsung 850 EVO. The 512K writes start to show the writes are a bit slower here with the Trion 100 480 GB managing 297.1 MB/s while trailing the rest of the drives by 90 MB/s or greater. The 4K results, 106 MB/s, and the 4K QD32 results, 294 MB/s, show basically the same thing, trailing the roundup.
AS SSD, another incompressible (all incompressible actually) benchmark, really shows a potential worst case scenario for all drives. The results here were a bit off on the reads, hitting 365 MB/s and trailing behind the rest of the drives by a significant margin. I looked around at other reviews and found my result to be incredibly low in just this test… I am not sure why. Others were showing a lot better results, the same or higher than what is listed here (over 515 MB/s), so there is something up in my system on this test. The 4K reads here are at ~42 MB/s trailing only the Samsung EVO 850 again… same story on the 4K 64Thrd test. Outside of the sequential reads, another strong showing here for the Trion 100.
Just as with CDM above, sequential writes start off surprisngly well, actually leading the pack with 509 MB/s. Once we move down to the small 4K and 4K 64Thrd results, ~88 MB/s and 170 MB/s respectively, things appear to fall back to the expected performance order if you will.
Access times can vary wildly from run to run, but an average here for the Trion 100 was .034ms writes, and .033ms reads. Barely slower than most others in the testing.
Below is the overall score from AS SSD, which combines read/write performance to come up with an aggregate score. As we expected, the Trion 100 did well in reads, but was trailing a bit in writes. The total overall was 980 matching the other read-centric drive in this group, the Galax Gamer 120 GB drive. It did manage to beat out the ADATA drive while coming in behind the Samsung EVO and the ARC 100, whis is mostly due to their far superior write performance as well as the anomalous sequential read result. I have to imagine it would be much closer to the ARC 100 if that result was more in line with what we expected.
Moving on to IOMeter, we are seeing the same trends here too with 2 MB reads being solid and writes trailing the pack a bit. In the 2 MB reads, the Trion 100 480 GB leads the pack in fact, and comes in 2nd on the 4K reads. The writes aren’t to shabby either here honestly… all drives are fairly bunched up except for the ADATA drive trailing behind the pack in the 4K reads and writes.
Checking out the 4K IOPS in IOMeter, the Trion 100 480 GB hits 50,387 IOPS falling a bit short of it’s rating of 54K, with the reads also coming up just shy of the 90K rating coming in at 87, 413 IOPS.
Looking at the IOPS for 2 MB reads and writes, the Trion 100 makes a solid showing here on large data sets coming in at the middle of the pack in writes, and leading the group in reads. A good showing here.
In our ‘best case scenario’ benchmark, ATTO (highly compressible raw data), we see the Trion 100 leading the other SSDs in the group from the 16K and on read tests… nice results there. In the smaller file sizes, it comes back to the middle of the pack. Overall a great showing here.
On the writes side of things, we again see great performance in the larger file sizes, 16K and up. And perhaps surprisingly, solid performance in the smaller data sets too… though the 1K performance was trailing the entire pack. Still a good showing here where this drive was not really tweaked to excel in write performance.
Anvil Storage Utility
Last but not least is Anvil’s Storage Utility. We don’t have much to compare this to, but I did peak at other reviews which run this benchmark and the score is right with them, so at least I know my system is OK!
OCZ has a virtual smorgasbord of drives to offer the consumer. Are you in need of an enterprise solution? Check. Enthusiast level performance? Check. Value oriented SSDs? Check and mate. While at first glance, offering another value oriented drive seems a bit curious. However, OCZ focused on making this drive better on read performance as opposed to writes, making it different from the ARC 100 and other series of drives. We did see that difference when comparing it to the ARC 100 in most of the read tests, so we can tell there was some tweaking done on that front like OCZ mentioned.
The OCZ Trion 100 really reaches out and pulls the strings of frugal consumers as it is a value oriented drive. Though the focus on this drive is in reads (it shows in the benchmarks), the write performance wasn’t bad either. Sure, in benchmarks you can see the difference, and perhaps in sustained writes (as the IOPS for that is a lot lower than most higher end drives), but once the data lands, you don’t have to worry about it. Endurance on this drive is big with its 1.5 million hour MTBF, 120 TBW and 110 GB /day estimate. And if worse comes to worst, use OCZ’s Shield Warranty to easily get things replaced.
When it comes to pricing, the OCZ Trion 100 480 GB comes in at $179.99 at newegg.com. That is a staggering 37 cents per GB people!! The ARC 100 480 GB actually comes in a couple dollars less at newegg. A direct competitor, the ADATA XPG SX 930, comes in at $200 and again generally loses in the reads side of the house. Truth be told, you will be hard pressed to find differences in a lot of these drives in non benchmarking scenarios. The price seems to fit with the market, and performance is there, so the Trion 100 480 GB will be Overclockers.com approved!
– Joe Shields (Earthdog)