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OCZ Vector Solid State Drive E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage
Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 09 January 2013
Table of Contents: Page Index
OCZ Vector Solid State Drive
Closer Look: OCZ Vector SSD
Features and Specifications
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
PCMark Vantage HDD Tests
OCZ Vector SSD Conclusion

OCZ Vector Solid State Drive Review

Manufacturer: OCZ Technology Group, Inc.
Product Name: Vector 2.5" Solid State Drive
Model Number: VTR1-25SAT3-256G (256GB Capacity)
UPC: 842024032342
Prices: 128GB for $159.99 (Newegg/Amazon), 256GB for $269.99 (Newegg/Amazon), 512GB for $569.99 (Newegg/Amazon)

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by OCZ.

The OCZ Vector 2.5" solid state drive (VTR1-25SAT3 series) is an ultra-slim 7mm high-performance SSD storage device produced in-house by OCZ Technology with a focus on reliability. Featuring OCZ's new Indilinx Barefoot 3 storage controller, the Vector SSD series is built to produce optimized performance for enthusiasts wanting to capitalize on near-instant response times. OCZ Vector SSDs are available in 128/256/512GB capacities, and deliver up to 550MB/s read speeds with up to 95,000 Random Read IOPS. In this article Benchmark Reviews puts these specifications to test, and compares the OCZ Vector solid state drive against the leading competition.

Back in July 2011, OCZ Technology announced their Indilinx "Everest" SATA controller platform, which featured a 275 MHz dual-core Marvell-based CPU with 128KB on-chip SRAM for programs and another 64KB for data. The first product to utilize the new Everest platform was the OCZ Octane SSD, which debuted early in 2012 with a 512MB DRAM cache buffer operating at 400 MHz and custom Indilinx-programmed firmware. The second generation Everest 2 platform again featured a Marvell-based dual-ARM controller, which optimized reduced-write amplifications without data compression to yield better I/O and help extend the product warranty to an industry leading five years. The Indilinx Barefoot 3 SATA controller is an all-original design, yet still delivers these combined features into the Vector SSD.


Solid State vs Hard Disk

Despite decades of design improvements, the hard disk drive (HDD) is still the slowest component of any personal computer system. Consider that modern desktop processors have a 1 ns response time (nanosecond = one billionth of one second), while system memory responds between 30-90 ns. Traditional hard drive technology utilizes magnetic spinning media, and even the fastest spinning mechanical storage products still exhibit a 9,000,000 ns / 9 ms initial response time (millisecond = one thousandth of one second). In more relevant terms, the processor receives the command and must then wait for system memory to fetch related data from the storage drive. This is why any computer system is only as fast as the slowest component in the data chain; usually the hard drive.

In a perfect world all of the components operate at the same speed. Until that day comes, the real-world goal for achieving optimal performance is for system memory to operate as quickly as the central processor and then for the storage drive to operate as fast as memory. With present-day technology this is an impossible task, so enthusiasts try to close the speed gaps between components as much as possible. Although system memory is up to 90x (9000%) slower than most processors, consider then that the hard drive is an added 1000x (100,000%) slower than that same memory. Essentially, these three components are as different in speed as walking is to driving and flying.

Solid State Drive technology bridges the largest gap in these response times. The difference a SSD makes to operational response times and program speeds is dramatic, and takes the storage drive from a slow 'walking' speed to a much faster 'driving' speed. Solid State Drive technology improves initial response times by more than 450x (45,000%) for applications and Operating System software, when compared to their mechanical HDD counterparts. The biggest mistake PC hardware enthusiasts make with regard to SSD technology is grading them based on bandwidth speed. File transfer speeds are important, but only so long as the operational I/O performance can sustain that bandwidth under load.

Bandwidth Speed vs Operational Performance

As we've explained in our SSD Benchmark Tests: SATA IDE vs AHCI Mode guide, Solid State Drive performance revolves around two dynamics: bandwidth speed (MB/s) and operational performance I/O per second (IOPS). These two metrics work together, but one is more important than the other. Consider this analogy: bandwidth determines how much cargo a ship can transport in one voyage, and operational IOPS performance is how fast the ship moves. By understanding this and applying it to SSD storage, there is a clear importance set on each variable depending on the task at hand.

For casual users, especially those with laptop or desktop computers that have been upgraded to use an SSD, the naturally quick response time is enough to automatically improve the user experience. Bandwidth speed is important, but only to the extent that operational performance meets the minimum needs of the system. If an SSD has a very high bandwidth speed but a low operational performance, it will take longer to load applications and boot the computer into Windows than if the SSD offered a higher IOPS performance.



# RE: OCZ Vector Solid State DriveArgos 2013-02-27 00:08
I know many pc enthusiasts are incredibly enamored with SSD's, and my current systems features one too as a systemdisk, but I have decided my next system will be built without SSD.

I think its not worth it. SSD are much to expensive and in common day to day circumstances you will hardly notice the speed gain. When I use my system that has no SSD I never get the feeling that it is actually slower than my SSD system. I suppose there must be an absolute difference, but the human perception does not deal in absolutes and thus I feel the large amount of money you spent on SSD is wasted in real life computer use. So personally I'd rather spent the money on something I will actually notice.

For the time being no more SSD for me. I consider them a waste of money.
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# RE: RE: OCZ Vector Solid State Driverjdriver 2013-02-27 03:22
Argos, if "as a systemdisc", you mean that only your operating system is on the SSD, then it's not surprising you don't notice much difference. I have all my files on an Intel 520 Series 256GB SSD, and the difference on my system is dramatic. While you only may be noticing a slightly faster boot time, everything happens quicker for me. Deleting a file, copying and pasting a file, opening a program, opening and saving a document or spreadsheet, loading a saved game, opening a Windows Explorer window - everything just pops out there instantly.

Whether it's worth the extra money for anyone is a matter of personal preference. Personally, I hate clicking and waiting, so it was well worth the investment for me.
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# RE: RE: RE: OCZ Vector Solid State DriveArgos 2013-02-27 05:04
My operating system and important applications are on my so called system disc. I use HDD for games (steam) and general storage.

My other system uses a normal HDD as system disc and I experience virtually the same fast load times, deletion, copy and pasting times. I never have to wait long for any of these processes to complete.
I do have to mention that I keep my system very organized and clean and restore my OS to pristine condition multiple times a year.

I am not against SSD on principle, but considering what you have to pay for them I think for me it is not a good investment at all (if you have no shortage of money this argument is moot of course), because the actual practical and perceived speed gain is minimal.

I do like the SSD technology and I could spare the extra money, but I simply can not find a practical reason to convince myself into buying an SSD for my next system. Why would I want to if I perceive no dramatic improvement at all?

The fact that you do perceive a dramatic improvement and I perceive virtually nothing of the kind already shows that it is very relative and individual. Perhaps it can be compared to audio systems. Some people can only enjoy music with a 2000 dollar speaker system and others feel a 200 buck speaker set is more than enough because they can't hear the difference.

For me SSD are not worth their very high price. When prices drop they will come in the picture again, but for now they do not deliver enough bang for their money at all.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: OCZ Vector Solid State DriveDiego Rodrigues 2013-02-27 14:17
If that's the case, i think you're one of those guys that should be picking up a Velociraptor. Now's certainly the right time to do it...

I'm happy with my Vertex 4, tho.
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# you are in denialjames lovel 2013-02-27 17:29
youre living in the past
and if you can't see the differences between a hdd and ssd then youre probbaly running a 1980s computer
deal with it, tech is moving forward and youre stuck in the past
but if youre happy with it, then go nuts ;)
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# RE: you are in denialArgos 2013-02-27 18:11
"youre living in the past and if you can't see the differences between a hdd and ssd then youre probbaly running a 1980s computer"

Nope my machines are state of the art gaming machines. I always build the best. At the moment I am building a machine based on Intel Core i7-3930K with 16 GB RAM and a GTX690. It will not feature SSD.

In an absolute sense and especially in a test situation one can clearly measure a difference between SSD and HDD, but in practical daily computer use most users, not even pro users, will notice a huge difference.
It's like with people who proclaim they can taste the difference between coca cola, pepsi cola and cheap generic cola's. When tested in a double blind situation it turns out they can not tell the difference at all and very often most of them prefer cheap generic cola's when asked. Perception of speed, like taste is very, very relative!

It is the marketing and the hype that influences that perception.
Taking this into consideration and comparing prices most users are much better off with normal HDD's, so they can spent the extra money on extra storage, more RAM, a better video card, or a few big macks.
It is different for portable devices of course. SSD have other advantages besides their speed.

Let me repeat: It is not that SSD are not faster, but the speed advantage in normal day to day use is mostly ignorable. And considering the high price it is my opinion that it is not worth it at all.

But you do not have to agree of course. Buy whatever you want.
Personally I will turn my back on SSD until they get considerably cheaper.
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# RE: RE: you are in denialBaydogg 2013-02-27 20:15
Considering the price per gb is less the 1 dollar. Isn't that expensive.
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# RE: RE: RE: you are in denialArgos 2013-02-28 01:48
"Considering the price per gb is less the 1 dollar. Isn't that expensive."

Yes, but you need more than 1 Gb. :)

And to get a good awareness of the cost you must compare to regular HHD:

$0.05 dollar per Gb (Caviar Green 2TB, 2.5TB, 3Tb) is a much much better price than $1.00 per Gb.


So my argument is more relevant than ever.
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# Say no to SSD eh?johndoe 2013-02-28 07:01
I'm sick of morons who have heard a few things about SSD's (like firmware bugs) and go with VRaps.

SSD is the future of storage. There will be no such thing called "HDD" left. Many run their machines on SSD only, and that's the way to go.

I suggest you folks do some research and learn how to use an SSD before spouting out bullcrap.
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# RE: Say no to SSD eh?Argos 2013-02-28 07:11
"SSD is the future of storage. There will be no such thing called "HDD" left. "

I completely agree with you. But that future is not now and it will not be next year either and not even the year after that. SSD are far to expensive compared to HDD.
So, for mass storage SSD are a complete waste of money. If money is no object... well then everything changes.
But it is great tech.
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# BSjohndoe 2013-02-28 07:18
When you can have a SandForce SF-2281 based drive for a mere $70-80, that does over 500 MB/s R/W, has instant access times and faster in everything, there's absolutely no point in using a HDD. NONE at all. Period. Full stop.

An SSD puts out WAY, WAY more input/output (IOP) than a HDD. In a server situation, a single SSD can replace HUNDREDS of HDD's.

I suggest you do some more research and understand these subjects before you try to discuss them properly.
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# RE: BSOlin Coles 2013-02-28 07:47
@johndoe: Take it down a notch, and just keep presenting a sound fundamental argument. Once you state facts, it's not on you if someone chooses otherwise.
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# RE: RE: BSrjdriver 2013-02-28 08:35

Argos is not the typical computer user. Most of us don't restore our OS to "pristine condition multiple times a year". So he is probably less plagued by the typical issues that eventually slow down a HDD, such a s fragmentation, disc errors, too many temp files, too many programs running it in the background, even occasional malware or spyware, etc. etc.

I clean my system of temp files, and run malware and spyware scans regularly, but I do not restore my OS unless there is a problem. I did notice a dramatic difference is speeds of all operations when I switched to an SSD. Keep in mind, though, that I came from a 5400 RPM, not a 10m RPM drive.

We all agree there is a huge cost difference. From Argos' perspective, it's not worth the extra money on his systems. Those of us who see bigger speed difference, and like the other advantages of an SSD, are willing to pay. I think that's all it comes down to.
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# He shouldn't spout out BSjohndoe 2013-02-28 08:43
He's spouting out nonsense just because he himself can't be bothered to take care of his files and just loads up the drive nonsensically.

Then he shouldn't even bother to comment on an SSD article.

I'm not a typical user either. My files consist of thousands of small Steam files such as Source mods, but I DO, keep track of my stuff properly, so that my SSD's don't get slowed down.

An SSD is something you should look after properly.

You can't just load it up to the max like a HDD and still expect it to perform well. If he doesn't know how to use it right, then he shouldn't go ahead spouting out nonsense.
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# RE: He shouldn't spout out BSOlin Coles 2013-02-28 08:52
Did you mean to say "okay Olin, I'll kick it down a notch and stop attacking individual visitors on your website" somewhere in that post? I think you meant to say something like that.
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# What needs to be said needs to be saidjohndoe 2013-02-28 09:20
Title says it all. Period.
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# RE: What needs to be said needs to be saidOlin Coles 2013-02-28 09:29
You had your chance, twice. See you in seven days.
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# RE: RE: What needs to be said needs to be saidrjdriver 2013-02-28 09:39
You are very patient, Olin.
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# RE: BSArgos 2013-02-28 08:57

I've said all there is to be said on the subject. None of my arguments have been discredited.

You take this much to personal. We are talking about some computer hardware, not about the color of your skin.

If you feel it is worth the extra costs then by all means buy SSD.

It is my personal experience that SSD are not worth it at the current cost. I would buy SSD at current prices if I had really perceived the advantage of their increased speed. I did try, but I have not. So in my case it would be irrational to spend a lot of money on something that I can not appreciate.

In your case it obviously is the other way around. You apparently do perceive an enormous increase in speed, so in your case it is rational to pay the extra bucks.

I am fine with that. I do not wish to force you to mimic me. Neither should you wish to force me to be like you.
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# I'm notjohndoe 2013-02-28 09:18
Cost consideration is none of my concern. I've a pair of Deneva 2R SLC's that retail $1450 each.

If you can't see the difference from an SSD to a piece of crap WD Green drive that does 5400 RPM and turns itself down after every 5 minutes... then maybe you should go see a doctor.
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# SSD'sjlei8a 2013-03-01 15:59
Well guys I had a velociraptor before I upgraded to and ssd, compared to my Velociraptor this new SSD is faster coming from a Velociraptor I can see it with my own two eyes. I guess I would say that I prefer SSD's over HDD's I still have HDD's for back up, but for applications I use everyday, I have those on my SSD. The games I play load faster and run better, especially D3 and WOW Like i said I can see the difference and I'm not going back to HDD's
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# RE: OCZ Vector Solid State DriveArron Arntzen 2013-03-04 08:13
Just a quick plea for peace instead of personal attacks. Olin, well stated.
Now for a few facts: You cannot replace hundreds of HDD's with SSD's at the moment. Even my old 16 disk HHD RAID5 is over 6.8Tb using 500Gb HDDs. I could get the capacity with 32 * 256Gb SSD's. It would be lower power consumption, run cooler, faster to load apps and a little quieter. I would also need to modify my long suffering Lian Li full tower (again) to hold them all, so I would have to make yet another set of custom drive bays (sigh). Approx cost $8000 plus the new drive bays. Not very practical, even if nice to have. Oh, and the RAID saturates the 4 * PCIe bus anyway, so streaming would be close to level pegging.
However, this is written on my other machine - no audio & video editing work, so the 120Gb SSD system & program disk is a brilliant answer. Data is a 1Tb HDD which I need to upgrade soon to a 2 Tb HDD.
Room for both in my world, and I appreciate both of them.
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# Alrightjohndoe 2013-03-04 10:39
Since you can't seem to understand what I wrote, I'll make it easier for you.

"In a server situation, a single SSD can replace HUNDREDS of HDD's."

Who in the hell keeps HUNDREDS of drives in his personal machine?

I was entirely referring to datacenter situations that require extreme IOP (input/outputs) and consist of "hot data" that consistently gets moved from one place to another. A single ZeusIOPS SSD can replicate 100-200 HDD's. I suggest you to do some research on "ZeusIOPS".
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# RE: AlrightOlin Coles 2013-03-04 10:44
Apparently you're not familiar with this thing called "capacity". You see, data center's store... wait for it... data, so storage space comes at a premium since most servers are in a RAID-5/10 array. Additionally, the cost to replicate the same level of storage space is extremely high, beyond what most data centers will budget. Furthermore, SSDs have not had the track record for MTBF that hard disks have.
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# Reading compherensionjohndoe 2013-03-06 13:56
Is in the short supply as it seems.

`consist of "hot data" that consistently gets moved from one place to another`.

Do you know the difference between `hot data` and `cold data`? I guess not.

And SSDs are far more reliable than HDDs as they do not carry mechanical parts which have a higher potential of failure.
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# my recent xpniong108 2013-03-06 03:41
i would like to jump into the discussion with some recent real life experience. recently i bought two SSDs. First i bought one for the laptop i am using on work (old HP Compaq 6530b Notebook). The SSD there did miracles, it is unimaginable to use HDD ever again. The good thing is i do not need a large SSD on work as all larger files are stored on the server (company policy) or on my portable USB3.0 HDD. Now that experience kinda overwhelmed me and i bought another SSD for my desktop (i5 2400, 16GB ram) and honestly the performance did not fulfill my expectations. The desktop was faster but not THAT much. It seems that on better machines with lots of RAM the SSD is not giving such a boost as on lower end PCs. Still i like the speed gain on my desktop but i also understand Argos and his point.
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# RE: OCZ Vector Solid State DriveArron Arntzen 2013-03-06 08:40
To John Doe, sent in two pieces.
Data centres have priorities. Generally, in order, capacity, reliability, redundancy, power supply & cooling issues and finally throughput. They are ALL critical. After all that, cost is usually considered to distinguish between choices.
Capacity: Instead of the OCZ 256Gb reviewed, I could use your ZeusIOPS in 800Gb capacity. I only need 10 of them to replace my 16 * 500Gb HDD's. See costing far below.
Reliability: SSD are known in Australia by wholesalers as C2: once on the way out and then when they return as lightweight bricks (?see twice? if you didn't get it). Yes, they are improving, however they (IMHO) have at least three or four years to go before they can handle data centre loadings. Even domestically they have a much higher failure rate than HDD's at present.
Redundancy: I forgot, last time I changed OS my RAID became a RAID6. 8Tb goes down to 6.4Tb in the process. This increases both the redundancy & the cost of storage significantly, and I cannot run my system with less than 5.9Tb at present. Data centres usually run similarly close to capacity. FYI, RAID6 can rebuild two simultaneous drive failures. So far, touch wood, I have had none. I know of no data centre in Aust running less than RAID6 for obvious reasons.
Power supply and cooling issues are clearly linked, and SSDs will have a lot to offer here sometime. ZeusIOPS are only good up to 60 Celsius. I can take you to dozens of data centres running just under 85 Celsius ?inside the cabinets? ? it is cheaper to minimise the cooling than make it human friendly. Dropping the temp another 25 Celsius would be prohibitively expensive. Oh, and SSD's would not drop the internal cabinet temps by more than two or three degrees as it is the CPU and RAM that generate most of the heat. All 16 of my HDD's use less than my CPU, and that is the norm.
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# RE: OCZ Vector Solid State DriveArron Arntzen 2013-03-06 08:42
second half:
Performance: Data centres broadly have two functions ? large amounts of seldom accessed data and a much smaller amount of hot data (to use your words) which needs to be available often and rapidly. SSD's would be prohibitively expensive for the seldom used data. Analysing the hot data reveals that 90% of hot data are streams which are highly amenable to caching so there would be almost no speed benefit using SSD's for that. That is why my Adaptec (plus all of its serious RAID competitors) use dedicated processors and cacheing DRAM on the card to prefetch data and lower the system latency... The whole point of RAIDing is to get massive continuous throughput and deliver as much as possible to the mobo DRAM at I/O bus speed. Just like the dozens of data centres I know ?inside out?, my Adaptec 21645 system saturates the I/O bus anyway, so an infinite number of SSD's could only theoretically offer a small improvement in latency. Motherboard DRAM is much faster (at least a factor of 10) than SSD's, and is also capable of prefetching /caching given a halfway reasonable *nix OS. The limiting factor then usually becomes the external I/O system itself.

Cost: FYI, RAID is Redundant Array of INEXPENSIVE Disks (my emphasis). Two years ago, my whole machine cost less than $14,000 (Lian Li PC-P80 tower, 8 core processor, 32Gb Ram etc.). This is not even close to a data centre blade in terms of capacity or speed, however they are also all I/O bus limited if you optimise them properly. So this becomes a set of options:-
Option a) 10 ZeusIOPS 800Gb SSD's cost approx $35,000. Savings: $1,000 for another Adaptec 21645 not needed. Net: Approx $34,000.
Option b) 32 * 256Gb OCZ's $8,000, plus $1,000 for another Adaptec 21645 to handle another 16 drives. Need to build another drive bay frame (half a day, $50 for the matching aluminium sheet). Net: Approx $9,000.
Option c) leave it alone. Whole RAID originally cost $2,000 (21645 & HDD's). Save $1,000 by not needing another 21645.

In short, I could replace a two year old, $14,000 machine's $2,000 disk system for $35,000 and get a higher failure rate & negligible benefits for any of my work. Mimicking any normal server farm / data centre's work would give similar results.

Mark Twain said ?It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt?. Suggestion: subtlety has obviously failed, please consider...
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# Moronjohndoe 2013-03-06 14:00
I can reply to all that nonsensical # you wrote however knowing that Olin puts an IP block on me after every single one of my comments, I won't bother.

I was entirely referring to servers that CAN afford that kind of hardware, such as IBM servers. Not Arrors or the guy next doors servers.

Even then, under high temp situations there is a thing called `RUGGED SSD` that can withstand higher temps and industrial conditions; but you are appereantly too ignorant or dumb to understand that there is an SSD for every condition out there in 2013.
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# Higher failure rate my buttjohndoe 2013-03-06 14:37
ZeusIOPS has a higher failure rate than a convertional drive? ROFL; you had absolutely no clue what a ZeusIOPS was before I mentioned it. You are that ignorant and dumb, and everything you said in that post is just so ironic I am out of words. You should take that Mark Twain quote to yourself.

And gotta love how you mentioned 65-85C; those are industrial or military condition temps you moron. And decent server can EASILY get that under 45C with some 38mm thick Nidec or Delta or Sunons.

More so; even then; ZeusIOPS would STILL be more reliable. You have no idea how a ZeusIOPS works and what kind of bulletproof reliability it puts out. The only thing more reliable than a ZeusIOPS is a ZeusRAM, which again, IS an STEC made drive. But is a RAM drive rather than a `true` single level cell SSD with NAND flash.
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# RE: OCZ Vector Solid State DriveArron Arntzen 2013-03-07 15:31
ZeusIOPS: held one at a trade show a while back. Standard grade solder & chips AFAICS.
Operational Temperature: 0 to 60C (Commercial)

I rest my case.
Now try to find some facts, not rhetoric.
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