When OCZ told me it was sending a Trion 150 for testing, I was hesitant. I had reviewed the TLC NAND-based Trion 100, the company’s first SSD since being acquired by Toshiba. To put it mildly, I was not a fan, and hardly relished the chance that I might have to again bash one of my favorite storage companies.
Well, the Trion 150 might just be the redemption product of the year. While still not a stellar performer writing large files, it’s twice as fast doing that as its predecessor. That means it’s no longer hanging out in hard drive territory and is now roughly on par performance-wise with Samsung’s popular 850 EVO, and in some instances, faster. The Trion 150 escapes the no-buy zone its predecessor occupies. Congratulations, Toshiba! I mean, OCZ.
The Trion 150 is a 2.5-inch, 7mm SATA 6Gbps SSD available in capacities from 120GB to 960GB. OCZ sent us the 480GB version for testing. Nothing unusual there. But rather than the A19nm TLC (Triple-level Cell/3-bit) NAND used in the Trion 100, the Trion 150 uses 15nm TLC NAND (see what they did there?). The controller is simply listed as “Toshiba” and the company says that’s where most of the improvement was made.
OCZ has dispensed with suggested retail pricing, but sent me links to the products as featured on Newegg. At this writing, the 960GB model is $270 (28 cents per gigabyte); the 480GB version, $140 (29 cents per gigabyte); the 240GB drive, $70 (29 cents per gigabyte); and the 120GB version $50 (41 cents per gigabyte).
The Trion 150 carries a three-year warranty, plus a TBW (Terabytes Written) rating of approximately 250 times capacity. So, for instance, the 960GB capacity is rated for 240TBW. The ratings are nice, though the warranty is a bit short as far as those things go.
I’ve already told you that the Trion 150 performs better than the Trion 100 writing large amounts of data, but that can be said for nearly any SSD out there. A look below will tell you this drive is not up to MLC standards when it runs out of cache, but it doesn’t totally tank like the Trion 100 or Toshiba Q300.
OCZ informed me that the cache (TLC treated as SLC by writing only a single bit) equals approximately 1.5 percent of the total storage regardless of capacity. That means about 14.5GB and 7.2GB of cache, respectively, in the case of the 960GB and 480GB models we tested, but only 3.6GB in the 240GB model, and 1.8GB for the 120GB. You’ll hit the slower 3-bit writes to TLC during sustained transfers much sooner with the lower-capacity models.
Note that AS SSDs numbers are relatively kind to the drive, as the 10GB written only slightly exceeds the size of the 480GB model’s cache. (You might not see any drop-off at all with the 960GB model.) Where the cache does show its limitations is in our 20GB read and write tests.
Because of the varying amount of cache, anyone who writes large data sets should opt for a larger capacity drive. Note that while the charts above don’t show it, when writing to the TLC, the Trion 150 sustains transfers at about 285MBps—almost twice what the Trion 100 wrote at.
Though I’d still recommend an MLC SSD for the best overall experience with large data sets, the Trion 150 will actually perform faster than many SSDs in normal, everyday use. If you find it at an unbeatable price, go for it.
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Jon is a Juilliard-trained musician, former x86/6800 programmer, and long-time (late
70s) computer enthusiast living in the San Francisco bay area. email@example.com