The OCZ Trion 150 SSD Review

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Last year’s OCZ Trion 100 was the first drive released by OCZ as a subsidiary of Toshiba, and was really more of a Toshiba product that was released under the OCZ brand. As a prime opportunity to reestablish the OCZ brand post-bankruptcy, the Trion 100 was initially disappointing for its poor performance. It has since become clear that the Trion 100 was merely an early entrant in a race to the bottom that has seen sub-20nm planar TLC used to drive price down as much as possible even at the cost of performance.

While the price of MLC-based drives has also been declining, the new class of low-end TLC drives has made SSDs far more accessible by trading some performance for capacity.

Most manufacturers are very explicit about marketing these SSDs for upgrades from hard drives rather than from earlier and smaller and more expensive SSDs, but it’s hard not to make those comparisons. It’s important to keep in mind that for the cheapest SSDs on the market, maximizing performance is not the only goal and often isn’t even a primary goal.

Today we’re taking a look at the successor to the Trion 100, the Trion 150. On paper, the OCZ Trion 150 looks like a fairly uninteresting update. The flash is changed from Toshiba’s A19nm TLC to their 15nm TLC, which is cause for concern about how the smaller flash memory cells might hurt performance and endurance. The Trion is still using Toshiba’s TC58 controller, a custom branded variant of Phison’s S10. The performance specifications of the Trion 150 are unchanged from the Trion 100, but OCZ has made non-specific claims about performance improving for things like sustained performance. For that to be possible with what would seem to be a disadvantageous die shrink of the flash, the drive’s firmware needs to be much better than the Trion 100’s.

OCZ Trion 150 Specifications
Capacity 120GB 240GB 480GB 960GB
Controller Toshiba TC58
NAND Toshiba 15nm TLC
Sequential Read 550MB/s 550MB/s 550MB/s 550MB/s
Sequential Write 450MB/s 520MB/s 530MB/s 530MB/s
4KB Random Read 79K IOPS 90K IOPS 90K IOPS 90K IOPS
4KB Random Write 25K IOPS 43K IOPS 54K IOPS 64K IOPS
Endurance 30TB 60TB 120TB 240TB
DevSleep Power 6mW
Idle Power 830mW
Max Power 4.8W
Warranty Three years
Price (Amazon) $45.99 $61.99 $117.49 $229.99

Externally the Trion 150 is very similar to the Trion 100: the casing is identical and the labeling is only slightly changed. Opening things up we immediately see that more has changed than just the NAND flash dies. The flash is now in 16 TSOP packages rather than 4 BGA packages, requiring a much larger PCB but allowing for much cheaper packaging. The layout of the PCB around the controller and DRAM is similar to the Trion 100, but there’s now a thermal pad between the controller and the case.

As the successor to the Trion 100, the Trion 150 will be OCZ and Toshiba’s entry-level SSD and will compete against the drives with the lowest price per gigabyte, now hovering around 20¢/GB. The primary competitors and points of comparison will be other drives with 15/16nm TLC such as ADATA’s Premier SP550 and Crucial’s BX200 (both using Silicon Motion’s SM2256 controller) and drives from many brands using the Phison S10 platform and Toshiba TLC.

AnandTech 2015 SSD Test System
CPU Intel Core i7-4770K running at 3.5GHz (Turbo & EIST enabled, C-states disabled)
Motherboard ASUS Z97 Deluxe (BIOS 2501)
Chipset Intel Z97
Memory Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1866 2x8GB (9-10-9-27 2T)
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4600
Desktop Resolution 1920 x 1200
OS Windows 8.1 x64

Performance Consistency

Our performance consistency test explores the extent to which a drive can reliably sustain performance during a long-duration random write test. Specifications for consumer drives typically list peak performance numbers only attainable in ideal conditions. The performance in a worst-case scenario can be drastically different as over the course of a long test drives can run out of spare area, have to start performing garbage collection, and sometimes even reach power or thermal limits.

In addition to an overall decline in performance, a long test can show patterns in how performance varies on shorter timescales. Some drives will exhibit very little variance in performance from second to second, while others will show massive drops in performance during each garbage collection cycle but otherwise maintain good performance, and others show constantly wide variance. If a drive periodically slows to hard drive levels of performance, it may feel slow to use even if its overall average performance is very high.

To maximally stress the drive’s controller and force it to perform garbage collection and wear leveling, this test conducts 4kB random writes with a queue depth of 32. The drive is filled before the start of the test, and the test duration is one hour. Any spare area will be exhausted early in the test and by the end of the hour even the largest drives with the most overprovisioning will have reached a steady state. We use the last 400 seconds of the test to score the drive both on steady-state average writes per second and on its performance divided by the standard deviation.

Steady-State 4KB Random Write Performance

The Trion 150 substantially improves steady-state performance over its predecessor. The middle 480GB capacity is once again the best-performing size by a wide margin.

Steady-State 4KB Random Write Consistency

The Trion 150’s consistency score has climbed out of the gutter—aided somewhat by the improved average performance, but there’s clearly been a major change in behavior for the drive firmware that reduces the variability of write performance. The Trion 150 scores much better than any other budget drive.

IOPS over time
Default OCZ Trion 150 240GB
OCZ Trion 150 480GB
OCZ Trion 150 960GB
ADATA Premier SP550 240GB
ADATA Premier SP550 480GB
OCZ ARC 100 240GB
Plextor M6V 256GB
Samsung 850 EVO 500GB
Samsung 850 Pro 256GB
SanDisk Extreme Pro 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 480GB
OCZ Trion 100 960GB
Corsair Neutron XT 480GB
Crucial BX100 500GB
Crucial MX100 512GB
Crucial MX200 500GB
OCZ Vector 180 480GB
Samsung SSD 850 Pro 512GB
SanDisk Extreme Pro 480GB
25% Over-Provisioning

OCZ Trion 150 240GB
OCZ Trion 150 480GB
OCZ Trion 150 960GB
ADATA Premier SP550 240GB
ADATA Premier SP550 480GB
OCZ Trion 100 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 480GB
OCZ Trion 100 960GB
Corsair Neutron XT 480GB
Crucial BX100 500GB
Crucial MX100 512GB
OCZ ARC 100 240GB
OCZ Vector 180 480GB
Samsung 850 EVO M.2 500GB
Samsung SSD 850 Pro 512GB
SanDisk Extreme Pro 480GB
SanDisk Ultra II 240GB

After a very short initial burst of high performance due to SLC write caching, the Trion 150 settles into a pattern of decent but broadly variable performance as it burns through the remaining spare area. Once the spare area is exhausted the behavior changes completely and the drive is very steady, transitioning between a handful of discrete performance levels.

Steady-State IOPS over time
Default OCZ Trion 150 240GB
OCZ Trion 150 480GB
OCZ Trion 150 960GB
ADATA Premier SP550 240GB
ADATA Premier SP550 480GB
OCZ ARC 100 240GB
Plextor M6V 256GB
Samsung 850 EVO 500GB
Samsung 850 Pro 256GB
SanDisk Extreme Pro 240GB
SanDisk Ultra II 240GB
SanDisk Ultra II 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 480GB
OCZ Trion 100 960GB
Corsair Neutron XT 480GB
Crucial BX100 500GB
Crucial MX100 512GB
Crucial MX200 500GB
OCZ Vector 180 480GB
Samsung 850 EVO 1TB
Samsung SSD 850 Pro 512GB
SanDisk Extreme Pro 480GB
25% Over-Provisioning

OCZ Trion 150 240GB
OCZ Trion 150 480GB
OCZ Trion 150 960GB
ADATA Premier SP550 240GB
ADATA Premier SP550 480GB
OCZ Trion 100 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 480GB
OCZ Trion 100 960GB
Corsair Neutron XT 480GB
Crucial BX100 500GB
Crucial MX100 512GB
OCZ ARC 100 240GB
OCZ Vector 180 480GB
Samsung 850 EVO M.2 500GB
Samsung SSD 850 Pro 512GB
SanDisk Extreme Pro 480GB
SanDisk Ultra II 240GB

Looking closer at the steady-state phase, the transitions between performance states are very clear and abrupt, and there are no outliers in either direction. The performance with manual overprovisioning is substantially higher and the consistency is only slightly worse. In either case, the consistency is as good as we could ask for and a big improvement over the earlier Trion 100.

AnandTech Storage Bench – The Destroyer

The Destroyer is an extremely long test replicating the access patterns of very IO-intensive desktop usage. A detailed breakdown can be found in this article. Like real-world usage and unlike our Iometer tests, the drives do get the occasional break that allows for some background garbage collection and flushing caches, but those idle times are limited to 25ms so that it doesn’t take all week to run the test.

We quantify performance on this test by reporting the drive’s average data throughput, a few data points about its latency, and the total energy used by the drive over the course of the test.

AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer (Data Rate)

The Trion 150 sustains a much higher average data rate over the course of The Destroyer than the Trion 100, and is one of the best-performing budget drives on this test.

AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer (Latency)

Average service time is improved over the Trion 100 for the 480GB and 960GB models, but the 240GB Trion 150 has regressed. They all still qualify as low-end but not horrible.

AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer (Latency)AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer (Latency)

The number of high-latency outliers on has increased significantly at the 10ms threshold, but the situation at the 100ms threshold is mostly better for the Trion 150 than the Trion 100.

AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer (Power)

Energy usage on The Destroyer has improved noticeably, reflecting that the higher average data rate allowed the Trion 150 to complete the test in a shorter span of time than the Trion 100. The Trion 150 is a little more power-hungry than the ADATA SP550, but this is due to having slightly worse performance; the Trion 150 delivers comparable efficiency to the Silicon Motion-based SP550.

AnandTech Storage Bench – Heavy

Our Heavy storage benchmark is proportionally more write-heavy than The Destroyer, but much shorter overall. The total writes in the Heavy test aren’t enough to fill the drive, so performance never drops down to steady state. This test is far more representative of a power user’s day to day usage, and is heavily influenced by the drive’s peak performance. The Heavy workload test details can be found here.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Heavy (Data Rate)

The Trion 150 offers very slightly improved average data rates over the Trion 100 on the Heavy test. Sub-20nm planar TLC still falls short of everything else on this write-heavy test.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Heavy (Latency)

The average service time of the 240GB Trion 150 is substantially worse than the Trion 100, but the larger capacities only barely regressed.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Heavy (Latency)

The larger two capacities of the Trion 150 offer modest improvements to the number of high-latency outliers, but still struggle much more than most MLC drives. The 240GB model performs about the same as its predecessor.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Heavy (Power)

Power consumption is improved for all capacities of the Trion 150, but only slightly. Even the most aggressively power hungry MLC drives fare better.

AnandTech Storage Bench – Light

Our Light storage test has relatively more sequential accesses and lower queue depths than The Destroyer or the Heavy test, and it’s by far the shortest test overall. It’s based largely on applications that aren’t highly dependent on storage performance, so this is a test more of application launch times and file load times. This test can be seen as the sum of all the little delays in daily usage, but with the idle times trimmed to 25ms it takes less than half an hour to run. Details of the Light test can be found here.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Light (Data Rate)

On the Light test, each Trion 150 manages a slightly higher average data rate than the Trion 100 of twice the capacity. The Trion 100 and 150 continue to show the largest discrepancies in performance when the test is run on a full drive instead of an empty drive.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Light (Latency)

Average service times have regressed slightly from the Trion 100 to the Trion 150, but the results are all still reasonable, especially for a budget drive.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Light (Latency)

The latency regression and full-drive penalty both show up more clearly when looking at the number of high-latency outliers than when comparing average service time.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Light (Power)

Power consumption on the Light test has not changed meaningfully and the Trion 150’s energy usage is perfectly normal.

Random Read Performance

The random read test requests 4kB blocks and tests queue depths ranging from 1 to 32. The queue depth is doubled every three minutes, for a total test duration of 18 minutes. The test spans the entire drive, which is filled before the test starts. The primary score we report is an average of performances at queue depths 1, 2 and 4, as client usage typically consists mostly of low queue depth operations.

Iometer - 4KB Random Read

The Trion 150 sets a new low for small queue depth random read speeds, with half the performance of the best SATA drives. This is probably the primary cause of the poorer latency scores seen on the ATSB tests. For context, the QD1 performance of the 480GB Trion 150 is still almost 50 times faster than a 7200RPM hard drive.

Iometer - 4KB Random Read (Power)

Power consumption has at least decreased in kind with the reduced performance, but the ADATA SP550 manages slightly better efficiency than the Trion 150 and most MLC drives are much more efficient.

OCZ Trion 150 240GB
OCZ Trion 150 480GB
OCZ Trion 150 960GB
ADATA Premier SP550 240GB
ADATA Premier SP550 480GB
ADATA XPG SX930 240GB
ADATA XPG SX930 480GB
Corsair Neutron XT 480GB
Crucial BX100 250GB
Crucial BX100 500GB
Crucial BX200 480GB
Crucial BX200 960GB
Crucial MX200 256GB
Crucial MX200 512GB
OCZ ARC 100 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 480GB
OCZ Trion 100 960GB
OCZ Vector 180 240GB
OCZ Vector 180 480GB
OCZ Vector 180 960GB
Plextor M6V 256GB
Samsung 850 EVO 1TB
Samsung 850 EVO M.2 500GB
Samsung 850 EVO mSATA 1TB
Samsung 850 EVO mSATA 250GB
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB
SanDisk Extreme Pro 480GB
SanDisk Ultra II 240GB

The 480GB Trion 150 doesn’t perform quite as well at the highest queue depths as the other capacities, but all sizes perform considerably worse than the competition, especially at high queue depths.

Random Write Performance

The random write test writes 4kB blocks and tests queue depths ranging from 1 to 32. The queue depth is doubled every three minutes, for a total test duration of 18 minutes. The test is limited to a 16GB portion of the drive, and the drive is empty save for the 16GB test file. The primary score we report is an average of performances at queue depths 1, 2 and 4, as client usage typically consists mostly of low queue depth operations.

Iometer - 4KB Random Write

Random write speed on the 240GB Trion 150 got a huge boost over the Trion 100 and even the larger Trion 150s, but they all improved and widened the lead over SM2256 drives.

Iometer - 4KB Random Write (Power)

Power efficiency during random writes is much improved. The 240GB Trion 150 draws slightly more power than the 240GB Trion 100, but that’s completely justified by the performance jump.

OCZ Trion 150 240GB
OCZ Trion 150 480GB
OCZ Trion 150 960GB
ADATA Premier SP550 240GB
ADATA Premier SP550 480GB
ADATA XPG SX930 240GB
ADATA XPG SX930 480GB
Corsair Neutron XT 480GB
Crucial BX100 250GB
Crucial BX100 500GB
Crucial BX200 480GB
Crucial BX200 960GB
Crucial MX200 256GB
Crucial MX200 512GB
OCZ ARC 100 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 480GB
OCZ Trion 100 960GB
OCZ Vector 180 240GB
OCZ Vector 180 480GB
OCZ Vector 180 960GB
Plextor M6V 256GB
Samsung 850 EVO 1TB
Samsung 850 EVO M.2 500GB
Samsung 850 EVO mSATA 1TB
Samsung 850 EVO mSATA 250GB
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB
SanDisk Extreme Pro 480GB
SanDisk Ultra II 240GB

The queue depth scaling behavior is quite odd. The 240GB Trion 150 doesn’t change past QD4, but the larger sizes see a huge improvement moving to QD8 and beyond. This can make for some nice benchmark numbers but won’t have much real-world impact. At low queue depths the 240GB comes out well ahead. This discrepancy is most likely a difference in the SLC caching configuration between the different models. Whatever the cause, the 240GB drive is making the better choices.

Sequential Read Performance

The sequential read test requests 128kB blocks and tests queue depths ranging from 1 to 32. The queue depth is doubled every three minutes, for a total test duration of 18 minutes. The test spans the entire drive, and the drive is filled before the test begins. The primary score we report is an average of performances at queue depths 1, 2 and 4, as client usage typically consists mostly of low queue depth operations.

Iometer - 128KB Sequential Read

All three sizes of the Trion 150 have very similar sequential read speeds and they fall in the middle of a large number of drives that all perform very similarly.

Iometer - 128KB Sequential Read (Power)

Power consumption is not so tightly clustered, and the larger capacities suffer a bit. All of the Trion 150s require less power than all of the Trion 100s.

OCZ Trion 150 240GB
OCZ Trion 150 480GB
OCZ Trion 150 960GB
ADATA Premier SP550 240GB
ADATA Premier SP550 480GB
ADATA XPG SX930 240GB
ADATA XPG SX930 480GB
Corsair Neutron XT 480GB
Crucial BX100 250GB
Crucial BX100 500GB
Crucial BX200 480GB
Crucial BX200 960GB
Crucial MX200 256GB
Crucial MX200 512GB
OCZ ARC 100 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 480GB
OCZ Trion 100 960GB
OCZ Vector 180 240GB
OCZ Vector 180 480GB
OCZ Vector 180 960GB
Plextor M6V 256GB
Samsung 850 EVO 1TB
Samsung 850 EVO M.2 500GB
Samsung 850 EVO mSATA 1TB
Samsung 850 EVO mSATA 250GB
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB
SanDisk Extreme Pro 480GB
SanDisk Ultra II 240GB

The queue depth scaling behavior for sequential reads on the Trion 150 is very typical, with full performance and power consumption reached at QD2 or larger.

Sequential Write Performance

The sequential write test writes 128kB blocks and tests queue depths ranging from 1 to 32. The queue depth is doubled every three minutes, for a total test duration of 18 minutes. The test spans the entire drive, and the drive is filled before the test begins. The primary score we report is an average of performances at queue depths 1, 2 and 4, as client usage typically consists mostly of low queue depth operations.

Iometer - 128KB Sequential Write

The Trion 150 greatly improves on its predecessor’s sequential write speeds, but TLC drives still pay a penalty. The 240GB model’s improvement is good but far short of the performance doubling achieved by the larger capacities.

Iometer - 128KB Sequential Write (Power)

The 240GB Trion 150 manages a modest power improvement over the Trion 100 despite the former delivering much better performance. The larger capacities also improve in efficiency, but still manage to draw more power than anything else.

OCZ Trion 150 240GB
OCZ Trion 150 480GB
OCZ Trion 150 960GB
ADATA Premier SP550 240GB
ADATA Premier SP550 480GB
ADATA XPG SX930 240GB
ADATA XPG SX930 480GB
Corsair Neutron XT 480GB
Crucial BX100 250GB
Crucial BX100 500GB
Crucial BX200 480GB
Crucial BX200 960GB
Crucial MX200 256GB
Crucial MX200 512GB
OCZ ARC 100 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 480GB
OCZ Trion 100 960GB
OCZ Vector 180 240GB
OCZ Vector 180 480GB
OCZ Vector 180 960GB
Plextor M6V 256GB
Samsung 850 EVO 1TB
Samsung 850 EVO M.2 500GB
Samsung 850 EVO mSATA 1TB
Samsung 850 EVO mSATA 250GB
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB
SanDisk Extreme Pro 480GB
SanDisk Ultra II 240GB

Power usage and performance during sustained sequential writes are almost completely independent of queue depth. The 480GB and 960GB Trion 150s do exhibit modest performance improvement between QD1 and QD2, but things are stable after that.

Mixed Random Read/Write Performance

The mixed random I/O benchmark starts with a pure read test and gradually increases the proportion of writes, finishing with pure writes. The queue depth is 3 for the entire test and each subtest lasts for 3 minutes, for a total test duration of 18 minutes. As with the pure random write test, this test is restricted to a 16GB span of the drive, which is empty save for the 16GB test file.

Iometer - Mixed 4KB Random Read/Write

The 240GB Trion 150 once again shows surprising improvement compared to both its predecessor and its larger siblings, and all capacities handle the mixed random workload as well as any budget TLC drive.

Iometer - Mixed 4KB Random Read/Write (Power)

The Trion 150 shows less variation in power consumption across capacities, and better efficiency than the competition.

OCZ Trion 150 240GB
OCZ Trion 150 480GB
OCZ Trion 150 960GB
ADATA Premier SP550 240GB
ADATA Premier SP550 480GB
ADATA XPG SX930 240GB
ADATA XPG SX930 480GB
Corsair Neutron XT 480GB
Crucial BX100 250GB
Crucial BX100 500GB
Crucial BX200 480GB
Crucial BX200 960GB
Crucial MX200 256GB
Crucial MX200 512GB
OCZ ARC 100 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 480GB
OCZ Trion 100 960GB
OCZ Vector 180 240GB
OCZ Vector 180 480GB
OCZ Vector 180 960GB
Plextor M6V 256GB
Samsung 850 EVO 1TB
Samsung 850 EVO M.2 500GB
Samsung 850 EVO mSATA 1TB
Samsung 850 EVO mSATA 250GB
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB
SanDisk Extreme Pro 480GB
SanDisk Ultra II 240GB

The 240GB Trion 150’s relatively impressive score is due mostly to the good performance on the pure write phase at the end of this test. The larger capacities don’t benefit quite as much at the end, but do score slightly higher on the other portions of the test.

Mixed Sequential Read/Write Performance

The mixed sequential access test covers the entire span of the drive and uses a queue depth of one. It starts with a pure read test and gradually increases the proportion of writes, finishing with pure writes. Each subtest lasts for 3 minutes, for a total test duration of 18 minutes. The drive is filled before the test starts.

Iometer - Mixed 128KB Sequential Read/Write

The 240GB Trion 150 is barely slower than its predecessor on the mixed sequential test, but the larger capacities perform much better and are close to matching the slowest MLC drives.

Iometer - Mixed 128KB Sequential Read/Write (Power)

The Trion 150 continues to show improved power efficiency compared to the Trion 100, and once again manages to beat the other planar TLC drives.

OCZ Trion 150 240GB
OCZ Trion 150 480GB
OCZ Trion 150 960GB
ADATA Premier SP550 240GB
ADATA Premier SP550 480GB
ADATA XPG SX930 240GB
ADATA XPG SX930 480GB
Corsair Neutron XT 480GB
Crucial BX100 250GB
Crucial BX100 500GB
Crucial BX200 480GB
Crucial BX200 960GB
Crucial MX200 256GB
Crucial MX200 512GB
OCZ ARC 100 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 480GB
OCZ Trion 100 960GB
OCZ Vector 180 240GB
OCZ Vector 180 480GB
OCZ Vector 180 960GB
Plextor M6V 256GB
Samsung 850 EVO 1TB
Samsung 850 EVO M.2 500GB
Samsung 850 EVO mSATA 1TB
Samsung 850 EVO mSATA 250GB
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB
SanDisk Extreme Pro 480GB
SanDisk Ultra II 240GB

Quite differently from the mixed random test, on this test the 240GB Trion 150’s score is hurt by the performance on the pure write phase. All three capacities manage to show a performance spike at the end of the test, which is absent from the worst scoring drives.

ATTO

ATTO’s Disk Benchmark is a quick and easy freeware tool to measure drive performance across various transfer sizes.

ATTO Performance
OCZ Trion 150 240GB
OCZ Trion 150 480GB
OCZ Trion 150 960GB
ADATA Premier SP550 120GB
ADATA Premier SP550 240GB
ADATA Premier SP550 480GB
ADATA XPG SX930 120GB
ADATA XPG SX930 240GB
ADATA XPG SX930 480GB
Corsair Neutron XT 480GB
Crucial BX100 120GB
Crucial BX100 250GB
Crucial BX100 500GB
Crucial BX100 1TB
Crucial BX200 480GB
Crucial BX200 960GB
Crucial MX100 512GB
Crucial MX200 250GB
Crucial MX200 500GB
Crucial MX200 1TB
OCZ Trion 100 240GB
OCZ Trion 100 480GB
OCZ Trion 100 960GB
OCZ Vector 180 240GB
OCZ Vector 180 480GB
OCZ Vector 180 960GB
Plextor M6V 256GB
Samsung 850 EVO M.2 120GB
Samsung 850 EVO mSATA 250GB
Samsung 850 EVO M.2 500GB
Samsung 850 EVO mSATA 1TB
Samsung 850 EVO 1TB
Samsung SSD 850 Pro 512GB
Samsung 850 Pro 2TB
SanDisk Extreme Pro 480GB
SanDisk Ultra II 240GB
Toshiba Q300 480GB

The 240GB Trion 150’s write speeds are a bit uneven, but the larger capacities are perfectly normal with write speeds that are only slightly behind read speeds.

AS-SSD

AS-SSD is another quick and free benchmark tool. It uses incompressible data for all of its tests, making it an easy way to keep an eye on which drives are relying on transparent data compression. The short duration of the test makes it a decent indicator of peak drive performance.

Incompressible Sequential Read PerformanceIncompressible Sequential Write Performance

The Trion 150 manages to mostly top the (SATA) charts for peak read and write speeds, but the distinction is meaningless given how close the competition is.

Idle Power Consumption

Since the ATSB tests based on real-world usage cut idle times short to 25ms, their power consumption scores paint an inaccurate picture of the relative suitability of drives for mobile use. During real-world client use, a solid state drive will spend far more time idle than actively processing commands. Our testbed doesn’t support the deepest DevSlp power saving mode that SATA drives can implement, but we can measure the power usage in the intermediate slumber state where both the host and device ends of the SATA link enter a low-power state and the drive is free to engage its internal power savings measures.

We also report the drive’s idle power consumption while the SATA link is active and not in any power saving state. Drives are required to be able to wake from the slumber state in under 10 milliseconds, but that still leaves plenty of room for them to add latency to a burst of I/O. Because of this, many desktops default to either not using SATA Aggressive Link Power Management (ALPM) at all or to only enable it partially without making use of the device-initiated power management (DIPM) capability. Additionally, SATA Hot-Swap is incompatible with the use of DIPM, so our SSD testbed usually has DIPM turned off during performance testing.

Idle Power Consumption (HIPM+DIPM)
Active Idle Power Consumption (No ALPM)

With and without DIPM, the Trion 150 has similar idle power consumption to its predecessors based on the TC58 controller. It’s the best at saving power when ALPM is unavailable, and its device-initiated power management works properly.

Final Words

Unlike for processors, we’ve come to expect bad things from a process shrink for flash. It helps lower costs but often hurts endurance and performance. Until recently the performance penalty was mostly a matter of reduced parallelism from higher-capacity NAND flash dies, and as such the penalty could be offset by simply getting a bigger drive. With the value SSD market now dominated by TLC, die shrinks also bring an increased reliance on error correction–and more advanced error correcting schemes like LDPC are much slower.

Given the above, we’re very glad to see that the Trion 150 only performs below the Trion 100 on a few tests (most notably, random read speed). I suspect that Toshiba’s 15nm flash process was designed with very careful attention to mitigating the disadvantages of TLC flash where possible, but the drive’s firmware also deserves a lot of credit. The steady-state performance consistency behavior of the Trion 150 is completely different, vastly better than the Trion 100 and better than a lot of mid-range SATA drives. Most other tests show at least moderate performance improvement relative to the Trion 100. Power efficiency has also improved, though not enough to prevent the improved performance from pushing overall power consumption over 5W at times. Overall the Trion 150 has no trouble proving its worth as an upgrade from a hard drive, and it’s better-suited to that purpose than its predecessor.

Several tests showed a marked difference in behavior between the 240GB Trion 150 and the larger capacities, with the 240GB drive sometimes dramatically outperforming or underperforming the othe two sizes. These differences mostly washed out and the results on our AnandTech Storage Bench tests of real-world access patterns showed no such surprises. It would be interesting to know what causes the different behaviors, but none of those results are cause for concern.

When it was first announced, we expected the Trion 150 to be the end of the road for Toshiba’s planar TLC SSDs. The race to the bottom has fortunately not kept up quite the same pace with this latest product cycle. While Toshiba is still certainly trying to get their 3D NAND out the door as soon as possible, the Trion 150 shows that their 15nm TLC is not as unsatisfying as we expected. We’ve also seen Samsung introduce a low-end planar TLC SSD as a cheaper alternative to their 3D NAND options, and companies are continuing their planar NAND R&D efforts alongside 3D NAND development. If another die shrink can be pulled off like the 15nm transition, we might see one more generation of mainstream SSDs using planar flash, though only in certain market segments.

However, for all that the Trion 150 didn’t live up to our fears and turned out to be pretty good for a sub-20nm planar TLC drive, it also did nothing to significantly close the performance gap with MLC drives. This means the price still needs to be going down to create a meaningful separation in price tiers between TLC and cheap MLC drives. Aside from a $20 rebate for the 480GB Trion 150 on Newegg, it’s not currently priced aggressively, but it’s definitely a drive to watch. Any time a sale makes it the cheapest option, it would be the best buy among low-end TLC drives. Against competitors like the ADATA SP550 or PNY CS1311, it can only command a few dollars premium.

(anandtech.com, http://goo.gl/diuWhJ)

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