Toshiba’s new OCZ VX500 is launching into what has been the quietest corner of the SSD market: SATA drives using MLC NAND flash. The fiercest competition has been among low-cost TLC SSDs and the PCIe SSD segment has seen several new entrants in recent months, but the mid- to high-end portion of the SATA SSD market has been in a holding pattern awaiting new 3D NAND. The OCZ VX500 is not a new 3D NAND SSD but a stopgap product to replace the aging OCZ Vector 180, known as the VT180 since Toshiba’soverhaul of OCZ branding earlier this year.
The Barefoot 3 controller in the Vector 180 is ancient, having launched with the original OCZ Vector in 2012. At the time, it performed well enough to go up against Samsung’s best in the consumer market and was viable in the enterprise market. As the market has moved on and caught up, the limitations of the Barefoot 3 controller have become increasingly awkward. Most prominently, it does not support SATA link power management and consequently products based on it have by far the worst idle power of any consumer SATA SSD on the market. It was never intended for use with TLC NAND or 3D NAND, and may not even be able to work with Toshiba’s 15nm MLC NAND.
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