OCZ Trion 100 Series Entry Level SSD Review
OCZ's new Trion 100 SSD is its first with TLC NAND and a Toshiba-designed controller. OCZ is positioning this new Trion series SSD as an entry level product for first time SSD buyers migrating from a spinning data drive. Does this budget SSD have what it takes to finally get average users off of magnetic storage?
The Trion 100 is OCZ’s latest entry-level solid state drive, and represents the breaking of new ground in a few areas for the venerable brand. Trion (pronounced "try-on") is a new product line for OCZ, intended to slot below the previous entry-level Arc series SSDs.
The Trion 100 is OCZ’s first drive to use triple-level cell (TLC) NAND memory, which is just now beginning to see more widespread adoption in low-cost SSDs after being introduced to consumers in 2012 with the Samsung SSD 840. The Trion 100 also represents the first in-house controller design from Toshiba, the corporate parent of OCZ since January 2014. Prior to the Trion 100’s release, all of the SATA SSDs in OCZ’s product portfolio were powered by variants of the aging Barefoot 3 controller.
The Trion 100 is available as a 2.5" SATA SSD, with the following capacities and MSRPs:
Since OCZ’s near-death experience and subsequent acquisition, expectations have gone up. Some earlier SSDs from OCZ had earned a reputation for being failure-prone, but OCZ has redeemed itself admirably with the last few generations of consumer drives. As Toshiba is a leading NAND manufacturer, the acquisition placed OCZ in the very fortunate position of being able to leverage its new parent’s expertise and breadth to increase vertical integration. This is important for a few reasons in the SSD world- having engineering talent with in-depth knowledge of the important components that make up a drive, the controller and NAND memory, becomes more feasible when they’re designed under the same corporate umbrella.
Additionally, NAND supply is sometimes unstable, and integration between the business of assembling and selling SSDs and the business of manufacturing memory minimizes supply issues and bill of materials cost. Good business dictates that if you have the scale to do something in-house, there will be one less supplier making money off of your needs. If you don’t know who the sucker is, it’s you.
With that brief lesson on the supply chain realities of SSD manufacturing out of the way, Samsung’s ability to consistently crush it on a price and performance basis seems a lot less magical, and a lot more like smart and well-executed strategy. It makes sense, at the least, for NAND manufacturers to integrate with SSD manufacturers, however creating some odd bedfellows through joint ventures in the process. Samsung’s dominance in consumer SSDs, however, hasn’t come exclusively from having a lot of good NAND available for below-market prices. Samsung has been designing brilliant in-house controllers for its SSDs, and further realizing cost and performance benefits as a result. With the Trion 100, OCZ is beginning to enter the same realm.