OCZ RevoDrive 50GB PCIe Solid State Drive

Posted by on Friday, February 25, 2011 - 1:36pm

OCZ RevoDrive 50GBAnd yet, just when you think you have that new rig right where you want with drive performance, OCZ ups the ante once more; enter RevoDrive, stage left. The RevoDrive is one of the more recent additions to OCZ's SSD arsenal, but the RevoDrive is not your typical SSD. What makes it different is that they have dropped the SATA connector and 2.5" enclosure, in favor of utilizing PCIe slot and an open-board design. A little unusual? Perhaps, but the performance numbers will no doubt remove any ill conceived notions you may have.  UPDATE: Corrected SLC/MLC info; all RevoDrives utilize the MLC chips.

Introduction to the OCZ RevoDrive 50GB PCIe Solid State Drive

I for one like to build my main PC around the cutting edge technology. Maybe not the biggest, baddest or fastest components, but just the latest technology: the latest chipset in a motherboard, current series/model of processor, well ventilated PC case, and lets not forget about the latest GPU. However, as of late, the best upgrade that could be made would be to replace that old platter-based mechanical hard drive for a solid state drive. Depending on how often you upgrade there isn’t much that can compare with the performance increase that is spread throughout your entire system with the move to an SSD.

Over the past two or so years we have seen solid state grow bigger in capacity, faster in speed and much to our pocket book's relief, cheaper in price; precisely what the consumer is looking for. Yet the performance of the drive's integrated controller cannot be over looked either. From the first JMicron, to the latest SandForce controller, we have seen performance numbers skyrocket. The sneak peaks on the upcoming OCZ Vertex 3 Pro featuring the latest SandForce controller for SATA-III, are a testament to that ever increasing SSD performance.

OCZ has been one of the biggest reasons we are seeing solid state drives popularity grow as well as it has. The Agility and Vertex have been two of OCZ's biggest sellers, with both enthusiasts and professionals speaking quite  highly of the drives. Our review of the Agility had impressed me so much that it remains in my system to this day.

And yet, just when you think you have that new rig right where you want with drive performance, OCZ ups the ante once more; enter RevoDrive, stage left. The RevoDrive is one of the more recent additions to OCZ's SSD arsenal, but the RevoDrive is not your typical SSD. What makes it different is that they have dropped the SATA connector and 2.5" enclosure, in favor of utilizing PCIe slot and an open-board design. A little unusual? Perhaps, but the performance numbers will no doubt remove any ill conceived notions you may have.

OCZ take on the RevoDrive

Focusing on both performance and affordability for consumers, the RevoDrive PCI-Express SSD is designed to accommodate a wide range of computing environments beyond everyday use to video-editing and other multi-media creation and management applications.

Moving beyond the bottleneck of SATA II, the RevoDrive features a PCI-E interface to deliver superior speeds up to 540MB/s reads and random 4k writes up to 75,000 IOPS. Designed for high-performance gaming PCs and workstations, the RevoDrive has the unique capability to run both Windows and your essential applications and games to not only provides a more responsive PC experience, but promote a cooler, quieter, and more energy efficient conditions compared to traditional mechanical hard drives.

RevoDrive is available in 50GB up to 480GB capacities to offer extensive space for the latest operating systems, game titles, and applications for snappier boot and load times. The RevoDrive series comes backed with a 3-year warranty and ultra-reliable 2 million hour mean time between failure (MTBF) rating.


Specifications

  • Available in 50GB to 480GB capacities
  • PCI-Express interface (x4)
  • For use as primary boot drive or data storage
  • Internal RAID 0
  • 181.07 (L) x 21.59 (W) x 125.08mm (H)
  • Shock Resistance: 1500g
  • Seek Time: 0.1 ms
  • Operating Temp: 0°C ~ +70°C
  • Storage Temp: -45°C ~ +85°C
  • Power Consumption: 3W Idle, 8W active
  • MTBF: 2,000,000 hours
  • 3-Year Warranty
  • Compatible with Windows XP 32/64, Vista 32/64, Windows 7 32/64
  • Read: Up to 540 MB/s
  • Write: Up to 450 MB/s
  • Sustained Write: Up to 350 MB/s
  • Random Write 4KB (Aligned): 70,000 IOPS

Closer look

Allow us to get you acquainted with the Revo... you don't mind if we call you 'Revo' do you? No? Alrighty then! The Revo comes in two models: the standard RevoDrive and RevoDrive X2, which we will be concentrating on the standard model today. Both offer several different storage capacities that range from 50GB to 480GB on the standard model, and 100GB to 960GB for the X2. Current solid state storage chips come in one of two different flavors. The first is what they call SLC, or Single Layer Cell, and refers to the type of flash [NAND] memory being used. The SLC is currently the faster design, but is reserved for OCZ's Enterprise products. This is simply because of one thing we are all well aware of in the computing world: better technology comes at a higher price. So that is why the the manufacturers utilize MLC, or Multi Layer Cell, in the consumer SSDs like the Revo (especially in the larger capacity models). What is of some comfort though, aside from the affordable pricing of MLC equipped drives like The Revo (all models), is that the performance hit by utilizing it is not substantial. Still, with maximum read speeds of 540MB/ and write speeds of 450MB/s, it is well above that of any platter based drive! This makes the 50GB and 80GB models the perfect solutions for anyone looking for a very fast, and affordable, system boot drive.  

The larger capacity models, which would populate the remaining flash memory chip spots, similarly have very high performance numbers: 540MB/s and 480MB/s for max read and writes, respectfully. These larger capacity models are 120GB, 180GB, 240GB, 360GB and 480GB.

If you had thoughts of the Revo being a traditional solid state, you can toss them right out t he window. The RevoDrives have ditched the SATA connector and typical plastic enclosures that drives now come in. In favor of a high speed PCIe x4 slot and an exposed board. With being a PCIe based solution, the Revo looks more like some enterprise level SAS RAID controller than it does a SSD.

Something that you, our keen eyed readers, have undoubtedly spotted already is the Revo is equipped by not one, but two SandForce SF-1222 chips. Reason? Well, the Revo is actually two 25GB drives on one card, which are configured in a RAID0 which is where all that performance comes from, but also is how the 50GB is achieved. This is handled by a Silicon Image SiL3124 RAID controller (which is under the 'R' sticker). The Revo can also be re-configured for JBOD as well from within the onboard BIOS, which you can access during POST, but keep in mind you will be setting up the card as two independent 25GB drives and so you lose any RAID0 performance.


Since the Silicon Image chip is originally an enterprise grade RAID controller its native communication means is PCI-X. In order to function on the PCIe bus the Revo is equipped with a Pericom PI7C9X130 Bridge Controller. The storage on the RevoDrive is provided by a total of sixteen Intel 29F32G08AAMDB NAND chips, of which eight make up each 25GB drive.


Testing Methodology

The testing of a SSD is not as complex as say, RAM or a motherboard, but due to this technology still being relatively new there are not many benchmark suites out there to test them in the way they are intended to be used. However, we are taking the most popular of the benchmark applications available to get you some idea of how fast the read and writes of these jobs are. Microsoft's Windows Vista and Seven are the ideal solutions for such a drive, but we decided to go with the latter of the two as Seven is the future, so we decided to load our test bench with it.

Test Hardware:

Motherboard:  MSI P67A-GD65
Processor: Intel Core i5 2500K @ 4.5GHz @ 1.35 voltages
Ram: Patriot Sector 5 1333 4GB Dual Channel (9-9-9-24)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD FleX 6870
HDD: OCZ RevoDrive 50GB, Hitachi 1TB SATA II
Power: Thermaltake Tough Power XT 850 (Sponsored by Thermaltake)
Case: Open air
Cooling: Xigmatek Aegir SD128264
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit
Thermal compound: Arctic Silver 5


Results

HD Tune Pro 3.50
HD Tune Pro is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as: write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.

ATTO Disk Benchmark
The ATTO Disk Benchmark performance measurement tool is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Measure your storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. Several options are available to customize your performance measurement including queue depth, overlapped I/O and even a comparison mode with the option to run continuously. Use ATTO Disk Benchmark to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host adapters, hard drives and SSD drives and notice that ATTO products will consistently provide the highest level of performance to your storage.

 

 

CrystalDiskMark 3.0
CrystalDiskMark is designed to quickly test the performance of your hard drives. Currently, the program allows to measure sequential and random read/write speeds.

[Editor's Note: After some retesting after a Secure Erase, we contacted OCZ to make sure everything was correct.They assured us that this
is just what CDM reports on the Write speeds and things are alright, that CDM and the SandForce controller aren't exactly "best friends".]

 


AIDA64 Extreme Edition 1.50
FinalWire Ltd. today announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 Extreme Edition 1.50 software, a streamlined diagnostic and benchmarking tool for home users; and the immediate availability of AIDA64 Business Edition 1.50 software, an essential network management solution for small and medium scale enterprises.
The new AIDA64 update implements AVX-optimized benchmarks for the upcoming Intel Sandy Bridge processors, adds a brand new video encoding benchmark, and supports the latest AMD and nVIDIA graphics processors.

AS SSD
The synthetic tests to determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are carried out without using the operating system caches. In Seq-test measures the program how long it takes to read a full 1 GB of file to write respectively. In the 4K test the read and write performance for random 4K blocks is determined. The 4K-64-THRD-test corresponds to the 4K procedure except that here distributes the read and write operations on 64 threads. This test should be SSDs with Native Command Queuing (NCQ) differences between the IDE operation mode where NCQ is not supported, and represent the AHCI mode. The additional compression test can measure the performance of the SSD as a function of compressibility of the data. This is especially the controllers that are used to increase the performance and life of the cell compression is important.

[Similar to CDM, the AS SSD results are also fine, though a shame we are not able to compare the "Scores". Rest assured that
the results are not indicative of the drive's performance, as it is just as lighting fast as one expects! -Thanks]


Conclusion

The OCZ RevoDrive is one hell of a drive. We have yet to test anything like it, or even as fast for that matter. With maximum Read speeds of 513MB/s and Write speeds of 434MB/s, according to our ATTO test, the Revo definitely performed as advertised. This is, on average, twice as fast as most solid state drives we have tested here at Pro-Clockers!

The performance we saw from the RevoDrive is obviously due to the dual SandForce controllers in RAID0 configuration. Dual solid state drives of any type can result in decent speeds, but OCZ managed to do it at a reasonable price point which of about $200. Finding two solid state drives using SandForce controllers to put in a RAID configuration like tis, and at this price, is nearly impossible.

Sure with this model you sacrifice some data storage capacity but you make it up in speed. And you also have to remember we are reviewing the smallest of the RevoDrives, which is aimed more at being used for a Boot Drive, and not storage. There are six other drives of much larger capacity to decide from, which the larger drives also offer even better performance.

For those looking for TRIM support it is not within the RevoDrive, and according to staff on the OCZ forum there are no plans. Don't let you deture you though. The garbage collection method they have used on the RevoDrive is quite up to the task of ensuring your performance doesn't degrade with use. Which should you even feel that the case there is always the option of a Secure Erase (0-Write) to put the Revo back to it's original performance.
 
There is a small drawback to the RevoDrive and that is that it is not compatible with all motherboards. Our usual test motherboard, the Gigabyte P67A-UD4 was one of them, so we had to move it over onto the MSI P67A-GD65 and it worked great. When used with the UD4 we could not get the system to POST no matter that slot we selected for the drive. So, it is important to check to see if your motherboard is compatible with the drive before purchasing.

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