Archive Home arrow Reviews: arrow Storage arrow OCZ RevoDrive PCI-Express SandForce SSD
OCZ RevoDrive PCI-Express SandForce SSD E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage
Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
OCZ RevoDrive PCI-Express SandForce SSD
Features and Specifications
Closer Look: OCZ RevoDrive PCI-E SSD
SandForce PCI-E SSD Anatomy
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
HDD vs Hybrid Drive vs SSD
OCZ RevoDrive Conclusion

HDD vs Hybrid Drive vs SSD

It's been the same argument for over two years now: SSDs offer the best performance, but HDDs still offer the best capacity and price. Now that Solid State Hybrid drives are available, that argument changes. While the optimal blend of bandwidth speed, operational performance, storage capacity, and value has yet to be delivered, products like the Seagate Momentus-XT offer an ultra-affordable start in the right direction Installed as a primary drive for notebook and value-conscious enthusiasts, the Solid State Hybrid Drive delivers up high-capacity storage space while starting Windows and opening programs like a SSD.

The last days of old technology are always better than the first days of new technology. Never has this saying been more true than with the topic of storage technology, specifically in regard to the introduction of Solid State Drive technology a few years ago. The only things standing in the way of widespread Solid State Drive (SSD) adoption are high storage capacity and affordable price of Hard Disk Drive (HDD) devices. Because NAND flash-based SSD technology costs more per gigabyte of capacity than traditional magnetic hard drives, the benefits of immediate response time, transfer speeds, and operational input/output performance often get overlooked. Like most consumer products, it wasn't a question of how much improvement was evident in the new technology, it was price. I'll discuss product costs more in just a moment, but for now consider how each new series of SSD product employs greater performance than the one before it, convincing would-be consumers into waiting for the right time to buy.

There's also a gray area surrounding SSD performance benchmarks that has me concerned. You might not know this, but SSDs can be very temperamental towards the condition of their NAND flash. My experience testing dozens of Solid State Drives is that a freshly cleaned device (using an alignment tool) will always outperform the same device once it's been formatted and used. A perfect example are Indilinx Barefoot-based SSDs, which suffers severely degraded performance when writing to 'dirty' NAND flash. The reason that all of this will matter is simple: the performance results reported to consumers in product reviews (such as this one) often report the very best performance scores, and the process used to obtain these results is not applicable to real-world usage. This is where garbage collection techniques such as TRIM become important, so that end-users will experience the same performance levels as we do in our tests.

Manufacturer Indilinx Intel JMicron Samsung Toshiba SandForce Marvell
Controller IDX110M00-FC PC29AS21AA0 JMF612 S3C29RBB01-YK40 T6UG1XBG SandForce SF-1200 88SS9174-BJP2
Max Cache 64MB 16MB 128KB+256MB 128MB 128MB Integrated 128MB
Max Capacity 256GB 160GB 256GB 256GB 512GB 512GB 256GB
Read/Write Speed 230/170 MBps 250/70 MBps 250/200 MBps 220/200 MBps 230/180 MBps 260/260 MBps 355/215 MBps
Interface SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-II 3-Gbps SATA-III 6-Gbps
Garbage Collection GC/TRIM None TRIM GC/TRIM GC/TRIM GC/TRIM GC/TRIM

Chart By:

BmR

Garbage Collection (GC) is the current solution for keeping NAND flash in 'clean' condition, while maintaining optimal performance. Windows 7 offers native TRIM support, and most retail SSDs also include this special GC function or at least offer a firmware update that brings the drive up-to-date. For anyone using an Operating System or SSD that does not offer Garbage Collection functionality, you'll be using 'dirty' NAND flash modules and suffering sub-optimal performance for each write-to request. A few SSD manufacturers offers free tools to help restore peak-level performance by scheduling GC to 'clean' used NAND sectors, but these tools add excessive wear to the NAND the same way disk defragmenting tools would. SLC flash modules may resist wear much better than MLC counterparts, but come at the expense of increased production cost. The best solution is a more durable NAND module that offers long-lasting SLC benefits at the cost of MLC construction. Adoption is further stalled because keen consumers aware of this dilemma further continue their delay into the SSD market.

Getting back to price, the changes in cost per gigabyte have come as often as changes to the technology itself. At their inception, high-performance models such the 32GB MemoRight GT cost $33 per gigabyte while the entry-level 32GB Mtron MOBI 3000 sold for $14 per gigabyte. While an enjoyable decline in NAND component costs forced consumer SSD prices down low in 2009, the price of SSD products has been on the rise during 2010. Nevertheless, Solid State Drives continue to fill store shelves despite price or capacity, and there are a few SSD products now costing only $2.03 per gigabyte. Although the performance may justify the price, which is getting dangerously close to the $0.79 per gigabyte for the WD VelociRaptor hard drive, costs may still close some buyers out of the market. Price notwithstanding, the future is in SSD technology - or possibly a SSD hybrid - and the day when HDDs are obsolete is nearing.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: OCZ RevoDrive PCI-Express SandForce SSDfunkz 2010-09-22 01:52
Page 4 incorrectly states "Silicon Image defines their SiI3124 chip as a PCI-Express to SATA-3GB/s controller" when it's PCI-X as listed elsewhere in the review. The SiI3124 is ancient, strange that OCZ would choose to use it since the PCI-E has to be bridged to PCI-X first with the Pericom, when there are native PCI-E RAID controllers readily available, such as the SiI3132 for example. But why even bother using SATA on a card? Instead of this convoluted process of PCI-E to PCI-X to SATA RAID to NAND, how about a simple PCI-E NAND controller?
Report Comment
 
 
# Platform dependant?RealNeil 2010-09-22 02:45
I wonder if the drive would perform as well on a P55 mainboard?
They have certain bandwidth restrictions on the PCI-E bus with multiple PCI-E slots occupied concurrently. (X16 is divided into X8 times two)
I just wonder if this architecture would effect the output of the drive, and if the drive would effect the output of the Video Card?
Report Comment
 
 
# DESEMPENHO DOS DRIVES SSDSandro 2010-09-22 03:27
VEJA SO, SANDRO, QUE A INDUSTRIA TENTOU COLOCAR UM PREÇO ALTO NESTE TIPO DE "STORAGE DEVICE" MAS... NAO COLOU.
PARECE QUE VAO MUDAR A TATICA!
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: DESEMPENHO DOS DRIVES SSDRealNeil 2010-09-22 03:54
Did he say?: SO SEE, SANDRO, THAT TRIED TO PUT AN INDUSTRY'S HIGH PRE THIS KIND OF "STORAGE DEVICE" BUT ... Not getting through. IT SEEMS THAT WILL CHANGE THE TACTIC!
Report Comment
 
 
# TranslationGustavo 2010-09-22 22:50
What he said can roughly be translated as( not translated work by word, but a little better translation): "You see, Sandro,the industry tried to put a high price in this type of Storage device...but it didnt worked out. Now it look like they are going to change tatics."

Aside from the tranlation, can someone tell me if this type of storage( via Pci-e)is bootable??
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: TranslationRealNeil 2010-09-23 04:25
Ha-Ha! I used Google Translate on it and that's the best it would do for me. I don't understand Portuguese at all. You've made it much clearer to me what he meant. Thank You.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: TranslationRealNeil 2010-09-23 04:30
As to the bootable, check OZC's site for more info on this device. It's bootable with some motherboards and is not with others.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: TranslationAdam 2010-09-23 04:33
It is, although it's fairly dependant on the motherboard.

I'd guess quite a lot will need bios updates.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: RE: TranslationOlin Coles 2010-09-23 06:55
Most current-generation motherboards will support Revo as a boot device, such as Intel's 5x series and AMD's 8xx series, but older motherboards may require a BIOS update.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: OCZ RevoDrive PCI-Express SandForce SSDRobert17 2010-09-22 04:26
Nice review. Couple of questions: this drive is very reminiscent of the ANS-9010 product which I felt at the time was very forward-looking. Any chance that this could be THE direction SSD products will be headed by all manufacturers? (I'm guessing that you are provided a bit more insight on an average day)

I notice the idle power consumption on the data sheet provided by OCZ is 7W. Although still small, it seems to be much higher than other SSDs. Is this correct? If so, is it an artifact of having two controllers on the card or of being a PCI-E footprint? Any idea?
Report Comment
 
 
# AnswersOlin Coles 2010-09-22 07:50
@ funkz: Page 4 is actually correct, as I re-state Silicon Image's product description: siliconimage.com/products/product.aspx?pid=27
I agree with you about the controller; it works, but better options exist. Perhaps it was a cost benefit issue.

@ Neil: OCZ doesn't recommend motherboards with restrictive bandwidth on the PCI-Express bus, and the P55 motherboard would be a concern if SLI or CFX were used. If it's a single VGA with Revo on P55, I don't see a problem.

@ Robert: A standard SSD has a controller and NAND, while the Revo has twice the amount of NAND ICs, a RAID processor, and PCI-E bridge. This is where the extra power consumption comes from.
Report Comment
 
 
# Beware Crosshair IV ownersJethro 2010-09-22 08:31
Be careful about purchasing the Revodrive before checking compatibility on OCZ's site. The Crosshair IV and I think the EVGA X758 SLI board does not work with the Revodrive. ASUS has yet to fix their BIOS to enable the drive to work and I don't know about the EVGA.
Report Comment
 
 
# RE: Beware Crosshair IV ownersOlin Coles 2010-09-22 08:37
To be more specific, Jethro is referring to the OCZ RevoDrive as the computer's boot drive. It will still work as a secondary drive.
Report Comment
 
 
# liveonc.weebly.comJay 2010-09-23 08:52
Would have preferred if they offered a PCIe 2.0 x16 SSD with 4-8 SiI3124 in 16 RAID 0 or 8 RAID 1+0 even if it's "only" a 120GB SSD, to make most of the cheap PCI-X controller & most of the MLC-NAND memory using all 16 PCIe lanes.
Report Comment
 

Comments have been disabled by the administrator.

Search Benchmark Reviews
QNAP Network Storage Servers

Follow Benchmark Reviews on FacebookReceive Tweets from Benchmark Reviews on Twitter