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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

Closer Look: OCZ RevoDrive PCI-E SSD

For this article Benchmark Reviews is testing the OCZ RevoDrive SSD, which is expected to reach speeds of 540 MB/s for sequential reads and 480 MB/s sequential writes. The 120GB Revo OCZSSDPX-1RVD0120 kit is built using dual SandForce SF-1222 controllers with 7% over-provisioning, which means that 120GB out of 128GB NAND flash contained in this SSD are allocated for data use. The OCZ Revo PCI-E SSD comes in 50/80/120/180/240/360/480GB capacities, and all models receive OCZ's three-year warranty.

Most modern motherboards with PCI-Express 2.0 slots 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. OCZ offers a list of compatible motherboards on their product website.

OCZ-Revo-Drive-SSD-Packaging.jpg

SSDs are catching on quickly because they work equally well in PC, Linux, or Apple Mac computers, but the RevoDrive is different. Instead of packaging the NAND and drive controller into a SATA-connected enclosure, OCZ has built the Revo to utilize a single 4x PCI-Express 1.1 slot. Because it requires a 4x PCI-Express 1.1 slot to operate, the OCZ RevoDrive SSD is best suited for enthusiast-level desktop computer systems or performance-orientated application servers where 75,000 IOPS could really make an impact. SandForce SF-1200 series SSD controllers have been designed with a focus on high-performance operational and data transfer speeds, and include encrypted data protection and improved NAND wear-leveling through their proprietary DuraWrite technology.

OCZ-Revo-Drive-SSD-Top-Corner.jpg

While PCIe effectively rules out attention from notebook consumers, it opens up a market to users in need of Hot-Plug drive support. Additionally, OCZ's PCB-0052-X02 printed circuit board allows for modular component placement, which could one day expand the platform to offer up to four storage controllers with more complex drive schemes with even faster data processing. An add-on board could be connected, which would house supplemental NAND flash and two additional storage controllers.

OCZ-Revo-Drive-SSD-Top.jpg

OCZ utilizes a Pericom PI7C9X130 PCIe-to-PCIx reversible bridge chip on their Revo SSD, which connects one x4 PCI-Express port to one standard 64-bit /133 MHz PCIx port. The Pericom PI7C9X130 bridge features a 10KB buffer: 4KB for upstream reads with 2KB for upstream writes, and 2KB for downstream reads with another 2KB for downstream writes. From the PCI-Express bus, data travels through the Pericom PI7C9X130 located on the printed circuit board (PCB) directly above the gold-fingers into a Sil3124 RAID controller chip by Silicon Image (covered with a R sticker).

OCZ-Revo-Drive-SSD-PCB-Bottom.jpg

Silicon Image defines their SiI3124 chip as a PCI-Express to SATA-3GB/s controller capable of driving four ports. The current version of OCZ's Revo SSD incorporates the Sil3124 chip to drive two of the four available channels, using two SandForce SF-1200 controllers combined into a RAID-0 array to produce peak performance before reaching a collection of NAND flash components. A more detailed explanation of architecture is given in the next section...



 

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?
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# 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?
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# 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!
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# 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!
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# 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??
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# 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.
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# 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.
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# 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.
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# 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.
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# 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?
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# 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.
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# 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.
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# 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.
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# 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.
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