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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

SSD Testing Methodology

Solid State Drives have traveled a long winding course to finally get where they are today. Up to this point in technology, there have been several key differences separating Solid State Drives from magnetic rotational Hard Disk Drives. While the DRAM-based buffer size on desktop HDDs has recently reached 32 MB and is ever-increasing, there is still a hefty delay in the initial response time. This is one key area in which flash-based Solid State Drives continually dominates because they lack moving parts to "get up to speed".

However the benefits inherent to SSDs have traditionally fallen off once the throughput begins, even though data reads or writes are executed at a high constant rate whereas the HDD tapers off in performance. This makes the average transaction speed of a SSD comparable to the data burst rate mentioned in HDD tests, albeit usually lower than the HDD's speed.

Comparing a Solid State Disk to a standard Hard Disk Drives is always relative; even if you're comparing the fastest rotational spindle speeds. One is going to be many times faster in response (SSDs), while the other is usually going to have higher throughput bandwidth (HDDs). Additionally, there are certain factors which can affect the results of a test which we do our best to avoid.

SSD Testing Disclaimer

Early on in our SSD coverage, Benchmark Reviews published an article which detailed Solid State Drive Benchmark Performance Testing. The research and discussion that went into producing that article changed the way we now test SSD products. Our previous perceptions of this technology were lost on one particular difference: the wear leveling algorithm that makes data a moving target. Without conclusive linear bandwidth testing or some other method of total-capacity testing, our previous performance results were rough estimates at best.

Our test results were obtained after each SSD had been prepared using DISKPART or Sanitary Erase tools. As a word of caution, applications such as these offer immediate but temporary restoration of original 'pristine' performance levels. In our tests, we discovered that the maximum performance results (charted) would decay as subsequent tests were performed. SSDs attached to TRIM enabled Operating Systems will benefit from continuously refreshed performance, whereas older O/S's will require a garbage collection (GC) tool to avoid 'dirty NAND' performance degradation.

It's critically important to understand that no software for the Microsoft Windows platform can accurately measure SSD performance in a comparable fashion. Synthetic benchmark tools such as HD Tach and PCMark are helpful indicators, but should not be considered the ultimate determining factor. That factor should be measured in actual user experience of real-world applications. Benchmark Reviews includes both bandwidth benchmarks and application speed tests to present a conclusive measurement of product performance.

Test System

  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 (Intel X58-Express)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-920 BX80601920 @ 2.667 GHz
  • System Memory: 6GB Triple-Channel DDR3 1600MHz CL6-6-6-18
  • SATA 3Gb/s Storage HBA: Integrated Intel ICH10R Controller
    • AHCI mode - Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver 9.6.0.1014
  • SATA 6Gb/s Storage HBA: Integrated Marvell SE9128 Controller
    • AHCI mode - Marvell Magni Driver Marvell Magni Driver 1.0.0.1036
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Edition 64-Bit

Drive Hardware Tested

The following storage hardware has been used in our benchmark performance testing, and may be included in portions of this article:

Test Tools

  • AS SSD Benchmark 1.5.3784.37609: Multi-purpose speed and operational performance test
  • ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.46: Spot-tests static file size chunks for basic I/O bandwidth
  • Iometer 2008.06.28 by Intel Corporation: Tests IOPS performance and I/O response time
  • Lavalys EVEREST Ultimate Edition 5.50: Disk Benchmark component tests linear read and write bandwidth speeds
  • CrystalDiskMark 3.0.0 by Crystal Dew World: Sequential speed benchmark spot-tests various file size chunks

Test Results Disclaimer

This article utilizes benchmark software tools to produce operational IOPS performance and bandwidth speed results. Each test was conducted in a specific fashion, and repeated for all products. These test results are not comparable to any other benchmark application, neither on this website or another, regardless of similar IOPS or MB/s terminology in the scores. The test results in this project are only intended to be compared to the other test results conducted in identical fashion for this article.



 

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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