|OCZ RevoDrive X2 PCI-Express SSD|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Friday, 19 November 2010|
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OCZ RevoDrive X2 PCI-Express SSD Review
Over the past several years, OCZ have transformed themselves from an enthusiast system memory brand into a recognized name for high-performance storage devices. They've earned consumer praise for their ability to deliver Solid State Drive technology at a reasonable price, and they push the boundaries with their High Speed Data Link project. There's a solid middle ground between SATA and HSDL, and that's the PCI Express bus. Not long ago Benchmark Reviews tested the SandForce-driven OCZ RevoDrive, and now we're back with the high-level version of that product: OCZ RevoDrive X2. Now using four SF1200 SSDs in RAID-0, the RevoDrive X2 series is capable of up to 120,000 IOPS at speeds up to 740 MB/s.
Solid State Drive technology has become the high-performance option for SATA-drive upgrades, yet these ultra-fast NAND components are capable of so much more. Most computers are capable of offering 3.0 GB/s bandwidth via second-generation SATA controllers, which is fast enough for most general power-users. Although the latest desktop motherboards have incorporated third-generation SATA controllers good for up to 6.0 GB/s bandwidth, there's currently only one SSD storage product capable of utilizing this speed (as of September 2010). PCI-Express is an ideal alternative, since it doesn't require an add-on chip to support a new standard and still offers 5.0 GB/s bandwidth.
Storage standards and bandwidth aside, it's understandable why SSDs were developed on a drive profile first: notebook and desktop hard disk drive upgrades offered a tremendous user-base. Unfortunately, SSDs were introduced with premium prices that rendered many consumers numb with sticker shock. As the technology became more prevalent, prices have also become more affordable and power-users have embraced the performance SSDs are known to offer. Now the market is ready for the next step: high-performance PCI-Express SSDs built for hardware enthusiasts. Enter the OCZ RevoDrive X2 PCI-E SSD series.
SSDs have the power to transform slow computers into blazing-fast speed machines, and PCI-E SSDs can further amplify these improvements. The SandForce SF-1200 has quickly become the de facto SSD controller for companies seeking recognition, and for good reason. The OCZ RevoDrive X2 embraces four independent SandForce SF-1222TA3-SBH (SF-1200) processors in RAID-0 to produce up to 120,000 combined IOPS (with only 7% over-provisioning) to generate maximum performance with optimal capacity. SandForce RAISE technology provides redundant protection for single SSD computer systems, while data is automatically secured with AES-128 encryption on 240GB of hand-picked high-performance Intel NAND flash memory modules. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the 240GB OCZ RevoDrive X2 SSD (model OCZSSDPX-1RVDX0240) against the fastest storage solutions on the market.
The biggest mistake PC hardware enthusiast make with SSDs is grading them by their speed. File transfer speed is important, but only so long as the operational IOPS performance can sustain that bandwidth under load. Benchmark Reviews tests the OCZ Revo SSD against some of the most popular storage devices available and demonstrates that 4K IOPS performance is more important than bandwidth speed. Additionally, Benchmark Reviews has previously tested two similar SSDs to publish our SandForce SF1200 RAID-0 SSD Performance review.
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by OCZ Technology Group, Inc.
Bandwidth Speed vs Operational Performance
As we've explained in our SSD Benchmark Tests: SATA IDE vs AHCI Mode guide, Solid State Drive performance revolves around two dynamics: bandwidth speed (MB/s) and operational performance (IOPS). These two metrics work together, but one is more important than the other. Consider this analogy: operational IOPS performance determines how much cargo a ship can transport in one voyage, and the bandwidth speed is to fast the ship moves. By understanding this and applying it to SSD storage, there is a clear importance set on each variable depending on the task at hand.
For casual users, especially those with laptop or desktop computers that have been upgraded to use an SSD, the naturally quick response time is enough to automatically improve the user experience. Bandwidth speed is important, but only to the extent that operational performance meets the minimum needs of the system. If an SSD has a very high bandwidth speed but a low operational performance, it will take longer to load applications and boot the computer into Windows than if the SSD offered a higher IOPS performance.