|OCZ RevoDrive X2 PCI-Express SSD|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Storage|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Friday, 19 November 2010|
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Closer Look: OCZ RevoDrive X2 SSD
Benchmark Reviews tests the OCZ RevoDrive X2 PCI-Express SSD for this article, which is expected to reach maximum speeds of 740 MB/s for sequential reads and 720 MB/s sequential writes. The 240GB RevoDrive X2 kit (OCZSSDPX-1RVDX0240) builds its capacity by using four SandForce SF-1222 controllers with 7% over-provisioning, meaning that 240GB out of 256GB NAND flash contained in this SSD are allocated for data use. The OCZ RevoDrive X2 PCI-E SSD comes in 100/1600/240/360/480/960GB capacities, and all models receive OCZ's three-year warranty.
Most modern motherboards with PCI-Express 2.0 slots will support RevoDrive X2 as a boot device, especially 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.
SSDs are catching on quickly because they work equally well in PC, Linux, or Apple Mac computers, but the RevoDrive series is different. Instead of packaging the NAND and drive controller into a SATA-connected enclosure, OCZ has built the RevoDrive series 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 X2 SSD is best suited for workstation computer systems and performance-orientated application servers where 120,000 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.
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 turns the standard RevodDrive into the RevoDrive X2 platform with four storage controllers and even faster data processing. An elevated daughter board connects to the Revo's motherboard, housing supplemental NAND flash and two additional storage controllers.
OCZ utilizes a Pericom PI7C9X130 PCIe-to-PCIx reversible bridge chip on their RevoDrive SSD series, 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).
Silicon Image defines their SiI3124 chip as a PCI-Express to SATA-3GB/s controller capable of driving four ports. The original version of OCZ's RevoDrive SSD incorporates the Sil3124 chip to drive only two of the four available channels, while the RevoDrive X2 uses a total of four channels. Using four independent SandForce SF-1200 controllers combined into a RAID-0 array helps to produce peak performance before reaching a collection of NAND flash components. A more detailed explanation of architecture is given in the next section...