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Written by Olin Coles   
Friday, 19 November 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
OCZ RevoDrive X2 PCI-Express SSD
Closer Look: OCZ RevoDrive X2 SSD
SandForce PCI-E SSD Anatomy
Features and Specifications
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
AIDA64 Disk Benchmark
HDD vs Hybrid Drive vs SSD
OCZ RevoDrive Conclusion

AIDA64 Disk Benchmark

When development ended for Lavalys EVEREST the team picked up with AIDA64, an industry leading system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiasts PC users. Very few are aware of the Disk Benchmark tool available inside the program, which operates entirely on x64 instruction. The AIDA64 Disk Benchmark performs linear read and write bandwidth tests on each drive, and can be configured to use file chunk sizes up to 1MB (which speeds up testing and minimizes jitter in the waveform). Because of the full sector-by-sector nature of linear testing, Benchmark Reviews endorses this method for testing SSD products, as detailed in our Solid State Drive Benchmark Performance Testing article. However, Hard Disk Drive products suffer a lower average bandwidth as the capacity draws linear read/write speed down into the inner-portion of the disk platter. EVEREST Disk Benchmark does not require a partition to be present for testing, so all of our benchmarks are completed prior to drive formatting.

Linear disk benchmarks are superior bandwidth speed tools in my opinion, because they scan from the first physical sector to the last. A side affect of many linear write-performance test tools is that the data is erased as it writes to every sector on the drive. Normally this isn't an issue, but it has been shown that partition table alignment will occasionally play a role in overall SSD performance (HDDs don't suffer this problem). The high-performance storage products tested with AIDA64 Disk Benchmark use a 1MB block size option.

SPECIAL NOTE: Before we look over the results, it's important to mention that the RevoDrive series cannot make use of TRIM support because of the Silicon Image RAID controller. Standard measures to manually reset the NAND condition are not possible because of this architecture, and erase tools do not have the same effect. As a direct consequence of this, the SandForce SF1200 controllers are forced to manage write-block cleaning themselves. With the help of OCZ, we've discovered this could take weeks or longer depending on NAND density and write cycles. Due to the full sector-by-sector write process by AIDA64, the RevoDrive X2 demonstrated serious performance degradation near the end of the first test and in all subsequent tests.

Beginning with linear read performance, the OCZ RevoDrive X2 PCI-E SSD measured an average 755.7 MBps with a maximum peak speed of 774.4 MBps. This easily surpasses the original RevoDrive, which produced 510.5 MBps read speed and peaked at 511.6 MBps. Linear write-to tests were next...


The waveform chart below illustrates how well the integrated quad-SandForce SF-1200 DuraWrite buffers on the Revo SSD managed file transfers, and made linear write performance appears relatively even. This is even more impressive when you consider that this drive lacks TRIM support, and these tests followed after some of the others. Since the other tests use spot-testing methods to determine performance, the SandForce SSD controllers route our AIDA64 writes to 'clean' NAND sectors. This works well until it reaches the end of the run, where performance drops off.

This 240GB RevoDrive X2 produced an average linear write-to speed of 629, with a maximum performance of 665.1 MBps. The NAND condition in this test forces the X2 to compare nicely against the original RevoDrive, which recorded write-to speeds of 422.8 MBps with a 429.6 MBps maximum. For comparison, a set of SandForce-driven SSDs in RAID-0 produced 437.7 MBps read speeds, and 470.5 MBps with larger 128KB RAID-0 stripe sizes. The OCZ Revo PCI-Express SSD was much faster at read and write transactions.


The chart below shows the average linear read and write bandwidth speeds for a cross-section of storage devices tested with AIDA64 :


Linear tests are an important tool for comparing bandwidth speed between storage products - although HDD products suffer performance degradation over the span of their areal storage capacity. Linear bandwidth certainly benefits the Solid State Drive, since there's very little fluctuation in transfer speed. This is because Hard Disk Drive products decline in performance as the spindle reaches the inner-most sectors on the magnetic platter, away from the fast outer edge.

Drive Hardware

In the next section I share my final thoughts on the struggle between SSD and HDD technology, as well as their new hybrid counterpart, before delivering my conclusion and final product rating.



# ThumperRealNeil 2010-11-19 05:05
This thing really rocks. The 'real world' experience using a computer with one of these things inside of it must be sweet indeed. Can't afford one of them and may never be able to. But it's good to see that they're out there.
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# RE: ThumperServando Silva 2010-11-19 06:28
Any SSD will make you notice a super-boost in real world experience against HDDs. I'm sure you'll not notice a difference between controllers, but I'm not sure if the RevoDrive X2 could make THE difference.
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# RE: OCZ RevoDrive X2 PCI-Express SSDAdam 2010-11-19 07:28
Bloody hell that's fast, you sure as hell pay for it though...

I'm yet to upgrade to any SSD yet unfortunately, still waiting for the technology to move on a bit / become more affordable.
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# C300 in raid or this?aberkae 2010-11-19 09:03
This by far is the best performers on the market.
I'm debating weather to get an extra c300 (256 gig) for raid 0,(total 500gigs >700 mb/sec read/500 rights) extra $525
Vs Revodrive x2 256gig one, extra $699.
(aren't the Sandforce 2500, 2600 controllers out soon as well?)
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# RE: C300 in raid or this?Olin Coles 2010-11-19 12:03
You can expect the next generation of SandForce products in Q1 2011, but not sooner. This particular product, while being extremely fast, lacks TRIM support because of the RAID controller. In my opinion, you shouldn't buy an SSD without TRIM support. In this case however, there recovery time wouldn't be an issue unless you did constant fills.
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# RE: RE: C300 in raid or this?Khaosus 2011-02-21 21:44
Although this is an old post, I felt the need to clarify.
TRIM is not needed for Revodrive X2 due to the garbage collecting algorithms built into SandForce. TRIM is a sloppy patch job on a problem that should of never existed and on any good drive will not be needed.
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# RE: OCZ RevoDrive X2 PCI-Express SSDDaryl Greene 2010-11-19 17:26
WOW! Those things are ridiculously expensive!
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