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OCZ RevoDrive 120GB PCI Express SSD
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by Robert Tanner on August 23, 2010 in Solid-State Drives

Looking to upgrade your PC with a fast SSD? How fast do you want it? If you answered “ultra fast”, then OCZ’s RevoDrive is worth a look. With read speeds of 500MB/s and beyond, a PCI Express interface, and a modest price premium, this SSD is hard to ignore. We’re on the bleeding-edge here, though, so this drive isn’t without a few caveats.

Synthetic: PCMark Vantage

There are few PC enthusiasts who are unfamiliar with the name “Futuremark”, as the Finland-based developer has been producing quality benchmarks to help us gauge our computer’s worth for years. Originally known as Madonion, Futuremark has expanded its focus to go beyond its bread and butter, graphics and gaming, and tackle other areas, such as full system performance. That’s where PCMark comes into play.

The company’s most recent addition to the PCMark family is Vantage. For most users, a full suite would be run, but because we’re focused on storage performance only, we instead run only the storage-specific tests. Fortunately, Futuremark makes this easy for us to do as it has split up the entire suite into seven separate sub-tests, one being the aptly named “HDD Suite”.

PCMark’s HDD Suite may look simple on the surface, but it’s actually quite exhaustive. While the benchmark does deliver a simple “overall” result, it actually tests I/O performance based on a variety of scenarios, from adding music to Windows Media Player, to loading applications in succession, to editing video, to running a malware scanner, and more. It even includes metrics to evaluate a simulated Windows Vista boot time, so Futuremark has done a fine job of combining many useful scenarios into a single button press.

Before jumping into the results, keep in mind that the SiliconEdge Blue uses the identical JMicron drive controller as the SNV425. The only difference is Western Digital wrote its own custom firmware. To date all other SSD manufacturers that use JMicron’s controllers use the firmware supplied by that company. Therefore while it would be easy to dismiss the controller outright, the SiliconEdge Blue results do show what optimized firmware can do with this controller.

With that over with, onto the results!

We suspect the results speak for themselves. The increase in the overall PCMark Vantage score is significant, but when focusing solely on the HDD suite score, the RevoDrive makes the Vertex 2 seem like yesterday’s news. We should mention this is highly ironic given the Revo uses the same SandForce SF-1200 controller as the Vertex 2… the only difference being two are utilized in a RAID 0 configuration.

Performance jumps as significant as these are a rarity in the computer hardware realm, where successive processor and graphics card launches bring reasonable but moderate gains of at most 20% or less, on average. By comparison, a single solid-state drive such as the Vertex 2 is able to offer a 43% jump in performance over its already solid-performing Indilinx Barefoot predecessor, yet a contraption such as the RevoDrive is able to trump that by offering a 29% jump over the Vertex 2! Or in other words, the 120GB OCZ RevoDrive delivers an 85% increase in PCMark Vantage over the original 120GB Vertex SSD.


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