AMD Announces Radeon R7 Series Solid-State Drives

Posted on August 19, 2014 1:00 AM by Robert Tanner

Talk about unexpected. At a time when fabless SSD manufacturers are consolidating or being snapped up by companies with in-house NAND production, AMD is bucking the industry trend by announcing the launch of the Radeon R7 SSD family.

The company’s Radeon R7 SSDs are powered with a Barefoot 3 M00, the exact same controller found in OCZ’s flagship Vector 150 drives. The R7 Series is targeted specifically at gamers with pricing adopting a middle-ground between the professional brand Vector 150 and mainstream targeted Vertex 460. Performance is on par with the Vector 150, but is rated for 30GB of writes per day over four years and will offer a 4-year warranty to stand behind the R7 series. This compares favorably to the Vertex 460’s 20GB/day and 3-year rating, not to mention the Vertex uses a slightly slower M10 variant of the Barefoot 3.

As one might already suspect, AMD is partnering directly with Toshiba-owned OCZ Storage Systems with OCZ handling the building and distributing of the actual AMD drives. AMD for its part had a say in the firmware design and conducted rigorous testing of R7 drives toward that end. One mentioned figure alone stated that some drives underwent 30,000 unplugs in one month to simulate sudden power failure.

AMD R7 SSD Comparison

The R7 SSD family will debut in 120, 240, and 480GB capacities with launch MSRP starting at $100, $164, and $299 respectively, although street prices will doubtlessly trend lower. The SSD itself will utilize Toshiba’s latest A19nm MLC flash but will be limited to the SATA 3.0 (6Gb/s) interface over AHCI. AMD will be bundling a 3.5” bay adapter including Acronis True Image HD cloning software for easy system migration.

One interesting tidbit AMD says contributed to its decision to launch its own SSD lineup is that it has been receiving requests from consumers to go this route, given its success with its Radeon memory brand. Somewhat humorous now is that AMD offers its own APUs, CPUs, GPUs, and RAM; now it can add SSDs to its product line-up as well. The only thing missing now are PSUs to build a purely AMD-branded machine again.

  • Marcus

    There is no point to SSD’s yet except in mobile devices that run on batteries. They remain a useless in the common PC since they dont really improve performance on anything meaningful. Saving a few seconds to open a program or to boot is not significant enough to warrant the upgrade. Let me know when these things are within 20%-25% of the price of a normal drive and maybe I will start switching. Until then, whats the point? They do not speed up intensive programs. They do not speed up internet browsing (as if that were needed). They do not speed up games…. All the other applications dont need more speed.

    Where is my 100TB drive? We should be near 20TB by now but manufacturers have been allowed to consolidated too much and now there is not nearly enough competition out there to keep them pushing forward. They are just milking 4 year old tech. We need someone to usurp them and shake things up. SSD is not going to do that.

    Why is 10GB Ethernet still expensive? It should be cheap by now.

    When are we going to get a easy to set up wireless standard that acts more like backbone and interconnects all wireless routers together to form a backbone of its own? If this happens and enough people install it we can finally fight back against ISP gouging.

    How about we increase the bus speeds on boards and decrease the price of RAM? That would be more useful than SSD’s.

    • pt3

      Are you joking SSD on Linux using an old processor is amazing, opening files in apps is almost instantaneous. The browser is fast. Due to smaller sizes of the OS on Linux, you can get a small SSD for cheap. Have the / & /home partitions on it. Keep all your large files like videos on a hard drive.

    • Jaspah

      Any games that “stream” in textures and data will be improved on an SSD. Some recent titles that do this are Wolfenstein: The New Order and ArmA 3. It significantly reduces any stuttering caused by loading data.

      And then I read your whole paragraph on “making a wireless backbone” and realized you have no idea how 802.11, or routing and switching for that matter works and that you’re quite possibly an idiot.

    • Znuff

      Are you brain damaged…?

    • millslane

      I’ve been using one for about 2 years. The difference is drastic. Most notably, you don’t have to wait for the drive to spool up if its sleeping.

      • Chris Hollman

        You can turn sleep off…

        • millslane

          Yeah, but that’s impractical. I don’t need 6 disks whizzing 24/7

          • Chris Hollman


      • Guest

        sorry ryan that wasn’t for you. that was for the original poster. He just don’t see the benefit.

    • Ryan Rauschkolb

      I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt here and assume that you are not trolling or willfully ignorant. But I’m going to pick apart your argument with a few details.

      SSDs have extremely low lookup times. In comparison to a hard drive that has to spin to locate a file, it feels almost instant. The lack of latency here has a two-fold benefit. 1) The initial file lookup. 2) Fragmentation lookup. The more a hard drive gets fragmented, the longer it takes to load the files you want. With a SSD, fragmentation has an incredibly tiny amount of impact on your file loading.

      As far as speeding up intensive programs, what you say is both true and not true. It depends on the application and what the application is doing. Let’s just take the simple example of Photoshop. Photoshop uses a feature called “scratch disk” where it writes temporary data to disk. When using a harddrive, a large project in Photoshop can chug pretty hard. But I’m sure any Photoshop user that has used an SSD with a large project can tell you that the performance improvements are a godsend. That’s just Photoshop. There are literally hundreds of other programs that do similar and more intense things with data. If a program is primarily processing intensive and not data intensive, then yes, there is no performance benefit.

      Let’s talk about games now. Another user already mentioned how games that stream textures as you move about (Elder Scrolls comes to mind) will see a great performance benefit from SSDs. But that’s not even the best place where SSDs shine, as that kind of stuff can be hidden pretty well with even hard drives. Loading times are where the real performance boost is. I’m going to continue talking about Elder Scrolls as it’s a great example (Skyrim particularly). Many people now use the high resolution texture packs and a variety of other mods associated with that game. Using a hard drive, you may as well forget trying to swap between areas such as the World Map to a cave, or vice versa, or trying to fast travel, or trying to just use the wait/sleep feature for a significant amount of time. SSDs reduce this load time to only a few seconds where as with a traditional hard drive you could end up waiting minutes at times in the most extreme cases.

      The rest of your post is just silly but I’ll leave that for others to take apart.

      • Gerry Blevins

        When your hard drive crash’s I’ll be laughing at you because with a hard drive with MOVING PARTS the potential to lose your data compared to that of an SSD is MUCH higher.

      • Gerry Blevins

        sorry ryan. that was for original poster

    • Jake Bloom

      I’m just going to assume you don’t know what you’re talking about..

  • Junoh315

    Why name it R7? Why not come up with a new model name? Will there be an R9 series? So many questions.

    • josh

      Maybe their saving the r9 series for pci-e ssd’s.

      • Kougar

        That is an interesting possibility. OCZ Storage Systems was a pioneer in PCIe-based flash drives in its former life as OCZ Technology, so they could easily have OCZ produce a PCIe variant too.

    • Kougar

      According to the briefing there currently are no plans for additional SSDs, but it sounded as if AMD is leaving the door open in case the R7 SSD family turns out to be successful (as it likely will).

      Also the Barefoot 3 controller has been around for a few years, I expect it will be updated or replaced in 1-2 years and so AMD will need to differentiate new SSDs when that happens.

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