by Robert Tanner on August 23, 2010 in Storage
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.
When I very first heard about the OCZ RevoDrive, truth be told I was a bit of a skeptic. I figured just like past PCIe SSDs, it wouldn’t be bootable, and later when I was told that it was in fact bootable, I then naturally assumed the price would ensure it would remain in the realm of luxury. Yet again, with OCZ’s assurance that pricing would fall in line slightly above two stand-alone drives, that assumption was proven wrong.
What makes OCZ’s RevoDrive series so exciting is not just the pricing, but the near doubling in performance in any high disk usage workloads. OCZ is furthermore going to start off with 50GB and 80GB RevoDrives. While there are no 25GB SSDs to get a price from, 50GB models can be found for below $150 after rebate, giving us hope that we will see these retail for slightly above that price.
As impressive as the RevoDrive series is, there are a few issues worth mentioning. Although SandForce controllers support TRIM, because they are in a RAID 0 configuration here the TRIM command is not passed onto the individual controllers. This is in fact an issue with anyone’s SSD configured in a RAID array, and is not exclusive to the Revo.
At this time it does not appear background garbage collection is working, either. Although these controllers are resilient, after running our battery of tests we reran HD Tach and observed the following result:
Let’s be clear, even with this issue present it did not hamper the RevoDrive from delivering the best results we’ve seen to date in our benchmarks. This condition shouldn’t change much further than this, but we can see that performance is no longer the same as it was with the drive in its factory fresh state.
Additionally, because of the RAID controller, users cannot secure erase the drive (such as with HDD Erase) to restore the “new” factory fresh state. OCZ is reportedly working on software tool that will allow manual TRIMing of RevoDrives and Z-Drives, but there is no idea when this tool will be become available for use.
For current SSD owners there is little reason to upgrade to a RevoDrive. The real-world performance differences shouldn’t be easily noticeable, unless perhaps the SSD in question is JMicron or Samsung based, or is a first generation Intel X25-M. There is a marked improvement in performance in every disk intensive benchmark in our testing, but unless the RevoDrive will be used in intensive disk usage scenarios where the hard drive is the primary bottleneck, there isn’t sufficient reason to recommend upgrading from a traditional SSD.
For hard drive owners we strongly recommend upgrading to any good quality SSD, as the differences would be plain as day during normal computer usage. If considering a RevoDrive as the potential SSD upgrade, then the simple fact of the matter is that the performance is top-notch and is impossible to beat at this time with a single “drive”.
Until the next wave of controllers and NAND flash arrive, as they inevitably will, OCZ’s RevoDrive simply is the most affordable solid-state drive featuring two SandForce SF-1200 drives in RAID 0, and by far the best performing SSD we have tested to date. After making short work of our tests we can easily recommend OCZ’s RevoDrive if seeking one of the fastest and more affordable solid-state drive configurations currently available on the market.
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