OCZ RevoDrive 350 480 GB Reviewccokeman -
Category: Storage / Hard Drives
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OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB Introduction:
The trials and tribulations of OCZ as a company are finally over with the integration of OCZ under the Toshiba umbrella. With stability and a new source of potential, OCZ has been steadily releasing drives using both its own proprietary controllers, as well as using popular controllers, such as we'll see here with the RevoDrive 350. When you look at where the RevoDrive 350 fits into the OCZ product stack, it is labeled as a workstation product right next to the high-end enthusiast level Vector 150 series. In the past, the RevoDrive 3 series were pricey beasts to be sure, but by using lower-cost Toshiba 19nm Toggle mode NAND and up to four LSI SandForce processors coupled with OCZ's proprietary Virtualized Controller Architecture, costs were kept in check with a street price considerably lower than past editions.
Rated for 50 GB/day writes and thoroughly impressive read/write speeds of up to 1800 MB/s and 1700 MB/s, respectively, this drive should be incredibly responsive. Utilizing a PCIe 2.0 x8 interface, the drive sidesteps the SATA III limitations to make that next leap in drive performance. As a new revision to a revitalized lineup, the RevoDrive 350 is available in standard SSD capacities from 240GB to 960GB, with pricing from $520 to $1260. Let's dig into what makes the drive tick and see just what kind of performance this drive from a new OCZ delivers.
OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB Closer Look:
As OCZ has moved under the Toshiba umbrella, the look of its packaging has seen a drastic change, using bold coloring that is easily identifiable on store shelves. It's a new look to go with the new company. The front side of the package sports an image of the RevoDrive 350 with some base specifications on the front panel, including the fact that this drive is indeed a PCIe 2.0 x8 compatible device. The back panel has information that further defines the RevoDrive 350 and how it will improve your system performance. Internally, the outer theme is integrated with the external appearance.
Inside the package, the RevoDrive 350 is well packed, much like the kind of configuration you see with a spindle drive; a clear plastic shell held in place by a pair of end caps. The only accessory is the drive CD, which you will need to install the drivers for an OS install or for use as a storage drive.
Pulled out of the shell, the RevoDrive 350 could pass for a low-end video card with the small heat sink over the OCZ controller and large aluminum plate that covers the top side of the drive. A look around the RevoDrive 350 shows that it is a PCIe based device to be used in a PCIe 2.0 x8 slot on a high performance motherboard, including all modern platforms from Intel and AMD. This interface allows the RevoDrive 350 to easily outperform a RAID array on the SATA bus by fully removing the speed limitation. The large aluminum plate and heat sink in the bottom right corner are not for show, but rather used to manage the thermal load created by OCZ's integrated storage controller. A vented I/O bracket further improves the cooling potential of the thermal solution. This controller manages up to four LSI Sandforce SF 2282 processors on board, which make up the control mechanism for the drive.
OCZ's RevoDrive 350 is available in capacities of 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB, using the same controller configuration. The drive I am looking at is part number RVD350-FHPX28-480G, which is the 480GB variant. This drive uses four LSI Sandforce SF2282 procesors to manage a total of 512GB of 19nm Toshiba Toggle mode MLC NAND. A combination that makes the RevoDrive 350 a more cost efficient design that still performs at an extremely high level. Usable capacity is 480GB after over provisioning to help extend the lifespan of this drive through wear leveling and garbage collection algorithms. This 480GB version is rated for up to 1800 MB/s sequential reads, up to 1700 MB/s sequential writes, up to 135,000 IOPS 4k random read, and up to 140,000 IOPS 4k random write. Some PCIe solutions just strap an SSD to the PCB and call it done. OCZ has basically taken a design that integrates the hardware from four separate drives and placed it on a single PCB, along with a proprietary controller to build what is essentially a four-drive RAID array that is seen as a single drive by the OS. This means there is no trouble setting up RAID 0 arrays and you get TRIM and SMART support, as well as being a bootable device. Rated for 50 GB/day writes, this drive will take some abuse over the long term.
OCZ has been at the forefront of solid state drive technology for some time. Let's see how this drive, one of the first from the new OCZ, compares to a few of the latest drives from the competition, including both spindle and sold state devices.