OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 240 GB Reviewccokeman - November 30, 2011
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The OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 is a PCIe-based solid-state drive for use in a PCIe 4x or larger interface. What distinguishes the RevoDrive 3 X2 from its predecessors is the use of four SandForce SF-2281 controllers. On the front side of the drive, there is a heat sink covering the OCZ SuperScale™ Storage Accelerator. When coupled with VCA 2.0, it really drives the performance of the RevoDrive 3 X2. Top-line performance specifications are 1500 MB/s reads, 1225 MB/s writes, and up to 200,000 IOPs 4K aligned random writes. The RevoDrive 3 X2 comes in capacities ranging from the 240 GB tested here, to 480 GB and even 960 GB. It is important to note that the latest drivers for the RevoDrive 3 X2 allow it to be used as a boot drive in both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems. As a full height card, the mounting plate has a sticker that displays the name of the drive – while a little bit more subtle than the decal included with the drive, it definitely allows for some bragging rights.
The X2 gets its secondary naming structure from the fact that it features a second add-on daughter card to carry additional SF-2281 NAND controllers and additional 25nm NAND flash modules, bringing the total capacity to 240 GB. The PCB is held on by four screws and an interconnection that looks much like a SATA data connector. Each board carries a total of 16 NAND modules – 12 on one side and 4 on the other. In essence, what you have here is a total of four 60 GB drives spread over two boards and one device.
The secret sauce that makes the whole ball of wax work is the OCZ SuperScale controller. Using VCA (Virtualized Controller Architecture) 2.0, it provides a scalable solution that does not need a ton of processor overhead. This controller sits under a large heat sink on the main PCB – clearly, some heat is generated in managing all the data. Each PCB has a pair of SandForce controllers to overlook 120 GB (after over-provisioning) of on-board 25nm NAND. 8 GB Micron 29F64G08CBAAA 25 nm asynchronous NAND modules are used to provide a total of 240 GB in usable NAND on this OCZ drive.
To explain OCZ’s VCA 2.0, I will pull from their product briefing to give you a better understanding of the technology and its benefits. This information can be found on the OCZ website.
"VCA 2.0 (Virtualized Controller Architecture™) is the next step in the evolution of enterprise flash virtualization layers. This is the follow up to the original VCA and presents as a complete storage subsystem, but with an improved and expanded feature-set allowing system architects unprecedented flexibility and industry-leading performance and reliability.
OCZ SuperScale™ storage controller enables infinitely scalable performance. VCA 2.0™ in OCZ enterprise PCIe devices supports the creation of a virtual pool of logical units (LUNs) and features best-in-class configurable performance aggregation. VCA 2.0 is the only virtualization layer in the industry with TRIM and SCSI Unmap Support to enhance sustained performance by significantly reducing the overhead associated with garbage collection. Consolidated SMART support provides system administrators with advanced features for monitoring analyzing and reporting device attributes. User-selectable data recovery and non-stop modes allows for unprecedented data protection. Unlike other flash virtualization layers, OCZ VCA 2.0 supports complete power fail protection; OCZ enterprise PCIe devices store all metadata in nonvolatile memory while power fail protection completes all in-progress transactions in the event of an unexpected system power loss.
OCZ SuperScale™ storage accelerator enables infinitely scalable performance. The OCZ SuperScale™ storage controller combines processing and full DMA (direct memory access) cores, as well as internal PCIe, SATA and SAS interfaces. This controller, combined with VCA 2.0 provides unique benefits to users by allowing certain DMA and data management functions including OCZ’s unique command queuing and queue balance algorithms to be handled by the onboard processing core, resulting in higher performance and reduced burden on the host CPU. OCZ is currently offering single slot PCIe solutions with up to 2 SuperScale™ accelerators per slot as standard parts.
New LUN Addressing with VCA 2.0™ in OCZ Enterprise PCIe Devices; in the enterprise PCIe implementation of VCA 2.0, users have the option of treating each SuperScale™ accelerator as one more Virtual Logical Drive (LUNs). Storage management software such as file systems, volume managers, and applications are able to access a number of LUNs allowing unprecedented flexibility in storage, while maintaining the hardware assisted features of VCA 2.0 and enabling the host to boot from the PCIe device.
User Friendly -SCSI Over PCIe Functionality allows seamless installation. OCZ VCA 2.0 supports the industry standard SCSI command set over our PCIe interface. Because SCSI is the command set of choice of enterprise storage architects, this feature makes installation of OCZ PCIe devices in enterprise applications seamless. VCA technology can interpret and execute both SCSI and ATA commands across any physical interface and utilize any available internal interface to facilitate communication across multiple elements of the overall drive architecture. Current OCZ hardware implementations support SCSI commands over PCIe (Z-Drive) and Serial (Talos). This storage virtualization currently allows SCSI commands to be sent through PCIe or SAS physical interfaces to an internal virtualized array of NAND devices.
Configurable Performance Aggregation; VCA provides highly efficient performance aggregation across physical LUNs via an intelligent complex command queuing structure that utilizes both native and tagged command queuing (NCQ, TCQ). This is a unique technology that enables command switching and balancing based on OCZ’s proprietary Queue Balancing Algorithm (QBA™) algorithm; this balances drive loading while maximizing internal bandwidth for nearly linear performance aggregation. VCA 2.0 LUNs can be further aggregated through cascading with host-side striping dependent on the storage architects needs.
OCZ’s proprietary VCA 2.0 is the next step in the evolution in enterprise flash virtualization layers. Supporting a rich enterprise feature-set, VCA enables system architects unprecedented flexibility and industry-leading performance and reliability when designing the high throughput storage systems of the future."