The OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 Preview: Second-Gen SandForce Goes PCIe

An Aside: Secure Erase? Firmware Update? It Can Be Done

Enthusiasts are all about control. For early adopters of the RevoDrive and RevoDrive X2, almost exclusively enthusiasts, the challenges of updating firmware and secure erasing are particularly frustrating. In many cases, secure erasing a drive is the only way to restore it to the original factory condition. And firmware updates are important in the same way that a motherboard BIOS upgrade can make or break a platform's usefulness. Sometimes those updates solve series issues. Other times they improve performance. In either case, you want the flexibility to do both.

The RevoDrive and RevoDrive X2 do support both capabilities. However, both processes can only be accomplished with a Live CD distro of Linux and a basic understanding of Unix commands.

In the case of secure erasing, you need to use the wipe command in terminal to erase each member of the striped array (two on the RevoDrive and four on the RevoDrive X2). If you're not Unix-savvy, the only other alternative is to use the GUI provided in Parted Magic. Of course, in order to do so, you should break the stripe prior to performing the procedure.

Unfortunately, there is no easy GUI option for updating a RevoDrive's firmware. The process is limited to terminal. But first, download OCZ's Linux Update Tool to your Live CD distro and find the device ID of each array member. The update process involves issuing the update command on each SSD array, sudo [fwupd location] /dev/sh? (replace ? for the drive ID).

The very good news is that OCZ makes secure erase and firmware updates much easier on the RevoDrive 3 X2. You only need to download OCZ's Toolbox tool. The drive pops up just like a familiar SATA-based SSD. And, since OCZ creates the equivalent of a unified stripe, there's only one logical drive to deal with.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
37 comments
    Your comment
  • YoT!damn fast ssd and damn expensive ssd. might buy one 5 years from now(pci-e kind).
    3
  • Wish I had won a lottery :)
    So that I could afford me some drives like these.
    2
  • omg this drive is fast! But way out of my budget :(
    6
  • Quote:
    It's not a business-class product. It's for the power user who is able to tax it using the right workload. If you're not one of those folks, the RevoDrive 3 X2 is seriously overkill.


    OVERKILL?!?!

    Nothing is overkill in the computer arena in terms of performance. :p

    Just the price can be over kill. o.0
    4
  • Just the price can be over kill. o.0

    For me the price is a bottleneck :)
    7
  • Dear Santa...
    7
  • Santa is going to need a bigger expense account... :)

    Personally, I'm hoping that OCZ adds TRIM prior to September.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
    2
  • Jesus!
    -1
  • I saw defense of the Vertex 3's occasional low numbers, but no mention of the solid (and sometimes better) performance that the cheaper and more miserly Crucial m4 showed throughout your tests.

    Perhaps you have some bias towards the Vertex 3 that needs reconsideration?

    Other than that, $700 seems like a fair price when considering the performace difference, especially if utilized properly, for instance as a high traffic web/corporate server
    -2
  • greenrider02I saw defense of the Vertex 3's occasional low numbers, but no mention of the solid (and sometimes better) performance that the cheaper and more miserly Crucial m4 showed throughout your tests.Perhaps you have some bias towards the Vertex 3 that needs reconsideration?Other than that, $700 seems like a fair price when considering the performace difference, especially if utilized properly, for instance as a high traffic web/corporate server


    If you read the first page then you know that I give a nod to Vertex 3s as the fastest MLC based 2.5" SSD. I consider that plenty of love. :).

    We'll discuss the lower capacity m4s in another article. FYI, I suggest that you read page 5 and page 6. We are not testing FOB. We are testing steady state. That's part of the reason the SF-based drives are behaving differently with incompressible data.

    On your second point, this is in no way targeted toward an enterprise environment (that's what Z-drives are for). There is no redundancy in the array if a single SF controller fails. The whole card is a dud afterward. You can add higher level redundancy, but enterprise customers have so far been nervous on SandForce products. Plus, there's a general preference for hardware vs. software redundancy. (That's them talking not me). Overall, this makes it unacceptable for any enterprise class workload.
    0
  • You know, almost any application that would actually benefit from these speeds won't be very effective on these drives. Why? Not enough storage space.

    It's like having a car that can do 300 miles an hour, but can only carry enough fuel to go 20 miles. Does it have a niche? Yeah. Is it practical? Not really.
    0
  • In a couple of years I see them for like 1/2 the price. ONLY worth it for people who earn their paychecks based on the ability to finish task faster. that's the sole purpose at the moment.
    0
  • I have the X2 100GB... im not that impressed. The speed isnt meeting specs, and other hardware/software doesnt always like a PCIe(non-standard) hard drive. Also dont forget you cant overclock your PCIe voltage with one of these...
    1
  • guzami77I have the X2 100GB... im not that impressed. The speed isnt meeting specs, and other hardware/software doesnt always like a PCIe(non-standard) hard drive. Also dont forget you cant overclock your PCIe voltage with one of these...


    I really recommend that you update the firmware. I do notice a speed difference. If you've seen our compressible benchmarks, then you know that over time the RevoDrive X2 can perform poorly. The lack of TRIM doesn't help. :(
    0
  • The prices are too steep tho...
    1
  • This is an excellent exploration of SSD performance in general. Without the benefit of storage benches I myself have been wondering why one of my SSDs seems so much faster that the other, when it seems at face value that the answer should be clear.

    As far as OCZ goes, people who can benefit from this drive are a small group, but I'm not exactly sure who that is. Sure, its fantastically fast, and faster is better, but most people would tragically under-utilize a product like this. Since it's clearly not for enterprise use, I just have to guess what a typical user looks like for this device. Is it the high end media creation freelancer? Someone who makes their bones with Photoshop? Who knows? I want one, even though I'd clearly be better served by a more pedestrian drive. It's clearly destined for the "Cool Wall".
    0
  • Ok. I feel like I need to clear up some confusion. Some sites are reporting TRIM support and we're saying there is no TRIM support.

    The RevoDrive 3 X2 has hardware support for TRIM through VCA 2.0. This much is true, but you can't use TRIM because of a software problem. As for why?

    OCZ has a problem getting the TRIM command to the RevoDrive 3 X2, because it uses SCSI commands over PCIe, hence StorPort SCSI drivers. The TRIM command is out of the question because it's technically part of SATA. The only alternative is Unmap, which is to SCSI what TRIM is to SATA. Unfortunately, Windows does not support Unmap as part of its native driver stack. Furthermore, TRIM commands are only issued by Windows 7 when you empty the Recycle Bin, but you must have your SSD set to AHCI (part of SATA). Obviously this different from SCSI. So effectively no TRIM. :(

    We have been in contact with the Windows driver team and OCZ, so we know that a fix is being explored. If it materializes, that's another matter....

    (RevoDrive and RevoDrive X2 don't don't support TRIM at the hardware level, so the issue is moot for them.)

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
    2
  • Ideal user would run massive databases that need tons of accesses all the time. Are there drivers for linux for this? Small business server with the right usage will make this worth it. Also the 'trim' issue should be a non-issue under linux whereas win 7 apparently doesn't include the unmap command.
    2
  • Crazy fast!!!
    2
  • __-_-_-__$700?! wow that's a nice price. Though performance @1.25gbps is kind of low for a pci-e solution. there's already on the market +2gbps. anyway those cost +$7000!I'm going to wait and see if there's any defect with this ssd's...


    Where you get Gbps (= Gigabits) from? ;) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_rate_units#Suffix:_b_vs_B

    Were talking about GBps (Gigabytes). :p
    0