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RevoDrive Hybrid: A Product Of Convenience?

OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid: Solid-State Speed With Hard Drive Capacity
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On the surface, it's really easy to dismiss the RevoDrive Hybrid as a product that's out of touch with the needs of its target market: folks with a ton of money to spend on storage. Any enthusiast worth his tech cred should be comfortable taking an SSD, taking a hard drive, and creating a tiered storage hierarchy with performance-sensitive apps on the solid-state drive and everything else on the disk. Shoot, a 256 GB Crucial m4 and 2 TB Western Digital Caviar Green buys you two times the flash-based memory and twice as much conventional storage, saving you $50 bucks in the process. That is, perhaps, the most cost-effective approach, and we continue to advocate it as a best practice.

Frankly, OCZ's RevoDrive Hybrid isn't for that crowd. Its real target is the folks in the market for a RevoDrive 3, or even a couple of Vertex 3s slapped together in RAID. For those performance-concerned power users, this product takes the ultra-fast flash-based product and the slow magnetic storage and marries them on one PCI Express-based add-in card. On top of that, it applies caching software, which has to learn the applications and files you use most often. After three or four accesses, however, hot data finds its way onto the fast storage, where it's served up at the speed of a RevoDrive.

RevoDrive Hybrid: More Than The Sum Of Its PartsRevoDrive Hybrid: More Than The Sum Of Its Parts

Needless to say, cached reads are served up very quickly. And because it employs a write-back caching strategy, writes hit the cache first, so they're fast, too. And that's where the RevoDrive Hybrid (just like a RevoDrive 3) is most compelling. If you're using the same few applications over and over, still need the capacity of a hard drive, and were already considering a solution that let you circumvent the limitations of SATA 6 Gb/s, the RevoDrive Hybrid addresses all of those needs.

Now, you could buy a PCI Express-based SSD and a hard drive separately, employing the same logic described above, and manage the capacity on each one independently. But the RevoDrive Hybrid combines both technologies in an effort to expose the benefits of each as conveniently as possible. And, it performs that task well, imposing minimal compromises.


Market Price
Price Per GB
 OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 240 GB
$580
$2.42
OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid 1 TB
$500
$0.50
OCZ RevoDrive 3 120 GB + 1 TB Hard Drive
$480
$0.43
OCZ Vertex 3 240 GB
$460
$1.91


There is a bit of math to do before making a commitment here, though. It'd still be cheaper to buy a 1 TB hard drive and 120 GB RevoDrive 3 separately. However, the RevoDrive Hybrid allows you to potentially enjoy a performance boost to all of your data without any physical management, with a big caveat.

Given 100 GB of available NAND, one-tenth of stored information can be cached at any one time. Once that 100 GB repository is consumed, data must be evicted from the cache at the speed of a 5400 notebook hard drive. Fortunately, workstations generally run a few programs with great frequency. As such, the RevoDrive Hybrid easily addresses project-oriented workloads like programming and video editing, where you're likely to be working with the same set of data for a long period.

One last salient point: in this case, a write-back cache is great for speed. But as we mentioned in our Z68 Express coverage, data isn't synchronized between the cache and storage device. So, if someone yanks the SSD 311 off of a Z68-based motherboard operating in write-back mode, data could very well be lost. That's not a problem here, of course. However, consider that the failure of the solid-state component of the RevoDrive Hybrid would also likely end in loss.

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  • 3 Hide
    aznshinobi , October 24, 2011 4:49 AM
    This should be compared with the Seagate Momentus XT, where's that?
  • 2 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , October 24, 2011 5:11 AM
    Except for those who don't have SATA 6GB/s controllers on their motherboards, this product is a little redundant.

    I mean, it's really cool and all, but since Vertex 3 drives on their own run about 200 bucks for 120GB, you could get 2 x OCZ Vertex 3's in RAID, and a high-performance 1TB 7200 RPM drive like the Western Digital Caviar Black (the one mounted there is 5400RPM) for the same price as this drive.

    So instead of the rather limited 120GB, you'd get 240GB of SSD storage instead, along with a faster hard drive. Because with 240GB, who needs cache?
  • -9 Hide
    chumly , October 24, 2011 5:24 AM
    What a dumb idea.
  • -8 Hide
    zybch , October 24, 2011 5:39 AM
    LuckyDucky7Except for those who don't have SATA 6GB/s controllers on their motherboards, this product is a little redundant.I mean, it's really cool and all, but since Vertex 3 drives on their own run about 200 bucks for 120GB, you could get 2 x OCZ Vertex 3's in RAID, and a high-performance 1TB 7200 RPM drive like the Western Digital Caviar Black (the one mounted there is 5400RPM) for the same price as this drive.So instead of the rather limited 120GB, you'd get 240GB of SSD storage instead, along with a faster hard drive. Because with 240GB, who needs cache?

    Yeah, like i want to use 'scary'RAID in my system. Screw that.
  • -1 Hide
    alidan , October 24, 2011 6:38 AM
    zybchYeah, like i want to use 'scary'RAID in my system. Screw that.


    than i believe use a raid 5, i think thats it, raid the 2 ssds and get another hdd in there as a backup for the two ssds
  • 3 Hide
    rantoc , October 24, 2011 8:40 AM
    alidanthan i believe use a raid 5, i think thats it, raid the 2 ssds and get another hdd in there as a backup for the two ssds


    For a raid 5 at least 3 drives is needed. And the chipset integrated raid5 solutions don't have powerful checksum offloading either meaning its either slow or hogs the cpu. Sure raid 5 is awesome in its ways but it also has its drawbacks.
  • 3 Hide
    billybobser , October 24, 2011 8:55 AM
    Just raid 0 and actively backup important files yourself if you can't take the drawbacks of it.

    If something just created is really worth saving, save it twice. Else just a back up image per week.
  • 0 Hide
    shqtth , October 24, 2011 10:32 AM
    This should be compared with the Seagate Momentus XT, where's that?
    ..

    It should be !


    Also why use 5400rpm? why not 7200rpm? Or use the XT.


    To me, this product looks like its hurting. Overpriced.


    I tested a few of the XT's are they are quick. Pretty much constant 100+ data and super low latency on common tasks.
  • 0 Hide
    Reynod , October 24, 2011 11:13 AM
    Could you please look at a direct comparison with the Momentus XT please?

    I have one as well.

    From what I can see this is a bit better than the XT but it would be good to know Andrew.

    Cheers !
  • 1 Hide
    nebun , October 24, 2011 12:17 PM
    zybchYeah, like i want to use 'scary'RAID in my system. Screw that.

    download the correct drivers and set it up correctly and you will have no issues....i have been using raid 0 for over 5 years with no issues at all
  • -2 Hide
    jacobdrj , October 24, 2011 1:09 PM
    shqtthThis should be compared with the Seagate Momentus XT, where's that? ..It should be !Also why use 5400rpm? why not 7200rpm? Or use the XT.To me, this product looks like its hurting. Overpriced.I tested a few of the XT's are they are quick. Pretty much constant 100+ data and super low latency on common tasks.


    Heat, for one, reliability for another, vibration (on a PCIe slot, no less) yet another...
  • 0 Hide
    SIR-Blade , October 24, 2011 1:56 PM
    For those that dismiss the "cache" scenario out of hand, i.e. could buy a 2TB HDD and a stand alone SSD, they miss the whole point. Caching takes the "work" out of deciding the data that you want in the SSD. The more you use the app/data, the more likely most of it will be in cache, and you only have to work with a single drive letter.

    The other scenario that You could use from OCZ, is do what I've done. Use their synapse drive as the cache, with a 5 *1TB RAID 1+0 on an Gigabyte X58 Mboard, i.e. no Z68 option available.
    So I get the security/speed of a RAID array, and quick load times for OS and my favourite games, when cached. (The synapse is via the SATA III channel.)
    For the ultimate, scenario, just add another 60GB SSD for those choice games/apps for those that absolutely positively had to be loaded ASAP.
    Simples.
  • 1 Hide
    SIR-Blade , October 24, 2011 1:58 PM
    The momentus is for a totally different target. It only has 4Gb NAND, so it would be like comparing apples with pears.
  • 2 Hide
    jacobdrj , October 24, 2011 2:09 PM
    SIR-BladeThe momentus is for a totally different target. It only has 4Gb NAND, so it would be like comparing apples with pears.

    Yes, and no...

    It is still a hybrid solution. At least we could see what the differences are, and therefore, we can decide which market we fall in: Either Momentus or Revo Hybrid...

    Personally, I think the Momentus would be on par, for most applications, with the RevoH if they would include closer to 24 GB of NAND, and therefore, this comparison would be much much closer...
  • 0 Hide
    cyberkuberiah , October 24, 2011 2:14 PM
    not confusing at all :) 
  • 0 Hide
    SIR-Blade , October 24, 2011 2:17 PM
    But the SSD is PCIe based, whereas the Seagate is SATA II if memory serves me correctly. The point of the Revo drive is to beat the SATTA II and III bottle neck, and provide large HDD capacity as well.

    And then the big difference ... the size of the cache ... 4GB for the Seagate ... 100Gb for the Revo .. actually (114Gb .. 14% over provisioned)
  • 1 Hide
    CaedenV , October 24, 2011 3:57 PM
    This is going to be one of those fun "remember when" articles. Remember when people were so desperate for performance and space that they had to attempt this Frankenstein of a device?
    Truly I do not see the market for the device. It limits the capability of a truly fine SSD, with a slow laptop drive attached to it. You would get much better performance raiding a few SSDs in 0, 1, or 10, and putting your active project on that drive. If your drive was too large to fit on the SSD portion in the first place then you would see little to no benefit at all. Then, put a real HDD in as your cold storage device. Much less messy, little bit cheaper, and better/consistent performance. Not to mention all those extra writes that are supposedly going to destroy the SSD portion of this drive anyways.
    Like I said, a few years from now when we are completely on SSD we will really laugh at these devices.
  • 1 Hide
    CaedenV , October 24, 2011 4:02 PM
    *if your PROJECT is too big to fit on the ssd... doh!
  • 1 Hide
    agnickolov , October 24, 2011 5:28 PM
    Honestly, the price should be almost halved - ~$200 for the SSD part and ~$60 for the HDD part comes to $260 for the package, which is slightly more than half of $500. Certainly shouldn't exceed $300.

    Relating to the Seagate Momentus XT comments: I wish Seagate had released a sensible flash composition - 32GB flash for a 500GB or 1TB drive would have been perfect IMO. Such a drive would have had much better commercial success. With only 4GB, all I'm thinking is - why bother...
  • 0 Hide
    wendellowen , October 24, 2011 5:36 PM
    It would have been nice to have seen a couple of 1TB drives in Raid 0 in this shootout. I, along with a fairly large portion of my friends have been doing this for years. I should add that all of us have NAS boxes (they are super cheap now, even running in RAID 1) for valuable file/photos. Hell, I think youu can buy 4 1TB drives and a NAS box for less than a 240GB SSD.
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