OCZ’s RevoDrive X2: When A Fast PCIe SSD Isn’t Fast Enough

OCZ’s RevoDrive Is Born

The original RevoDrive is composed of a pair of SandForce SF-1200 controllers mated to Intel NAND flash memory. The SandForce chips are each attached to a Silicon Image Sil3124 four-port SATA controller to create the equivalent of a RAID 0 configuration. And a Pericom bridge chip in its “reverse” configuration converts the four-lane physical PCIe connection into PCI-X for the storage controller.

OCZ’s approach is not particularly elegant, but it is economically viable enough to make the RevoDrive an enthusiast-ready product. The PCI-X controller and bridge chip apparently don’t add much additional cost to the equation, and that’s why a RevoDrive sells for roughly the same price you’d pay for a pair of SandForce-driven Vertex 2 drives creating the same capacity. Naturally, the individual SSDs don’t use additional controllers or bridges—the price of those gets absorbed.

At the same time, OCZ is using components that won’t limit the RevoDrive’s performance. Although the Pericom bridge chip is limited to PCIe 1.1 data rates, that’s still 1 GB/s of bidirectional bandwidth on a four-lane link—more than enough for the device’s claimed 540 MB/s sequential transfer rate. And each of the Sil3124’s ports is SATA 3Gb/s-capable. Again, that’s plenty for each SF-1200 controller. Each step of the way, the company takes care to prevent bottlenecks.

RevoDrive X2: The Secret Everyone Already Knew

With its RevoDrive X2, OCZ clips a daughter board onto the original offering, adding two more SandForce controllers and the potential for twice as much NAND flash. This was probably an eventuality—after all, the original RevoDrive was already using a four-port controller. The RevoDrive X2 simply exploits the hardware’s potential.

The resulting configurations are exactly what you’d expect from doubling the RevoDrive’s capabilities. Capacities jump from 50-480 GB up to 100-960 GB. Performance scales as well, though it doesn’t multiply (we don’t expect it to). And prices, predictably, are quite a bit higher. Whereas a 240 GB RevoDrive sells for $500, the 240 GB RevoDrive X2 will set you back around $650.

Now, the second-gen RevoDrive is still less expensive than the original 240 GB version was at launch. But that doesn’t make it affordable, especially in light of the competitive landscape peppered with fast SandForce-based 2.5” SSDs. Perhaps the most we could hope for here is a PCIe-enabled device priced to match a quartet of individual drives. Instead, you pay a moderate premium for the fact that the X2 puts the equivalent of four drives onto a single card.

Street Price
OCZ RevoDrive X2 240 GB
240 GB
OCZ RevoDrive 240 GB
240 GB
OCZ Vertex 2 60 GB x 4
240 GB
Intel X25-M 120 GB x 2
240 GB
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  • joelmartinez
    Too much money :( will get the vertex 3 though :) or intel
  • alikum
    If only they could make SSDs cheaper ... Mechanical drives are still the way to go
  • eklipz330
    although i think sandforce's new controller won't be as fast as they claim, i really think it's gonna change the face of the ssd race by the end of the year

    and probably a new iteration of the revodrive as well... can't wait!! =D =D i need me a 160gb for less than $1/gb... that's how much i bought my raptor for like 4 years ago!!
  • dauthus
    In related news, OCZ stock is up to $6.80 a share, rising 19%+ today.
  • Anonymous
    How does this compare to the new Z-drive R3?
  • cmi86
    Yeah its really cool and i wish i had 1...or 2 lol but it just costs waay too much money, isnt really practical for enthusiast use until the prices drop
  • dirtmountain
    You routinely use $500 graphic cards (GTX580) and $1,200 displays (2560x1600)in reviews. The price for this upgrade ($650)isn't any harder to stomach then those.
  • cangelini
    dirtmountainYou routinely use $500 graphic cards (GTX580) and $1,200 displays (2560x1600)in reviews. The price for this upgrade ($650)isn't any harder to stomach then those.

    Aye, but it's a little less tangible than exotic graphics configurations, too.
  • razor512
    a pci-e ssd seems good, I want one, MS word will run sooo much better
  • alidan
    i realy wish they would put a 7200 10000 and 15000 drive in there, all top of their respective class, just so we can get some prospective of how much an improvement these are over traditional hdds.
  • palladin9479
    Something like that is beyond anything any mechanical drive can hope to compete with, its even faster then a multi-channel directly connected SAN array. It looks to be one step away from a RAM Drive, if anyone can remember what those were.
  • utengineer
    I am waiting to see if Intel's LightPeak tech will be used in the the storage arena(i.e. boot drives, etc). Seems like the SSD tech is evolving so quickly.
  • christop
    I want one but will have to wait for the price to come way down.
  • moogleslam
    Do SSD's or the RevoDrive improve gaming performance at all?
  • krisboro
    Just load times...
  • syrob
    There is no way to use REVO, Modern Video card AND INTEL RAID ICH10R RAID 10 AT THE SAME TIME, the option rom spoace is used all up.

    DO not buy unless you do not ever want RAID through Intel ICHR10 !!!

    See link below


    REVO is not worth it!
  • studioman22
    Hmm, a little off topic, but what is that Cooler Master UCP-1000W used for the test rig? It's in a strange spot on the CM website, and not in their regular lineup. I guess it's either brand new and not for sale yet? Or is that a legacy product?
  • K2N hater
    SYROBThere is no way to use REVO, Modern Video card AND INTEL RAID ICH10R RAID 10 AT THE SAME TIME, the option rom spoace is used all up.DO not buy unless you do not ever want RAID through Intel ICHR10 !!!See link belowhttp://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/ [...] controllerREVO is not worth it!

    I've read the thread. If you boot from the Revo it's 100% safe to disable ICH RAID. The RAID support present on ICH can be replaced to Windows RAID. As discussed in that thread disabling PXE can also help.
  • 68vistacruiser
    Why would anyone spend hundreds of dollars just to boot up 30 seconds faster, when they spend hours a day on the same computer?
  • willy_
    What I miss in the review: Is the RAID on the card "invisible" to the OS, as in, the OS sees it as a single drive. Or does the OS need to load a driver for the controller? If that's the case many Linux distri's will not be able to use it as a single drive.