OCZ Revodrive X2 SSD Review

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The OCZ Revodrive X2 isn’t your grandmother’s old hard drive. This thing uses a PCI-e slot with x4 bandwidth mode for extreme speeds in both write and read. OCZ sent over a 240 GB model that can read at up to 740 MB/s, write up to 720 MB/s, and perform up to 120,000 IOPS which are astounding numbers, especially compared to mechanical drives.

Could also be called "Speed Demon"

Could also be called "Speed Demon"

Specifications and Features

This was the first time I had held a PCI-e SSD in my hands and it gave me butterflies since I was so excited to see exactly how fast it is. When it first arrived, I couldn’t get the box opened fast enough. Getting a new toy to test always makes me revert to being a five year old on Christmas day, but this made me even more anxious than usual. Take a look at these stats:

100GB-160GB Max Performance 

  • Read: Up to 740 MB/s
  • Write: Up to 690 MB/s
  • Sustained Write: Up to 550 MB/s
  • Random Write 4KB (Aligned): 100,000 IOPS
220GB Max Performance 

  • Read: Up to 730 MB/s
  • Write: Up to 690 MB/s
  • Random Write 4KB (Aligned): 100,000 IOPS
240GB-960GB Max Performance (tested) 

  • Read: Up to 740 MB/s
  • Write: Up to 720 MB/s
  • Sustained Write: Up to 600 MB/s
  • Random Write 4KB (Aligned): 120,000 IOPS
460GB Max Performance 

  • Read: Up to 730 MB/s
  • Write: Up to 700 MB/s
  • Random Write 4KB (Aligned): 120,000 IOPS

More specs that aren’t as exciting:

  • Available in 100 GB to 960 GB (1 TB) capacities
  • PCI-Express interface (x4)
  • For use as primary boot drive or data storage
  • 4 x SATA
  • Internal RAID 0
  • 181.07 (L) x 21.59 (W) x 125.08 mm (H)
  • Shock Resistance: 1500 g
  • Seek Time: 0.1 ms
  • Operating Temp: 0 °C ~ 70 °C
  • Storage Temp: -45 °C ~ 85 °C
  • Power Consumption: 4.3 W Idle, 8.3 W active
  • MTBF: 2,000,000 hours
  • 3-Year Warranty
  • Compatible with Windows XP 32/64, Vista 32/64, Windows 7 32/64

One thing to keep in mind if you are considering this drive is that not all motherboards will boot from the PCI-e slot.  Make sure you check the motherboard compatibility list to see if your board has been tested. For instance, the Biostar TP67XE would not recognize the drive at first, but Biostar has released an updated BIOS so that is fixed now.  Another thing to keep in mind is that the drive is designed to use a x4 PCI-e slot.  On a board that has three PCI-e slots, the last one might default to an x1 speed, like the Asus P8P67 Pro does.  You might be able to override this in the BIOS and force it to x4 mode in case your other two slots are taken up by GPUs. Otherwise, the card will work fine at x1 mode, which is still pretty fast but not optimal.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this SSD is really four drives in RAID, so Windows will need RAID drivers installed first to be able to recognize the drive. The drivers are available on OCZ’s website so you can either slip-stream them into your Windows disc for fresh installs or put them on some other media so you can load them before the Windows install process. When I was booting off my test HDD I had to install the drivers before I was able to run benchmarks on the drive.

Here is what forum member icebob had to say about doing a fresh install on the original Revodrive:

disconnect any other drive, disable any onboard raid controller,set sata to ide, go to ocz and load drivers (they don’t come with the drive!) and load both (32 and 64) on usb stick. install windows and when at the drive choosing page load 32 bits drivers first, even if you install 64 bits os and right after install the 64bits drivers after it should be peice of cake!

Pretty packaging

Pretty packaging

Lots of words on the back

Lots of words on the back

A box within a box

A box within a box

A nice sticker is included

A nice sticker is included

Sandforce controllers

SandForce controllers

Only uses up one slot

Only uses up one slot

Yes, more angles.

Yes, more angles.

Solid State memory packet in everywhere

Solid State memory packed in everywhere

Backside again

Backside again

Two PCBs to fit it all into a tiny package

Two PCBs to fit it all into a tiny package

Benchmarks

Test Setup

  • Intel i7 2600k processor
  • Asus P8P67 Pro motherboard
  • Zalman CNPS9900 heatsink
  • Patriot Sector 5 Viper II 2×2 GB @ DDR3-2133 c9 RAM
  • NZXT HALE-90 850 W PSU
  • PowerColor Radeon HD 6870 GPU
  • Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

For comparison, I’ll be using a standard Seagate 7200.11 1 TB mechanical HDD as well as the performance numbers Hokiealumnus got in his review of the OCZ Vertex 2 and the Patriot Inferno. He used a different system for his tests so the numbers are not 100% directly comparable, but they are still close enough to draw general conclusions about relative performance.

First up are the obligatory benchmark screen shots. Notice how the Revodrive X2 blows the mechanical HDD out of the water.

ATTO benchmark - Revodrive X2

ATTO benchmark - Revodrive X2

ATTO benchmark - Seagate 7200.11

ATTO benchmark - Seagate 7200.11

HDTach Long - Revordrive X2

HDTach Long - Revordrive X2

HDTach Long - Seagate 7200.11

HDTach Long - Seagate 7200.11

HDTach short - Revordrive X2

HDTach short - Revordrive X2

HDTach short - Seagate 7200.11

HDTach short - Seagate 7200.11

IOMeter 2m read - Revodrive X2

IOMeter 2m read - Revodrive X2

IOMeter 2m read - Seagate 7200.11

IOMeter 2m read - Seagate 7200.11

IOMeter 2m Write - Revodrive X2

IOMeter 2m Write - Revodrive X2

IOMeter 2m write - Seagate 7200.11

IOMeter 2m write - Seagate 7200.11

IOMeter 4k random read - Revodrive X2

IOMeter 4k random read - Revodrive X2

IOMeter 4k random read - Seagate 7200.11

IOMeter 4k random read - Seagate 7200.11

IOMeter 4k random write - Revodrive X2

IOMeter 4k random write - Revodrive X2

IOMeter 4k random write - Seagate 7200.11

IOMeter 4k random write - Seagate 7200.11

The most notable things here are that IOMeter confirmed the claim that the Revodrive X2 could do approximately 120,000 IOPS in the 4k Random Write test. This is due to OCZ’s proprietary SandForce firmware, similar to that on the Vertex 2. The ATTO Benchmark more or less confirmed OCZ’s claim that the Revodrive X2 had a maximum read of 740 MB/s and maximum write speed of 720 MB/s (I got 742 MB/s and 711 MB/s respectively). Comparatively, the OCZ Vertex 2 could do approximately 50,000 IOPS and 285 MB/s read.

While those are certainly impressive numbers, they don’t really correlate to real world use that well. Don’t worry though, because there is one test that will surely impress any computer user regardless of their tech level: Windows boot time.

Windows boot time - Revodrive X2

Windows boot time - Revodrive X2

Windows boot time - Seagate 7200.11

Windows boot time - Seagate 7200.11

You are seeing that correctly; the Revodrive X2 only took about 8 seconds to get into Windows while the mechanical Seagate 7200.11 close to 44 seconds. To get even more perspective on how fast that really is, the OCZ Vertex 2 and Patriot Inferno both booted Windows in around 20 seconds when Hokiealumnus tested them.

Conclusion

The OCZ Revodrive X2 certainly is the King of the Hill when it comes to consumer desktop drives. It soars above all other SSDs and HDDs. Simply put, this drive is amazing. Unfortunately, it costs a lot to be King and the 240 GB model is available at most retailers for around $570. While I could only see myself spending that kind of money in the case that I just won the lottery, this drive is more than worthy of being Overclockers Approved.

– splat

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Discussion
  1. Very nice review!
    Did you have to use the Intel RAID controller built into the Sandy Bridge CPU?
    You can send it over to me whenever you are ready! :santa:
    Very nice job!! :thup:
    But I do have one problem (well maybe two) with such awesome performance the Revodrive produces, I can neither type nor think that fast. :bang head
    Beautiful piece of hardware. Simply amazing.
    It's too bad in a way that these don't come with at least some rudimentary non-RAID backup boot mode.
    Any news on the linux support? I thought that was a great question.
    I assume the raid setup has to do more with the OS being able to access the drive at multiple points? Sort of like hyper threading.
    My only concern would be a power failure and how the drive would handle that. Or how your data would be handle per se...
    bcsizemo
    My only concern would be a power failure and how the drive would handle that. Or how your data would be handle per se...

    Hopefully no worse than power failure for rotational drives. I would think probably better, since write times are faster, so hopefully there would be fewer pending write operations at power loss (and hence better file system consistency).
    Finally got around to testing this with Linux, and it works perfectly (using Overclockix LiveCD)
    edit: i'm now trying to install linux (ubuntu 11.04) but i am running into errors getting grub installed (seems to be common). i'll report back if i get it working.
    Mine installed like a dream...and performs like it's arse is on fire
    I would add to one observation in the reply posts...overclocking the pci-e bus definitely has an affect on performance, for the better...you can find other posters showing results up to 120 mHz bus and the results are quite insane
    100 mHz bus speed

    105 mHz bus speed

    Sabertooth P67 / 2600K @ 5000 / Revodrive X2 240 / Dominator GT 1600-7-7-7-20 1T
    I wonder if turnign up PCIe frequency giving better numbers is b/c its in a 1x slot and turning it up helps vs a 4x slot that has more bandwidth aready?
    I also dont see where he mentioned PCIe overclocking didnt do anything.. i will reread..
    no offense intended, I thought posting some info that may give more insight into the product might be ok...mine is in a 4x slot , as it will not fit in a 1x slot
    *I should said have the reference to overclocking was in the comments
    None taken. There is nothing wrong with your post. I was just theorizing why you are seeing these gains is all. ;)
    Your oringal (now edited) wording, "I would correct one observation in the review", means it was mentioned in there, and I thought I missed it.
    Its GREAT additional infromation for the article to something that wasnt mentioned (unless I still missed it).
    The 4x slot could be running as a 1x slot though, I believe that was mentioned in the article, no? Again, just guessing as to why you are seeing those results for something that is theoretically not bandwidth limited in a 4x slot. it looks like your results are on par with the what the card is rated for and not really pushing the card past what its rated to do. :)
    Another thing to keep in mind is that the drive is designed to use a x4 PCI-e slot. On a board that has three PCI-e slots, the last one might default to an x1 speed, like the Asus P8P67 Pro does. You might be able to override this in the BIOS and force it to x4 mode in case your other two slots are taken up by GPUs. Otherwise, the card will work fine at x1 mode, which is still pretty fast but not optimal.
    I saw that thread in the past and it doesn not answer any of my theories/questions as I dont not believe he specifies what slot speed it is.. ;)
    EDIT: He says its 4x... but he is in Xfire so... may be 1x if 3rd slot.......
    i didn't test on xfire. when i said overclocking didn't help, i meant simply upping the multi on the processor. i didn't test changing the fsb but i can see by your post that does help, and that would make sense as fsb affects more than just cpu speed.
    PCIe frequency, not FSB/bclk. ;)
    We also were not referring to the review when i said he tested in Crossfire, I was refering to the link he provided which was on Crossfire.