While PC enthusiasts go gaga over the latest consumer grade SATA III SSDs, when it comes to bleeding edge performance there is another type of SSD that is in a different league all together. PCIe drives reign supreme when it comes to SSD performance, as they are not limited by the bandwidth capacity of SATA III (6Gbps). Today I’ll be looking at the OCZ RevoDrive 3 PCIe 120GB SSD.
Given the price and form factor of the RevoDrive 3, it’s clear that this is an enterprise level SSD. Still, there are many enthusiasts and professionals working on high-end machines that will find the RevoDrive 3 right up their alley.
The basic anatomy of the RevoDrive 3 isn’t so far off from a regular SSD, but some tweaks give it the beastly performance OCZ claims it to have. First off there’s the SAS 6Gbps to PCIe 2.0 x4 bridge that provides full 2Gbps bandwidth compared to 750Mbps through SATA III.
The SAS chipset is said to be from Marvell with custom drivers, allowing TRIM support, SMART data readouts and firmware update through the SSD Toolbox. OCZ calls it the SuperScale storage accelerator with the new Virtualized Controller Architecture 2.0 (VCA 2.0). This basically allows the processor to send real-time I/O commands simultaneously to the two SandForce 2281 controllers.
Furthermore, the sixteen 8GB NAND chips would have given a total of 128GB of storage, but actual usable space is limited to 111GB (rated is 120GB). The extra space allows for better garbage collection, which coupled with the VCA 2.0 allows OCZ to claim that data integrity is near 100%. Time will tell if this claim holds true, though.
Before we move onto the benchmarks, let’s take a look at the packaging. Coming in a rather large box, the RevoDrive 3 comes in a rather solid box. Packed inside the safe cushions is the RevoDrive 3 itself, with the drivers CD as well.
Installation is simply plugging the RevoDrive 3 into any PCIe 2.0 or 3.0 slot you have on your motherboard, and downloading the drivers directly from OCZ. Without the drivers Windows 7 won’t recognize the drive, nor will it be bootable if you’re planning to install Windows 7 on it.