In 2011 AMD took the first step in expanding the Radeon brand and partnered with Patriot and VisionTek to provide AMD branded memory. With the launch of the Radeon R7 SSD AMD is continuing this strategy by jumping into the SSD market. Just as they did with memory, AMD is partnering with a third party that handles the development, manufacturing and support of the product, which in the case of the R7 SSD is OCZ.

While the front is covered by AMD branding, the back label is OCZ branded and there is no effort to hide the fact that the drive is made by OCZ. Both companies are very open about the partnership as AMD mentions OCZ as the partner in the first sentence of the R7 SSD press release and OCZ even lists the R7 as one of their products on their website. I am glad that there is no secrecy regarding the origin of the R7 SSD because there is already enough shady things going on in the SSD industry (e.g. Kingston switching the NAND in the SSDNow V300 and PNY using multiple controllers in the Optima).

OCZ is a logical partner for AMD because the company is now owned and financially backed by Toshiba, which also gives OCZ prime access to NAND. Given the always haunting NAND shortage, a partner without direct access to NAND will more likely run into supply issues that may hurt AMD's brand as consequence. Additionally, OCZ's Barefoot 3 platform has been geared towards the higher-end market (gamers, enthusiasts and professionals) from day one and has proven to be a good performer.

As I mentioned in the launch pipeline, AMD is not really bringing anything new to the market. The number one goal with the R7 SSD and expansion of the Radeon brand is to make it easier for novice PC builders to pick parts and at the same time ensure that the parts they purchase are high quality and provide good performance. For someone that has never built a PC, the available selection can be fairly overwhelming, so AMD is trying to make the part selection smoother by providing the CPU, GPU, RAM and SSD. Obviously, the R7 SSD also gives AMD a great opportunity to offer more extensive bundles and with aggressive bundle pricing AMD could boost its CPU sales too.

AMD Radeon R7 Series SSD Specifications
Capacity 120GB 240GB 480GB
Controller OCZ Barefoot 3 M00
NAND Toshiba 64Gbit A19nm MLC
Sequential Read 550MB/s 550MB/s 550MB/s
Sequential Write 470MB/s 530MB/s 530MB/s
4KB Random Read 85K IOPS 95K IOPS 100K IOPS
4KB Random Write 90K IOPS 90K IOPS 90K IOPS
Steady-State 4KB Random Write 12K IOPS 20K IOPS 23K IOPS
Idle Power 0.6W 0.6W 0.6W
Max Power 2.7W 2.7W 2.7W
Encryption AES-256
Endurance 30GB/day for 4 years
Warranty Four years
Pricing $100 $160 $290

The R7 SSD is based on OCZ's Barefoot 3 M00 controller, which is the faster version running at 397MHz, while the M10 version that is used in the ARC 100 and Vertex 460/450 runs at 352MHz instead. The NAND is the same Toshiba's 64Gbit A19nm MLC as in the ARC 100 and in fact even the part number is an exact match.

What separates the R7 SSD from OCZ's other SSDs is the endurance. While the ARC 100 is rated at 20GB for three years (21.9TB total) and the Vector 150 is at 50GB for five years (91.2TB total), the R7 hits the middle ground by offering 30GB of writes per day for four years (43.8TB total). OCZ did some wear-leveling and garbage collection optimizations to achieve the higher endurance in the R7 but otherwise the R7 should be very similar to OCZ's ARC 100.

Sadly there is still no support for low power states and TCG Opal 2.0 / eDrive. The lack of TCG Opal 2.0 support I can understand since that is not the most important feature for gamers and enthusiasts, but by not having support for low power states (HIPM+DIPM and DevSleep) the Barefoot 3 platform is simply not competitive in the mobile space.

Test Systems

For AnandTech Storage Benches, performance consistency, random and sequential performance, performance vs transfer size and load power consumption we use the following system:

CPU Intel Core i5-2500K running at 3.3GHz (Turbo & EIST enabled)
Motherboard AsRock Z68 Pro3
Chipset Intel Z68
Chipset Drivers Intel 9.1.1.1015 + Intel RST 10.2
Memory G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1600 4 x 8GB (9-9-9-24)
Video Card Palit GeForce GTX 770 JetStream 2GB GDDR5 (1150MHz core clock; 3505MHz GDDR5 effective)
Video Drivers NVIDIA GeForce 332.21 WHQL
Desktop Resolution 1920 x 1080
OS Windows 7 x64

Thanks to G.Skill for the RipjawsX 32GB DDR3 DRAM kit

For slumber power testing we used a different system:

CPU Intel Core i7-4770K running at 3.3GHz (Turbo & EIST enabled, C-states disabled)
Motherboard ASUS Z87 Deluxe (BIOS 1707)
Chipset Intel Z87
Chipset Drivers Intel 9.4.0.1026 + Intel RST 12.9
Memory Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1866 2x8GB (9-10-9-27 2T)
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4600
Graphics Drivers 15.33.8.64.3345
Desktop Resolution 1920 x 1080
OS Windows 7 x64
Performance Consistency
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  • LB-ID - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    It would be amusing if consumers weren't being harmed by this. OCZ has such a deservedly poor reputation that they're turning to rebranding to try to foist their crap on an unsuspecting audience. No way, and I'll warn anyone who will listen about this. Shame on AMD for partnering with such an unscrupulous vendor. Reply
  • errorr - Friday, August 29, 2014 - link

    Well considering most of there less than scrupulous employees are not part of a completely new subsidiary of Toshiba... Reply
  • kyuu - Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - link

    OCZ is now owned by Toshiba, and their current drives work well. Continuing to harp on the old OCZ and their bad line of drives is silly. There's nothing "unscrupulous' about OCZ nowadays. Reply
  • ronnyzigzag - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    I'm not the most knowledgeable when it comes to screen resolution specs,but I will tell you that whenI first saw homepage and when I watched my first video on Netflix,I was very satisfied with hat I saw.It looked great.Since watching a ten inch screen from only a couple of feet away,makes the screen size seem to appear the same sizeas if you were in a real movie theater ,it didn't seem to matter to me.And one more thing ,it looks and feels great so go and get one for yourselves and enjoy! Reply
  • pt2501 - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    Bought a vertex 3 during Thanksgiving 2011, I knew it was risky but the performance could not be beat at the time. It is still my primary boot drive and going strong 3 years later. I really can't complain and in my book OCZ is still okay. Reply
  • LiviuTM - Friday, August 29, 2014 - link

    No doubt OCZ is a top SSD manufacturer, now that it has full access to Toshiba resources and NAND.The main problem of this drive is pricing, as Kristian said. :) Reply
  • lilmoe - Friday, August 29, 2014 - link

    "For someone with very little or no understanding of computers, the AMD branding can provide a peace of mind since AMD is fairly large and visible brand in the industry"

    Actually, if I had to say, I think this title goes to Kingston. ADATA and Sandisk have been coming in close second as of late. The average Joe is going to brands they recognize for RAM and flash...
    Reply
  • jabber - Friday, August 29, 2014 - link

    I would say AMD does not have a large and visible brand in the industry...that counts for anything.

    Assk 100 random Joes in the street if they know of Intel or AMD and I bet 85 of them will know about Intel "Oh they make computers don't they?" and maybe 5 might actually know what AMD do.
    Reply
  • Crdlp - Monday, September 1, 2014 - link

    I've never had issues with an ocz product. I've build several computer computers with there ram sticks, power supplies, and old (sanforce) and new ssds. I did have a power supply go out when it got struck by lightning. There old ram and power supplies got the job done on a budgit computer, and now there ssds to me represent a small company competting with much bigger companies, and winning much of the time. The only issues they had was with sanforce controllers, and for some reason, people forget that every sanforce drive (which was most drives then) was having the same issues, but people seem to only like to blame ocz for it. They were one of the only brands that decided to take steps to move away from relying on another company to provide a controller for them, which was expensive. Toshiba did not aquire ocz because they needed a ssd in the market, they already had one. Ocz is a small company, that has a realitivly amazing drive, it was a matter of time before somebody bought them. Reply
  • Clubber Lang - Sunday, September 7, 2014 - link

    I have 5 OCZ SSD Primary Boot drives that have been in use since 2009/2010, and not one has failed.

    Quite frankly I think a lot of people back then were ruining their SSD's by defragging them to death. (Auto defrag used to be on by default)
    Reply

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