Final Words

I believe there's a very specific niche that is interested in something like the RevoDrive 3. A customer that needs the performance and is too resource limited to go after the more expensive solutions on the market. I believe it's a lot like what we did in the early days of AnandTech. A decade ago we couldn't get or afford powerful server hardware, but we needed the performance. Our solution was to build a bunch of desktops (using hardware that we did have available to us) and deploy them as our servers. The solution was incredibly fast and cost effective, exactly what we needed at the time. We of course later ran into reliability issues down the road when all of our desktop motherboards died at the same time (apparently we had a bad batch), but when they worked the systems served us well.

The RevoDrive 3 reminds me a lot of something we would've deployed back then: something that can deliver the performance but whose track record isn't proven. OCZ insists that the RevoDrive 3 isn't targeted at servers, although it fully expects users to deploy it in machines running server OSes.

The RevoDrive 3 X2's performance shouldn't be surprising. In fact, you should be able to get similar performance out of a 4-drive RAID-0 array of Vertex 3s. Unfortunately you wouldn't be able to do so on a 6-series Intel motherboard as you're limited to two 6Gbps SATA ports. You'd either need to invest in a 4-port 6Gbps SATA RAID card like this or look at AMD's 8/9-series chipset, which does make the RevoDrive 3 X2 a little more attractive. Ultimately this has been one of my biggest issues with these multi-controller PCIe SSDs, they rarely offer a tangible benefit over a DIY RAID setup.

For the majority of users the RevoDrive 3 X2 is simply overkill. I even demonstrated in some of our IO bound tests that you're bottlenecked by the workload before you're limited by the hardware. That being said, if you have the right workload - I've already shown that you can push nearly 1.5GB/s of data through the card and hit random IOPS numbers of over 180K (~756MB/s in our QD32 test). Even if you have the workload however I still have two major concerns: TRIM support and reliability.

While I'm glad you can finally secure erase the drive under Windows, missing TRIM is a tangible downside in my opinion. The only salvation is the fact that if you're running with mostly compressible data, SandForce's controllers tend to be very resilient and you probably won't miss TRIM. If your workload is predominantly incompressible (e.g. highly compressed videos, images or data of a highly random makeup) then perhaps something SandForce based isn't the best option for you to begin with.

The reliability issue is what will likely keep the RevoDrive 3 out of mission critical deployments. A single controller failure will kill your entire array, not to mention the recent unease about using anything SandForce SF-2281 based. OCZ tells me it hasn't seen a single BSOD issue on the RevoDrive 3 X2 thus far (it's currently running version 2.06 of the OCZ/SF firmware) however it'll be updated to the latest firmware before shipping in late July just in case.

As with anything else in the SSD space, I'd suggest waiting to see how the RevoDrive 3 X2 works deployed in an environment similar to your own before pulling the trigger.

AS-SSD Incompressible Sequential Performance


View All Comments

  • HMTK - Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - link

    Would be nice to see one of these against a Fusion IO drive. Those are enterprise PCIe SSD's but I wonder how they'd compare.

    You should try to get one for Johan and test it under vSphere.
  • davegraham - Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - link

    a more direct comparison would be with the LSI Warpdrive. TBH, OCZ still isn't ready for prime time in the enterprise regardless of who's ASIC they're using. If they want to play with the big boys, they need a solid support staff and design team in place.

    one quick quirk with this card is the full height, half-depth design + daughterboard. in a card-dense chassis (esp. 1U systems), this won't fly. An LSI WarpDrive, for contrast, is half-height, half-depth @ 300GB.

  • skrewler2 - Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - link

    I don't know why you think enterprise means they need 'solid support'. This may be true for some organizations, but probably does not apply to the companies that would actually be interested in seeing these benchmarks. Reply
  • HMTK - Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - link

    I think as in support for (server) OS's other than Windows. These things could be nice for desktop virtualization. There you typically don't need lots of disk space but you need massive IO when people start working and stuff. Bootstorms kill VDI. Reply
  • davegraham - Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - link

    This card wouldn't do a bad job at bootstorms for VDI use cases but the WarpDrive's forte is going to show up there pretty strongly. ;) Reply
  • davegraham - Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - link

    OCZ is deciding to move upmarket and not just focus on consumers and SMB anymore. when that move occurs, they need to have an ecosystem that will support the inclusion of these devices in systems, not just try to price themselves into systems. OCZ also has a storied history of reliability issues that are going to impact this as well. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - link has it compared to the LSI Warpdrive.

  • davegraham - Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - link

    interesting review with the knowledge that most of the workloads i've used the warpdrive for are shown to be it's forte...and it's still a generation behind in ASICs (SF-1200 vs SF-2xxx). I know there'll be a refresh of that part. ;) Reply
  • parsec21 - Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - link

    Storage Review just did a side by side review of the Revo and Warp cards although they are intended for different markets. For a fraction of the price the OCZ Revo outclassed or matched the LSI Warp in most real world benchmarks. The only areas where the Warp led were due to it having HW RAID with six SF1200 processors tied to SLC memory along with a $8000-$10000 price tag.

    The results show that the design team at OCZ utlizing a custom virtual controller and async MLC memory created a product that offers a great deal of performance for a pretty good price.
  • skrewler2 - Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - link

    I was about to include that in my post but saw you beat me to it. Would definitely be interested in that as well. Reply

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