OCZ RD400A 512GB Review (Page 2 of 11)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Test System

The OCZ RD400A 512GB looks nothing like your traditional Serial ATA solid state drive, and this is because it is not your traditional solid state drive. It is not like the OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB either. Sure, they are both PCI Express cards on the surface, but the nature of the products are fundamentally different. While the OCZ RevoDrive 350 is PCI Express based storage device with a custom interface, the OCZ RD400A 512GB is actually an M.2 2280 format SSD plugged into on a half-height, half length (HHHL) PCI Express adapter board. This makes it physically very similar as the Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB, except the OCZ RD400A 512GB works on the NVMe 1.1b logical device interface. If you are not familiar with the M.2 physical standard, M.2 2280 means it the size of the drive is 22mm by 80mm, hence its numerical designation. The actual SSD can be physically detached from the adapter board, which you can see in the following photo. If you have no need for the adapter board, such as if you have a Z170 motherboard or a compatible laptop, you can buy the OCZ RD400 only without the add-in board instead for about $20 less at press time. As mentioned on the previous page, the "A" in the RD400A model number indicates the inclusion of the adapter board -- the SSD itself is called the RD400. A label on the RD400 SSD itself carries miscellaneous information such as its serial number, manufacturing date, and place of assembly. Unlike many flash storage solutions we have reviewed in the past, this Toshiba drive is made in the Philippines. There is no indication removing the label in question will void your five-year advanced exchange warranty, but there is no real reason why you need to do that anyway, haha.

Upon closer inspection of the sleek black printed circuit board, it reveals a fairly simple layout. Electrically, the M.2 NVMe physically interfaces with PCIe 3.1. It uses four lanes for up to 4000MB/s bandwidth in each direction. You can see how the adapter board electrically connects to your motherboard by inspecting the traces from the PCIe slot pins to the actual drive. The entire HHHL PCB with a standard bracket spans 157.64mm in length, 105.51mm in width, and 17.20mm in height. The specified weight is 63g for the add-in card and 7.2g for the SSD, making the whole package 70.2g. The full length bracket can be replaced with an included low profile bracket for those with small form factor PCs.

Flipping the OCZ RD400A 512GB around, and you will find no components of interest. Since the HHHL adapter board is not just an adapter board by name, but actually an adapter board even by engineering standards, all electronic components we are interested in are located on the detachable M.2 SSD instead. Our photo above shows the 512GB OCZ RD400 module disconnected from the PCB. In order to take it out, simply remove a screw located near the end, and slide it out of the slot. A small adhesive thermal pad sits between the surface of the add-in card and back of the module. I am not sure how thermally conductive the thermal pad is, but it does not make any contact with actual components on the RD400.

At the heart of OCZ's RD400A 512GB is a proprietary Toshiba TC58NCP070GSB controller; the same one found in the Toshiba XG3. Other than being a NVMe solution on the M.2 socket to overcome traditional Serial ATA bandwidth bottlenecks, there is not much else to talk about here from a technical standpoint. On the SSD itself, it is rated at 6.0W active power and 6.0mW in Power State 5. The active power consumption is rated at 6.4W with the HHHL adapter board. The RD400A actually uses quite a bit of power, but this is a high performance product after all. Furthermore, it is a little more power efficient compared to its predecessor.

Rated at 2600MB/s read, 1600MB/s write, and up to 190,000 IOPS over NVMe 1.1b on PCIe 3.1 x4, these figures are really impressive. It is roughly six times to speed of a regular SATA 6Gb/s drive, and by far the highest rated drive we have ever tested here at APH Networks. For comparison, the OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB is rated at 1800MB/s read, 1700MB/s write, and up to 140,000 IOPS, while the Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB is rated at 1400MB/s read, 1000MB/s write, and up to 130,000 IOPS. To see how it translates to numbers in our benchmarks, we will pit them against the big boys of this game to see how this new flagship from OCZ steps up against all the popular SSDs from manufacturers like Crucial, Kingston, Patriot, SanDisk, and even OCZ themselves in the next eight pages or so.

A total of two NAND flash chips are found on the OCZ RD400A 512GB solid state disk, with all of them on the same side. The chips used are Toshiba's TH58TFT1JFLBAEG NAND flash memory, with a capacity of 128GB per integrated circuit chip. These are multi-level cells manufactured on the 16nm fabrication process. It has a very good rated write endurance of 296TB, which equates to roughly 162GB per day for five years. Unlike some SSDs we have used in the past, there is no over-provisioning, so they all come together and make up for its 512GB storage capacity. You will see 477GB in Windows. One Samsung branded K4E4E324EE-EGCE 512MB DDR3L-1600 chip is present; it is used by the Toshiba TC58NCP070GSB controller for system memory.

Our test configuration is as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K @ 4.6GHz
CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-D15S
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
RAM: Patriot Viper 3 Low Profile PC3-17000 4x8GB
Graphics: Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 960 4GB
Chassis: Fractal Design Define R5
Storage: OCZ Vector 180 240GB; Crucial MX200 500GB
Power: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 1200W
Sound: Auzentech X-Fi Bravura
Optical Drive: LiteOn iHAS224-06 24X DVD Writer
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

Compared Hardware:
- OCZ RD400A 512GB
- Crucial BX100 500GB
- Crucial MX100 256GB
- Crucial MX200 500GB
- G.Skill Phoenix EVO 115GB
- Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB
- Kingston HyperX 120GB
- Kingston HyperX Predator PCIe 480GB
- Kingston HyperX Savage 240GB
- Kingston SSDNow V+200 120GB
- 2x Kingston SSDNow V+200 120GB RAID 0
- OCZ ARC 100 240GB
- OCZ Agility 3 240GB
- OCZ Agility 4 256GB
- OCZ Octane 512GB
- OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB
- OCZ Trion 100 480GB
- OCZ Trion 150 480GB
- OCZ Vector 150 240GB
- OCZ Vector 180 240GB
- OCZ Vector 256GB
- OCZ Vertex 2 160GB 25nm
- OCZ Vertex 2 60GB 34nm
- OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240GB
- OCZ Vertex 3.20 240GB
- OCZ Vertex 4 256GB
- OCZ Vertex 450 256GB
- OCZ Vertex 460 240GB
- Patriot Blaze 240GB
- Patriot Ignite 480GB
- Patriot Pyro 120GB
- Patriot Pyro SE 240GB
- SanDisk Extreme II 240GB
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 480GB
- SanDisk Ultra II 240GB
- Silicon Power Slim S80 240GB

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Test System
3. Benchmark: AIDA64 Disk Benchmark
4. Benchmark: ATTO Disk Benchmark
5. Benchmark: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0
6. Benchmark: HD Tach
7. Benchmark: HD Tune Pro 4.60
8. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 8.0
9. Benchmark: PCMark Vantage
10. Benchmark: PCMark 8
11. Conclusion