OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB Review (Page 2 of 10)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Installation, Test System

The OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB looks nothing like your traditional Serial ATA solid state drive, and this is because it is not your traditional solid state drive. At first glance, it reminded me of a dedicated sound card equipped with an EMI shield, except the RevoDrive 350's "shield" is really a large aluminum heatsink made to dissipate heat away from the RAID controller. A matrix of holes on the rear expansion slot brackets provides additional ventilation. As you can see in our photo above, a series of fins at the bottom right corner directly corresponds to the chip residing below it. We will talk about that in just a short moment. Meanwhile, the rest of the silver shield covers the rest of the printed circuit board, along with a reflective, fingerprint loving mirror finish in the middle. This combination is not exactly a product photographer's best friend, especially if you want to grab it on a white background, haha. In the reflective portion of things, you will find a large stylized "R" on the left, RevoDrive 350 Solid State Drive text adjacent to it, as well as OCZ's logo at the end. The usual array of regulatory certification icons can be found at the top right corner.

The entire PCB spans 180.9mm in length, 126.3mm in width, and 21.6mm in height with a specified weight of 310g. Its PCI Express 2.0 x8 interface means it is going to be compatible with your desktop PC only, but you are not going to have any issues fitting it anywhere, as long as a single free slot is available. One minor complaint is I am personally not a big fan of its green soldermask. I mean, everyone has black PCBs nowadays, and green is pretty 1998.

Flipping the OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB around, and you will find many components of interest -- and that is even before we start unscrewing the screws to detach the shield from the main printed circuit board. You probably cannot see it in our photo above in microscopic detail, but what we have are four SandForce SF-2282 controllers and sixteen Toshiba TH58TEG7DDJBA4C 19nm Toggle Mode NAND flash memory chips. It is rather unsurprising to see Toshiba ICs on the OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB, as Toshiba is now the parent company of OCZ. However, using a SandForce SF-2282 rather than the company's own Indilinx Barefoot 3 found in the OCZ Vector 150 and OCZ Vertex 460 is an unexpected twist to the story. The way I see it, using SandForce rather than Indilinx it is probably related to development costs, where OCZ is already quite familiar with running several SandForce controllers in this fashion in past products already.

Since it is 2014 and all, if you were following the tech industry for the last few years, you should be pretty familiar with SandForce controllers, considering the second generation series has been around for a while now. Even I have lost count of how many SandForce SF-2281 SSDs I have reviewed here at APH Networks, haha. Despite its age, it is still one of the most tried and true controllers in the market today, and is certainly among the ones that delivers the highest performance at press time. Now, what the heck is a SF-2282? Actually, the SF-2282 found on the OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB is essentially the same thing as the SF-2281, except it can communicate with more flash memory ICs simultaneously by doubling the byte lane count from eight to sixteen. If you need a little brush up with this controller in question, please feel free to read any of our previous reviews, such as the OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240GB -- the section that talks about the controller is practically identical, thanks to the incredible power of copy and paste.

The obvious question to ask at this point will have to be, "Why are there four SandForce controllers rather than one?" and to put it all in an nutshell, the OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB is essentially four 120GB SSDs in a quad RAID 0 array. At this point, I can already hear some engineer a few thousand miles away screaming, so to keep the sanity of my fellow professionals, I will explain the internal workings of this beastly solid state drive once we remove the cover in the next few paragraphs or so. To close off this section, stickers that show the RevoDrive's part number and serial number can be found on this side of the board. Additional stickers that show its assembly location and shipping firmware version can be found on the inside edge of the heatsink. As with all OCZ SSDs, they are all made in Taiwan, and this one is no exception.

The aluminum heatsink is relatively easy to remove. Simply detach four screws, and you are good to go. Unlike most solid state drives I have encountered in the past, there are no warranty seals on any of the screws, so if you are curious enough to take a look inside, you are happy to know your three year warranty is kept intact. Sixteen additional Toshiba TH58TEG7DDJBA4C NAND ICs are found on this side of the board. The heatsink makes contact with a chip labeled 'OCZ ICT-0262' by a thermal pad; the rest of the shield is more of an aesthetics feature, because it does not directly cool any other electronic components. The chip in question, of course, is the RAID controller. No one seems to know much about it other than OCZ themselves, but what makes it special is the software virtualization layer, Virtualized Controller Architecture 2.0, that sits on top of the hardware. It not only takes care of the four SF-2282 controllers in RAID 0 as aforementioned, but this updated iteration of the original VCA expands on the feature set by enabling TRIM, NCQ, TCQ, SMART monitoring, power failure management, as well as wear leveling. This is pretty important, because if you RAID your own disks, you are bound to lose out on some features (See article "SSD: One for all or two for RAID?", March 2012). VCA 2.0 presents an entire storage subsystem that controls the flash controllers, and enables some enterprise features found only on more expensive products. Queue the "Yo dawg... I heard you like to control while you are controlling, so here is a controller..." Anyway, it comes with a SATA to PCIe bridge, but requires custom software and drivers to run.

A total of thirty two NAND flash chips are found on the OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB solid state disk, with sixteen on each side. The chips used are Toshiba TH58TEG7DDJBA4C NAND flash memory, with a capacity of 16GB per integrated circuit chip, as mentioned earlier. These are toggle mode multi-level cells manufactured on the 19nm fabrication process. Since OCZ is now owned by Toshiba, you really don't expect them to use flash chips from other brands, haha. Like many SandForce drives. 32GB out of the 512GB total capacity (Just under 7%) is provisioned for the drive controller for enhanced write endurance and lowered write amplification, so the actual usable space is 480GB, as advertised. You will see 447GB in Windows. The OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB is rated with a two million hour MTBF, and rated for 50GB/day of host writes for three years.

A Lattice IspPAC-POWR1220AT8 programmable power supply monitor and three Altera Enpiron EN63A0QI DC to DC converters are present on the drive to improve its power management and efficiency. An array of blue LEDs are present to indicate power status, while green LEDs on top flashes to indicate drive activity.

Our test configuration as follows:

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K @ 4.50GHz
CPU Cooling: Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro (Noctua NF-F12)
Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution
RAM: Kingston HyperX Beast KHX21C11T3K2/16X 4x8GB
Graphics: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7870 2GB OC
Chassis: Lian Li PC-B12
Power: PC Power & Cooling Silencer Mk III 1200W
Sound: Auzentech X-Fi Bravura
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1

Compared Hardware:
- OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB
- G.Skill Phoenix EVO 115GB
- Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB
- Kingston HyperX 120GB
- Kingston SSDNow V+200 120GB
- Kingston SSDNow V300 120GB
- 2x Kingston SSDNow V+200 120GB RAID 0
- OCZ Agility 3 240GB
- OCZ Agility 4 256GB
- OCZ Octane 512GB
- OCZ Vector 150 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 Pyro 120GB
- Patriot Pyro SE 240GB
- SanDisk Extreme II 240GB
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 480GB
- SanDisk Ultra Plus 256GB

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Installation, 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. Conclusion