OCZ RevoDrive 350 480GB PCI-E SSD Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: April 22, 2014
Product Name: RevoDrive 350 480GB
Warranty: 3 Years
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Closer Look at the OCZ RevoDrive 350

On closer inspection of the PCB we can see that the 350’s functional architectural blocks mirror the classic RevoDrive design. It makes use of a single full height, half-length form factor with a large metal covering / heatsink. Also like past iterations all power requirements are provided via the PCI-E bus with no additional power connections required. As previously mentioned, there is only one PCB hidden underneath this custom heatsink. Covering both sides of the PCB is a total of 32 NAND ICs, the VCA controller, a PCI-E 2.0 x8 bridge controller, and four LSI made Sandforce SF2282 controllers.

Just as with all previous RevoDrive series, the RevoDrive 350 uses a software based RAID configuration on its PCB. For all intents and purposes this means there are four 'drives' covering both sides of the single PCB, and all are running in a RAID 0 configuration via the VCA 2.0 controller. Each of these 'drivers' has its own controller and access to eight NAND ICs which does tend to reduce overall interleaving compared to normal SATA drives (which usually have 16 NAND ICs). However, with four controllers for load balancing this lower interleaving should have only a minor impact on overall performance outside of ultra-deep queue depth scenarios the RevoDrive 350 is never meant to encounter.

On the NAND side of the equation, we can see that since being acquired by Toshiba OCZ's engineers have not been idle. They have taken full advantage of what having nearly unlimited access to highly binned 19nm Toggle Mode NAND has to offer. Last time they were using these highly potent NAND chips to supercharge their Vertex 4 series and this time those self-same Toshiba branded ICs are powering the latest and greatest RevoDrive.

While eMMC may have been a more optimal choice from a durability perspective, this drive is meant for more workstation scenarios. With this in mind, OCZ has opted for controller with very low write amplification so the added cost of eMMC would have done nothing but hurt the price versus performance ratio for minimal real-world benefits.

By using Toshiba's NAND, OCZ's firmware team can also further refine the RevoDrive's firmware to take full advantage of the modules’ specific algorithms without worrying about hurting potential performance of future drives coming off the line since they all will use the same NAND. Few manufactures’ firmware teams have such a luxury, so we fully expect this to help boost the Revo 350s performance over time.

On the surface opting for a third party controller for a flagship SSD may seem odd and it is doubly so considering the SandForce SF2200 series is considered one of the industry’s elderly statesmen. OCZ could have easily opted for highly screened versions of their own in-house 'Indilinx powered' Barefoot 3. This would have conceivably given the RevoDrive 350 better performance while also granting OCZ even more control over firmware. However, by opting for a known quantity, OCZ have signaled that while the RevoDrive 350 is a more value orientated version of the RevoDrive series, it still takes quality control seriously as the 2282 is still a very good controller that has a stellar reputation in the marketplace. We fully expect OCZ to transition to their own controller in the future (as indicated by the PCB’s traces pointing towards possible RAM ICs next to each controller) but taking fewer risks is an excellent decision in this case.


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