OCZ Storage Solutions RevoDrive 350 PCIe SSD Review (480GB)
The past few months have been a transition period for the company we once knew as OCZ Technology. A rebranding to OCZ Storage Solutions as well as becoming part of the Toshiba group has taken place and today we see one of the first products which benefits from the latter. OCZ’s RevoDrive 350 is a PCIe based SSD which features a Virtualized Controller Architecture mixed with multiple LSI/Sandforce controllers and Toshiba NAND with advertised speeds of up to 1800MB/s.
The RevoDrive 350 arrives in a large box which features the new OCZ styling and there is a decent amount of product info on the back. Inside the RevoDrive is suspended in plastic brackets and a protective plastic block with the mini CD containing product info and software below.
OCZ continue to supply their Toolbox software to assist in managing and maintain the drive. The first tab in here lets us see the detail of our OCZ devices with plenty of support for old models. The second tab allows us to update BIOS/Firmwares and then we move on to Secure Erase on the next. Finally we have an info screen which gives us all the stats on our drives.
The RevoDrive 350 PCIe SSD
The RevoDrive 350 is a full height, half-length PCIe Gen. 2 x8 device. OCZ use a green PCB and attached to the front is a large metal cover which acts as a heatsink. Worth noting is that the only part of this heatsink/cover which makes contact with the drive is the bottom right corner (fins) which is where we find the OCZ controller. There is plenty of room for airflow underneath the cover and this is enhanced by the perforated PCIe slot bracket on the end of the drive.
Although this drive is essentially an evolution of the RevoDrive 3 X2 it has been completely redesigned. For example, gone are the multiple PCBs, instead we have one here (180.9×126.3×21.6mm, 310g). The LSI controllers are now 2282 with four present on the 480/960GB versions and both the front and back of the PCB feature 19nm Toshiba MLC flash.
OCZ rate the 480GB/960GB at 1800MB/s read with write at 1700MB/s and state that IOPS will hit 90-135k on read, 140K on write. The 240GB has two LSI controllers with 100/950MB/s rating (45/80K IOPS). AES-128 Data Encryption is also present.
As noted earlier the Revo 350 has a Virtualized Controller Architecture which essentially makes the drive look like one storage device to our system, despite their being four "SSDs" in RAID present on the PCB. The VCA also manages redundancy/flash life while also providing TRIM and Smart functionality (as well as the tools provided in OCZ Toolbox. Finally, for power draw we have active use at 14w with idle draw of 9.5w and a reliability specification of 50GB writes per day. (3-year warranty)
When OCZ first launched the RevoDrive series back in 2010 it was an industry leading product, offering a different approach to solid state storage for mainstream/enthusiast home users. With each revision OCZ refined their approach to PCIe devices and by the time we hit the RevoDrive 3 X2 it provided a simple, user friendly unit which was packed with features and some great performance.
With the RevoDrive 350 OCZ continue their PCIe evolution and bring in aspects from the enterprise space, refined design and parts appropriate to the current market. In terms of design the drive looks great with the new silver cover/heatsink, feels well built and is sturdy thanks to the same component. On a parts level we get proven LSI, Lattice and Toshiba/items.
As always OCZ back their drive with a decent warranty, 3 years on this occasion, and while it would be nice to see them push to 5 it isnt a huge issue. The software suite offered is also good with the Toolbox offering a simple way to monitor and maintain our drive over time. Their forum is also worthy of note with plenty of knowledgeable staff/users around to help with any issues.
Of course those issues should be minimal as the RevoDrive 350 and its VCA is designed to be as plug and play as possible. While some users will need to manually install the latest driver (which was recently completely revised by OCZ) the RAID setup is already set at the factory and once partitioned/formatted the drive is ready to go. Just like any drive really.
That brings us to performance where the RevoDrive 350 continues to impress. Certainly there are areas where it doesn’t offer industry leading performance, like the synthetic Crystal Disk Mark or boot times… well, partially. The boot time itself is lightning fast but we do need to take into account the initialisation time of the product at power on which takes around 10 seconds. Other than those two scenarios the RevoDrive 350 performed flawlessly for us. With phenominal speeds when working with uncompressed HD video and large/small file copy operations it clearly is an ideal solution for content creators while also improving load times and responsiveness in other real world tasks, ideal for enthusiast users.