OCZ RevoDrive3 X2 480GB Review

Anyone who's been reading this site since the early days will remember my scathing review of the OCZ RevoDrive 80GB. That thing gave me so many issues, that I literally had nothing good to say about it, and combined with an unfortunate run of additional failed OCZ products, I couldn't recommend anything they made for a long time, but a LOT has happened since then, it's all ancient history, and I then had a string of successes starting with the Vertex 3 through the Vertex 4, the Synapse, and now the RevoDrive 3. There was one snag in this process that gave me some pause, and I decided to let it ride for a few extra months of 24/7 uptime and now I feel like this piece is solid enough to render the final verdict. 

You will also remember how immensely long some of my reviews used to be. I'm standardizing on a more "to the point" format that assumes some pre-knowledge on the part of the reader, and most of the tech reviews will be 1200-1500 words, and most game reviews will stay at around 2500-2800. I'll let you know when I need to deviate from this. 

So what of this new gen Revo?

RevoDrive 3 X2 480GB

The RevoDrive 3 X2 is a PCI-E x4 class SSD meant for workstation class systems, and while it has quirks, it's amazingly fast, lightweight, runs cool, and will make your HDDs obsolete. 

It looks like this. Pretty hot stuff. 

STATS of review

For this round, I'm only testing on one system. 

RevoDrive 3 Test System

Platform and Release Stats

The RevoDrive 3 was acquired direct from OCZ for review. This is actually the second one I have, and I'll get into the why in "issues" but it's not likely to be an issue you'll run into at this point. 

Overall Impression

Sitting somewhat between the line of "workstation" and "enterprise" class, and befitting either classification, this drive has a lot going for it, but if you're a pure gamer, and you're just looking for a the fastest gaming drive, don't look here. Go look at my Vertex or Synapse reviews, this isn't for you. This drive is for getting work done, it will have ZERO effect on your games. 

Installation is tricky with a drive like this. As a 4X device, it demands a lot of bandwidth, and many motherboards just aren't equipped to handle it in just any slot. You will need to read carefully about compatibility whether you're adding this to your system or building one around it. Once you DO have it installed and working correctly you'll know via the bios screen, as it will tell you the stats. 

Another thing to know upfront is that you will probably not be able to slam it in and install Windows, just like that. Windows is notoriously annoying when it comes to installing on non-standard hardware, and this is definitately no exception. You might even have to try a few times, as I did, doing exactly the same steps before the install program magically does the right thing, but that's more of a Windows issue than anything. To note: I did have an easier time with Windows 8 ( quit sneering ) than Windows 7.

Overview

How's 1500MB/s sound? Done deal, end of story. 

You wanted to know more? What more is there to discuss?

Test Platform and Methodology

Main testing was really only done on the new Z77 based system, so that’s what we’ll focus on:

Test software includes ATTO Benchmark, Crystal Diskmark, and AS-SSD. Last time I also included PCmark 7 but I'm phasing out use of it for pure storage benches. I had originally started using it due to plans to have more storage benches, but three is perfectly sufficient in addition to the boot tests.

I'm switching to embedded images of the test results from this point forward. The charts were unbearably uncooperative to embed, and didn't show up correctly in all browser configurations, so picture it is. 

Test Results

ATTO Benchmark

A 3X increase in performance according to the ATTO way of doing things, which I mentioned wasn't in line with what other benches do, but that's why we run them all. Still, a VERY dramatic result. 

Crystal Diskmark

Down the line you see improvement, even down to the hardest tests. 

Crystal Diskmark IOPS

IOPS is what the V4 is famous for, and yet it's still crushed here. It'll be interesting to see if the next gen catches up. 

AS-SSD

Hmm, a very odd result in the access times, but it's actually in line with the differences between the V4 and the V3, almost to the percentage point. Go back and look, and you'll see. 

Either way, these access times are worlds beyond what any HDD can do, and makes them look like the vinyl album tech they really are. 

Windows Boot

Last time around, there was a dramatic swing in the boot tests, but this time, as there is functionally no difference in boot between the two, I won't waste your time with a chart. They boot within a second of one another. Obviously there are I/O bottlenecks at work here that prevent it from booting much faster than they are. 

Test Result Conclusion:

Overall, depending on the workload, you are going to see anywhere from a 40% increase, to an almost 300% increase in sheer performance, and you skip the SATA controller, which has both advantanges and disadvantages. For a pure gaming system, you won't want to do that, but for a workstation class system, go for it. 

The productivity increase more than justifies the cost increase in my book, and as of this writing the X2 has come down in price to around $750. 

You are going to fall into one of two camps here: 

"$750 for a small HDD?!?" 

"$750 now saves me thousands in rendering, opening, transfering time, thus earns me much more than that"

If you're in the latter category, this thing was twice as much last year, so the tech is coming down in price, and now is a great time to jump on it, so do so. 

Issues?

I wanted to get out of this review with no issues but there was one big one, but since it was solved lightning fast, and is unlikely to be an issue going forward, I will mention it only because journalistic integrity dictates. 

The first drive I was sent failed within a small number of hours of use. Upon inquiring into this, I was told that some of the first batch were known bad, and that they'd be quickly replaced, and thus, unless you grab one from the channel that's been sitting around, you won't likely see this, but if you do, they'll send another one quickly. You lose only a couple of days. 

The current drive has gone 24/7 uptime for a few months. Good enough long term test for me ( most of my hardware long term tests are 3 or more months ). This one got pushed back a bit as I had some other priorities but here it is! And look at the great pictures I'm including: 

Conclusion

Interestingly, even at 3 times the sustained read speed of a Vertex 4, you see virtually no difference in boot times, application launch times, or any similar operation. There is a difference, but it's not a 3X difference, and it doesn't justify the difference in cost unless you NEED that sustained write speed, which I do.

I use the drive for storing Photoshop scratch, entire Premiere projects, etc. and having essentially zero lag on those is a huge difference to productivity.

For gamers, look elsewhere, the bottlenecks in your systems are elsewhere. Even a fast HDD is more than sufficient for gaming. Focus on faster and more memory and the best GPU you can get. For a game system with a 2TB drive, I still recommend a Synapse drive, or similar set up. 

As you know, my policy with SSDs to usually to review them in pairs, in order to have a complete picture on scaling performance, but as most boards will have a hard enough time accommodating ONE of these cheetahs, don't be silly. It would be FUN, yes, but impossibly impractical without sacrificing too much PCI bandwidth to use a high powered GPU. 

Some perspective for next time

The form factor is already tiny, the performance more than enough to show the bottlenecks in existing systems. The only real improvement would be to ship enough of these and make them mainstream to drive pricing down. It happens with every other system component eventually, so I'm sure it will happen here as well.

So what's up next? Even I don't know. 

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