The OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 Preview: Second-Gen SandForce Goes PCIe

Storage Bench v1.0: Real-World Analysis

Real-World Analysis

We're going to kick off our analysis of the RevoDrive 3 X2 using Storage Bench v1.0 because it allows us to examine the real performance of an SSD within the first two weeks of use.

Ipeak introduces two time-oriented metrics in addition to speed: busy and service time.

  • Busy time is the total time a drive has an operation in progress.
  • Service time is a little different. The total service time for the three operations in the diagram is 1785 s, which is longer than the busy time, because the operations are queued three-deep. 


Service time gives more weight to periods of high queue depth (QD), while busy time gives more weight to periods of low queue depth. If you're a desktop user, busy time is a more relevant measure because you're less likely to be running workloads that impose a high queue depth.

How do we know that you should be looking at numbers that represent a low queue depth, rather than high-depth numbers most SSD vendors use to reflect peak performance? Look at the distributions of QDs in Storage Bench v1.0 in the chart below.

If you're using a hard drive or an entry-level SSD, you're more likely to encounter queue depths between two and five. But if you're using a mainstream or performance-oriented SSD, you'll mostly see a queue depth of one, given our trace. This is because operations complete so much faster on a higher-end SSD that they don't have an opportunity to stack up.

Now, in the case of OCZ's RevoDrive 3 X2, the company expects you to use a vastly different usage model. This isn't a device you buy to browse the Web or compose email. It boasts high potential sequential throughput and random I/O performance, so it's best-suited to tasks that push either or both specifications.

As a result, what we'll see from this more day-to-day trace is how the RevoDrive 3 performs in relation to competing SSDs in a workload that reflects an average user.

Busy time and average data rate are directly tied to one another, but looking at both allows us to examine performance in a slightly different way. Even though we're examining performance at a lower queue depth than where the RevoDrive 3 optimally runs, it still sits at the head of the pack. It's 16% faster than a single 240 GB Vertex 3 and 25% times faster than the original RevoDrive X2.

If this is how you use your computer, the takeaway is that a single 240 GB Vertex 3 is ample to satisfy.

With an average data rate of 226.9 MB/s, the RevoDrive 3 X2 takes performance to the max. The Vertex 3 falls in a close second at 190.7 MB/s, 35 MB/s behind.

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  • reyshan
    YoT!damn fast ssd and damn expensive ssd. might buy one 5 years from now(pci-e kind).
  • KingArcher
    Wish I had won a lottery :)
    So that I could afford me some drives like these.
  • Why_Me
    omg this drive is fast! But way out of my budget :(
  • warmon6
    Quote:
    It's not a business-class product. It's for the power user who is able to tax it using the right workload. If you're not one of those folks, the RevoDrive 3 X2 is seriously overkill.


    OVERKILL?!?!

    Nothing is overkill in the computer arena in terms of performance. :p

    Just the price can be over kill. o.0
  • julius 85
    Just the price can be over kill. o.0

    For me the price is a bottleneck :)
  • ElectroGoofy
    Dear Santa...
  • acku
    Santa is going to need a bigger expense account... :)

    Personally, I'm hoping that OCZ adds TRIM prior to September.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
  • chefboyeb
    Jesus!
  • greenrider02
    I saw defense of the Vertex 3's occasional low numbers, but no mention of the solid (and sometimes better) performance that the cheaper and more miserly Crucial m4 showed throughout your tests.

    Perhaps you have some bias towards the Vertex 3 that needs reconsideration?

    Other than that, $700 seems like a fair price when considering the performace difference, especially if utilized properly, for instance as a high traffic web/corporate server
  • acku
    greenrider02I saw defense of the Vertex 3's occasional low numbers, but no mention of the solid (and sometimes better) performance that the cheaper and more miserly Crucial m4 showed throughout your tests.Perhaps you have some bias towards the Vertex 3 that needs reconsideration?Other than that, $700 seems like a fair price when considering the performace difference, especially if utilized properly, for instance as a high traffic web/corporate server


    If you read the first page then you know that I give a nod to Vertex 3s as the fastest MLC based 2.5" SSD. I consider that plenty of love. :).

    We'll discuss the lower capacity m4s in another article. FYI, I suggest that you read page 5 and page 6. We are not testing FOB. We are testing steady state. That's part of the reason the SF-based drives are behaving differently with incompressible data.

    On your second point, this is in no way targeted toward an enterprise environment (that's what Z-drives are for). There is no redundancy in the array if a single SF controller fails. The whole card is a dud afterward. You can add higher level redundancy, but enterprise customers have so far been nervous on SandForce products. Plus, there's a general preference for hardware vs. software redundancy. (That's them talking not me). Overall, this makes it unacceptable for any enterprise class workload.
  • Supertrek32
    You know, almost any application that would actually benefit from these speeds won't be very effective on these drives. Why? Not enough storage space.

    It's like having a car that can do 300 miles an hour, but can only carry enough fuel to go 20 miles. Does it have a niche? Yeah. Is it practical? Not really.
  • cronos177
    In a couple of years I see them for like 1/2 the price. ONLY worth it for people who earn their paychecks based on the ability to finish task faster. that's the sole purpose at the moment.
  • guzami77
    I have the X2 100GB... im not that impressed. The speed isnt meeting specs, and other hardware/software doesnt always like a PCIe(non-standard) hard drive. Also dont forget you cant overclock your PCIe voltage with one of these...
  • acku
    guzami77I have the X2 100GB... im not that impressed. The speed isnt meeting specs, and other hardware/software doesnt always like a PCIe(non-standard) hard drive. Also dont forget you cant overclock your PCIe voltage with one of these...


    I really recommend that you update the firmware. I do notice a speed difference. If you've seen our compressible benchmarks, then you know that over time the RevoDrive X2 can perform poorly. The lack of TRIM doesn't help. :(
  • chefboyeb
    The prices are too steep tho...
  • compton
    This is an excellent exploration of SSD performance in general. Without the benefit of storage benches I myself have been wondering why one of my SSDs seems so much faster that the other, when it seems at face value that the answer should be clear.

    As far as OCZ goes, people who can benefit from this drive are a small group, but I'm not exactly sure who that is. Sure, its fantastically fast, and faster is better, but most people would tragically under-utilize a product like this. Since it's clearly not for enterprise use, I just have to guess what a typical user looks like for this device. Is it the high end media creation freelancer? Someone who makes their bones with Photoshop? Who knows? I want one, even though I'd clearly be better served by a more pedestrian drive. It's clearly destined for the "Cool Wall".
  • acku
    Ok. I feel like I need to clear up some confusion. Some sites are reporting TRIM support and we're saying there is no TRIM support.

    The RevoDrive 3 X2 has hardware support for TRIM through VCA 2.0. This much is true, but you can't use TRIM because of a software problem. As for why?

    OCZ has a problem getting the TRIM command to the RevoDrive 3 X2, because it uses SCSI commands over PCIe, hence StorPort SCSI drivers. The TRIM command is out of the question because it's technically part of SATA. The only alternative is Unmap, which is to SCSI what TRIM is to SATA. Unfortunately, Windows does not support Unmap as part of its native driver stack. Furthermore, TRIM commands are only issued by Windows 7 when you empty the Recycle Bin, but you must have your SSD set to AHCI (part of SATA). Obviously this different from SCSI. So effectively no TRIM. :(

    We have been in contact with the Windows driver team and OCZ, so we know that a fix is being explored. If it materializes, that's another matter....

    (RevoDrive and RevoDrive X2 don't don't support TRIM at the hardware level, so the issue is moot for them.)

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
  • Niva
    Ideal user would run massive databases that need tons of accesses all the time. Are there drivers for linux for this? Small business server with the right usage will make this worth it. Also the 'trim' issue should be a non-issue under linux whereas win 7 apparently doesn't include the unmap command.
  • christop
    Crazy fast!!!
  • warmon6
    __-_-_-__$700?! wow that's a nice price. Though performance @1.25gbps is kind of low for a pci-e solution. there's already on the market +2gbps. anyway those cost +$7000!I'm going to wait and see if there's any defect with this ssd's...


    Where you get Gbps (= Gigabits) from? ;) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_rate_units#Suffix:_b_vs_B

    Were talking about GBps (Gigabytes). :p
  • sceen311
    I don't like that you skew your charts by including a 5400 rpm drive.
    Why not use a 7200 rpm drive, which is plenty common among the enthusiast crowd, or even a raid 0 setup of hard disks?
  • mapesdhs
    Niva writes:
    > Ideal user would run massive databases that need tons of accesses all the time. ...

    To me that's an Enterprise-style environment, ie. not a suitable customer at all.
    Can you imagine the mayhem if a card fails? There are better solutions for this
    which do have redundancy.


    > Small business server with the right usage will make this worth it.

    A small business server is more likely to be bottlenecked by its network connection.
    You'd be amazed how many SMEs still use 100Mbit, or even 10BaseT.


    sceen311 writes:
    > I don't like that you skew your charts by including a 5400 rpm drive. Why not use
    > a 7200 rpm drive, which is plenty common among the enthusiast crowd, or even a
    > raid 0 setup of hard disks?

    I don't know whether a 7200rpm or even a WD VR 10K SATA would give numbers that much
    better than a 5400. However, point taken, so...


    Andrew, how about replacing the 5400rpm comparison with a decent mechanical SAS?
    That would be more akin to the kind of traditional drive that a 'power' user would
    employ, eg. Seagate 600GB ST3600057SS 6Gbit/sec (this is what I use; does over
    over 200MB/sec max), and should convey the high water mark for mechanical drives.
    My Dell T7500 has two of these, while my video conversion PC has four. My site
    has HDTach test results for the 450GB version (not had a chance to test the 600GB
    unit yet):

    http://www.sgidepot.co.uk/diskdata.html

    I did a simple test using a P55 platform with an LSI SAS3041E-R (3Gbit ports), using
    4 x 450GB 15K SAS, which gave more than 700MB/sec (I don't have a 6Gbit SAS card yet).

    Ian.
  • nebun
    you don't need TRIM support...the controller takes care of the junk and makes sure that all the ram is being used to extend the life of the product....so...chill out about this over rated TRIM
  • makwy2
    I was considering using one of these but the price was too big a hurdle. Very nice performance!

    THanks TH for the great article!