Over recent months we have been talking with motherboard manufacturers about PCI-Express 3 and it has become pretty clear that it is being designed with SSDs rather than graphics cards in mind. This is because it is envisaged that more and more SSDs will move off the SATA bus and onto the much faster PCI-Express one.
This is in part due to the flexibility that PCI-Express gives to SSD manufacturers, and at the moment no one is demonstrating it in the consumer space quite like OCZ is. It was only last year that we saw its first viable consumer PCI-Express based SSD, the RevoDrive, hit the market, and it has already improved upon that first generation design.
Dubbed the RevoDrive 3, this x4 PCI-Express card consists of raided SATA 6Gbps SSDs. The base RevoDrive 3 has two drives in the array, while the X2 model that we have tested has four drives (the x2 refers to the daughterboard that houses the second pair of drives. These all connect to a customised SAS to PCI-Express bridge which acts as a raid controller and drives the array.
What this means is that not only does the RevoDrive 3 X2 deliver fantastic bandwidth, it also manages to support TRIM and Garbage collection. It is also bootable, although the fine print on OCZ’s website suggests you might want to double check compatibility with your motherboard first. It took us a little fiddling to get it working smoothly in the labs, but once we got it up and running we were suitably blown away.
As we expected the RevoDrive 3 X2 is hella fast. In AS-SSD’s 4K-64Thrd tests it showed write speeds of 435.48MB/s with reads of 430.49. Even more impressive is the sequential speed, with reads of 707.95MB/s and writes of 557.34MB/s. It’s phenomenal stuff, and is a worthy followup from last year’s model.
Of course, it isn’t all zippy data, sunshine and lollipops. To get such awe inspiring speeds you need to pay, and the RevoDrive 3 X2 has a high cost of entry. The 240GB RevoDrive 3 X 2 costs a tidy $845 so it isn’t for your average user. But if you need the absolute fastest consumer SSD out there, then this is right on the money.