OCZ just keeps pushing the envelope on its PCI Express SSDs. The first RevoDrive contained two 60GB SF-1200-powered SSDs in RAID 0, with a Silicon Image PCI-to-SATA controller. The RevoDrive X2 kept the same architecture, but added a second PCB with two additional controllers and two more 60GB sets of NAND. OCZ’s RevoDrive3 X2 updates the platform to second-generation SandForce, but the new SSD controller isn’t the only change.
The OCZ RevoDrive3 X2 contains four second-gen SandForce SF-2281 solid-state drive controllers, each with 16 8GB Micron 25nm asynchronous NAND modules. The RevoDrive3 X2 is, then, essentially four 120GB OCZ Agility 3 drives in RAID 0. But in place of the Silicon Image controller that powered the first two RevoDrive generations, OCZ has opted for a custom “OCZ SuperScale” SCSI controller. The company has declined to disclose which OEM is building the new controller, but it puts out a lot more heat than the old Silicon Image chip; in fact, OCZ slapped on a heatsink to prevent it from overheating.
There's gold in them thar second-gen SandForce chips with a custom SCSI controller.
Earlier RevoDrives were marketed to enthusiasts, but you’ll find the RevoDrive3 X2 under the “Workstation” category on OCZ’s website—with good reason: SandForce drives are already optimized for frequent small-file random reads and writes at high queue depths, and the RevoDrive3 X2’s four-drive RAID takes that to absurd levels. Sustained reads and writes are impressive: We clocked sequential reads at 771MB/s and writes at 553MB/s in AS SSD. The same goes for single-queue-depth random access IOPS, but the higher we pushed the queue depths on our 4KB random-write tests, the more the RevoDrive3 X2 liked it. At a queue depth of 64 in AS SSD, we clocked 4KB write IOPS over 100,000. The RevoDrive3 X2 is a fantastic SSD for servers or workstations tasked with constant database access.
The 3 X2 did extremely well in each of our benchmarks, far outpacing not only the previous-gen RevoDrive X2, but also a pair of 240GB Vertex 3 drives in RAID 0 using Intel’s 6Gb/s SATA ports. This was the case in every metric except sustained reads and writes, in which the Vertex RAID clocked close to 900MB/s reads and 550MB/s writes. In PCMark Vantage’s HDD subtest, the 3 X2 scored more than 84,000 PCMarks—that’s nearly twice the score of a single 6Gb/s SATA SSD. Its PCMark 7 secondary storage score, meanwhile, is the highest we’ve seen from anything other than Vertex 3 drives in RAID.
We had no trouble installing or booting from the RevoDrive3 X2, although we still had to go through the Device Manager for the former and use F6 drivers for the latter. Once installed, the Revo set a new standard for speed on our system.
So does the RevoDrive3 X2’s absurd speed justify its $1,700 price tag? Yes, for workstation and database use, and maybe for bleeding-edge enthusiasts. If you just want 480GB of lightning-fast storage, two 240GB Vertex 3s in RAID 0 on Intel’s native SATA 6Gb/s ports will perform nearly as well for less than $900. That said, if you absolutely need the fastest consumer-level SSD, but you’re on Sandy Bridge and don’t feel like using up both your native 6Gb/s SATA ports on a two-disk RAID; or if your motherboard doesn’t have good native 6Gb/s SATA support; or if you don’t want to spend more dough on a hardware RAID controller; or you just really hate money, the RevoDrive3 X2 could be for you.
Absurdly fast, especially in 4KB random reads and writes; great real-world results.
Absurdly expensive; half again the price of Vertex 3s in RAID.
OCZ RevoDrive3 X2
OCZ RevoDrive X2
OCZ Vertex 3 (RAID 0)
OCZ Vertex 3
Seq. Read (MB/s)
Seq. Write (MB/s)
4KB Read (IOPS)
4KB Write (IOPS)
64KB File Read (MB/s)
64KB File Write (MB/s)
4KB Random Write
Max Access Time (ms)
Premiere Pro Encode Write (sec)
PCMark Vantage x64 HDD
PCMark 7 x64 SST
Asterisk (*) denotes highest score. Our current test bed is a 3.1GHz Core i3-2100 processor on an Asus P8 P67 Pro (B3 chipset) running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. All tests used onboard 6Gb/s SATA ports with latest Intel drivers, unless otherwise noted. PCIe SSDs tested in x16 slots.