Ever since the SSD has been released people have been arguing two things. The price was too high, and the storage space too small. Hence everybody is rather cost per gigabyte of storage savvy these days. And true SSDs are expensive to purchase, but many underestimate how much of a difference a NAND Flash storage device makes. It removes a classic bottleneck out of you PC, the mechanical HDD. The high performance of an SSD, the intensely low access times and the removal of mechanical moving parts is a huge plus.
It has been a rocky year though for those who have been selling SF2281 series controller based products though, massive firmware bugs plagued the SF2281 series with end-users have to reflash firmware's multiple times each time with data loss.
Though the dust seems to have settled and the firmware's have been stabilized, this was a rude wakeup call for any SSD vendor, not just OCZ. Date storage safety is everything, and let it be a lesson to SandForce and it's partners, your quality analysis before a product release MUST improve in order to regain trust from your customers and end-users. You can not allow your end-users to have to flash firmware's in order to retain and regain stability. Seriously, this may never ever happen again, it was a mess to witness from the sideline, there's no other qualification for that.
Right, I wanted to make this little testimonial first. The Firmware's have been finalized, and I myself have been running a SF2281 based SSD in my work system 24/7 ever since beginning July 2011 now, 100% stable.
Back to what we review today -- so yes SSDs are either too expensive or too small in storage volume size for many of you, but HDDs are too slow right ? So back in June at Computex in Taiwan OCZ opened up Pandora's little box ... they where showing a hybrid storage unit that looks and hints a lot to the RevoDrive series.
It should be no shock that that very same Hybrid product now is called RevoDrive Hybrid. The idea behind the device hints very much towards Intel's Rapid Storage technology where a HDD is being cached by a Nand flash storage unit. That way the most active (hot) data is being loaded from the SSD, lowering access time versus funky read performance from the NAND flash unit. The problem with SRT however is that's it's a little messy to setup and requires a specific Intel chipset. But as our previous tests have proven, that technology does work quite nicely.
OCZ is doing something very similar with the RevoDrive Hybrid, but being OCZ they are making it an enthusiast class performance product. The product we test today for example comes with a 1TB HDD, and a really large 100GB cache partition running over SF2281 controllers. OCZ then applies a mix of their VCA 2.0 technology, their own proprietary controller that allows stuff like NCQ, power failure management as well as wear-leveling. Not just that, the VCA 2.0 technology also enabled technology can enable TRIM (if windows supports it) and thus keeps the SSD performance up-to snuff.
Much like Intel's Rapid Storage software, in order to cache all that hot data you need a software layer, as such OCZ teamed up with NVELO for their Dataplex cache software suite. That in a nutshell is what the RevoDrive Hybrid is doing ands is all about.
The end-results honestly will be a mixed bag of 'ok write performance, yet cached read performance jumps into the stratosphere (once that cached data kicks in). We've seen numbers passing 800 MB/sec. Ah, got your interest now eh ? Let's have a look at the RevoDrive Hybrid and then dive into the review shall we.