New 1TB PCIe SSD boasts triple the performance of SATA

The RevoDrive X2 has a maximum throughput of 740MB/sec

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OCZ Technology today announced the launch of its next-generation PCI-express solid state drive, which offers up to 740MB/sec throughput or up to 120,000 I/Os per second (IOPS).

OCZ's RevoDrive X2 PCI-Express SSD is the successor to the company's first PCIe SSD, the RevoDrive, which had a 540MB/sec top throughput speed or about 75,000 IOPS. That drive came in capacities ranging from 50GB to 480GB.

OCZ's RevoDrive X2
OCZ's RevoDrive X2 PCIe-based SSD

The RevoDrive X2 comes in capacities ranging from 100GB to 960GB. The drive line gets its increased capacity through the use of multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash chips, which, while natively slower and less robust than single-level cell NAND, are less costly. The drive has a starting price of $464. A 240GB version sells for $669 and the 480GB model goes for $1,397, according to OCZ. Pricing for the 960GB model was not available.

The RevoDrive X2 offers about three times the throughput of even high-end SSDs using the serial ATA (SATA) interface and single-level cell NAND flash. That's because SATA provides up to 300Mbit/sec throughput compared to the PCIe interface, which has 500 MB/sec throughput per I/O lane. The RevoDrive X2 has four PCIe lanes.

The drive also uses four SandForce-1200 high-end controllers; its predecessor used two. Like the original RevoDrive, the new model uses an onboard RAID 0 design, which also beefs up performance.

OCZ's latest SSD has a maximum read rate of up to 740MB/sec, a maximum write rate of 720MB/sec and a sustained write rate of up to 600MB/sec using 4k data blocks.

The RevoDrive X2 can also be used as a boot drive alongside a traditional hard drive to vastly improve OS start-up and application load times for workstation PCs, according to the company.

Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology, said the RevoDrive X2 is aimed at a variety of applications, including relational databases, graphic design applications, multimedia rendering jobs and workstations.

The OCZ RevoDrive X2 also has enough capacity for data warehousing applications, the company said. It comes with a three-year warranty and is compatible with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.

OCZ's latest SSD comes on the heels of an industry push to create a standardized PCIe interface for all SSD manufacturers.

A group of server, storage and hardware vendors, including Intel, IBM Dell, and EMC, have banded together and created a standards work group for the purpose of creating that PCIe SSD standard.

The proposed standard would not compete with SATA and SAS interfaces used on SSDs today, but it would be an additional serial connection that the vendors say would theoretically offer up to 2GB/sec throughput compared to 3Gbit/sec and 6Gbit/sec currently available. If successful, SSD products with PCIe connectivity would begin coming in the second half of 2011.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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