OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid PCI Express SSD Review

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Introduction and Specifications

Over the last few months, we have taken a look at a couple of OCZ-built products that leverage the company’s SuperScale Storage Accelerator with VCA (Virtualized Controller Architecture) 2.0. The first product to arrive was the RevoDrive 3 X2, which is a high-end, PCI Express SSD targeted at ultra-enthusiasts and workstation customers. Then came the extreme OCZ Z-Drive R4 PCIe SSD, which caters to the enterprise. If you’d like to learn more about the technology behind VCA 2.0 and OCZ’s Superscale Storage Accelerator, we strongly suggest perusing those two articles.

While they’re designed for completely different target markets, the OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 and Z-Drive R4 have a number of things in common. As we’ve mentioned, they both leverage OCZ’s SuperScale Storage Accelerator with VCA 2.0, they both interface with a system through PCI Express, and they both feature SandForce SF-2200 series storage controllers paired to various amounts of MLC NAND flash memory. The latest OCZ product to hit the lab, the RevoDrive Hybrid also shares these traits, but its flash memory is paired to a 1TB traditional hard drive. With the RevoDrive Hybrid, the device’s flash memory is meant to be used as cache for the most frequently accessed data on the hard drive, speeding up access times and transfer speeds dramatically, while the hard drive is there for bulk storage.

Pairing a small to mid-sized SSD to a standard hard drive has been the preferred configuration of enthusiasts for a while now. But the RevoDrive is more akin to other hybrid solutions, like Seagate’s Momentus XT or Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology where the SSD is virtually invisible to end user and is used transparently for caching purposes only. OCZ simply uses a much speedier array of solid state storage than a standard SSD and links it to an HD on a PCI Express expansion card. Take a look at the specs and then we’ll dig in a little deeper before taking the RevoDrive Hybrid for a spin.

The OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid

OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid
Specifications & Features
  • Available in 1TB Capacity
  • 100GB Dedicated Cache
  • PCI-Express Gen. 2 x4 Interface
  • Full height form factor
  • OCZ SuperScale Storage Controller
  • Virtualized Controller Architecture 2.0
  • Included Caching Software Key
  • ECC, Encryption
  • SMART monitoring
  • 167.64 (L) x 98.42 (W) x 22.15mm (H)
  • Weight: 289g
  • Compatible with Windows 7 32 and 64-bit


  • Operating Temp: 5°C ~ 50°C
  • Storage Temp: 0°C ~ 60°C
  • Power Consumption: 8.1W idle, 10W active
  • MTBF: 600,000 hours
  • 3-Year Warranty

Max Performance

  • Read: Up to 910 MB/s
  • Write: Up to 810 MB/s
  • Max Random Write 4KB: 120,000 IOPS
  • Average Write: 65,000 IOPS


Click To Enlarge...

The first iteration of OCZ’s RevoHybrid pairs 100GB of MLC NAND flash to a 1TB Toshiba 2.5”, 5,400RPM hard drive. The flash memory on the card is actually OCZ branded and consists of 16 chips, with a total capacity of 128GB (the spare 28GB is over-provisioned for wear-leveling and other functions), connected to a pair of SandForce SF-2200 series solid state storage processors. OCZ claims the drive is capable of read speeds of up to 910MB/s and writes of up to 810MB/s, with 120,000 max 4K randon IOPS and average writes of 65,000 IOPS. At those speeds, it would require two desktop SSDs running in RAID 0 to approach that kind of performance.

The RevoDrive Hybrid’s hard drive resides on a daughterboard and is connected to the main PCB via the same method used on the RevoDrive 3 X2—instead of a mezzanine with additional SandForce controllers and NAND flash, there’s a hard drive.


The RevoDrive Hybrid In Pictures

The card plugs into a PCI Express x4 slot, is just barely two-slots wide, and requires no additional power. There are, however, a couple of additional requirements. The RevoHybrid requires the use of included cache software from DataPlex and needs dedicated cooling. We’ll talk a bit about the software in a second. With regard to the cooling, the RevoDrive Hybrid has a small, aluminum heatsink on its SuperScale Storage Accelerator that gets very hot, especially under load. While we didn’t experience any heat related stability with the RevoDrive Hybrid, we strongly suggest pointing a fan directly at it if possible to ensure adequate airflow over its heatsink.

Installing and configuring the RevoDrive Hybrid proved to be extremely quick and painless. For it to work properly, the RevoDrive Hybrid must be configured as your boot device and have the OS installed on its integrated HD. If installing the RevoDrive Hybrid as a secondary storage volume, the included software will cache data from the system’s boot volume which will result in unpredictable behavior (at least at this time, with the current software).

The Dataplex Software Installation Couldn't Be Any Easier

To install the card, simply insert it into a compatible slot and install Windows to it HD. During the Windows installation, users will be required to select the RevoDrive Hybrid’s drivers, but that’s par for the course. Once the drivers are installed, simply select the RevoDrive Hybrid’s HD as the destination volume and let Windows install as normal (32- and 64-bit editions of Windows are currently supported).

When the Windows installation is complete, users are then required to install the bundled Dataplex caching software. Simply download the latest version from OCZ’s website (you’ll be required to enter a product key to access the download), run the installer, and during the installation select the cache (SSD) and target (HD) drives. When the installation is complete, reboot the system, and that’s it. The hybrid drive configuration is complete.

Like other SSD caching solutions, the OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid and Dataplex software monitors data access and stores the most commonly accessed bits of data onto the device’s SSD. This process can take a bit of time, but generally speaking the performance benefits are apparent immediately.

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