OCZ RevoDrive PCI-E Solid State Drive
Author: Shawn Knight
Editor: Zahn Funk
Date: 11-15-2010
Provided by: OCZ Technology
First Look

Inside the retail package is an Installation & Quick Start Guide and the RevoDrive itself. The drive is wrapped in an anti-static bag and encased in foam padding to protect it during shipping.

The RevoDrive is built using a black PCB with an x4 PCI-E interface. The bank of memory chips sit near the front of the card. As you can see, only half of the memory chip locations are populated. These extra spots are reserved for larger capacity cards. Our sample is 50GB but capacities are available up to 480GB.

The MLC memory chips are Intel branded, 4GB each and labeled 29F32G08AAMDB. These are the same chips we saw on the Vertex 2 and Agility 2 drives earlier this year. There are eight chips on the front and another eight on the reverse, 16 total (16 x 4GB = 64GB, but a good portion of this is used for Over Provisioning which is used by the controllers for maintenance. Once formatted and installed, you end up with 46GB).

Another similarity with the two other SSDs mentioned above is the SandForce SF-1222TA3-SBH controller, although the RevoDrive features dual controllers. Why two controllers? The RevoDrive uses an internal RAID 0 configuration for increased performance. The chip with the holographic R sticker is a Sil3124 (Silicon Image) PCI/PCI-X to 4 Port SATA300 host controller. The chip at the bottom of the card is a Pericom (PI7C9X130DNDE) PCI Express to PCI/PCI-X reversible Bridge. The chip near the top is a CMOS chip, labeled SST 39VF040.

In summary, the Sil chip controls the RAID setup and the Pericom lets the data work across the PCI-e interface. It goes like this: SATA converted to PCI-X, PCI-X converted to PCI-E.

Early reports and observations on the RevoDrive noted that it looked like a connector could be added to the drive for an expansion card down the road. The four holes in the card also supported this theory. Well, as it turns out, these hypotheses were correct. The new RevoDrive X2 is exactly that a standard RevoDrive with a daughter card piggybacked on top, supplying more memory and two additional SandForce controllers. This is possible because the Sil chip is a 4 port SATA controller. The original Revo only uses two of the four available ports.

The only other items of interest on the front of the card are the seven LED indicators near the expansion slot bracket. These light up blue, although at the back of the computer and on the inside, you can't really see them.

On the back of the card we can see the remaining eight memory chips along with a product sticker and quality control pass sticker dated 7-10-10.

Let's move ahead and install the RevoDrive in our test system.

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