You might be wondering why OCZ is investing in an alternative to the SATA I/O interface just when everyone else is climbing on the SATA 6Gbps bandwagon.
Well, one answer is that the specifications for the next generation of SandForce controllers have sequential read/writes requirements of up to 500MB/s.
So you'll have to forget about SATA 3Gbps, (375MB/s) and it's also nearly enough to flood the SATA 6Gbps interface.
Secondly just take a look at OCZ's claimed maximum sequential read and write performance of the RevoDrive X2 240GB.
At 740MB/s and 720MB/s respectively, that's incredible speed, and as the results of the ATTO sequential read/write tests confirm (733MB/s and 735MB/s) these are not pie-in-the-sky figures.
The standard SATA interface, as it currently stands, is more of a hindrance than a help. This is why it makes more sense to use a PCIe slot, even one running at PCIe 1.1 speed.
Like its sibling, the original RevoDrive, the X2's forte is moving large or highly compressed files around. It doesn't quite impress so much when it comes to shuffling small bitty files about, as confirmed by the test results using our 1GB zip file test.
The test file is made up of loads of little files and the RevoDrive X2 struggled to put a lot of daylight between itself, the original RevoDrive and a RAID 0 (striped) array built from two standard 128GB SSDs.
In an ideal world, these should have been four of OCZ Vertex 2E's for more of an apples versus apples test, but a pair of Kingston 100V+ drives still gives a good indication of relative performance. Having said that, it did do the job three seconds faster than the RevoDrive and some eight seconds faster than the RAID array.
The price seems unreasonably high at first, and maybe even third, glance, but if you wanted to go down a similar path building your own RAID array using four 60GB Vertex 2E drives, you're not going to get much change out of four hundred quid.
Plus, there's the fact they will take up four of your SATA ports.
Or you can go down another path and buy a high quality four-port RAID card, adding even more to the price. So when looked at against those pricey options the OCZ RevoDrive X2 begins to look the better option, it's certainly the neater one.
Once formatted, Windows reports the capacity of the drive to be 223GB thanks to a chunk of memory needed for over-provisioning duties.
Over-provisioning is one method of maintaining an SSD drive's performance by dedicating a chunk of memory for use as empty blocks for jobs such as address mapping, writing and the removal of dead blocks without reducing the drives capacity or performance and increasing the life of the drive.
As with the original OCZ RevoDrive, the OCZ RevoDrive X2 240GB is an interesting way of getting around the current limitations of the SATA interface by using the PCIe bus, and we can only imagine what the performance would be like if drives like this could access the full bandwidth of the PCIe 2.0 specification.
As it is it's a blisteringly fast, but by no means a perfectly performing drive.
OK, it's the same minor quibble as with the RevoDrive, but why aren't the drivers you need to install the RevoDrive X2 during a Windows installation included in the box?
It's all very well them being on OCZ's website but if you're installing the drive and don't have internet access, then you're screwed, quite frankly.
If you work with very large or highly compressed files and have the budget, then adding the RevoDrive X2 to your system makes perfect sense. For the rest of us, well, we can dream...