AMD Radeon R7 SSD (240GB) Reviewby Kristian Vättö on August 28, 2014 6:00 AM EST
In 2011 AMD took the first step in expanding the Radeon brand and partnered with Patriot and VisionTek to provide AMD branded memory. With the launch of the Radeon R7 SSD AMD is continuing this strategy by jumping into the SSD market. Just as they did with memory, AMD is partnering with a third party that handles the development, manufacturing and support of the product, which in the case of the R7 SSD is OCZ.
While the front is covered by AMD branding, the back label is OCZ branded and there is no effort to hide the fact that the drive is made by OCZ. Both companies are very open about the partnership as AMD mentions OCZ as the partner in the first sentence of the R7 SSD press release and OCZ even lists the R7 as one of their products on their website. I am glad that there is no secrecy regarding the origin of the R7 SSD because there is already enough shady things going on in the SSD industry (e.g. Kingston switching the NAND in the SSDNow V300 and PNY using multiple controllers in the Optima).
OCZ is a logical partner for AMD because the company is now owned and financially backed by Toshiba, which also gives OCZ prime access to NAND. Given the always haunting NAND shortage, a partner without direct access to NAND will more likely run into supply issues that may hurt AMD's brand as consequence. Additionally, OCZ's Barefoot 3 platform has been geared towards the higher-end market (gamers, enthusiasts and professionals) from day one and has proven to be a good performer.
As I mentioned in the launch pipeline, AMD is not really bringing anything new to the market. The number one goal with the R7 SSD and expansion of the Radeon brand is to make it easier for novice PC builders to pick parts and at the same time ensure that the parts they purchase are high quality and provide good performance. For someone that has never built a PC, the available selection can be fairly overwhelming, so AMD is trying to make the part selection smoother by providing the CPU, GPU, RAM and SSD. Obviously, the R7 SSD also gives AMD a great opportunity to offer more extensive bundles and with aggressive bundle pricing AMD could boost its CPU sales too.
|AMD Radeon R7 Series SSD Specifications
|OCZ Barefoot 3 M00
|Toshiba 64Gbit A19nm MLC
|4KB Random Read
|4KB Random Write
|Steady-State 4KB Random Write
|30GB/day for 4 years
The R7 SSD is based on OCZ's Barefoot 3 M00 controller, which is the faster version running at 397MHz, while the M10 version that is used in the ARC 100 and Vertex 460/450 runs at 352MHz instead. The NAND is the same Toshiba's 64Gbit A19nm MLC as in the ARC 100 and in fact even the part number is an exact match.
What separates the R7 SSD from OCZ's other SSDs is the endurance. While the ARC 100 is rated at 20GB for three years (21.9TB total) and the Vector 150 is at 50GB for five years (91.2TB total), the R7 hits the middle ground by offering 30GB of writes per day for four years (43.8TB total). OCZ did some wear-leveling and garbage collection optimizations to achieve the higher endurance in the R7 but otherwise the R7 should be very similar to OCZ's ARC 100.
Sadly there is still no support for low power states and TCG Opal 2.0 / eDrive. The lack of TCG Opal 2.0 support I can understand since that is not the most important feature for gamers and enthusiasts, but by not having support for low power states (HIPM+DIPM and DevSleep) the Barefoot 3 platform is simply not competitive in the mobile space.
For AnandTech Storage Benches, performance consistency, random and sequential performance, performance vs transfer size and load power consumption we use the following system:
|Intel Core i5-2500K running at 3.3GHz (Turbo & EIST enabled)
|AsRock Z68 Pro3
|Intel 126.96.36.1995 + Intel RST 10.2
|G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1600 4 x 8GB (9-9-9-24)
|Palit GeForce GTX 770 JetStream 2GB GDDR5 (1150MHz core clock; 3505MHz GDDR5 effective)
|NVIDIA GeForce 332.21 WHQL
|1920 x 1080
|Windows 7 x64
For slumber power testing we used a different system:
|Intel Core i7-4770K running at 3.3GHz (Turbo & EIST enabled, C-states disabled)
|ASUS Z87 Deluxe (BIOS 1707)
|Intel 188.8.131.526 + Intel RST 12.9
|Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1866 2x8GB (9-10-9-27 2T)
|Intel HD Graphics 4600
|1920 x 1080
|Windows 7 x64