Internals, Testing Methodology and System Setup


After the carnage:

The heat sinks are plentiful in this design, and the cover plate is aluminum, and with integrated vents. Thermal pads make contact with the SandForce controllers and one side worth of flash memory. Conduction heat transfer should be more than sufficient for the flash on the opposite side of the PCB.

Looking at the flash-only sides of the PCBs, we also see the chip responsible for linking PCIe 2.0 x8 to quad SATA. This chip, labeled 'SBC208-2', first appeared in the Comay BladeDrive, released early this year. This 'Scale Boost Virtualization' capable chip is a sort of RAID chip, but without any caching overhead typical in RAID controllers. It is basically the simplest possible hardware implementation of RAID-0, that is also capable of translating SCSI queued commands (PCIe) onto the connected SSDs (SATA). This is precisely what OCZ's VCA 2.0 architecture does, and it will be interesting to see how they compare in performance.

Before moving on, we did note a slight issue with the heat sink mating to the SBC chip package:

The package surface is slightly concave, and in the face of insufficient thermal paste, only makes contact at the outer perimeter. This is not horrible as the SBC only consumes ~2-5W, but still worth noting as the chip would undoubtedly run cooler with proper thermal paste application. Even a thermal pad would have provided a better contact area in this application.

Testing Methodology

Our tests are a mix of synthetic and real-world benchmarks. PCMark, IOMeter, HDTach, HDTune, Yapt and our custom File Copy test round out the selection to cover just about all bases. If you have any questions about our tests just drop into the Storage Forum and we'll help you out!

Test System Setup

We currently employ a pair of testbeds. A newer ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt and an ASUS Z87-PRO. Variance between both boards has been deemed negligible.

PC Perspective would like to thank ASUS, Corsair, and Kingston for supplying some of the components of our test rigs. 

Hard Drive Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i7-4770K
Motherboard ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/TB / ASUS Z87-PRO
Memory Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR3-2133 CL9
Hard Drive G.Skill 32GB SLC SSD
Sound Card N/A
Video Card Intel® HD Graphics 4600
Video Drivers Intel
Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-650TX
DirectX Version DX9.0c
Operating System Windows 8.1 X64
  • PCPer File Copy Test
  • HDTach
  • HDTune
  • IOMeter
  • YAPT
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