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OCZ RD400 PCIe NVMe SSD Review

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Toshiba OCZ RD400 SSD Conclusion

IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions.

This is the second NVMe drive that Benchmark Reviews has tested, and the first that comes with its own custom NVMe driver. While the drive works perfectly with the Microsoft NVMe driver built into Windows 10, performance is often better on these benchmarks with Toshiba’s bespoke driver. The chart below summarizes the difference the Toshiba NVMe driver makes in each test. The biggest issue is the dramatic drop in performance on the PCMark Vantage test. Based on these results I’d say it’s probably best to use the Toshiba driver.

Windows NVMe Toshiba NVMe % change
AS-SSD Read  107.1  844.0  +688
AS-SSD Write  1.91 479.2  +24989
ATTO Read  2697  2704  +0.26
ATTO Write  1651  1651  0.0
Crystal DiskMark Read  762.3  973.8  +28
Crystal DiskMark Write 570.9 757.4  +33
IOmeter IOPs  143736  139824  -3
AIDA64 Linear Read  2216  1902  -14
AIDA64 Linear Write 1457 1406  -3.5
PCMark Vantage Overall  159989  99679  -38

SATA SSDs are experiencing a steep price decline, with new terabyte-class drives available for well under $300. At the same time, many if not most of these drives are pushing against the SATA bandwidth limitations, about 550MB/s in the real world. So if you want more performance, you can either stripe some SATA drives in RAID 0, or move to m.2. (Another interface standard, SATA Express, exists but appears to be stillborn, with no commercially available SSDs using it.)

I do like the fact that you can get this drive pre-mounted on a PCIe card. The performance is identical to using an m.2 socket, and it’s easier and safer to handle this card than the tiny, bare m.2 circuit board. In either case, OCZ stands behind this product with a full 5-year warranty.

This is premium product and priced as such: you’ll pay about three times as much for this m.2 drive as you would for the same capacity in SATA. Of course you’re getting at least three times the performance, and sometimes much more, but for most of what I’ll call “consumer workloads”, this extra performance won’t be readily noticeable– certainly nothing like the performance jump you see in moving from a spinning hard drive to a SATA SSD.

So is it worth it? Well, the m.2 form factor lends itself to ultra-compact systems, and there are now many mITX motherboards with m.2 slots. So there’s that. And if few “consumer workloads” can exploit the performance this drive has to offer, well, it’s nice to have some headroom, and in any case there will always be the enthusiast segment that demands the very best of any particular component available, regardless of real-world utility.

As far as software goes, SSD Utility provides a number of handy features, such as proactive alerts for any problems that might develop with the drive. The adjustable over-provisioning feature is nice but I wish Toshiba had provided some example use cases for guidance. Also, a migration utility to move one’s Windows installation to a new drive would have been nice.

ocz_rd400_installed

Since this is an NVMe drive, you must be running Windows 7 (which requires downloading and installing the special driver) or later (using the special driver is optional for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10). In our testing, the OCZ RD400 beat the Samsung 950 PRO in four out of six benchmarks, and costs about the same and has the same 5-year warranty; and offers the optional PCIe card for systems without m.2 sockets, and also offers a 1TB option that Samsung does not…yet.

At the time of this article, the OCZ RD400 NVM Express M.2 Solid State Drive was available online for: 128GB – $119.99, 256GB – $174.99, 512GB – $309.99, 1TB – $769.99.

With excellent performance, a good utility, and a competitive price for the segment, the OCZ RD400 512GB drive is a platinum-plated stick of excellence for enthusiasts who want the very fastest storage available.

Pros:

Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award Logo (Small)

+ Vastly faster than any SATA SSD; NVMe support
+ Good utility software
+ Included PCIe card makes this m.2 device usable in systems without an m.2 socket
+ 5-year warranty

Cons:

– Utility doesn’t provide over-provisioning guidance
– No included migration software

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.75
  • Appearance: 8.25
  • Construction: 9.75
  • Functionality: 9.25
  • Value: 8.00

Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.

Excellence Award: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

COMMENT QUESTION: Which brand of SSD do you trust most?

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2 comments

  1. AMT

    Could we get a test comparison to load certain games, like load times comparisons to sata ssd?
    example, Star Citizen can have some pretty long load times with SATA SSD, would be nice to know if these drives help out much in these situations etc.

    1. Olin Coles

      While the storage device certainly has a lot to do with load time, the speed and architecture of RAM and CPU are also heavily involved. It would be disingenuous to compare one to another unless the user has the exact same system that we use for testing, which is very unlikely.

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