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OCZ intros PCIe-based hybrid drive

OCZ announces its hybrid drive, which combines an SSD and a laptop hard drive on a PCIe add-on board.

The new RevoDrive Hybrid from OCZ.
The new RevoDrive Hybrid from OCZ. OCZ

For those who favor hybrid drives over solid-state drives due to the cost, though the Seagate Momentus XT has thus far been the sole representative, there's now another option. OCZ announced today its first hybrid drive, the RevoDrive Hybrid.

The new drive is very different from the Momentus XT, as it doesn't follow the traditional design of an SATA drive, but rather that of a PCI Express (PCIe) add-on card, normally found in a video or sound product. This means that while the drive won't fit in most places where regular SATA hard drives would be used, such as laptops or external hard drives, it can enjoy the much higher bandwidth of PCIe. According to OCZ, the RevoDrive offers up to 910MBps of transfer speed, compared with some 500MBps from a SATA 3 SSD.

Other than in the design, the concept of the RevoDrive is similar to that of the Momentus XT. It holds both solid-state and traditional platter-based storage. More specifically, it's a combination of a 100GB SSD and a 1TB 2.5-inch hard drive on one circuit board in the form of a full-size PCIe add-on card. However, the Momentus XT has only 4GB of built-in solid-state storage.

OCZ says that the RevoDrive Hybrid drive comes bundled with Dataplex caching software, which dynamically creates an environment in which the most frequently accessed data stays on the SSD, while the rest remains on the larger-capacity HDD. According to OCZ, the drive's built-in advanced caching algorithms learn user behavior and adapt storage policies to ensure optimal performance. A similar technique is used in the Momentus XT.

Specs-wise, the new RevoDrive Hybrid uses OCZ's proprietary Visualized Controller Architecture. Its SSD part uses a SandForce 2281 controller, and its hard-drive part is a laptop drive that spins at 5,400rpm. The drive is slated to offer 600,000 hours of mean time between failures (MTBF), which is about a third of the typical MTBF for an SSD. To make use of it, the desktop computer will need to have an available PCIe X4 slot, which is only available on select motherboards.

The 1.1TB RevoDrive is available now and costs around $500, about the same price as a 256GB SSD. This is also where it's most different from the 500GB Momentus XT, which costs just around $100.

To find out if the drive actually offers the performance OCZ claims, check back soon for a full review.