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
Capacity 120GB 240GB 480GB
Controller OCZ Barefoot 3 M00
NAND Toshiba 64Gbit A19nm MLC
Sequential Read 550MB/s 550MB/s 550MB/s
Sequential Write 470MB/s 530MB/s 530MB/s
4KB Random Read 85K IOPS 95K IOPS 100K IOPS
4KB Random Write 90K IOPS 90K IOPS 90K IOPS
Steady-State 4KB Random Write 12K IOPS 20K IOPS 23K IOPS
Idle Power 0.6W 0.6W 0.6W
Max Power 2.7W 2.7W 2.7W
Encryption AES-256
Endurance 30GB/day for 4 years
Warranty Four years
Pricing $100 $160 $290

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.

Test Systems

For AnandTech Storage Benches, performance consistency, random and sequential performance, performance vs transfer size and load power consumption we use the following system:

CPU Intel Core i5-2500K running at 3.3GHz (Turbo & EIST enabled)
Motherboard AsRock Z68 Pro3
Chipset Intel Z68
Chipset Drivers Intel 9.1.1.1015 + Intel RST 10.2
Memory G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1600 4 x 8GB (9-9-9-24)
Video Card Palit GeForce GTX 770 JetStream 2GB GDDR5 (1150MHz core clock; 3505MHz GDDR5 effective)
Video Drivers NVIDIA GeForce 332.21 WHQL
Desktop Resolution 1920 x 1080
OS Windows 7 x64

Thanks to G.Skill for the RipjawsX 32GB DDR3 DRAM kit

For slumber power testing we used a different system:

CPU Intel Core i7-4770K running at 3.3GHz (Turbo & EIST enabled, C-states disabled)
Motherboard ASUS Z87 Deluxe (BIOS 1707)
Chipset Intel Z87
Chipset Drivers Intel 9.4.0.1026 + Intel RST 12.9
Memory Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1866 2x8GB (9-10-9-27 2T)
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4600
Graphics Drivers 15.33.8.64.3345
Desktop Resolution 1920 x 1080
OS Windows 7 x64
Performance Consistency
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  • blackmagnum - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    AMD and her antics of renaming/ re-branding a product once again. Everything's as usual, enthusiasts please move along (to someone else's). Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    I've got zero problem with this. If they're only dealing with quality products, I think it can be a boost to both companies images, and kind of an easy way for someone who wants quality components but doesn't want to think much about it to grab it and know they're getting something okay.

    I'd be MUCH more inclined to get OCZ now that it's owned by Toshiba, though Crucial and Intel remain my go-to brands (and I'd probably look at the hard drive companies seriously too).
    Reply
  • kaesden - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    if they wanted to deal with quality products, OCZ would be near the very bottom of their list. They are apparently just going for dirt cheap, to hell with reliability. OCZ products fail like clockwork. Reply
  • PEJUman - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    Products fail like clockwork? How many ocz products have failed on you? I personally owns/owned 14 of their old time ddr2 sticks and 7 of their ssds, youngest one is 3 years old. Haven't failed one yet. Reply
  • willis936 - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    Their ssd track record early on (mind you early on means less than five years ago) was actually horrifying. Reply
  • patssle - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    What? Their early SSD drives (Vertex/Agility) changed everything - they were the first SSDs that worked well and were reliable. I know because I bought an SSD as soon as there was one on the market that didn't have the write delay issue. Their quality went down over time but early on OCZ was THE SSD company. Reply
  • Guspaz - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    It was the Vertex and Agility drives that *gave* them their terrible reputation. They were only "the" SSD company early on because they were cheap and nobody had realized WHY they were so cheap yet (because they sacrificed reliability for performance). Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    Agility drives were terrible. OCZ knew it and quickly replaced the Agility line with Agility 2 (literally in a matter of months) and even fulfilled RMA's for Agility with Agility 2's (my personal experience) but I still have an Agility 2 240GB running for 3 years without issue. But this isn't the norm, most of these drives eventually just stop detecting in the BIOS. Some of their SSD failures I've attributed to "freakout" when they are too full - a typical Sandforce problem when there is not enough space to do garbage collection.

    But its pretty obvious, even for Sandforce-based drives, OCZ SSD's were the most unreliable out there, probably due to low-quality NAND, poor or over-aggressive firmware tuning, or just bad design.

    I'm glad Toshiba bailed them out because I am a huge Barefoot fan. The controller is just incredibly consistent.
    Reply
  • ummduh - Friday, August 29, 2014 - link

    Yup. My first Agility lasted about 3 months. The second another 6 months. The third I've had for a long time now (in ocz SSD terms) but that's only because it sits all by itself as a "install whatever OS you want to play around with this time for a week or so until you get bored and leave it for another 6 months" drive. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, August 29, 2014 - link

    Agility 1 and Vertex 2 still going strong here! Reply

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