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 + 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 + Intel RST 12.9
Memory Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1866 2x8GB (9-10-9-27 2T)
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4600
Graphics Drivers
Desktop Resolution 1920 x 1080
OS Windows 7 x64
Performance Consistency
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  • formulav8 - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    Was that not mainly their Sandforce drives?
  • haukionkannel - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    OCZ Vertex was better than for example Samsun 840 evo in the last test that I read about (the Extreme II was the winner though...) But in any way OCZ quality has gone up big steps!
  • Samus - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    You won't find somebody that's had worse luck than myself with OCZ SSD's (having purchased many of their first SSD products including the RevoDrive in 2010) but although most of their older products failed on me (some in days, some in years) the second RevoDrive I'm on has been reliable for 3 years and amazingly my Agility 2 still hasn't failed (quite an anomaly when you Google the results of this drives inherent unreliability across the internet.)

    However, my personal Vector 150 and Vertex 460 haven't done anything weird at all, and I've been so happy with them from a price/performance standpoint I've begun, for the first time even, putting OCZ products (with the exception of PC Power & Cooling PSU's) in corporate PC's for clients and at work. No failures so far. The Vertex 460, cheaper than most Samsung SSD's - my usual go-to performance SSD's, is noticeably more responsive.

    Still if you're looking for a cheap reliable SSD based on facts, a used Intel SSD320 on eBay or a Crucial MX100 are sure bets. But for performance Barefoot is very, very good, while still appearing to be very reliable.
  • AnnihilatorX - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    I thought OCZ is now owned by Toshiba, you can't imagine Toshiba would keep the bad quality control in OCZ unchecked
  • snuuggles - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    Really? Triple negative? :)
  • mapesdhs - Saturday, August 30, 2014 - link

    Stop posting FUD that's thoroughly outdated by later tech.

    I have more than 40 OCZ SSDs, never had a problem with any of them, everything
    from lots of V2Es/V3s to V4, Vector and Vector 150. I also have various Samsung,
    Crucial, Corsair and other models.

    OCZ's later products were really good, especially the Vertex4 and Vector range.
    Their mistake was allowing the 1st gen Vertex, Octane and Solid models to be
    just too much on the budget side. Ditto the old Agility, though the Agility3 and
    especially the Agility4 are ok (I have a few).

  • kyuu - Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - link

    Your opinion of OCZ is a few years out of date.
  • Laststop311 - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    You are leaving out the best ssd put there. Samsung has 100% vertical integration on the ssd. From the nand, to the controller, to the firmware, to the dram, Samsung makes it all. Why do you think samsung was first to market with TLC and 3d nand? All their teams can work together and get new products to market super fast.
  • errorr - Friday, August 29, 2014 - link

    Well the process tech is a completely separate issue from their integration. If you look at Toshiba's new fabs and tech their shrink will allow them to hit similar price points with much better nand dies that are faster and last longer.
  • willis936 - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - link

    Good to see honest journalism. Things like an amd button on the front page had me nervous.

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