The Radeon brand is one of the strongest in the AMD portfolio, so it makes sense for AMD to leverage that to a new product category. The marriage between AMD's name, and design specifications with OCZ's expertise controllers, with Toshiba's flash, is a winner for consumers looking for an easy way to choose a new SSD. For years, we've talked about SSDs, but only a small percentage of the population was listening. If you've followed SSDs for even the last year, you are in a much better position to purchase a drive, but some people just need a beacon when choosing, and the Radeon name is familiar. It's a bright light for consumers that just want to buy without researching every angle possible before whipping out the credit card.
AMD's pricing scheme for launch is solid, as long as the lower capacity size models go down a bit after a few weeks. In this review, we mentioned the SanDisk Extreme II and it's current price, but that drive is EOL, and should be all sold out soon. Once E II is out of the way, the Radeon R7 240GB that we tested today will look even better at $163.99. Maybe by that time the R7 will drop a bit more in price, making it one of the best value drives on the market. Looking at the prices, the Radeon R7 480GB is already a good buy at $289.99. Again, there are a lot of drives in that capacity size, but only three or four drives are faster, and they all cost significantly more for a modest performance increase.
Performance wise, the new A19 flash paired with the Indilinx Barefoot 3 M00 controller is an excellent package. When it comes to core performance, sequential and random reads and writes, as well as performance under heavy loads, the architecture is solid. The Radeon R7 also has very low latency, and for gamers, this should matter more than any other metric. The sequential reads are also high, so your game loading levels will fly by in record time.
The Barefoot 3 controller is showing its age though, there are some areas where OCZ as a whole needs to make improvements. AMD doesn't have DEVSLP in the company's chipsets, but it's not like SATA is a proprietary interconnect that only AMD has access to. DEVSLP is a non issue for desktop users, and if you are gaming on a notebook, you don't expect long battery life while gaming anyhow, but it would have still been a nice feature to have. The feature has become standard and Haswell based notebooks with DEVSLP have become popular.
From a strictly gaming perspective though, the Radeon R7 has what you need where you need it.
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