AMD's New Radeon SSDs Appeal To The Average Gamer

Mirroring the arguments over Xbox versus PlayStation, Mac versus PC, and Coke versus Pepsi, PC gamers have their own perpetual debate: AMD or Intel? (And, by extension, Radeon versus GeForce.) If you come down on the AMD side of things, you'll soon be able to kit your gaming PC out with a new branded component: AMD is getting into the SSD game.

Robert Hallock, one of AMD's technical experts, said the R7 SSDs come as a response to questions from potential customers: "People come to us on Twitter and other social media, to ask 'will you be making other components?' And the answer is yes. We're taking the successes that we found [with graphics and CPUs], and applying it to the SSD market." AMD already has its own CPUs, graphics cards through its 2006 takeover of ATI, a new line of AMD Memory and now, Radeon SSDs.

Hallock again: "This will help gamers build the all-AMD system that they're looking for. If they're not, that's fine too." It's true — apart from a case and power supply, every component in your PC can be supplied by AMD. If you don't have a setup like that (and most people won't, since Intel has been pretty dominant in processors in the last few years, that's fine — the Radeon SSD isn't tied in any way to using an AMD CPU or a Radeon graphics card; it'll be perfectly at home in an Intel system running Nvidia graphics.

The drives themselves are manufactured under contract by OCZ, using parent company Toshiba's advanced 19nm flash memory manufacturing processes. The R7 is the first mid-range SSD to use the new flash, which boasts both reliability improvements and a slight performance bump: "It's the first gaming drive to use Toshiba's A19 NAND memory. There are cost and performance advantages [over Toshiba's older 19nm NAND]. This could be considered the second-generation NAND — we are using the latest and greatest from Toshiba, [and] these are the first gaming drives to use it. We've worked with OCZ to make custom firmware."

550MBps reads and 500MBps writes are claimed, although the smallest-capacity 120GB model can only handle 440MBps writes. The new Radeon SSDs will also ship with Acronis TrueImage, which lets users clone their existing drive onto the new SSD — pretty standard for a new premium drive. The new R7 SSDs are apparently much more reliable and disaster-resilient than anything else in their mid-market price range, with a mean time before failure (MTBF) figure of 2.3 million hours versus something like OCZ's own Vertex 460's 2 million hours and the Samsung 840 EVO's 1.5 million.

Hallock says the new drives are aimed at gamers, but not necessarily the absolute top of the market: "We've designed the R7 series to be a good balance between price and performance. It's not the most powerful drive, [but] we want something that's a sensible combination — and that's why we chose the R7 name, we just think it fits." R7 is, of course, a reference to AMD's mid-range Radeon R7 graphics card line-up, currently spanning the cheap R7 240 to the mainstream R7 265.

AMD is giving its SSDs a four-year warranty, versus the competition's three years or less, which it hopes will be another selling point. 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB capacities will be available; there's no 1TB option, reflecting the R7's mainstream appeal — although potentially annoying anyone keen on using the R7 as an all-in-one system drive. AMD hasn't released prices for the R7 series in Australia just yet, but going on the $190 cheapest street price of the 240GB OCZ Vertex 460 and the $210 cheapest street price of the 240GB OCZ Vector 150, the 240GB R7 should be right around the $200 mark — well under $1 per GB. [AMD]


Comments

    makes no difference to me, I've been flip flopping between Intel and AMD for years, bastards keep changing their pins, plugs and slots..

    AMD has success with their CPUs?

      Well they certainly don't have success with Intel's CPUs.

      According to the Steam Hardware Survey AMD CPUs have a 25% market share, that's not to bad.

      They were pretty successful at defining the 64 bit instruction set architecture used by every PC being sold today.

      Without them providing competition, we'd probably still have inefficient power hungry Pentium 4's while Intel tried to work out what to do with Itanium.

        Yeah, cos everyone jumped on board the 64-bit train...

          You haven't? While you could argue whether 64-bit apps are necessary, you should see performance benefits from a 64-bit OS kernel with anywhere above 1-2 GB of memory. More than that, and the kernel can't map all available memory without temporarily deleting any of the application's memory mappings.

          The benefits to applications are a bit more complex: pointers take up twice the memory for 64-bit, but you also get twice as many registers to work with. In many cases 64-bit x86 ends up being faster.

      Yes they do. And not just in the direct to consumer market but they are also the supplier / manufacturer for Xbox, PS4 and Wii / Wii U.

    The way things are going with price sooner or later I'll be putting a 1TB SSD in my PS4 for the same price I put a 1TB mechanical drive in there. This I like.

    Hopefully they have better drivers for their SSDs than they do for their graphics cards or this is not going to go well for them.

      Obviously you haven't used their graphics card drivers lately. They're flawless and yield outstanding performance! Stop talking crap you know nothing about.

        I'm a software developer, I use equipment by AMD (and Nvidia, Intel, Matrox, etc) on a daily basis for work. AMD drivers are anything but flawless.

        Thanks for the demonstration on talking crap about something (or in this case someone) you know nothing about, though. I enjoyed the prominent display of hypocrisy.

        Last edited 19/08/14 3:12 pm

        Using the latest driver for my wifes R9 280X and it has this lovely bug of going black screen. And not black screen as in it loses contact with the GPU but in a game it's as if you step into a pitch black room room. Take a step back and its fine, step forward pitch black room, back fine, forward black etc. Happens in most games as well at different points. Have not been bothered to find a driver version this is not happening in.

        tldr; drivers far from flawless.

          I've been back and forth between intel and AMD with my gaming rigs - Intel have always been more reliable in terms of drivers - But AMD have always had way more value for money.

          I know exactly the bug @Andy is referencing too I believe it used to happen to me in Halo (1?) Some years back and have seen it randomly in other games, cant remember how I fixed it other then maybe updating drivers then re-installing the game.

          to be honest, I never had problem with Radeon drivers until I upgraded windows from 7 to 8. glitches and bugs everywhere!! They should have a more dedicated team to develop and maintaining drivers.

          That said, AMD products are definitely way more value for money than Intel CPU or Nvidia graphic card. Recent products proved that their CPU and GPU power are just as good as Intel's or Nvidia and they are at half of the price.

        I use CrossFire AMD GPU's the drivers are far from flawless. I love AMD but sorry your way off base. perfect example. I running a duel 27" Monitor setup. I frequently run into issues with the drivers completely shutting down and windows having to recover if i have a Game running on one screen and then trying to load a youtube clip or a Bluray on the other. sometimes it runs great other times it just craps out and i have to wait for the screen to recover from black.

        Last edited 20/08/14 8:49 am

      I would hope that no vendor specific drivers were necessary at all for a product like this.

        I would hope so, but a lot of SSD manufacturers do issue vendor drivers and support software to improve on the default behaviour for some things.

          Do they actually do anything? Or are they just there to give some visibility to an otherwise invisible PC component?

            Normally the OS handles the idiosyncracies of SSD drives itself, but sometimes the manufacturer will provide drivers that change the default OS behaviour to improve performance or extend lifespan. Things like buffering and such that are normally done on the OS side and not the firmware side. How significant the difference is I couldn't say but for some deployments every extra day of lifespan matters.

    @MrBS I've been looking at that my self and wasn't keen on spending $470 for a 1TB SSD for the ps4 but if their is more competition and brings it to a better bang for your buck like $250 or less I'll def upgrade 1TB

    So its just a reskinned OCZ SSD, tell me why i should buy this when i could just buy an OCZ SSD?

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