As we mentioned when we took a closer look, there’s a total of 384GB physically on the drive but 84GB is provisioned for drive maintenance leaving 300GB for the user. Windows reports it closer to 279GB as it calculates the actual data conversion from bytes to gigabytes.
One thing we noticed is how hot the WarpDrive got when under load for any period of time. We saw temps easily hit 141.5 °F (60.8 °C) on the heat sink and closer to 100 °F (37.8 °C) on the controllers themselves. Don’t think we weren’t tempted to fry an egg on here but this was only a loaner review sample so cooler heads prevailed lest we potentially ruin the expensive hardware we don’t own.
At this point, some will be pointing out that the WarpDrive is an enterprise class storage device which is designed to handle vastly different data patterns than what a consumer PC will demand. Comparing it with the RevoDrive X2 on benchmarks designed for consumer hardware may seem a bit unfair but it’s more in line with what the majority of our readers are interested in seeing. It also illustrates how critical the product design is for the applications for which it was intended as evidenced by how closely the lesser equipped RevoDrive X2 competed adroitly in nearly every benchmark. Had we reversed the circumstances, the WarpDrive would have shown itself to be superior. In fact, we did perform some Iometer tests at queue depths at 96 and greater which showed even greater performance metrics but for the sake of brevity, we did not include them.
Overall, the performance on the benchmarks we normally use for consumer drives was excellent but the RevoDrive X2 bested it in several areas and generally kept pace overall. The real world tests showed nothing spectacular which all goes to say this card would be a colossal waste of money for someone to plop it in their desktop system for normal use. If you have a busy server or high I/O database demands, this would be a better suited tool than something like a RevoDrive but the price really puts it into a more of a corporate purchase item.
Like other RAID drives, TRIM is not supported although idle garbage collection is still there but not very aggressive. LSI also informed us that currently, there is no secure erase support available which is not surprising since there would be little need for it an enterprise device. In fact here are the comments made to us:
“The short answer is no, there isn’t a method to secure erase the drive. Just a reformat. Today there is not a Generic Secure Erase for SSD drives. Individual
Vendors may offer a Secure Erase feature but not all Vendor or even
models have it. The reason that it is not standard and can be very
complex has to do with a SSD feature called Over Provisioning and Wear
will look at Secure Erase as a future WarpDrive feature but it is not
in the product today. Since LSI uses industry leading SSDs on the
WarpDrive, they will be working with their future SSD vendors to scope
this out. Plans are for a Secure Erase function to be available for their upcoming cards (Out Q2CY11).” – LSI Public Relations
Carrying six SandForce SF-1500 controllers, 384GB of SLC NAND and LSI’s SAS8000 RAID controller, the WarpDrive carries some serious hardware. At $7,500 a pop, it certainly carries an enterprise price and we hope that LSI works out the kinks in the firmware to address some of the issues we saw on the ATTO benchmark. Otherwise, it’s a powerful device that handles monster IOPs with the reliability and speed needed for the demands of data centers where time is money. For the price, yeah, we’d take handful of RevoDrive X2’s because they are better suited for the computing we do. But for business needs, the WarpDrive is going to take the prize every time – even at $7500. LSI has a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculator on their site that helps you figure out if this drive will save you some money or not. You need to know the required page requests per second for the calculator to work and we found that it should save both dollars and space for those that need a drive like this. THe LSI WarpDrive SLP-300 Acceleration Card comes backed by a 3-year warranty, so you can sleep easy knowing your large investment is backed by a nice warranty.
In closing, we’d like to thank LSI for their willingness to let us get some hands-on time with their product and answer our inquiries.
Legit Bottom Line: While the LSI WarpDrive carries a price tag that makes it unattainable for consumers, the professionals will appreciate its 200k IOPs performance and enterprise reliability.