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Intel 530 180GB Two-Drive SSD RAID Report

By: Jon Coulter | RAID in Storage | Posted: May 2, 2014 2:00 pm

Light Usage Model


We are going to categorize these tests as indicative of a light workload. If you utilize your computer for light workloads like browsing the web, checking emails, light gaming, and office related tasks, then this category of results is most relevant for your needs.



PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests


Version and / or Patch Used:


The reason we like PCMark Vantage is because the recorded traces are played back without system stops. What we see is the raw performance of the drive. This allows us to see a marked difference between scoring that other trace-based benchmarks do not exhibit. An example of a marked difference in scoring on the same drive would be empty versus filled versus steady state.


We run Vantage three ways. The first run is with the OS drive/array 75 percent full to simulate a lightly used OS volume filled with data to an amount we feel is common for most users. The second run is with the OS volume written into a "Steady State" utilizing SNIA's guidelines (Rev 1.1). Steady state testing simulates a drive/array's performance similar to that of a drive/array that has been subjected to consumer workloads for extensive amounts of time. The third run is a Vantage HDD test with the test drive/array attached as an empty, lightly used secondary device.


OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used




OS Volume 75% Full - Steady State




Secondary Volume Empty - Lightly Used




As you can see, there's a big difference between an empty drive/array, one that's 75 percent full/used, and one that's in a steady state.




The important scores to pay attention to are "OS Volume Steady State" and "OS Volume 75% full." These two categories are most important because they are indicative of typical of consumer based user states.


When a drive/array is in a steady state, it means garbage collection is running at the same time it's reading/writing. There is a huge difference in performance between a single drive and a two-drive array.

Here we begin to see a turn-around. At 75 percent full with light usage, our 530 array is able to place third, beating out two of our top-performing arrays. Steady state scoring drops our 530 array into last place; however, a 62,000 point performance is exactly what we would expect to see from a mainstream class two-drive array.



PCMark 7 - System Storage


Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4.00


We will look to the Raw system storage scoring for RAID 0 evaluations because it's done without system stops and therefore allows us to see significant scoring differences between drives/arrays.


OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used






Like I said at the beginning, the competition is fierce, and the rest of the arrays on our chart are enthusiast class, which is a little unfair; however, they are the competition in a retail setting being priced virtually the same with the exception of Seagate's 600 Pro.



PCMark 8 - Storage Bandwidth


Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.157


We use the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark to test the performance of SSDs, HDDs, and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, and a selection of popular games. You can test the system drive or any other recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.


OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used






Here is something I have noticed: drives that utilize IMFT Flash scale better than those with Toshiba Flash. A 300MB/s storage bandwidth is the lowest of any array on our chart, but not by much. A single 530 is outclassed handily, but our 530 array scales better than any array on our chart, putting up good performance despite being capacity handicapped. This performance proves that a two-drive 530 array is capable of excellent performance, bordering on enthusiast class, when implemented in a light usage scenario.

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