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Intel 730 480GB 6-Drive SSD RAID Report

By: Jon Coulter | RAID in Storage | Posted: Jun 20, 2014 10:12 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 vs. filled vs. steady state.


We run Vantage three ways. The first run is with the OS drive/Array 75% 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% 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 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. This is exactly why we focus on steady state performance. Steady state performance shows that we do indeed get more performance as we add drives to our 730 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






Stripe sizes play an important role in this scenario. If we stayed with 64k stripes, we would not get a performance increase from 3-6 drives. After much testing we've determined that when exceeding 3 drives, 32k stripes deliver superior all-around array performance.



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






IMFT Flash based arrays dominate this testing. The biggest performance increase is of course when you go from a single drive to a 2-drive array. This is why we love the 730 in RAID. Even though our chipset's bandwidth maximum is limiting sequential performance, our array delivers increasing performance from 3-6 drives. Intel's 730 keeps scaling when other SSD's do not. It's pretty obvious that a single SSD is for average users and a RAID array is essential for enthusiasts.

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