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SanDisk Extreme Pro 240GB Six-Drive SSD RAID Report

By: Jon Coulter | RAID in Storage | Posted: Nov 28, 2014 11:20 pm
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Futuremark PCMark 8 Extended - Consistency Test

 

Heavy Usage Model

 

We consider PCMark 8's consistency test to be our heavy usage model test. This is the usage model most enthusiasts, heavy duty gamers, and professionals fall into. If you do a lot of gaming, audio/video processing, rendering, or have workloads of this nature, then this test will be most relevant to you.

 

PCMark 8 has built-in, command line executed storage testing. The PCMark 8 Consistency test measures the performance consistency, and the degradation tendency of a storage system.

 

The Storage test workloads are repeated. Between each repetition, the storage system is bombarded with a usage that causes degraded drive performance. In the first part of the test, the cycle continues until a steady degraded level of performance has been reached. (Steady State)

 

In the second part, the recovery of the system is tested by allowing the system to idle and measuring the performance with long intervals. (TRIM)

 

The test reports the performance level at the start, the degraded steady state, and the recovered state, as well as the number of iterations required to reach the degraded state and the recovered state.

 

We feel Futuremark's Consistency Test is the best test ever devised to show the true performance of solid state storage in a heavy usage scenario. This test takes an average of 13 to 17 hours to complete, and writes somewhere between 450GB and 14,000GB of test data, depending on the drive(s) being tested. If you want to know what a SSD's performance is going to look like after a few months or years of heavy usage, this test will show you.

 

Here's a breakdown of Futuremark's Consistency Test:

 

Precondition phase:

 

1. Write to the drive sequentially through up to the reported capacity with random data.

2. Write the drive through a second time (to take care of overprovisioning).

 

Degradation phase:

 

1. Run writes of random size between 8*512 and 2048*512 bytes on random offsets for ten minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat one and two, eight times, and on each pass increase the duration of random writes by five minutes.

 

Steady state phase:

 

1. Run writes of random size between 8*512 and 2048*512 bytes on random offsets for 50 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat one and two, five times.

 

Recovery phase:

 

1. Idle for five minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat one and two, five times.

 

 

Storage Bandwidth

 

PCMark 8's Consistency test provides a ton of data output that we can use to judge a drive/array's performance.

 

sandisk_extreme_pro_240gb_six_drive_ssd_raid_report_33

 

We consider steady state bandwidth (the blue bar) our test that carries the most weight in ranking a drive/array's performance. The reason we consider steady state performance more important than TRIM is that when you are running a heavy-duty workload, TRIM will not be occurring while that workload is being executed. TRIM performance (the orange and red bars) is what we consider the second most important consideration when ranking a drive/array's performance. Trace based consistency testing is where truly high performing SSDs are separated from the rest of the pack.

 

The Extreme Pro hits peak performance at a four-drive array. In that respect, the Extreme Pro is quite a good performer in RAID 0, as most arrays tend to top out at three drives. While this is a good performance, it's not enough to unseat our current RAID 0 Champion, Intel's 730 480GB, which delivers a 388MB/s steady state performance with a three-drive array, and 426Mb/s with a six-drive array.

 

sandisk_extreme_pro_240gb_six_drive_ssd_raid_report_34

 

We chart our test subject's storage bandwidth as reported at each of the test's 18 trace iterations. This gives us a good visual perspective of how our test subjects perform as testing progresses.

 

 

Total Access Time (Latency)

 

Access time is the time delay or latency between a request to an electronic system, and the access completion, or the requested data returned. Access time is how long it takes to get data back from the disk. We chart the total time the disk is accessed as reported at each of the test's 18 trace iterations.

 

sandisk_extreme_pro_240gb_six_drive_ssd_raid_report_35

 

This is a great visual representation of what RAID 0 brings to the table. Look at how much lower latency is for a two-drive array in comparison to a single drive; it's three times lower. This is a powerful illustration of why you need to be running RAID 0 if you want the best performance from your enthusiast class PC.

 

 

Disk Busy Time

 

Disk Busy Time is how long the disk is busy working. We chart the total time the disk is working as reported at each of the test's 18 trace iterations.

 

sandisk_extreme_pro_240gb_six_drive_ssd_raid_report_36

 

When latency is low, disk busy time is low as well. In a steady state, an Extreme Pro array is about 2.5 times more efficient than a single drive with the exact same workload. It is worth noting that 2.5 times less disk busy time is a nice increase in performance, but it's also a testament to just how well a single Extreme Pro performs. This is because most SSDs see around a seven to tenfold decrease in disk busy time from a single drive to an array. It's easy to see why the Extreme Pro is currently our steady state performance champion when it comes to a single drive in an OS environment.

 

 

Data Written

 

We measure the total amount of random data that the drive/arrays are capable of writing during the degradation phases of the consistency test. The total combined time that degradation data is written to the drive/arrays is 470 minutes. This can be very telling. The better the drive/array can process a continuous stream of random data, the more data will be written.

 

sandisk_extreme_pro_240gb_six_drive_ssd_raid_report_37

 

This data shows an aspect of performance that typical benchmarks simply cannot. Even though we are handicapped by our Lynx Point chipset's limited sequential bandwidth, we observe perfect scaling from one to six drives, culminating in our six-drive array delivering an impressive 8,800 gigabytes of random data written in 470 minutes.

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