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Crucial MX100 512GB 3-Drive SSD RAID Report

By: Jon Coulter | RAID in Storage | Posted: Jan 31, 2015 3:11 am

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 13 to 17 hours to complete on average, and it writes somewhere between 450GB and 14,000GB of test data, depending on the number of drives or array 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 increase the duration of random writes by five minutes on each pass.

 

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.

 

crucial-mx100-512gb-3-drive-ssd-raid-report_38

 

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 true high performing SSDs are separated from the rest of the pack.

 

We were hoping to see a little better scaling from the MX100 in this particular test as we moved from a two-drive array to a three-drive array. However, there are a couple of bright spots I would like to point out. First, in a heavy usage model scenario, a MX100 array delivers better performance than a much more expensive 850 Pro array. Second, TRIM (recovery) performance is arguably the best we've seen to date. Some would make the case that TRIM performance is more important in a consumer based usage scenario than steady state; however, I do not personally subscribe to that reasoning.

 

We were hoping to see a new RAID champion crowned today, but based on my personal belief that steady state is the true measure of an array's performance; our Intel 730 array is still our performance champion. At the same time, it is worth mentioning that Intel's 730 is actually an enterprise class SSD in consumer clothing.

 

crucial-mx100-512gb-3-drive-ssd-raid-report_39

 

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)

 

We chart the total time the disk is accessed as reported at each of the test's 18 trace iterations.

 

crucial-mx100-512gb-3-drive-ssd-raid-report_40

 

 

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.

 

crucial-mx100-512gb-3-drive-ssd-raid-report_41

 

When latency is low, disk busy time is low as well. It is interesting that our MX100 array has better latency in a steady state than it does while descending into a steady state. The rest of the arrays on our chart exhibit the opposite behavior. Once TRIM kicks in, our MX100 array is in a virtual tie for the best performing array we have tested to date.

 

 

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/array 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.

 

crucial-mx100-512gb-3-drive-ssd-raid-report_42

 

Workload latency is a problem for the MX100 in RAID 0, and this chart serves to illustrate that point.

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