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Crucial MX200 500GB 2-Drive SSD RAID Report

By: Jon Coulter | RAID in Storage | Posted: Mar 16, 2015 2:10 pm

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 after 5-minute long intervals. (Internal drive maintenance: Garbage Collection (GC))

 

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 on average 13 to 17 hours to complete, and it writes somewhere between 450GB and 14,000GB of test data, depending on the number of drives/array being tested. If you want to know what an 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 10 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 8 times, and on each pass increase the duration of random writes by 5 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 1 and 2 for 5 times.

 

Recovery phase:

 

1. Idle for 5 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 5 times.

 

 

Storage Bandwidth

 

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

 

crucial-mx200-500gb-2-drive-ssd-raid-report_43

 

We consider steady state bandwidth (the blue bar) our test that carries the most weight in ranking a drive/arrays performance. The reason we consider steady state performance more important than performance after internal drive maintenance: Garbage Collection (GC) is that when you are running a heavy-duty workload, GC typically will not be occurring while a workload is being executed unless your SSD is already in a steady state. GC performance (the orange and red bars) is what we consider the second most important consideration when ranking a drive/arrays performance. Trace based consistency testing is where true high performing SSDs are separated from the rest of the pack.

 

Not what we were expecting. Our MX200 array does manage to defeat our 850 Pro array, and of course the highly touted (by some) Comay BladeDrive PCIe card, but that's it. This time we will give the MX200 a pass, which is something we've never done before, but that is ONLY because we know what happens when we add a third drive into the mix. Because we know a third drive makes such a huge difference we are left wondering if this was somehow a bad run? Well, it is what it is, and we aren't going to run another 14 hour test to make sure.

 

One thing we can take away from this test is that the MX200 is relatively unaffected by garbage collection, which is quite the opposite of what we see with the MX100.

 

crucial-mx200-500gb-2-drive-ssd-raid-report_44

 

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-mx200-500gb-2-drive-ssd-raid-report_45

 

 

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 tests 18 trace iterations.

 

crucial-mx200-500gb-2-drive-ssd-raid-report_46

 

When latency is low, disk busy time is low as well. This mirrors what we saw with our phase portion of this testing. As we have seen throughout our testing, Crucial has improved the latency of the MX200 in comparison to the MX100.

 

 

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-mx200-500gb-2-drive-ssd-raid-report_47

 

Improved latency in a steady state naturally means that our MX200 array can write more data in the same amount of time than our MX100 array. Our MX200 array performs very well in this test, with only our SanDisk Extreme II array aside from the enterprise class drives able to outperform it.

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