PCMark Vantage - Drives with Data Testing
For a complete breakdown on the Drives with Data Testing please read this article. You will be able to perform this test at home with the files provided in the article - full instructions are included.
- Brief Methodology
SSDs perform differently when used for a period of time and when data is already present on the drive. The purpose of the Drives with Data testing is to show how a drive performs in these 'dirty' states. SSDs also need time to recover, either with TRIM or onboard garbage collection methods.
Drives with Data Testing - 25%, 50%, 75% Full States and Dirty / Empty Test
Files needed for 60 (64GB), 120 (128GB), 240 (256GB)
60GB Fill - 15GB, 30GB, 45GB
120GB Fill - 30GB, 60GB, 90GB
240GB Fill - 60GB, 120GB, 160GB
Empty but Dirty - a test run just after the fill tests and shows if a drive needs time to recover or if performance is instantly restored.
HDD1 - Windows Defender
HDD2 - Gaming
HDD3 - Windows Photo Gallery
HDD4 - Vista Startup
HDD5 - Windows Movie Maker
HDD6 - Windows Media Center
HDD7 - Windows Media Player
HDD8 - Application Loading
Before we get into the 50% fill state examination let's take a close look at the SP900 numbers as a group. We've already stated the out of box results, just over 85K. The first Vantage test is placed right in the middle of our test cycle. At that point we recorded a result of 68,899 Marks. We then run a number of other tests, the full AS SSD Suite, Crystal Disk Mark 1000MB, four Passmark tests, three Anvil Storage Utilities tests and so on. After those tests are completed we go back and fill the SSD with data until it is roughly 25% full, then run Vantage again. After that test the drive is filled to 50%, Vantage is run and then again at 75%. After the 75% test all of the data is deleted from the drive and cleared from the Recycle Bin. At that point we run Vantage again to get the TRIM test results.
Looking down the chart we see that in nearly every case the TRIM test results in a benchmark score that is close to the first Vantage run. The TRIM is working properly and in many case the TRIMed drive is faster than the first run. With the SanDisk Extreme SSD and ADATA SP900 that is not the case. These drives do regain performance, a majority of that is because the flash isn't holding data (the remaining 25% not used in the fill test is somewhat clean and being used as well), but the 75% we did use and just freed from data is still dirty. The end result leaves us with a much slower drive than what we started with. Over time the performance is only going to get worse until the drive just feels like an "old dirty" SSD all of the time.
Getting on track with this section, let's look at the performance with all of the drives half full. Asynchronous drives with SandForce controllers take a big hit here and the hit is enough for us to not recommend them if the price is close to the synchronous flash version. At this time the SX900 with sync flash costs only $20 more than the SP900 we are looking at today, both models at the 256GB capacity size.