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.
One of the reasons why I like testing solid state drives so much over other products is because they are complicated parts. In one area, a drive may test faster than another, but in a different situation, it could be slower.
In this test, we put data on the drives and run each through PCMark Vantage. Drives use DRAM to cache the location of the data, kind of like a map. The DRAM is a different size on each capacity size drive. Some companies actually use the same DRAM size on the 512GB and 1TB models. This means the 1TB drives are actually a little slower since the table data that isn't cached in the DRAM has to be read from the slower NAND flash. At the same time, smaller capacity drives have smaller maps, more of the map data is actually held in the DRAM buffer.
With 50% of the drives filled with data, the XP941 128GB puts up a higher performance number in PCMark Vantage's HDD test. The smaller capacity size needs less garbage collection time to shuffle the data around. I suspect if we were to use more than three minutes between each test, the numbers would work out differently.
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