Tech content trusted by users in North America and around the world
7,296 Reviews & Articles | 53,209 News Posts

Samsung SM961 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review

By: Jon Coulter | m.2 SSDs in Storage | Posted: Jul 4, 2016 1:10 pm
TweakTown Rating: 97%Manufacturer: Samsung

Futuremark PCMark 8 Extended

 

Heavy Workload Model

 

PCMark 8's consistency test simulates an extended duration heavy workload environment. 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 an extended duration heavy workload environment. This test takes on average 13 to 17 hours to complete and writes somewhere between 450GB and 14,000GB of test data depending on the drive/array. If you want to know what an SSDs steady state performance is going to look like during a heavy workload, 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 use to judge a drive's performance.

 

samsung-sm961-1tb-2-nvme-pcie-ssd-review_42

 

We consider steady state bandwidth (the blue bar) our test that carries the most weight in ranking a drive/arrays heavy workload performance. Performance after Garbage Collection (GC) (the orange and red bars) is what we consider the second most important consideration when ranking a drive's performance. Trace-based steady state testing is where true high performing SSDs are separated from the rest of the pack.

 

Again, we got much lower than expected results with Windows 10, so we ran the test with Windows 8.1 as well. We can clearly see a massive performance difference between the two operating systems. By switching to Windows 8.1, the SM961 went from dead last to third place, from terrible to well above average. We consider these results to be more proof that there is likely some issue going on with the SM961 and Windows 10 that could potentially be remedied with a dedicated Samsung NVMe driver.

 

samsung-sm961-1tb-2-nvme-pcie-ssd-review_43

 

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. This chart sheds more light on how the drives perform as they progress through the testing phases.

 

Total Access Time (Latency)

 

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

 

samsung-sm961-1tb-2-nvme-pcie-ssd-review_44

 

Windows 8.1 fares considerably better than Windows 10, but the SM961 shows itself to have the highest overall latency of the bunch; at least when it comes to this particular testing. Intel's 750 series SSDs have by far the lowest latency of the drives in our test pool, which is expected because of their enterprise DNA.

 

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.

 

samsung-sm961-1tb-2-nvme-pcie-ssd-review_45

 

When latency is low, disk busy time is low as well.

 

Data Written

 

We measure the total amount of random data that our test drive/array is capable of writing during the degradation phases of the consistency test. Pre-conditioning data is not included in the total. The total combined time that degradation data is written to the drive/array is 470 minutes. This can be very telling. The better a drive/array can process a continuous stream of random data; the more data will be written.

 

samsung-sm961-1tb-2-nvme-pcie-ssd-review_46

 

Overprovisioning and write latency are the biggest factors that determine the outcome of this portion of the test. Capacity can also have an impact on the outcome of this test. Capacity wins out for the SM961 in comparison to the 950 Pro and RD400. The SM961 able to write more random data than both the 950 Pro and RD400 in the same time span. We have always felt that Samsung's consumer/client SSDs would greatly benefit from a bit of factory overprovisioning. Not just with this test; with all of our workload testing.

    PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.


    United States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon's website.

    United Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon UK's website.

    Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon Canada's website.

    We at TweakTown openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion of our content. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here.

Related Tags

Got an opinion on this content? Post a comment below!
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Latest News Posts

View More News Posts
View Our Latest Videos

Forum Activity

View More Forum Posts

Press Releases

View More Press Releases
loading