Moderate Workload Model
We categorize these tests as indicative of a moderate workload environment.
PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests
Version and / or Patch Used: 188.8.131.52
The reason we like PCMark Vantage is because the recorded traces are played back without system stops. What we see is the raw performance of the drive. This allows us to see a marked difference between scoring that other trace-based benchmarks do not exhibit. An example of a marked difference in scoring on the same drive would be empty vs. filled vs. steady state.
We run Vantage three ways. The first run is with the OS drive 75% full to simulate a lightly used OS volume filled with data to an amount we feel is common for most users. The second run is with the OS volume written into a "Steady State" utilizing SNIA's consumer guidelines. Steady state testing simulates a drive's performance similar to that of a drive that been subjected to consumer workloads for extensive amounts of time. The third run is a Vantage HDD test with the test drive attached as an empty, lightly used secondary device.
OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used
OS Volume 75% Full - Steady State
Secondary Volume Empty - FOB
There's a big difference between an empty drive, one that's 75% full/used, and one that's in a steady state.
The important scores to pay attention to are "OS Volume Steady State" and "OS Volume 75% full." These two categories are most important because they are indicative of typical of consumer user states. When a drive is in a steady state, it means garbage collection is running at the same time it's reading/writing.
Focusing in on 75% full and steady state performance, we see the NX500 delivering performance that is comparable to or better than Intel's 750 series. The MDD BPX delivers far better performance than the NX500 when empty, but empty scores are meaningless as demonstrated by Intel's 750 series. The 400GB NX500 has the upper hand over the 800GB model when running in a steady-state.
PCMark 7 - System Storage
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4.0
We will look to Raw System Storage scoring for evaluation because it's done without system stops and, therefore, allows us to see significant scoring differences between drives. When evaluating NVMe SSDs, we are looking for a minimum score of 11,000
OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used
The NX500 at both capacity points exceed our minimum score of 11K. The BPX with its larger SLC cache delivers a better score than the NX500. The RD400 handily outperforms the NX500 primarily because the RD400 has the benefit of a dedicated NVMe driver. The 950 Pro leaves everyone in the dust due to its superior random performance at low queue depths. The NX500 does defeat Intel's 750 series when running this moderate workload simulation.
PCMark 8 - Storage Bandwidth
Version and / or Patch Used: 2.4.304
We use PCMark 8 Storage benchmark to test the performance of SSDs, HDDs, and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, and a selection of popular games. You can test the system drive or any other recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.
OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used
PCMark 8 is the most intensive moderate workload simulation we run. With respect to moderate consumer type workloads, this test is what we consider the best indicator of a drive's performance.
Note: We have reevaluated the way we have been presenting our PCMark 8 scoring as bandwidth performance only. We are now placing more importance on the Storage Score than the Storage Bandwidth, because the Storage Score takes into account latency as well as bandwidth.
This time the 800GB NX500 delivers better performance than the 400GB model. The BPX delivers more storage bandwidth but scores identical to the 800GB NX500. This is due to the NX500 having better (lower) latency. In terms of scoring, the 400GB NX500 delivers a better Storage Score than the 400GB Intel 750 even though the 400GB Intel 750 delivers more Storage Bandwidth.
BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE Application Performance
Version and / or Patch Used: 184.108.40.206
SYSmark 2014 SE is considered the gold standard for testing system performance because it is an application based benchmark. This test gives us the ultimate in real-world results because it utilizes actual applications running on the system, instead of playing back recorded traces. If you want to know what kind of impact a particular SSD will have on your system's overall performance; this test will show you.
Please note: We have reevaluated the way we chart SYSmark. We have decided that the Overall Rating more accurately represents an SSDs impact on system performance than does the Responsiveness Score on its own.
Our systems are much more powerful than the calibration system (1000-point baseline) used by BAPCo, so we ran an OCZ TL100 120GB SATA III SSD to establish a comparison point relative to our test systems. We will be running this test going forward, and we will add drives to our chart as we test them.
It is important to keep in mind that with SYSmark 2014 SE a few points are a big deal when comparing one drive to another on the same platform.
We don't have a lot of SSDs for comparison yet, but we've been able to identify a pattern. Phison E7 powered SSDs deliver unmatched system performance as measured by SYSmark. The E7 SSDs on our chart all deliver better system performance than we are getting from Samsung's mighty 960 Pro 2TB SSD. This is something we believe our readers should take notice of. As we've stated before, the user experience we get from E7 powered SSDs is really as good as it gets for a flash-based SSD.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Drive Specifications, Pricing & Availability]
- Page 2 [Drive Details]
- Page 3 [Test System Setup, Drive Properties & SSD Toolbox]
- Page 4 [Synthetic Benchmarks – ATTO & Anvil Storage Utilities]
- Page 5 [Synthetic Benchmarks – CrystalDiskMark & AS SSD]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks (OS) - Vantage, PCMark 7, PCMark 8 & SYSmark 2014 SE]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks (Secondary) - IOPS, Response & Transfer Rate]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) – PCMark 8 Extended]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) – 70/30 Mixed Workload]
- Page 10 [Maxed-Out Performance (MOP)]
- Page 11 [Final Thoughts]
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