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TweakTown's SSD Fill Testing Explained

By: Chris Ramseyer | Editorials in Storage | Posted: Apr 1, 2011 1:16 am

The Methodology


The objective to this test is to see how a drive performs when data is present on the drive. To achieve this goal we needed a methodology for testing, a large number of files that are easily available, and to be able to keep it simple. As a reviewer who runs a ton of benchmarks, I also wanted the perpetration to be fast. As a professional I wanted the results to be accurate and fair to all of the drives we test.


SandForce: A New Hope or The Phantom Menace?


I've wanted to use that title for so long - I can't even remember when it first came into my mind. SandForce has a very unique system that is able to take data that is uncompressed and compress it as it's written. In a sense they are cheating, but you know the saying - All is fair in love….


The SandForce SF-1000 Series and the soon to be released SF-2000 Series is not only unique, they kick some serious butt. SandForce has the dominating SSD technology, but we needed to keep in mind that filling a drive with just compressed data wouldn't be fair to SandForce, their competitors or you, the readers.


What we wanted to achieve is a balance of compressed and uncompressed data on the drive, exactly like what you have on your boot drive right now. If you open your C drive right now and start poking around, you will find programs, pictures, music, documents and a whole list of things, some of which we wouldn't even want to know about. So for this test we are going to simulate data that is already on your drive. The trick is to choose data that could be on your drive, a mix of different file types, but this data has to be easily available to everyone.


Since SSDs are sold in specific sizes; 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and so on, we had the first part of the equation. The next set of numbers came from the points we wanted to test; 25%, 50% and 75% capacity (full). This is what I came up with.


64GB Drive - 15GB, 30GB, 45GB


128GB Drive - 30GB, 60GB, 90GB


256GB Drive - 60GB, 120GB, 160GB


The smallest dominator of the fill test is 15GB. So that is where we started. We made a 15GB block of data and then replicated it on the drive to make 30GB, then doubled it to make 60GB. This gives us a base 15GB of data that can easily scale to the fill volume we need.


Let's go get the files needed to test.


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