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SSD Consistency Testing - 18 Drives Tested for Real-World Performance

SSD Consistency Testing - 18 Drives Tested for Real-World Performance

With a new test in hand via Futuremark, we look at worst case and recovery performance to find real differences in SSD performance.

@ChrisRamseyer
Published Tue, Feb 25 2014 5:08 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:32 PM CDT

Introduction

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I posted a blog last week that illustrated how time between each benchmark test can affect performance results. To show what we wanted, we used a small portion of a new benchmark that is built into Futuremark's PCMark 8 2.0. The new Consistency and Adaptivity (yes, I know, it's not really a word) tests add additional features to an already good benchmark.

We've stated before that the key to a good benchmark isn't just the test you are running, but the preconditioning involved before the test. SSD FOB (Fresh out of Box) performance is always great and very close to the limits of SATA III, but real-world performance has days, weeks, and months of data on the drive.

In the past, we've simulated prior stress with our Data on Disk testing by adding data on the drive and running PCMark Vantage's Storage Tests. Futuremark took that test and worked up a better method to show what we consider a better representation of real-world performance.

The following was provided by Futuremark:

Consistency Test

The PCMark 8 Consistency test measures the performance consistency and 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.

In the second part, the recovery of the system is tested by allowing the system to idle and measuring the performance with long intervals.

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.

Adaptivity Test

The Adaptivity test measures the "learning" capabilities of the storage system.

The Storage test workloads are repeated and the results are observed. The test continues until a steady state of performance has been reached.

The benchmark reports the performance level at the start and in the steady state, as well as the number of iterations required to reach the state. Today, we're publishing a handful of products that we've run through the new Consistency test and expanding upon the information used in the blog post.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup

Desktop Test System

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All tests were on our primary SSD test system that uses an Intel Core i7 Haswell processor and an ASUS Z87 motherboard.

Let's take a look at how the new test works.

1. Precondition phase

1. Write to the drive sequentially through up to the reported capacity with random data, write size of 256*512=131072 bytes.

2. Write it through a second time (to take care of overprovisioning).

2. 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). The result is stored in secondary results with name prefix degrade_result_X where X is a counter.

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 8 times, and on each pass increase the duration of random writes by 5 minutes

3. Steady state phase

1. Run writes of random size between 8*512 and 2048*512 bytes on random offsets for final duration achieved in degradation phase.

2. Run performance test (one pass only). The result is stored in secondary results with name prefix steady_result_X where X is a counter.

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 5 times.

The first page of our results comes from the steady state phase and this shows worst-case performance for a consumer. Other tests in the past used 4K writes to show worst case performance, but we feel that workload is better suited for enterprise workloads and do not represent conditions a consumer SSD will encounter.

1. Recovery phase

1. Idle for 5 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only). The result is stored in secondary result with name recovery_result_X where X is a counter.

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 5 times.

Our second two results come from the recovery phase. The first shows performance just 5 minutes after the steady state tests. Each test run does take around an hour and twenty minutes, so simply stating 5 minutes later isn't accurate for each of the ten tests.

The third test shows recovery performance after five test runs with five minutes between each test. If you leave your computer on all of the time, this is the level of performance you should expect from your drive. The drive is able to recover on its own. This is the amount of degraded performance for most of us.

Benchmarks - PCMark 8 Steady State Worst Case

Benchmarks - PCMark 8: Steady State Worst Case

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.0.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/pcmark8

Buy It Here

Note: PCMark 8's Storage benchmark is ideal for testing the performance of SSDs, HDDs, and hybrid drives. Using traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, and a selection of popular games, PCMark 8 Storage highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.

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PCMark 8 Storage Bandwidth

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The last set of tests in the steady state phase shows us worst-case performance for the drives tested.

Benchmarks - PCMark 8 5 Minute Recoveryheading

Benchmarks - PCMark 8: 5 Minute Recovery

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.0.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/pcmark8

Buy It Here

Note: PCMark 8's Storage benchmark is ideal for testing the performance of SSDs, HDDs, and hybrid drives. Using traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, and a selection of popular games, PCMark 8 Storage highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.

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PCMark 8 Storage Bandwidth

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The five-minute recovery test shows us a couple of interesting things. The first is the obvious: the lower capacity drives have fewer pages to recovery, so they will rebound faster than a much larger drive. The second is that some drives are more aggressive at garbage collection than others.

Benchmarks - PCMark 8 Final Recoveryheading

Benchmarks - PCMark 8: Final Recovery

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.0.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/pcmark8

Buy It Here

Note: PCMark 8's Storage benchmark is ideal for testing the performance of SSDs, HDDs, and hybrid drives. Using traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, and a selection of popular games, PCMark 8 Storage highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices.

SSD Consistency Testing - 18 Drives Tested for Real-World Performance 20 | TweakTown.com
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PCMark 8 Storage Bandwidth

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The final recovery phase is where I think most of us are at with our computer use. I keep my notebook on all of the time, but I have a lot of data on the drive as well. My drive recovers the best it can with flash fresh and is ready to receive new data. Of the three benchmark tests we're showing today, this is the one I think we need to pay the closest attention to.

With that said, are the results what you expected to see based on previous reviews and what you've read in the past? You can answer below in the comments section.

Final Thoughts

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One final chart to look at. Here we see the average of all the tests in one chart. We can see the drives that drop in performance more than others, which drives recover faster, the performance after a large amount of idle time, and, finally, we get to see which drives offer solid performance regardless of wear state.

Of the drives tested, the Toshiba Q Series Pro (256GB), SanDisk Extreme II (240GB / 480GB), and Samsung 840 EVO (500GB) really stand out as the top performers. At this time, we don't have every drive tested nor do we have every capacity size tested. We do have the largest collection of consumer SSDs in the world, so each month we'll update the charts and release a new report based on our findings.

Over the next 45 days, we know of at least six new SSDs coming to market, many from the leaders in the SSD market. We expect the new drives to shake up the market in both performance and price.

Sadly, due to the length of this test and our other long tests, such as the notebook battery life test, we may not always be able to include this data in our standard reviews. When time allows, we will include the test.

Let us know your thoughts by commenting below. We look forward to hearing what you have to say.

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Chris Ramseyer started his career as a LAN Party organizer in Midwest USA. After working with several computer companies he was asked to join the team at The Adrenaline Vault by fellow Midwest LAN Party legend Sean Aikins. After a series of shake ups at AVault, Chris eventually took over as Editor-in-Chief before leaving to start Real World Entertainment. Look for Chris to bring his unique methods of testing Hard Disk Drives, Solid State Drives as well as RAID controller and NAS boxes to TweakTown as he looks to provide an accurate test bed to make your purchasing decisions easier.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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