256GB Class Performance Testing
We pulled out usual 256GB class drives to compare to the Seagate Barracuda SSD. The top performers in this group have been the Crucial MX500 and Samsung 860 EVO. The Crucial MX300, Mushkin Triactor, and Toshiba VX500 are all older models that you may already own.
The Inland Professional SATA III is a low-cost DRAMless SSD that we tested last month. The Toshiba VX500 is also a DRAMless design.
Sequential Read Performance
The Phison S10 quad-core controller has always delivered superior sequential read performance. We've seen 560 MB/s queue depth (QD) 2 reads using this controller for nearly four years now regardless of flash.
Sequential Write Performance
We cannot say the same about writing sequential data. With planar TLC flash the S10 has poor consistency as the SLC buffer fills and flushes creating an ebb and flow effect with performance while data fights its way to the memory. The same happens with 3D TLC memory but to a lesser extent.
Sustained Sequential Write Performance
Writing a large amount of sequential data to the drives, we see a similar performance drop point between the Mushkin Triactor (SMI SM2256 controller and planar TLC) and the Seagate Barracuda SSD. The Triactor drops to just 90 MB/s after the SLC but the Barracuda still delivers around 290 MB/s.
The new Seagate SSD wins the battle against previous generation technology but loses the overall war. With products like the new Crucial MX500 and Samsung 860 EVO running dynamic buffers that keep the write speed higher for longer, the older design has a lot to overcome.
Random Read Performance
The Seagate Barracuda Pro also shows lower tier performance reading random data. This metric is what makes your computer or device feel fast when moving around the operating system and loading applications. The Seagate drive delivers just 7,200 IOPS at QD1, around 30% less than we recommend today. The drive is much faster than a hard disk drive but most shoppers do not limit shopping to just one brand.
Random Write Performance
The Barracuda SSD shows the same issue with a small SLC buffer in the random write test that we observed in the sequential write test. The difference here is that most random writes come in bursts so you are likely never to see a random write event that lasts more than a few tens of a second under consumer workloads. You will also rarely have an event beyond queue depth 2.
70% Read Sequential Performance
The inconsistent and low sequential write performance hurts the Barracuda SSD's ability to handle sequential mixed data at a brisk pace.
70% Read Random Performance
Slightly more concerning is the low random mixed workload performance. The Barracuda SSD is only slightly faster than the Inland Professional SATA III DRAMless SSD.
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