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HP EX920 SSD Review - Mainstream Perfection

By: Chris Ramseyer | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Oct 18, 2018 3:00 pm

512GB Class Performance Testing


Product Comparison




There are a few changes in the 512GB NVMe class. The 970 Pro is out; most workstation users want more capacity. Lower capacity drives fall automatically into mainstream classes unless they cost significantly more than other products, like the 970 Pro to the models on this page. The cost difference between an entry-level, mainstream, and premium NVMe in this capacity is minimal.


Sometimes through the number of products sold, the prices even reverse. The HP EX900 500GB is the lower tier NVMe SSD from HP. We sometimes see the EX920 premium SSD selling for less than the EX900. The MyDigitalSSD SBX and Toshiba RC100 round out the more affordable options.


The Samsung 970 EVO and Intel SSD 760p with a Silicon Motion SM2262 controller, complete the comparison list.


Sequential Read Performance






The Adata and HP EX920 again show similar performance as we escalate the workload with queue depth requests. You will quickly notice that the Intel SSD 760p does not mimic the two popular drive even though all three feature the same controller and the flash comes from the same manufacturing facility.



Sequential Write Performance






I've always felt it critical to compare different capacities. The behavior changes with each capacity as we change the DRAM size and the number of NAND die with each architecture.


In the 512GB class, the extra reserve area implemented in the SX8200 allows the drive to write large block size sequential data a little faster than the EX920. Both drives start off very strong with right around 1,500 MB/s, but are 400 MB/s slower than the Samsung 970 EVO 500GB. As we scale the workload, the gap between the EVO and the EX920 increases in burst writes.


Sustained Sequential Write Performance




The EX920 has a larger SLC compared to the 970 EVO, but both use a dynamic size that changes with the amount of data on the drive. The SX8200 has a larger cache compared to both. The performance after the SLC buffer can be a concern for some users. If you transfer a lot of data to your drive from another high-speed source, you want a very large buffer or high sustained write performance. The EX920 has higher sustained performance than the Adata, but still trails the 970 EVO.


Random Read Performance






In the 1TB class, the EX920 dominated the random read tests at low queue depths. The same holds true in the 512GB class. The EX920 512GB doesn't reach the same 17,000+ IOPS as the larger drive, but with nearly 15,500 IOPS at QD1 you won't notice.


Random Write Performance






The 512GB EX920 performs better in relation to the other drives than we saw with the larger capacity models when it comes to random writes. That doesn't mean a lot looking at pure random writes, but it means much more with mixed workloads and the way applications feel.


70% Read Sequential Performance






Before we dive into the random mixed workloads, we first look at using 70% reads with sequential data. The EX920 and SX8200 both trail the 970 EVO but show a clear performance increase over the 760p with a less aggressive firmware.


70% Read Random Performance






For some shoppers, these charts look like lines on a page, but we need to see the synthetic performance to understand why one SSD outperforms the other in real-world applications. For others, the synthetic performance already tells you how each drive will operate in applications. The 512GB HP EX920 shows strong performance at low queue depths and a heavy emphasis on delivering excellent random performance that applications, and Windows, relies on.

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