256GB Class Performance Testing
The margin between the most expensive and least expensive 256GB class SSDs is so small that users should only look at the fastest drives available when shopping. These drives have a quarter the number of die compared to the 1TB models, and the write performance can get dicey here due to limited parallelism. It's possible to see SATA SSDs with more write performance than some of the drives, but the read performance over PCI Express is impossible to beat with the older 6Gbps interface.
Sequential Read Performance
Starting out with the sequential read test, the 256GB EX920 and SX8200 show identical performance through the QD range. The Intel SSD 760p and Samsung 970 EVO are close to the two other drives with the EVO taking some wins at different queue depths.
Sequential Write Performance
The 256GB EX920 has a very linier burst sequential write that doesn't seem affected by simple queue depth increases.
Sustained Sequential Write Performance
We see the same sustained write performance from the different architectures as we spotted with the larger drives. The EX920 doesn't have large cache that the SX8200 has, but gives users more space for data.
Random Read Performance
With the 256GB class, we see the low queue depth random read performance regress from what the large capacity drives give. The EX920 still performs very well in this test, but you can't expect the application performance to be the same across the capacities.
Random Write Performance
We expected to see some of the 256GB drives to have a difficult time with the random write test, but the SLC buffers work to keep the performance high.
70% Read Sequential Performance
The sequential mixed workload performance is down from the larger models but the issue spans all NVMe SSDs.
70% Read Random Performance
If you were to go back in time and look at older SSDs, you would see that just a few years ago 10,000 random mixed IOPS was a very good result. NVMe and the new flash has raised the bar very high. The EX920 has the highest recorded QD2 random mixed performance we've tested with a 256GB flash-based SSD.
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United Kingdom: The HP EX920 SSD - Mainstream Perfection retails for £XXX at Amazon UK.
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