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Best SSDs for Notebooks - A Two-Year Study

By: Chris Ramseyer | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Jan 4, 2019 4:00 pm

NVMe SSD Test Results

 

256GB Class NVMe

 

best-ssds-notebooks-two-year-study_13

 

Moving over to PCI Express-based storage with the low latency NVMe protocol, we start to see the average battery-life decrease slightly. PCIe SSDs don't use DEVSLP like the SATA SSDs but use a different low-power mode called L1.2.

 

Again, we see an OEM model at the top of the chart, but the low-performance models don't dominate the NVMe battery life like many of the SATA charts on the previous page.

 

In this chart, we included the 250GB 960 EVO with both the Microsoft and Samsung custom NVMe driver. For the notebook battery life test, we only use the Microsoft driver in modern reviews because the custom drivers hurt performance in this test.

 

512GB Class NVMe

 

best-ssds-notebooks-two-year-study_14

 

At this point, we can see that Samsung products usually score high on each chart, but not every drive from the company is at the top. There really isn't a pattern nor a dominant controller architecture, or flash generation.

 

1TB Class NVMe

 

best-ssds-notebooks-two-year-study_15

 

In some of the charts, we see the Plextor M8Pe series near the top. This series uses an early Marvell NVMe controller that we never saw as a low-power part. The drive also uses MLC flash, just like the SM961 1TB that sits at the top of this chart. MLC flash has been at or near the top in many of the charts.

 

The reason why is because one of the most power consuming tasks for SSDs is data management. SSD reviewers in simple 4-corner power measurements do often not test this, and that's why we prefer to take the long route and test actual notebook battery life. Data management usually draws as much power as a 4KB random write but can take several seconds to complete the task before allowing the drive to move back to a low power state.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

As mentioned, we're closing in on the final days with the Lenovo Ideapad Y700-17 system and MobileMark 2014 v. 1.5. The combination served us well over the last two year, but it's time to move on with updated hardware and the latest software suite. We will continue to use this combination while ramping up the new combination and possibly overlapping tests for a short period.

 

best-ssds-notebooks-two-year-study_1

 

Between the retail and reference design SSDs, we've tested over 200 in the last two years. The number only increases with the SSHD and hard disk drives, even though we've only tested a few with this combination.

 

We're excited to see what the new MobileMark (2018) brings. The software just arrived a few days ago, but it does add some new performance elements that will increase the amount of data we present in the review. Expect the updated coverage to start showing up in February or March with the new SSDs coming to market just after CES.

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