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HP EX950 SSD Review - When you want the fastest (Page 2)

By Chris Ramseyer from Jan 16, 2019 @ 10:00 CST

1TB Class Performance Testing

Product Comparison

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The obvious comparison we want to look at today is between the new HP EX950 and the new ADATA SX8200 Pro. We also have the HP EX920 in the 1TB charts today to see how this series compares to the model it replaces with an older controller, but the same 64-layer flash.

The MyDigitalSSD BPX Pro is the only other "next-generation" NVMe SSD on the charts today. The others came to market in early 2018 or even 2017.

Sequential Read Performance

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It's difficult to see the 1TB HP EX950 in the sequential read chart. The performance line is identical to the ADATA SX8200 Pro's line. The drives match the 1TB Samsung 970 Pro at queue depth 1 (QD1) reads and overtake the iconic drive by QD4. The best drive reaches the peak sequential reads we will see with PCI Express 3, just a hair over 3,500 MB/s.

Sequential Write Performance

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Only the three next-generation drives in this review reach the peak 3,000 MB/s sequential write speeds. The EX950 reaches that high mark between QD2 and QD4. It dominates the Samsung 970 Pro in the burst tests.

Sustained Sequential Write Performance

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Using a simple single 128KB sequential write across the drives, we see how large the default SLC cache is, and exactly how fast the writes take place. The BPX Pro has one of the largest SLC buffers with the SX8200 Pro and EX950 right behind. The 970 Pro with MLC flash doesn't show a drop off because it doesn't use an SLC cache, just the MLC memory to muscle the writes.

The SX8200 Pro and EX950 show nearly identical performance in this test with very similar data patterns. This is different from the models both replace. ADATA chose to use a large overprovision on last year's drive. This year's models use the full capacity, and because of that, we may not see much of a difference.

Random Read Performance

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The SMI SM2262/SM2262EN controllers are the undisputed leaders in the random read performance category. We know this from the previous generation and from the SX8200 Pro review. The HP EX950 joins the new ADATA drive with toppling the previous records set by the EX920.

EX920 held a slight performance lead over the SX8200 in the previous round in the 1TB class products. With the 2019 products, both ADATA and HP chose to use similar firmware and overprovisioning. The charts show the SX8200 Pro with a slight performance lead, but the results are so close we can call this a tie. This also means HP will likely not have a measurable advantage this round over ADATA when it comes to real-world applications.

Random Write Performance

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Although not as important as random read performance, the two SM2262EN drives show similar performance in random data writes.

70% Read Sequential Performance

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We only identified one weak point with the 1TB EX950. The drive doesn't scale with sequential mixed workloads as well as many other drives shipping today. The performance is actually weaker than the previous generation 1TB EX920, but this appears to be less of an HP issue and more of an issue with the SM2262EN architecture.

Users will see more than 1,200 MB/s, so it's not as if the performance is "slow" by any means. This workload comes mainly in video editing and automated photo manipulation (batch editing) so it's likely the CPU will not be able to saturate the available bandwidth to start with.

70% Read Random Performance

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The 1TB EX950 doesn't have any issues with mixed random performance. The drive performs in the top two at QD2 and like the many of the other synthetic tests on this page, is a virtual tie with the other top tier model.

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