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SanDisk X210 256GB Business Class SSD - Exploring Overprovisioning

By: Paul Alcorn | Editorials in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Oct 21, 2013 7:01 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: SanDisk

Final Thoughts




SanDisk has a long history of NAND innovation. To understand the massive scale of their operations, one would only have to look to its Shanghai facility. The Shanghai operation alone delivers over two million flash products per day. This mind-numbing production capacity includes USB thumb drives and other small devices, but is still impressive. With 11 of the leading PC OEM's utilizing SanDisk SSDs, and their NAND embedded into many leading mobile devices, the penetration of SanDisk into the flash market is unquestionable. The recent addition of SMART Storage Systems into the SanDisk family positions them for even more dominance in the flash market.


The X210 serves the mainstream read-centric market and works well for mobile applications and micro and entry-level servers. Today's evaluation focused on the transformative effects of overprovisioning on this type of read-centric SSD. Overprovisioning provides a tangible increase in performance for any SSD, and the X210 is no exception.


With the low price point, afforded by SanDisk's foundry ownership, the X210 makes a particularly attractive SSD for this type of usage scenario. The proven Marvell controller and SanDisk firmware works in conjunction with their 19nm ABL NAND and nCache IP to deliver outstanding performance.


We found that the addition of 20% of spare capacity tripled the performance in a 4k random write workload. We also witnessed similar gains in performance across the spectrum of mixed random read/write workloads. This spectacular increase comes at the expense of usable capacity, but is scalable to address the specific needs of the user.


The increase in random write speed is expected, but the increase in random read speed was a nice side effect. In pure sequential read/write workloads, the extra overprovisioning did not lead to enhanced performance. However, in mixed sequential workloads, we surprisingly witnessed a bump in performance in the 10-70% range.


Our power testing had a tale to tell as well. We did not witness a significant increase in power consumption between the two configurations, but the increase in efficiency in a heavy write workload was stellar. We witnessed up to a four times increase in efficiency with the addition of 20% extra overprovisioning.


One aspect that we did not test is multiplication of endurance afforded by extra OP. This can lead to a much longer lifespan of any SSD, but would require multiple samples and a dedicated test system for an extended time. We know from conventional wisdom that endurance scales with the amount of overprovisioning, but would need to conduct additional testing to assign actual values to the scaling.


The ability of the X210 to scale up to potentially be used in entry-level database and OLTP workloads with the addition of extra OP is excellent, and the implications of extra OP in RAID arrays would multiply performance, endurance and efficiency even more. With its performance backed by a leading NAND fabricator with a five-year warranty, the X210 receives our TweakTown Editor's Choice Award.



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