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Micron M500DC 800GB Enterprise SSD Review

By: Paul Alcorn | SSDs in IT/Datacenter | Posted: May 7, 2014 5:15 pm
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: Micron

4k Random Read/Write




We precondition the 480GB Micron M500DC for 9,000 seconds, or two and a half hours, receiving performance reports every second. We plot this data to illustrate the drive's descent into steady state.


This dual-axis chart consists of 18,000 data points, with the IOPS on the left and the latency on the right. The red dots signify IOPS, and the grey dots are latency measurements during the test. We place latency data in a logarithmic scale to bring it into comparison range. The lines through the data scatter are the average during the test. This type of testing presents standard deviation and maximum/minimum I/O in a visual manner.


Note that the IOPS and latency figures are nearly mirror images of each other. This illustrates that high-granularity testing can give our readers a good feel for latency distribution by viewing IOPS at one-second intervals. This should be in mind when viewing our test results below. This downward slope of performance only occurs during the first few hours of use, and we present precondition results only to confirm steady state convergence.




Each level tested includes 300 data points (five minutes of one second reports) to illustrate performance variability. The line for each OIO depth represents the average speed reported during the five-minute interval. 4k random speed measurements are an important metric when comparing drive performance as the hardest type of file access for any storage solution to master is small-file random. One of the most sought-after performance specifications, 4k random performance is a heavily marketed figure.


The Micron M500DC averages 56,259 IOPS with a 4k random read workload at 256 OIO (Outstanding I/O). The Intel DC S3500 averages 57,769 IOPS, and the Samsung SM843 takes the lead with 95,815 IOPS. The Micron and Intel SSDs are closely matched, but the Samsung SSD continues to lead the pure read testing for our value-SSD test pool.




The SM843 leads convincingly with the lowest latency during 4k random read activity.




Garbage collection routines are more pronounced in heavy write workloads, leading to performance variability.


The Micron M500DC distances itself from the pack with an outstanding average of 39,089 IOPS; the Intel averages 13,841 IOPS, and the Samsung provides 12,432 IOPS at 256 OIO. The M500DC's impressive write speed raises the performance bar far above any other value-oriented SATA SSDs. This level of performance is common with flagship 6Gb/s SSD products and is certainly unexpected from the M500DC with its much lower price point.




The M500DC exhibits a well-defined and consistent latency distribution during the test. This is a big differentiator from the other value SSDs, which experience some turbulence at heavier OIO.




Our write percentage testing illustrates the varying performance of each solution with mixed workloads. The 100% column to the right is a pure write workload of the 4k file size, and 0% represents a pure 4k read workload. Mixed workload testing reveals strengths, and weaknesses, that remain hidden during typical tests. In reality, much of the real-world data is going to feature mixed data.


Here we observe the Samsung SM843 leading by a wide margin with the pure random read workload on the left, but with the slightest of writes interspersed (10%), it falls to the lowest performance of the test field. Remarkably, the conservative read speed of the M500DC actually rises when we mix in a slight write workload, and then it begins the expected descent as more we add more write activity. The performance of both competing SSDs continues to fall as we move across the chart, but the M500DC comfortably leads the majority of this test. This superior handling of mixed read/write workloads is very important for application performance.




We record the power consumption measurements during our precondition run. We calculate the stated average results during the last five minutes of the test, after the device has settled into steady state.


The M500DC averages 4.09 watts, the DC S3500 averages 3.8 watts, and the SM843 averages 2.66 watts during the measurement window. We measure during write activity, and this higher power consumption equates directly to the superior performance of the M500DC during the workload, as evidenced in IOPS-to-Watts measurements below.




IOPS-to-Watts measurements are generated from data recorded during our precondition run, and the stated average is from the last five minutes of the test.


The M500DC jumps to a big lead, averaging 9,545 IOPS-per-Watt. The DC S3500 averages 3,125, and the SM843 averages 4,621.

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