The Bottom Line
Samsung has been aggressively pushing into the branded SSD market with their 3-bit MLC 845DC EVO and 2-bit 3D V-NAND 845DC PRO series. The SATA enterprise SSD market is expanding rapidly, and just crossed the one billion dollar mark last year. SSDs have nearly gone mainstream in the datacenter, and there is no shortage of applications for high-performance SSDs. The enterprise SSD market will only continue to expand as more server architectures are specifically designed around the increased performance provided by SSDs.
The two-pronged attack is unique in that it offers two new types of NAND. 3-bit MLC, or TLC as it is commonly known as, offers a value-conscious price point, and excellent performance for read-centric applications. The 845DC PRO series utilizes Samsung's exclusive 3D V-NAND technology, covered in detail here, to offer premium performance and endurance for write-centric workloads.
The 845DC PRO features Samsung's first generation 24-layer V-NAND. V-NAND is 3D NAND that achieves better density, performance, endurance, and power consumption, via vertical stacking of the NAND cells and CTF technology. This runs counter to the established norm of increasing density through NAND shrinks, and with good reason. Shrinks provide more density, but actually reduce endurance.
The 400GB and 800GB models share many of the same performance metrics. Both models offer leading sequential speed of 530 / 460 MB/s read/write, and the same 4k random read speed of 92,000 IOPS. The 800GB model offers a 1,000 IOPS increase in 4k random write speed, up to 51,000 IOPS, but we measured a much larger difference in our testing. The 800GB model also utilizes 1GB of DDR2 DRAM cache, in comparison to the 512MB on the 400GB model.
Power consumption is only listed as .2 watts higher for the 800GB model, in spite of the fact that it features double the number of NAND packages, and a larger DRAM cache. This small increase in power consumption is indicative of the low power consumption of V-NAND packages. Users who require more TBW (Terabytes Written) from their storage solution often choose high capacity SSDs for their more desirable endurance characteristics. The 845DC PRO delivers up to ten DWPD (Drive Writes Per Day) of endurance during the warranty period, or up to 7.3 PB for the 400GB and 14 PB for the 800GB Model.
Samsung addresses quality concerns with tantalum power capacitors, end-to-end data protection, a two million hour MTBF, and a one per 10E17 UBER rating. The 845DC PRO is also backed by a five-year warranty.
Samsung has also focused on delivering consistent performance, with 99.9% of 4k I/O at QD32 served in 0.6ms for read and 5ms for write operations for both models. Samsung also highlights their focus on providing predictable performance by providing in-depth latency targets for their SSDs. The 400GB 845DC PRO changed our expectations for what a leading enterprise SATA SSD should be; let's see how the 800GB model stacks up.
PRICING: You can find the Samsung 845DC PRO Enterprise SSD for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
Samsung 845DC EVO Internals and Specifications
Micron M500DC Internals
The 800 GB Samsung 845DC PRO comes in a 2.5" form factor with a 7mm z-height in the typical Samsung motif.
Going back to a larger 30nm lithography on V-NAND brings the benefit of lower programing voltages. One of the differentiators between the 400GB and 800GB models is the incrementally higher random write consumption. The 800GB model requires 3.3 watts for random write activity, as opposed to 3.1 watts for the 400GB variant.
Overall, 3D V-NAND features lower power draw, which we will be testing in the following pages. Lower power requirements also have the added benefit of lowering heat output. The case does not feature the thermal pads we are accustomed to seeing in class-leading SSDs, likely due to the lower power consumption. The 845DC PRO also features Dynamic Thermal Guard, which throttles the SSD if deployed in an environment above the temperature rating of the SSD.
The 800GB model features double the number of 128GB packages of first-generation Samsung 3D V-NAND populate in comparison to the 400GB model. Eight packages occupy the top of the PCB. The 800GB models also has three more capacitors than the 400GB model. 18 Tantalum power capacitors ring the rear of the PCB to protect the 1GB of LPDDR2 cache. These capacitors flush data in transit to the NAND in the event of host power loss.
The eight-channel Samsung S4LN021X01-8030 controller, more commonly known as the MDX, is a 300MHz Cortex R4-based ARM controller. The tri-core controller is designed and manufactured by Samsung. The MDX is featured in several other Samsung SSDs, and has a long record of reliability.
Samsung 845DC PRO Specifications
Samsung releases in-depth latency and QoS performance metrics. The pre-production model we are testing features DXV80X3Q firmware.
Test System and Methodology
Our approach to storage testing targets long-term performance with a high level of granularity. Many testing methods record peak and average measurements during the test period. These average values give a basic understanding of performance, but fall short in providing the clearest view possible of I/O QoS (Quality of Service).
While under load, all storage solutions deliver variable levels of performance. "Average" results do little to indicate performance variability experienced during actual deployment. The degree of variability is especially pertinent, as many applications can hang or lag as they wait for I/O requests to complete. While this fluctuation is normal, the degree of variability is what separates enterprise storage solutions from typical client-side hardware.
Providing ongoing measurements from our workloads with one-second reporting intervals illustrates product differentiation in relation to I/O QoS. Scatter charts give readers a basic understanding of I/O latency distribution without directly observing numerous graphs. This testing methodology illustrates performance variability, and includes average measurements during the measurement window.
IOPS data that ignores latency is useless. Consistent latency is the goal of every storage solution, and measurements such as Maximum Latency only illuminate the single longest I/O received during testing. This can be misleading, as a single "outlying I/O" can skew the view of an otherwise superb solution. Standard Deviation measurements consider latency distribution, but do not always effectively illustrate I/O distribution with enough granularity to provide a clear picture of system performance. We utilize high-granularity I/O latency charts to illuminate performance during our test runs.
Our testing regimen follows SNIA principles to ensure consistent, repeatable testing, and utilizes multi-threaded workloads found in typical production environments. We measure power consumption during precondition runs. This provides measurements in time-based fashion, with results every second, to illuminate the behavior of power consumption in steady state conditions. We also present IOPS-to-watts measurements to highlight efficiency.
The Intel DC S3700 is 200GB, the M500DC is 480GB, and the 845DC PROs feature 400GB and 800GB of capacity. The SSDs are tested over their full LBA range to highlight performance at maximum utilization. The first page of results will provide the key to understanding and interpreting our test methodology.
Benchmarks - 4k Random Read/Write
4k Random Read/Write
We precondition the 800GB Samsung 845DC PRO for 17,000 seconds, or nearly five hours, receiving performance reports every second. We plot this data to illustrate the drives' 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 green 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 high-granularity testing and 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. 4k random performance is a heavily marketed figure, and is one of the most sought-after performance specifications.
The Samsung SSDs blow past the competition with 85,463 IOPS for the 800GB model, and 85,334 IOPS for the 400GB 845DC Pro at 256 OIO (Outstanding I/O). The Micron M500DC averages 56,259 IOPS, and the Intel DC S3700 averages 76,301 IOPS. Both Samsung SSDs deliver dominating performance in 100% random read environments.
Our Latency vs IOPS charts compare the amount of performance attained from each solution at specific latency measurements. Many applications have specific latency requirements. These charts present relevant metrics in an easy-to-read manner for readers who are familiar with their applications requirements. The arrays that are lowest and furthest to the right exhibit the most desirable latency characteristics.
The 845DC SSDs lead convincingly with the lowest latencies during 4k random read activity. The results of the 400GB and 800GB models are so close they actually overlap. The 845DCs deliver 85,000 IOPS at .5ms, while the DC S3700 provides 76,000 IOPS, and the M500 DC provides 56,000 IOPS.
Garbage collection routines are more pronounced in heavy write workloads, leading to performance variability.
The 800GB 845DC PRO takes the lead with an average of 52,885 IOPS, and the 400GB trails slightly with an average of 49,996 IOPS at 256 OIO. The DC S3700 provides 13,841 IOPS, and the Micron M500DC comes in second with 39,089 IOPS. The delta between the two 845DC PRO models is nearly 3,000 IOPS - well above the 1,000 IOPS set forth in the product specifications.
The 800 GB 845DC PRO extends the considerable 4k write performance lead for the Samsung drives. A reduction in latency is paired with a healthy increase in IOPS. The Samsung competitors also provide significantly better performance consistency during the measurement window. The 845DC PRO delivers tremendous performance at 1ms, which is well above the competing SSDs.
Our write percentage testing illustrates the varying performance of each solution with mixed workloads. The 100% column to the right is a pure 4k write workload, and 0% represents a pure 4k read workload.
The mixed workload tests reveal an incrementally higher level of performance from the 800GB model, and both Samsung solutions deliver a commanding lead in the mixed 4k workload performance.
We only present mixed workload latency if there are unexpected performance results. The 800GB model, which managed to provide more performance during the measurement windows, actually has slightly higher latency than the 400GB model in some mixtures. These mixtures are not part of the published specifications of the drive, and performance is still much better than competing solutions.
We record power consumption measurements during our precondition run. We calculate the stated average results after the device has settled into steady state during the last five minutes of the test.
The 800GB 845DC PRO features the second lowest power consumption with a 4k write workload at 3.22 watts; the 400GB 845DC PRO weighs in at 3.09 watts, the M500DC averages 4.09 watts, and the DC S3700 averages 3.72 watts during the measurement window. The small difference in power consumption, even with double the packages, highlights the low power consumption of the V-NAND packages.
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 800GB 845DC PRO leads slightly with an average of 16,489 IOPS-per-watt. The 400GB 845DC PRO averages 16,160 IOPS-per-watt, the M500DC averages 9,545 IOPS-per-watt, and the DC S3700 averages 8,930 IOPS-per-watt.
Benchmarks - 8k Random Read/Write
8k Random Read/Write
Many server workloads rely heavily upon 8k performance, and we include this as a standard with each evaluation. Many of our server workloads also test 8k performance with various mixed read/write distributions.
The average 8K random read speed of the 800GB 845DC PRO is 51,564 IOPS; the 400GB 845DC PRO is 51,584 IOPS; the Intel DC S3700 measures 45,423 IOPS; and the Micron M500DC scores 48,034 IOPS at 256 OIO. The 845DC PRO models continue to offer similar random read performance.
The similar random read performance of the 845DC PRO models once again creates similar performance profiles.
The 800GB 845DC PRO leads the test with an average of 24,233 IOPS, and the M500DC comes in second place with an average of 23,852 IOPS at 256 OIO. The 400GB 845DC PRO has a much tighter performance profile and leads the majority of the test, which is also mirrored by the 800GB model. The DC S3700 delivers a consistent average of 17,263 IOPS. The performance of the Samsung and Micron offerings are impressive, especially given the low price point of the M500DC.
The 845DC PRO models scale well at lower queue depths, but the M500DC closes the gap with heavier loadings. The 800GB 845DC PRO manages to eke out the win in this test.
The 845DC PRO models deliver great performance in this test, with the 800GB DC PRO model taking the lead in the majority of the test.
Power consumption for the 800GB 845DC PRO remains impressive with only a slight increase in power consumption over the 400 GB 845DC PRO model. The 800GB model averages 3.22 watts, the 400GB 845DC PRO averages an outstanding 3.04 watts, the M500DC averages 4.77 watts, and the DC S3700 averages 3.96 watts.
The 845DC PRO SSDs lead again with roughly 7,700 IOPS-per-watt, the M500DC averages 4,877 IOPS-per-watt, and the DC S3700 averages 4,328 IOPS-per-watt.
Benchmarks - 128k Sequential Read/Write
128k Sequential Read/Write
128k sequential speed reflects the maximum sequential throughput of the SSD, and is indicative of performance in OLAP, batch processing, streaming, content delivery applications, and backup scenarios.
The 400GB 845DC PRO leads again with an average of 495 MB/s at 256 OIO, mirrored by the 400GB 845DC PRO with 495 MB/s. The Micron M500DC features the lowest sequential performance specifications of the lineup, and averages 417 MB/s, while the Intel DC S3700 delivers an average of 474 MB/s.
Once again, the 400GB 845DC PRO results hide behind the 800GB model, with both Samsung offerings providing impressive IOPS-to-latency ratios.
Sequential write workload performance is important in caching, replication tasks, and database logging. The 400GB 845DC PRO averages 472 MB/s, and the 800GB 845DC PRO provides 470 MB/s. The M500DC averages 388 MB/s, and the DC S3700 scores 360 MB/s.
Both 845DC PRO models deliver the lowest latency, and highest performance during the measurement window.
The 800GB 845DC PRO exhibits an excellent performance gain in the middle range of our mixed sequential testing, even outpacing its smaller 400GB brother by a large margin.
The 400GB 845DC PRO leads the rest of the field with an amazing 2.85 watts, the 800GB 845DC PRO averages an equally impressive 3.02 watts, the M500DC averages 5.24 watts, and the DC S3700 averages 4.28 watts.
The 400GB 845DC PRO easily wins this test with 165 MB/s per watt. The 800GB 845DC pro averages 155 MB/s per watt, the M500DC averages 73 MB/s per watt, and the DC S3700 averages 82 MB/s per watt.
Benchmarks - Database/OLTP and Web Server
This test consists of Database and On-Line Transaction Processing (OLTP) workloads. OLTP is the processing of transactions such as credit cards and high frequency trading in the financial sector. Databases are the bread and butter of many enterprise deployments. These demanding 8k random workloads with a 66 percent read and 33 percent write distribution bring even the best solutions down to earth.
The Samsung 800GB 845DC PRO averages 35,926 IOPS, the 400GB 845DC PRO averages 34,610 IOPS, and the DC S3700 provides 32,820 IOPS within a tighter performance envelope. The Micron M500DC averages 21,133 IOPS with significant variability.
The 800GB 845DC PRO distances itself from the pack with heavier workloads in the OLTP test.
The 800GB 845DC PRO averages 2.47 watts, the 400GB 845DC PRO averages a mere 2.39 watts, the M500DC averages 2.76 watts, and the DC S3700 averages 3.30 watts.
The 800GB 845DC PRO averages 14,919 IOPS-per-watt, the 400GB 845DC PRO averages 14,474 IOPS-per-watt, the M500DC averages 7,676 IOPS-per-watt, and the DC S3700 averages 10,629 IOPS-per-watt.
The Web Server workload is read-only with a wide range of file sizes. Web servers are responsible for generating content users view over the Internet, much like the very page you are reading. The speed of the underlying storage system has a massive impact on the speed and responsiveness of the server hosting the website.
The 800GB 845DC PRO provides 26,011 IOPS at 256 OIO. The 400GB 845DC PRO follows with 26,474 IOPS. The M500DC averages 18,650 IOPS, falling to the DC S3700's average of 24,551 IOPS.
The 400GB 845DC PRO provides a better performance profile than its larger sibling, but both easily outpace the competitors.
The 800GB 845DC PRO averages 3.17 watts, the 400GB 845DC PRO averages 2.97 watts, the M500DC averages 3.21 watts, and the DC S3700 requires 3.85 watts during the fileserver workload.
The 800GB 845DC PRO averages 3,722 IOPS-per-watt, and the 400GB 845DC PRO averages an incrementally higher 4,326 IOPS-per-watt. The M500DC scores 1,965 IOPS-per-watt, in comparison to 2,096 IOPS for the DC S3700.
Benchmarks - Email Server
The email server workload is a demanding 8K test with a 50% read and 50% write distribution. This application is indicative of the performance in heavy write workloads.
The 800GB 845DC PRO provides 35,241 IOPS at 256 OIO, leading the pack. The 400GB 845DC PRO dominates this test with 33,555 IOPS at 256 OIO, while the Micron M500DC averages 15,403 IOPS, and the Intel DC S3700 averages 29,354 IOPS at 256 OIO.
The 800GB 845DC PRO leads the test pool with an excellent latency-to-IOPS performance ratio.
The 800GB 845DC PRO averages 2.87 watts, the 400GB 845DC PRO averages 2.74 watts, the M500DC averages 2.66 watts, and the DC S3700 averages 3.72 watts.
The 800GB 845GB DC PRO averages 12,124 IOPS-per-watt; the 845DC PRO averages 12,318 IOPS-per-watt; the M500DC averages 5,806 IOPS-per-watt; and the DC S3700 scores 9,077 IOPS-per-watt.
Our original look at the 400GB Samsung 845DC PRO left us extremely impressed. Class-leading performance married with robust endurance, and the lowest power consumption in the SATA SSD market, makes for a class-leading SSD. The 845DC PRO series offers ten DWPD (Drive Writes per Day) of endurance, and increasing the capacity point also increases the amount of overall TBW (Terabytes Written) capability. The 800GB 845DC PRO offers a hefty dose of endurance that can address the most intense workloads.
Low power consumption is one of the most impressive characteristics of the revolutionary 2-bit V-NAND employed in the 845DC PRO series. All SSDs provide much lower power consumption metrics than their HDD counterparts, but there are differences between competing SSDs as well. The difference between typical planar-NAND SSDs can be small, but the new 3D V-NAND widens that gap considerably. In our power testing, the 800GB 845DC PRO only required a miniscule power increase for double the capacity, as low as .13 watts in our 4k random write testing. Both 845DC PRO SSDs have the same components, with slightly more DRAM and double the NAND packages on the 800GB model. The small increase in power consumption really illustrates the power-sipping nature of 3D V-NAND.
High performance paired with low power consumption also led to convincing wins in our IOPS-per-watt testing. The 845DC PRO manages to produce more work across the board with less power than the competing models. Future models with more capacity will only extend the IOPS-per-watt and watts-per-GB advantage for 3D V-NAND powered SSDs.
Another benefit of increased capacity lies in increased random write performance. It is surprising the 800GB 845DC PRO is only listed with a 1,000 IOPS advantage in 4k random write performance over its smaller 400GB counterpart. In our testing, we measured a much higher increase of nearly 3,000 IOPS in a sustained 4k random write workload. The 800GB managed to best its counterpart, and easily led the remainder of the test pool. The impressive performance was also paired with a nice, tight performance envelope, highlighting the solid performance consistency of the 845DC PRO series.
The robust random write performance also carried over to our mixed random write workloads, where the 800GB led the test pool by a large margin, and slid by the 400GB model. Random read performance also topped the charts, which has come to be an expectation from the MDX controller.
Sequential read and write performance was on par with the 400GB model, and led the remainder of the test pool. We uncovered yet another performance advantage for the high capacity model in our mixed sequential testing. The 800GB 45DC PRO led the test pool by a large margin, and continued to exhibit excellent power consumption during sequential testing. In our server workload testing, the 845DC PRO series continued to hold the lead against the competition, and in the email server workload, the 845DC PRO continued to display its impressive performance in heavy write workloads.
The 800GB 845DC PRO extends more capacity and performance to the end-user, and with robust endurance metrics, low power consumption, leading performance, comprehensive data protection features, and a five-year warranty, the 800GB 845DC PRO affirms our decision to award the series with the TweakTown Editor's Choice Award for the high endurance SATA segment.
PRICING: You can find the Samsung 845DC PRO Enterprise SSD for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
|Quality, Design, Build and Warranty||96%|
|Power Consumption and Efficiency||97%|
The Bottom Line: Samsung's 800GB 845DC PRO enterprise SSD provides more capacity and performance to the end-user with robust endurance metrics, low power consumption, leading performance, comprehensive data protection features, and a five-year warranty.
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