We categorize these tests as indicative of a moderate workload environment.
PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests
Version and / or Patch Used: 188.8.131.52
The reason we like PCMark Vantage is because the recorded traces are played back without system stops. What we see is the raw performance of the drive. This allows us to see a marked difference between scoring that other trace-based benchmarks do not exhibit. An example of a marked difference in scoring on the same drive would be empty vs. filled vs. steady state.
We run Vantage three ways. The first run is with the OS drive 75% full to simulate a lightly used OS volume filled with data to an amount we feel is common for most users. The second run is with the OS volume written into a "Steady State" utilizing SNIA's guidelines. Steady state testing simulates a drive's performance similar to that of a drive that been subjected to consumer workloads for extensive amounts of time. The third run is a Vantage HDD test with the test drive attached as an empty, lightly used secondary device.
OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used
OS Volume 75% Full - Steady State
Secondary Volume Empty - FOB
There's a big difference between an empty drive, one that's 75% full/used, and one that's in a steady state.
The important scores to pay attention to are "OS Volume Steady State" and "OS Volume 75% full." These two categories are most important because they are indicative of typical of consumer user states. When a drive is in a steady state, it means garbage collection is running at the same time it's reading/writing. This is exactly why we focus on steady state performance.
At 75% full, the Intel SSD 5 545s is the most powerful SSD in our test pool. Killer workload performance is what we are looking for more than anything else, and the SSD 5 545s is delivering boatloads of it. Samsung's 750 EVO 500GB manages to eek out a victory in a steady-state, but other than that, the 545s eviscerates the competing drives in our test pool.
PCMark 7 - System Storage
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4.0
We will look to Raw System Storage scoring for evaluation because it's done without system stops and, therefore, allows us to see significant scoring differences between drives.
OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used
Whenever a SATA SSD scores 7K or above with PCMark 7, it is in an elite class. The SSD 5 545s again shows that it is a consumer workload powerhouse. Samsung's 750 EVO wins, but once again the 545s delivers a roundhouse to the other competing SSDs in our test pool. Finally, we are seeing someone pressing Samsung for supremacy. The 545s is delivering better performance than Intel's 480GB 730.
PCMark 8 - Storage Bandwidth
Version and / or Patch Used: 2.4.304
We use PCMark 8 Storage benchmark to test the performance of SSDs, HDDs, and hybrid drives with traces recorded from Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, and a selection of popular games. You can test the system drive or any other recognized storage device, including local external drives. Unlike synthetic storage tests, the PCMark 8 Storage benchmark highlights real-world performance differences between storage devices. We focus on the total storage bandwidth when evaluating PCMark 8 results.
OS Volume 75% Full - Lightly Used
PCMark 8 is the most intensive moderate workload simulation we run. With respect to moderate workloads, this test is what we consider the best indicator of a drive's overall performance. PCMark 8 hits a drive pretty hard. It also preconditions the empty space on the drive. This means that overprovisioning plays a big role in terms of scoring as does capacity. We believe that the WD Blue scores higher than the SSD 5 545s because it has double the capacity. We believe that the other drives that outscore the 545s are benefitting from overprovisioning. Whatever the case may be, the 545s delivers excellent PCMark 8 performance even though it isn't the best out there.
BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE System Performance
Version and / or Patch Used: 184.108.40.206
SYSmark 2014 SE is considered the gold standard for testing system performance because it is an application based benchmark. This test gives us the ultimate in real-world results because it utilizes actual applications running on the system, instead of playing back recorded traces. If you want to know what kind of impact a particular SSD will have on your system's overall performance; this test will show you.
Disk performance has the greatest impact on the Responsiveness Score, so that is what we will focus on.
Our systems are much more powerful than the calibration system (1000-point baseline) used by BAPCo, so we ran an OCZ TL100 120GB SATA III SSD to establish a comparison point relative to our test systems. We will be running this test going forward, and we will add drives to our chart as we test them.
It is important to keep in mind that with SYSmark 2014 SE a few points are a big deal when comparing one drive to another on the same platform.
We don't have very many SSDs on our chart yet, but it looks like the 545s is very responsive. 200 points better than a low-end SSD and 79 points less than a high-end NVMe SSD.
Note: we are replacing our PCMark 8 Extended testing with SYSmark because we believe SYSmark is much more relevant for consumer SSD testing.
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