We categorize these tests as indicative of a moderate workload environment.
PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests
Version and / or Patch Used: 220.127.116.11
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 consumer 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 - Moderately 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.
Focusing in on OS volume 75% full, we find the XG5 delivering the best performance of any of the TLC powered contenders. The XG3 and the RD400 are able to get the better of the XG5 in this category because they are both MLC powered SSDs. Looking at steady-state performance shows the XG5 taking a big hit - which is likely a byproduct of its laptop oriented programming and not so much an indication of garbage collection inefficiency.
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. When evaluating NVMe SSDs, we are looking for a minimum score of 11,000.
OS Volume 75% Full & Moderately Used Secondary Disk
As a secondary device, the XG5 crushes the competing drives in our test pool except the uber-powerful MLC equipped 960 Pro. With an OS on it, the XG5 is running in laptop mode and falls back into the last place. However, even with the OS on it, the XG5 still delivers a score that exceeds our 11K minimum.
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.
OS Volume 75% Full & Moderately Used Secondary Disk
PCMark 8 is the most intensive moderate workload simulation we run. With respect to moderate consumer type workloads, this test is what we consider the best indicator of a drive's performance. We consider this to be the second most important test for this particular review. As already stated, we are going to pay close attention to the battle for supremacy between the XG5 and the PM961, because they are both directly competing to fill the same OEM slots. In this important battle, the Toshiba XG5 emerges as the clear winner over the Samsung PM961.
BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE Application Performance
Version and / or Patch Used: 18.104.22.168
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.
Please note: We have reevaluated the way we chart SYSmark. We have decided that the Overall Rating more accurately represents an SSDs impact on system performance than does the Responsiveness Score on its own.
This is the one benchmark that will indeed show the impact of OS caching on the XG5. Most system makers rely heavily on SYSmark to guide their hardware buying decisions. In the case of the XG5, we feel that this application-based benchmark is the best way to determine if we will or will not recommend the XG5 over the PM961 for OEM implementation as a system disk.
Toshiba XG5 1TB
Samsung PM961 1TB
Our test 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 significant when comparing one drive to another on the same platform.
SYSmark scoring is heavily influenced by OS performance. The XG5 caches the OS by design, and according to these results, Toshiba's OS caching scheme does pay off. The Toshiba XG5 does indeed outperform the Samsung PM961 when running actual applications.
Note: The drives shown on this chart with a higher Overall Rating are all MLC-based SSDs.
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