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WD Blue 3D & SanDisk Ultra 3D 1TB SATA III SSDs Review

By: Jon Coulter | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Sep 6, 2017 4:14 pm
TweakTown Rating: 97%Manufacturer: SanDisk

Consumer Workloads


We categorize these tests as indicative of a moderate workload environment.


PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests


Version and / or Patch Used:


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 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. We are looking for a minimum score of 50K when the drive is in a steady state.


Both the Ultra 3D and the Blue 3D are able to exceed 50K when in a steady-state. This is a good showing. We once again see a nice improvement over their planar predecessor the WD Blue. Matching the 850 EVO's performance is proving to be a challenge.




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. We are pleasantly surprised to see the Ultra 3D and the Blue 3D are able to outperform the VX500 in this test. The VX500 is tough to beat when it comes to consumer workloads, but the 850 EVO is even tougher to beat.



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 score first and then 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.


Again, the Ultra 3D and the Blue 3D both outperform the hard to beat VX500. They both also outperform the planar-based WD Blue. Once again, the 850 EVO comes out on top. We should point out that the 850 EVO we have in our test pool is a 2TB model because we don't have a 1TB model for comparison. However, based on our 500GB 850 EVO results, we believe there is no advantage for the 2TB 850 EVO coming by way of capacity.



BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE System Performance


Version and / or Patch Used:


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.








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.


We don't have very many SSDs on our chart yet, but both the Ultra 3D and the Blue 3D deliver a score that indicates Tier 1 performance. The difference between the Blue 3D and the Ultra 3D in scoring is nothing more than the variability between runs. We can expect a bit of variability whenever an SSD has an SLC cache. The Intel 545s scores higher due to its superior 4K QD1 random read performance.


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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