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ADATA XPG SX950 480GB SATA III SSD Review

By: Jon Coulter | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Oct 23, 2017 7:23 pm
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: ADATA

Consumer Workloads

 

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

 

PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests

 

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.0.0

 

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

 

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OS Volume 75% Full - Steady State

 

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Secondary Volume Empty - FOB

 

adata-xpg-sx950-480gb-sata-iii-ssd-review_29

 

There's a big difference between an empty drive, one that's 75% full/used, and one that's in a steady state.

 

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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.

 

At 75% full, the XPG SX950 delivers Tier-1 performance. However, it does take a bit of a beating when in a steady state. The Crucial MX300 uses 3-bit Micron 32-layer 3D flash, and we can clearly see that in a steady state, the 2-bit equivalent used on the SX950 delivers much better performance.

 

 

 

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

 

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The XPG SX850 turns in a middle of the road performance with PCMark 7's dataset. It is significantly better than the Micron 3D TLC powered MX300, but compared to the better drives in our test pool it comes up a bit short.

 

 

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

 

adata-xpg-sx950-480gb-sata-iii-ssd-review_33

 

adata-xpg-sx950-480gb-sata-iii-ssd-review_34

 

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. The SX950 delivers a better than most total score. It is better than Intel's 3D TLC powered 545s - a drive that we are very fond of. The 545s has a bit more bandwidth, but the SX950 has better overall latency which is why it scores higher.

 

 

BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE System Performance

 

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.0.0.70

 

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.

 

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Disk performance has the greatest impact on the Responsiveness Score, so that is what we will focus on.

 

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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.

 

This test provides the kind of typical user workloads that really allow the ADATA XPG SX950 to show what it is made of. The XPG SX950 delivers the best score of any SATA SSD that we've run against this test to date. This is very impressive and certainly raises our opinion of the XPG SX950 greatly.

 

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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