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Intel 760P 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review

By: Jon Coulter | m.2 SSDs in Storage | Posted: Jan 23, 2018 4:30 pm
TweakTown Rating: 97%Manufacturer: Intel

Moderate Workload Model

 

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 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 - Lightly Used

 

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OS Volume 75% Full - Steady State

 

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Secondary Volume Empty - FOB

 

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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 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 75% full, we find the 760p beating all the contenders in our test pool. We looked back at our records and found that at 75% full and lightly used, the 760p delivers performance that is the third best for a flash-based SSD, behind only the 950 and 960 Pro both of which are MLC-based SSDs. Steady-state removes the impact of SLC caching completely and the 760p takes a bit of a beating, falling to 76K.

 

 

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 - Lightly Used

 

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For reasons unknown, the 760p likes this test best when data is on the drive. With data on the drive, the 760p delivers roughly a 1000-point better score than when empty. We like better performance when data is on the drive, so we will take that any day. Looking at our chart, we see the 760p again dominating the drive's in our test pool. This performance is again the third best we've seen to date, behind only the 1TB M9PeY and the 2TB 960 Pro, both of which have a huge capacity advantage.

 

 

 

PCMark 8

 

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

 

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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 sustained performance. This is a long test that writes a lot of data, so the 760p's relatively small SLC cache doesn't have much of an impact on overall performance because it doesn't get a chance to flush often, so scoring is severely impacted. We would like to see some improvement here. Plextor's 64-layer BiCS 3 TLC powered M9Pe does significantly better than the 760p so we assume it is possible for some improvement here via firmware.

 

 

BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE Application 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.

 

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.

 

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With this test we are back into burst mode, and we find the 760p delivering the goods in a big way. As a system disk, you can't do much better than the 760p when running normal consumer workloads. Here we find the 760p outperforming the Plextor M9Pe which is the opposite of what we saw with PCMark 8. In terms of realistic consumer workloads SYSmark is the only test that runs actual applications, so it at least in theory carries the most weight when evaluating expected consumer workload performance.

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