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Apacer Z280 240GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review (Page 6)

By Jon Coulter from Feb 2, 2018 @ 10:00 CST
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: Apacer

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 see that the Z280 running on both platforms can outperform the 960 EVO. Steady-state hits it pretty hard though.

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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This is the first time we've seen an E7 powered SSD break 13K. Very impressive. The Z280 is showing itself to be a better choice for consumer workloads than the 960 EVO at this capacity point.

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 - 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 performance. Once again, the Z280 is able to outperform the 960 EVO when running on our Intel platform. The Z280 is even able to keep pace with OCZ's powerful RD400. We consider this to be the most important test we run, and only the no longer available 950 Pro is able to outperform the Z280.

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.

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.

It is important to remember that this score is not solely based on the storage device and therefore it isn't a totally accurate representation of how much more responsive one storage device is over another. To demonstrate this fact just compare the Z280's score running on Intel to its score with Ryzen.

We don't have a lot of SSDs for comparison yet, but we can say that the Apacer Z280 delivers stellar system responsiveness. From day one, E7 controlled SSDs have delivered a snappiness that differentiates it from most of the competition, which is the reason we are particularly fond of E7 controlled SSDs.

AMD has in the past stated that SYSmark is optimized for Intel, but both BAPCo and Intel deny that there is any built-in preference for Intel-based systems. We don't know who is right, but it is easy to see that Intel has a major advantage over AMD when testing with SYSmark.

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