Moderate Workload Model
We categorize these tests as indicative of a moderate workload environment.
PCMark Vantage - Hard Disk Tests
Version and / or Patch Used: 184.108.40.206
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
OS Volume 75% Full - Steady State
Secondary Volume Empty - FOB
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.
Focusing in on steady-state performance, we find the 970 EVO delivering the second-best performance for a flash-based SSD. Like its predecessor, the 970 EVO remains the only SSD to actually deliver better performance in a steady-state than when lightly used and 75% full. The 970 EVO shows a nice increase of 10K over the 960 EVO. This is a lab record for a TLC SSD in steady-state.
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
The 970 EVO delivers a far better score than the 960 EVO, but it's nothing to write home about. For reasons unknown, the EVO Series has always had a tough time with this test. The 960 Pro remains our lab champion.
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
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 again see a nice performance increase over the 960 EVO. However, the SanDisk Extreme Pro just edges it out to retain the PCMark 8 TLC performance crown.
BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE Application Performance
Version and / or Patch Used: 220.127.116.11
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.
This lineup is a bit different than the others we've used for our test pool to this point. This is because these are the only SSDs we've run on our new Z270 storage testing platform. With all other benchmarks, there is very little difference between our Z170 and Z270 platforms. However, with SYSMark there is a marked difference due to increased CPU performance.
Responsiveness is our main focus when evaluating the results of this test. As we see it, this is a big win for the 970 EVO. It is showing itself to be the most responsive TLC SSD that we've tested to date while running actual consumer workloads. Keep in mind that a few points are a big deal with this testing.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Drive Specifications, Pricing & Availability]
- Page 2 [Drive Details]
- Page 3 [Test System & Drive Properties]
- Page 4 [Synthetic Benchmarks - ATTO & Anvil Storage Utilities]
- Page 5 [Synthetic Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark & AS SSD]
- Page 6 [Benches (OS) - Vantage, PCMark 7, PCMark 8 & SYSmark 2014 SE]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks (Secondary) - IOPS, Response & Transfer Rate]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks (Secondary Volume) - PCMark 8 Extended]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks 70/30 Mixed Workload & Sustained Seq. Write]
- Page 10 [Maxed-Out Performance (MOP)]
- Page 11 [Final Thoughts]
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