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Samsung 970 EVO 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Review

By: Jon Coulter | m.2 SSDs in Storage | Posted: Apr 24, 2018 2:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 99%Manufacturer: Samsung

Futuremark PCMark 8 Extended

 

 

Heavy Workload Model

 

PCMark 8's consistency test simulates an extended duration heavy workload environment. PCMark 8 has built-in, command line executed storage testing. The PCMark 8 Consistency test measures the performance consistency and the degradation tendency of a storage system.

 

 

The Storage test workloads are repeated. Between each repetition, the storage system is bombarded with a usage that causes degraded drive performance. In the first part of the test, the cycle continues until a steady degraded level of performance has been reached. (Steady State)

 

In the second part, the recovery of the system is tested by allowing the system to idle and measuring the performance after 5-minute long intervals. (Internal drive maintenance: Garbage Collection (GC)) The test reports the performance level at the start, the degraded steady-state, and the recovered state, as well as the number of iterations required to reach the degraded state and the recovered state.

 

We feel Futuremark's Consistency Test is the best test ever devised to show the true performance of solid state storage in an extended duration heavy workload environment. This test takes on average 13 to 17 hours to complete and writes somewhere between 450GB and 14,000GB of test data depending on the drive. If you want to know what an SSDs steady state performance is going to look like during a heavy workload, this test will show you.

 

Here's a breakdown of Futuremark's Consistency Test:

 

Precondition phase:

 

1. Write to the drive sequentially through up to the reported capacity with random data.

2. Write the drive through a second time (to take care of overprovisioning).

 

Degradation phase:

 

1. Run writes of random size between 8*512 and 2048*512 bytes on random offsets for 10 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 8 times, and on each pass increase the duration of random writes by 5 minutes.

 

Steady state phase:

 

1. Run writes of random size between 8*512 and 2048*512 bytes on random offsets for 50 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 5 times.

 

Recovery phase:

 

1. Idle for 5 minutes.

2. Run performance test (one pass only).

3. Repeat 1 and 2 for 5 times.

 

 

Storage Score, Storage Bandwidth

 

PCMark 8's Consistency test provides a ton of data output that we use to judge a drive's performance.

 

samsung-970-evo-1tb-2-nvme-pcie-ssd-review_45

 

We consider steady-state bandwidth (the blue bar) our test that carries the most weight in ranking a drive/arrays heavy workload performance. Performance after Garbage Collection (GC) (the orange and red bars) carries the most weight when evaluating moderate consumer workload performance.

 

This lineup is a bit different because we didn't test some of the drives that appear on our other charts with this test. With Samsung's new "Phoenix" controller in play, we wanted to see how it - paired with a 64-layer V-NAND TLC flash array would handle this test.

 

The first thing we notice is a massive improvement in steady-state performance. The 960 EVO had mediocre steady-state performance, but the 970 EVO chews through as good as any flash-based consumer SSD we've tested to date.

 

The 970 EVO and WD offerings deliver similar performance before recovery. The WD offerings recover a bit better, but we will need to dig a bit deeper into the charts below to render a decision as to which is better overall.

 

 

Storage Bandwidth Per Phase

 

We chart our test subject's storage bandwidth as reported at each of the test's 18 trace iterations. This gives us a good visual perspective of how our test subjects perform as testing progresses. This chart sheds more light on how the drives perform as they progress through the testing phases.

 

samsung-970-evo-1tb-2-nvme-pcie-ssd-review_46

 

When we look at all the phases on this graph it is clear that the 970 EVO is performing far better than the WD offerings during heavy workloads. We are looking for as flat of line at a high rate as possible and in this regard, the 970 EVO delivers the goods as good or better than any flash-based SSD we've tested to date.

 

 

Total Access Time (Latency)

 

We chart the total time the disk is accessed as reported at each of the test's 18 trace iterations. This helps shed some light on how the drive performs at each of the 18 phases of this test.

 

samsung-970-evo-1tb-2-nvme-pcie-ssd-review_47

 

Latency is much more important than bandwidth, and this is where we really see a huge advantage over the WD offerings. Overall, the 970 EVO delivers consistently lower latency when in a degrade/steady-state than the rest of the drive's in our test pool, with the exception of Intel's 750. Certainly, far and away the best we've seen from any consumer TLC SSD.

 

 

Disk Busy Time

 

Disk Busy Time is how long the disk is busy working. We chart the total time the disk is working as reported at each of the tests 18 trace iterations.

 

samsung-970-evo-1tb-2-nvme-pcie-ssd-review_48

 

The 970 EVO works less and gives more than any of the competitors in our test pool. Now that is impressive.

 

 

Data Written

 

We measure the total amount of random data that our test drive/array is capable of writing during the degradation phases of the consistency test. Pre-conditioning data is not included in the total. The total combined time that degradation data is written to the drive/array is 470 minutes. This can be very telling. The better a drive/array can process a continuous stream of random data; the more data will be written.

 

samsung-970-evo-1tb-2-nvme-pcie-ssd-review_49

 

The 970 EVO works less and still writes more data than the WD offerings. Notice the massive improvement over the 960 Series. The NX500 and the Intel 750 have a large amount of overprovisioning which is why they both write more data than the 970 EVO.

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