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Intel Optane SSD 905P 960GB AIC NVMe PCIe SSD Review

By: Jon Coulter | SSDs in Storage | Posted: May 9, 2018 3:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 100%Manufacturer: Intel

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 over-provisioning).

 

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 Bandwidth

 

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

 

intel-optane-ssd-905p-960gb-aic-nvme-pcie-review_63

 

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) is what we consider the second most important consideration when ranking a drive's performance.

 

Unlike NAND, 3D XPoint is unaffected by degrade, steady-state or recovery. It's all the same for Optane. Absolute domination over flash. Running patched, the 905P takes about a 110MB/s hit in storage bandwidth. Patching doesn't have nearly the impact on moderate workloads as it does on synthetic benchmarks. Here again, the 905P sets another lab record by outperforming the 900P.

 

 

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.

 

intel-optane-ssd-905p-960gb-aic-nvme-pcie-review_64

 

Optane relegates flash to the bottom of our chart. This gives us a perfect illustration of the many facets of Optane's superior media working together to deliver sustained workload performance that is an order of magnitude better than is possible with NAND.

 

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.

 

intel-optane-ssd-905p-960gb-aic-nvme-pcie-review_65

 

During the degrade and steady phases of our testing, Optane is delivering over 10X lower latency than some of our flash-based contenders.

 

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.

 

intel-optane-ssd-905p-960gb-aic-nvme-pcie-review_66

 

Optane 9 Series SSDs are only working for a total of six seconds per phase. Our flash-based contenders are working for as much as 37 seconds, or up to 6x more per phase.

 

 

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.

 

intel-optane-ssd-905p-960gb-aic-nvme-pcie-review_67

 

Optane digests a continuous stream of random data far better than any flash-based SSD. Whether patched or unpatched, the 905P is able to write more data than its predecessor. Almost 34 terabytes of random data written in 470 minutes is stunning to say the least.

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