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

By: Jon Coulter | SSDs in Storage | Posted: Jun 20, 2018 3:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 95%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 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 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-2tb-2-nvme-pcie-ssd-review_46

 

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) carry the most weight when evaluating moderate consumer workload performance.

 

The 1TB 970 EVO and the 2TB model deliver similar steady-state bandwidth. The 1TB model delivers higher overall performance because it is the faster drive. SanDisk's Extreme Pro remains our lab champion for a flash-based SSD in terms of bandwidth at the points charted above. Let's if this holds true when we dig a bit deeper.

 

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-2tb-2-nvme-pcie-ssd-review_47

 

When we look at all the phases on this graph it is clear that the 970 EVO at both capacity points is performing better than the SanDisk Extreme Pro during heavy workloads.

 

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-2tb-2-nvme-pcie-ssd-review_48

 

Latency is much more important than bandwidth, and this is where we see a huge advantage over the Extreme Pro when running heavy workloads. This 2TB 970 EVO displays better latency than the 1TB model during heavy workloads. This is likely due to the fact that the 2TB 970 EVO has 48GB of OP (Over Provisioning); double the amount of the 1TB model.

 

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-2tb-2-nvme-pcie-ssd-review_49

 

The 2TB 970 EVO works less and gives more during heavy workloads 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-2tb-2-nvme-pcie-ssd-review_50

 

These results clearly show the benefit of overprovisioning when writing data while garbage collection is running simultaneously. The 2TB 970 EVO has double the OP of the 1TB model, and therefore it can write far more data while operating in a steady-state. Corsair's NX500 has the most OP (over 200GB), so it writes the most data even though it's overall performance is inferior.

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