Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review

Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review

Memblaze has a monster 16-channel high-performance NVMe accelerator SSD in for testing.

@ChrisRamseyer
Published Sat, Jun 15 2019 10:00 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 94%Manufacturer: Memblaze

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

Memblaze for a last few years has quietly shipped some of the fastest enterprise SSDs available. The company's technology and proprietary firmware spreads across the industry. You can even find it in Micron's flagship NVMe datacenter SSDs like the recently released 9300 Series.

Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 1 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 36 IMAGES

The Memblaze PBlaze5 D916, the first of two models in the series we will test today, is nearly identical to the Micron 9300 Series. The D916 uses slightly more overprovisioning on the Micron 64-layer TLC flash than the 9300 Max and slightly different firmware. Also like the 9300 Max, the PBlaze5 D916 only ships in a 2.5" form factor with a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface.

The Memblaze PBlaze C916 moves to the HHHL add-in card form factor to accommodate a PCIe 3.0 x8 interface that doubles throughput performance to the controller over the 2.5" model. The C916 is the highest performing enterprise SSD we've ever had in house for testing.

Specifications

Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 2 | TweakTown.com

Memblaze products sit in a niche area of the SSD market where datacenter customers go directly to the company and place large orders, work directly with the company on validation and use the direct access for custom configurations.

The generic specifications sheet shows the potential of the 916 series. This series spreads across four product SKUs with two capacities and two form factors. The first is the ultra-high performance C916 available in 3.2TB and 6.4TB with a PCIe 3.0 x8 interface in a HHHL form factor.

The second model in this series ships in the same 3.2TB and 6.4TB capacities but uses the 2.5" U.2 15mm z-height form factor and a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface.

Features

  • Higher Density and Lower Cost with 64-Layer 3D NAND
  • 30%-40% Energy Efficiency Optimization
  • Guaranteed Data Reliability
  • Flexible and Accurate Power Consumption
  • Up to 8TB/s Enterprise TRIM Function
  • Up to 32 Multi-Namespace Creation
  • High-Availability Dual Port Mode

Some of the items on the feature's list come from a comparison to the previous generation that used more flash and over-provisioning to achieve design goals (performance and capacity). The previous generation utilized Micron's 32-layer TLC, the company's first generation 3D memory.

The generation we're testing today uses 64-layer 3D TLC memory. Memblaze was able to utilize less physical memory (lowering the spare area) to meet the same design goals. Fewer NAND die also lowers the upfront cost to datacenters while also lowering the operational costs due to lower power consumption.

The PBlaze5 916 Series uses a single large capacitor to combat host power failures. The feature joins end-to-end data protection, up to 32 namespace support, and the ability to run the series in dual-port mode.

Pricing, Warranty, and Endurance

SSD pricing is dynamic, and small shifts in the raw flash market make large swings in large capacity products like those offered by Memblaze. The company doesn't publish pricing details, and these products don't show up at the usual places like Amazon, Newegg, and CDW. You must contact Memblaze directly for pricing details.

All 916 Series products carry a 3 drive per day endurance rating and a strong 5-year warranty.

A Closer Look

Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 3 | TweakTown.comMemblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 4 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 5 | TweakTown.comMemblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 6 | TweakTown.com
Buy at Amazon

Samsung 860 PRO 256GB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$87.99$87.99$54.61
* Prices last scanned on 9/23/2020 at 6:22 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Synthetic Performance Testing

Product Comparison

We can't fit more than a handful of comparison products in the charts and still keep them tidy and readable. We have to be selective in the process. For this review, we chose the Micron 9100 Max because its DNA leads back to Memblaze. The company also sold a similar model two generations ago. We also chose the Intel DC P4510 8TB, a very popular enterprise SSD used in many data centers today.

Sequential Read Performance

Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 100 | TweakTown.com

The C916's interface advantage shows best with sequential data at high queue depths. With our server, we achieved roughly 6,300 MB/s with peak performance coming at 32 outstanding IO (OIO). The 2.5" D916 bumped up against the interface's 3,500 MB/s ceiling at 16 OIO while reading 128KB sequential data.

Sequential Write Performance

Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 101 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 102 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 103 | TweakTown.com

In steady state, both PBlaze5 SSDs show similar sequential write performance. The only real variation we saw in this workload was at 4 OIO where the add-in card was able to use its bandwidth advantage to surpass 3,500 MB/s

Sequential Mixed Workload Performance

Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 104 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 105 | TweakTown.com

NVMe is a bidirectional interface, and that allows the PBlaze5 D916 to handle mixed sequential data at speeds beyond 3,500 MB/s.

The C916 shows us where it's extra interface performance becomes useful in this test. The C916 is capable of delivering the same sequential performance as the D916 from 40% writes to 100% writes. The C916 outperforms the D916 in the 100% reads to 70% reads areas.

Random Read Performance

Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 106 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 107 | TweakTown.com

The two PBlaze5 SSDs deliver nearly identical random read performance in our test system at all OIO. Both drives trail the Intel DC P4510 slightly until 64 OIO where the performance equals. At higher queue depths the Memblaze SSDs overtake the Intel.

Random Write Performance

Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 108 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 109 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 110 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 200 | TweakTown.com

The Micron 9100 Max is an older Memblaze design built for Micron. The new PBlaze5 has similar peak performance as the 9100 Max, but at lower OIO, the new design shows a significant advantage.

Random Mixed Workload Performance

Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 112 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 113 | TweakTown.com

The PBlaze5 916 SSDs show just a modest increase over the Micron 9100 Max at 100% workloads (all reads and writes), but the real advantage comes in the middle with mixed random workloads. We rarely see mixed workloads portrayed on specification sheets, but in most cases, this is where your data lives.

Workload Performance Testing

Database Workload

Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 114 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 115 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 116 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 117 | TweakTown.com

At higher queue depths, the two PBlaze5 916 SSDs dominate the other products. This series of charts do a good job of showing how Memblaze has been able to increase performance since the Micron 9100 generation.

OLTP Workload

Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 118 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 119 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 120 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 121 | TweakTown.com

The OLTP test shows similar results to the database test. The PBlaze5 SSDs show excellent performance against a previous generation and what some would call the industry standard.

Email Workload

Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 122 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 1230 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 124 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 125 | TweakTown.com

The two PBlaze5 NVMe SSDs are so high performance that we struggle to find a workload that makes them stumble. Like the other tests, the two drives manage to blast past the two comparison SSDs in the charts.

Archive Workload

Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 126 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 127 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 128 | TweakTown.com
Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 129 | TweakTown.com

Our most strenuous workload comes from the Dell Performance Lab in the form of the Archive workload. This workload uses a mix of reads and writes different block sizes. It's very difficult for very good SSDs to deliver consistent performance under the Archive workload but the PBlaze5 managers to keep the IO tight while also maintaining high performance at extreme queue depths.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of which you choose, the Memblaze PBlaze5 916 series is one of, if not the fastest, enterprise NVMe SSDs shipping today.

Memblaze PBlaze5 C916 and D916 Enterprise SSD Review 1 | TweakTown.com

The PBlaze5 C916, the HHHL add-in card is a rarity these days. Intel still ships add-in cards, but the industry has transitioned to 2.5" U.2 drives as standard protocol and new "next-gen" form factors like the Ruler for bleeding edge rack density.

Memblaze calls the PBlaze5 series an accelerator card. The HHHL C916 does a great job pushing past the limitation of PCIe 3.0 x4 for large block size workloads, but every other measurement is nearly identical to the 2.5" D916 in our testing.

The specification sheet shows a modest performance improvement in random workloads for the C916 HHHL model, but you will need a very powerful server to squeeze the extra couple hundred thousand IOPS. Clearly, our test server is not capable of scaling that high with all the vulnerability patches that plague most platforms today.

The PBlaze5 D916 2.5" U.2 NVMe SSD is the workhorse of the two models we tested today. This form factor is widespread across the industry and its even shipping in commodity NAS servers like our new QSAN XN8012R that we use to test HDD media. Even with new form factors emerging, the 2.5" U.2 continues to grow.

The one area we would like to see Memblaze improve is availability. The company is in Beijing, but so many technology-focused firms are. When you search for Memblaze PBlaze the autofill feature on Google instantly shows "price" right after. For those in the know, these are highly sought after components, but availability is nonexistent in the channel and pricing details are just as difficult to come by.

Performance

95%

Quality

95%

Features

95%

Bundle and Packaging

90%

Overall

94%

The Bottom Line

Memblaze has an incredible product line but don't expect to find these in the channel. The C916 HHHL AIC is one of the fastest SSDs we've ever tested but the 2.5" D916 is the workhorse.

TweakTown award
94%

Samsung 860 PRO 256GB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$87.99$87.99$54.61
* Prices last scanned on 9/23/2020 at 6:22 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Chris Ramseyer started his career as a LAN Party organizer in Midwest USA. After working with several computer companies he was asked to join the team at The Adrenaline Vault by fellow Midwest LAN Party legend Sean Aikins. After a series of shake ups at AVault, Chris eventually took over as Editor-in-Chief before leaving to start Real World Entertainment. Look for Chris to bring his unique methods of testing Hard Disk Drives, Solid State Drives as well as RAID controller and NAS boxes to TweakTown as he looks to provide an accurate test bed to make your purchasing decisions easier.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription

Latest News

View More News

Latest Reviews

View More Reviews

Latest Articles

View More Articles