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Trying to understand SSD speed test I just got

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January 26, 2014 4:26:59 PM

I just bought this "Mushkin Enhanced MKNP22SC240GB 240GB PCIe 2.0 x2 MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)" from here:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I installed it in my Dell XPS 8700 tower (here's the screenshot):
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s99/dc2000_bucket/Mu...

And then installed Windows 8 pro on it.

I then ran the Parkdale SSD speed test and got these results:
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s99/dc2000_bucket/Mu...

So as you see, it showed:
Read: 290 MByte/s
Write: 238 MByte/s

When the specs on the NewEgg page said "Up to 825MBps" reads.

So now I'm thinking why are my numbers so low. I installed it into only available slot I had, which is PCI-ex4. Does that have something to do with what I'm seeing?
a b G Storage
January 26, 2014 4:56:00 PM

How old is your Dell? I suspect that the PCIe bus is throttling the SSD, that it doesn't have the bandwidth to support the SSD at full speed. It looks like it's plugged into an x4 slot.

Sorry, I didn't catch at the end of your post that you had it in an x4 slot. I'm sure that it too limiting, you probably need to have it in an x8 or x16 slot in order to get the bandwidth it needs.
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a b G Storage
January 26, 2014 5:55:52 PM

Is there any documentation with the SSD drive that lists requirements of the slot it goes into?

The Dell Owners Manual, the largest and most detailed of the ones you listed, just describes the motherboard layout and tells how to remove and replace items. There are no details on the PCI-e slots except to describe them as x1 or x16 slots. I'm hoping the SSD documentation lists requirements, such as it needs to be plugged into an x8 slot or something like that.
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a b G Storage
January 26, 2014 9:14:44 PM

Here's what I think your problem is: The Dell Owners Manual, on page 14, describes your PCIe slots as three x1 slots and one (#27) x16 slot. However, your drive manual, on the Introduction Page, under Hardware Installation, Item #3, says: "Using your motherboard manual for assistance, locate an x2, x4, x8, or x16 PCI-Express slot on the motherboard . . .".

You only have one of those slots available on your Dell motherboard, and it's the x16 slot. I strongly suspect that there is a graphics card in that slot. If so, you're out of luck. ALL of your other PCI-e slots are ALL x1, not enough for the SSD card. You need at least an x2 slot, so you have about half or less the bandwidth needed, which is why you're getting such slow speeds (slow for an expensive SSD, but twice as fast as a typical HDD).

I'm sorry for the bad news, but when buying adapter cards you simply must pay very close attention to details like this. It's extremely important with high-bandwidth users such as graphic cards and SSD cards.
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January 26, 2014 9:24:26 PM

mbreslin1954 said:
Here's what I think your problem is: The Dell Owners Manual, on page 14, describes your PCIe slots as three x1 slots and one (#27) x16 slot. However, your drive manual, on the Introduction Page, under Hardware Installation, Item #3, says: "Using your motherboard manual for assistance, locate an x2, x4, x8, or x16 PCI-Express slot on the motherboard . . .".

You only have one of those slots available on your Dell motherboard, and it's the x16 slot. I strongly suspect that there is a graphics card in that slot. If so, you're out of luck. ALL of your other PCI-e slots are ALL x1, not enough for the SSD card. You need at least an x2 slot, so you have about half or less the bandwidth needed, which is why you're getting such slow speeds (slow for an expensive SSD, but twice as fast as a typical HDD).

I'm sorry for the bad news, but when buying adapter cards you simply must pay very close attention to details like this. It's extremely important with high-bandwidth users such as graphic cards and SSD cards.

Oh, I see. You might be on to something. Thanks!

So in fact if I plugged this SSD card into the PCI slot where my graphics card is now, it'd run at its full speed, right? In that case how much would it cost to get a video card that runs off the other PCI-e slot -- any idea?

PS. Otherwise I'll have to return it. (Luckily I got it via Amazon that seems to have a good return policy.)
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a b G Storage
January 26, 2014 9:31:42 PM

I don't believe you can put a video card in an X1 PCIe slot. Not near enough bandwidth. The connector would not fit anyway. About your only option if you want to keep the drive is to run your graphics out of the built-in, integrated graphics from the motherboard, which your Dell should have as it seems to be a Haswell CPU. Of course any gaming you might do would suffer.

The U.S. FCC has a requirement that anything bought on-line or through mail-order has to have a 30-day return window, so if you're in the U.S you have 30 days from purchase date to return it. You could solve your problem by buying a normal, 2.5 inch SSD that connects through a SATA III port (6 GBps). However, that won't get you much more than 400 or 500 MB/second. Still plenty fast.

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January 26, 2014 10:36:12 PM

mbreslin1954 said:
I don't believe you can put a video card in an X1 PCIe slot. Not near enough bandwidth. The connector would not fit anyway. About your only option if you want to keep the drive is to run your graphics out of the built-in, integrated graphics from the motherboard, which your Dell should have as it seems to be a Haswell CPU. Of course any gaming you might do would suffer.

The U.S. FCC has a requirement that anything bought on-line or through mail-order has to have a 30-day return window, so if you're in the U.S you have 30 days from purchase date to return it. You could solve your problem by buying a normal, 2.5 inch SSD that connects through a SATA III port (6 GBps). However, that won't get you much more than 400 or 500 MB/second. Still plenty fast.


First off, I really appreciate your help! And yes, I am in US. So I know about this 30-day return policy. The question now is, should I go for a return, or keep this SSD card...

I just unplugged the video card that came with this Dell and instead plugged in the Mushkin SSD card. So here's the specs for that set-up:
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s99/dc2000_bucket/Mu...

Hmm, that's way better. I can instantly feel it by just booting up Windows. Also I need to say that I have BitLocker enabled on that drive, so I'm guessing that all that encryption/decryption takes out some speed too.

So now I'm at a dilemma. As you said I can run video off the system board. Unfortunately I don't know of a good video card test, so I tried CPU-Z program, that gave me this:
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s99/dc2000_bucket/cp...

Interestingly enough, this built-in video card had more video RAM (2 GB) than the one that was in the x16 PCI-e slot originally. I think the one I had originally was "Radeon HD 5770" that showed at 1 GB of RAM. I'm guessing that it was probably some cheesy card that Dell stuck in this tower. (I'm growing more and more frustrated with Dell and how they upsold me. But anyway...)

So can I ask your opinion -- do you think I'll be OK with that Intel HD Graphics 4600?

I don't do gaming, but here's what I will use this tower for:

1. I run Photoshop that runs faster with a good 3D accelerated card.

2. I run VMware Workstation 9 with several virtual machines (need for software testing purposes.)
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a b G Storage
January 30, 2014 3:09:19 PM

Intel's HD 4600 integrated graphics is quite good for integrated graphics. I think it will work fine for you. I don't know how it will affect Photoshop, I haven't had much experience running it (I've only run Photoshop Elements, and have not used even that heavily).

EDIT: I did find this reference to just your question in a forum:

"If you plan to use the Nik plugins as smart filters in PhotoShop, every bit of CPU power and memory will be put to good use. I found the Nik plugins to be unusable without a dedicated GPU. I use a Radeon 7850 and it has all the power I need and more."

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3538634
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a b G Storage
January 30, 2014 3:23:51 PM

According to this site:
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu_list.php

Your Radeon HD 5770 scores 1,680 and is rated in 96th place in the rankings. The Intel HD 4600 scores only 625 and is rated in 291st place. Quite a difference. There's nothing wrong with the HD 5770, just that it's a few years old, it's a good graphics card, but it will use a lot more power than the HD 4600, and Intel's 4600 also has QuickSync built in.
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a b G Storage
January 30, 2014 3:27:25 PM

Here are some Adobe Photoshop performance measurements taken with different video cards by Puget Systems:
http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Adobe-Photosh...

Here are three images in their list at the bottom of the page. The only Intel integrated graphics are HD 4000, a good deal slower than your 4600, but these give you an idea as to how it fares against dedicated graphic cards. Two things to note: Your HD 4600 graphics are probably 30% better than the HD 4000 listed in these, and your Radeo HD 5770 is a good deal slower than most of the discrete graphics cards shown in the listings:

http://images.pugetsystems.com/images/pic_disp.php?id=2...

http://images.pugetsystems.com/images/pic_disp.php?id=2...

http://images.pugetsystems.com/images/pic_disp.php?id=2...
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January 30, 2014 6:59:43 PM

Thanks again for all your help. I think I will stick with the built-in Intel video card. I tried opening and working with a 15,761 px by 6,639 px jpeg image in Photoshop CS5 and it opened it just fine. I then tried scrolling it, zooming in & out and the video card handled it quite smoothly. So no problem there. I'm satisfied.
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a b G Storage
January 30, 2014 9:08:49 PM

Good solution. I think you'll enjoy the speed of the SSD much more than you would benefit from a discrete video card. You will get spoiled by that SSD very quickly, I know I did!
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