Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Results: TRIM Testing With DriveMaster 2012

JMicron Returns: The JMF667H Controller On Four Reference SSDs
By

We've been utilizing ULINK's DriveMaster 2012 software and hardware suite to introduce a new test for client drives. Using JEDEC's standardized 218A Master Trace, DriveMaster can turn a sequence of I/O (similar to our Tom's Hardware Storage Bench) into a TRIM test. JEDEC's trace is months and months of drive activity, day-to-day activities, and background operating system tasks.

ULINK strips out the read commands for this benchmark, leaving us with the write, flush, and TRIM commands to work with. Execute the same workload with TRIM support and without, and you end up with a killer metric for further characterizing drive behavior.

DriveMaster is used by most SSD manufacturers to create and perform specific measurements. It's currently the only commercial product that can create the scenarios needed to validate TCG Opal 2.0 security, though it's almost unlimited in potential applications. Much of the benefit tied to a solution like DriveMaster is its ability to diagnose bugs, ensure compatibility, and issue low-level commands. In short, it's very handy for the companies actually building SSDs. And if off-the-shelf scripts don't do it for you, make your own. There's a steep learning curve, but the C-like environment and command documentation gives you a fighting chance.

This product also gives us some new ways to explore performance. Testing the TRIM command is just the first example of how we'll be using ULINK's contribution to the Tom's Hardware benchmark suite.

On a 256 GB drive, each iteration writes close to 800 GB of data, so running the JEDEC TRIM test suite once on a 256 GB SSD generates almost 3.2 TB of mostly random writes (it's 75% random and 25% sequential). By the end of each run, over 37 million write commands are issued.

The first two tests employ DMA to access the storage, while the last two use Native Command Queuing. Since most folks don't use DMA with SSDs (aside from some legacy or industrial applications) we don't concern ourselves with those. It can take up to 96 hours to run one drive through all four runs, though faster drives can roughly cut the time in half. Because so much information is being written to an already-full SSD (the drive is filled before each test, and then close to 800 GB are written per iteration), SSDs that perform better under heavy load fare best. Without TRIM, on-the-fly garbage collection becomes a big contributor to high IOPS. With TRIM, 13% of space gets TRIM'ed, leaving more room for the controller to use for maintenance operations.

TRIM Testing

Average

To avoid adding too much data, I have the average performance for each benchmarked SSD with and without TRIM support enabled. Displayed in IOPS, this helps us make comparisons more quickly.

To the extent that you can buy JMF667H-based drives at the moment, they're mostly running older 200-series firmware. Our reference models from JMicron get updated 400-series software, which makes a difference.

Take a peek at the 128 GB models. They surround the excellent 120 GB Samsung 840 EVO and nearly topple the 240 GB Crucial M500.

Instantaneous

This is the instantaneous TRIM result for all four reference platforms. It's complicated-looking with all four lines spiking up and down, but keep your eyes focused on the individual colors. The 256 GB model with A19 flash performs particularly well. But it also has a secret weapon: over-provisioning. Technically, we'd call this a 240 GB model. But it's coined and minted as a 256 GB SSD, so that's how I've referred to it thus far.

Although this is a TRIM test, that over-provisioning helps with and without the command implemented. Otherwise, the 256 GB models would be closer together. As long as the NAND isn't radically dissimilar, tests like this are largely a result of TRIM performance, garbage collection/idle merge processes, and and spare area. It just so happens that the new firmware is quite good in TRIM testing, while some drives (like Plextor's M5P) don't benefit much from TRIM.

Throughput

We collect and report the total throughput of each drive in the NCQ with TRIM test. It's one number that helps capture overall performance in the test.

Display all 9 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    blackmagnum , July 11, 2014 3:22 AM
    JMicron vs. Silicon Motion: Fight of the Underdogs - Coming next issue!
  • 1 Hide
    Snipergod87 , July 11, 2014 8:05 AM
    Page 6: "For every 1 GB the host asked to be written, Mushkin's drive is forced to write 1.05 GB."

    Mushkin drive?, To much copy paste.
  • 0 Hide
    koolkei , July 11, 2014 8:42 AM
    guys. please take a look at this
    http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/6052/kingfast-c-drive-f8-series-240gb-ssd-review-cheapest-tested-240gb-drive-so-far/index.html

    that's an actual SSD using this controller, and the price is........ a little more than surprising...
  • 1 Hide
    pjmelect , July 11, 2014 10:02 AM
    I remember their USB to IDE SATA chip. It caused data corruption every 4 GB or so when transferring data via the IDE interface. I have always been wary of their products since then.
  • 1 Hide
    tripleX , July 12, 2014 3:21 PM
    "But we're not going to use theoretical corner cases (the sequential and random 4 KB benchmarks we just ran) to crown one configuration a winner and another a loser."

    A corner case is not sequential and random benchmarks. It is an engineering term that means, according to Wiki:

    A corner case (or pathological case) is a problem or situation that occurs only outside of normal operating parameters—specifically one that manifests itself when multiple environmental variables or conditions are simultaneously at extreme levels, even though each parameter is within the specified range for that parameter.
  • 1 Hide
    g00ey , July 13, 2014 11:42 AM
    JMicron has always made pretty shitty products so I won´'t buy any of these anytime soon...
  • 1 Hide
    2Be_or_Not2Be , July 14, 2014 1:54 PM
    I, too, find it hard to want to purchase a drive from a manufacturer with such a lackluster history.

    One part of this article that also doesn't make sense: "Why four channels and not eight? Efficiency is one key motivator. Fewer channels facilitate a smaller ASIC, which can, in turn, be more power-friendly." Compare the size of the PCB to one like the Samsung 850 Pro. They aren't saving much in real estate (they are actually bigger than the Samsung boards), so it makes it hard to believe they're saving much in power here.
  • 0 Hide
    biohazard918 , July 14, 2014 2:39 PM
    Jmicron returns: this time its personal!
  • 0 Hide
    gsxrme , July 15, 2014 11:11 AM
    No Mushkin Chronos!? Wa we don't want to make Samsungs butt hurt? Com'on Toms!
React To This Article