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Results: Tom's Hardware Storage Bench v1.0, Continued

Adata Premier Pro SP920 SSD: From 128 To 1024 GB, Reviewed
By

Service Times

Beyond the average data rate reported on the previous page, there's even more information we can collect from Tom's Hardware's Storage Bench. For instance, mean (average) service times show what responsiveness is like on an average I/O during the trace.

It would be difficult to graph the 10+ million I/Os that make up our test, so looking at the average time to service an I/O makes more sense. For a more nuanced idea of what's transpiring during the trace, we plot mean service times for reads against writes. That way, drives with better latency show up closer to the origin; lower numbers are better.

Write latency is simply the total time it takes an input or output operation to be issued by the host operating system, travel to the storage subsystem, commit to the storage device, and have the drive acknowledge the operation. Read latency is similar. The operating system asks the storage device for data stored in a certain location, the SSD reads that information, and then it's sent to the host. Modern computers are fast and SSDs are zippy, but there's still a significant amount of latency involved in a storage transaction.

When we get four models from the same product family split between a range of capacities, it's not uncommon for there to be a big delta between the smallest and largest drives.

For the most part, our tests show that read performance is similar on each drive, even though the 128 GB SP920 is just one-eighth the size of the 1024 GB model. Writes take a massive hit, though, since the smaller SSDs employ fewer dies to spread workloads across.

Mean Read Service Time

Adata's SP920s demonstrate similar read performance as the other SSDs equipped with IMFT's flash.

Finally, Adata's SP920s are vindicated. The 1024 GB model beats out the largest M550 for first place. No desktop-oriented SSD we've tested boasts such an excellent result. Yes, the margin of victory is tiny, but you can see just how compelling the competition is, as well.

And we're again presented by a mystery in the 512 GB SP920. It isn't at the top of the chart alongside Crucial's M550, which is itself identical to the 1024 GB model. The difference is notable enough for us to think twice about some of the assumptions we've made about the data generated thus far. We're not talking about a crazy deficit or anything, but the drive is marginally slower in our trace-based testing. Just bear in mind that you'd have a hard time telling a difference in a real-world workload. 

The 128 GB SP920 beats Samsung's 120 GB 840 EVO and Crucial's M500 at the same capacity point, which is a testament to Marvell's updated controller. Both competing SSDs use 128 Gb die as well.

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  • 0 Hide
    rolli59 , April 1, 2014 6:43 PM
    Would buy one in a heartbeat. Regardless of who makes them, nice move Adata.
  • 0 Hide
    blackmagnum , April 1, 2014 7:13 PM
    I prefer Sandisk, if you don't mind.
  • 1 Hide
    cryan , April 1, 2014 10:04 PM
    Quote:
    I prefer Sandisk, if you don't mind.


    The X210 is pretty awesome, but newer Marvell implementations are built with Haswell-style power features in mind. If you're looking for a drive to use in mobile applications, mind the heat and power consumption stats.

    Regards,
    Christopher Ryan
  • -2 Hide
    rajangel , April 1, 2014 10:51 PM
    Awhile back I purchased a few different SSD's to test out (OCZ, Crucial, Patriot, Adata). The Adata is the only one still running and was always the quickest. I don't know how this one is built, but the last Adata was built tough. The OCZ was so flimsy it felt like paper. The Crucial and the Patriot were slightly better in build quality. Now that I'm in the market for a new drive I may consider this.
  • 1 Hide
    cryan , April 1, 2014 10:54 PM
    Quote:
    Awhile back I purchased a few different SSD's to test out (OCZ, Crucial, Patriot, Adata). The Adata is the only one still running and was always the quickest. I don't know how this one is built, but the last Adata was built tough. The OCZ was so flimsy it felt like paper. The Crucial and the Patriot were slightly better in build quality. Now that I'm in the market for a new drive I may consider this.


    I have to say, the plastic or metal chassis a drive comes in doesn't mean much. In the lab, I like a nice heavy metal SSD casing, but in a laptop? You probably want a flimsy plastic chassis. It's not conductive and doesn't add much weight.


    Regards,
    Christopher Ryan
  • -2 Hide
    rajangel , April 1, 2014 11:01 PM
    It's a matter of opinion. I like things that are built well, and have a quality appearance. I think build quality does affect performance (read reliability). Especially when connectors/etc are cheap in construction. However, just my opinion.
  • 1 Hide
    cryan , April 2, 2014 12:44 AM
    Quote:
    It's a matter of opinion. I like things that are built well, and have a quality appearance. I think build quality does affect performance (read reliability). Especially when connectors/etc are cheap in construction. However, just my opinion.


    I agree that a substantial chassis tends to reinforce the perception of a drive's build quality, but much of the time its aesthetic. The component choice on the PCB speaks more to quality. I've seen some downright terrible drives in the fanciest of cases.

    Regards,
    Christopher Ryan

  • -4 Hide
    rajangel , April 2, 2014 3:32 AM
    I think there should be a restriction that prevents the article author from replying, unless there is a substantial mistake that was noted. I feel like tomshardware authors troll their own threads. This has become a problem lately. I'm at the point where I feel my business and time would be better spent on a real tech website. Tomshardware is like the Yahoo of tech sites lately.
  • 0 Hide
    iltamies , April 2, 2014 6:39 AM
    Typo on last page: "Adata gets a solid product able to soften the wait, and Micron (Crucial's parent company) gets to more more volume." should read "move more volume."
  • 0 Hide
    Wisecracker , April 2, 2014 6:45 AM

    Impressive ... power consumption is a bit high though, compared to the Samsung 120GB Evo (my current $80 fav)

    Are 'microseconds' considered 'milliseconds' ??
  • -1 Hide
    Pibee , April 2, 2014 7:26 AM
    Interesting review, sadly yet understandably reviews never examine the range issues that can arise in everyday usage, and consequently how something that begins relatively small can grow to be an absolute killer for what would otherwise be a good and very competitive product.

    Case in point. I read ADATA had released driver updates back in February. I have a SX 900 64G I use for benchmarking. After downloading and running the 525 FieldUpdater it was obvious that no matching driver was included in the newly released 525 driver update package I had downloaded despite the SX 900 being on the list.

    I emailed tech support and didn't receive a reply for 7 days despite the confirmation of receipt stating a response would come in 1 to 3 days. I did get a reply after a posting the issue to their Facebook page in which I was told "Please see the attached for the signature file you needed for the firmware update as it took us some time to obtain it from our headquarters"

    Indeed a matching 525 FieldUpdater driver had been included in this email and I installed it.

    The result was something to see, erratic and downright wonky, come to mind. A malfunction in the installation I presumed and so I downloaded the ADATA software suite SSD Tool which wouldn't and couldn't Security Erase the disk. Parted Magic was then installed and did the job allowing me to clean reinstall the driver I'd been emailed and hopefully resolve the erratic performance issue. In part it resolved erratic reads and writes but now every ATTO write above the 128k mark had lost 40% of its performance capability from the benchmarks using the previous driver.

    Support were emailed including ATTO screen captures, and their response was to send it back for replacement.
    _Wait a minute just sent me the old driver I stated in my response
    Can't "After consulting with our headquarters, it’s confirmed that once the firmware is updated, it cannot be removed or fallback to the older version".

    Having no choice I hinted that as this debacle had originated with them that an upgrade from 64G would be an appropriate compensation for the enormous waste of time, and additional costs I was incurring.


    The disk was packaged and insured then sent to ADATA for a cost of 20$ and it should be noted that locally this additional $20 represented the retail difference between a 64G and a 128G capacity.
    Tracking informed me ADATA received the disk in 5 days and later confirmed by them. Once the 3 to 5 days turn over stated by them came and passed and on day seven a status inquiry was sent and 6 hrs later, confirmation a package to me had been put in the hands of mail services.

    That was March 21 and I received the disk 11 days later April 1st in my snail mail box no signature required (a less scrupulous person could easily exploit that).

    The round trip experience total is six weeks with a dollar output of over 20% of the sticker price the disk was purchased for. Total time wasted on their error, fiddling with downloads installing and removing ADATA brand software that didn't accomplish the required tasks (additionally the Acronis suite that was packaged with the drive never successfully completed the key transaction on their site) research, installations removal... ya'll get the picture.

    Does the SX 900 perform well/competitively... all the published reviews and accompanying benchmarks hold true, so yes it's a cracker even in the 64G capacity.

    Would I recommend it?
    Only to a tech masochist with tons of time to waste as well a a few bucks.
    Now you have a more complete picture.
  • 0 Hide
    cryan , April 2, 2014 7:30 AM
    Quote:

    Impressive ... power consumption is a bit high though, compared to the Samsung 120GB Evo (my current $80 fav)

    Are 'microseconds' considered 'milliseconds' ??


    Remember (at least for idle) that these are active numbers. That is, the drive and host aren't collaborating to put the drive in a lower power state. In a mobile application, most every SSD is going to drop to lower sleep-state levels, but at the cost of higher latency when returning to idle. For the sake of consistent testing we choose to use active idle.

    Did we mix up our units somewhere?


    Regards,
    Christopher Ryan
  • 0 Hide
    sammyboi , April 2, 2014 8:23 AM
    "The M500 is up to MU03 now"you may want to update crucial fw from MU03 to MU05 as the latest fw
  • 1 Hide
    sammyboi , April 2, 2014 8:26 AM
    "The M500 is up to MU03 now"you may want to update crucial fw from MU03 to MU05 as the latest fw
  • 3 Hide
    Evolution2001 , April 2, 2014 1:24 PM
    Quote:
    I think there should be a restriction that prevents the article author from replying, unless there is a substantial mistake that was noted. I feel like tomshardware authors troll their own threads. This has become a problem lately. I'm at the point where I feel my business and time would be better spent on a real tech website. Tomshardware is like the Yahoo of tech sites lately.

    I disagree. I actually like seeing the authors chime in. I think it builds a better community as the authors seem more accessible and thus reliable and relatable.
    I also don't think Christopher Ryan is trolling in the strictest definition of the word; He's not trying to stir things up for the sake of starting a post war. He's simply continuing to give his opinion and replies in threads. Why should they not be able to make comments on articles they've written? It is expected that any knowledge they can impart to the community is considered of value, regardless if it's in the original article or in the comments section. I think there's also a potential consideration where maybe they have more to share, but due to time constraints or simply available space, they didn't say all they really wanted. So they chime in in the comments section. Kinda like the "extras" on a DVD or BR... "Oh, Director Commentary. Cool!"
  • 0 Hide
    Damn_Rookie , April 2, 2014 2:28 PM
    I agree with Evolution2001 above, I too like seeing the authors in the comment sections. It often leads to a greater insight into the topic, their take on things, and why they focused or didn't focus on specific things in the article. It's definitely a positive for me.
  • 0 Hide
    cryan , April 2, 2014 11:05 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    I think there should be a restriction that prevents the article author from replying, unless there is a substantial mistake that was noted. I feel like tomshardware authors troll their own threads. This has become a problem lately. I'm at the point where I feel my business and time would be better spent on a real tech website. Tomshardware is like the Yahoo of tech sites lately.

    I disagree. I actually like seeing the authors chime in. I think it builds a better community as the authors seem more accessible and thus reliable and relatable.
    I also don't think Christopher Ryan is trolling in the strictest definition of the word; He's not trying to stir things up for the sake of starting a post war. He's simply continuing to give his opinion and replies in threads. Why should they not be able to make comments on articles they've written? It is expected that any knowledge they can impart to the community is considered of value, regardless if it's in the original article or in the comments section. I think there's also a potential consideration where maybe they have more to share, but due to time constraints or simply available space, they didn't say all they really wanted. So they chime in in the comments section. Kinda like the "extras" on a DVD or BR... "Oh, Director Commentary. Cool!"


    I'm making an effort to try and encourage more discussion, which means becoming more active in the comment section. Previously, I tended to let them be. Now, I think I can increase the utility of the comments section over time by more active participation.

    As someone who used to read and post comments on Tom's as a reader, I always thought it was awesome that I had a place where I could interact with the author. I want to see more of that with my reviews, so my participation is the best way to make that happen.

    Regards,
    Christopher Ryan
  • 0 Hide
    Drejeck , April 3, 2014 5:40 AM
    i'd like to see more msata and m.2 offerings, sata3 just doesn't keep up anymore, it's getting obsolete even it's more than sufficient for 99% of the people
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , April 3, 2014 10:59 AM
    @rajangel You think that is trolling? You should see what Daniel Rubino does to readers over at WP Central. That is trolling at its finest and the community there is healthier for it. It helps keep ignorant morons who mistake aesthetics for reliability and performance in check so that the adults can hold more constructive conversation.
  • 0 Hide
    cryan , April 3, 2014 2:44 PM
    Quote:
    i'd like to see more msata and m.2 offerings, sata3 just doesn't keep up anymore, it's getting obsolete even it's more than sufficient for 99% of the people


    mSATA SSDs are still using the SATA 3.1 host spec, as are most M.2s. There are a few M.2 PCIe SSDs, but there are currently next to no applications for them. We have more M.2 and mSATA reviews on the way, so you should be able to judge for yourself.

    Regards,
    Christopher Ryan
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