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Testing Samsung's XP941 On Z97 Express

A 1400 MB/s SSD: ASRock's Z97 Extreme6 And Samsung's XP941
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In most of the stories we write, it doesn't matter where Windows is installed. Storage testing is a bit different though, particularly when we need to turn off the PCH's SATA ports. Thus, utilizing Windows to Go makes a lot of sense. A fully-functioning image can be ported from one machine to another over USB 3.0. It's just as quick as an installation to a SATA-attached SSD, and it enables testing methodologies otherwise considered impractical.

Note also that we're using Intel's new Rapid Storage Technology 13-series driver. It doesn't have much bearing on today's story; the fancier features will get rolled into a version of the RST software later this year. But it was time to upgrade, and so I have.

Test Hardware
ProcessorIntel Core i5-4670K (Haswell), 22 nm, 3.3 GHz, LGA 1150, 6 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost Enabled
MotherboardASRock Z97 Extreme6
MemoryG.Skill Ripjaws 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) DDR3-1866 @ DDR3-1333, 1.5 V
System Drive Muskin Ventura Ultra 240 GB USB 3.0 UASP
Drive(s) Under TestSamsung MZHPU512HCGL-00000 512 GB M.2 Gen 2 x4 PCIe, AHCI
Power Supply
Seasonic X400 FL2, 80+ Platinum
ChassisLian Li A01-NB ATX
HSF
Noctua NH-L9i
Graphics
Intel HD Graphics 4600
OS
Windows 8.1 Enterprise, Windows to Go
Drivers
STORAHCI.SYS (Generic AHCI), Intel RST 13.1 (SATA)
Comparison DrivesPlextor M6e 256 GB M.2 PCIe x2, Firmware: 1.00

Plextor M6S 256 GB SATA 6 Gb/s, Firmware: 1.00

Plextor M6M 256 GB mSATA 6 Gb/s, Firmware: 1.00

Adata SP920 256 GB SATA 6 Gb/s, Firmware: MU01

Crucial M550 512 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: MU01

Intel SSD 730 480 GB SATA 6 Gb/s, Firmware: L2010400

SanDisk X210 512 GB, Firmware X210400

Crucial M500 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: MU02

Samsung 840 EVO 250 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: EXT0AB0Q

Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware DXM04B0Q

Seagate 600 SSD 240 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: B660

OCZ Vector 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s, Firmware: 2.0

Plextor M5 Pro 256 GB SATA 6Gb/s Firmware: 1.02
Benchmarks
ULINK DriveMaster 2012
DM2012 v980, JEDEC 218A-based TRIM Test, Protocol Test Suite
Test Specific Hardware
SAS/SATA Power Hub, DevSlp Platform, PCIe SSD Power Adapter
Tom's Hardware Storage Bench v1.0
Intel iPeak Storage Toolkit 5.2.1, Tom's Storage Bench 1.0 Trace Recording
Iometer 1.1.0# Workers = 1, 4 KB Random: LBA=16 GB, varying QDs, 128 KB Sequential, 16 GB LBA Precondition, Exponential QD Scaling
PCMark 8
PCMark 8 2.0.228, Storage Consistency Test
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