Sign-in / Sign-up

Results: PCMark Vantage And PCMark 7

SanDisk Extreme II SSD Review: Striking At The Heavy-Hitters
By

Futuremark's PCMark 7: Secondary Storage Suite

PCMark 7 uses the same trace-based technology as our Storage Bench v1.0 for its storage suite testing. It employs a geometric mean scoring system to generate a composite, so we end up with PCMarks instead of a megabytes per second. One-thousand points separate the top and bottom, but that encompasses a far larger difference than the score alone indicates.

PCMark 7 is a vast improvement over the older PCMark Vantage, at least for SSD benchmarking. The storage suite is composed of several small traces. At the end, the geometric mean of those scores is scaled with a number representing the test system's speed. The scores generated are much different from PCMark Vantage, and many manufacturers are predisposed to dislike it for that reason. It's hard to figure out how PCMark 7 "works" because it uses a sliding scale to generate scores. Still, it represents one of the best canned benchmarks for storage, and if nothing else, it helps reinforce the idea that the differences in modern SSD performance don't necessarily amount to a better user experience in average consumer workloads.

This test's storage benchmarks use Intel's IPEAK trace testing to evaluate performance over several scenarios. Representatives from several manufacturers have told us that PCMark 7 does a good job portraying average user workloads, which include things like media consumption and system maintenance.

The composite scores we're generating are pretty similar for most of the faster SSDs. In terms of percentage difference, the deltas are miniscule.

OCZ's Vector flagship and Plextor's M5 Pro sit at the head of the class, though all three Extreme IIs are in hot pursuit. They don't quite make it, but the 120 GB drive is around 2% behind; that's not much at all.

Futuremark's PCMark Vantage: Hard Drive Suite

PCMark's Vantage isn't the paragon of SSD testing, mainly just because it's old and wasn't designed for the massive performance solid-state technology enables. Intended to exploit the new features in Windows Vista, Vantage was certainly at the forefront of consumer storage benching at the time. Vantage works by taking the geometric mean of composite storage scores and then scaling them a lot like PCMark 7 does. But in Vantage's case, this scaling is achieved by arbitrarily multiplying the geometric sub-score mean by 214.65. That scaling factor is supposed to represent an average test system of the day (a system that's now close to a decade behind the times). PCMark 7 improves on this by creating a unique system-dependent scaling factor and newer trace technology. Why bother including this metric, then? A lot of folks prefer Vantage in spite of or because of the cartoonish scores and widespread adoption.

It'd be hyperbole to say that SanDisk crushes its competition, but the 240 GB Extreme II takes first place, the 480 GB model takes third, and the 120 GB version gets an honorable mention in fourth.

We'll single out that 120 GB repository again, even if high Vantage scores aren't really the best indicator of performance. Smaller amounts of transferred data over smaller LBA spaces seemingly play right into the nCache scheme's strengths.

Display all 40 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 0 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , June 6, 2013 10:33 PM
    Where's the 840/840 Pro?
    Also, you appear to have put one of the labels back on the wrong way round.
  • 0 Hide
    awez , June 6, 2013 10:50 PM
    My thoughts exactly, where's the 840 and 840 pro?
  • 0 Hide
    boulbox , June 7, 2013 12:34 AM
    I have always been a fan of Sandisk SSDs, can't wait until to try this out in someone else's build as they usually sell their products that is very acceptable for budgets.
  • 0 Hide
    Dixevil , June 7, 2013 12:44 AM
    heavy hitters with no 840pro
  • 0 Hide
    slomo4sho , June 7, 2013 12:52 AM
    I am also curious about the selection of the comparative models. Having the Extreme (not II) in the charts for comparison between the two generations would have been a welcomed addition along with the inclusion of the 840 series.
  • 1 Hide
    flong777 , June 7, 2013 12:59 AM
    I know a lot of people have already pointed this out but can't Tom's Hardware afford a damn 256 GB 840 Pro? I mean come on, it is the fastest SSD on the planet right now.
  • 0 Hide
    raidtarded , June 7, 2013 1:02 AM
    Seriously, what is the point of this article? The fastest car in the world is as Yugo if you dont test against a Lamborghini.
  • -1 Hide
    teh_gerbil , June 7, 2013 1:04 AM
    Why are there 2 of your most recent SSD reviews lack the Samsung 840/Pro? Are you being paid by the respective companies to avoid using them, as for both SSD's, as per other reviews I have read, the 840 Pro cr@ps all over both of them, but due to your lack of them, they're both top of your benchmarks! Very very bad benchmarking.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/vertex-450-256gb-review,3517.html
  • -1 Hide
    merikafyeah , June 7, 2013 3:47 AM
    Want an 840 Pro comparison and far more in-depth review?
    See here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7006/sandisk-extreme-ii-review-480gb

    It's Anand's new favorite SSD, and based on the results, I'm inclined to agree.
    It's peak performance is right up there with the 840 Pro, but what's really extreme is the drive's consistency. It's performance when the drive is close to full is unmatched.

    There are no high peaks accompanied by low valleys in performance when it comes to the Extreme II. It's pretty much smooth and fast sailing all the time, which in my book, places the Extreme II a step above the 840 Pro. The 840 Pro would have to be at least $30 cheaper than the Extreme II for me to even consider it over the Extreme II.
  • 0 Hide
    JPNpower , June 7, 2013 6:25 AM
    Why is the 840 Pro the fastest SSD on the planet? It has its share of drawbacks, and is slower than the OCZ Vector, and the Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme on many benchmarks. Don't make broad statemets that aren't always true.
  • 0 Hide
    JPNpower , June 7, 2013 6:33 AM
    To Toms,
    The "Heavy hitters" for modern SSDs include the fastest SSDs on the market right now, which are The Plextor M5 pro Xtreme, the OCZ Vector and Samsung 840 pro. Of these, you have only included the OCZ, and the slower version of the Plextor. Also, you have also included the old Crucial m4, which is a good drive, but old, and not one of the heavyweights now. At least include the improved "M500" version. I also find it confusing why you include the older Samsung 830.
    These are minor points though. Thank you for the great comparison. I look forward to more storage comparisons
  • 0 Hide
    Branden , June 7, 2013 7:02 AM
    you call the article "striking at the heavy-hitters" yet you don't compare it to THE heavy-hitter: the samsung 840 pro.
    that single omission itself made this review critically flawed.
  • 0 Hide
    povu , June 7, 2013 7:11 AM
    I'm still using a Sandisk Sansa Fuze mp3 player, good stuff.
  • 0 Hide
    bucknutty , June 7, 2013 7:18 AM
    About a year ago I got a Sandisk extreme 120gb on sale for $90. I knew it was not the fastest drive or the most high-end drive, but the price was right. It has been running 12-15 hours a day every day for the past year and it works great. Its fast for video editing and loading video games, and that's all I wanted it. Sandisk has put out 3 updated firmwares in that time as well as a little, ssd health program, so you can monitor your read writes, update the firmware or check the ssd for errors. I feel that I got a great value for my $90.
  • 0 Hide
    foolishone , June 7, 2013 8:55 AM
    Tom's you really need to stop referring to these components as SandForce. It was acquired by LSI 17 months ago.
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , June 7, 2013 12:29 PM
    We're working on getting Christopher multiple capacities of the 840 Pro to add to his library of drives. We have nothing against the 840 Pro. In fact, the rest of our staff is using them as our reference for 2013. The fact that Christopher doesn't have one is simply an artifact of him recently coming on-board as our consumer SSD editor.
    Thanks,
    Chris
  • 1 Hide
    computertech82 , June 7, 2013 3:40 PM
    I would REALLY like to see RELIABILITY, NOT about just speed reviews. Like the 840 pro that has MANY post on newegg about dying drives (and other models/makes as well). CORSAIR is the only one that doesn't but they also don't have that many post.
  • 0 Hide
    danwat1234 , June 8, 2013 1:04 AM
    Why wasn't the Intel X25-m G2 SSD in these benchmarks? It's still a very good reliable drive and I'm interested in how it compares in random reads/writes.

    What we are seeing is stagnation. We have a great Marvell controller, Indilinx Barefoot 2 controllwer and a solide Sandforce 2000 series controllered SSDs.
    I'm waiting for the next generation, maybe for the Sandforce/LSI 3000 series controllers that can do 200,000 IOPS! Google it. Though that drive was using a PCIe 4x interface rather than SATA but it was in the 2.5" drive form factor.
  • 0 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , June 8, 2013 3:13 AM
    200K IOPS is 800MB/s of 4K transfers. Not going to happen on SATA 6Gb/s which is 600MB/s MAX, including overhead, after 8b/10b encoding.
  • 0 Hide
    danwat1234 , June 8, 2013 5:46 AM
    I agree with you but it would finally be an SSD that would saturate the SATA 3 interface with Tomshardware's 'Storage bench 1.0'. Right now the fastest SSD maintains an average speed of 268MB/s. Probably significantly faster real world desktop traces too and PCmark.
    Maybe increase queue depth of 1 4KB random reads and write speeds too. So far I've only seen as high as about 30MB/s 4K random read with a queue depth of 1 on Crystaldisk Mark.
Display more comments