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Results: 4 KB Random Performance

SanDisk X210 256 And 512 GB: Enthusiast Speed; OEM Reliability
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We turn to Iometer as our synthetic metric of choice for testing 4 KB random performance. Technically, "random" translates to a consecutive access that occurs more than one sector away. On a mechanical hard disk, this can lead to significant latencies that hammer performance. Spinning media simply handles sequential accesses much better than random ones, since the heads don't have to be physically repositioned. With SSDs, the random/sequential access distinction is much less relevant. Data is put wherever the controller wants it, so the idea that the operating system sees one piece of information next to another is mostly an illusion.

4 KB Random Reads

Testing the performance of SSDs often emphasizes 4 KB random reads, and for good reason. Most system accesses are both small and random. Moreover, read performance trumps the importance of writes when you're talking about typical client workloads.

We see the first hint that SanDisk's physically-similar drives are in fact like each other in other ways, too. All four SSDs trace identical lines though the chart, up until a queue depth of 32 where the Extreme IIs punch a bit higher and the X210s fall a bit lower.

4 KB Random Writes

Random write performance is also important. Early SSDs didn't do well in this discipline, seizing up even in light workloads. Newer models wield more than 100x the performance of drives from 2007, though we also recognize that there's a point of diminishing returns on the desktop.

In this benchmark, the delta between SanDisk's SSDs is significant. Our pair of X210s loses big to the incumbent Extreme IIs. What do we make of this? Not much, actually. To explain, let's flash back to a chart from the Extreme II review.

You see, using the 16 GB LBA space we test in, performance is tempered. This happens when we work with drives like Intel's SF-2281-based line-up, but in this case, SanDisk's nCache system is the most likely culprit.

So why isn't the X210's 50,000 IOPS such a big deal to us? SanDisk conservatively rates the X210 at just 60,000 4 KB write IOPS. Hitting 50,000 using a 16 GB LBA space turns out to be pretty good.

Here's a break-down of the maximum observed 4 KB sequential read and write performance with Iometer. The order the drives appear in our chart is determined by maximum combined read and write performance.

If you understood what was happening in the preceding paragraphs, it won't surprise you to see the X210s finishing just under the 120 GB Extreme II (not to mention a number of higher-profile aftermarket SSDs).

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  • 1 Hide
    vertexx , January 15, 2014 3:15 AM
    I logged onto Tom's this morning totally expecting a Kaveri review. What's up?
  • 2 Hide
    TeraMedia , January 15, 2014 9:00 AM
    Is the warranty 5 years or 3? Last page says one thing, an early page says another.Decent review, decent drives. Has THG considered doing something similar to what the car mags do, where they take certain products and use them for a year? It would be great to capture that kind of longer-term info on certain types of products, especially the kind that wear out (ODDs, fans, cases, HDDs, SSDs, etc.).
  • 1 Hide
    Quarkzquarkz , January 15, 2014 9:05 AM
    What about Samsung SSD pro 512GB? I bought 2 of these and on that chart is only 128 and 256GB
  • -1 Hide
    vmem , January 15, 2014 9:07 AM
    @vertexxthere isn't anything particularly exciting about Kaveri going by Anand's review. I shall want for the A10 version with higher clocks
  • 2 Hide
    smeezekitty , January 15, 2014 11:05 AM
    MLC with 5k write endurance!And affordable and fast?We may very well have a new solid contender in the SSD world
  • 1 Hide
    eklipz330 , January 15, 2014 3:47 PM
    anandtech has one? sweeeet, later tom's!
  • 3 Hide
    RedJaron , January 15, 2014 3:52 PM
    I agree with Chris. I don't need the fastest bench speeds in a SSD. Most models now are very fast and the user won't see the performance difference. I want reliability and longevity. Looks like this is a smart choice for any new builder.
  • 2 Hide
    Phillip Wager , January 15, 2014 9:54 PM
    sweet finally another company that can compete with intel's 5 year warrenty!
  • 2 Hide
    jake_westmorley , January 16, 2014 2:31 AM
    Can we PLEASE have some normal graphs for once? The graph on page 5 in stupid 3D is so bad it's comical. The "perspective" effect completely screws with the data. This has zero added value and is almost as bad as still using clipart.
  • -1 Hide
    Duff165 , January 16, 2014 2:35 AM
    I find it hard to believe that the author has had "literally dozens of SSd's die" on him over the years. This would suggest that many systems have contributed to the demise of many of the SSD's being used, which seems somewhat outlandish. Just the cost factor involved in the purchase of so many SSD's and then having over a dozen of them fail, supposedly also from various companies, since if they were all from the same company it would not really be conducive to good sales. One, or maybe two I could live with, but dozens? No.
  • 1 Hide
    jabliese , January 16, 2014 9:18 AM
    @Duff165 I would respond to your ignorance, but I really, really dislike this "new" comment system that Tom's has foisted on us.
  • 0 Hide
    smeezekitty , January 16, 2014 11:02 AM
    Quote:
    @Duff165 I would respond to your ignorance, but I really, really dislike this "new" comment system that Tom's has foisted on us.


    Agreed. Now it is truly screwed more than ever.
    WTH is will the continuously scrolled unrelated articles, dropped newlines and just plain broken comments.
  • 2 Hide
    RedJaron , January 16, 2014 11:23 AM
    Quote:
    I find it hard to believe that the author has had "literally dozens of SSd's die" on him over the years. ... One, or maybe two I could live with, but dozens? No.

    For the typical user that only has a few systems at the same time, yes. For someone who works with dozens of systems, the chance for one of them to fail goes up. Constantly building, testing, and reconfiguring machines means you're constantly imaging and re-imaging drives, which wears them out much faster than normal. Perhaps it was a little exaggerated, but it's definitely possible
  • 0 Hide
    tripleX , January 16, 2014 7:05 PM
    Lol. All of the work that went into making page 5 seem like some super-complicated test. That is just HDTune, which can be ran with the click of a button and hardly requires and entire page and horrible graph for explanation.
  • 1 Hide
    stewieco , January 17, 2014 9:08 AM
    Question: Can this drive be used on a personal laptop??
  • 2 Hide
    smeezekitty , January 18, 2014 2:53 PM
    Quote:
    Question: Can this drive be used on a personal laptop??


    I don't see why not
  • 0 Hide
    LFDRTechPro , January 20, 2014 5:14 PM
    There's actually a pretty huge difference between MLC-SLC translator based emulation and the way that tlc can behave electronically(physically) as SLC independently at the bottom of the translation layer. MLC-emulation has a partially positive and partially negative effect on translator stability, but with a robust controller(Marvell), the net effect on reliability is positive.With TLC as SLC, the effect is nearly perfectly proportionate to having SLC physically present.In fact, it is possible(with manufacturer tools) to take just about any TLC device like a 64GB usb flash drive and make it electronically indistinguishable(nearly) to a ~22Gb TLC flash drive in respect to performance, endurance, etc...MLC emulation is much more nuanced.
  • -1 Hide
    mwearl , January 20, 2014 6:52 PM
    @Duff165. It's very believable that the author could have had dozens of SSD failures, especially if he used some brands like Mushkin. We were building systems using their 120GB SSDs and had nearly 75% failure rate within the first 6 months. Since then, we have used primarily Kingston with a few Intel and Crucial SSDs and haven't had a single failure since.
  • -1 Hide
    mwearl , January 20, 2014 6:54 PM
    @Duff165. It's very believable that the author could have had dozens of SSD failures, especially if he used some brands like Mushkin. We were building systems using their 120GB SSDs and had nearly 75% failure rate within the first 6 months. Since then, we have used primarily Kingston with a few Intel and Crucial SSDs and haven't had a single failure since.
  • 2 Hide
    gwolfman , January 21, 2014 10:31 AM
    Since the major difference between the X210 and the Extreme II is the firmware, can you please test the Extreme II on the new DriveMaster TRIM test and see if they behave the same? SanDisk just turned into a new favorable option for me for my next drive.
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