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Results: Tom's Hardware Storage Bench

SanDisk X210 256 And 512 GB: Enthusiast Speed; OEM Reliability
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Storage Bench v1.0 (Background Info)

Our Storage Bench incorporates all of the I/O from a trace recorded over two weeks. The process of replaying this sequence to capture performance gives us a bunch of numbers that aren't really intuitive at first glance. Most idle time gets expunged, leaving only the time that each benchmarked drive was actually busy working on host commands. So, by taking the ratio of that busy time and the the amount of data exchanged during the trace, we arrive at an average data rate (in MB/s) metric we can use to compare drives.

It's not quite a perfect system. The original trace captures the TRIM command in transit, but since the trace is played on a drive without a file system, TRIM wouldn't work even if it were sent during the trace replay (which, sadly, it isn't). Still, trace testing is a great way to capture periods of actual storage activity, a great companion to synthetic testing like Iometer.

Incompressible Data and Storage Bench v1.0

Also worth noting is the fact that our trace testing pushes incompressible data through the system's buffers to the drive getting benchmarked. So, when the trace replay plays back write activity, it's writing largely incompressible data. If we run our storage bench on a SandForce-based SSD, we can monitor the SMART attributes for a bit more insight.

Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120 GB
SMART Attributes
RAW Value Increase
#242 Host Reads (in GB)
84 GB
#241 Host Writes (in GB)
142 GB
#233 Compressed NAND Writes (in GB)
149 GB

Host reads are greatly outstripped by host writes to be sure. That's all baked into the trace. But with SandForce's inline deduplication/compression, you'd expect that the amount of information written to flash would be less than the host writes (unless the data is mostly incompressible, of course). For every 1 GB the host asked to be written, Mushkin's drive is forced to write 1.05 GB.

If our trace replay was just writing easy-to-compress zeros out of the buffer, we'd see writes to NAND as a fraction of host writes. This puts the tested drives on a more equal footing, regardless of the controller's ability to compress data on the fly.

Average Data Rate

The Storage Bench trace generates more than 140 GB worth of writes during testing. Obviously, this tends to penalize drives smaller than 180 GB and reward those with more than 256 GB of capacity.

I haven't included the 120 GB SanDisk Extreme II in many of the highlighted charts, but the drive might be instructive here. Why do SanDisk's Extreme II and X210s at similar capacity points fall behind by such a small, even margin? Is it the lower 4 KB random performance at higher queue depths? Is it the Extreme II's additional over-provisioning? I suspect the former more than the latter, though that's honestly speculation on my part. It's clear that this trace doesn't generate enough writes to dramatically slow SSDs larger than 180 GB, so the fact that one drive has more over-provisioning probably won't help much in terms of average throughput.

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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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