LSI SAS 9300-8e & HGST Ultrastar SSD800MM: 12 Gb/s SAS, Tested

Test Setup, Benchmarks, And Methodology

Test Hardware
ProcessorIntel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E), 32 nm, 3.3 GHz, LGA 2011, 15 MB Shared L3, Turbo Boost Enabled
Motherboard
Intel DX79SI, X79 Express
Memory
G.Skill Ripjaws Z-Series (4 x 4 GB) DDR3-1600 @ DDR3-1600, 1.5 V
System Drive
Intel SSD 320 160 GB SATA 3Gb/s
Host Bus Adapter
LSI SAS 9300-8e
LSI SAS 9207-8i

Tested Drives
HGST SSD800MM, 400 GB
Graphics
AMD FirePro V4800 1 GB
Power Supply
OCZ ModXStream Pro 700 W
System Software and Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 x64 Ultimate
DirectXDirectX 11
DriverGraphics: ATI 8.883
Benchmark Suite
Iometer v1.1.0
4 Workers, 4 KB Random: LBA=Full, Span Varying Queue Depths
ATTO
v2.4.7, 2 GB, QD=4
Custom
C++, 8 MB Sequential, QD=4
Enterprise Testing: Iometer Workloads
Read
Write
512 Bytes
1 KB
2 KB
4 KB
8 KB
16 KB
32 KB
64 KB
128 KB
512 KB
Database
67%
100%
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
100%
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
File Server
80%
100%
10%
5%
5%
60%
2%
4%
4%
10%
n/a
n/a
Web Server
100%
100%
22%
15%
8%
23%
15%
2%
6%
7%
1%
1%

The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), a working group made up of SSD, flash, and controller vendors, has a testing procedure that attempts to control as many of the variables inherent to SSDs as possible. SNIA’s Solid State Storage Performance Test Specification (SSS PTS) is a great resource for enterprise SSD testing. The procedure does not define what tests should be run, but rather the way in which they are run. This workflow is broken down into four parts:

  1. Purge: Purging puts the drive at a known starting point. For SSDs, this normally means Secure Erase.
  2. Workload-Independent Preconditioning: A prescribed workload that is unrelated to the test workload.
  3. Workload-Based Preconditioning: The actual test workload (4 KB random, 128 KB sequential, and so on), which pushes the drive towards a steady state.
  4. Steady State: The point at which the drive’s performance is no longer changing for the variable being tracked.

These steps are critical when testing SSDs. It’s incredibly easy to not fully condition the drive and still observe out-of-box behavior, which may lead one to think that it’s steady-state. These steps are also important when going between random and sequential writes.

For all performance tests in this review, the SSS PTS was followed to ensure accurate and repeatable results.

All tests employ random data, when available. HGST's SSD800MM does not perform any data compression prior to writing, so there is no difference in performance-based data patterns.

Because we are not just reviewing the SSD800MM, but also LSI's SAS 9300-8e, we needed an HBA comparison as well. For that, we're using LSI's SAS 9207-8i and the built-in 6 Gb/s SATA ports on our Intel DX79SI motherboard. This will tell us how the new SAS 9300-8i compares to LSI's 6 Gb/s products, and how well the SSD800MM does at 6 Gb/s.

It should also be noted that our SAS 9300-8e isn't running production firmware. This didn't cause any issues, as far as we can tell, but LSI says there will be updates between now and when the card is commercially available.

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13 comments
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  • slomo4sho
    Now only if this technology was viable for home builds. :( Maybe in a couple years?
    0
  • major-error
    The performance and relative maturity of this prototype drive certainly is impressive, but this is what the enterprise space demands.
    At the consumer level though, the article takes on a completely different tone--I would be very surprised if we don't start seeing mention of PCIe4 at/before the top of the next CPU cycle (so, in 24-36 months at most.)
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  • raidtarded
    Actually, Adaptec already saturated PCIe 3.0 with 6GB/s. The chart is incorrect, it doesn't take 12Gb/s to saturate the PCIe bus. Well, not for Adaptec.
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  • falcompsx
    Remember when mechanical hard drives struggled to saturate their interfaces? Times sure have changed with SSD tech.
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  • CaedenV
    Anonymous said:
    The performance and relative maturity of this prototype drive certainly is impressive, but this is what the enterprise space demands.
    At the consumer level though, the article takes on a completely different tone--I would be very surprised if we don't start seeing mention of PCIe4 at/before the top of the next CPU cycle (so, in 24-36 months at most.)


    Ya, my bet is that we will not start to see SATA4 or PCIe4 until Skymont at the earliest. Considering it is looking like Broadwell may be pushed back due to 14nm die shrink issues I would bet that Skymont will have similar issues when moving to 10nm. But at least for home users you can cram 2 SSDs in RAID0 with a proper RAID card and get a little performance boost until then. I guess the only problem is that most people are going to use the onboard Intel RAID for RAID0, which will get you a killer synthetic benchmark, but in practical reality it is really just expanding your volume with very little speed benefit.
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  • kj3639
    Go HGST! WOO!!!!
    0
  • bit_user
    * wipes drool off floor *

    That's a quality review of some quality products. I like the insights shared, throughout. I especially appreciated the link to the SATA-Express paper. Thanks!

    MORE REVIEWS LIKE THIS!!
    :)
    0
  • bit_user
    Anonymous said:
    Actually, Adaptec already saturated PCIe 3.0 with 6GB/s. The chart is incorrect, it doesn't take 12Gb/s to saturate the PCIe bus. Well, not for Adaptec.
    How many ports and how many lanes, though? If it's just a 8-port card, the math doesn't support that, as 6x8 = 48 Gbps, which is less than the 8 x 8 = 64 Gbps that a x8 PCIe 3.0 slot should carry.
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  • raidtarded
    It is the equivalent of a nuke bomb compared to the LSI products. It has 24 Native ports.
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Actually, Adaptec already saturated PCIe 3.0 with 6GB/s. The chart is incorrect, it doesn't take 12Gb/s to saturate the PCIe bus. Well, not for Adaptec.
    How many ports and how many lanes, though? If it's just a 8-port card, the math doesn't support that, as 6x8 = 48 Gbps, which is less than the 8 x 8 = 64 Gbps that a x8 PCIe 3.0 slot should carry.
    0
  • raidtarded
    It is a 24 port native raid controller. smokes the 4 ports.
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  • drewriley
    Anonymous said:
    Anonymous said:
    Actually, Adaptec already saturated PCIe 3.0 with 6GB/s. The chart is incorrect, it doesn't take 12Gb/s to saturate the PCIe bus. Well, not for Adaptec.
    How many ports and how many lanes, though? If it's just a 8-port card, the math doesn't support that, as 6x8 = 48 Gbps, which is less than the 8 x 8 = 64 Gbps that a x8 PCIe 3.0 slot should carry.


    The graph is slightly misleading because it includes some assumptions. I mentioned the x8 assumption, and you found the other major one, which limits it to 8 port cards. Also, they list the SAS throughput with 8b/10b taken into account.
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  • drewriley
    Anonymous said:
    It is a 24 port native raid controller. smokes the 4 ports.


    I personally love the Adaptec 72405, it is amazing that they can provide 24 native ports and absolutely amazing sequential performance. But, when you look at external connectivity, there isn't a ton of difference. Adaptec has a version with 16 external ports, or 16x6Gbps, which is 96Gbps. LSI has an 8 port version, which gives you 8x12Gbps, or 96Gbps. While Adaptec allows you to connect more drives without the use of expanders, LSI allows you to get better performance per drive. I really like the fact that we have two companies catering to high-end RAID that offer different solutions, which gives us, the customer, the most flexibility.
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  • drewriley
    Anonymous said:
    * wipes drool off floor *

    That's a quality review of some quality products. I like the insights shared, throughout. I especially appreciated the link to the SATA-Express paper. Thanks!

    MORE REVIEWS LIKE THIS!!
    :)


    Thank you, I appreciate the feedback!
    0