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Results: Robocopy File Transfer

Hands-On With Silicon Motion's New SSD Controller

File Copy Performance with Microsoft Robocopy

Microsoft's Robocopy, a CLI directory replication command, gradually replaced the older xcopy. It's multi-threaded, has a ton of options, and generally outperforms vanilla Windows copy operations. Best of all, it's built right in to Redmond's operating system. Especially useful for network copy operations and backups, Robocopy doesn't stop to ask you one hundred questions while it copies over your music collection, either.

The reality of benchmarking file copy performance is that you need something fast to move data from and fast hardware to move it to. This is most important with SSDs. It doesn't matter if your drive can write sequentially at 500 MB/s if the source files are hosted on a USB 2.0-attached external hard drive. We're copying our test files from an Intel SSD DC S3700 to the drives in the chart below, taking source speed out of the equation.

There are 9065 files comprising the 16.2 GB payload. Some of the files are huge (up to 2 GB), while others are best described as tiny. On average, that's around 1.8 MB per file. The files are a mix of music, program, pictures, and random file types.

It's fair to say that this chart would look much different if we were copying from a hard drive to a SSD. Even if the disk drive's sequential throughput wasn't a bottleneck, it'd still choke on the smaller files.

Silicon Motion's reference platform doesn't tear the roof off, but it does slot in between the 840 Pro 128 GB and Extreme II 120 GB again.

It's impossible for us to guess just how manufacturers leveraging the SM2246EN controller will fare once derivative drives start appearing. With the speedy Type C Toshiba Toggle-mode flash our prototype uses, performance is on par with most mainstream 256 GB and larger models. If a vendor decides to use three-bit-per-cell NAND, all bets are off. Furthermore, with 64 Gb dies, the little four-channel controller is limited to 256 GB of capacity. A shift to 128 Gb density makes it possible to hit 512 GB. The configuration we have is decidedly the sweet spot, though.

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