60/64 GB SSD Shootout: Crucial, Samsung, And SandForce

Benchmark Results: 4 KB Random Performance

If there’s one thing we've learned from deconstructing the traces of a number of games and productivity apps, it’s that queue depth generally stays at one when you’re using an SSD. For that reason, we’re revamping our random read, random write, sequential read, and sequential write tests. If you're unfamiliar with those terms and what they represent, you can refer back to page three of SSD Performance In Crysis 2, World Of Warcraft, And Civilization V.

In the past, we've tested random transfers by benchmarking with four workers active in Iometer. This mimics threaded environment, as each worker represents a different application accessing the drive. However, that approach also ends up overstating the results because four workers with one outstanding I/O operation each translates into a queue depth of four. In order to make things more realistic, we cut the number of workers to one, actually yielding a queue depth of one.

Random Reads (example tasks: Antivirus Scanning, Word Typing)

At a queue depth of one, the 64 GB 830 continues to nip at the heels of Crucial's 128 GB m4, while the 64 GB m4 follows close behind. The slowest drives are the two 60 GB SF-22xx-based SSDs.

As we scale up queue depth, the 60 GB SandForce-based drives continue turning in relatively poor results. Even at a queue depth of 32, neither drive is able to break the 100 MB/s barrier.

Interestingly, Samsung’s 64 GB 830 performs just as fast as its larger-capacity relative at higher queue depths. That’s not the same story with the m4s, which jockey for position.

Random Writes (example tasks: Email Downloading, WinRAR Compression, Web Browsing)

Here, we see the m4s scale fairly well with capacity once you move up to a queue depth of two or greater. With one outstanding I/O operation, there’s only a 16 MB/s delta between the best (60 GB SandForce-based drive with asynchronous memory) and worst (64 GB m4) performers.

At higher queue depths, both 60 GB SandForce-based offerings start to pull ahead of the pack, but performance starts to tank at a queue depth of 16. Meanwhile, Samsung’s 64 GB 830 performs consistently at ~75 MB/s across all queue depths. The 64 GB m4 is about 25 MB/s faster.

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  • GhosT94
    what about ocz vertex 3 ?
    -1
  • acku
    GhosT94what about ocz vertex 3 ?

    Read page 2.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
    6
  • Anonymous
    Wow. Absolutely wonderful article. I did second guess my decision on SSD for my next build for a few. But honestly I'm just using it as a boot drive.
    2
  • acku
    kixofmyg0tWow. Absolutely wonderful article. I did second guess my decision on SSD for my next build for a few. But honestly I'm just using it as a boot drive.


    Glad to hear that!

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
    1
  • xtreme5
    gr888888!
    0
  • rossi004
    Ok, so I have the whole SSD for boot, HDD for storage and less intensive programs, but I have a practicality question:

    Is there a way to have files and programs automatically downloaded, installed, and run from the HDD without doing it manually every time if I have the SSD as the base drive?
    0
  • james_1978
    rossi004Ok, so I have the whole SSD for boot, HDD for storage and less intensive programs, but I have a practicality question:Is there a way to have files and programs automatically downloaded, installed, and run from the HDD without doing it manually every time if I have the SSD as the base drive?


    You can move your personal folders to your HDD (my documents, my music, downloads, ...), so downloads will end up there automaticaly, but programs will go to your C drive (SSD) by default.
    1
  • james_1978
    james_1978You can move your personal folders to your HDD (my documents, my music, downloads, ...), so downloads will end up there automaticaly, but programs will go to your C drive (SSD) by default.

    Ok, sorry, but actually you can move your program files by editing the registry:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/6643-63-windows-boot-drive-user-files-program-files-normal
    Moving only user files is far easier nevertheless, just using "move" in the folder properties...
    0
  • james_1978
    james_1978Ok, sorry, but actually you can move your program files by editing the registry:Moving only user files is far easier nevertheless, just using "move" in the folder properties...

    "Add an url" didn't quite work for me :-)
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/6643-63-windows-boot-drive-user-files-program-files-normal
    0
  • Soul_keeper
    nice article

    Worth mentioning, plextor PX-M3S are micron based and use toggle nand
    I don't think they make a 64GB version however
    0
  • exban224
    Are the tests on the m4 with the new firmware, if not then is you update the firmware the m4 is overall better. 120gb sandforce speeds anyone in a 64gb package.
    0
  • ojas
    Hey great in-depth article Andrew, really liked it!

    BTW: Intel lists different IOPS for its drives. They say, for example, that:
    Random Write (8GB Span)=21000 IOPS
    Random Write (100% Span)=600 IOPS

    Reads seem to be unaffected. What's this about?


    p.s. The graphs in any article (in general) aren't readable using the iOS app :( have to open it in safari then use the reader...and some comments aren't displayed entirely...i'm using an ipod touch, maybe it works fine on a tablet? :O Just thought i'd let someone know, didn't who develops the app...
    0
  • Dacatak
    What kind of flash does Super Talent use in their 64GB SATA III drives? They are hardly any slower than the higher capacity drives, which shows lower capacity doesn't always have to mean lower speed.
    0
  • burnley14
    Confirms my good decision to buy the 64GB m4! :)
    0
  • john4real4ipok
    my Nokia 2688 is hot and faitning
    1
  • a4mula
    http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/08/07/nand_flash_faces_off_synchronous_vs_asynchronous/1

    Something that isn't even mentioned in the article is how full these drives were when benched. A fresh installed SSD with most of its capacity available will perform wonderfully. In real world scenarios where the drive is at 50% capacity however, the asynchronous drives performance falls off the map while the synchronous drives continue to perform well.

    Another issue that really could have been tackled here is RAID0 and performance per dollar of the 60/64GB drives vs their 128/256GB counterparts. I know there is a RAID0 scaling article already out there it would have been nice to see that incorporated here.

    Looking strictly at these benches it would seem as though a 256 m4 is the automatic choice. Maybe straight out of the box, not taking RAID0 into consideration that's the case. Once the drives start filling and considering the near 100% scaling of RAID I think you'd come to a different conclusion.
    2
  • peevee
    So, it is pretty clear that at the current flash density 64GB is both too slow (even slower than an old-tech HDD in some cases!) and too inconvenient (fits almost nothing you want to be faster).
    If you cannot afford at least 120GB, just wait and save money, with money saving and prices falling soon you will be able to buy it and enjoy your speed with almost everything except videos and backups/archives (for which HDDs are absolutely adequate).
    Or 240GB better yet.
    2
  • BlackHawk91
    *&^*&, should have bought it back on Black Friday when it was $100 bundled with Batman: Arkham City, but didn't had the money at the time.
    0
  • Reynod
    Thanks Andrew.

    I'm getting a Samsung ... this looks to good to miss as a new boot drive, and I'll keep my Momentus XT for storage.

    I'm thinking of 2 of the Seagates in RAID0.

    Does that seem good value for the money ?

    cheers.

    :)
    1
  • jjb8675309
    I have had a single crucial m4 64 GB running for a little over a year now as a rock solid and fast OS/APP drive
    0