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Results: Tom's Hardware Storage Bench v1.0

Transcend SSD340 256 GB Review: Now With JMicron Inside
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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 is 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.

As I spent time with Transcend's 256 GB SSD340, it became increasingly apparent to me that this SSD is a lot like Crucial's old m4. Obviously it employs a different controller and flash. However, it seems to be right there with the m4 in a lot of my performance benchmarks.

This is one of them. The SSD340 slots in just behind that once-favorite from 2011. Eventually, Crucial replaced the m4 with its M500, and that model doesn't land but a few slots away. That Transcend can hang with this contingent is laudable, given the tools (or lack thereof) it's working with.

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  • -4 Hide
    blackmagnum , July 28, 2014 12:37 AM
    A lot of new SSDs lately on Tom's. Where are the DDR4 SDRAM reviews?
  • 0 Hide
    leo2kp , July 28, 2014 4:49 AM
    Should the Sequential chart be in MB/s instead of IOPS?
  • 0 Hide
    leo2kp , July 28, 2014 4:49 AM
    Should the Sequential chart be in MB/s instead of IOPS?
  • 0 Hide
    leo2kp , July 28, 2014 4:50 AM
    Ugh duplicate. Sry ><
  • 1 Hide
    anthony8989 , July 28, 2014 7:54 AM
    Great article, much appreciated!

    In the conclusion you put:
    Quote:
    the M500 has one feature the SSD340 lacks: TCG Opal 2.0 and Microsoft eDrive support


    That would be two features!
  • -3 Hide
    Tanquen , July 28, 2014 11:04 AM
    "There's a good chance you won't notice the difference between a fast SATA 6Gb/s SSD and something plugged into M.2. And this is from a guy who tests SSDs all day, every day."

    There is a good chance you won’t notice the difference between a “fast” SSD and a hard disk in the day to day life of a PC.
  • 3 Hide
    user 18 , July 28, 2014 11:19 AM
    Quote:
    "There's a good chance you won't notice the difference between a fast SATA 6Gb/s SSD and something plugged into M.2. And this is from a guy who tests SSDs all day, every day."

    There is a good chance you won’t notice the difference between a “fast” SSD and a hard disk in the day to day life of a PC.


    I don't think that's accurate. I have two otherwise-identical laptops, one with an SSD for its boot drive and one with a HDD. The one with the SSD is hands down faster in program launches, file opening, and other read/write tasks.

    I've also compared fresh installs of multiple OSs (Windows 7, Linux Mint 16, Ubuntu 14.04) between hard drive and SSD, as well as comparing them to my old Windows 7 install on a relatively slow SSD, and none of the fresh installs on hard drives even came close in speed to the old and bloated install on the SSD.

    I'm sorry that you haven't experienced the difference between a SSD and a HDD, I do truly believe it is the single most important upgrade one can make to their PC.
  • -3 Hide
    Tanquen , July 28, 2014 12:08 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    "There's a good chance you won't notice the difference between a fast SATA 6Gb/s SSD and something plugged into M.2. And this is from a guy who tests SSDs all day, every day."

    There is a good chance you won’t notice the difference between a “fast” SSD and a hard disk in the day to day life of a PC.


    I don't think that's accurate. I have two otherwise-identical laptops, one with an SSD for its boot drive and one with a HDD. The one with the SSD is hands down faster in program launches, file opening, and other read/write tasks.

    I've also compared fresh installs of multiple OSs (Windows 7, Linux Mint 16, Ubuntu 14.04) between hard drive and SSD, as well as comparing them to my old Windows 7 install on a relatively slow SSD, and none of the fresh installs on hard drives even came close in speed to the old and bloated install on the SSD.

    I'm sorry that you haven't experienced the difference between a SSD and a HDD, I do truly believe it is the single most important upgrade one can make to their PC.


    Lots of upgrades can be important depending where you are at with each component. If you have a slow low power 2.5” hard disk in your laptop then an SSD can help. But I’m looking at all other things being equal and SSDs just don’t help that much when you have a fast 3.5” HD. When I compare the same tasks on my old PC with a HD that has a good 150MB+ read write speed and other than benchmarking the Windows boot time and a few large apps starting up it just not a big deal. Even then you have to clock it and see that it took 30 seconds and not 38. In my day to day work I just don’t notice. You have to set there and clock the Windows startup time. Are my work VMware sessions any faster, do my games start any faster? No, not really. I have even played around with a 50GB RAM drive with 3000MB+ read/write speeds and my games and VMware sessions are just about the same. Windows and the apps are waiting on other things and the bottleneck is just moved elsewhere. All my games are on my supper fast 400MB+ SSD and when my friend comes over he plays on my poor old HD base PC with slower RAM and slower CPU and a slower GPU and all the different games we play together I load the games maybe a few seconds before he does and with some games there is no difference.
  • 0 Hide
    nekromobo , July 30, 2014 2:47 AM
    Tanguen thats because your slow machine isn't loading the full size textures, meches and running the game on maxed settings. Can't you just think about it before talking from your *!#.

    Your almost never going to be doing sequential write/read for 150MB+ on a HDD and that random read/write will just kill that speed.