Results: Power Consumption
Idle Power Consumption
Idle consumption is the most important power metric for consumer and client SSDs. After all, solid-state drives complete host commands quickly, and then drop back down to idle. Aside from the occasional background garbage collection, a modern SSD spends most of its life doing very little. Enterprise-oriented drives are more frequently used at full tilt, making their idle power numbers far less relevant. But this just isn't the case on the desktop, where the demands of client and consumer computing leave most SSDs sitting on their hands for long stretches of time.
Active idle power numbers are critical, especially when it comes to their impact on mobile platforms. Idle means different things on different systems, though. Pretty much every drive we're testing is capable of one or more low-power states, up to and including DevSleep. DevSleep is a part of the SATA 3.2 host specification, and while it requires a capable SSD and a compatible platform, enabling it takes storage down to very little power use. This is why we test active idle; it's easy to identify and is still where SSDs spend most of their time.
The A110 poses special issues where power consumption testing is concerned, since its PCIe nature makes it difficult to measure. Fortunately, the x4 PCIe-to-M.2 PCIe adapter we have lets us power the drive using external power, via four-pin Molex connector. That makes taking a reading easier, though we're not certain yet whether the accuracy is affected.
PCMark 7 Average Power Consumption
If we log power consumption through a workload, even a relatively heavy one, we see that average use is still pretty close to the idle numbers. Max power may spike fiercely, but the usage seen during a PCMark 7 run is pretty light. You can see the drives fall back down to the idle "floor" between peaks of varying intensity.
The A110 spends most of its time at the idle power state we measured, but increases from there. The spikes are super-short though, telling us that SanDisk's drive does what it's asked and then drops back to idle quickly. PCMark 7 doesn't tax the A110 much at all.
In fact, the A110 uses just slightly more power, on average, in this workload than it did in our idle measurement. As a result, it moves up this chart.
Maximum Observed Power Consumption
It's even better news that maximum power consumption isn't a critical specification for most desktop workloads. In the enterprise space, yes. This information goes into the calculation for total cost of ownership. But in a client environment, you shouldn't be seeing these numbers for more than short bursts.
No matter what tortuous workload we threw at it, the 256 GB A110 wouldn't use more than 3.5 W. SanDisk rates the drive for up to 5.5 W in write tasks, but we were unable to approach that figure.
Samsung actually has some pretty awesome M.2 PCIe action going on. We're trying to get our hands on everything, so stay tuned.
You'll really see NVMe take off on the desktop with the move towards SATA Express. A SSD on SATA Express will leverage NVMe and two PCIe Gen 3 lanes. Though some motherboards will (and already do) have M.2 connectors, M.2 really makes more sense in mobile applications. M.2 will only get traction on the desktop insofar as it will begin to replace mSATA. Tons of mainboards, especially smaller form factor products embrace mSATA, and moving to M.2 is a natural transition. However, M.2 drives are hard to find right now, and we really won't see a plethora of options until next year.
and it should have samsung M.2 in some countries..
That's what I was thinking. SATA Express is going to be fast enough for now as I have used PCIe SSDs before (OCZ Revo based drive) and compared to my 520 its hard to notice a difference, especially since there are other bottlenecks stopping it from being able to utilize that bandwidth.
This will be great for ultra portable systems though and ITX systems.
Absolutely... just send it my way and consider it done.
I don't think so b/c it's already way above 6G limit.