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A 1400 MB/s SSD: ASRock's Z97 Extreme6 And Samsung's XP941

Results: PCMark 8 Storage Consistency Test

PCMark 8's Storage Consistency test is fast becoming my favorite canned benchmark. Usually, that's code for lazy benchmarking. But the folks at Futuremark really came up with something stellar using PCMark 8's real-world workloads. What we end up with are trace-based tests played back to back, with specific conditioning that happens prior to each round. I've gone into a lot of depth on this in past reviews, so if you'd like to know more, I invite you to go back and read the background page.

PCMark 8 Storage Consistency Test: Bandwidth

PCMark 8's Adobe Photoshop (Heavy) trace is far and away the most intensive of the trace bundle. That's why we use it to show latency and bandwidth data for each of the 18 constituent rounds.

I'll let you guess which line on the graph represents Samsung's XP941.

Have you figured it out yet? Here's a hint: it's the fastest one. And not by a small amount, either. The XP941 serves up a benchmark-setting 700 MB/s in the recovery rounds. It dips as low as 500 MB/s in the debilitating degrade phase, which is simply unheard of. Even attached to the Z97 PCH's two-lane M.2 slot, it's still intensely quick. There's just a less capable interface supporting it.

Samsung's XP941 is as much as 20x faster than some of the quickest 6 Gb/s SSDs in this particular trace from this particular benchmark (that is to say our results don't necessarily map over to other workloads). It's hard to overlook the crushing defeat Plextor's M6e (in purple) and Samsung's own 840 EVO (in orange) sustain at the hands of this M.2 drive.

Despite my skepticism of AHCI-based PCIe storage, Samsung at least shows its XP941 to be an exception to the rule.

And here are the overall scores, showing the best and worst scores across PCMark 8's 18 rounds. No surprise, Samsung's XP941 owns the top tier. ASRock's Ultra M.2 slot hosting Samsung M.2 drive pushes as high as 5016 PCMarks. Attached to the PCH's M.2 interface, it registers a score of 4999.

  • aminebouhafs
    Once an SSD in plugged into the Ultra M.2 slot, the bandwidth between central processing unit and graphics processing unit is cut-down by half. Therefore, while the end-user gets additional SSD performance, the end-user may lose some GPU performance because of insufficient bandwidth between it and the CPU.
    Reply
  • JoeArchitect
    Very interesting article and a great read. Thanks, Chris - I hope to see more like this soon!
    Reply
  • wussupi83
    great article! - although z97 still seems boring
    Reply
  • Eggz
    This makes me excited for X99! With 40 (or more) lanes, of PCI-e (probably more), there will be no need to compromise. We have to remember that the Z97 Chipset is a consumer-grade product, so there almost has to be tradoffs in order to justify stepping up to a high-end platform.

    That said, I feel like X99, NVMe, and and M.2 products will coincide nicely with their respective releases dates. Another interesting piece to the puzzle will be DDR4. Will the new storage technology and next-generation CPUs utilize it's speed, or like DD3, will it take several generations for other technologies to catch up to RAM speeds? This is quite an interesting time :)
    Reply
  • Amdlova
    Chris test the asrock z97 itx... and another thing... my last 3 motherboard from asrock and i want to say Asrock Rock's!
    Reply
  • Damn_Rookie
    While storage isn't the most important area of computer hardware for me, I always enjoy reading Christopher's articles. Very well written, detail orientated, and above all else, interesting. Thanks!
    Reply
  • hotwire_downunder
    ASRock has come along way, I used them a long time back with disappointing results, but I have started to use them again and have not been disappointed this time around.

    Way to turn things around ASRock! Cheap as chips and rock steady!
    Reply
  • alidan
    @aminebouhafs if i remember right, didn't toms show how much performance loss there is when you tape gpu cards to emulate having half or even a quarter of the bandwidth? if i remember right back than the difference was only about 12% from 16 lanes down to either 4 or 8
    Reply
  • Eggz
    13445787 said:
    @aminebouhafs if i remember right, didn't toms show how much performance loss there is when you tape gpu cards to emulate having half or even a quarter of the bandwidth? if i remember right back than the difference was only about 12% from 16 lanes down to either 4 or 8

    PCI-e 3.0 x8 has enough bandwidth for any single card. The only downside to using PCI-e lanes on the SSD applies only to people who want to use multiple GPUs.

    Still, though, this is just the mid-range platform anyway. People looking for lots of expansion end up buying the X chipsets rather than the Z chipsets because of the greater expandability. I feel like the complaint is really misplaced for Z chipsets, since they only have 16 PCI-e lanes to begin with.
    Reply
  • cryan
    Once an SSD in plugged into the Ultra M.2 slot, the bandwidth between central processing unit and graphics processing unit is cut-down by half. Therefore, while the end-user gets additional SSD performance, the end-user may lose some GPU performance because of insufficient bandwidth between it and the CPU.

    Well, it'll definitely negate some GPU configurations, same as any PCIe add-in over the CPU's lanes. With so few lanes to work with on Intel's mainstream platforms, butting heads is inevitable.

    Regards,
    Christopher Ryan


    Reply