Ten 60 GB SandForce-Based Boot Drives, Rounded-Up

PCMark 7 And Power Consumption

PCMark 7

Samsung’s 64 GB 830 jumps to the top of our PCMark 7 chart, followed by Crucial's 64 GB m4.

The SandForce-based drives don't do as well since this test consists of both compressible and incompressible information. The resulting workload isn't a best-case reflection of what its controller hardware can do. We do, however, see a very clear break between the drives with synchronous memory and the less expensive models equipped with asynchronous flash. On average, the faster SandForce-based SSDs deliver about 8.5% more performance than the more value-oriented models.

Power Consumption

Because SSDs are so fast, they sit idle most of the time. In our almost 30-minute virus scan, the SSD is only busy for 281 seconds. As a result, idle power consumption is the most important figure to consider in a desktop environment.

Samsung's 64 GB 830 does exceptionally well here. Even though it employs a beefy triple-core ARM-based controller, it consumes slightly less power than Crucial's m4 and its dual-core ARM-based Marvell controller.

When it comes to the SandForce-based drives, our results are less consistent than we might have expected. Though, with all of these sub-1 W measurements, we're not certain any of these SSDs can claim an advantage.

Samsung continues to excel, even under more of a load. Its 64 GB 830 uses less power when it's active than Intel's SSD 520 at idle. Crucial's m4 takes a second-place finish, which is interesting in light of its less impressive finish in the idle chart. 

There's again some variation between the SandForce-based drives, with no discernible trend in the finishing order. But we're still hesitant to flag a victor, given a fairly narrow range.

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  • mayankleoboy1
    As these drives are basically boot drives, i would have liked a test where you measure the total time taken to install a fresh wi7-sp1 on it and install updates and install a few softwares like

    Ms-Office
    Adobe pdf reader
    a web browser, a photo manipulating program
    a music/video player.
    Install a game from a ISO.
    An antivirus

    And all these apps should be installed from the SSD itself (meaning their setups should be on the SSD).
    Then you should test the startup and shutdown times.

    All these synthetic benchies dont make much sense, IMHO.
  • mayankleoboy1
    I have found that when working with SSD's, single core CPU performance becomes a big bottleneck in some tasks.
    A lot of operations use only a single core and the SSD cant use its true potential. That is, the CPU cant process data as fast as the SSD can provide.
    This is just reverse of what happens in case of mechanical HDD's.
  • phamhlam
    mayankleoboy1I have found that when working with SSD's, single core CPU performance becomes a big bottleneck in some tasks.A lot of operations use only a single core and the SSD cant use its true potential. That is, the CPU cant process data as fast as the SSD can provide.This is just reverse of what happens in case of mechanical HDD's.


    Well, it is pointless though since everything you are doing is so fast that it doesn't matter anymore. I however see your point since I can be loading a program and my SSD is not even at max speed my CPU frequency is maxed out. The only way to get more speed is to just overclock as much as you can.
  • mayankleoboy1
    ackuhttp://www.tomshardware.com/review [...] 24-14.htmlYou're not going to see a major difference.



    that is the point of buying a cheaper SSD based on a chepaer NAND.
  • compton
    Considering the conclusion that performance is defined by flash, I find it interesting that the one SF2281 with Toggle NAND at 60GB is not in the roundup (in North America anyway). The Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 60 is substantially cheaper now at $99. It's performance characteristics are much more profound than the 25nm ONFI sync/async models. They're often out of stock at Newegg, and for good reason.
  • clownbaby
    Is there a benchmark to compare virtual memory performance? My current workstation has 24gb of memory, which means Windows eats up 36gb of my boot drive for virtual memory. (yes, I know I can change/disable it, but some programs act wonky when it's screwed with). A dedicated virtual memory drive would free up space on my primary ssd, as well as keep the writes down.

    I'd also like to see small drives benchmarked as swap drives in video editing machines. Currently I'm using a raid 0 array of 1tb samsung drives that keeps up well enough, but I'd be interested to see if there are tangible productivity differences.
  • fwiw...intel uses its own premium binned 25nm sych...that why 4k read were so good.
  • JackNaylorPE
    With a final page heading "Performance Is Defined By Flash" I would have like to see that difference looked at more closely. For example, the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe uses premium 3Xnm Toshiba Toggle Mode Flash (as does Patriot Wildfire, Vertex 3 Max IOPS and OWC Mercury Extreme Pro) and I would love to see for example how just changing the Flashin in an SSD from the same manufacturer and line (i.e Chronos standard versus Deluxe, Vertex 3 versus Vertex 3 Max IOPS). With that info, a user can decide whether it's makes sense to invest in say the premium Toshiba stuff as compared to the "same SSD w/o the premium Flash. That was what I expected to see when I read the referenced page heading.
  • jsowoc
    I'm wondering why Toms' own trace-based benchmark didn't make it into this round-up? Does it take much longer to run than the other tests? While comparing synthetics is important to determine why a certain drive behaves a certain way, trace-based benchmarks (PCMark 7 could be considered trace-based) is what makes the final purchasing decision. In this case, PCMark was the one with the most clear-cut differences, ones that would likely be mirrored in a trace-based benchmark.

    For a future SSD review/roundup could you take, for example, 10 real-life traces from 10 different editor's machines (the more variation in workload, the better), and then compare the %change in execution time vs. a reference drive?
  • memadmax
    Dear Tom's,
    Great article.
    Can we get a "Best motherboards for the money" type?
    Thanks.
  • Marcus52
    comptonConsidering the conclusion that performance is defined by flash, I find it interesting that the one SF2281 with Toggle NAND at 60GB is not in the roundup (in North America anyway). The Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 60 is substantially cheaper now at $99. It's performance characteristics are much more profound than the 25nm ONFI sync/async models. They're often out of stock at Newegg, and for good reason.


    You can comment on, wish for, or suggest a product be tested without implying there's some kind of intentional skewing or fault in the data collected.
  • fanboy555
    I'm buying a new SSD and I'm deciding between Corsair: Force 3, Force GT and Crucial m4 (all 60GB versions). Which one would you recommend? I'm leaning towards m4.
  • nukemaster
    This article has been GREAT.
  • slicedtoad
    fanboy555I'm buying a new SSD and I'm deciding between Corsair: Force 3, Force GT and Crucial m4 (all 60GB versions). Which one would you recommend? I'm leaning towards m4.

    I recommend upping your budget to a larger drive. Otherwise m4.
  • nforce4max
    clownbabyIs there a benchmark to compare virtual memory performance? My current workstation has 24gb of memory, which means Windows eats up 36gb of my boot drive for virtual memory. (yes, I know I can change/disable it, but some programs act wonky when it's screwed with). A dedicated virtual memory drive would free up space on my primary ssd, as well as keep the writes down.I'd also like to see small drives benchmarked as swap drives in video editing machines. Currently I'm using a raid 0 array of 1tb samsung drives that keeps up well enough, but I'd be interested to see if there are tangible productivity differences.


    I already do that, just pick up a cheap 30-64GB SSD and move the virtually memory over to it. As for killing the page file well good luck as that doesn't work. If it did there would be 36gb worth of more free space. As for using a ssd for only page file well it really does work and it doesn't degrade as quickly as you might think. When there is no static data for the controller to deal with while there is high read/write the drive tends to not have the same issues as most get. Just under 6,000 hours of heavy use and my 30gb kingston ssd is holding up.
  • acku
    jsowocI'm wondering why Toms' own trace-based benchmark didn't make it into this round-up? Does it take much longer to run than the other tests? While comparing synthetics is important to determine why a certain drive behaves a certain way, trace-based benchmarks (PCMark 7 could be considered trace-based) is what makes the final purchasing decision. In this case, PCMark was the one with the most clear-cut differences, ones that would likely be mirrored in a trace-based benchmark.For a future SSD review/roundup could you take, for example, 10 real-life traces from 10 different editor's machines (the more variation in workload, the better), and then compare the %change in execution time vs. a reference drive?


    It's a bloody long test that I've decided to reserve for comparing between different SSDs employing different controllers. It would have probably taken a full week to test all the SSDs and that only would happen if we were test 24x7 and perfectly timed the drive swaps ;p
  • acku
    comptonConsidering the conclusion that performance is defined by flash, I find it interesting that the one SF2281 with Toggle NAND at 60GB is not in the roundup (in North America anyway). The Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 60 is substantially cheaper now at $99. It's performance characteristics are much more profound than the 25nm ONFI sync/async models. They're often out of stock at Newegg, and for good reason.


    We sent an invitation to Mushkin. They did not respond in proper time for this roundup. In any event, Toggle at 60 GB is quite rare. Though, I agree, it would have been an interesting contender. Unfortunately, we didn't want to put the roundup on the back burner any longer, because we've made multiple postponements to accommodate this that and the other.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
  • acku
    memadmaxDear Tom's,Great article.Can we get a "Best motherboards for the money" type?Thanks.


    I believe you're referring to our Best SSDs column? If you want something different, feel free to suggest it.
  • acku
    fanboy555I'm buying a new SSD and I'm deciding between Corsair: Force 3, Force GT and Crucial m4 (all 60GB versions). Which one would you recommend? I'm leaning towards m4.


    Sure! Read our controller agnostic 60 GB roundup. :) http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/tests-ssd-review-solid-state,3103.html

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
  • superflykicks03
    fanboy555I'm buying a new SSD and I'm deciding between Corsair: Force 3, Force GT and Crucial m4 (all 60GB versions). Which one would you recommend? I'm leaning towards m4.


    I can tell you I've had a really good experience with the M4's in several builds. When it comes to SSDs, in my opinion there is nothing as valuable as checking feedback from other owners; 4 eggs or more on newegg (providing there are more than 20 reviews) is always sort of a starting point for me, as reliability is more relevant to me than small variations in synthetic testing between brands. Further, real world testing in recent reviews @tom's show there is little difference between many drives in boot times (even 6GB/s drives vs 3GB/s drives) Each of the SSDs you mentioned get great feedback and are very popular drives, which means you probably cant go wrong. In my experience, the M4 is a great drive, and as we saw in this review, performs well even when it is full of data.

    A quick aside, If reliability and is important to you, Intel (in my opinion) is hard to beat, as their drives are covered under warranty for 5 years. While, not as speedy, I have had lots of luck lately getting Intel 320 80GB drives brand new on ebay for 95-105$ US. In this scenario, you trade speed for capacity and a 5 year warranty. Just another path to consider.
  • jsowoc
    407246 said:
    It's a bloody long test that I've decided to reserve for comparing between different SSDs employing different controllers. It would have probably taken a full week to test all the SSDs and that only would happen if we were test 24x7 and perfectly timed the drive swaps ;p


    I suppose reading/writing two weeks' worth of data would take a while, even on an SSD. Maybe doing 3 or 4 shorter traces, like a "typical gamer's day", "typical graphic artist's day", "typical journalist's day", with each one being only an 8-hour capture? This would show that, for example, if I'm a photoshop-heavy user, I can expect to save about 15 minutes a day by upgrading from drive X to drive Y.
  • fkr
    I recently built a nice Z68 based 2500k i5 system. My question is what will give the best overall performance. Assuming i am only able to buy a 60GB SSD, should I use it as an I/O cache drive (intel SRT) or as a boot drive. I see reports of gaining 80% of the performance you would get from a SSD only. These stats seam high but with performance of SSD's degrading as they fill up and cache improving with use I just wonder where these technologies actually end up. I read through tom's forums and I just don't know where we end up in this debate. SRT users love it SSD only users love that. As for how I use my computer I play allot of games, browse the web using several different browsers, word, excel, powerpoint, windows media center to xbox for video, skype, light picture editing. thanks
  • belardo
    I'm more for BOOT & APP drive personally (no games). For non-gamers, I see typical OS & APPs have about a 20GB foot print.

    Here is my performance experience with an intel 520-120GB drive with the i5-2500k (default clock).
    Boot up after POST = 11seconds - This is a completed system (AntiVirus, firewall, MS-Office and other apps). Oddly, it wasn't any faster at boot up with the 320-120GB. Benchmarks did show much faster performance in some areas, Random was slightly faster than the 320. But the big difference was that the CPU usage was far less with the 520 (0~4%) vs (5~35% with the 320).

    The only tech issue I experience is that the new drives seem to be noisy compared to the X25m G2. They make the Z68 Gigabyte board I have 'sing".