Results: File Copy
File Copy Performance with Microsoft Robocopy
Microsoft's Robocopy, a CLI directory replication command, gradually replaced the older xcopy. It's multi-threaded, has a ton of options, and generally outperforms vanilla Windows copy operations. Best of all, it's built right in to Redmond's operating system. Especially useful for network copy operations and backups, Robocopy doesn't stop to ask you one hundred questions while it copies over your music collection, either.
The reality of benchmarking file copy performance is that you need something fast to move data from and fast hardware to move it to. This is most important with SSDs. It doesn't matter if your drive can write sequentially at 500 MB/s if the source files are hosted on a USB 2.0-attached external hard drive. We're copying our test files from an Intel SSD DC S3700 to the drives in the chart below, taking source speed out of the equation.
There are 9065 files comprising the 16.2 GB payload. Some of the files are huge (up to 2 GB), while others are best described as tiny. On average, that's around 1.8 MB per file. The files are a mix of music, program, pictures, and random file types.
It's fair to say that this chart would look much different if we were copying from a hard drive to a SSD. Even if the disk drive's sequential throughput wasn't a bottleneck, it'd still choke on the smaller files.
When it comes to desktop SSDs, there are really two tiers of products, mostly invented by the vendors selling them. For instance, Samsung and SanDisk have bifurcated line-ups, split into enthusiast-class products like the 840 Pro and Extreme II, and value-oriented offerings like the 840 EVO and Ultra Plus. Bucking that trend, Crucial only sells one series aimed at the client space: its M500.
We're fine with that. There aren't many distinguishing features to set one group apart from the other. The differences that do exist usually show up as middling benchmark gaps. Crucial does plenty of heavy lifting, and its M500 falls between those often-contrived classifications. The more spacious models are just three and four seconds behind the first-place Corsair Neutron GTX in our 16.2 GB robocopy test, placing them ahead of midfield. Meanwhile, the 240 GB shows up just behind the 1 TB Samsung 840 EVO. Can you honestly claim to tell which of these drives are enthusiast-oriented, and which are designed to get your foot in the door of solid-state storage? It's not that easy. And the M500 gets extra points for features that aren't readily available on competing drives. The attraction is more than just benchmark-deep.
Unfortunately, the 120 GB M500 surfaces behind SanDisk's 64 GB Ultra Plus, which definitely is a value SSD. On the brighter side, it's one place ahead of the now-moribund vanilla 840.