512GB Benchmark Results
There are more 512GB-class NVMe SSDs on the market than 1TB (and larger) drives. Many of these products came to market during the NAND shortage. The shortage increased prices, and in some cases, NVMe products cost $1 per gigabyte. Consumers simply don't purchase $1,000 SSDs, even if they ship in an Intel box. High capacity NAND packages were diverted to the enterprise market where companies can charge an even larger premium. That left end users like us with 512GB M.2 drives that cost more than SATA SSDs despite the obvious cost advantages from the reduced cost of components, like the aluminum case that M.2 products don't use.
In this capacity class, we finally get to see the MyDigitalSSD SBX against the BPX, which was the best value SSD in 2017. The Intel 600p, Samsung PM961, Adata S10 GAMMIX, Corsair Neutron MX500, Plextor M8Pe, and Toshiba RD400 appear in this group. These models have earned various levels of success throughout the year based on sale pricing and availability.
Sequential Read Performance
The MyDigitalSSD SBX has to look even better to stand out in this congested capacity class. The drive reaches its peak 1,600 MB/s at QD4 and delivers ~600 MB/s at QD1. The drive outperforms the Intel 600p and Adata GAMMIX at every queue depth we tested.
Sequential Write Performance
The SBX delivers between 900 and 1,000 MB/s of throughput across the queue depth range with a single worker generating the workload. This is much higher than the Intel 600p, but just a little better than the Adata drive.
Random Read Performance
We use the 10,000 random read IOPS mark as the dividing line between good and poor performance. The user experience in Windows is closely tied to the QD1 results. MyDigitalSSD reached the mark but didn't hit it out of the park. We've tested drives that achieve nearly 16,000 IOPS at QD1, so there is still a large divide between the best performance and "acceptable."
Random Write Performance
The Intel 600p enjoys a big random write performance advantage over the SBX at low queue depths. This shouldn't be a big concern because the applications and the operating system tend to hold back performance in these types of applications.
70% Mixed Sequential Workload
BiCS flash has exceptional performance in mixed workloads, so the SBX accelerates past many of the other products. Most data transfers to and from external drives, high-performance NAS, or other storage devices, consists of large sequential file transfers. The SBX should excel in that type of workload.
70% Mixed Random Workload
The low random write performance slows the SBX during mixed random workloads at low queue depths.
The SBX, like most modern value SSDs, isn't satisfactory for heavy workstation-class workloads. Intel's Optane 900P came to market at just the right time. SSD vendors will need a generation or two with 3D TLC to master developing high-performance drives that still achieve exceptional results during heavy sustained workloads.
Compared to the larger 1TB model, the 512GB SBX loses close to half of its steady-state random write performance. The SBX SSDs don't use over-provisioning to improve steady-state performance. Instead, the design trades off some performance for more usable capacity. We recommend that you format the drives with some spare area or avoid filling the drives to extreme levels.
PCMark 8 Real-World Software Performance
For details on our real-world software performance testing, please click here.
The MLC-powered BPX takes the top of the chart while the SBX hovers near the bottom. The SBX is still faster than the Intel 600p with common desktop applications.
Application Storage Bandwidth
The 512GB SBX scores nearly 400 MB/s of throughput in our test. That's nearly 30 MB/s less than the 1TB SBX.
PCMark 8 Advanced Workload Performance
To learn how we test advanced workload performance, please click here.
The 512GB SBX's reduced capacity impacts the amount of time the SSD needs to recover after a heavy workload. The SBX would benefit from overprovisioning, which would deliver a significant improvement in this test.
Total Service Time
The service time tests reveal that there are other factors beyond heavy background activity that lead to increased latency with the foreground workload. MyDigitalSSD and Phison will more than likely work on a firmware update to address the high latency we observed with this model.
Disk Busy Time
The disk busy time test shows us there is an issue with this capacity during heavy workloads.
BAPCo SYSmark 2014 SE Responsiveness Test
The 512GB SBX is as responsive as the 1TB model during typical consumer workloads. We observed a very slight reduction in power consumption with half of the NAND die. The 512GB model still uses the same number of NAND packages, so the reduced die count is unlikely to have a meaningful impact on power consumption.
BAPCo MobileMark 2012.5 Notebook Battery Life
Our Lenovo Y700-17 gaming system ran for 333 minutes on battery power. That's much better than we measured with the aging BPX series. Phison hasn't fully optimized the E8 controller for enhanced low power states, and the BPX's latest firmware update didn't come with the advanced power features.
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