SSD Aging: Read Speed is Largely Unaffected

Given the nature of the SSD performance-over-time “problem” you’d expect to only pay the performance penalty when writing files, not reading. And for once, I don’t have any weird exceptions to talk about - this is generally the case.

The table below shows sequential read performance for 2MB blocks on new vs. “used” SSDs. I even included data for a couple of the hard drives in the "Used" column; for those numbers I'm simply measuring transfer rates from the slowest parts of the platter:

2MB Sequential Read Speed New "Used"
Intel X25-E   240.1 MB/s
Intel X25-M 264.1 MB/s 230.2 MB/s
JMicron JMF602B MLC 134.7 MB/s 134.7 MB/s
JMicron JMF602Bx2 MLC 164.1 MB/s 164.1 MB/s
OCZ Summit 248.6 MB/s 208.6 MB/s
OCZ Vertex 257.8 MB/s 250.1 MB/s
Samsung SLC   101.4 MB/s
Seagate Momentus 5400.6 77.9 MB/s -
Western Digital Caviar SE16 104.6 MB/s 54.3 MB/s
Western Digital VelociRaptor 118.0 MB/s 79.2 MB/s

 

The best SSDs still transfer data at over 2x the rate of the VelociRaptor.

Read latency is also extremely good on these worn SSDs:

I left the conventional hard drives out of the chart simply because they completely screw up the scale. The VelociRaptor has a latency of 7.2ms in this iometer test with a queue depth of 3 IOs; that's an order of magnitude slower than the slowest SSD here.

Since you only pay the overhead penalty when you go to write to a previously-written block, the performance degradation only really occurs when you’re writing - not when you’re reading.

Now your OS is always writing to your drive, and that’s why we see a performance impact even if you’re just launching applications and opening files and such, but the penalty is much less tangible when it comes to read performance.

New vs Used SSD Performance The Verdict
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  • zdzichu - Sunday, March 22, 2009 - link

    Very nice and thorough article. I only lack more current status of TRIM command support in current operating systems. For example, Linux supports it since last year:

    http://kernelnewbies.org/Linux_2_6_28#head-a1a9591...">http://kernelnewbies.org/Linux_2_6_28#h...a9591f48...
    Reply
  • Sinned - Sunday, March 22, 2009 - link

    Outstanding article that really helped me understand SSD drives. I wonder how much of an impact the new SATA III standard will have on SSD drives? I believe we are still at the beginning stage for SSD drives and your article shows that much more work needs to be done. My respect for OCZ and how they responded in a positive and productive way should be a model for the rest of the SSD makers. Thank you again for such a concise article.
    Respectfully,
    Sinned
    Reply
  • 529th - Sunday, March 22, 2009 - link

    The first thing I thought of was Democracy. Don't know why. Maybe it was because a company listened to our common goal of performance. Thank you OCZ for listening, I'm sure it will pay off!!! Reply
  • araczynski - Saturday, March 21, 2009 - link

    very nice read. the 4/512 issue seems a rather stupid design decision, or perhaps more likely a stupid problem to find this 4/512 solution as 'acceptable'.

    although a great marketing choice, built in automatic life expectancy reduction.

    sounds like the manufacturers want the hard drives to become a disposable medium like styrofoam cups.

    perhaps when they narrow the disparity down to 4/16, i might consider buying an ssd. that, or when they beat the 'old school' physical platters in price.

    until then, get back to the drawing board and stop crapping out these half arsed 'should be good enough' solutions.
    Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Sunday, March 22, 2009 - link

    araczynski: The 4/512 isn't done by accident. It's done to lower prices. The flash technology used in SSDs are meant to replace platter HDDs in the future. There's no way of doing that without cost reductions like these. Even with that the SSDs still cost several times more per storage space. Reply
  • araczynski - Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - link

    i understand that, but i don't remember original hard drives being released and being slower than the floppy drives they were replacing.

    this is part of the 'release beta' products mentality and make the consumer pay for further development.

    the 5.25" floppy was better than the huge floppy in all respects when it was released. the 3.5" floppy was better than the 5.25" floppy when it was released. the usb flash drives were better than the 3.5" floppies when they were released.

    i just hate the way this is being played out at the consumer's expense.
    Reply
  • hellcats - Saturday, March 21, 2009 - link

    Anand,

    What a great article. I usually have to skip forwards when things bog down, but they never did with this long, but very informative article. Your focus on what matters to users is why I always check anandtech first thing every morning.
    Reply
  • juraj - Saturday, March 21, 2009 - link

    I'm curious what capacity is the OCZ Vertex drive reviewed. Is it an 120 / 250g drive or supposedly slower 30 / 60g one? Reply
  • Symbolics - Friday, March 20, 2009 - link

    The method for generating "used" drives is flawed. For creating a true used drive, the spare blocks must be filled as well. Since this was not done, the results are biased towards the Intel drives with their generous amount of spare blocks that were *not* exhausted when producing the used state. An additional bias is introduced by the reduction of the IOmeter write test to 8 GB only. Perhaps there are enough spare blocks on the Intel drives so that these 8 GB can be written to "fresh" blocks without the need for (time-consuming) erase operations.
    Apart from these concerns, I enjoyed reading the article.
    Reply
  • unknownError - Saturday, March 21, 2009 - link

    I also just created an account to post, very nice article!
    Lots of good well thought out information, I'm so tired of synthetic benchmarks glad someone goes through the trouble to bench these things right (and appears to have the education to really understand them). Whats with the grammar police though? geez...
    Reply

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