Random Read/Write Speed

The four corners of SSD performance are as follows: random read, random write, sequential read and sequential write speed. Random accesses are generally small in size, while sequential accesses tend to be larger and thus we have the four Iometer tests we use in all of our reviews.

Our first test writes 4KB in a completely random pattern over an 8GB space of the drive to simulate the sort of random access that you'd see on an OS drive (even this is more stressful than a normal desktop user would see). I perform three concurrent IOs and run the test for 3 minutes. The results reported are in average MB/s over the entire time. We use both standard pseudo randomly generated data for each write as well as fully random data to show you both the maximum and minimum performance offered by SandForce based drives in these tests. The average performance of SF drives will likely be somewhere in between the two values for each drive you see in the graphs. For an understanding of why this matters, read our original SandForce article.

Iometer - 4KB Random Write, 8GB LBA Space, QD=3

Random write performance looks extremely good on the Agility 3, even with incompressible data (at least at low queue depths). Like the original Agility, it's impossible to tell the performance difference between it and the Vertex 3 here.

Many of you have asked for random write performance at higher queue depths. What I have below is our 4KB random write test performed at a queue depth of 32 instead of 3. While the vast majority of desktop usage models experience queue depths of 0 - 5, higher depths are possible in heavy I/O (and multi-user) workloads:

Iometer - 4KB Random Write, 8GB LBA Space, QD=32

Even as we ramp up queue depth in Iometer, the Agility 3 sticks to the performance of the Vertex 3. It's only with incompressible data that we see the first hint of a performance deficit, but even that isn't much.

Iometer - 4KB Random Read, QD=3

Random read performance is unfortunately limited to 120GB Vertex 3 levels. It's unclear to me whether this is an asynchronous NAND issue or an artificial firmware cap.

Sequential Read/Write Speed

To measure sequential performance I ran a 1 minute long 128KB sequential test over the entire span of the drive at a queue depth of 1. The results reported are in average MB/s over the entire test length.

Iometer - 128KB Sequential Read

Sequential read performance is lower than the Vertex 3. The 240GB Agility 3 performs more like a 120GB Vertex 2 than its 240GB sibling.

Iometer - 128KB Sequential Write

Sequential write speed is competitive but generally not better than the Vertex 3.

Introduction AnandTech Storage Bench 2011 - Heavy Workload
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  • cactusdog - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Anand can you get hold of the new Corsair Force series 3, preferably the GT version to test?

    A lot of us are waiting for a non-ocz sandforce 6 GBs drive.
    Reply
  • Reiker - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    I agree! I would really like to know if there will be ANY 120Gb SF2k drive that is up to spar with the 240Gb version...

    Love the work you´re doing Anandtech!
    Reply
  • Minion4Hire - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    I'd like to see how much of a performance difference exists between the 60 GB and 240 GB Agility 3s. I don't need 240 GBs for my OS and my important apps, so I'd be more interested in two or three 60 GB drives in RAID 0.... assuming the drives aren't horribly crippled and I'm not bandwidth limited by my controller. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Yes, please. The Force drives look interesting.

    Also, in the opening you touched briefly on the importance of the 64GB drives, could you test them as well? Looking at the difference between the 240GB and 120GB drives, you can't help but wonder what the 64GB drives will end up like.
    Reply
  • Dracusis - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Yeah, Anand's SSD reviews are the best, they really make me feel like I know what I'm buying into. Would love to see more SF-2200 series drives benchmarked and discussed. Some performance numbers/thoughts on the Agility 3 60GB & 120GB variants would be nice too as there's a lot of performance differences between the Vertex 3 120 vs 240.

    Having all the Corsair Force 3's new drives on here would be brilliant - It must take a hellish amount of time to do all of these benchmarks though.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    A roundup of 60 GB drives would be nice: Agility 3, Solid 3, some Sandforce 2 (34 and/or 25 nm) and Crucial C300 and C400.

    MrS
    Reply
  • dhanson8652 - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    +1 on the 60/64GB roundup. Definitely want to see those and the 120/128GB for any that don't fit like the X25V/M, Intel 320. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    What I don't understand is why we have reviews of the 240 GB Vertex 3 and the 240 GB Agility 3 and yet...

    The 240 GB Vertex 2 is nowhere to be found in the charts!
    Reply
  • anonapon - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    I'm really interested in a review of the Corsair Force 3, too, or of any new Sandforce drive which can play well with the IRST drivers, which the OCZ V3 doesn't seem to do with consistency. Reply
  • gayannr - Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - link

    Does Intel Stand a chance ? Probably NO! :-/ Reply

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