The 2011 Mid-Range SSD Roundup: 120GB Agility 3, Intel 510 and More Comparedby Anand Lal Shimpi on June 7, 2011 12:52 PM EST
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.
At worst, SandForce's small file random write performance is equal to its closest competitors, but at best it is significantly greater. Both the Vertex 3 and Agility 3 take the cake here. The Marvell based solutions are significantly slower, however we'll see if that matters in the real world tests.
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:
At higher queue depths the advantage just grows for the SF-2281 drives.
Crucial optimized very heavily for random read performance, and to this day nothing (even the replacement m4/C400) can outperform the C300 in our small file random read test. Intel's SSD 510 is the next fastest 6Gbps drive we've got here, followed by the P3 and eventually the Vertex 3/Agility 3.
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.
To post high sequential read speeds you need to have a 6Gbps interface these days. Armed with one the Intel SSD 510 and Corsair P3 both post the highest scores here. Even the Vertex 3/Agility 3 are a bit behind the two Marvell drives.
Sequential write performance is another story entirely. With highly compressible data the Vertex 3 is untouched and even in the worst case it's still among the fastest drives. I'll chalk this one up as a win for OCZ, however the rest of the competitors do well here.