Synthetic Benchmarks - ATTO and Crystal DiskMark

Samsung claims sequential read and write speeds of up to 450 MBps, and these are backed up by the ATTO benchmarks provided below. Unfortunately, these access traces are not very common in real-life scenarios.

CrystalDiskMark, despite being a canned benchmark, provides a better estimate of the performance range with a selected set of numbers. As evident from the screenshot below, the performance can dip to as low as 20.68 MBps for random 4K reads. The presence of DRAM helps boost the performance quite a bit.

Benchmarks - robocopy and PCMark 8 Storage Bench

Our testing methodology for DAS units also takes into consideration the usual use-case for such devices. The most common usage scenario is transfer of large amounts of photos and videos to and from the unit. The minor usage scenario is importing files directly off the DAS into a multimedia editing program such as Adobe Photoshop.

In order to tackle the first use-case, we created three test folders with the following characteristics:

  • Photos: 15.6 GB collection of 4320 photos (RAW as well as JPEGs) in 61 sub-folders
  • Videos: 16.1 GB collection of 244 videos (MP4 as well as MOVs) in 6 sub-folders
  • BR: 10.7 GB Blu-ray folder structure of the IDT Benchmark Blu-ray (the same that we use in our robocopy tests for NAS systems)

robocopy - Photos Read

robocopy - Photos Write

robocopy - Videos Read

robocopy - Videos Write

robocopy - Blu-ray Folder Read

robocopy - Blu-ray Folder Write

In almost all the cases, we find that the performance of the T3 slightly lags the performance of the T1. However, it is still faster than most other SSDs behind a SATA - USB bridge chip.

For the second use-case, we take advantage of PC Mark 8's storage bench. The storage workload involves games as well as multimedia editing applications. The command line version allows us to cherry-pick storage traces to run on a target drive. We chose the following traces.

  • Adobe Photoshop (Light)
  • Adobe Photoshop (Heavy)
  • Adobe After Effects
  • Adobe Illustrator

Usually, PC Mark 8 reports time to complete the trace, but the detailed log report has the read and write bandwidth figures which we present in our performance graphs. Note that the bandwidth number reported in the results don't involve idle time compression. Results might appear low, but that is part of the workload characteristic. Note that the same testbed is being used for all DAS units. Therefore, comparing the numbers for each trace should be possible across different DAS units. These benchmarks also point to the T3 being slightly behind T1 in performance.

robocopy - Photoshop Light Read

robocopy - Photoshop Light Write

robocopy - Photoshop Heavy Read

robocopy - Photoshop Heavy Write

robocopy - After Effects Read

robocopy - After Effects Write

robocopy - Illustrator Read

robocopy - Illustrator Write

The Skylake Direct-Attached Storage Testbed Performance Consistency and Concluding Remarks


View All Comments

  • npz - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    TRIM is possible with UASP but not guaranteed because it is ultimately up to the bridge chip to implement. If you query the drive with low level commands it can report that it supports TRIM like as shown with CrystalDiskMark but if the bridge chip does not pass the command through, then it is useless.

    I would not get an external SSD unless I know it had TRIM for sure.
  • dano_spumoni - Wednesday, February 24, 2016 - link

    Ya, WTF. Just tell us if this thing has TRIM. It's very important for a fast external SSD that could possibly see several hundred Terabytes of writes during it's lifetime... Reply
  • ssddaydream - Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - link

    I'm really wondering what the current draw of these drives are. I couldn't find published power consumption anywhere for the T3. Reply
  • ssddaydream - Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - link

    Any info on this? This is incredibly easy to measure using variety of low-cost USB power measurement devices available on eBay and Amazon. Reply
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - link

    Can you link me to something that supports Type-C? Reply
  • ssddaydream - Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - link

    I have the USB 2 version. I believe the accuracy will be sufficient. I want to know whether devices such as the Note 3 (900mA output current on USB OTG) can power up the Samsung T3.
  • ssddaydream - Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - link

    As far as Type-C, that is a great question. I am looking into whether a Type-C cable can be dissected and spliced to a USB cable which could be run through the current/voltage meter as that would isolate the Vbus pin. I just need to make sure all the power is supplied via the single Vbus pin.

    Keep in mind that all phones use USB 2.0 for their USB OTG connections. The USB 2 version of the current/voltage meter is perfectly fine for testing these drives with smartphones. Even the Note 3 and S5, with their USB 3.0 connectors, do not provision their USB OTG connections at high speed (limited to approx 40MB/s transfer speeds). However, the Note 3 is the only phone I am aware of that actually supplies 900mA output current (my own testing.)
  • DIYEyal - Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - link

    Can you please confirm trim? If it doesn't support trim, the product is useless. Reply
  • dano_spumoni - Wednesday, February 24, 2016 - link

    Agreed, if someone is going to buy this type of super fast external SSD they are probably going to copy very many huge files over it's lifetime... TRIM is huge deal for a device like this... not mentioning if it has support is very weird and disconcerting... I won't even consider getting this unless it has TRIM... Reply
  • theduckofdeath - Wednesday, February 24, 2016 - link

    "The only caveat is that Android doesn't support exFAT."

    Now, that's not entirely true. Samsung's Android devices support exFAT, and I'm sure most other high-end Android devices support it as well. Nexus devices does not support exFAT because Google won't license the file system for "vanilla" android. That said, the 99.9% of Android devices sold does not use vanilla android and I don't really know of any OEM who isn't in a license agreement with Microsoft about stuff like exFAT and those other 100-ish Microsoft patents Redmond has successfully managed to license to those Android OEMs.

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