The Intel SSD 545s (512GB) Review: 64-Layer 3D TLC NAND Hits Retailby Billy Tallis on June 27, 2017 6:00 AM EST
AnandTech Storage Bench - Heavy
Our Heavy storage benchmark is proportionally more write-heavy than The Destroyer, but much shorter overall. The total writes in the Heavy test aren't enough to fill the drive, so performance never drops down to steady state. This test is far more representative of a power user's day to day usage, and is heavily influenced by the drive's peak performance. The Heavy workload test details can be found here. This test is run twice, once on a freshly erased drive and once after filling the drive with sequential writes.
The Intel SSD 545s shows substantial improvement over the 540s in average data rates for the Heavy test. The 545s is not quite able to compete against Samsung as was the case for The Destroyer, but it comes much closer than its predecessor.
The 545s also fares far better when the test is run on a full drive than the drives that use the previous generation 32L 3D TLC (ADATA's SU800 and Crucial's MX300). Both of those drives beat the 545s when the test is run on an empty drive, but suffer a huge performance loss when the drive is full.
The latency measurements for the Intel 545s on the Heavy test tell a similar story to the average data rates. Intel is now in the same league as the other 3D NAND SSD, though still in last place. When the test is run on a full drive, the Crucial and ADATA drives fall apart and average latency spikes to the 2–4ms range while the latency of the Intel 545s is unaffected and remains well below 1ms.
The read latency of the older Intel 540s is not too far behind the 3D NAND drives and it handles being full with no trouble, but its write latency in either case is almost twice as high as the 3D NAND drives. The biggest improvement of the Intel 545s comes from cutting that write latency. The read latency also improved enough to surpass the Crucial MX300.
The energy usage of the Intel 545s during the Heavy test has it essentially tied for second place with the Samsung 850 EVO, while the Crucial MX300 has the clear lead when the test is run on an empty drive. The MX300's advantage disappears when the test is run on a full drive and the SU800's energy usage almost doubles.
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t.s - Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - linkBut of course, "If you want to play it safe", you could always go for the intel 545s /s
DanNeely - Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - linkWhat happened to the performance consistency testing?
Ryan Smith - Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - linkIt's coming. But we had a rather short period of time to work on this.
"This launch comes at a bit of an awkward time for us. I've retired our aging 2015 SSD testbed and moved all the custom and homemade power measurement equipment over to a new system. Windows 8.1 is out and Windows 10 is in, and our IOmeter synthetic benchmarks are being replaced with Linux-based FIO tests that are more suited to modern TLC SSDs with SLC caches. For the past few weeks I've been focusing my efforts on validating the new testbed and test suite against NVMe SSDs, so the arrival at short notice of a new SATA SSD left me with no relevant comparison data."
Billy Tallis - Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - linkI didn't have time. I'll be doing it later this week. The new 2017 performance consistency test will be more thorough about testing different overprovisioning amounts, but that also makes it take longer to run.
jjj - Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - linkThe only interesting part is the rushed launch.
Is anything much better about to hit the market or is Intel just trying to ship some more NAND in Q2 to "fix" the results? I suppose the Crucial BX300 is due in a couple of weeks, anything else?
Billy Tallis - Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - linkIntel wanted to beat WD and Toshiba to market with 64-layer 3D NAND. The Toshiba XG5 is already in the hands of OEMs but I'm not aware of any systems shipping with it yet. WD's 3D NAND SSDs are set to ship in Q3. They're all likely to have more powerful controllers than SM2259, and their charge trap flash cell architecture is closer to Samsung's V-NAND than IMFT 3D floating gate. Intel's right to want to be ahead of the others, but I think they could have spared another week.
jjj - Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - linkAnother week is no good, July 4th compromises the entire week.
I was thinking more about value than perf when it comes to beating other new prods but chances are it is also about Q2 results, they want to boost the NAND segment a bit.
Do you have the Toshiba XG5 for review?
Billy Tallis - Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - linkYes, the XG5 is what got bumped off the testbed to make room for these SATA drives. I'll be switching the testbed back to PCIe drives in a few days, after finishing up a few more tests on this batch of SATA drives.
jjj - Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - linkLooking forward to that one.
With the new tests, do you still look at mixed workloads?
Billy Tallis - Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - linkYes. I'm not planning huge changes to the mixed workload tests, other than testing at 10% increments instead of 20%. My biggest goal with the new test suite is to have things more automated, which makes it easy to increase the level of detail in a lot of the tests (but it also makes it too easy to make the test suite take forever to run).