Sequential Read Performance

Our first test of sequential read performance uses short bursts of 128MB, issued as 128kB operations with no queuing. The test averages performance across eight bursts for a total of 1GB of data transferred from a drive containing 16GB of data. Between each burst the drive is given enough idle time to keep the overall duty cycle at 20%.

Burst 128kB Sequential Read (Queue Depth 1)

The burst QD1 sequential read performance of the Intel Optane SSD 900P falls in between the Samsung 960 PRO and 960 EVO. Samsung's fastest outperforms the Optane SSD by about 11%.

Our test of sustained sequential reads uses queue depths from 1 to 32, with the performance and power scores computed as the average of QD1, QD2 and QD4. Each queue depth is tested for up to one minute or 32GB transferred, from a drive containing 64GB of data.

Sustained 128kB Sequential Read

On the longer test of sequential read performance, the Optane SSD holds on to a commanding lead after the flash-based SSDs mostly slow down relative to their burst performance.

Both Optane devices show a jump in performance from QD1 to QD2, after which their performance holds steady. Samsung's 960s show very minor performance increases with queue depth, and at the highest queue depths the Intel SSD 750 comes closest to catching up to the Optane SSD.

Sequential Write Performance

Our test of sequential write burst performance is structured identically to the sequential read burst performance test save for the direction of the data transfer. Each burst writes 128MB as 128kB operations issued at QD1, for a total of 1GB of data written to a drive containing 16GB of data.

Burst 128kB Sequential Write (Queue Depth 1)

Samsung's 960 PRO and EVO drives all outperform the Intel Optane SSD 900P on the burst sequential write test, by up to 16%.

Our test of sustained sequential writes is structured identically to our sustained sequential read test, save for the direction of the data transfers. Queue depths range from 1 to 32 and each queue depth is tested for up to one minute or 32GB, followed by up to one minute of idle time for the drive to cool off and perform garbage collection. The test is confined to a 64GB span of the drive.

Sustained 128kB Sequential Write

On the longer sequential write test, the Optane SSD loses ground to Samsung's three fastest SSDs but everything else slows down even more.

Almost all of the SSDs in this bunch reach their full sequential write speed at QD2, and they are mostly differentiated by their speeds once saturated. A few drives show some unevenness during the later portions of the test, but the Optane SSD has just a minor blip in its favor at the end of the test.

Random Performance Mixed Read/Write Performance


View All Comments

  • Gastec - Saturday, March 10, 2018 - link

    As a computer enthusiast I find that "Recommended Storage Configuration" pyramid from Intel highly insulting. $6000? And Wikipedia plays along with lines like "An enthusiast PC implies the early adoption of new hardware, which is sold at a premium price". Premium price! So an enthusiast nowadays is synonymous with wealth and willingness to fork out any amount of money to the Multinational Corporations! Reply
  • KDMann - Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - link

    Mr. Tallis,

    An otherwise good article was ruined when I read this nonsense you wrote:

    "...avoid the consequences of Microsoft's stupid NVMe driver write cache policy defaults, which severely curtail the write performance of consumer NVMe drives that have volatile write caches."

    Unlike ANSI T10 and T11 SATA and SAS (and SCSI before it), NVMe is not a 'real' standard -- meaning it is not defined by any non-commercial standards body such as ANSI. This means that there is no guarantee that any given vendor of an NVMe SSD will be selling a product that responds correctly to write-cache inquiries. NVMe is an industry trade association that has no means of enforcing or sanctioning any vendor that does not follow this "non-standard standard".

    Bashing Microsoft for this is stupid.

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