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

  • lmcd - Friday, October 27, 2017 - link

    Funny, when SSDs came out we were promised they'd be orders of magnitude faster than mechanical HDDs. The first ones weren't. Reply
  • Drumsticks - Sunday, October 29, 2017 - link

    I think my primary point of criticism with your view is that, despite Intel not reaching their goals, it is measurably better than the competition at a better price per GB per performance.

    It might not have hit the endurance targets they wanted, but for 2-3x the cost of your opponent, they've achieved some 20x endurance, on par in the worst case, and 6-8 times better in many measurably important scenarios.

    On top of that, you tout the benefits of SLC and claim that SLC is undeniably faster than XPoint, because if SLC wasn't held back by the cheap and underpowered controllers of yesteryear, it could really fly. How do you know the same thing is not true of 3DXP? Perhaps better understanding of its use and a better controller, and maybe a second generation of the memory, will enable Intel to reach even higher performance and endurance heights. You can't claim that SLC is better, and is simply held back by 2014 era controllers, while not allowing that 3DXP could likely be held back by it's controller as well. We have no idea what the performance ceiling for 3DXP is, because we've seen all of one generation of products.

    To extend your analogy, I might be disappointed if I only received $450, but if everybody else is still only making $200, I'm going to go home happy.
  • Rektide - Friday, October 27, 2017 - link

    This shows an Intel 900P with a total write endurance of 8.7PB, and a 850 Pro with a total write endurance of 150 TB. But a stress test of a 850 Pro in fact survived 9.1 PB[1]! Meanwhile, if you reach 8.7PB on the 900P, Intel will forcibly move your drive into read-only mode.

    If you look at Ark, Intel describes it's Endurance Rating to mean "Endurance rating indicates the expected data storage cycles to be expected over the life of the device." When they say that, they mean "and not a megabyte more". Whereas when Samsung says it, they, at least once, meant "but this drive may go 60x more than it's rating". I really severely dislike this twist of the knife, this drastic change Intel and Intel alone is perpetrating against it's consumers.

    Does the P4800X also commit seppuku the megabyte it reaches it's Endurance Lifetime? I'm not sure if all Intel drives are so malicious, or is it consumer & enthusiast drives? How do I know which drives are programmed to self destruct on me, Intel?

  • ddriver - Friday, October 27, 2017 - link

    It is actually worse than locking in read-only mode - on the next boot cycle the drive gets bricked. So if you didn't manage to get that data in time, it is gone forever. Great feature. Reply
  • Spunjji - Saturday, October 28, 2017 - link

    I have seen this with Intel consumer SSDs. It's amazing - it doesn't even tell you that it's failing and that you have one (yes, one) chance to backup your data before it goes forever. Usually the drive just throws an error, so your average user reboots the system and bam, the drive's not even in the BIOS anymore.

    Their drive failure behaviour is criminal.
  • voicequal - Saturday, October 28, 2017 - link

    Agreed - bricking is a terrible failure mode for a consumer drive. For an enterprise drive, it *might* make sense, since its you want things to fail hard and fast so that backup systems can detect and take over. Reply
  • FwFred - Friday, October 27, 2017 - link

    Wow, need a block button to improve SnR. Reply
  • Meteor2 - Tuesday, October 31, 2017 - link

    Indeed -- though I simply skip any comments written by ddriver. Never any value in them (but a remarkably effective troll). Reply
  • Lolimaster - Saturday, October 28, 2017 - link

    The 1000X was supposed to be on latency and endurance, not much more, and maybe 10X random 4K performance. Reply
  • CajunArson - Friday, October 27, 2017 - link

    I thought you were a reliable AMD koolaid drinker?

    It's funny how you insult these products that you have never used but would never in a million years hurl their $7000 Radeon SSG under the bus... you know, the one that uses a consumer-grade GPU slapped together with a RAID-0 array of cheap consumer-grade NVME drives to supposedly do rendering jobs faster than a regular GPU.

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