AnandTech Storage Bench - Light

Our Light storage test has relatively more sequential accesses and lower queue depths than The Destroyer or the Heavy test, and it's by far the shortest test overall. It's based largely on applications that aren't highly dependent on storage performance, so this is a test more of application launch times and file load times. This test can be seen as the sum of all the little delays in daily usage, but with the idle times trimmed to 25ms it takes less than half an hour to run. Details of the Light test can be found here. As with the ATSB Heavy test, this test is run with the drive both freshly erased and empty, and after filling the drive with sequential writes.

ATSB - Light (Data Rate)

Both capacities of the Samsung PM981 offer great average data rates on the Light test. Their performance when full or empty is improved over the Samsung 960 EVO and comes close to the 960 PRO.

ATSB - Light (Average Latency)ATSB - Light (99th Percentile Latency)

The average and 99th percentile latency scores of the PM981s aren't much of an improvement over Samsung's last generation, but this is still a new record for flash-based SSDs, even though the PM981 is using TLC NAND.

ATSB - Light (Average Read Latency)ATSB - Light (Average Write Latency)

The average write latency of the PM981s is great whether the test is run on a full or empty drive, but the average read latency is slightly worse than the 960 PRO when the test is run on a full drive.

ATSB - Light (99th Percentile Read Latency)ATSB - Light (99th Percentile Write Latency)

The 99th percentile read latency of the PM981s is record-setting when the Light test is run on an empty drive, but only the 1TB sets a record when the test is run on a full drive. The 99th percentile write latency is excellent on both drives in either test scenario.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Heavy Random Performance


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  • romrunning - Thursday, November 30, 2017 - link

    @sleeplessclassics - "Today, even TLC can perform better than MLC/SLC just 2-3 generations ago due to better controllers."

    Well, the MLC-based 950/960 Pro still is basically beating all of the newer TLC drives. Even in SATA, my Sandisk Extreme Pro still beats all of the TLC drives.
  • sleeplessclassics - Friday, December 01, 2017 - link

    @romrunning, well you should have paid more attention in your high school English class.

    I am comparing present-gen TLC NAND with SLC/MLC that is two generations old.
    Of course, current gen 950/960 Pro MLC NAND with Polaris controllers will beat TLC NAND with Polaris controllers.

    I suggest you begin one of the simpler ones like Aesop's fables or maybe those illustrated children books will more your level. And while you are at it, try getting an IQ test as well
  • romrunning - Friday, December 01, 2017 - link

    You mad, bro?! ;)

    Lighten up a little, and act a little more objectively. Try clarifying the original statement or submitting more information to support your point without resorting to childish insults.

    For example, I will submit that you would have had to define "generations" and product lines before you put out generic statements like "Today, even TLC can perform better than MLC/SLC just 2-3 generations ago due to better controllers.". It's also hard to compare since the interface can change (like from SATA to NVMe).

    For my example, I will say again that my SATA Sandisk Extreme Pro will still beat newer TLC-based SATA drives from Sandisk. Also, I believe older Intel enterprise controllers (like a DC P3700) can still beat a terrible newer drive like the Intel 600p. There are even specialized drives from several "generations" of product lines ago that can beat some of the "newer" TLC-based drives in the same product line-up.

    However, obviously this is changing with NVMe-based drives, although it would harder to find a mfg with two "generations" of controllers on NVMe drives. Plus, we're getting into different tech like 3d XPoint, so TLC likely won't be around anymore a number of years in the future.

    I personally am looking forward to retail releases of Samsung's Z-NAND-based drives. It will be very interesting to see how they measure up performance-wise to Optane.
  • treecrab - Thursday, November 30, 2017 - link

    Sequential write numbers are off.
    1TB drive has fooled you - it has HUGE write buffer. Like 50GB huge. You need to check write speed second by second and on a much larger span (100 GB?)
  • mapesdhs - Thursday, November 30, 2017 - link

    Toms posted a review and pointed this out with their sustained tests. Reply
  • Drumsticks - Thursday, November 30, 2017 - link

    It feels like we haven't seen new high end drives from Samsung in a while (not that they're really heavily in need given the performance on tap already). It'll be nice to see another round of products coming out of them. Thanks for the review!

    Side note: Would it be possible to, in future SSD reviews, add those buttons that change the graphs based on capacity for the different storage metrics? Perhaps a button for "All SSDs," "250GB," "500GB," "1TB+" or something. Performance can vary wildly across capacities, and it would be a nice way to sort through all of the 500GB class drives that you've reviewed for example. The only outlier would be Optane since it isn't quite as dominated by the amount of parallel dies you can add.
  • mapesdhs - Thursday, November 30, 2017 - link

    Good idea; it's bizarre how sometimes the 960 EVO looks terrible compared to the 1TB version, and sometimes the other way round. Steady state is particularly bad, it's why I stuck with hunting for 950 Pros instead, which also have their own boot ROM and thus work ok on older mbds. Reply
  • Kastriot - Thursday, November 30, 2017 - link

    200$ for 512GB i have intel 530 480GB which i bought on ebay for 80 euros 3 years ago and still working great so ssd prices are insane like memory+gpu+intel cpu-s prices together, dark times for PC desktop owners unless you have dosh :) Reply
  • mapesdhs - Thursday, November 30, 2017 - link

    GN has commented on this quite a lot recently, it is indeed a sucky time to build a new PC. Hence why I make the most of used parts (or new ones via normal auction) until the need for something better really is paramount. Bagged another 840 Pro 256GB recently for a good price; pity old models like this are not included in newer product reviews, I bet they'd put newer products to shame. For a while the old Vector was retained in newer reviews, but then it vanished, probably because it just looked too good compared to the latest tech. The same likely applies to the Neutron GTX, Vertex4 and various other models, at least in the SATA world anyway. If one can though, it's better to go NVMe, the SM951 and SM961 are rather good. Reply
  • bcronce - Thursday, November 30, 2017 - link

    It looked mostly on par until the "mixed" results. Nice! Reply

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