Synthetic Benchmarks

Various synthetic benchmarks are available to quickly evaluate the performance of direct-attached storage devices. Real-world performance testing often has to be a customized test. We present both varieties in this review, starting with the synthetic benchmarks in this section. Prior to covering those, we have a quick look at our testbed setup and testing methodology.

Testbed Setup and Testing Methodology

Evaluation of DAS units on Windows is done with the testbed outlined in the table below. For devices with a Thunderbolt 3 Type-C interface (such as the TEKQ Rapide that we are considering today), we utilize the Thunderbolt 3 port enabled by the Intel Alpine Ridge controller. It connects to the Z170 PCH via a PCIe 3.0 x4 link.

AnandTech DAS Testbed Configuration
Motherboard GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 TH ATX
CPU Intel Core i5-6600K
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws 4 F4-2133C15-8GRR
32 GB ( 4x 8GB)
DDR4-2133 @ 15-15-15-35
OS Drive Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 NVMe 256 GB
SATA Devices Corsair Neutron XT SSD 480 GB
Intel SSD 730 Series 480 GB
Add-on Card None
Chassis Cooler Master HAF XB EVO
PSU Cooler Master V750 750 W
OS Windows 10 Pro x64
Thanks to Cooler Master, GIGABYTE, G.Skill and Intel for the build components

The full details of the reasoning behind choosing the above build components can be found here. The list of DAS units used for comparison purposes is provided below. Not all benchmarks are available for all units, as our testing has evolved over the years, and more than three years have passed since the LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt and the d2 Thunderbolt 2 - SSD were evaluated. It must also be kept in mind that those two devices were evaluated using the Thunderbolt 2 port from our Z97-based Haswell testbed.

  • TEKQ Rapide Thunderbolt 3 SSD 240GB (exFAT)
  • TEKQ Rapide Thunderbolt 3 SSD 240GB (NTFS)
  • LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt 500GB
  • LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 2 - SSD 128GB

Synthetic Benchmarks - ATTO and Crystal DiskMark

TEKQ claims read and write speeds of 2700 MBps and 1500 MBps respectively, and these are backed up by the ATTO benchmarks provided below. Unfortunately, these access traces are not very common in real-life scenarios.

Drive Performance Benchmarks - ATTO

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 46 MBps for low queue-depth random accesses.

Drive Performance Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark
Introduction and Product Impressions AnandTech DAS Suite and Performance Consistency
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  • jabber - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    I always find the idea of these devices far better then the reality. You get your 3000MBps storage device plug it in all excited, hit 'copy/paste' and feel your smile disappear as 600GB of kb sized files reduce the speed to 60kbps and 5 hours remaining... Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    For our CPU Compile test, it involves ~250k small files. Of course, that's a pain to copy over the NAS for each new system build we test, so I keep the files zipped on the NAS, copy the zip file over to the new test system, and decompress locally. Scripted, of course. Reply
  • Pinn - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    I've worked on file systems (clustered server). There's not a way around this. Sorry! Reply
  • jabber - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    I think it's a problem that needs addressing. More and more applications are creating GBs of microfiles that just cripple performance. Reply
  • Mikewind Dale - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    "Adding a user-friendly way to activate the hardware encryption capabilities of the internal SSD would be a nice feature to have"

    Can you check whether it at least uses hardware encryption with other encryption utilities? E.g. Windows 10 Pro Bitlocker?

    My understanding is that if you enable Bitlocker, then either the drive will spend several hours encrypting (software encryption) or else it will enable "instantly" (hardware encryption). I think you can also go into the Bitlocker settings to see which kind of encryption has been used.

    It would be interesting to see if hardware encryption can at least be used in the "background" (so to speak) with some other encryption utility.
    Reply
  • OFelix - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    "We were able to successfully activate TRIM on the TEKQ Rapide."

    Is this something a 'normal' user would have to enable themselves? Why is it not on by default?
    Is it covered in the setup guide (since this is a pre-retail product you may not be able to answer this)?
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    If you are running exFAT - I am not sure TRIM gets activated (or, if it is even necessary).

    If you are running NTFS - the OS will take care of the TRIM as long as the drive enters idle with the device powered and connected. When I mention 'successfully activate' - it was in reference to the fact that I could manually trigger a TRIM command (check the screenshot).

    The takeaway is : For normal users, as long as the drive is formatted in NTFS, and they are using Windows - the TRIM feature is taken care of. I can't comment about Macs, though.
    Reply
  • WinterCharm - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    Hey Ganesh, Any chance you plan to review the Atom Glyph SSD's? They're blade style SSD's and I'd be really interested in whether they're worth using. Reply
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    The Atom Glyph looks interesting for sure. If their PR team reaches out, I don't see any issues with reviewing them. Currently, I have a huge backlog to address in terms of review units, but I will think about reaching out once that is addressed. Reply
  • Hurr Durr - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    Considering external SSDs, does anybody here have any experience with M.2 USB3 enclosures? How are speeds, do they overheat? Reply

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