AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer

The Destroyer is an extremely long test replicating the access patterns of very IO-intensive desktop usage. A detailed breakdown can be found in this article. Like real-world usage, the drives do get the occasional break that allows for some background garbage collection and flushing caches, but those idle times are limited to 25ms so that it doesn't take all week to run the test. These AnandTech Storage Bench (ATSB) tests do not involve running the actual applications that generated the workloads, so the scores are relatively insensitive to changes in CPU performance and RAM from our new testbed, but the jump to a newer version of Windows and the newer storage drivers can have an impact.

We quantify performance on this test by reporting the drive's average data throughput, the average latency of the I/O operations, and the total energy used by the drive over the course of the test.

The Blue lines indicate the PM981, the OEM version of the 970 EVO.
The Orange lines are the 970 EVO.

ATSB - The Destroyer (Data Rate)

The average data rates from the Samsung 970 EVO on The Destroyer are a slight step backwards from the Samsung PM981 OEM drive and from the 960 EVO. All of the TLC-based drives are still performing below even Samsung's older MLC-based NVMe drives, and of course the Intel Optane SSD. This year's Western Digital WD Black offers about the same performance as the 970 EVO.

ATSB - The Destroyer (Average Latency)ATSB - The Destroyer (99th Percentile Latency)

Average and 99th percentile latencies for the 970 EVO are again very slightly worse than the PM981, but on these metrics the 960 EVO doesn't beat its replacement. The WD Black has notably better 99th percentile latency than the other flash-based SSDs.

ATSB - The Destroyer (Average Read Latency)ATSB - The Destroyer (Average Write Latency)

There is a clear range of average read latency scores that make up the high-end NVMe market segment. The 970 EVO doesn't stand out from the other drives in that category. For average write latency, scores vary a lot more, and the 970 EVO outperforms its predecessor slightly but fails to match the very good score the PM981 obtained.

ATSB - The Destroyer (99th Percentile Read Latency)ATSB - The Destroyer (99th Percentile Write Latency)

The 99th percentile read and write latency scores from the 970 EVO don't break new ground and mostly fail to match the PM981, though the differences aren't large enough to be a serious concern. The WD Black's notable QoS advantage is on the read side, where it is the only flash-based SSD to almost always keep read latency below 1ms.

ATSB - The Destroyer (Power)

We didn't have the opportunity to measure power usage of the Samsung PM981 on The Destroyer, so this is our first look at the power draw of the Samsung Phoenix controller on this test. The situation isn't good. The 970 EVO uses twice the energy as the WD Black to does despite both drives offering about the same level of performance on The Destroyer. The power efficiency of the 970 EVO seems to be a big step backwards from the previous generation and is not at all competitive.

Introduction AnandTech Storage Bench - Heavy


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  • mapesdhs - Sunday, May 6, 2018 - link

    HollyDOL, as others have said, it very much depends on what you're doing. As a C-drive it simply helps to have any kind of SSD at all rather than a rust spinner (except of course the cheap junk knockoffs like Gloway). The Vertex3 was a pretty good SSD for its time (I have lots of them), though back then the Vertex4 presented its own significant bump up in benchmark performance, as did the Vector. For general use, you might notice some difference compared to an NVMe device, certainly in bootup times, but beyond that it depends on the task. Some games will certainly load a lot quicker, assuming the CPU/RAM are able to take advantage of it. And btw, some older mbds can have a mod BIOS installed to enable booting from NVMe (I'm more familiar with the options for ASUS boards in this regard), and certain NVMe SSDs even have their own boot ROM (eg. 950 Pro) such that native boot support isn't required.

    It's a good idea for video editing though, eg. the main cache/scratch drive for After Effects or Vegas.
  • Lolimaster - Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - link

    Unless you work moving huge chunks of data (editing 4k for example) a lot there's no point going NVME over the Crucial MX500 sata. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - link

    Especially in cramped cases, small form factor stuff, the gum stick is really nice because you don't need annoying cables around. My next MoBo will be some Ryzen thing in mATX with 2 M.2 slots (likely PCIe and SATA), so I can go all SSD for my desktop without any cables. I haven't noticed improvements after going to SATA3 SSDs from my Vertex/Agility first gen ones. Reply
  • iwod - Saturday, April 28, 2018 - link

    I can't disagree more. SATA is limited in Seq speed. And it is actually a user observable difference in everyday use, between a 1.5 - 2GB/s and 600MB/s speed.

    Now whether that is worth a little more money you paid for is a different question.
  • peevee - Monday, April 30, 2018 - link

    And how you are going to hit the seq speed in real life? All external (USB or network) sources and targets are slower. Writing does not matter with write-back OS caching. Reading a document into memory is limited by memory size and actually parsing/decompression of the document. Unless you are copying huge files between RAM drives and your SSD, you have no use case. That is why the tests are generating random data on the fly, like NOTHING does in real life. And that is why sites like AT have NO reproducible real-life tests (like compilation of a large software package for example, or recoding of video), as they would show about 0 real difference between drives 2x in price. Reply
  • mapesdhs - Sunday, May 6, 2018 - link

    I see a nice difference when cloning my photo/video archive (1TB SM961), moving files around, network access, etc., to the extent I'm now looking into 10GigE. Reply
  • Lolimaster - Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - link

    You don't see everyday benefits because the things that make SSD's faster than HDD's (access times, random 4k QD1 reads) barely improves from sata to nvme. Even with an optane SSD you won't see much improvement. Reply
  • Lolimaster - Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - link

    1-SSD had 100x less access time vs HDD and 100x higher 4k random performance, NVME basically only improves on sustained transfer raters.

    Going from 5-10ms to 0.07ms and from 400KB/s to 40MB/s~ was a lot.
  • Cooe - Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - link

    Yup. Without a doubt a good NVMe is much snappier, but you have to be the right kind of PC user for the difference to be that level of obvious. Even the heaviest applications, projects, etc... open instantly or near it vs the usual couple seconds, up to a minute or so for the really beefy crap with SATA-III, so if you're well familiar with PC's & in-tune with yours' level of performance, and are somebody who's regularly booting up, closing, and switching between multiple applications, storage heavy projects, etc... NVMe provides an obviously superior experience. And even if you aren't that kind of person yet, if you have compatible hardware the price gap has shrunk enough that I'd still recommend NVMe over SATA regardless as storage loads only ever increase with time. Aka you might not be the kind of person/PC user that can/will notice it now, but in a few years chances are that you most definitely will, and'll be glad you made the choice you did.

    For most lighter users atm otoh, SATA-III's already plenty fast enough for the workloads they regularly do. And that's on top of the fact that they simply don't have the level of "PC awareness" for the difference to stand out the way it does for heavy users and PC nerds like myself. And of course, even for us heavy users & multi-taskers who get real & significant benefits from the switch, it's still nothing on the order of the HDD to SATA SSD jump which is why those not well aware of their PC's current performance level and whom aren't heavy storage users (lots of regular & concurrent file access, movement, and modification) are rather likely to not notice the improvements w/o having them explictly pointed out (ala instantaneous or near it launches of most apps, even for multiples simultaneously vs delay's of a handful of seconds to a minute+ or so for the biggies, vastly improved file copy & movement speeds, ability to maintain SATA SSD levels of responsiveness while heavy storage workload(s) are active in the background, etc...)
  • Cliff34 - Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - link

    For me, the higher premium prices for nvm ssd vs sata ssd is not worth for the performance gain. I'm sure a nvm ssd is faster but I don't want to shell out few hundreds dollars (comparing the 1td) more to have my computer a few seconds faster. Reply

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