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.

ATSB - The Destroyer (Data Rate)

The Destroyer truly lives up to its name when presented with the Toshiba RC100. High-end NVMe SSDs complete this test in as little as seven hours. Mainstream SSDs usually take more like twelve hours. The 240GB Toshiba RC100 took 34 hours, leaving us with insufficient time to run the test again with HMB off. The Host Memory Buffer doesn't even come close making an impact on how long the larger 480GB model took, because The Destroyer simply moves too much data for a small cache to matter.

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

The average latency from the 480GB RC100 on The Destroyer is at least twice as high as that of other low-end NVMe SSDs, and the 240GB's latency is an order of magnitude worse. The situation for 99th percentile latency is even worse, leaving the RC100 looking bad even in comparison to most SATA SSDs.

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

The average read latency of the 480GB RC100 is a bit high but still within the normal range for most SSDs, but the 240GB stands out with more than twice the read latency. For writes, both capacities of the RC100 score poorly, and this is why the overall average tanked.

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

In spite of its DRAMless design, the 480GB RC100 manages a decent 99th percentile read latency score, but its smaller sibling can't control read latency under a workload this heavy. For writes, both capacities have very high 99th percentile latency, with the 240GB approaching a full second for its worst-case completion times.

ATSB - The Destroyer (Power)

The Toshiba RC100 uses relatively little power, but its poor performance means that the test runs long enough that total energy usage isn't great. The 240GB RC100's run of The Destroyer went on for longer than any other SSD tested in recent memory, leaving it with an energy usage score that looks more like what a desktop hard drive would produce.

Exploring The Host Memory Buffer Feature AnandTech Storage Bench - Heavy
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  • Mikewind Dale - Thursday, June 14, 2018 - link

    Interesting review. Thanks.

    I'm hoping that smaller, 11" and 13" laptops will start offering M.2 2242 instead of eMMC. I've been wary of purchasing a smaller laptop because I'm afraid that if the NAND ever reaches its lifespan, the laptop will be dead, with no way to replace the storage. An M.2 2242 would solve that problem.
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Thursday, June 14, 2018 - link

    Boot options in the BIOS may allow you to select USB or SD as an option in the event that a modern eMMC system suffers from a soldered on drive failure. In that case, it's still possible to boot from an OS and use the computer. In that case, I'd go for some sort of lightweight Linux OS for performance reasons, but even a full distro works okay on USB 3.0 and up. SD is a slower option, but you may not want your OS drive to protrude from the side of the computer. Admittedly, that's a sort of cumbersome solution to keeping a low-budget PC alive when replacement costs aren't usually that high. Reply
  • peevee - Thursday, June 14, 2018 - link

    "but this is only on platforms with properly working PCIe power management, which doesn't include most desktops"

    Billy, could you please elaborate on this?
    Reply
  • artifex - Thursday, June 14, 2018 - link

    Yeah, I'd also like to hear more about this. Reply
  • Billy Tallis - Thursday, June 14, 2018 - link

    I've never encountered a desktop motherboard that had PCIe ASPM on by default, so at most it's a feature for power users and OEMs that actually care about power management. I've seen numerous motherboards that didn't even have the option of enabling PCIe ASPM, but the trend from more recent products seems to be toward exposing the necessary controls. Among boards that do let you fully enable ASPM, it's still possible for using it to expose bugs with peripherals that breaks things—sometimes the peripheral in question is a SSD. The only way I'm able to get low-power idle measurements out of PCIe SSDs on the current testbed is to tell Linux to ignore what the motherboard firmware says and force PCIe ASPM on, but this doesn't work for everything. Without some pretty sensitive power measurement equipment, it's almost impossible for an ordinary desktop user to know if their PCIe SSD is actually achieving the <10mW idle power that most drives advertise. Reply
  • peevee - Thursday, June 14, 2018 - link

    So by "properly working" you mean "on by default in BIOS"? Or there are actual implementation bugs in some Intel or AMD CPUs or chipsets? Reply
  • Billy Tallis - Thursday, June 14, 2018 - link

    Implementation bugs seem to be primarily a problem with peripheral devices (including peripherals integrated on the motherboard), which is why motherboard manufacturers are often justified in having ASPM off by default or entirely unavailable. Reply
  • AdditionalPylons - Thursday, June 14, 2018 - link

    That's very interesting. And thanks Billy for a nice review! I too appreciate you doing something different. There will unfortunately always be someone angry on the Internet. Reply
  • Kwarkon - Friday, June 15, 2018 - link

    L1.2 is a special PCIe link state that requires hardware CLREQ signal. When L1.2 is active all communication on PCIe is down thus both host and NVME device do not have to listen for data.
    Desktops don't have this signal ( it is grounded), so even if you tell the SSD (NVME admin commands) that L1.2 support is enabled it will still not be able to negotiate it.

    In most cases m.2 NVME require certain PCIe link state to get lowest power for their Power State.
    The PS x are just states that if all conditions are met than the SSD will get its power down to somewhere around stated value.

    You can always check tech specs of the NVME. If in fact low power is supported than the lowest power will be stated as "deep sleep L1.2 " or similar.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, June 16, 2018 - link

    Prices in Germany do not line up one bit with the last chart. :D The HP EX920 1TB is 335€ and the ADATA SX8200 960GB is 290€. The SBX just has a weird amazon.de reseller who sells the 512GB version for 200€. The 970 Evo 1TB is 330€ and the Intel 760p 1TB is 352€. And for completeness, the WD Black 1TB is 365€. Even when accounting for exchange rates and VAT, the relative prices are nowhere near the US ones. :) Reply

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