Sequential Read/Write Performance

To measure sequential read and write performance I created an iometer test script to read and write 2MB files to the drives. The writes are 100% sequential and are performed on an unpartitioned drive for 3 minutes.

Performance is reported in MB/s, higher numbers are better.

The sequential read performance of the latest generation of SSDs is nothing short of amazing. The OCZ Vertex pulls through with 250MB/s, over twice the speed of the VelociRaptor and 2.5x the speed of the Samsung SLC drive that OCZ used to sell for $1000.

Looking at write performance we see things change a bit. The OCZ Summit and Intel X25-E are the only two drives that can outperform the VelociRaptor, and they do so handsomely. The rest of the drives fall below even the 7200 RPM Caviar SE16. They are by no means slow, they just don't destroy the fastest hard drives as they do in other tests.

While the X25-E should perform the way it does, the OCZ Summit uses MLC flash yet it performs like an SLC drive. This is a very important benchmark as it shows the sort of performance Samsung has optimized for with its controller. This drive is designed to shatter bandwidth barriers, but what about latency?

The Test Random Read/Write Performance
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  • Jamor - Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - link

    The best tech article I've ever read, and I've read a few. Reply
  • haze4peace - Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - link

    Wow, excellent article and so much useful information in an easy to understand way. I have just recently been paying attention to SSDs and thanks to this article I am armed with the information to make the correct choice for my needs. Thanks AnandTech, its the deep and honest articles like these that keep me coming back for more. Reply
  • Alseki - Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - link

    I just registered then simply to say, great article. Really informative and enjoyable to read. Reply
  • alexsch8 - Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - link

    Anand,

    Thank you for this article, very informative.

    Looking at the example you are giving with your self-manufactured SSD drive: If I save the DOC I use up a page. Based on what you are saying, if I make a change to that DOC, it would then be saved in the next page instead of overwriting the existing page? If that is true, then the File Allocation system (FAT or MFT) itself would contribute quite a bit to the 'filling up of pages' phenomena. Could you elaborate if the proposed file system for SSD addresses this?
    Reply
  • Ytterbium - Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - link

    Fantastic article, shame that the vendors blacklisted you for telling the truth and OCZ rock for working so hard to address issues.

    I'll be ordering my Intel SSD soon, I'll defintly consider the Summit when it comes out for my encoding rig as there sequental writes matter to me.
    Reply
  • mindless1 - Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - link

    Great even, but I've have to disagree with the significance of the passage that suggested the Indilinx controller makes data loss as bad on those SSD as on a conventional hard drive.

    The primary cause of data loss is mechanical or component failure, not power loss. If we want to consider power loss, it's not just the drive which is prone to lose data, the entire system memory suffers far more data loss than that.

    Further, a sufficiently sized supercapacitor should keep the drive operating for a period of time beyond when the rest of the system would be operational, it could be sufficient for the controller to finish writing to flash all received data (or just use an UPS, that's what they're for?).

    Second, I can't believe that OCZ only tests designs with HDTach and Atto, I think it more likely they knew of the problem but didn't expect anyone to find it so quickly, and felt the higher sequential speeds made it more marketable. This makes me feel that manufacturers, then online sellers should differentiate their drives with a standardized random read/write score.

    What would be really nice is if the Indilinx based SSDs had an application available, similar to a HDD acoustic management bit changing app, that lets the owner set their own preference for IO versus sequential read performance.
    Reply
  • gomakeit - Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - link

    This is by far the BEST article on SSD I've ever read! Great job anand and yes I read every single word of it! Reply
  • MagicPants - Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - link

    Don't they ever try using their own devices? One second of latency should slap any user in the face. It should be very easy for a manufacturer to build a system with their new technology put it in front of people and see what happens, but apparently they're not doing this.

    They wait for reviewers to do the work for them and then get upset when they find a problem.

    What the manufacturers should be taking away from this article is:

    1) Try your competitor's products
    2) Try your own products
    3) Try them in real life as opposed to synthetic tests
    4) Compare everything you've tried and market the performance that matters
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, March 19, 2009 - link

    But that would make sense....and we know marketing rarely does. Reply
  • paulinus - Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - link

    That art is great. Finally someone done ssd test's right, and said loud what we, customers, can get for that hefty pricetags.
    I've supposed that only choices are intel and new ocz's. Now I know, and big kudos for that.
    Just need a bit more $$ for x25-m, it'll be ideal for heavy workstation use, and biggest vertex'll replace wd black in my aging 6910p :)
    Reply

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