Tying it All Together: SSD Performance Degradation

More spare area is better for random workloads, but desktop workloads aren’t random enough to justify setting aside more spare area to improve performance; most reviews don’t test in a used state, and more users would simply flock to lower price-per-GB drives with less spare area.

Drives that drop the most in performance from new to used state have the most to gain from the TRIM instruction. Depending on how you use your drive of course:

  % Performance Drop in Used State vs. New State
  4KB Random Write 2MB Sequential Write PCMark Vantage HDD Suite
Intel X25-E 64GB (SLC) 26.1% 5.4% 9.7%
Intel X25-M G1 160GB (MLC) 35.5% 3.8% 16.7%
Intel X25-M G2 160GB (MLC) 0.7% 2.2% 15.3%
OCZ Agility 128GB (Indilinx MLC) 44.8% 15.0% 4.4%
OCZ Summit 256GB (Samsung MLC) 72.4% 3.0% 23.6%
OCZ Vertex EX 128GB (Indilinx SLC) 60.5% 20.8% 0.8%
OCZ Vertex Turbo 128GB (Indilinx MLC) 44.0% 15.4% 4.5%
Patriot Torqx 128GB (Indilinx MLC) 44.6% 15.6% 3.5%

 

Depending on the scenario, all three controllers have a lot to gain from TRIM. Random write performance drops significantly for almost every single drive. The worst is the Samsung RBB controller, which lost over 70% of its performance between new and used states; Samsung needs TRIM.

Intel made some significant improvements going from the G1 to G2 drives, the new drive loses no performance in our random write test. This is thanks to firmware tweaks and having twice as much DRAM to track data in; the more data the Intel drive can keep track of, the better it is at organization, management and garbage collection. From a pure performance standpoint, the G2 might actually be better for server workloads than the X25-E. In terms of lifespan however, the X25-E has the G2 beat.

Only the Indilinx drives lose an appreciable amount of performance in the sequential write test, but they are the only drives to not lose any performance in the more real-world PCMark Vantage HDD suite. Although not displayed here, the overall PCMark Vantage score takes an even smaller hit on Indilinx drives. This could mean that in the real world, Indilinx drives stand to gain the least from TRIM support. This is possibly due to Indilinx using a largely static LBA mapping scheme; the only spare area is then the 6.25% outside of user space regardless of how used the drive is.

Both Samsung and Intel have a lot to gain from TRIM. Samsung’s performances goes from utterly unacceptable to reasonable (but not price justified) with TRIM. Intel’s performance goes from class-leading to more, er, class-leading.

The Instruction That Changes (almost) Everything: TRIM Used vs. New Performance: Revisited
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  • sunbear - Monday, August 31, 2009 - link

    Even though most laptops are now SATA-300 compatible, the majority are not able to actually exceed SATA-150 transfer speeds according to some people who have tried. I would imagine that sequential read/write performance would be important for swap but the SATA-150 will be the limiting factor for any of the SSD's mentioned in Anand's article in this case.


    Here's the situation with Thinkpads:
    http://blogs.technet.com/keithcombs/archive/2008/1...">http://blogs.technet.com/keithcombs/arc...vo-think...

    The new MacBookPro is also limited to SATA-150.
    Reply
  • smartins - Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - link

    Actually, The ThinkPad T500/T400/W500 are fully SATA-300 compatible, it's only the drives that ship with the machines that are SATA-150 capped.
    I have a Corsair P64 on my T500 and get an average of 180MB/read which is consistent with all the reviews of this drive.
    Reply
  • mczak - Monday, August 31, 2009 - link

    article says you shouldn't expect it soon, but I don't think so. Several dealers already list it, though not exactly in stock (http://ht4u.net/preisvergleich/a444071.html)">http://ht4u.net/preisvergleich/a444071.html). Price tag, to say it nicely, is a bit steep though. Reply
  • Seramics - Monday, August 31, 2009 - link

    Another great articles from Anandtech. Kudos guys at AT, ur my no. 1 hardware site! Anyway, its really great that we have a really viable competitor to Intel- Indilinx. They really deserve the praise. Now we can buy a non Intel SSD and have no nonsensical stuttering issue! Overall, Intel is still leader but its completely nonsensical how bad their sequential write speed is! I mean, its even slower than a mechanical hard disk! Thats juz not acceptable given the gap in performance is so large and Intel SSD's actually can suffer a significantly worst performance in real world when sequential write speed performance matters. Intel, fix your seq write speed nonsence please! Reply
  • Seramics - Monday, August 31, 2009 - link

    Sorry for double post. Its unintentional and i duno how to delete the 2nd post. Reply
  • Seramics - Monday, August 31, 2009 - link

    Another great articles from Anandtech. Kudos guys at AT, ur my no. 1 hardware site! Anyway, its really great that we have a really viable competitor to Intel- Indilinx. They really deserve the praise. Now we can buy a non Intel SSD and have no nonsensical stuttering issue! Overall, Intel is still leader but its completely nonsensical how bad their sequential write speed is! I mean, its even slower than a mechanical hard disk! Thats juz not acceptable given the gap in performance is so large and Intel SSD's actually can suffer a significantly worst performance in real world when sequential write speed performance matters. Intel, fix your seq write speed nonsence please! Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Monday, August 31, 2009 - link

    Subtle. Very subtle. Good article though.

    3 questions:

    1. Is there any way to read the individual page history off the SSD device so I can construct a WinDirStat style graphical representation of the remaining expected life of the flash? Or better yet is there already a program that does this?

    2. Suppose I had a 2 gigabyte movie file on my 60gb vertex drive. And suppose I had 40GB of free space. If I were to make 20 copies of that movie file, then delete them all, would that be the same as running Wiper?

    3. Any guesses as to which of these drives will perform best when we make the move to SATA-III?

    4. (Bonus) What is stopping Intel from buying Indilinx (and pulling their plug)? (Or just pulling their plug without buying them...)

    Reply
  • SRSpod - Thursday, September 3, 2009 - link

    3. These drives will perform just as they do now when connected to a 6 GBps SATA controller. In order to communicate at the higher speed, both the drive and the controller need to support it. So you'll need new 6 GBps drives to connect to your 6 GBps controller before you'll see any benefit from the new interface. Reply
  • heulenwolf - Monday, August 31, 2009 - link

    Yeah, once the technology matures a little more and drives become more commoditized, I'd like to see more features in terms of feedback on drive life, reliability, etc. When I got my refurb Samsung drives from Dell, for example, they could have been on the verge of dying or they could have been almost new. There's no telling. The controller could know exactly where the drive stands, however. Some kind of controller-tracked indication of drive life left would be a feature that might distinguish comparable drives from one another in a crowded marketplace.

    While they're at it, a tool to allow adjusting of values such as the amount of space not reported to the OS with output in terms of write amplification and predicted drive life would be really nifty.

    Sure, its over the top, but we can always hope.
    Reply
  • nemitech - Monday, August 31, 2009 - link

    I picked up an Agility 120 Gb for $234 last week from ebay ($270 list price - - 6% bing cashback - $20 pay pal discount). I am sure there will be similar deals around black Friday. $2 per Gb is possible for a good SSD. Reply

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