AnandTech Storage Bench 2011

Two years ago we introduced our AnandTech Storage Bench, a suite of benchmarks that took traces of real OS/application usage and played them back in a repeatable manner. I assembled the traces myself out of frustration with the majority of what we have today in terms of SSD benchmarks.

Although the AnandTech Storage Bench tests did a good job of characterizing SSD performance, they weren't stressful enough. All of the tests performed less than 10GB of reads/writes and typically involved only 4GB of writes specifically. That's not even enough exceed the spare area on most SSDs. Most canned SSD benchmarks don't even come close to writing a single gigabyte of data, but that doesn't mean that simply writing 4GB is acceptable.

Originally I kept the benchmarks short enough that they wouldn't be a burden to run (~30 minutes) but long enough that they were representative of what a power user might do with their system.

Not too long ago I tweeted that I had created what I referred to as the Mother of All SSD Benchmarks (MOASB). Rather than only writing 4GB of data to the drive, this benchmark writes 106.32GB. It's the load you'd put on a drive after nearly two weeks of constant usage. And it takes a *long* time to run.

1) The MOASB, officially called AnandTech Storage Bench 2011 - Heavy Workload, mainly focuses on the times when your I/O activity is the highest. There is a lot of downloading and application installing that happens during the course of this test. My thinking was that it's during application installs, file copies, downloading and multitasking with all of this that you can really notice performance differences between drives.

2) I tried to cover as many bases as possible with the software I incorporated into this test. There's a lot of photo editing in Photoshop, HTML editing in Dreamweaver, web browsing, game playing/level loading (Starcraft II & WoW are both a part of the test) as well as general use stuff (application installing, virus scanning). I included a large amount of email downloading, document creation and editing as well. To top it all off I even use Visual Studio 2008 to build Chromium during the test.

The test has 2,168,893 read operations and 1,783,447 write operations. The IO breakdown is as follows:

AnandTech Storage Bench 2011 - Heavy Workload IO Breakdown
IO Size % of Total
4KB 28%
16KB 10%
32KB 10%
64KB 4%

Only 42% of all operations are sequential, the rest range from pseudo to fully random (with most falling in the pseudo-random category). Average queue depth is 4.625 IOs, with 59% of operations taking place in an IO queue of 1.

Many of you have asked for a better way to really characterize performance. Simply looking at IOPS doesn't really say much. As a result I'm going to be presenting Storage Bench 2011 data in a slightly different way. We'll have performance represented as Average MB/s, with higher numbers being better. At the same time I'll be reporting how long the SSD was busy while running this test. These disk busy graphs will show you exactly how much time was shaved off by using a faster drive vs. a slower one during the course of this test. Finally, I will also break out performance into reads, writes and combined. The reason I do this is to help balance out the fact that this test is unusually write intensive, which can often hide the benefits of a drive with good read performance.

There's also a new light workload for 2011. This is a far more reasonable, typical every day use case benchmark. Lots of web browsing, photo editing (but with a greater focus on photo consumption), video playback as well as some application installs and gaming. This test isn't nearly as write intensive as the MOASB but it's still multiple times more write intensive than what we were running in 2010.

As always I don't believe that these two benchmarks alone are enough to characterize the performance of a drive, but hopefully along with the rest of our tests they will help provide a better idea.

The testbed for Storage Bench 2011 has changed as well. We're now using a Sandy Bridge platform with full 6Gbps support for these tests.

AnandTech Storage Bench 2011 - Heavy Workload

We'll start out by looking at average data rate throughout our new heavy workload test:

Heavy Workload 2011 - Average Data Rate

In lighter workloads than our 2013 workload the EVO still does incredibly well.

Heavy Workload 2011 - Average Read Speed

 

Heavy Workload 2011 - Average Write Speed

AnandTech Storage Bench 2011 - Light Workload

Our new light workload actually has more write operations than read operations. The split is as follows: 372,630 reads and 459,709 writes. The relatively close read/write ratio does better mimic a typical light workload (although even lighter workloads would be far more read centric).

The I/O breakdown is similar to the heavy workload at small IOs, however you'll notice that there are far fewer large IO transfers:

AnandTech Storage Bench 2011 - Light Workload IO Breakdown
IO Size % of Total
4KB 27%
16KB 8%
32KB 6%
64KB 5%

Light Workload 2011 - Average Data Rate

Light Workload 2011 - Average Read Speed

Light Workload 2011 - Average Write Speed

 

Performance vs. Transfer Size Power Consumption
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  • yut345 - Thursday, December 12, 2013 - link

    That would depend on how large your files are and how much space of the drive you will be using up for storage. I would fill up a 250GB drive almost immediately and certainly slow it down, even though I store most of my files on an external drive. For me, a 1TB would perform better. Reply
  • HenryWell - Monday, July 29, 2013 - link

    Love my job, since I've been bringing in $82h… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online. (Home more information)
    http://goo.gl/IxKJ1G
    Reply
  • Romberry - Saturday, July 27, 2013 - link

    Well...that sort of depends, doesn't it? The first 2.5-3GB or so are at close to 400mb/s before depleting the turbowrite buffer and dropping down to around 110-120mb/s, 2-3GB covers a lot of average files. Even a relatively small video fits. And as soon as the turbowrite cache is flushed, you can burst again. All in all, long (very large file) steady state transfer on the 120gb version is average, but more typical small and mid file sizes (below the 3GB turbowrite limit) relatively scream. Seems to me that real world performance is going to be a lot quicker feeling than those large file steady state numbers might suggest. The 120gb version won't be the first pick for ginormous video and graphics file work, but outside of that....3GB will fit a LOT of stuff. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Saturday, July 27, 2013 - link

    Agreed! And if your're blowing past the 3 GB cache you'll need some other SSD or RAID to actually supply your data any faster than the 128 GB 840 Evo can write. Not even GBit LAN can do this. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    RAPID seems intended for devices with built-in UPS - notebooks and tablets. Likewise, I wouldn't use it on my desktop without a UPS. Seems wicked cool, though. Reply
  • ItsMrNick - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    I don't know if I'm as extreme as you. The fact is your O/S already keeps some unflushed data in RAM anyways - often times "some" means "a lot". If RAPID obeys flush commands from the O/S (and from Anand's article, it seems that it does) then the chances of data corruption should be minimal - and no different than the chances of data corruption without RAPID. Reply
  • Sivar - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    You can always mount your drives in synchronous mode and avoid any caching of data in RAM.
    I wouldn't, though. :)
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    soo00 XTr3M3!!1 Sorry, I just found that humorous. I've actually been meaning to get a UPS for my main rig anyway, it never hurts. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Saturday, July 27, 2013 - link

    It does hurt your purse, though. Reply
  • sheh - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    I wonder how it's any different from the OS caching. Seemingly, that's something that the OS should do the best it can, regardless of which drive it writes to, and with configurability to let the user choose the right balance between quick/unreliable and slower/reliable. Reply

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