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
POST A COMMENT

138 Comments

View All Comments

  • Touche - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    I don't think your tests are representative of most people's usage, especially for these drives. TurboWrite should prove to be a much better asset for most, so the drive's performance is actually quite better than this review indicates. Reply
  • Sivar - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Really well-written article.
    I have to admit, while most of Samsung's products are crap, their 840 and later SSDs are not bad at all.
    (The 830, while not prone to electronic failure, was built really poorly. It's SATA connector would snap off if you tilted your head the wrong way while looking at it).
    Reply
  • Coup27 - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Samsung have gotten into the world position they are in today by selling crap. I have used plenty of 830's and I have never had an issue with the SATA connector so I have no idea what you are doing with it. Reply
  • Coup27 - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Haven't ^^ (why is there no edit button?) Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    So you accidentally broke a SATA connector, and now that's suddenly a flaw? I have two Samsung 830 256GB in my system, and somehow I didn't break the SATA connectors...
    I also fitted 4x Samsung 830 256GB to a server at work.. and somehow I didn't break the SATA connectors..
    Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Saturday, July 27, 2013 - link

    True, this. SATA connectors are poorly designed, but that's the fault of the people who made the spec, not the specific one in the 830. I'm not saying it can't break. I've had SATA connectors break on a variety of devices. None of them were my 830, but I'm not saying it's impossible or whatever.

    I've seen WD, Seagate, and Hitachi drives all have a problem with the connector, though. Seems like SATA and HDMI were designed to make the connection as loose and easily broken as possible. I guess that gives them some small percentage of people buying all new product to replace something on said product that's small and plastic...
    Reply
  • mmaenpaa - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Good article once again Anand,

    and very good perfomance for this price range.

    Regarding Torx, I believe this is one the main reasons why it is used:

    "By design, Torx head screws resist cam-out better than Phillips head or slot head screws. Where Phillips heads were designed to cause the driver to cam out, to prevent overtightening, Torx heads were designed to prevent cam-out. The reason for this was the development of better torque-limiting automatic screwdrivers for use in factories. Rather than rely on the tool slipping out of the screw head when a torque level is reached, thereby risking damage to the driver tip, screw head and/or workpiece, the newer driver design achieves a desired torque consistently. The manufacturer claims this can increase tool bit life by ten times or more"

    (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torx)

    BR,
    Markku
    Reply
  • hybrid2d4x4 - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    For what it's worth, my experience with screws is consistent with your post. I've never had a torx screw slip out, which is definitely not the case with philips or the square or flathead varieties. I'd like to see them used more often. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    Agreed. I love Torx. Philips and pozidriv are the terrible bastard children of the screw universe. Always slipping and burring. Ugh. If everything was replaced with totally cam-out free designs like Torx, allen head, robertson screw.. etc, etc.. then I'd be more than happy. Reply
  • psuedonymous - Thursday, July 25, 2013 - link

    I'd LOVE for Torx to be used more often. They're much easier to work with (not once have I had a Torx screw fall off the screwdriver and roll under the desk), the screwheads are more robust, and they frankly look a lot nicer than Philips or Pozidriv.

    It'd make pulling apart laptops all day a darn sight less onerous if Torx were the standard rather than Philips.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now