AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer

The Destroyer has been an essential part of our SSD test suite for nearly two years now. It was crafted to provide a benchmark for very IO intensive workloads, which is where you most often notice the difference between drives. It's not necessarily the most relevant test to an average user, but for anyone with a heavier IO workload The Destroyer should do a good job at characterizing performance.

AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer
Workload Description Applications Used
Photo Sync/Editing Import images, edit, export Adobe Photoshop CS6, Adobe Lightroom 4, Dropbox
Gaming Download/install games, play games Steam, Deus Ex, Skyrim, Starcraft 2, BioShock Infinite
Virtualization Run/manage VM, use general apps inside VM VirtualBox
General Productivity Browse the web, manage local email, copy files, encrypt/decrypt files, backup system, download content, virus/malware scan Chrome, IE10, Outlook, Windows 8, AxCrypt, uTorrent, AdAware
Video Playback Copy and watch movies Windows 8
Application Development Compile projects, check out code, download code samples Visual Studio 2012

The table above describes the workloads of The Destroyer in a bit more detail. Most of the workloads are run independently in the trace, but obviously there are various operations (such as backups) in the background. 

AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer - Specs
Reads 38.83 million
Writes 10.98 million
Total IO Operations 49.8 million
Total GB Read 1583.02 GB
Total GB Written 875.62 GB
Average Queue Depth ~5.5
Focus Worst case multitasking, IO consistency

The name Destroyer comes from the sheer fact that the trace contains nearly 50 million IO operations. That's enough IO operations to effectively put the drive into steady-state and give an idea of the performance in worst case multitasking scenarios. About 67% of the IOs are sequential in nature with the rest ranging from pseudo-random to fully random. 

AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer - IO Breakdown
IO Size <4KB 4KB 8KB 16KB 32KB 64KB 128KB
% of Total 6.0% 26.2% 3.1% 2.4% 1.7% 38.4% 18.0%

I've included a breakdown of the IOs in the table above, which accounts for 95.8% of total IOs in the trace. The leftover IO sizes are relatively rare in between sizes that don't have a significant (>1%) share on their own. Over a half of the transfers are large IOs with one fourth being 4KB in size.

AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer - QD Breakdown
Queue Depth 1 2 3 4-5 6-10 11-20 21-32 >32
% of Total 50.0% 21.9% 4.1% 5.7% 8.8% 6.0% 2.1% 1.4

Despite the average queue depth of 5.5, a half of the IOs happen at queue depth of one and scenarios where the queue depths is higher than 10 are rather infrequent. 

The two key metrics I'm reporting haven't changed and I'll continue to report both data rate and latency because the two have slightly different focuses. Data rate measures the speed of the data transfer, so it emphasizes large IOs that simply account for a much larger share when looking at the total amount of data. Latency, on the other hand, ignores the IO size, so all IOs are given the same weight in the calculation. Both metrics are useful, although in terms of system responsiveness I think the latency is more critical. As a result, I'm also reporting two new stats that provide us a very good insight to high latency IOs by reporting the share of >10ms and >100ms IOs as a percentage of the total.

AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer (Data Rate)

The SM951 takes the lead easily and provides ~34% increase in data rate over the XP941. The advantage over some of the slower SATA 6Gbps drives is nearly threefold, which speaks for the performance benefit that PCIe and especially PCIe 3.0 provide.

AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer (Latency)

The latency benefit isn't as significant, which suggests that the SM951 provides substantial boost in large IO performance, but the performance at small IO sizes isn't dramatically better.

AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer (Latency)

Despite the lowest average latency, the SM951 actually has the most >10ms IO with nearly 2% of the IOs having higher latency than 10ms. I did some thermal throttling testing (see the dedicated page for full results) and the SM951 seems to throttle fairly aggressively, so my hypothesis is that the high number is due to throttling, which limits the drive's throughput momentarily (and hence increases the latency) to cool down the drive. 

AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer (Latency)

However, the SM951 has the least >100ms IOs, which means that despite the possible throttling the maximum service times stay between 10ms and 100ms.

Performance Consistency AnandTech Storage Bench - Heavy
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  • hojnikb - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    Quick question;
    Is anyone going beyond that limit on 2D nand ?
    Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    I don't think anyone has stacked more than 16 dies currently. Right now Samsung is the only one shipping 16-die packages in volume, whereas others are either still developing or only shipping in very limited quantities (e.g. Toshiba's 16-die packages are ~3x more expensive in terms of $/GB). Reply
  • baii9 - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    great review and new test suite, on the mx100 I mean. Clearly show that top tier ssds( 850 pro, extreme pro) is hardly better than a budget drive. would be awesome if you guys can throw arc 100 into the mix. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    I was only able to test a bunch of drives for this review and chose the drives that I found the most relevant, but the ARC 100 will definitely be tested soon. Reply
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    yeah, that would be great.
    ARC 100 is getting cheaper every day here in EU and its currently the best buy in ~256GB segment.
    Reply
  • danjw - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    Since there are multiple form factors, it would be nice if you included the form factor for M.2 drives. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    It's mentioned right after the table, but I've also added it to the table now so it can't be missed. Reply
  • danjw - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    Thanks! Reply
  • aggiechase37 - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    Yeah, but if something goes terribly wrong with the drive, can we trust Samsung to do the right thing? Replace the 840 EVO's, or Samsung, you're dead to me. Reply
  • aggiechase37 - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    So the only way to get a Samsung #fail drive is to get a Lenovo #spyware laptop? Let me just jump right all over that. Reply

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