Random Read Performance

The random read test requests 4kB blocks and tests queue depths ranging from 1 to 32. The queue depth is doubled every three minutes, for a total test duration of 18 minutes. The test spans the entire drive, which is filled before the test starts. The primary score we report is an average of performances at queue depths 1, 2 and 4, as client usage typically consists mostly of low queue depth operations.

Iometer - 4KB Random Read

There's not a significant random read speed gap between PCIe drives and SATA drives as the unavoidable NAND latency and controller/firmware design matter more than the speed of the host interface. The RD400 performance is a bit odd, with the 512GB RD400 falling behind several SATA drives while the 256GB RD400 is clearly the fastest capacity.

Iometer - 4KB Random Read (Power)

The RD400 again draws significantly more power than the other drives we've measured while the Samsung 950 Pro is a similar load to high-end SATA drives.

The RD400's random read speed scales smoothly with queue depth and unlike the Samsung drives it shows no signs of performance reaching a plateau near the end of the test.

Random Write Performance

The random write test writes 4kB blocks and tests queue depths ranging from 1 to 32. The queue depth is doubled every three minutes, for a total test duration of 18 minutes. The test is limited to a 16GB portion of the drive, and the drive is empty save for the 16GB test file. The primary score we report is an average of performances at queue depths 1, 2 and 4, as client usage typically consists mostly of low queue depth operations.

Iometer - 4KB Random Write

The Intel 750's enterprise roots show through quite clearly as it delivers the fastest random write speeds, but the RD400 is a strong second place. Samsung's PCIe 3 drives provide only moderate improvement over SATA. This stratification illustrates just how much NVMe drivers, controllers and firmware can differ even when the underlying PCIe link is not clost to full utilization.

Iometer - 4KB Random Write (Power)

In addition to providing better random write speeds than the 950 Pro, the RD400 manages to use a bit less power, giving it a clear efficiency win.

The RD400 reaches full speed by QD4 and maintains it for the rest of the test save for a bit of a drop on the 1TB RD400 near the end as the drive begins to run out of spare area and potentially triggers some thermal throttling.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Light Sequential Performance
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  • tarqsharq - Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - link

    Interesting article as always. I had been hoping for a larger price gap between this and the Samsung 950 Pro. At current prices, I think the choice is fairly obvious unless you need a 1TB SSD. Reply
  • Chaitanya - Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - link

    You have a choice of Sandisk X400 as well if you want 1TB capacity in M.2 form factor. Reply
  • edzieba - Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - link

    There's also the OEM version of the OCZ drive, the Toshiba XG3, which is also available in a 1TB m.2 SKU. Reply
  • Lord of the Bored - Thursday, May 26, 2016 - link

    And who DOESN'T need a 1TB SSD? Reply
  • MrSpadge - Friday, May 27, 2016 - link

    I think you're mixing up "want" and "need". Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - link

    "Unlike most cheap adapter cards, the RD400's adapter draws power from the PCIe slot's 12V supply and converts it to the 3.3V required by the M.2 drive."

    PCIe slots provide 10W of 3.3V power directly. (I believe this was originally done to make converting legacy cards via a bridge chip easier.) Why would the card need to do any DC-DC conversion?
    Reply
  • Byrn - Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - link

    I'd assume that if they convert they can get cleaner 3.3V than if they use the feed through the PCIe slot, or that they can design in better resilience to sudden power demand changes...

    Basically, by converting I would have thought they can better fit the power supplied to the drive to the demands it makes.
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin - Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - link

    You can filter any volt feed with enough capacitors. But you lose power efficiency when you do. Reply
  • Alexvrb - Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - link

    Yeah but they're filtering the power either way so converting from 12V -> 3.3V is less efficient than using 3.3V to start with. But getting back to what Byrn was saying... Byrn, they don't have a choice: This drive draws too much power to use the 3.3V supply.

    Look at idle power figures in this article. ~2.5W @ 12V. At 3.3V that would already be pushing it (right around 9W already). Under a load it's going to draw too much. So they had to use the 12V rail.
    Reply
  • Wardrop - Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - link

    2.5 watts is 2.5 watts. If it's a higher voltage, it's less amps, and vice versa. I think you've confused watts with amps? Reply

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