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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  • blanarahul - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    Can't wait to see what Intel brings to the table considering the amount of focus they put on consistency. Reply
  • extide - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    I'm not sure that we will see anything too interesting client side from them. They seemed to have moved all their focus to the enterprise side, which is of course where the bulk of the money is.

    FWIW, Intel already has a PCIe SSD that is arguably faster -- the Intel SSD DC P3700
    Reply
  • dylan522p - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    Is, not arguably Reply
  • Stuka87 - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - link

    It is faster, and certainly more reliable. Intel has the best enterprise SSDs on the market. Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - link

    -- Intel has the best enterprise SSDs on the market.

    Among consumer facing companies, perhaps. The real enterprise SSD/flash players are largely unknown to AnandTech and its readers.
    Reply
  • monsted - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - link

    I'd love to see the results of a HDS FMD compared to the usual suspects. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - link

    We've had this conversation before and I'll tell you this again: the majority of flash array vendors are using SSDs from Intel, SanDisk, Samsung and others. There are some that design and build their own drives/blades (e.g. Violin and Skyera), but the vast majority is using third party drives as the heart of their flash arrays. Reply
  • GTVic - Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - link

    All drives now should support eDrive. Reply
  • Railgun - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    At the rate I'm going, I'll end up with one of these before my XP941 ever gets powered up once, retail or otherwise. Reply
  • Laststop311 - Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - link

    Disappointed in lack of 1TB size/ no 3d vnand/ no nvme. I planned on using 1 of these in 1TB size for a boot drive for a skylake-e build. The good news is I have a couple years for samsung to fix those issues. Reply

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