Internals, Testing Methodology and System Setup


Simple, snap together housing, with a single screw to hold the PCB in place. Cost cutting design at its finest. I've included the 256GB MSATA SSD in this pic. No disassembly required there.

Front (1TB):

Design and layout nearly identical to the M550.

Rear (1TB):

Front (128GB):

Rear (128GB):

No packages at the rear of the 128GB model, as the eight packages in front hold a single 128Gbit dies each, providing the necessary capacity without the need for rear mounted flash.

Testing Methodology:

Given the way Dynamic Write Acceleration functions, and the fact that the M600's flash might be in SLC or MLC states, varied based on how full it is, we pretty much had to toss out the review playbook and cook up a completely new method just for this review. Well over 100 hours went into this, as the method used had to also be applied to comparison samples. After several iterations, the test sequence resulted in the following:

  • Partition full drive capacity and format NTFS.
  • Perform a truncated round of benchmarks to simulate an OS install.
  • Fill to 30% in 10% increments (with wait periods each 10%).
  • Perform abbreviated random workload on the first 10% to simulate OS file writes over time (registry, log files, etc).
  • Fill to 50% in 10% increments (with waits after each 10%).
  • Perform truncated round of benchmarks to evaluate performance.
  • Evaluate sequential read speed of first 50% (fragmentation check).
  • Fill to 80% in 10% increments (with waits).
  • Perform truncated round of benchmarks to evaluate performance.
  • Fill to near capacity (97%) (wait at 90%).
  • Perform truncated round of benchmarks to evaluate performance.

This is fairly involved, but necessary to evaluate how the M600 will (should) perform in actual use. The wait periods ranged from 30 minutes to overnight, depending on how much was changed prior to the wait. Larger trace benchmarks like PCMark were included as part of the workload tests, but we will stick with ATTO results for this review, as you will find those results better show any relative inconsistencies that may develop as testing progresses.

Test System Setup

We currently employ a pair of testbeds. A newer ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/Thunderbolt and an ASUS Z87-PRO. Variance between both boards has been deemed negligible.

PC Perspective would like to thank ASUS, Corsair, and Kingston for supplying some of the components of our test rigs. 

Hard Drive Test System Setup
CPU Intel Core i7-4770K
Motherboard ASUS P8Z77-V Pro/TB / ASUS Z87-PRO
Memory Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR3-2133 CL9
Hard Drive G.Skill 32GB SLC SSD
Sound Card N/A
Video Card Intel® HD Graphics 4600
Video Drivers Intel
Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-650TX
DirectX Version DX9.0c
Operating System Windows 8.1 X64
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