Sequential Performance – HDTach, HDTune, File Copy, YAPT (sequential)
We are trying something different here. Folks tend to not like to click through pages and pages of benchmarks, so I'm going to weed out those that show little to no delta across different units (PCMark). I'm also going to group results by performance trait tested. We'll start with sequential performance:
HD Tach will test the sequential read, random access and interface burst speeds of your attached storage device (hard drive, flash drive, removable drive, etc). All drive technologies such as SCSI, IDE/ATA, 1394, USB, SATA and RAID are supported. HDTach tests sequential performance by issuing reads in a manner that was optimized more for HDD access, but this unique method has proven useful in evaluating the sequential response time of SSDs. The accesses are relatively small in size (2k), and are issued with a single working thread (QD=1). The end result is that devices with relatively IO high latency will not reach their ultimate rated speed.
Despite much larger sequential throughput ratings, the Phoenix Blade and RevoDrive 350 are both stuck waiting on their SandForce controller latencies, while the Plextor M6e behaves more like a SATA device in this test. That said, it is able to best the M6M (also a Marvell controller, but on SATA) by a fair margin, indicating advancements made in the PCIe variant's pipeline.
HDTune tests a similar level of features as compared with HDTach, but with a different access pattern. Thus provides us with an additional set of benchmark numbers to compare between storage configurations. CPU utilization has proven negligible with modern processing horsepower, and is no longer included. Additionally, we do not include write performance due to HDTune's write access pattern not playing nicely with most SSDs we have tested it on.
HDTune uses much larger block transfer sizes (when configured to do so). The M6e is able to gain another 100+ MB/sec over SATA units, but is still ultimately limited by a slower bus and fewer flash controllers / channels than the Phoenix Blade and RevoDrive.
PCPer File Copy Test
Our custom PCPer-FC test does some fairly simple file creation and copy routines in order to test the storage system for speed. The script creates a set of files of varying sizes, times the creation process, then copies the same files to another partition on the same hard drive and times the copy process. There are four file sizes that we used to try and find any strong or weak points in the hardware: 10 files @ 1000 MB each, 100 files @ 100 MB each, 500 files @ 10 MB each and 1000 files at 1 MB each.
The tool that does the file creation does so in a single threaded manner, so the M6e is able to surpass the competing PCIe units in this test. Lower latency SATA devices like the Samsung 850 Pro and Crucial M550 can still best it here.
File copies uses the standard Windows copy, and the added threading of this operation lets the Phoenix Blade and RevoDrive 350 stretch their throughput muscle, besting all other units in this copmparison.
YAPT (yet another performance test) is a benchmark recommended by a pair of drive manufacturers and was incredibly difficult to locate as it hasn't been updated or used in quite some time. That doesn't make it irrelevant by any means though, as the benchmark is quite useful. It creates a test file of about 100 MB in size and runs both random and sequential read and write tests with it while changing the data I/O size in the process. The misaligned nature of this test exposes the read-modify-write performance of SSDs and Advanced Format HDDs.
Despite its age, YAPT is able to give is fairly accurate throughput figures for multi-GB/sec transfers. While the M6e is clearly reads and writes faster than all SATA devices in this test, it can't compete with those other devices which are effectively RAIDs of SATA devices.