Sequential Performance – HDTach, HDTune, File Copy, YAPT (sequential)
We have shifted over to combining our results into two groupings for consumer reviews. First up is 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.
With QD=1 and small sequential reads taking place, the SSD 750 gets unseated by Samsung's NVMe SM951.
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.
We have HDTune configured to perform large block reads, but those reads are not 4k aligned, so we see the SSD 750 fall behind newer faster controllers present in the new SM951, as well as the Marvell 88SS9293 controller present in the Kingston HyperX Predator.
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.
Yes, you read that right. A fire breathing Intel SSD 750 was just unseated by a couple of tiny M.2 SSDs. Once again records are broken in this test, this time by the NVMe version of the SM951. The SSD 750's enterprise pedigree heavily optimizes for 4k and higher random access, and writing very small files with our tool means a lot of <4k file table updates, slowing things down a bit.
Windows file copies are a bit more multithreaded, allowing the SSD 750 to win out on many of the file copy rounds. Multithreaded copies was not sufficient to beat out the SM951 when copying 1000 1MB files, however.
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.
YAPT has always done a great job of maxing out SSDs, and the same applies here. The SSD 750 holds the crown with nearly 2.6 GB/sec reads. The new NVMe SM951 sits on par with the G.Skill Phoenix Blade (which is internally 4x SATA SSDs).
On writes things are flipped a bit. The SSD 750 has a lower write speed limit than the AHCI version of the SM951, while beating the lesser rated NVMe variant by a hair.
I approach most of
I approach most of this from a gamer’s perspective. Of course, I wouldn’t expect night and day difference with a very high end SSD vs a normal SSD. But what about for something like running around Skyrim with a butt-ton of mods? Open world games, tons of things to load on the fly.
It could still be CPU bottlenecked though. Tom’s Hardware did an article a long time ago about SSD load in gaming. The guy used some sort of trace-based analysis tool from Intel to check if the reads from the SSD during game startup, level loading, and playtime are sequential or random, what size, and what queue depth. It’s very interesting and I think many gamers would like to see such an article.
I’m looking at all the graphs and frankly it doesn’t mean much to me. I don’t run file servers, I load a ton of maps.
Great review. I was hoping
Great review. I was hoping you could help out by comparing my workflow to which above benchmark best applies to me.
My apps use up to 29GBs of RAM where 1000s of 64k buffers are used as targets for various streams of audio stored on SSDs.
When I press a key on an 88 note keyboard/synth it goes 1st to the 64k buffer in RAM then a stream of audio follows.
Obviuosly random applies to the 64k RAM buffers and read to the streaming audio files.
Maybe the Workstation benchmark….?
Thanks again for a great source of comparisons on SSDs.
The X99 Sabertooth allow one
The X99 Sabertooth allow one to conceal their M.2 SSD completely under the Thermal Armor. Is that recommended given the heat output for SM951 NVMe?
HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY!!!
HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY!!!
Have you heard about a 1TB
Have you heard about a 1TB version of the SM951 being release soon?
I’m using the SM951 ACHI in a
I’m using the SM951 ACHI in a m.2 to PCI x4 card that has a heatsink on it and is plugged into a x4 PCI-E slot on my x99 motherboard. I love it but I’m wondering if I managed to get my hands on one of the new NVME, would it fit into the same heatsink slot (the pins looks the same) or would I have to use the M.2 slot on the motherboard? I’m assuming either would work and just change to NVME in the BIOS.
Second, I have two Samsung 850 pros running in RAID 0 as my applications drive. Would I still be able to keep this in RAID while using NVME on the Asus x99 motherboard?
Hello, I’ve just been
Hello, I’ve just been comparing a 512GB 951 NVMe variant that I purchased yesterday with an existing 512GB 951 AHCI. Apparently it’s a sample rather than a production unit but I’m seeing fantastic read speeds but horrific write speeds. In my case I’m using with an Asus Z97i-plus with the latest BIOS. The board identifies the 951 and allows me to install windows (8.1 all latest updates)… so far so good. Unfortunately when I run speed tests against the NVMe variant I get 10 times slower write speeds compared to the AHCI 951.
CrystalDiskMark: AHCI variant (connected to PCIe 3.0 bus)
Seq Q32T1 – 1172MB/s read | 1043MB/s write
4k Q32T1 – 398MB/s read | 289MB/s write
Seq – 1052MB/s read | 900MB/s write
4k – 35MB/s read | 128MB/s write
CrystalDiskMark: NVMe variant (connected to PCIe 3.0 bus)
Seq Q32T1 – 2264MB/s read | 501MB/s write
4k Q32T1 – 563 MB/s read | 21 MB/s write
Seq – 1299 MB/s read | 170 MB/s write
4k – 54 MB/s read | 0.98 MB/s write
Blindingly fast read but horrifically slow write speeds.
I’ve also tested using the Z97i-plus’s M.2 slot. I see reduced read speeds due to the limited, 10Gbps, speed of the M.2 on this board but the same horrific write speeds.
Is there something that I might be doing wrong? Could this be a BIOS problem? A Windows NVMe driver problem?
That’s odd, but I believe
That's odd, but I believe Kristian from Anandtech had a similar issue with one of his samples. It was an actual defect I believe and they had to swap out his sample, IIRC.