AnandTech Storage Bench 2013

Our Storage Bench 2013 focuses on worst-case multitasking and IO consistency. Similar to our earlier Storage Benches, the test is still application trace based—we record all IO requests made to a test system and play them back on the drive we're testing and run statistical analysis on the drive's responses. There are 49.8 million IO operations in total with 1583.0GB of reads and 875.6GB of writes. I'm not including the full description of the test for better readability, so make sure to read our Storage Bench 2013 introduction for the full details.

AnandTech Storage Bench 2013 - 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

We are reporting two primary metrics with the Destroyer: average data rate in MB/s and average service time in microseconds. The former gives you an idea of the throughput of the drive during the time that it was running the test workload. This can be a very good indication of overall performance. What average data rate doesn't do a good job of is taking into account response time of very bursty (read: high queue depth) IO. By reporting average service time we heavily weigh latency for queued IOs. You'll note that this is a metric we've been reporting in our enterprise benchmarks for a while now. With the client tests maturing, the time was right for a little convergence.

Storage Bench 2013 - The Destroyer (Data Rate)

Surprisingly the 256GB SP920 is faster than 256GB M550 even though the SP920 has fewer NAND dies. The main reason Crucial went with 64Gbit die for 128GB and 256GB models was increased performance, but it looks like that mainly applies the 128GB version. Of course, ~10MB/s isn't a big difference but it's still interesting that the performance hit from 128Gbit NAND is mostly a non-issue for the 256GB model.

Storage Bench 2013 - The Destroyer (Service Time)

Performance Consistency & TRIM Validation Random & Sequential Performance
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  • Samus - Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - link

    I'm just going to throw out there my experience with ADATA SSD's:

    S510: bricked in a year, but was near capacity which could have caused it to lock. however, no other SSD (sandforce or otherwise) has done that to me and this was used in an office PC with very little write activity.

    SP900: Windows 7 BSOD after 5 months. had to secure erase and reinstall, did same thing 2 weeks later.

    ADATA RMA takes forever (3 weeks each time.) The RMA form is erroneous and just getting the RMA number is a lot of back and forth. Proof of purchase, full system specs, lots of questions...the works. They try very hard to make it inconvenient, opposed to Crucial or Intel where the RMA process is "just send the drive to this address." They do mail back a new drive as a replacement, but don't offer to simply unlock a "frozen" drive, and obviously don't offer any sort of data recovery.

    Considering I've never had a Crucial completely fail, or any issues whatsoever with an Intel drive, it's hard to ignore their reliability at the expense of 5-10% performance penalty.
  • Gigaplex - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    Why would a parts warranty cover data recovery? That's what backups are for.
  • Flunk - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    I have a 256GB SX300 which is a Sandforce-based mSATA drive. I've had no problems and performance matches the review samples that were sent out.

    So my experience has been fine.
  • mikato - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    No storage device manufacturers include data recovery service along with their devices. Data recovery usually costs more than the devices do. Some can refer you to a company that does it, and I know one has their own sub-company that does it, but it's completely separate from the device purchase. I'm curious what you mean by "simply unlock a "frozen" drive".

    By the way, SSD data recovery is usually quite a bit more difficult and more expensive than hard disk data recovery. And it's sometimes not even possible with more SSDs using encryption all the time, whether or not user specifies, and with the keys stored and decoding being done possibly in the part of the SSD that has failed (adios data).

    If you're storing your data on an SSD (not just the OS, programs), you should be aware of the reduced avenues of disaster recovery and be even more careful with backups.
  • Samus - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    ssd data recovery is quite simple actually, you just can't use traditional means to do it. Most if not all sad data recovery is accomplished by simply unlocking the drive or repairing the indirection table. Drives lock when they run out of spare area, good writable blocks, or can't trim/operate normally often occurring when they are low on capacity. Indirection table repair is more complex but on a file-by-file basic (lets say you just needed a few documents) it isn't very time consuming if the tech known what they are looking for.

    I've toured ontrack's Chicago lab and seen this all in action, they have a higher success rate with ssd's than HDD's (both over 99%)

    I don't expect OEM's or manufactures to offer data recovery, but when data recover is a matter of plugging a drive in and unlocking it because their firmware is bricking drives, they SHOULD do it for their customers.

    All those "refurbished" SSD's? What do you think those are? They're drives that have simply been unlocked and secure erased. It takes manufactures 30 seconds to do.

    Go research sandforce "frozen" or "locked" and you'll see these controllers are notorious for locking drives (to the point they don't even detect in the BIOS) for various reasons.
  • hojnikb - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    I've got s510 and so far so good (except bsods, i'm getting those on all my sandforce drives). As far as RMA is concernd, i've never had any issues. Last time i had to replace my usb drive, because it died on me (probobly bricked controller), they replaced it within days.
  • Sabresiberian - Friday, April 4, 2014 - link

    Despite your negative experiences, I wouldn't use them to determine that ADATA SSDs should be avoided. That being said, if I can get a 5-year warranty instead of a 3-year for very little more money I'll do that (yeah I know they are largely there to lower the worry factor for those that think SSDs might be less reliable, but still, if you need it, it's good to have). I just bought 2 480GB Sandisk Extreme IIs for $300 each - if you keep your eye out such discounts aren't hard to come by.
  • Sabresiberian - Friday, April 4, 2014 - link

    Looking at Newegg reviews, I see that ADATA drives get 3 or 4 stars. Sandisk gets 4 or 5 stars, no 3 stars. Not an absolute sign of quality of course, but over hundreds or thousands of comments from people that have bought these things, it is a factor to consider.
  • iwod - Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - link

    Do Marvell now offer much better default firmware? It was used to be the case Marvell controller were cheaper, not because of its inferior hardware but it provides very simply firmware that wasn't very highly performing. But it seems now the "default" performance behavior are pretty much all the same.

    Which makes me interested in the next round of SSD Controller. Do anyone have update on those from Sandforce, Marvell, etc?
  • JDG1980 - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    My understanding was that Marvell didn't provide firmware at all - it's up to the vendor.

    Personally, I'd like to see a Marvell-based SSD with an open source firmware, even if the performance isn't quite as good as the best proprietary solutions.

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