Articles: Storage

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Testbed and Methods

The following testing utilities were used:

  • IOMeter 2003.02.15
  • FC-Test 1.0
  • PCMark Vantage
  • Windows 7 Disk Defragmenter
  • WinRAR 3.91

Testbed configuration:

  • ASUS P5WDG2 WS Pro mainboard
  • Intel Pentium 4 620 processor
  • IBM DTLA-307015 system disk, 15 GB
  • Radeon X600 graphics card
  • 1 GB DDR2-800 SDRAM
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate

The SSDs are tested with the generic OS drivers. We format them in NTFS as one partition with the default cluster size (for FC-Test we create 32GB partitions), connect them to a mainboard port and enable AHCI. We have transitioned to a new method of benchmarking storage devices.

Performance in Intel IOMeter

Sequential Read & Write Patterns

IOMeter is sending a stream of read and write requests with a request queue depth of 4. The size of the requested data block is changed each minute, so that we could see the dependence of the drive’s sequential read/write speed on the size of the data block. This test is indicative of the maximum speed the drive can achieve.

The numeric data can be viewed in tables. We will be discussing graphs and diagrams.

Now let’s see what all these lines have to tell us (by the way, note how high the speeds are – hundreds of megabytes per second!). The two pairs of SandForce controllers are competing to be the leader in terms of sequential read speed: one pair is united using the chipset and the other resides on the RevoDrive card. Both pairs deliver a max speed of about 400 MBps. The dual-SSD version is somewhat faster with small data blocks but the RevoDrive behaves more consistently, without sudden changes in speed. The Crucial C300 with SATA600 is trying hard to catch up with the leaders but has to content itself with third place, showing a terrible performance hit on 64KB data blocks. Judging by the graph of the same SSD connected the chipset’s SATA300 controller, this slump is due to the Marvell controller’s problems. The Crucial is actually the best among the classic-design SSDs. The single-chip SandForce-based products are all inferior to it.

The OCZ Colossus is somewhat ambiguous. It offers a higher top speed than the SandForce-based models when reading large data blocks, yet its pair of Indilinx chips falls behind the single SandForce controllers at small data blocks.

The 40GB G.Skill is slower than its larger-capacity cousins but faster than the Intel X25-V.

We’ve got completely different standings in the sequential writing test. The Crucial shows its best, competing with the RevoDrive for top position when connected via SATA300. The same Crucial performs worse on the Marvell controller but that’s the controller’s, not the SSD’s, fault. The OCZ Colossus feels good here whereas the RAID0 pair of Corsair Force SSDs connected to the ICH controller loses its ground and is similar to the single-chip SandForce-based products in speed.

Another unpleasant surprise is that the Agility 2 and the Vertex 2 with firmware 1.1 cannot deliver even 100 MBps. The 40GB G.Skill is even slower, although ahead of the Intel X25-V which performs in the same category.

We can also note the sudden growth of speed of the more advanced models when switching from 2KB to 4KB data blocks.

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