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Random and Sequential Reading/Writing

We use CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 benchmark to test the random- and sequential read and write speed. This benchmark is convenient to work with as it can measure the speed of an SSD with both incompressible random and fully compressible recurring data. This feature is important for testing SSDs based on SF-2281 controller, which tries to compress the data before writing it into memory. So, there are two numbers in the diagrams below that reflect the maximum and minimum SSD speed. The real-life performance of an SSD is going to be in-between those two numbers depending on how effective the controller data compression is.

Note that the performance tests in this section refer to SSDs in their “Fresh Out-of-Box” state (FOB). No degradation could have taken place yet.

Marvell 88SS9174 controller doesn’t compress data during writing that is why the SSDs based on it demonstrate predictably similar results with compressible and non-compressible data. As a result, it is very difficult to compete against SandForce based SSDs in writing compressible data.

Nevertheless, SSDs with Marvell controllers inside also have their advantages. Namely, these SSDs do really well during random operations on small data blocks in case of a deep requests queue. It serves as a reminder that Marvell 88SS9174 comes from a server background, which is partially true, because Marvell is still the leading developer of server SSD controllers.

At the same time, Corsair Performance Pro and Plextor M3S also demonstrate very good results during sequential writing. Of course, if the data is well-compressible, then they can’t really compete against SandForce-based drives, but in case of “SF-2281 unfriendly” information structure, Marvell controller is capable of delivering higher results.

As for the relative performance of Corsair Performance Pro, Crucial m4 and Plextor M3S based on the same Marvell 88SS9174 controller, we can clearly see that it differs dramatically. Of course, different controller revisions, different firmware versions and different memory have a lot to do with that. And while Crucial m4 is the slowest Marvell-based SSD, which can only compete successfully against the low-cost SandForce drives using asynchronous memory , then Corsair Performance Pro and Plextor M3S built with Toggle Mode NAND look much more attractive. Moreover, Plextor M3S works much better with random operations, while Corsair Performance Pro employing much more aggressive interleaving technology leads in sequential writing.

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