Articles: Storage

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Testbed Configuration

All SSDs were performed in a testbed built around an Intel H67 based mainboard. This chipset provides support for two SATA 6 Gbit/s ports, which we use to connect the tested SSDs.

We are going to compare the performance of Mushkin Chronos deluxe and Mushkin Chronos against several other solid state drives of the similar storage capacity that support SATA 6 Gbps interface. Among them is a product on Marvell 88SS9174 controller – Corsair Performance Pro, as well as a few close relatives of our today’s heroes – SSDs on the second-generation SandForce controller. Among them are a typical SSD with 32 nm Toggle NAND (OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS), a typical SSD with 25 nm synchronous ONFI memory (Corsair Force Series GT), a typical SSD with 25 nm asynchronous memory (Corsair Force Series 3) and a unique Intel SSD 520 Series using regular 25 nm synchronous memory but featuring exclusive firmware.

Overall our testbed was configured as follows:

  • Intel Core i5-2400 (Sandy Bridge, 4 cores, 3.1 GHz, EIST and Turbo Boost turned off);
  • Foxconn H67S mainboard (BIOS A41F1P03);
  • 2 x 2 GB DDR3-1333 SDRAM DIMM 9-9-9-24-1T;
  • Crucial m4 256 GB system disk (CT256M4SSD2);
  • Tested SSDs:
    • Corsair Force 3 Series 240 GB (CSSD-F240GB3-BK, firmware version 1.3.3);
    • Corsair Force GT Series 240 GB (CSSD-F240GBGT-BK, firmware version 1.3.3);
    • Corsair Performance Pro 256 GB (CSSD-P256GBP-BK, firmware version 1.0);
    • Intel SSD 520 240 GB (SSDSC2CW240A3K5, firmware version 400i);
    • Mushkin Chronos deluxe 240 GB (MKNSSDCR240GB-DX, firmware version 3.3.2);
    • Mushkin Chronos 240 GB (MKNSSDCR240GB , firmware version 3.3.2);
    • OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240 GB (VTX3MI-25SAT3-240G, firmware version 2.15).
  • Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 Ultimate x64
  • Drivers:
    • Intel Chipset Driver;
    • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver;
    • Intel Rapid Storage Technology


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-2281/2282 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.

It’s not the first time we test SSDs with SF-2281/2282 controllers, so we could easily predict the outcome. The Mushkin Chronos deluxe using the same flash memory as the OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS, they deliver similar performance in our tests. The results of the Mushkin Chronos indicate that it employs asynchronous flash memory because its performance is comparable to that of the Corsair Force 3. Thus, there is only one exception to the rule that the flash memory type is the key factor in SSD performance. It’s the Intel SSD 520 series with its exclusive firmware.

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