Articles: Storage

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Testbed and Methods

The following testing utilities were used:

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

Testbed configuration:

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

The SSDs were tested with the generic OS drivers and formatted in NTFS (wherever formatting was required) as one partition with the default cluster size. 32-gigabyte NTFS partitions with the default cluster size were created for FC-Test (if the drive is smaller than 64 gigabytes, it is partitioned in two halves). Each SSD was connected to a mainboard port and worked with enabled AHCI. We want to remind you that we have transitioned to a new testing methodology.

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 changes 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.

SSDs have long been all right in terms of sequential speeds. Most of these models are limited by the interface bandwidth and far faster than hard disk drives. It is only the two 30GB products, the affordable Onyx and Solid 2, which cannot reach a speed of 200 MBps. The Solid 2 model is nearly 50 MBps faster than its cousin, though. The 30GB Vertex Turbo is true to its name and performs as fast as the 60GB products.

The Vertex 2 behaves in an interesting way. Its top speed is somewhat lower than 250 MBps and it accelerates to that speed somewhat later than the rest of the SSDs. Instead, it offers the highest performance on data blocks of 2 to 32 kilobytes.

The sequential write graphs produce a lot of information. First, we can note a peak in each graph which indicates the moment when the size of the written data block coincides with the size of internal blocks considering the number of controller channels. As a result, most of the Indilinx-based SSDs have a peak at 16KB blocks. The Colossus Lite prefers 64KB chunks of data, which may be a peculiarity of its firmware or due to its having four times the number of channels of a single controller.

Second, the Vertex 2 fails to meet our expectations based on its specs, even though its speed of 130 MBps is quite high in itself. Well, this SSD will have a chance to show a better performance in FC-Test. Right now, we can note that it is better than its opponents on very small data blocks.

Third, we can see a clear correlation between write speed and storage capacity. For example, the 30GB models are the slowest ones, the Vertex Turbo being the only 30GB drive to deliver 100 MBps on some data blocks whereas the Solid 2 is no faster than 31 MBps. The Onyx looks far more interesting. The 60GB models pass this test as a solid group, their graphs lying above 100 MBps at large data blocks. The 120GB Solid 2 and Agility are faster than 150 MBps.

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