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Testbed Configuration

For our today’s SSD test session we put together a system on 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 SanDisk Extreme SSD 240 GB against the typical representatives with similar storage capacity from all four SandForce-based series. They are the unique Intel SSD 520 with its exclusive firmware; Corsair Force Series GT with synchronous ONFI memory; Corsair Force Series 3 with asynchronous memory and Mushkin Chronos deluxe with previous generation 32 nm Toggle Mode NAND. Besides we also included into the diagrams the results of a few popular SSDs based on other controllers: Crucial m4 and Plextor M3 on Marvell 88SS9174, Samsung SSD 830 using Samsung’s own controller and flash-memory, and OCZ Vertex 4 on Indilinx Everest 2.

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 5.02);
    • Corsair Force GT Series 240 GB (CSSD-F240GBGT-BK, firmware version 5.02);
    • Crucial m4 256 GB (CT256M4SSD2, firmware version 000F);
    • Intel SSD 520 240 GB (SSDSC2CW240A3K5, firmware version 400i);
    • Mushkin Chronos deluxe 240 GB (MKNSSDCR240GB-DX, firmware version 5.0.2);
    • OCZ Vertex 4 256 GB (VTX4-25SAT3-256G, firmware version 1.5);
    • Plextor M3 256 GB (PX-256M3, firmware version 1.05);
    • Samsung SSD 830 256 GB (MZ-7PC256D, firmware version CXM03B1Q);
    • SanDisk Extreme SSD 240 GB (SDSSDX-240G, firmware version R201).
  • Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 Ultimate x64
  • Drivers:
    • Intel Chipset Driver;
    • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator Driver;
    • Intel Rapid Storage Technology


Random and Sequential Read/Write

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.

Although a new and nonstandard implementation of the SandForce platform, the SanDisk behaves in a predictable manner. It is similar to other SSDs with the SF-2281 controller. Particularly, it accelerates when processing compressible data. Well, that’s the controller’s behavior actually and the use of new flesh memory chips can hardly affect it.

Overall, the SanDisk Extreme is close to the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe across different loads. Both use Toggle Mode NAND flash, but the Mushkin has the older 32nm version of that memory. They are not identical, though. The SanDisk can deliver higher performance with random reads at a short request queue. When the queue is long, the Mushkin Chronos Deluxe goes ahead while the SanDisk slows down to the level of SandForce-based SSDs with ordinary synchronous flash.

Thus, our synthetic benchmarks suggest that the SanDisk Extreme with 24nm Toggle Mode NAND memory is somewhere in between the older SandForce-based SSDs with Toggle Mode flash and the numerous products with synchronous flash manufactured by IMFT.

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