AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer

The Destroyer is an extremely long test replicating the access patterns of very IO-intensive desktop usage. A detailed breakdown can be found in this article. Like real-world usage, the drives do get the occasional break that allows for some background garbage collection and flushing caches, but those idle times are limited to 25ms so that it doesn't take all week to run the test. These AnandTech Storage Bench (ATSB) tests do not involve running the actual applications that generated the workloads, so the scores are relatively insensitive to changes in CPU performance and RAM from our new testbed, but the jump to a newer version of Windows and the newer storage drivers can have an impact.

We quantify performance on this test by reporting the drive's average data throughput, the average latency of the I/O operations, and the total energy used by the drive over the course of the test.

ATSB The Destroyer
Average Data Rate
Average Latency Average Read Latency Average Write Latency
99th Percentile Latency 99th Percentile Read Latency 99th Percentile Write Latency
Energy Usage

The second-generation Samsung QLC drives offer slight performance increases over their predecessors on The Destroyer, but it's not enough to significantly change how a QVO rates against drives in other market segments. The 870 QVO is still trading wins against DRAMless SATA drives with TLC NAND, and clearly well behind the Intel QLC NVMe drive and the mainstream TLC SATA drives.

In general, the latency scores from the Samsung QVO drives are worse than from the DRAMless TLC drives, while the 4TB QVOs still have better overall throughput. The 1TB QVOs (both old and new) are prone to write latencies that are worse than the 5400RPM hard drive. Both capacities of the 870 QVO have worse read latency but better write latency scores than the 860 QVO.

Energy usage is a mixed bag. The 4TB 870 QVO is a slight improvement over its predecessor while the 1TB is a slight step backward. All of the QLC drives require substantially more energy to complete The Destroyer than mainstream TLC drives, and one of the DRAMless TLC drives comes out wa

AnandTech Storage Bench - Heavy

Our Heavy storage benchmark is proportionally more write-heavy than The Destroyer, but much shorter overall. The total writes in the Heavy test aren't enough to fill the drive, so performance never drops down to steady state. This test is far more representative of a power user's day to day usage, and is heavily influenced by the drive's peak performance. The Heavy workload test details can be found here. This test is run twice, once on a freshly erased drive and once after filling the drive with sequential writes.

ATSB Heavy
Average Data Rate
Average Latency Average Read Latency Average Write Latency
99th Percentile Latency 99th Percentile Read Latency 99th Percentile Write Latency
Energy Usage

The Heavy test is quite a bit shorter than The Destroyer, so the scores show more impact from the peak performance of SLC caching. The 4TB Samsung QVOs offer overall performance that is competitive with mainstream TLC SATA drives, when the test is run on an empty drive and they get to make use of their full SLC cache sizes. Those conditions also allow the Intel 660p to show off its NVMe performance, but the 1TB Samsung QVOs have the smallest SLC caches and worst post-cache performance, and this test is long enough for that to become a problem. When the drives are filled before running the test, all of the QLC models fall short of the mainstream TLC drives.

Performance has again changed very little from the 860 QVO to the 870 QVO. A few of the latency scores have regressed slightly, but not by enough to matter. Both capacities of the 870 QVO manage to outperform the hard drive on every performance metric; write latency comes close for the smaller, slower 870 QVO, but the read latency scores are all several times better than the hard drive can manage.

The 870 QVO still requires a lot more energy to complete the test than more high-end TLC-based drives. This mostly comes down to extra energy used as a result of the test taking longer, with write operations having the biggest impact. The 4TB QVO is again more efficient than the slower 1TB model.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Light

Our Light storage test has relatively more sequential accesses and lower queue depths than The Destroyer or the Heavy test, and it's by far the shortest test overall. It's based largely on applications that aren't highly dependent on storage performance, so this is a test more of application launch times and file load times. This test can be seen as the sum of all the little delays in daily usage, but with the idle times trimmed to 25ms it takes less than half an hour to run. Details of the Light test can be found here. As with the ATSB Heavy test, this test is run with the drive both freshly erased and empty, and after filling the drive with sequential writes.

ATSB Light
Average Data Rate
Average Latency Average Read Latency Average Write Latency
99th Percentile Latency 99th Percentile Read Latency 99th Percentile Write Latency
Energy Usage

The Light test really highlights the benefits of putting a high-end SSD controller in an otherwise entry-level product. Samsung's controllers set the bar, and on lighter workloads like this test the QLC NAND doesn't drag the 870 QVO down to the level of non-Samsung SATA drives unless the test is run on a full drive. However, such a light workload also puts the NVMe competition in its best possible light where the Intel 660p is three times faster overall.

Latency does still spike for the full-drive test runs on the QLC drives, especially when looking at 99th percentile latencies. But unlike the Intel 660p, those spikes aren't bad enough to bring the worst-case latencies of the Samsung QVOs up to hard drive levels of lag.

Aside from the extra energy used by the QLC drives on the full-drive test runs, the energy usage differences between SSDs on this test are pretty minor, and the 870 QVO shows no meaningful change from the 860 QVO.

Cache Size Effects Synthetic Benchmarks
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  • FunBunny2 - Wednesday, July 1, 2020 - link

    "QLC is garbage."

    alas, which manufacturers are going to ignore QLC? unless we, the consumers, stop buying QLC SSDs, vendors will continue to spit them out. and, yes, in due time, the SSD will perform much like HDD. progress and capitalism seldom coincide.
    Reply
  • Great_Scott - Thursday, July 2, 2020 - link

    QLC isn't garbage. There's a bunch of uses for this kind of drive.

    8TB of bulk storage for seldom-played games or music/movies? Sign me up!

    The real problem here is that all SSDs cost roughly the same amount per GB, so there's no reason not to buy a better drive.

    Maybe someday when there's a bigger pricing delta between "DRAM-less SATA" and "midrange PCIe" the numerous speed categories will make more (any) sense...
    Reply
  • descendency - Friday, July 3, 2020 - link

    The problem with QLC is that there aren't really substantial price savings from that of TLC or MLC that are passed onto the consumer. In the US (at least), the QVO drives are more expensive than some respectable TLC drives of the same capacity but without the performance limitations of QLC.

    I'm not going to call it garbage, but I would say these drives (the 8TB) models make more sense at ~650-750 USD given the compromises over EVO drives and other TLC drives. It's basically insane to see the 4TB QVO at $500 when some TLC drives are $480 (like Sandisk).
    Reply
  • Gigaplex - Saturday, July 11, 2020 - link

    "8TB of bulk storage for seldom-played games or music/movies? Sign me up!"
    You can do that now with an HDD. At a much cheaper price, and with somewhat equivalent performance.
    Reply
  • Mitch89 - Thursday, July 2, 2020 - link

    Wow, I’m disappointed at my ignorance as to how slow these QVO drives get once you exhaust the SLC cache, I had no idea they crashed to 2.5 inch HDD speeds.

    Sure, the “limited time only!!!!” speed of the SLC cache will be enough for many, but those speeds are still incredibly disappointing.
    Reply
  • Great_Scott - Thursday, July 2, 2020 - link

    They're still better than spinning rust, especially for burst performance. The real problem here is that they cost the same as other SSD technology. Reply
  • Dragonstongue - Friday, July 3, 2020 - link

    I am sure Sammy can do much better pricing then this on QLC tech (just cause they fancy it up by calling QVO) does not mean an automatic $50+ price is in order.

    Worse overall flash memory style, therefore better pricing should be very much part of the thought process, but I suppose they must have thought, 80mb/s is plenty fast, so therefore, $400+ for 4tb is more then acceptable.

    IMO make
    4tb $325 max (consider horrendous perf. specs) the 1tb 120 flat, 2tb $215

    does not matter what others are doing, or if their perf. power use etc is better or worse is how you price your product, @#$ on that logic lol
    Reply
  • Lolimaster - Monday, July 6, 2020 - link

    Thing is you can already get 2TB ssds for that price or less. MX500 2TB hovers around $189-219. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, July 3, 2020 - link

    "QLC isn't garbage. There's a bunch of uses for this kind of drive."

    That's true.

    It can be used as a Christmas tree ornament, if dissected.
    The case can be used to provide a protective cover for a number of earwigs.
    The innards can be strapped to a vinyl suit for a retro sci-fi show.

    The mind boggles at the potential usefulness.
    Reply
  • Slash3 - Sunday, July 5, 2020 - link

    Great for sliding underneath a wobbly table leg, too. Reply

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