AnandTech Storage Bench - The Destroyer

Our AnandTech Storage Bench tests are traces (recordings) of real-world IO patterns that are replayed onto the drives under test. The Destroyer is the longest and most difficult phase of our consumer SSD test suite. For more details, please see the overview of our 2021 Consumer SSD Benchmark Suite.

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 4TB Sabrent Rocket Q4 turns in excellent scores on The Destroyer, helped greatly by the fact that the test fits entirely within the drive's SLC cache so write latency is minimal. The 2TB Corsair MP600 CORE still has decent overall performance with solid 99th percentile latency scores indicating that it doesn't run into the kind of severe latency spikes that can be common with QLC NAND.

The major downside is that these are among the most power-hungry drives, consuming a bit more energy than the TLC-based Phison E16 drive and significantly more than any of the other drives in this batch.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Heavy

The ATSB Heavy test is much shorter overall than The Destroyer, but is still fairly write-intensive. We run this test twice: first on a mostly-empty drive, and again on a completely full drive to show the worst-case performance.

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 shorter duration of the Heavy test means that smaller drives can also get good mileage out of their SLC caches, so the 4TB Sabrent Rocket Q4 loses the advantage it had on The Destroyer. The Rocket Q4 and the Corsair MP600 CORE both turn in good scores overall for low-end drives, with clear improvement over the Phison E12 QLC drives.

However, on the full-drive test runs the 2TB MP600 CORE is showing some elevated latency. It's not as bad as on QLC SATA drives and some competing QLC NVMe drives, so overall this isn't a serious concern, but it does emphasize how QLC SSDs need a lot of capacity (and a lot of SLC cache) in order to stay close to the performance of TLC SSDs.

AnandTech Storage Bench - Light

The ATSB Light test represents ordinary everyday usage that doesn't put much strain on a SSD. Low queue depths, short bursts of IO and a short overall test duration mean this should be easy for any SSD. But running it a second time on a full drive shows how even storage-light workloads can be affected by SSD performance degradation.

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

Both of the Gen4 QLC drives provide top-tier performance for the empty-drive runs of the Light test, and they also still provide acceptable performance on the full-drive test runs with no serious latency spikes. As with the other ATSB tests, they come in last place for energy efficiency.

PCMark 10 Storage Benchmarks

The PCMark 10 Storage benchmarks are IO trace based tests similar to our own ATSB tests. For more details, please see the overview of our 2021 Consumer SSD Benchmark Suite.

PCMark 10 Storage Traces
Full System Drive Overall Score Average Bandwidth Average Latency
Quick System Drive Overall Score Average Bandwidth Average Latency
Data Drive Overall Score Average Bandwidth Average Latency

The two PCIe Gen4 QLC drives offer good performance on the Quick System Drive and Data Drive tests, which are relatively shorter and more focused on sequential IO. The longer Full System Drive test with more random IO stresses these drives enough for their low-end nature to show through - in stark contrast to the Intel SSD 670p that manages very good scores on both of the system drive tests.

Introduction Synthetic Tests: Basic IO Patterns
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  • phillyry - Friday, April 9, 2021 - link

    Thank you for actually posting a table with each of the controllers for the drives instead of assuming we've memorized them all. It's helpful Billy. You guys should explicitly state this in all of your reviews (even if you just say the controller in brackets beside the sdd name). Reply
  • JoeDuarte - Friday, April 9, 2021 - link

    Billy, what is this part supposed to say?

    "competing against drives the cheaper TLC NAND SSD vendors that cut corners."

    (On the first page.)
    Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Sunday, April 11, 2021 - link

    QLC itself is cut corners.

    You're getting only a 30% density increase for double the voltage states. Diminished returns.
    Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Saturday, April 10, 2021 - link

    2TB QLC for $300.

    *yawn*
    Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Sunday, April 11, 2021 - link

    That kind of pricing should be a scandal.

    Two years ago Black Friday had NVME PCI-e 3 TLC drives for $200.
    Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Sunday, April 11, 2021 - link

    'But as more SSD vendors adopt QLC NAND in a wider range of products, some are starting to challenge the assumption that QLC is only for low-quality bargain products.'

    30% density gain for twice as many voltage states is diminished returns, not an assumption.

    QLC working against consumer value by inflating the price of TLC (due to reduction in its economy of scale) is not an assumption either.
    Reply
  • GeoffreyA - Sunday, April 11, 2021 - link

    I think the folk pushing QLC are trying to sweep its identity under the carpet, in order to sell it at TLC prices. That's their goal. They aren't willing to accept that this is a weaker technology and must be sold at a cheaper price. Sadly, it looks as if TLC will end up being "Pro" and QLC the standard. Their itching, greedy fingers will make sure.

    It's as if they're trying to sell margarine at the price of butter and working tirelessly to make people forget there even was any difference between the two. "This *is* butter. Go for it. Your heart will thank you."
    Reply
  • Katana1074@hotmail.com - Sunday, April 11, 2021 - link

    As Usual QLC endurance sucks big time.... Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - link

    'I think the folk pushing QLC are trying to sweep its identity under the carpet'

    Samsung does that. It labels QLC drives '4-bit MLC' or something. Disgusting.
    Reply
  • back2future - Sunday, April 11, 2021 - link

    What's the difficulties, if one bit or even one sector is not readable anymore, because of drift inside on cell delivers wrong bit value?
    What are nowadays updates to data retention?
    https://www.anandtech.com/show/9248/the-truth-abou...
    Reply

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