Random Read/Write Speed

The four corners of SSD performance are as follows: random read, random write, sequential read and sequential write speed. Random accesses are generally small in size, while sequential accesses tend to be larger and thus we have the four Iometer tests we use in all of our reviews.

Our first test writes 4KB in a completely random pattern over an 8GB space of the drive to simulate the sort of random access that you'd see on an OS drive (even this is more stressful than a normal desktop user would see). We perform three concurrent IOs and run the test for 3 minutes. The results reported are in average MB/s over the entire time.

Desktop Iometer - 4KB Random Read

Desktop Iometer - 4KB Random Write

Desktop Iometer - 4KB Random Write (QD=32)

Here you can clearly see the disadvantage of 128Gbit NAND. While the 128GB M550 is nearly able to match the bigger capacities, the 128GB SP920 is noticeably slower. It still offers better performance than a few competing 120/128GB class SSDs, but there are plenty of faster options.

Sequential Read/Write Speed

To measure sequential performance we run a 1 minute long 128KB sequential test over the entire span of the drive at a queue depth of 1. The results reported are in average MB/s over the entire test length. Read speeds tend not to drop as much with fewer NAND die, so the SP920 128GB looks similar to the other SP920 capacities here.

Desktop Iometer - 128KB Sequential Read

The same isn't true of sequential write performance—at 256GB there is only a minor decrease over bigger capacities but the 128GB offers about half the throughput of the other SSDs.

Desktop Iometer - 128KB Sequential Write

AS-SSD Incompressible Sequential Read/Write Performance

The AS-SSD sequential benchmark uses incompressible data for all of its transfers. The result is a pretty big reduction in sequential write speed on SandForce based controllers. Here, the M550 ends up quite a bit faster than the SP920 at the lower capacities in the write test, though both are still faster than the M500.

Incompressible Sequential Read Performance

Incompressible Sequential Write Performance

AnandTech Storage Bench 2013 Performance vs Transfer Size
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  • Samus - Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - link

    I'm just going to throw out there my experience with ADATA SSD's:

    S510: bricked in a year, but was near capacity which could have caused it to lock. however, no other SSD (sandforce or otherwise) has done that to me and this was used in an office PC with very little write activity.

    SP900: Windows 7 BSOD after 5 months. had to secure erase and reinstall, did same thing 2 weeks later.

    ADATA RMA takes forever (3 weeks each time.) The RMA form is erroneous and just getting the RMA number is a lot of back and forth. Proof of purchase, full system specs, lots of questions...the works. They try very hard to make it inconvenient, opposed to Crucial or Intel where the RMA process is "just send the drive to this address." They do mail back a new drive as a replacement, but don't offer to simply unlock a "frozen" drive, and obviously don't offer any sort of data recovery.

    Considering I've never had a Crucial completely fail, or any issues whatsoever with an Intel drive, it's hard to ignore their reliability at the expense of 5-10% performance penalty.
    Reply
  • Gigaplex - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    Why would a parts warranty cover data recovery? That's what backups are for. Reply
  • Flunk - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    I have a 256GB SX300 which is a Sandforce-based mSATA drive. I've had no problems and performance matches the review samples that were sent out.

    So my experience has been fine.
    Reply
  • mikato - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    No storage device manufacturers include data recovery service along with their devices. Data recovery usually costs more than the devices do. Some can refer you to a company that does it, and I know one has their own sub-company that does it, but it's completely separate from the device purchase. I'm curious what you mean by "simply unlock a "frozen" drive".

    By the way, SSD data recovery is usually quite a bit more difficult and more expensive than hard disk data recovery. And it's sometimes not even possible with more SSDs using encryption all the time, whether or not user specifies, and with the keys stored and decoding being done possibly in the part of the SSD that has failed (adios data).

    If you're storing your data on an SSD (not just the OS, programs), you should be aware of the reduced avenues of disaster recovery and be even more careful with backups.
    Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    ssd data recovery is quite simple actually, you just can't use traditional means to do it. Most if not all sad data recovery is accomplished by simply unlocking the drive or repairing the indirection table. Drives lock when they run out of spare area, good writable blocks, or can't trim/operate normally often occurring when they are low on capacity. Indirection table repair is more complex but on a file-by-file basic (lets say you just needed a few documents) it isn't very time consuming if the tech known what they are looking for.

    I've toured ontrack's Chicago lab and seen this all in action, they have a higher success rate with ssd's than HDD's (both over 99%)

    I don't expect OEM's or manufactures to offer data recovery, but when data recover is a matter of plugging a drive in and unlocking it because their firmware is bricking drives, they SHOULD do it for their customers.

    All those "refurbished" SSD's? What do you think those are? They're drives that have simply been unlocked and secure erased. It takes manufactures 30 seconds to do.

    Go research sandforce "frozen" or "locked" and you'll see these controllers are notorious for locking drives (to the point they don't even detect in the BIOS) for various reasons.
    Reply
  • hojnikb - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    I've got s510 and so far so good (except bsods, i'm getting those on all my sandforce drives). As far as RMA is concernd, i've never had any issues. Last time i had to replace my usb drive, because it died on me (probobly bricked controller), they replaced it within days. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Friday, April 4, 2014 - link

    Despite your negative experiences, I wouldn't use them to determine that ADATA SSDs should be avoided. That being said, if I can get a 5-year warranty instead of a 3-year for very little more money I'll do that (yeah I know they are largely there to lower the worry factor for those that think SSDs might be less reliable, but still, if you need it, it's good to have). I just bought 2 480GB Sandisk Extreme IIs for $300 each - if you keep your eye out such discounts aren't hard to come by. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Friday, April 4, 2014 - link

    Looking at Newegg reviews, I see that ADATA drives get 3 or 4 stars. Sandisk gets 4 or 5 stars, no 3 stars. Not an absolute sign of quality of course, but over hundreds or thousands of comments from people that have bought these things, it is a factor to consider. Reply
  • iwod - Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - link

    Do Marvell now offer much better default firmware? It was used to be the case Marvell controller were cheaper, not because of its inferior hardware but it provides very simply firmware that wasn't very highly performing. But it seems now the "default" performance behavior are pretty much all the same.

    Which makes me interested in the next round of SSD Controller. Do anyone have update on those from Sandforce, Marvell, etc?
    Reply
  • JDG1980 - Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - link

    My understanding was that Marvell didn't provide firmware at all - it's up to the vendor.

    Personally, I'd like to see a Marvell-based SSD with an open source firmware, even if the performance isn't quite as good as the best proprietary solutions.
    Reply

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