ASUS Zenbook SSD Review – Not Necessarily SandForce Driven Hits A Speed Bump

AS SSD BENCHMARK VER 1.64

Up until recently, AS SSD was the only benchmark created specifically for SSD testing and it uses incompressible data which is favored by many SSD enthusiasts.  Once again, the AData XM11 results are on the left with the Sandisk U100 on the right:

Significant difference in the disk access time became apparent here which, accompanied by the low 4k random write results, could account for a visible performance result in comparing the systems side by side.

Even a close look at the IOPS displayed a significant drop in performance.  This is also a good opportunity to reflect upon the ‘SandForce Driven’ SSD being 120GB, or 111GB after formatting, while the 128GB Sandisk is 119GB after formatting.

AS SSD COPY BENCH

The AS SSD Copy Bench determines the transfer speed and time that it takes for each SSD to move a file that matched that of an ISO, program and game. It is very straight forward and an excellent way to compare SSDs in a ‘true to life’ scenario.

I can attest to the fact that the Sandisk U100 took a great deal longer than the XM11 as I thought something had gone wrong and the system had frozen.  The 47 second transfer time is reminiscent of a hard drive.

ANVIL STORAGE UTILITIES PROFESSIONAL

Over the last little while, we have been assisting with beta testing new benchmark software called Anvil Storage Utilities which is an absolutely amazing SSD benchmarking utility.  Not only does it have a preset SSD benchmark, but also, it has included such things as endurance testing and threaded I/O read, write and mixed tests, all of which are very simple to understand and utilize in our benchmark testing.

ADATA XM11

SANDISK U100

There are just so many performance ‘hiccups’ that separate these drives that we could go on at much greater length if we needed to.  The easiest method, of course, is simply to look at the final score totals but, if you must, take a look at the access speed differences (resp. time), IOPS as well as the transfer speeds.  The AData XM11 reached 82,000 IOPS at 4K QD16, 30 times more than the Sandisk. Lets take a closer look at the XM11’s components:

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AData XM11 owner
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AData XM11 owner

The Sandisk U100 owners at least can laugh at the AData XM11 owners when they stumble on the Sandforce SF-2281 BSOD bug…

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Old news and severely blown out of proportion.

Ryomitomo
Guest
Ryomitomo

My cousin’s OCZ Vertex3 SF drive BSOD almost daily. I don’t think the problem was blown out of proportions…

name
Guest
name

hello, I know this is a very old article. however i just want to know if i could use the adata xm11 drive in my desktop? can I just plug it into my sata and power connector? thanks

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

It depends on whether you have the original Zen that we tested in this article, or a newer model with M.2 SATA listed in the specs. Can you advise?

Kira Bondarev
Guest

I have a UX31 with a Sandisk U100 and I get the BSOD pretty often as well. I am not a expert, but my guess would be that all since SSD is still a pretty new technology and not that popular as the HDD it’s not yet perfect and still has some issues and bugs.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

I have been with SSDs since there first release in 2007 and I wouldn’t believe that your BSODs are common because of it being a new technology. Typically there is another reason which hasn’t yet surfaced. I have been through just about every SSD on the market and run 10 or so systems and laptops and I never experience BODSs randomly.

Someone
Guest
Someone

The SandForce BSOD bug has been fixed as it has been tested and verified by AnandTech and many other publications. I don’t like SandForce, but you have to admit they (or at least Intel) have stabilized their firmware and their SSD’s are now very competitive with the rest.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

The SandForce bug was overblown. I couldn’t count the numbet of drives we reviewed and tested an, to this day, I only know of one instance of a drive bricking personally. This is compounded by the fact that I have installed probably over a hundred drives in the past two years for clients in my area and they have yet to experience the issue as well

Pedro Amador
Guest

Is the bug fixed or not? Thanks in advance!

amb9800
Guest
amb9800

Interesting follow-up to this is that the 256GB SanDisk U100 seems to be far worse– the machine stutters and freezes with even light multitasking and can barely handle 480p local video without stuttering.

Here’s ATTO from my UX31 (results are the same even with less data on the drive): comment image

CrystalDiskMark: comment image

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Understandable as the specs would be much the same and for any but typical usage their would be just that.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Thank you very much. As a reviewer, it is hard to make a decision in testing, as with this review, and to decide whether to hold back and get another sample for testing or to go ahead and believe the results are similar to what others have received.

My initial decision relied upon that of other forum posts and its nice to have validation here as well.

Pedro Amador
Guest

This is
totally true, I have a SanDisk SSD U100 256GB in a new ASUS and the performance
is horrible. With all the resources stopped, I’m not able to see a film…
sometimes is stopping!

Do you know if there is a solution or I need to change the hard disk or
computer?

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Thank you for the personal experience to validate our findings Pedro and we are sorry of your predicament.

Pedro Amador
Guest

But your blog helps a lot… congratulations… I’m a new fan 😀

By the way… I had been working as a performance consultant with ERP system 12 years ago. I was strange what you mention to turn off the pagefile of Windowns (Totally?), are you sure about this? (I guest that people with just 1GB can’t do it, people with 8GB can do it… but with 4GB???)

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Believe it or not, I have been suggesting such since 07 and have watched the world slowly move to my side. 4GB minimum for the typical user is the recommendation. If you have highly intensive needs, I would recommend 8GB but many would be amazed how much they can get going in Win 7 before they resources suffer.

I haven’t had PF on since the day I got 4GB RAM and have never once experienced a warning or problem….and I can be fairly intensive!

Pedro Amador
Guest

Thanks for the answer! I turned off some days ago… and the performance is better (but I’m not very happy with this SDD… it is the third one I have it, and I found it very slow).

Best regards

mattseds
Guest
mattseds

Unreal. I had no idea there was ever a difference offered, and found this thread while searching for potential firmware updates for the U100. I was quite sure the SSD was my issue, as there was ZERO capability to do any simultaneous disk activity. Unzipping something while surfing the net, and the net crawls because it can’t load pages into cache. Anyhow, just adding that the disabling of the page file makes a huge improvement. I’m guessing that this disk is so IO thread-limited that performing one operation while Windows swaps to the page file is enough to bring it… Read more »

mattseds
Guest
mattseds

Just correcting my above that the sustained spike was 100MB/s, not 10MB/s

Pedro Amador
Guest

It is not really good. I have the pagefile turned off. But some times Windows is not working… and start a crazy state!

amb9800
Guest
amb9800

@TheSSDReview:disqus, do you know of any 256GB (or larger) SSDs in the same form-factor as the U100? I’d love to replace it, but looks to be a proprietary shape/connector and incompatible with Apple’s SSD pinouts?

A bit surprised that Asus is still using the U100 in the Zenbook Prime series…

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

The ‘gumstick’ form factor of the Zen is similar but not compatible with its Mac counterpart, so unfortunately the OWC drive will not work. The ONLY other drive that would work is the ADATA twin of that drive that we reviewed and it is not available through consumer sales. Sorry.

amb9800
Guest
amb9800

For what it’s worth, upgrading to Windows 8 CP gave me a pretty nice bump in SSD performance. A few months in, and while it’s still horrible (gets stuck while switching between desktop and Metro, had a few multi-minute full-system freezes during I/O-intensive tasks, videos are hopeless, etc.), it’s at least better than under Win 7. Also, for some reason, switching to an older version of the Intel AHCI driver gives a 5-10% bump in write performance.

Me
Guest
Me

Running only synthetic benchmarks is not enough, I would expect to see some user scenario measurements and also some power consumption comparison.
I got the Zenbook with SanDisk U100 and after 2 weeks I can say that I’m very happy.

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

The review displays the most realistic method of ‘true user experience’ evaluation seen today with PCMark Vantage and, as well, AS SSD Copy Benchmark is also a true copy test benchmark. There is nothing defective about the U100 whatsoever and in typical use, it would be difficult to differentiate from any other. The difficulty lies in anyone purchasing a system with this ssd for specific uses such as photography, movie editing and whatnot. It took 47 seconds to move a file….those are back to HDD days!

Lun916
Guest
Lun916

I find an interesting video on YouTube.
Its talking about the Sandisk SSD compared with ADATA that use in Zenbook.
Check it ! LOL

http://youtu.be/QjY7Ki85dWw

Les@TheSSDReview
Guest

Excellent Find!