TSSDR TEST BENCH AND TEST PROTOCOL
We couldn’t resist popping the KingSpec 1TB Driver-less PCI Express SSD into our new test Bench and taking it for a spin. SSD Testing at TSSDR differs slightly depending on whether we are looking at consumer or enterprise SSDs. For consumer SSDs, our goal is to test in a system that has been optimized with our SSD Optimization Guide, although CPU C States have not been changed at all. Benchmarks for consumer testing are also benchmarks with a fresh drive so, not only can we verify that manufacturer specifications are in line but also, so the consumer can replicate our tests to confirm that they have an SSD that is top notch. We even provide links to most of the benchmarks used in the report.
Enterprise testing is significantly different as we explore performance in steady state, explore drive latency, and also do our best to follow SNIA test protocol. For the KingSpec PCIe SSD, this SSD can be a consumer/enterprise varient so we are going to start things along with our typical consumer benchmarks, and then explore some testing at steady state in IOMeter.
This new PCIe Test Bench build was the result of some great relationships and purchase; our appreciation goes to be quiet, Corsair, Crucial, Intel and InWin for their support in our project. Our choice of components is very narrow, in that, we choose only what we believe to be among the best available and links are provided to each that will assist in hardware pricing and availability, should the reader be interested in purchase.
|PC CHASSIS:||InWin D-Frame Open Air Chassis
|MOTHERBOARD:||ASUS Maximus VI Z87 MotherBoard|
||Intel Core i7-4770K CPU|
|CPU COOLER:||Corsair H100i CPU Cooler|
|POWER SUPPLY:||be quiet Dark Power Pro 10 1000W PSU|
|SYSTEM COOLING:||be quiet Silent Wings 2 PC Fans|
||MSI Radeon HD 7870 Hawk Gfx Card|
|MEMORY:||Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer 1600Mhz Memory|
|KEYBOARD:||Corsair Vengeance K95 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard|
|MOUSE:||Corsair Vengeance M95 MMO/RTS Laser Mouse|
|ROUTER:||NetGear R6300 AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit WiFi Router|
|HBA||HighPoint RocketU 1144C 4 x USB 3.0 20Gb/s HBA
The software we will be using for today’s analysis is typical of many of our reviews and consists of ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal DiskMark, AS SSD, Anvil Storage Utilities and PCMark Vantage. We rely on these as they each have a way of supporting one another yet, at the same time, adding a new performance benchmark to the total picture. Much of the software is free and can be downloaded simply by clicking on the linked title. In addition, our today’s analysis will also encompass just a bit of enterprise testing with IOMeter.
Unexpected anomalies in benchmark testing is not unusual when new technology is introduced and a driver-less plug and play PCIe SSD is as new as it gets. We discovered inaccurate results in both AS SSD and Anvil Storage Utilities that weren’t even in the same ballpark as other tests conducted. This left us with a very interesting scenario where we wanted to absolutely confirm that err was the result of the software and not the PCIe SSD itself. In response, we conducted file transfer testing of our own, as well as some light IOMeter enterprise testing in steady state.
A day after this review was published, we were testing the new Mushkin Scorpion Deluxe PCIe SSD and the anomaly materialized, where AS SSD and Anvil Storage Utilities displayed very poor write performance. We followed up with separate testing of both cards on three different systems, each time observing the same result. We then installed a OCZ Revo 3×2 PCIe SSD and observed that SSD to test correctly with all benchmark software. The only common element between the KingSpec and Mushkin PCIe SSDs is that both RAID controllers rely on LSI Fusion MPT2 firmware. We are investigating further but believe this firmware to be the root of this issue and limited specifically to compatibility with AS SSD and Anvil Storage Utilities.
ATTO Disk Benchmark is perhaps one of the oldest benchmarks going and is definitely the main staple for manufacturer performance specifications. ATTO uses RAW or compressible data and, for our benchmarks, we use a set length of 256mb and test both the read and write performance of various transfer sizes ranging from 0.5 to 8192kb. Manufacturers prefer this method of testing as it deals with raw (compressible) data rather than random (includes incompressible data) which, although more realistic, results in lower performance results.
This is what excited us within minutes of receiving the KingSpec 1TB driver-less PCIe SSD. To simply plug any device into a computer, reboot and pull speeds above 2.5GB/s is encouraging. You might also notice that SATA 3 speeds aren’t reached until the 8K file size. As much as this drive does favor larger file sizes, the pattern of speed increase that we see is mark of a solid SSD; there is no jumping around of speeds and each improves on the last.