Samsung XP941 NGFF M.2 PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 – Worlds Smallest SSD Combination Hits 2GB/s

ANVIL STORAGE UTILITIES PROFESSIONAL (BETA)

You may not see this for long (and it’s definitely not common) but you get a freebee simply for reading! 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 use in our benchmark testing.

RAID XP941 Anvil

Once again we see performance that seems to follow along with our Crystal DiskMark results.  IOPS were not as impressive as we might like to have seen as well.

PCMARK VANTAGE X64 HDD SUITE

The SSD Review uses benchmark software called PCMark Vantage x64 HDD Suite to create testing scenarios that might be used in the typical user experience. There are eight tests in all and the tests performed record the speed of data movement in MB/s to which they are then given a numerical score after all of the tests are complete. The simulations are as follows:

  • Windows Defender In Use
  • Streaming Data from storage in games such as Alan Wake which allows for massive worlds and riveting non-stop action
  • Importing digital photos into Windows Photo Gallery
  • Starting the Vista Operating System
  • Home Video editing with Movie Maker which can be very time consuming
  • Media Center which can handle video recording, time shifting and streaming from Windows media center to an extender such as XBox
  • Cataloging a music library
  • Starting application

DUO SAMSUNG XP941 IN RAID 0 PCMARK VANTAGE RESULTS

Our configuration of two XP941 M.2 PCIe SSDs in a RAID 0 environment produced almost identical results as we had seen in our Sony VAIO tests with a Total Score of 107470 and transfer speed high of 864MB/s when testing in Windows Media Center.

RAID XP941 Vantage

Having tested a few M.2 SSDs in both the SATA 3 and PCIe interface, we thought it might be interesting to put together a bit of a chart and include our most powerful SATA 3 SSD as a point of measure:

XP941 M.2 Chart RAID

Taking a look at the same performance in IOPS, things change just a bit.  We were surprised at how low the RAID volume fared, but not nearly as much as how high the MBA IOPS performance was.

XP941 M.2 Chart IOPS

REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS

Prior to starting this RAID solution, we wanted to see if we could set it up as our boot drive; we couldn’t.  Unlike all other PCIe solutions, the adapters available for M.2 PCIe aren’t made for, and don’t contain the ability to boot into their own BIOS prior to the system BIOS.  This is key as the only way to boot using the system BIOS is via SATA.  It was a bit disappointing as having a 512GB boot drive capable of 1GB/s performance would have been ideal, outside of using one of the test PCIe solutions we have on hand.

XP941 RAID Report Closer

Consider the cost though, if availability of the XP941 wasn’t so scarce.  When available, purchase of two 128GB XP941 M.2 SSDs and two M2P4S adapters from RAMCity would have been a grand total of $628US; this for a 256GB solution capable of 2GB/s performance.  That’s definitely enough speed to start crunching the numbers.  The difficulty with this solution is that it is not bootable and takes up two PCIe slots.  To find this performance and at a similar price, the only bootable solution that makes sense would be the Mushkin Scorpion Deluxe that we reviewed a few weeks back.

The Samsung XP941 is intended to be a speedy ultrabook solution and it’s a bit amusing that the most powerful single form factor SSD available today can only be found within the smallest ultrabooks. Whether it be found in the MBA or VAIO, this SSD is a rocket.  As for any long-term thoughts on RAID 0, we will leave this report where we started which was a test to satisfy our curiosity as to the performance that could be achieved through such a small form factor.

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18 comments

  1. Thanks for the review.
    “two 128GB XP941 M.2 SSDs […] for a 256GB solution capable of 2GB/s performance”.
    It either makes 256GB (no raid 0) or 2GB/s performance (raid 0), but not both.

    • Maybe one of us is misunderstanding… In RAID 0, two 128GB SSDs total 256GB and are in RAID, so will hit RAID speeds. Much the same as we see here where 2x 256GB SSDs total 512GB (RAW) and give us RAID speeds.
      And tx for checking the review out!

  2. So in order to boot a pcie ssd, assuming that they will come out eventually with no RAID chips as they do today, you need new BIOS?
    I mean native PCI Express controller with AHCI or even better NVMe protocols.

    • I am not an expert here but right now, enabling a PCIe card as a boot drive means that it must be recognized before the system bios in a separate BIOS. Each and every PCIe we have tested have been recognized before the system bios. Having said that, we have plug in SATA adapter cards and we believe it enables the drive on that card to install within the systm BIOS through AHCiI/SATA.

      Although the XP941 is recognized automatically and reappears as a drive once the system is live, it is not recognized as a boot drive anywhere in the initial BIOS.

  3. Are all of the XP941 “editions” (the Vaio in this article, the MacBook Air one, etc.) PCIe x2 with only the dual-XP941 setup being x4? Thanks.

  4. Any idea when these are going to hit the gray market?

  5. I am new to SSD drives in general (but have been building PCs since they came out). I am planning a new build and was wondering if it’s safe to assume that the new Z97 motherboards due out next week with built in M.2 support should be able to load an M.2 SSD drive as a bootable drive? I’d like to use an M.2 SSD as my primary OS drive. Also, why does it seem the 2.5″ SSD drives of the same capacity are cheaper than the M.2 “raw” drives? Seems like the M.2 drives would be cheaper with less hardware attached.

  6. If I follow your article correctly, you need to use 2 cards, 1 for each M.2 SSD? so 2 PCIx4 slots?
    Also I am guessing you set the raid up through windows (I have only done raid on hardware cards). What sort of load does that put onto the CPU to transfer data at those sort of speeds while in raid 0?

  7. Asus x99 deluxe motherboard has a M2 SLOT. How to do a RAID0
    Can a M2 slot combine with pcle express slot.
    I XT

  8. Is it too much to ask for a bootable ssd raid array that will saturate the 32gb/S M.2 ultra bus on the Asrock X99 extreme fatal1ty?

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