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

For SATA drives, the Samsung 870 EVOs turn in class-leading scores on almost all of the performance metrics. But these improvements are all marginal at best; the SATA interface bottleneck almost completely levels the playing field. The small improvements to read latency brought by the 870 EVO pale in comparison to what is achieved by even entry-level NVMe SSDs.

In stark contrast to the performance numbers, the 870 EVOs turn out to be the most power-hungry TLC drives in this bunch: they sacrifice some of the efficiency improvements the 860 EVO provided, even though drives like the SK hynix Gold S31 have been able to deliver significant improvement on this.

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 scores for the Heavy test paint much the same picture as for The Destroyer. The full-drive test runs additionally show that the worst-case performance of the mainstream SATA SSDs is still superior to many entry-level NVMe SSDs, even though the NVMe SSDs significantly outperform SATA for any more normal workload.

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

On the Light test, the measurable but imperceptible performance advantages of the 870 EVOs over other SATA drives have basically disappeared. The read latency scores on the full-drive test runs may be a tiny bit better than the 860 EVO, but the only scores that have clearly shifted with this new generation are the energy consumption figures that have creeped up.

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 Full System Drive test from the PCMark 10 Storage suite shows a much wider spread of performance scores among SATA drives than our ATSB traces, but also a much smaller advantage for the NVMe drives. Judging by this test, the 870 EVO offers a small but real improvement to performance compared to earlier SATA drives. The 4TB 870 QVO also scores quite well since it benefits from the same controller and has enough SLC cache to almost match the performance of the 4TB 870 EVO.

The subset of tests included in the Quick System Drive and Data Drive benchmarks show a more level playing field among SATA SSDs, and a greater advantage for NVMe drives. Since we run these tests before the Full System Drive test, each drive is closer to its fresh out-of-the-box state, which helps these tests get closer to showing the theoretical peak performance of a drive.

Introduction Synthetic Tests: Basic IO Patterns
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  • Kamen Rider Blade - Thursday, February 18, 2021 - link

    Not every machine is going to be connected locally on your own network.
    Not every machine will even be online either.

    Please don't comment for the rest of us.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Friday, February 19, 2021 - link

    M.2 in a USB 3.2 / Thunderbolt caddy

    Sorted
    Reply
  • CaptainChaos - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - link

    How many grannies or grandpas need more than what SATA offers in the machines they use to go online for email, Facebook, or Amazon? Even if they stream videos their systems are ok using hardware a couple steps behind state of the art! SATA will linger for several more years. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, February 19, 2021 - link

    640K ought to be enough for anyone. Reply
  • lmcd - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - link

    The thing that gets me is that just because a drive is U.2 doesn't mean it has to be a full 2.5in drive. Could easily do a "half size" or some random thing. Reply
  • Silver5urfer - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - link

    Yes the world needs a SATA SSD lol.

    NVMe drives are tooo damn hot. I don't know how long they will run like that, I've been running SATA without any ventilation on my notebook machine and use MLC drive for games and it's fantastic. Reliable doesn't overheat or has BS driver things esp for Win7 or such.

    I thank Samsung for at-least doing this, I hope they put out a damn MLC with 4TB as well and do an 8TB 870 EVO update. As for SATA it's a reliable technology and has numerous advantages over the stupid PCIe lane limit, bandwidth, heat, dependable TBW.
    Reply
  • lmcd - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - link

    There's a reason people are going wild over the SK Hynix P31. It's exactly what you need. Reply
  • Danvelopment - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - link

    SATA drives totally still make sense.

    Why?

    Because there's only so much space on a motherboard, and every m.2 drive takes up quite a bit of it.

    SATA allows you to redistribute drives within the case.

    Maybe once hard drives are gone, then a new form factor can come out, 1" SATA or something. But cases will still be made with HDD form factors until they disappear, so might as well stick to that standard.

    But they should do something about IOPS, design a drive destined to be SATA, with a controller that can knock out the full 600MBps with any load pattern, dump three or four times as many channels on it as an m.2, and they'll fly off the shelves.
    Reply
  • Gigaplex - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - link

    Then you should be using U.2 instead of M.2. Reply
  • hansmuff - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - link

    Especially the 4TB seems like a fantastic Games drive to me, really good performance at a great price. Reply

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