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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  • Snowleopard3000 - Friday, February 19, 2021 - link

    It would be nice to see TLC based 16gb and 32gb SSDs..... look at all that empty space, its not like it is that much more work to do it and it will fit fine.
  • Snowleopard3000 - Friday, February 19, 2021 - link

    TB not GB
  • MDD1963 - Friday, February 19, 2021 - link

    With my slightly less than 10 TBW typical usage per year based on my 960 EVO, the 4 TB 870 EVO should last me...240 years? :)
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, February 19, 2021 - link

    I suppose if you're set on buying a Samsung SATA drive, at least if they're all as bad as the 860 1TB QLC drive that has never been stable in a Zen system.
  • toke - Saturday, February 20, 2021 - link

    Isn't SK hynix Gold S31 far better in all graps by a big margin?
  • GeoffreyA - Sunday, February 21, 2021 - link

    This will be a silly question no doubt, but is there no way to implement the NVMe protocol over SATA? Or is it not possible circuit-wise and electrically? (I understand that SATA is serial and NVMe is more parallel in nature.) If this could be done, while keeping a legacy mode for older drives, problem solved: the newer interface in the same port, while retaining backwards compatibility. Or would this idea be disastrous?
  • R3Z3N - Friday, February 26, 2021 - link

    I really wanted to buy 6 8TB SSDs for my build. Instead I went with 2 PCIE NVME SSDS: 980 Pro 1TB boot drive, Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 2TB, 4 Sata SSDs in Raid 0 on the mobo, and 6 10TB Exos 3.5 drives in raid 10. I get around 1400MBps read on the Raid 10 and 450MBps write with my Highpoint 3720A HBA. It still is a pain to have to create proxy footage to the NVME drives.... I really really want to replace the HDDs with SSDs sooooo bad.
  • Henry 3 Dogg - Friday, July 9, 2021 - link

    "...and power efficiency cannot make big leaps without getting rid of the SATA performance limits."

    OK, I may be being thick. But that just doesn't seem rational at all.
  • PushT - Monday, October 18, 2021 - link

    "Does the world need premium Sata SSDs?" Every single article, you read the same sentiment, formulated more ore less in the same manner. Do we need Sata ssds ? Yes, we need premium large sized sata ssds, as we have needed premium large size HDDs. Increasingly cheaper bulk storage, with the added benefit of EXTREMELY higher random throughput over HDDs, complying with infrastructures all over the world. What is the point of regurgitating the same cheap one- liner in every single article ?
    We have all been using NVME for years now, and yes we know its faster, and yes we know it is the future. But have the thermal challenges been solved ? And more interestingly, is the infrastructure around it changing fast enough for Sata to be discontinued ? If Sata was excluded from computer architecture as of now, could the world cope ? Nope. It is and has always been about price versus performace, and as long as we dont see the demise of HDDs I can't imagine why we would see the death of Sata SSDs.
    So to the original question: Does the world need premium Sata SSDs ? I think the question is wrong. What the industry is doing is trying to find ways to make cheaper nand that is also just as fast. Price versus performance. 870 Evo is not a premium SSD. It is the commercial sample of experimentation. One final question : Given that PREMIUM ssds will cost you an arm and a leg, would you rather your computer system was a hybrid of nvme/Sata SSD, for ultra fast, large and relatively cheap storage and application - Or would you say a few TBs of the insanely fast and expensive premium NVME at the same price, would solve all your problems ? The answer would be the same for most people in the world. Sorry about the rant but it was a long time coming..
  • pentaxmx - Thursday, November 25, 2021 - link

    interesting. Why the reviewer is disappointed when he found out Crucial MX changed 64 layer to 96 layer? Is 96 layer inferior to 64 layer NAND? Shouldn't that be considered an upgrade???

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