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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  • Wereweeb - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - link

    They made a major update. No one cares about SATA Express. That you don't even know about it only goes to show that no one cares, there's no need or use for it.

    SATA is plenty enough for Hard Drives, and SSD's are going to keep using M.2, U.3, and other PCIe ports. There's no need for a port that isn't going to be used by anyone.

    If anything, they could theoretically run spinning rust off an x1 PCIe 3.0 (Or even 2.0) connector, but that's also not really needed.

    If you want consumer motherboards to have U.3 connectors, then say that. And I'd agree. I never like bare PCB's where they're not necessary.
    Reply
  • Lord of the Bored - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - link

    I ABSOLUTELY want U.2 connectors on motherboards, and U.2 drives priced for mass-market sales.

    It won't happen, because the manufacturers want a hard line drawn between home-use and business-use hardware so they can price-gouge for business hardware. Mass-market U.2 drives would ruin their pricing strategy.
    Reply
  • Wereweeb - Thursday, February 18, 2021 - link

    They don't really need to, consumer SSD's are already shit for most enterprise applications, and will be plain garbage when it's all just QLC. Reply
  • Billy Tallis - Thursday, February 18, 2021 - link

    Consumer U.2 drives wouldn't ruin the enterprise SSD market, because the form factor is a much less important difference than the fact that consumer SSDs have SLC caching and enterprise SSDs don't.

    Consumer U.2 drives would fail because the market is simply too small. The number of consumers who can actually afford and want 3+ NVMe SSDs in their desktop (and aren't already on a HEDT system) is too small to justify bringing a new category of products to market.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Friday, February 19, 2021 - link

    Changing the SATA standard in a way that wrecks backwards compatibility would be pointless - U.2 is already an alternative standard that does that.

    It's dead. It's a silly way to access flash devices.
    Reply
  • Gigaplex - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - link

    Or they'd just switch to using SAS in those devices. Reply
  • flyingpants265 - Thursday, February 18, 2021 - link

    The suggestion for hard drives was to double the amount of heads/platters per drive to get costs down even further, I think this decreases reliability too but reduces overhead costs for datacenters because it's fewer drives.

    8 tb, 10 TB and 12 TB drives are more expensive per gb than the two terabyte drives.... Prices haven't gone down since 2010. I should be able to walk in and get a 8tb drive for $89. The markets really crapped out.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Friday, February 19, 2021 - link

    HDD prices never really recovered after the 2011 floods in Thailand. By the time the impact was over, SSDs were eating their lunch, and the incentive to keep dropping prices went away forever. Reply
  • npz - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - link

    From the way you're stating it. I assume you're not aware of U.2 nvme drives which uses the same 2.5 in. form factor and is connected to pcie and still uses cables, and fills up the drive at higher capacities and also comes in 12mm and 15mm thickness for heat dissipation? Because fast nvne drives are also hot with very little surface area in the m.2 for factor Reply
  • 29a - Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - link

    He doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. Reply

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