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Home > Hardware Reviews > PC Parts

Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Crucial RealSSD 128GB 1.8-inch SSD

3. Benchmarks

Here is our testbed:

  • Motherboard: Asus Stiker II Extreme Bios 1403 (Nvidia 790i Ultra SLI)
  • Processor: Intel Q9300 (Quad Core @ 2.50GHz)
  • Case: Open Air testbed
  • Power Supply: OCZ GameXStream GXS600 SLI-Ready
  • Memory: 2x1GB Supertalent DDR3-1600 (1333MHz@ 7-7-7-20-1T)
  • HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500GB SATA2 7200RPM
  • Monitor: LG L246WH-BH 24"
  • Windows 7 32bit with all the latest updates installed

The SSD was not used as a boot drive, so we did not perform any kind of optimizations for the operating system. The "enable advanced performance" option was selected under the device's properties (OS). For the tests, we used the following software leaving their settings to defaults:

  • HDTachRW v3.0.1.0
  • HD Tune v4.50 Pro
  • Crystal DiskMark v3
  • ATTO Disk Benchmark v2.46
  • ASS SSD Benchmark 1.5xxx
  • IOMeter v2006.07.27 with Xtreme Benchmark template

Unfortunately the motherboard we have in our labs has a 3GB/sec SATA 2 interface and this will not allow the SSD to reach its maximum reading speed of 355MB/sec. If you are not having a SATA2 6GB/sec mobo or notebook, it is advised to use a PCI card (SATA2 6GB/sec) such as the Highpoint Rocket 620 LF or the Asus U3S6 PCI . In addition, it is advised to switch the SATA mode from IDE to AHCI through the BIOS of your system.

Here is some information about our drive using the CrystalDiskInfo software. The SSD came with firmware Ver. 0002 installed:

Crucial has already released the newer firmware Ver.0006, which we installed and used in our tests:

We start the tests with the HDTachRW software. HD Tach is a low level hardware benchmark for random access read/write storage devices. The software measures the sequential read speed (at various points on the device), the random access speed and sequential write speed. We selected the full benchmark.

With the Ver. 0002 firmware installed, the software reported an average sequential read speed of 223.3MB/sec, which was clearly limited by the 3GB/sec SATA 2 interface of our test PC. Writing was almost linear at 131.8 MB/s on average, which is very close to the drive's nominal writing speed:

With the latest firmware Ver. 0006 installed, the average sequential reading and writing speed were not changed; we got a 222 MB/s and 131.9MB/s for reading and writing , respectively:

The HD Tune Pro software is also a utility we used to measure the drive's reading performance. Although not necessarily representative of real-world workloads, HD Tune's targeted tests give us a glimpse of each drive's raw capabilities. This time we got a 220.4MB/sec speed for sequential read for firmware Ver. 0002 and a 210.9MB/S with the firmware Ver. 0006 installed:

The next benchmark is the CrystalDiskMark. The software provides throughput data based on sequential reads and writes, and random (512K/4K/4KQD32) reads and writes. We've used the default 1,000MB file-size for the tests.

The software reported 262.1 MB/s for sequential read and 135.3 MB/s for write (firmware Ver. 0002) . We also got 512K results of 258.3 MB/s read and 138.0 MB/s write performance. 4K tests produced 27.53MB/s read and just 5.16MB/s write performance. 4KB queue depth 32 IOPS is one area where the SSD performed pretty well:

Installing the latest firmware Ver. 0006 did not change the performance figures very much, although the sequential and the 512K writing tasks were somehow negatively affected:

The AS SSD Benchmark also provides sequential and random read/write tests, as well as other useful information about the drive's access times.

The next software we used was the ATTO Disk Benchmark. The tool measures storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. The benchmark performs file transfers ranging from 0.5 KB to 8192 KB.

Once again our SATA 2 controller (SATA 3Gbps) did not allow the drive to reach very high reading speeds. However, it reached a decent 262 MB/s in the reading test and the 141 MB/s in the writing task.

Finally, we proceed to the most important benchmark of the test, the IOMeter. Iometer is run by using workstation and database patterns for queue depths (outstanding I/Os) of two and 32, representing very light and moderate loads. Iometer is both a workload generator (that is, it performs I/O operations in order to stress the system) and a measurement tool (that is, it examines and records the performance of its I/O operations and their impact on the system). The app's ability to bombard drives with an escalating number of concurrent IO requests also does a nice job of simulating the sort of demanding multi-user environments that are common in enterprise applications. It can be used for measurement of the performance of an SSD. We run the IOMeter tests using the Xtreme Benchmark template . Here are the results:

The C300 offered a great random read performance, although it was operating on a 3Gbps SATA controller. On the other hand, the drive is slower than SandForce-based SSDs of the same capacity in the random writing tests.

The latest Ver. 006 firmware gave the drive slightly higher total I/Operations per second and a reduced maximum I/O response time. Compared to the 2.5" RealSSD, the 1.8" SSD gave less total IOs, but this should be attributed to a different test platform we used for these tests.

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