Flash storage for everyone: 67 SSDs round-up

67 SATA en NVMe SSDs on our new test bench

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Real-world tests

These benchmarks are even more important than the synthetic tests, because here we determine how fast the drives are in practice. We do this with both PCMark 8 and our own trace benchmarks. A trace is a record of the disk use of a particular application. The PCMark test includes, for example, traces of Adobe software packages, Microsoft Office and Battlefield 3. Scores of all individual tests can be found on the next page.

In the graphs below you will first find the bandwidth score, which is the average read and write throughput rate, measured over all the different test items. Traces are played back in real time, including idle time during the original recording of disk use. The total score is based on the average time it takes to run all tests, including that idle time. That is why in the standard score the results of all modern SSDs are very close together.

The PCMark Storage Bandwidth captures the speeds in all those different traces in a single number. We can see a difference between budget SATA SSDs like the WD Green, Kingston UV500 and the Sandisk SSD Plus on the one hand, and more luxurious SATA SSDs like the Samsung 860 Evo and Crucial MX500 on the other. The speed level of the PCIe SSDs varies from just under the fastest satas to more than twice as fast, with the Intel Optane as the obvious winner.

  • PCMark 8 Bandwidth
  • PCMark8 Score

In addition to the PCMark8 real-world tests, we also run three self-developed real-world benchmarks. These are traces based on a gaming workload (GTA V and Rise of the Tomb Raider), a light desktop workload (Windows startup, Microsoft Office and Google Chrome) and a heavy desktop workload (Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom). Whereas PCMark8 disables all operating system-level caches during testing, we leave Windows read/write caches intact for our own real-world benchmarks. As a result, these benchmarks may give an even better picture of the performance of discs in practice.

In the gaming workload the Kingston UV400 and WD Green do remarkably badly, while the Crucial MX500 has very high scores, which can compete with the Samsung 860 Pro. In the PCIe segment, the Intel SSD 760p is gaining ground, even outperforming the Samsung 970 Evo and 960 Pro. The heavy workload actually chews many low-capacity models up - after all, they have fewer physical flash chips to spread the load over. The Samsung 860 Pro is the fastest SATA SSD, while among the PCie SSDs it is the WD Black 2018, Samsung 970 Evo/Pro and Intel Optane that end up at the top again.

  • Gaming workload
  • Light workload
  • Heavy workload


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